My journey to Oregon began on Wednesday. I hopped a plane at 13:00 from Calgary and set off to meet, for the very first time, my teammates from “Sparkin’ Hood to Coast”. With the exception of one, RACING4ME/Trish, I’d only ever spoken to these people online. Strangely enough, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be.
My first meet-up was with KAYAKID/Mike at the airport. I didn’t have any trouble picking him out of the crowd of people waiting. He looks exactly like he does in every one of his pictures, right down to the infectious smile. Once I’d collected my luggage, we set off to see the sights a little. We had some time to kill before picking up Trish from the same airport. He took me to Vista House on Crown Point overlooking the Gorge, Wakeena Falls and Multnomah Falls… we hiked in .2 mile increments. This gave me a chance to shake out the muscles after sitting on the plane for over an hour and a half and it also gave Mike and I a chance to bond a little more. After all, we’d be spending a LOT of time together in the next few days.
Then it was back to PDX to pick up Trish. I was pretty excited and had decided that I was going to let Mike see if he could pick her out of the crowds… and then I messed it up when she waved (I waved back & blew it LOL). From there, we headed off to the the hotel and Red Robin. Let me tell you this: their onion rings ROCK! (and that’s all I’m going to say about that). Except that I also got to meet KEAKMAN/Kate and KGPOSSIBLE/Kim that night for the first time. So far, so good… there didn’t seem to be a psychopath or serial killer amongst the new faces.
Thursday was another full day of new faces and “real” names. The girls from California arrived (SPRING4FAL/Leah, GLOBE_TREKKER/Maria & MISSJCISRUNNING /Jackie) and our favourite Texan joined us (SP_COACH_NANCY). Finally, FUDTRISHA/Jyll, BEANCOUNTER/Polly and TRUEART2/Cary. Somewhere along the way, GAYEMC/Gaye and KASHMIR/Robin made it into the mix.
I have to admit, between the time when I woke up and the time that we started decorating the vans, it’s a blur. A big, EXCITING blur…. Oh wait! Trish, Mike, Nancy and I did a 5 km walk/run/stroll that day… that’s why – everything’s blocked out by runner’s brain! I *DO* remember fresh fruit and baked ziti and an amazing send off speech/pep talk from one half of our fearless leaders. Here it is in her words..
No dry eyes after that one, let me tell ya!
Friday, omigosh, the day started at 2:50 a.m. and if you know me… I mean REALLY know me, you know that I don’t do mornings unless they happen after 11:00 a.m. BUT the alarm went off, I bounced out of bed and found some breakfast so that we could start the 2.5 hour drive up to the top of Mt. Hood. Good news: we found Starbucks! Bad news…. I was sitting in a van and I had just found Starbucks AND I was already super-excited about everything. No worries though, Kate made good use of my excess energy by making me run from the registration line to the van a bunch of times.. “we need to show a safety vest”, “they need to see our blinky lights”, “no, they need to see TWO blinky lights”…. It was around about this time that I discovered Brock from Gresham
I don’t know anything else about him except he donned two OfficeMax “197” temporary tattoos in lieu of nip guards AND he didn’t seem to mind that I was about to make him famous for it. One last team photo, this time of "Van 1", and Kate was off to start the Hood To Coast.
(to be cont’d)