Friday, January 29, 2010

1000 miles!

Victoria has passed the 1000 mile mark! Although Lizzie did most of the work getting there, it's still a great achievement for our project and certainly says something about the endurance and dedication of hamsters. Congrats!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Snowy days in the Santa Fe National Forest

My travels through New Mexico's Santa Fe National Forest are pretty cold. I'm glad I'm here in the winter though, because the summer heat can be intense! The pinon pine trees still have some pine nuts not raided by the local red squirrels. Fortunately the squirrels are hibernating so I am not pestered with offers to stay for tea every mile! I am making really good time. I found some native pottery to sleep in at a museum one night!

Posted via email from Victoria - Hamster Across America

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lizzie's Life (In Summary)

Tommy crunched together all the data we recorded over Lizzie's lifetime and came up with some interesting conclusions about her running activities. For example, here's a graph he made of her running schedule over the course of the day:

You can see from the graph why I spent so much time and energy trying out multiple types of wheels, lubricant and padding to find the perfect combination to muffle her wheel, because her favorite running hour was 2:00 in the morning!

He has a bunch more data and graphs on Lizzie's behavior up on his personal blog if you want to see more.

Victoria has picked up the baton!

After Lizzie passed away in December 2009, an era came to an end. The courageous hamster travelled from California to New Mexico and had many exciting adventures! In January 2010, Victoria took on the mantle of HamsterAcrossAmerica and is off to a great start! Currently in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Victoria is battling extreme cold as she races through the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains.

Posted via email from Victoria - Hamster Across America

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cage modifications

Victoria absolutely loves climbing through tubes, but Lizzie's old tank just wasn't equipped to add any new fancy additions, so I designed and built a custom new roof and shelf to attach tube to, including a new door, penthouse lodging and observatory. The roof and hutch have a ton of vents cut out of them to provide fresh air, a large door for cleaning and maintenance and a "moon roof" on the hutch for extra access. The tubes come with attachment rings so the observatory can be removed and replaced with other fun hamster gizmos to help stave off boredom. Welcome home, Victoria!

Run run run run run

Tommy has finished putting together Victoria's new wheel and the data is streaming in! She'll be picking up where Lizzie left off in New Mexico and with her new super smooth wheel she should be zooming along the desert at quite a clip. Onwards! :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Say hello to Victoria!

After spending some time searching, we've adopted a new hamster named Victoria. Like Lizzie, she's a female Syrian hamster and loves to run, so she'll be picking up where Lizzie left off on her trip across America. Tommy is working on setting up a new wheel for her so we can start recording her data, so hopefully we'll have the site up and working up again soon!