The day started bright and early. Ok, that’s a lie. It wasn’t bright; it was still dark, since Becca and I had to get up at O’dark thirty (as in 3:30am.) And considering we didn’t get to bed until 12:30 the night before, it was a little tough. But excitement won the day and we were both up and ready to go. For some reason, we decided we needed to be at the opening ceremony location by 5:00am, which turned out to be way early, but ended up being ok.
|We're so happy we glow. ;-)|
And what an opening ceremony it was. I think I started to cry as soon as it started. Dr. Sheri Phillips (check her out here) is the spokeswoman for the 3-day and just the sound of her voice (not to mention the things she said) had the tears flowing. Her voice and the banners indicating all the reasons we walk made for quite the emotional ceremony.
We walked through some really pretty sections of Cleveland’s metro parks, along the shores of the lake.
|The Cleveland skyline|
Lunch was in a pretty little park with plenty of trees for shade. It felt really good to sit down for a bit and rest the sore feet and legs. I was starting to get a little tired, but not too bad. We relaxed for a while and then decided it was time to head out again. We were in yet another pretty Cleveland park, with a pretty little creek. Since I take after my Dad, I tend to take pictures of creeks, so here it is:
|The creek in the park where we had lunch|
But then, we started feeling the heat again, and the pain and stiffness in our joints started to catch up to us. We slowed down a bit. Thankfully there was a lot of roadside support in the form of sprinklers, popsicles (Koolaid brand, Grape flavor, won the prize for the favorite with Becca and me), sweep vans driving by with music and bells, safety crew with bad pirate jokes, and Jerry.
Jerry was a Walker Stalker Extraordinaire. You never knew where he would show up along the route. But he was always somewhere with a big smile and encouraging words.
|Me and Jerry|
We walked a bit more, saw the arrow that pointed the way to camp, followed it, and the crowd of walkers ahead of us, and headed into our home away from home.
We did it! The hard part of Day 1 was done! Now all we had to do was find our bags and our tent. Finding the bag was easy. The tent was a little more difficult.
We told the lovely lady handing out the tents our tent number and she says “our tent angels have been putting up tents in section B all day, so yours is probably already up.” So we take her word for it, don’t grab a tent, and head off to find our spot. After roaming through a sea of pink tents for a while, we get to the marker that says B64, where our tent was supposed to be. The lady was right. Most of the tents in section B were set up. There were only 2 empty spots. It was just our luck that ours was one of the empty ones. Sigh. Becca grabbed a “tent angel” and asked if he could get us a tent. He said “sure” and promptly disappeared. He was gone for quite a while, and just as I was about to give up on him and go get a tent on my own, he showed back up with a tent that he kindly set up for us. We got our stuff situated in the tent and then headed off to explore the camp and get our phones charged.
I was starting to feel really crummy from the heat – the sun was really beating down. So at this point, all I really wanted to do was sit down somewhere and rest. We found the Bank of America tent and found a place to sit. In some totally awesome massage chairs. They massaged your back, they had foot/leg massagers that worked all the soreness out of your feet and calves. They were 7 minutes of heaven on earth – so nice that we waited around to get another 7 minutes. I think I need to buy one, they were that good.
At this point, it was dinner time, and we were starting to get a bit hungry. Unfortunately for me, dinner consisted of spaghetti with tomato sauce or “macaroni & cheese” which was more like an alfredo sauce. Tomato sauce and heavy creamy cheese sauce - two things that my stomach cannot handle when it’s hot. I tried to eat, but knew if I pushed it I’d end up sick. So I grabbed a can of coke and a couple bags of potato chips and decided to hope that breakfast had some better options.
By this time, we were ready for the showers. We grabbed our stuff and headed off for the shower line. Thankfully, the sun was starting to go down, and it was cooling off a bit. I was kind of afraid that I’d up having to take a cold shower because of all the people. But as hot as I had been all day, a cold shower really didn’t sound all that bad. Turns out the shower was refreshingly cool and was rejuvenating. I left the shower feeling better than I had all day.