Yesterday, I conservatively estimated we'd cover 60m. We did 70. So we're 100m from the hills now, and we should roll across another 70m of that thisol. The way ahead looks reasonably clear, so we have high hopes for a good long drive.
There must be a lot of politics going on among the scientists that I hear nothing about. As I'm working, I overhear one of the upper-level science folks say to another, "Poor Mike Carr has been persona non grata since he accused the Gusev crowd of wandering aimlessly, kicking the dirt." If this is true (as it likely is, considering the source), it's a reference to (some of) the Gusev science team's behavior in the month or two after landing, when they had to stop at every rock they saw, even though it was pretty clear they were all just dusty basalts. If he kicked their ass a little to stop them kicking the dirt and move on to bigger things already, Mike was right. I hope they're not really low enough to be holding it against him.
The day's relatively uneventful, a typical drive. Chris finishes his bit and hands over to me just in time for Larry Soderblom to start talking about our plan once we get to the hills. He's describing the geology of the area, laying out the high-level plan -- and I can't listen, because I gotta work. Foo. I guess I'll just plan to pick it up as we go along.
My happiest news of the day is this. Leo Bister, our mission manager for the sol, mentions at the end of the CAM that we need wakeup song suggestions for when we reach the hills, now only a day or two away. Way back around sol 2, Mark Adler asked for suggestions for rover wakeup songs, and one of the suggestions I sent him was a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover of the Stevie Wonder song "Higher Ground." It never got played. Later, Adler asked for another round of suggestions, and I included "Higher Ground" again -- and it never got played.
Now, a hundred and fifty sols later, we've at last reached our once-distant target, the Columbia Hills -- what better time to play a song whose lyrics include "Gonna keep on tryin' / Till I reach the higher ground"? I nonchalantly suggest it, and Leo likes the idea. (It probably helps that one of the scientists knows the exact cover I'm speaking of, and adds his recommendation.) I email Leo the MP-3, and he puts it on the schedule for that day.
Third time's the charm!