2.2 Flat Tires, Cloudy Skies

Some of the “big guns” at the Table Mountain Star Party. Large aperture Dobsonians abounded in the telescope field. The height to the eyepiece occasionally requires a ladder, one of them is seen here, strewn like many others on the ground. Also visible in this picture are a platoon of observing tents (upper right); multi-room tents with sections that open to the sky. The threat from the clouds kept the telescopes covered and the tents closed for much of the time.

I started lugging stuff out of my car and was struggling with my oversized tent when I met my neighbor to the east, Barry, a friendly bearded fellow who reminded me of a mild-mannered graduate student.  In reality he was a programmer, but his interests fell strongly in the areas of ham radio and astronomy. He was modest about his beginner status in astronomy, but he had attended prior years of TMSP and enjoyed them immensely, hence his return this year.

Barry felt responsible for letting me know that the rear tire on my car was flat.  I was surprised at this news, since I had just arrived and had not experienced any sort of tire problems on my way up the mountain, but there it was.  It wasn’t just low on air– it was dead flat!  Had I been driving on a rubber-covered rim all the way up that road?  I suppose it’s possible, but let’s instead think that it must have happened as I maneuvered into the field. A sharp rock maybe?

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