Zev News March 2009


For the Sacramento robotics trip, the plan was for Jackie to take the van and to pull a trailer filled with equipment and baggage.  When she got to Granada (around 2:20) they discover that the ball on our hitch was a 1 7/8" ball, and the trailer needed a 2 inch ball.  Jackie drove around the corner to OSH and found thet they don't have hitch balls.  She then went to U-Haul, got the ball got back to school around 3:30.  The other cars were lined up ready to go.  We hooked up the trailer in the car sank way too much.  The trailer was not well balanced.  So we who were left pulled a ton of baggage out the trailer and rebalanced the equipment over the wheels.  Then, five kids piled into the car and again the car visibly sank.  We realized that 7 people in the car and a laden trailer might be a bit much.  Mr. Mr. Van called to the other cars that had space and told to find a place to stop and wait for us so that we could offload some of our kids.  Both cars were close to Gorman and they agreed to stop at the McDonald's and wait.  We finally took off around 4:30.  It took us about an hour to get to Gorman because of the heavy traffic leaving LA and also because the car was pretty sluggish on the hills.  After offloading three kids, we had a lot more pep!  The trailer *really* affected the gas mileage. Normally the van gets around 20 miles per gallon of a highway.  With the trailer we got about 12.


The drive up was uneventful, and we arrived around 11:30 p.m.  The next morning, some kids and the trailer needed to be at the site at 7:30 to set up our first aid station.  Our team runs a first aid station for the robots where all the teams can obtain needed parts, advice and other assistance.  Because of the station we were allowed to park the trailer in the loading docks.  Jackie really appreciated this!


Once all the kids had arrived at the venue, most of the adults took off and went out for breakfast at a crepe place.  The hotel had served a continental breakfast (bagels/English muffins/cereal/pastries) but we didn't let that deter us.  Thursday was a day of practice matches and making sure everything on the robot was working.   After the first match, where our robot didn't move, it seem to be working well.  The practice matches ended at five but the pits (the areas where the teams worked on the robots) was open until eight, and we didn't leave until the pits closed. 


We went back to the hotel where the kids who were seniors used a computer in the lobby to check the college acceptances that had comes out that day.  One student learned that he'd been accepted to Berkeley and the lobby erupted in cheers and congratulations.  Dinner was at Chevy's, which was next door to the hotel.  Chevy set up a taco bar just for us in our own room, It was nicely done


On Friday first we had opening ceremonies.  Miranda, one of the Granada seniors, sang the national anthem and did a great job.  Mr. Van was one of the two masters of ceremonies.  The two masters of ceremonies did a very funny skit involving the equipment from past games.  After opening ceremonies, the matches for ranking started. Granada's robot did very well Friday, and they were on the winning alliance in five out of seven matches.  And in one of the matches they lost, they won on points but one of their alliance partners incurred multiple penalties, causing them to lose the match.