Thursday, March 24. 2011
The advanced crew had quite a journey down last night. Rochester and much of the north east (actually I think it went as far as Chicago!) experienced a Spring “Winter” storm starting on Wednesday morning, so by the time the team headed south after school, there was a few inches of snow on the ground. The main caravan included 6 cars with Mentors Eric, Amy, Jeff and Gaffei starting a bit earlier with the trailer and one lagging vehicle with a few of the late-leaving mentors. During the trip we hit snow, freezing rain, sleet and finally rain with a thunderstorm. When the lightning flashed just south of Williamsport, Mike Mo’s voice came over the walkie talkie, “There is the lightning, here comes the Thunder!”
As we made our approach to Washington, we had a view of the Washington Monument (at 11:00 – that’s a direction, not a time), we discovered just a tad bit late that our exit was closed. So we took and unexpected tour across the Potomac River and saw the Jefferson Monument and glimpsed several other monuments. After we turned around, we finally reached our destination, checked in and headed to our rooms.
Today started earlier with the team gathering to leave at 6:30 am. Most of the students headed to MacDonald’s for breakfast, to save money for later. A crew of students went with the load in crew to unload the trailer, bring in the robot – sleeping in its bag, and get started on the pit set up. A new and improved pit set up that is. The rest of us stood outside in the cold (relatively – it wasn’t snow. 🙂 ) until they let us in at 8:00 and finally into the field area at 8:30 am.
The place is SMALL, but the pits are spacious. We got the scouting system set up in the arena space, while the pit was set up and the work on the robot begun. We needed to install a new manipulator and a new deployer for our new very tiny minibot. As always it seemed to take too long as we were anxious to get Thunderous Prime onto the practice field. At the same time the team spread out to help as many other teams as needed to get their robots ready. By the end of the day, we had completed our repairs, tested the mini-bot a few times, hung an uber tube in autonomous and come oh so close a few other times and helped a whole slew of teams, some just a bit and some quite a lot. We got to meet the local Rolling Thunder Robotics team and look forward to cheering for them tomorrow. We also did a session at the showcase giving teams a chance to come learn about our patron drive, leadership boot camp and how to run FLL events.
The whole team was busy, we really could have used a few more of us, so we will look forward to tomorrow when we are all together!
Oh! today was Mentor Leann’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Leann! We celebrated with cake and ice cream during our evening team meeting!
More tomorrow! Go Thunder!