March 22, Home

Hello everyone! My apologies for being so late in making this post. I am back in the USA, and just completed my first couple of weeks working for Ball Aerospace again. I am currently out at Goddard Space Flight Center, supporting the testing of the telescope. I must have run into 1000 people who wanted to know why I hadn’t made a final post. And, the answer is simple: a very bad case of procrastination. So, I figured I’d add this brief post and then come back later and post one or more additional entries, reflecting on the ride.

JWST seen from the observation deck.

While I was still in New Zealand, I was looking at the prospect of going to Cuba before returning back to the USA, but decided to put this country off until after the launch of JWST. This is a ride that one could easily do with just a few weeks of vacation, and that is what I will do. My reason for “pausing” the world tour was two-fold. First, I was running out of money and getting dangerously close to that point where the bills might not get paid (little things like the mortgage, health care, etc.) Secondly, the political situation in our country is just too unstable. I wanted to make sure that I was employed if/when things started to fall apart. And, then there is the whole travel insanity. Can a defense contractor hire someone who has visited a communist country? They can now, but who knows about tomorrow?
The last post I uploaded was on Feb 12th, in Christchurch. I spent several more days there before heading back to the USA. It was nice to visit with John and Adrienne who were so generous to me during my visit. I also spent some time visiting with my friend and colleague, Marcos van Dam. Marcos took me to a Baptist church that met in a local public school. This was one of the more interesting and intellectual church services I think I have ever attended. The theme that morning was on “Finding God in artistic expression.” There was original poetry, music, van Gauge, history and lectures about local art. That afternoon, Marcos took me on a drive through the hills near Christchurch. Beautiful!

My good friend Marcos.

(A week or so later, Marcos contacted me to let me know that wild fires burned much of the land that we drove through that afternoon. What a loss, but only temporarily so.)
Eventually, the time came for me to fly back to the USA. The trip home was long, but otherwise uneventful. Actually, there was one thing that occurred worth mentioning…the flight from Christchurch to Auckland. No one ever asked to see my identification! Not at the check-in counter, security nor the departure gate… kind of like the old days!
I spent a couple of weeks finishing up some work for the National Solar Observatory in Boulder. While there, I gave one final presentation to an enthusiastic audience.

One final presentation at the National Solar Observatory.

I think I’ll retire this presentation. I have given it about 50 times, and it deserves a rest.
I’ll add at least one more reflective post in the coming weeks. No more cycle touring for now anyway. But don’t worry…”This song has ended–but the story never ends!”  There will be adventures to come! Will you will join me?
Scott Acton

3 Responses to “March 22, Home

  • Scott, what was the final number on the odometer?

  • Well done, my friend!

    I know some folks who are doing a one-week tour of the Colorado Front Range (June 16 – 25). Now that you’re home, we would love to have you, and any of your cycling buddies, join us.

    Let’s have lunch and talk about continuing this amazing dream.

  • What a journey! Thank you for sharing your views of this vast planet! Welcome home.

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