23 June 2007

The Trek: Part the Second

First an update on the VBS phenomenon of 2007: Girly-Girl has remained gung-ho in her enthusiasm for VBS. When Mulletman and I picked her up last night she asked, "Can we go to the closing program on Sunday AND can we come again NEXT YEAR!??!!"

Silly-Head is much quieter in her zeal. But I KNOW she's liking it just as much because...

She ACTUALLY GOT UP ON THE STAGE AND SANG.

AND DID HAND MOTIONS.


We are talking MONUMENTAL advances for this stubborn 6 year-old little shy-bee.

Tomorrow we're going to the early service at our church, then buzzing over to the VBS church for the program. I will try to get photos/videos or some other tangible proof of all this intense VBS passion.

Our own VBS is in just 3 weeks. If the girls enjoy it even half this much I'll consider it a great success!

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The Trek Across Maine
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First of all, I didn't get many pics, but Karston Moran, a professional photographer, did. Feel free to visit her site and browse away.

Unless you have an undying passion for photos of bikers, you might want to skip the "Searchable Gallery of Images" (over 1,400 pics!) and just look at the much briefer slide shows of Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. Mulletman and I can be found on Day 2, photo #31. We're not sitting together and neither of us are looking at the camera; Do you see us? I am the one with all the SILVER hair! (Ptooey on hair dye!)

Mm and I were actually involved in the Trek for four days. We made a two-hour drive to Sunday River Ski Resort on Thursday to help with registering all the other bikers. In exchange we got free lodging and free supper/breakfast at the Resort.

I'm not exactly clear on who paid our way, but I believe it was our team, the Loan Rangers. At any rate, we expected to maybe be a in a rustic dorm or something. You know, bunkbeds and a communal potty down the hallway. Instead we were blessed with an incredibly beautiful, large resort hotel room with a porch! WOW! Thank you Kennebec Savings Bank! We will ride with you FOREVER!!!! Mwa-Mwa-MMMMwwwwwaaaaaaa!

Ahem.

Registration involved long hours (2 pm to 9:30 pm) and truly, lots of fun. I bounced between passing out info packets and passing out t-shirts. Mm was striclty a packet man. He was so amazing to watch!

All the info packets were arranged in a series of 13 large Rubbermaid crates. The packets In the boxes were identified by each trekker's number and went (as they should) from left to right. BUUUUUUUUT, the boxes themselves were arranged from right to left.

Any perfectionists out there getting an ulcer?

The arrangement was quite confusing to D (our fellow worker) and myself, but Mm is dyslexic, so it all made perfect sense to him. The challenge of the day was to see if D or I could locate the packets before Mm did. We rarely succeeded!

Mulletman is most definitely The Grand Master of Trekker Packets.

He was also VERY funny. He joked and sparred and teased and made many tense and confused Trekkers smile or laugh outright. I tell ya, that man is always surprising me!

Naturally, we were quite tired after the long drive and all the excitement of checking in and working for hours and hours. We set the the Resort alarm clock for 6 am and hit the sack.

NOTE: Just because it's a resort and just because the room is absolutely lovely, it does NOT mean that the beds are comfy.

We tossed and turned and dozed and slept fitfully. Then the alarm went off and we both sat up wearily.

It was strangely dark for 6am in Maine. Usually the sky starts to lighten around (I am NOT making this up) 3:30am this time of year. I stumbled over to Mm's watch. It was 1:52 am.

NOTE: Just because it's a resort and just because the clock looks trustworthy, it does NOT mean that it works.

Needless to say, we were pretty bleary-eyed when we finally did get up. But get up we did, and packed up and hiked off to a very yummy breakfast.

Mulletman was a different man this morning. Tired, nervous, and overwhelmed by all the noise in the dining hall. He's a bit on the highstrung/high-maintainance side of of the scale (hence my delighted surprise at his light-heartedness the day before) and now his melancholy self was rearing up.

Sullen, up-tight, tense: Why was he here? He didn't know anyone, I wasn't riding with him, It was cold and foggy out, They wouldn't let us go back for seconds. What did I think of all this? (I was excited!), Why was his wife stealing fruit from the trays on top of the trash can?

Outside he wasn't much better. He's the grim looking fellow in the green jacket below.



They let the Trekkers take off in groups of 50. Once I'd kissed my sober sweetie good-bye and cheered him on his way, my own great race began. While they all tried to ride without crashing into one another, I had to slowly and carefully pick my way past them in the quest to reach my traffic corner before they did.

