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Around Kerbin in 80 days - GDJ's adventure


GDJ
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So......after chatting with @Triop on this subject, I have decided to throw my hat into the preverbal ring and drive around Kerbin within 80 days.

How hard could it be? Driving is easy.....boring but easy, right?

WRONG!!

Kerbin is one of the toughest places to drive a rover, truck, dune buggy, race car, etc. Whatever you drive, you're driving on a planet that has some of the most varied, roughest and unforgiving terrain in the KSP universe. Add it's rather strong gravity, and you have a challenge. Some other planets have rough terrain, but most of them have lower gravity (with exceptions of course).

So you're rover/buggy/truck has to be well built, tough as nails, your driving must be razor sharp, and you have to pay attention the entire time you're driving. Your speed must be well regulated because wheel blowouts are the least of your problems (they can be fixed). Go too fast, don't pay attention to what's coming up ahead of you and BLAMO!! you're careening off a cliff, going end over end and most likely killing your intrepid but less than experienced pilot and engineer if you managed to drag one with you, probably kicking and screaming.


So......

DAY ONE

Early morning. The MEGA Truck is finally ready. Our most experienced pilot and navigator extreme GDJ Kerman (yeah for real) is ready to take the wheel with a few somewhat willing crew.
Kerbal Foundries was generous enough to supply a high powered APU unit for the truck's power source which a claimed 17 units of electrical charging per second and a fuel consumption of no more than 0.03 units per second.

With additional fuel (1250-odd units) the frame of the truck was creaking with it's total weight of 20.4 tonnes. This was no ordinary 2019 Kerbal Star truck. This was a custom made Tri-Drive Tandem steer unit with a extended cab for two other occupants. Nearly 10 metres long, almost 2 metres wide, this was a beast of a truck with the power of the Kraken.

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After firing up the APU, a quick test was done and a plume of exhaust shot up in the air nearly as high as the VAB. Everybody smiled. Yeah baby! 


After KSC gave everybody in the truck their best wishes for success, the intrepid 4 nutcases were off and running. The truck spun around from the runway, sprinted north at a pace that was nearly dangerous on level ground. GDJ Kerman looked at the speedometer: 41 metres per second.

After leaving the level grounds surrounding KSC the most experienced pilot in KSC history remembered some advise from his mentor and former teacher Gene Kerman: "Less is more. Don't push your luck and risk everything. This is not a race. Nobody has done this before, and the only other one crazy enough to do it @Triop is still out there. Take your time. Besides, the truck is brand new and bloody expensive."

Time to slow things down. 30 to 35 m/s would be sufficient.

The plan was to travel to Kerman Lake on the first day. Kerman Lake was roughly north east and had a small airport for smaller regional aircraft. Most of the terrain was not really rough until one got to within 20 km of Kerman Lake, then it was a lot more challenging.

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Bill Kerman was the chief engineer, Jebediah Kerman was backup pilot, and a newbie Scientist that was still wet behind her ears was in charge of ......the science stuff.

For the most part, the day went off without a hitch. A few times the truck was airborne for a few seconds, but the robust suspension handled the abuse like a dream. Bill did some adjusting to the steering parameters as the drive progressed and made the high speed handling a little less....hazardous. The APU sipped at the LF, keeping all 1600 units of battery power charged at 99.5% and only went full blast when driving up hills.  The brakes were equally impressive. Kerbal Star equipped the truck with 10 Krembo disc brakes and all together was able to stop the 20 tonne monster to a halt within 150 metres, give or take a bit.

After a few hours and in dwindling daylight the crew arrived at Kerman Lake, tired but not too badly shaken (thank you air-ride seats!) and decided to plan out the next days trip in a nice hotel.

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SUMMARY FOR DAY ONE

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Edited by GDJ
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  • 3 weeks later...

DAY 2

Left Kerman Lake early to head Northeast. The APU was kicked on and charging batteries.
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Then it was Ben Bay. A nice spot to launch your ship and land a helicopter.

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Then continuing northeast....

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Pretty uneventful until.....
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We get here. The most northerly point thus far before turning southward to Bridge #7.....This is not going to be fast......

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But after a while, lots of switchbacks and below 20 m/s driving we end up here for the night.

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Summary for Day 2

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Sidenote: A support plane was launched with supplies, camping gear, and beer.

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