Okay, so where were we?
Oh yes, dead in bed in a room in the Redmond Mariott. Gotta give my props to the Redmond Mariott. Nice room, quiet floor (actually they’d given over the entire floor to walkers), plenty of HOT water, and no one minded half a dozen or so of us contorting ourselves into pretzels on the lobby floor and stretching while we waited for the shuttle bus to show up. And, I didn’t realize this until Sunday morning, all the driveway lights were pink. A class act. I appreciate corporate behemoths that have a sense of humor.
The shuttle cometh.
They rent out these *nice* busses for transport to and from camp. Reclining plush seats, individual vents for the air conditioning, soft ride, the whole nine yards.
I just hope that the bus company can get the smell of Ben Gay out of the busses we were using. I climbed up into the bus on Saturday morning and was met by a wave of camphor and peppermint. Somewhere around thirty sleepy women smeared in sore muscle cream and clutching cups of coffee. It was awesome!
Basically stuff a generous portion of Tiger Balm up your nose then look at this.
Now you’ve got the idea.
They took us directly to camp where we all bumbled off the bus. I bumbled into the dining tent to get some breakfast. At 0615 the idea of scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, oatmeal, pastries, and fruit is usually quite nausea inducing.
And it was that day too. At least until I started eating, at which point my visceral reactions took over and my stomach didn’t care that my brain had been protesting the idea of eating anything that complicated at that hour. It is really quite wrong to eat like that at any hour before about 10 a.m., but, as I said, working that hard for that long does really weird things to your metabolism.
Found Kathryn and we wandered off into the mists to wait at the point where the route was going to open. Got ourselves scanned out, got our route cards, and we were off.
Marymoor park at 0700 in mid-September is misty and cold. Lovely, but misty and cold. I could sympathize with the people in the tents and I was really glad I hadn’t been one. 800 pink two person tents makes a much smaller camp than 2000, but it’s still pretty impressive.
So Saturday we knew was going to be spent walking in a bigass circle through Redmond and Kirkland. We started the day walking up through some or another municipal trail which did provide a nice break from street walking. Forest floor is irregular and cushy which was really nice for those of us with sore feet, even though we were going pretty steeply up, but it was providing a bit of a challenge to the dude that won the toughest bastard of the weekend award. I had noticed on Friday that one of the Breastie Boys was missing his right arm. I did not realize that he was also walking on a prosthetic right leg. Map hang!
The ATV pathway was proving a bit difficult for him, I think, but he was also managing to keep ahead of me. Like I said, toughest bastard of the weekend. My hat is perpetually off to that dude!
Through Redmond and the first pit stop of the day….did you know that PortaPotties that have sat all night are DAMN COLD first thing in the morning? A lot of other people know that now too.
I am pleased to note that I spent a good deal of Saturday totally lost. No idea of where I was or where I needed to be to get to somewhere where I knew where I was and, the best part was, that I really didn’t care! It’s a very peaceful thing to be exerting yourself mightily in getting to a destination of which you have no knowledge with the absolute faith that eventually you’ll end up back where you belong with no effort on your part whatsoever. Okay, at least with no mental effort.
It is with that in mind that I present you a photo that I took somewhere on the route on Saturday morning.
It’s a municipal sign, that is to say, it’s not a sign that someone had made and put up just as a lark. And it’s obviously indicating that some sort of waterfowl use that area as a crossing. But gus? I’m going to assume that it translates into “goose” or possibly “duck”, but in what language? And for heaven’s sake why THAT sign somewhere in the middle of suburban Redmond? (or Kirkland. Like I said, I was pretty lost for much of Saturday).
Oh, and Kirkland was the first place we saw the Hello Titty guy. Dude hanging out along the route with tables full of Tylenol, ibuprofen, aspirin, Tums, Ben Gay, hand sanitizer, Kleenex, Pepcid etc. that he was handing out for free, and selling buttons. I don’t care that he was gouging us, Kathryn pointed out that it probably cost him about 50 cents apiece to make the buttons and he was selling them at $2.50 apiece. If you can come up with something like this
it’s worth a little price gouging.
Snarf! Saturday morning was when we first encountered the cheerleaders too. They need no other explanation or introduction:
Pretty little park on Lake Washington somewhere in Kirkland. And a paddle boarder?
I know, it’s not very obvious, but way back in the background on the left you’ll see him. Who the heck paddle boards in Lake Washington?
Those cheerleaders absolutely took the cake. In the long run, they may be the only thing I remember about Saturday.
Kirkland. And more Kirkland. And still more Kirkland. Lunch at Juanita Beach Park. And up and blessed down through Kirkland. Kirkland is very hilly, did you know that?
It was in Kirkland that I started noticing the back of my right knee hurting. As it turns out, the back of my right knee was hurting because I was walking funny trying to avoid stepping on what turned into a particularly obnoxious blister on the sole of my foot just under my toes. It’s a bad spot for a blister. And it makes you walk funny so you tweak your gastrocnemius and your soelus muscles. Up hills turned into my nemesis for the rest of the weekend.
Meeting at Grasslawn Park on the outskirts of Bellevue and the inskirts of Redmond with…..well, EVERYone at the cheering station. Mom & Dad, Andrew, Eric, Matt & Shannon, Shawn, Annie, Anastasia, and Della. Cheering stations are fun regardless of whether or not you have people coming to see you, but it’s more fun when you have people to visit you. Stickers, candy, fruit, beads, bubbles, bracelets, hand stamps, spray bottles (the knees! hit the knees!) clapping, popsicles, signs, music. Five walks and 30 odd cheering stations into it, I still get teary about people being so honestly enthusiastic, so honestly grateful for me doing something that seems so small to me.
Sometimes people just don’t suck.
But oof! They fed us! Not so much on Friday as on Saturday and Sunday, but often we couldn’t go more than a block or two before someone was offering food. Mostly candy and gum, but the Parrotheads of Puget Sound were out Saturday and Sunday handing out their signature Gatoritas. There were a lovely couple of groups that were handing out fruit kebabs….and baby wipes about half a block later. Fruit is wonderful, but STICKY when you’re eating and walking. There was a group of pathologically hyperactive Girl Scouts who had sold cases and cases and CASES of cookies for donation back in March who then took said cookies and froze them so they could hand them out to us in September. There was a group of Bakers for Boobies who had spent god knows how many hours baking huge batches of cookies and bars. HUGE batches of hand made yummies.
Then there were the Lil’ Smokies guys. I never stopped for long enough to get the lowdown on these guys, but it seemed like Dad and Dad had been left for the weekend with the kids while Moms were walking and they needed something to do to keep everyone busy.
So they set up their stand near the beginning of the route every day, hooked up the propane, the camp stoves, and the Crock Pots, and spent most of the day handing out lil’ smoky wieners on toothpicks. I didn’t notice the kids, but on Sunday morning the adults were wearing big pink terrycloth bathrobes, curlers, and big pink bras.
I would like to state for the record that you would normally never catch me anywhere near a lil’ smoky wiener. However, when you need a protein hit…… Those guys knew what they were doing. And you could smell them for BLOCKS!
And then we wandered back down through the only part of downtown Redmond that I recognize, back into Marymoor Park, along the slough trail and we were done again. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Boom. We’re done.
I had the oddest disconnect walking into camp Saturday afternoon. Despite being sore, gritty, sweaty, and sticky, walking back into camp the first thing that crossed my mind was “Oh! We’re finished already? How odd. That didn’t take any time at all!”
And then I sat down. Never, never NEVER sit down.