No matter how early I left or how skillfully I drove, there were always 2 or 3 speedy bikers who got there before me. Fortunately, these were always experienced athletes who knew the route well, so they didn't get lost.

My job was to stand in the sun, shoo them in the right direction, cheer them or perform silly antics until they smiled, and hold my pee. That's right, there were no available bathrooms. This was not good news for a mother of four's 43 year-old bladder, especially when the owner of said bladder drinks lots of coffee to stay alert and lots of water to stay hydrated in the hot sun.

Day 1: I was working from 8:30- 3:00. At one point, my partner gave me a break and I drove to the Trek rest stop. The rest stop was blissfully near, but the line for the Port-o-lets was painfully long!

Day 2: I worked from 6:30 until almost 4 pm. I did manage a real bathroom on the early shift, but later I had to water some bushes.

Day 3: I was alone from 8:30 'til 3:30pm when that last lovely Trekker came through. Early on a fellow volunteer came to sub for me and I drove several blocks to use a Micky-D's restroom. Alas, it was the last day of the Trek and all the volunteers were quite busy at the finish line so that was my only break.

It was only at the very end that I realized there was a lovely, clean, well-stocked port-o-let on the golf course across the street. It was right next to my van, but hidden by a bush!

Despite the lack of facilities, they took good care of us. Someone drove up to check on us and bring cold water or Gatorade every couple of hours. They also brought us wonderful lunches each day.

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The first actual Trekking night we were supposed to camp at the University of Maine at Farmington. When I drove in around 4:30 I spotted Mulletman right away. He didn't look any happier than he had that morning. He was disoriented by the crowds and Why did you take so long? I don't want to camp here! I just want to go home then we can drive back out in the morning. Whyyyyyyyy did you take so long? I've been so bored and lonely and... You get the picture.

Once I convinced that going home was not an option - It would mean leaving at 4am to get him back to Farmington then get my own butt back to my corner which is actually quite close my house - we decided to get some supper and then decide what to do.

Good move!

Happy Moment #1: We got in line for supper as soon as the door opened, so we didn't have to wait long.

Happy Moment #2: We managed to sit with 2 sets of friends from our church and relaxed and joked with them while stuffing our faces.

Happy Moment #3: Mulletman started to lighten up and enjoy himself; tragedy averted!

Happy Moment #4: We went to the showers while all the other dupes were in a mile long line for supper. We did not have to wait for the showers!

We set our tent up on the soft grass, hiked over to listen to some live music with friends and crashed around 8:30pm. I was SOOOO tired that I think I slept better in that tent than I usually sleep at home!

Of course, we were near the port-o-lets, so our dreams were punctuated with "creeeeeak, SLAM!" But that didn't keep us up!

Day 2 we woke up later than intended because Mm had never used the alarm on his watch before. He set the time right, but forgot to turn the sound on!

I had to wolf breakfast and then beat a cautious, biker-strewn trail to my 6:30am corner. In my haste, I brought Mulletman's helmet with me! Fortunately he was able to borrow one from Auclair's Bike Shop. Hurray for Auclair's!!

Since we live quite close to the second night's finish line, we decided to spend the night at home. Mulletman rode to the finish then rode home to shower and, believe it or not, mow the lawn. Is he The Man, or what?

I joined him at home after my shift. My legs were killing me from all those hours on feet, but our day was far from over. I grabbed a quick shower and we drove back to "C" College where Trekkers were being housed and entertained for the evening. We joined our team for a photo op then followed up our Day 1 performance and headed for supper as soon as the doors opened.

It...........was...........a...........sloooooooooow...........line.

Felt like it took forever to get through and get our food. It was hot too. Seems like "C" could spend a bit more on A/C!
However, the food was good and we met our friends again, so the company was great. We yacked and cut-up and had food fights and teased. It was quite relaxing! Suddenly we realized that the room was filled with hungry Trekkers with glazed eyes who were trying to find places to sit. It was time for us to clear out.

Once again it was evident that we'd made the right choice because NOW the food line went through the kitchen, down the hall, around the corner, out the door, and extended into infinity outside. Later we noted that there were STILL people in line after 7pm! (They were supposed to stop serving dinner at 6pm.)

We wandered around a bit, then settled in the bleachers on the track for speeches and stats etc. They kept the boring stuff to a blissful minimum and made the meeting very enjoyable. Then we hopped in the car and headed home.

The girlies had been out earlier with the folks. Now we were all home and decided to go ahead and celebrate a brief Father's Day together before Father and I collapsed. :-)



The next morning Mm and I bugged out early to bag our free breakfast and coffee before we hit our separate trails.

