Monday, August 13, 2007
Friday August 10
Heat Index: Hazardous
Actual Temp: 93 w/ lots of humidity.
The air was really oppressive.
At 4:30am when I headed outside to meet with the people I was travelling to the opening with I had started to sweat already.
We got to the Schiller Park Forest Preserve by 5:00am the kick off, to check in, dump our gear for the weekend (35 lbs of stuff in a duffelbag is really quite heav) some inspiring words to get us motivated.. a group stretch, no coffee, and we were off by 7:00 to cheering crowds and the blaring of U2s Beautiful Day..
and we were off...
our official route, 22.7 miles through the various northern suburbs around Chicago, including passing by the very first McDonalds which is actually a museum... multiple porta potty rest stops with snacks and water and gatorade, along with cheering crowds greeted us every few miles/
The last mile of the day ended with a scramble up a pretty steep hill, with lots and lots of loose rocks, across a rail road track (with a train clearly visible downt he track :D) and a mile walk down a gravel road. My feet were doing fine up til that point, that last mile walk on gravel created a huge blister on the ball of my left foot below my big toe... Ouch... but hey, blisters heal, the reason we're walking is for cancer.. so as they say, suck it up buttercup and keep going :D
Actual miles for the day, 24.7 because there was some flooding in the forest earlier in the week, the route had to be changed a bit... we ended up back at Oakton community college which would be home for the next night or so... Bless the volunteers from Oakton community college who helped a bunch of weary people with tent assembly
Dinner was a rather disgusting white pasta spaghetti w/ a flavorless sauce, a pile of canned string beans, and garlic bread made with margarine... yeah, I'll pass thanks - good thing I thought ahead and had granola and almonds packed
The truck showers weren't that bad... the water pressure left something to be desired, but there was water
And off to bed at 9pm...
Saturday August 11
Heat Index: high/hazardous
Actual temp: 96 w/ lots of humidity
After getting about 2 hours of sleep at most in a cramped, overheated stuffy temp, sleepig on a delflated air mattress (because fully inflated it wouldn't fit in the tent) we got dressed at went to breakfast about 6am.
We were back on the road for another 22.7 miles today (let's do some math here, that's (45.5 planned miles and 47.4 actual miles of a 60 mile walk - sunday is gonna be a breeze :D )
This route took us thru more northern suburbs - some really beautiful towns - today was a bit rougher because the route took us thru very few shady places - we seemed to be in direct sun the entire time...
Again with more cheering crowds, porta potties (which are like saunas when sitting in the sun for hours, the smell - not as bad as youd think but the heat inside them is awful, when you stumble out into the 96 degree heat, it feels like air conditioning. and snack stations.
The last mile or so, I was regretting the choice of string cheese as my snack, at that point I was craving fresh fruit - anything not dry so cheese was havig to do - but it was sitting really badly with me - in addition to the heat, i wasn't feeling so great... the last mile was definitely the roughest... partly because of bad info we were given.. we had one person tell us we were a mile away from the finish... then we waled about 1/2 mile - and the next person says 1.3 to go... we forge on and must have gone 1/4 of a mile and next person says 1.2 to go... I swear my group wanted to cry at that point... but we continued on.. and we got there. finally.
I was really feeling all sorts of icky so i passed on the dinner of chicken marsala (which looked gross anyhow) boiled broccoli and wild rice.. the cheesecake however was quite tasty...
Showers then bed...
Sunday, August 12
Heat Index High
Actual temp: 95 degrees
Again I could't sleep much and finally fell asleep around 1:30 - at 3:00am the rain began... followed by thunder and lightening, and the shouts of people saying leave your tents NOW and head to the building behind the showers (about 1/2 mile away) in the dark, in flip flops... yeah, good morning, so in the pouring rain, in a pretty spectacular lightening storm - that was our wake up call.
We ended up in one of the buildings at Oakton community college for an 1 1/2 hours then we were allowed back to our tents -wehre it seemed pointless to try and sleep so we started packing up for the final day and take down tents and such.
Today's mileage 18.9 (WHAT?) (that makes 64.4 planned, and 66.3 actual, again not includig miles walked around camp)
Today's walk will take us into beautiful Montrose Harbor in Chicago and to a real shower, real bed, and flush toilets... home sweet home :)
Ok so that was a lot of whining.. bad food, more than 60 miles walking, heat, humidity, relocation...
Now the good... there were so many wonderful people who made this 3 day just such a cool thing.
The good people of Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect along the route who picked those days to turn the sprinklers onto the side walk - when you're hot -there's nothig better than a walk thru cold water to cool you donw a little.
Those same good people who came out to the curb with boxes of popsicles for us...
The four little girls who stood on a street corner with mister bottles volunteering to spray down people... again felt great - and all the little kids along the route who took delight in the few days out of the year where it was not only ok to spray the adults with water, but also strongly encouraged.
The folks who came out with bags of ice... not that it didn't not melt quicklyy but damn it felt great.
The supporter vehicles who had friends walking but drove all over the route, honking horns and blasting cheesey rock music to keep us going...
the young couple who was walking together, her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, he was walking to support her, but they were determined to have fun with it so they wore matching outfits all three days... a 6'6", 225 lb of all muscle guy in a pink mini dress day 1, a pink and green chiffon skirt day 2, and a pink skirt day 3 with boobies every single day is surely memorable... and fun...
The 36 year old woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 17, and been a survivor for 18 years who donned butterfly wings and just fluttered about the entire event.
The Chicago Based Pink Panthers a bunch of bikers who acted as our crossing guards and chatting with us all.
the local police who also kept intersections cleared and some did some shameless flirting with the ladies -which was also very nice... when you've not had a mirror, or a decent shower or a decent nice sleep, flirting is good.. :D
The two good fairies, two bicylce riders who were on the medical staff, a guy and a girl, who dressed up in fairy costumes and rode their bicycles (in pink of course) along the route - back and forth, checking to make sure we were all ok - gotta give major credit to a guy who will wear a tutu and wings, outside the pride parade, and ride a bike.. :D
So many amazing people encountered on the route... so many wonderful stories.. definitely a great experience..
Though it was great to take a nice warm bubble bath last night, sleep in a real bed with the ac on full blast. and have a nice shower this morning.. was a great weekend.