I have been slacking off from daily postings about our trip. Our schedule has been rather full since I picked up Terri from the airport in Chicago. I will make an attempt to catch up.

My drive into O Hare airport was uneventful. Terri was very excited to see the Morton salt factory. She took these pictures while I was driving.

We quickly ran into backed up traffic. This was the first time I have run into traffic this congested during our trip. It took us 3 or 4 hours to make it out of the Chicago area. We were extremely happy when the Chicago skyline was no longer in view.

Everything went smoothly after that. We arrived in Kalamazoo a little before my 8pm contestant meeting. It was a lot of fun meeting back up with everyone I met during the World Championships last year

I am trying out for the S4 event on the 2008 US spacemodeling team. This uses a glider launched with a rocket motor. My research into airfoil shapes lead me to Mark Drela’s AG-11. It is a modern airfoil designed for use on radio controlled discus launch gliders. These gliders require low drag while the glider is being thrown into the air and good lift once they slowed down. That sounds a lot like a rocket boosted glider!

The AG-11 was created with modern computer processing to produce very smooth airflow around it at high speeds. So how did I create my wings? The hot wire cutter I am building to produce foam wing shapes is still waiting for a couple parts. I ended up sanding the wings tonight in my hotel’s dark parking lot. I used a concrete parking stop and some scrap wood to produce correctly angled curves. At least I hope that is the result! If I earn a place on the team with these gliders this weekend, I will have to do something better to compete against the world’s best competitors next year.

My trip to the US spacemodeling team trials is underway. I am currently at my first stopping point in Little Rock, AR. Tomorrow morning I will begin driving up to Illinois.

So far this journey has been surprisingly uneventful. My assumption was the explosions in Dallas this morning would cause a slowdown for me. The explosions were located at the intersection of I-35 and I-30, which were the two major roads I traveled on today. Luckily I-20 took me around that area.

I did manage to locate an old starship, the Pegasus. It was dry docked next to Texas Best Smokehouse in Italy, TX. I purchased some buffalo jerky while there.

We pre-ordered a copy of the new Harry Potter book from Book People. They gave us a ticket which is redeemed for the book plus gains us access to their release party. There will be magicians, live music, and other activities leading up to actually dispensing the books at midnight. The festivites will begin at 10pm tonight. Hopefully it will be a lot of fun.

I also learned today that the city of Georgetown shuts down their Main Street for a release party. It will become a version of Diagon Alley from the books.

My employer has grown quite a bit recently. There are so many new people we were forced to move into a new office building. Our old location had people sitting at card tables in the hallways. It was not a fun way to work.

We no longer look out over the Colorado river, but the view from the building’s back is very nice. There are even patios we can use.

The new interior space has been built from the ground up according to our needs. A nice side benefit was the ability to create a more asthetically pleasing environment. The walls have a lot more color, and there are pleasant curved surfaces spread around.

We even have a reception area now, though they have not decided to hire an actual receptionist.

Our old office was constructed so everyone worked inside separate rooms. They were not private offices. I shared a room with two other people. We now have a cubicle layout. I have not decided which I prefer, but I do enjoy the third floor window view.