My station was just 5 miles from the finish, so I tried to be especially enthusiastic and cheerful for our bikers. They were almost DONE! I was trying to save my voice, so I took a whistle and tooted and chirruped and danced and bowed and clapped as they went by.

Finally, Mulletman rode back out to me from the finish and spent the last 45 minutes with. By the time I was done, pretty much all the finish line festivities were over.

I had missed it all...including the FOOD! Aaaaaaack!

Oh well. We dropped off our nametags and my vest and took a roundabout route back home with a stop at Tim Horton's for a chicken salad wrap and a detailed instructional course in all their coffee offerings (That was one THOROUGH manager!).

We were very tempted to go ahead and sign up as riders for next year - we have a friend who's giving us his tandem bike - but we decided to wait until next January to decide because we have aging parents and life keeps presenting us with surprises.

Mm IS planning on a couple of other biking events July. I should be in shape for a couple of shorter rides, but he has his sites set on a "century ride": 100 miles in one day.

Yes, he has already ridden his bike twice since the Trek!

And that was pretty much the whole story...Except for some "other stuff".

Stay Tuned for my next (and last) installment: The Darkside of the Trek (Insert ominous music).

11 comments:

Dawn said...

My goodness - you are a far better woman than I!! I admire you. I could not do this. Could not. Blessings! I bet your bed felt very good!! Nice smile on MM on Father's Day --

anno said...

Whoa! Great adventure! Glad to see that you're back to blogging. I hope you haven't retired that wonderful pirate's costume yet...

Tammy said...

Oh wow...I second what Dawn said. I couldn't do all that! I admire you both, though, for all the effort you put in!
And yes, that is a great picture of daddy and girls...no solemn look there! ;)
(I can relate to Mm...I'm a bit high strung, myself! Good for him for sticking it out!)

Liz Noonan said...

Hooray for a tandem!
I'm aiming to do a century as well, hopefully before the end of July. :)

Ms. Karen said...

Fabulous story. My hat is off to you (and MM, a.k.a. "The Man")

Pam said...

WOW! I had SO much fun reading this. You put in so many details but in such a creative way! You were also able to let us know a few negatives, but you did it in an oh so positive way! LOL

Oh and about that perfectionist thing: YES, the boxes lined up differently than the envelopes would have driven me crazy! I might would have had to change them around!

Is your hubby really dyslexic? My 20 year old son is. Perhaps your hubby could lend us a few tips on ways he has learned to cope! (assuming you weren't kidding about that???)

I'm so proud of your youngest girl! It seems she has much of the same personality as my 9 year old. He does great now, but certainly thrilled us all when he did any little ol' thing at 6.

anno said...

And, I forgot to mention... LOVE the picture of the groovy girls and Mm. Honestly, I have never seen more beautiful ties!

groovyoldlady said...

Anno, I got the hat AND the sword for only $8 at a party store! Whoo-hoo! And Mm loves his girlies and he WILL wear the paperboard ties.

Elizabetty, are you riding in the LLBean ride?????

Pam, he is indeed dyslexic, but I'm afraid he'd only have 3 tips for you:

1. Books on tape (enough said)

2. Your LEFT hand makes an "L"

3. Tape record instructors and photocopy someone else's notes. Trying to take your own notes AND listen is much too difficult!

Here's a fourth from a teacher friend of mine (because Bonehead is dyslexic too):

4. Hold your hands with the palms facing you and bend your fingers in. Stick your thumbs up. Say "bed". Your left hand is in the shape of a "b", Your right hand is in the shape of a "d". They're in the same order you hear them in "bed".

Lori said...

She ACTUALLY GOT UP ON THE STAGE AND SANG.

How sweet!

What an adorable family you have. What a trip!

cathouse teri said...

Ain't nuthin more better than a packet man!

I'm not much into the whole trek thingy, unless it has the word "star" in front of it. And even then, with moderation.

My kids always loved VBS. And that show at the end of the week was always superb! My oldest son was such a natural onstage. Unbelievably talented with improv!

Good memories.

(I stopped by because your comment at anno's place about the drums truly made me laugh out loud! For several minutes!)

Pearls of Wisdom said...

I am so proud of you my sweet friend I have had you on my mind so much lately and the race , uplifting you in prayer and am so sorry I forgot to do a post before about the race. Hope you forgive me my sweet blogging friend. Great job. I loved reading your post. I linked you to you by the way so I will be over here all the time now easier for me....LOL

Hugs and Love,

Angel ( Angel Mama )