|I'm trailing and Erik looks like he's going to take the win from my brother Charles.|
|I'm the one wearing the squirrel on his face.|
Anyway, on to the tale of the weekend. It started out with something of a bad omen.
I had a bit of an adventure picking up the rental car. Turns out that the foreigner with the Colorado drivers license wasn't welcome to rent an automobile with the presented plastic. The problem sprung from the fact that I didn't bring an actual credit card from Bolivia, just the debit card I used to make the reservation. I should have thought about that, but hindsight is 20/20 - something which will repeat itself in this report.
Fortunately, my Mom had taken me to the rental location and offered to rent the car herself and loan me her car for the weekend: Problem solved. Thanks so much, Mom. Without Mom, none of this could have happened.
Once I was with vehicle I drove to Ithaca, NY where my Dad was waiting to take me out to dinner. I'd loaded the directions to his house into my phone before I left my Mom's house; that was a good thing too, because I couldn't find WiFi on my route (essentially: Interstates 87S and 88W). My intention had been to get a sim card for my cell phone with a data plan, but when I asked after it (at a Radio Shack in Fort Lauderdale) I was told that no such "pre-paid" plans existed. Um, I think somebody ripped me off...
Dinner was at an Italian restaurant in Ithaca named Lucatelli's. My Dad recommended something called Combination Casserole a la Parmigiana (click through and you'll see the menu). He said something like, "I ordered it once and it brought me to my knees." I ordered it then ate some bread, soup, and a salad. What I was presented with had more cheese than I was expecting total food. I ate it all. When she came to clear my plate, the waitress noted that, "I've worked here 6 months and have never seen anyone finish that dish before." I had a bit of trouble breathing for a half an hour or so, but overall was pleased with the meal - the breathing problem was my own fault (perhaps another instance of foreshadowing).
After the meal, we returned to my Dad's place and I plead tired/full and hit the couch. I wish I could have had the fortitude to keep myself up, but I was thinking ahead a bit too.
I slept really well and the next morning Dad, his friend Erik and I went out to a breakfast at a greasy spoon where I enjoyed an artery clogging cheese and bacon omelette, some toast and home fries. Dad and I then bid Erik adieu and we went to procure a hand bottle for my race and a little wooden airplane for Deneb. Once that stuff was aboard the good ship Honda CrV, I hit the road for Berk's County, PA.
It rained for much of the drive, but overall it was easy getting there, though it took the better part of 4 hours. I ate some salty snacks and powered back a bunch of water while driving, but didn't really have a formal lunch - not that I really needed it...
When I got to Erik's house I had to call because I was unsure which was their house, there were 3 stone houses all right in a row and I was unsure which one I had the doorbell I was supposed to ring. Good thing too, when Erik answered he suggested I turn around - I had been wandering around and looking into the windows of the wrong house...
I brought my bag inside and was promptly introduced to Erik's wife Jane and his two great kids, Connor and Maddie. Maddie was a bit shy at first, and I think Connor was hoping I'd join him for some Lego Star Wars - sorry man, next time. I hadn't run since my morning jaunt in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday and I was starting to get a bit twitchy.
It worked out pretty well actually because, for all the cycles being spent on Lego Star Wars, Mr. Connor had a birthday party to go to which happened to be on the way to Blue Marsh Lake, where the race was being held the next day. Erik and I dropped Connor off and headed over to the most significant obstacle on the Blues Cruise course, "Ski Slope Hill".
Erik lead out, and we were quickly onto some pretty sweet single track through the trees. I was wearing my Vibrams and deemed the trail soft enough that I could run in them for the race. Sure there were some rocks, but there was also lots of leaf litter to help cushion the impact and it seemed an easier surface than the road on my Bella Vista route.
Ski Slope Hill itself was runable in a short race, but I power hiked it with Erik. It came 11 miles or so into the Blues Cruise, and I knew that I wouldn't be running it on race day, so it would be best to power up it. Erik and I knocked out a half an hour and then headed back in the direction of the birthday party.
Erik and I picked up Connor, then headed back to his house. Dinner would be at the Kutztown Tavern with Erik's parents. What a treat!
Erik's dad coached a softball team for which both Erik and I played. We were surrounded by girls. We didn't really know what to make of that. We played for the Yankees. Ugh.
|Erik back left, me back right and Erik's Dad back dead center. The Yankees.|
Anyway, I enjoyed a good old American Bacon Cheeseburger for dinner with a glass of birch beer to wash down my tasty meal. Erik's mom chatted my ear off and I answered a bunch of questions about Bolivia, Deneb, Nataly and life in general. Really good to see them...
After dinner we went back to Erik's house and chatted a bit while the kids got ready for bed. They were settling down around 9 and I felt my battery was essentially discharged too and suggested I might be ready for a sleep as well. I don't think it took me more than 10 minutes to fall asleep and I slept like a rock...
Thanks for reading and the real report will come tomorrow.Jay