February 14, 2009: Sierra Nevada (terrace near the Albergue Universitario)
After waiting for may days for the good weather to come back to make some observation sessions, and what it is more important, begin taking astrophotographies, the evening of February 14 looked quite promising. We thought that it would be a nice day to make our observing session in the Carretera de la Cabra, but last minute clouds made us change our opinion, so we decided to go to the Dornajo terrace in Sierra Nevada.
Once the van was fully loaded, we took the Sierra Nevada road and in the Centro de Interpretación exit we took the secondary road that goes near the terrace. Big error. The forbidden traffic signal, that we interpreted as "it is not recommended to use this road", was really more important than we initially thought. Half a kilometer up the road, the black asphalt turned into a quite good ice skating rink. The van could not go over the ice for more than five meters when it began to turn, getting crossed in the middle of the road and slipping back. At that point Antonio turned his head to say something to Zerjillo (the co-pilot) when he notices that he is already outside the van watching the show.
To get the vehicle out from the ice was not easy, but neither difficult. We just went slowly backwards, braking every time the wheels lost grip. Quite noticeably, Antonio could only think about his pequeñín rolling down the hill until it reached Granada. In a certain moment the van did go forward neither backwards, so we had to use the snow chains to take the van from the ice.
500 meters below, and half an hour later, we re-took the main road to Sierra Nevada. If things continued that way, we could easily get hit by a meteorite and that would not impress us. We arrived at the terrace near the Albergue Univesitario and we began to mount everything: Zerjillo with his EQ6 + the Goldie and Antonio his pequeñín.
The night was quite good, but it was quite cold (under -10ºC). Luckily, there was no wind and no humidity. However, we could notice how intense cold affected the electronic equipment and computers. Everything worked... but slowly and in a strange way.
Out main objective that night was to familiarize with our new equipment. In fact, Zerjillo was able to achieve a quite good polar alignment with EQAlign and Antonio could take some videos from the Moon and Saturn with his new QHY-5 camera.
All this frantic activity was accompanied with Radio Maria, that sounded quite good probably because of high altitude. At a certain point, we thought that if someone had come to see what we were doing with so many "strange equipments", he would probably run away when he heard the radio, thinking that we are quite crazy (which, in turn, is not far from reality, but for different reasons).
In a quite beautiful moment, the Moon rose just at the back of the Mojón de Trigo Observatory, offering a very spectacular image.