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Reading big ASCII files

I am trying to read several large ASCII files into Ferret, put the data onto one
time axis and write it to a netcdf file.  I have to read the data in pieces
because Ferret will not let ASCII files have an axis length greater than 20480,
but each of my files is over 100,000 time steps long and I have a few hundred
files.  To solve this, I read 20,000 lines from the file the first time, the
next time I skip 20,000 lines and read 20,000 new ones, and so on.

The problem is that after a while I get this message:

 **ERROR: a program limit has been reached: axis coordinate storage exhausted -
restart FERRET

I've tried cancelling the input file, its time axis and its grid after reading
each time.  None of these seem to make Ferret 'let go' of that coordinate space,
and I still hit the limit.  Any ideas aside from exiting Ferret after the error
message and restarting (which is not really a solution)?

Edward D. (Ned) Cokelet, Ph.D.      cokelet@pmel.noaa.gov
NOAA/PMEL                                   ph: (206) 526-6820
7600 Sand Point Way NE                   fax: (206) 526-6485
Seattle, WA 98115-6439

n:Cokelet;E. D. (Ned)
tel;fax:(206) 526-6845
tel;work:(206) 526-6820
adr:;;7600 Sand Point Way NE;Seattle;WA;98115-6439;USA
title:Oceanographer, PhD
fn:Edward D. (Ned) Cokelet

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