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Jonathan's Rover Diary Day 0 1 2 3 4

Before the first challenge…
Fly over from London to Las Vegas in about 10 hours. All OK did some reading. Las Vegas on the other hand is a weird place. After having lunch in LV we all headed off in a convoy of cars to our destination – Lone Pine. Us Roughies all pile into Mike B’s car (he arrived before us) and we take the long roads via Death Valley to Lone Pine.

We pass through desolate valleys and at one moment my home-made altimeter goes off the bottom scale showing we are below sea level; then the next moment it stops at the other end because we go over 2000m above sea level. The long winding road snakes its way through spectacular rocky landscape – reds and browns of the rock with deep blue skies. It is strange to be in air conditioned cars as it feels so cool inside but one gets a feel for the heat outside when one touches the windows – the glass is so hot ! When we get out of the car the hot air feels like a warm liquid running through the nostrils and the mouth – drying up any moisture in a flash.

The air is dusty and makes it difficult to judge distances, one has to go on the speed of the car and how long it takes to get an idea of progress. By this judging one realises that the valleys are tens of miles across and that the road that makes its way through Death Valley area is over a 100 miles long ! Arrive at Lone Pine about 8pm Ellen and Kate waiting for us.

The day before…
Wake up about 5 am after going to bed about 10-11 pm last night. As we are going to be getting up about this time while filming the early start is not too bad. I feel tired but excited too and so it’s difficult to sleep.

Spend the day with Abbi (the programme’s production co-ordinator) in Bishop, one of the local towns buying equipment for the days ahead – chairs, water coolers, cool boxes etc. This was a nice day out and driving around made me start to realise just how big this area is and how the light plays tricks. On the way out in the morning the local hills near to Lone Pine were rocky, brown and bleak looking but coming back in the evening, with the light less harsh one can start to see the green and other colours in the landscape around – very magical – they are the Alabama Hills. In the evening we all go out to a local restaurant but have an early night for the big first day tomorrow.



Jonathan builds his rover
Scientist Diaries

Water or wheels? How did the other members of the Rough Science team cope with the first challenge? Read their diaries to find out: