Wild Stars- Prelude

Travel yesterday was not without problems. After boarding my plane in Detroit, we were informed that the fuel pump that starts the engines was leaking and not working. 45 minutes later, after a 'repair' done on the spot, the plane was pushed out to the tarmac, and nothing...
No engines, no noise, no air conditioning.

Back to the gate, more repairs attempted. Finally the pilot says they're going to 'jump start' !! the engines and then we'll be on our way.

Long story short, we eventually took off two hours late.

My boss, Arne Henden, connected in Detroit from Boston to go to Phoenix, so we ended up touching down in Arizona around the same time and shared the shuttle ride from Phoenix to the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Where the shuttle dropped us off was much further from my hotel than I had anticipated. I did not enjoy walking all the way across campus dragging my luggage in the dry, high altitude desert air of Tucson. After the half way point, I was taking frequent breaks in every shady spot we came across.

The hotel is very nice, and the sympathetic staff assured me I could catch a cab to the welcome reception later that evening, which I did, in spite of the fact that just about everyone else walked.

My world was made right again after settling into my room and having a bite to eat.

The welcome reception was held in the open air second story patio of one of the micro-brewery beer houses on campus. Complimentary drinks and food lubricated the discussions as everyone got to connect or re-connect in the mild night air. I got to meet several of the 'big names' and some enthusiastic grad students.

Above: David Buckley (SAAO) and Steve Howell (NOAO)
Right: front center- Joe Patterson (Columbia University), front right- John Thorstensen (Dartmouth College)

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