15 January, 1998

Well, I was supposed to take off today, but it doesn't look like that will happen. We reported to the CDC (Clothing Distribution Center) and airport at 8:30 a.m. -- and we were immediately told that our plane was delayed. So, at 10:45, we started getting our Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) gear. Getting dressed is quite a trick!

To begin with, you must wear a layer of long underwear and a pair of thick socks. Over that, they provide polar fleece pants and a polar fleece top. Next, you wear a pair of wind pants that look like shiny black overalls. Finally, you put on your warm red coat and your big white "bunny boots." This is the standard attire for being outside in the cold . . . and inside the plane . . .

Once we got dressed, we had a briefing and went over to the airport. We had to weigh and check all of our luggage (and ourselves)! After that, we all sat around waiting to board. And then we were told the news . . . the plane was going to be delayed until at least 3:30 due to something mechanical that needed to be fixed on the plane. So, we took off most of our ECW gear and sat down to wait. Stephanie and I took a great tour of the plane during this time with the navigator of our flight crew. It was really interesting to get to see the plane without all of the poeple and I really enjoyed getting into the cockpit!

At 3:30, we returned to the airport and we were told that we needed to wait some more. At about 4:30, we were told that the plane was now scheduled to leave at 1:00 a.m.! There are 8 people that I came down with, and we decided to go to a nearby motel and rent a room. Some of the other people on our flight had the same idea, so we had dinner with some of the crew that will be on our ship (the Nathaniel B. Palmer). At least we could take showers, watch a movie, and get something to eat. We tried really hard not to sleep so that could sleep on the plane. It seemed like a long night, but having the motel room sure did help!

Remember ... I'm 18 hours ahead of Indianapolis, so my days may not match up with yours. Check in tomorrow to see what happens!

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