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Interstellar Adventure
Adventure: the pursuit of life — Daniel Roy Wiarda

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What a weekend...

Monday, April 25, 2005

Wow! Well, I was looking forward to a fun and exciting weekend, and I got it! Friday evening was a bit hairy, trying to pack up all my stuff and get out the door without forgetting too much. I did forget some stuff, but not anything important like a helmet. Mapquest doesn't usually let me down, but traveling to Fort Worth Friday eveing was an exception. I'm pretty familiar with getting over there, but the exact location of the hotel was a mystery both to Mapquest, me, and the front desk girl. My friends aren't so hot at direction giving either. I thought I should go north on 35W to get to the hotel, and I was right, but both my friend and front desk girl insisted I go south. So, I did. After I started seeing signs for I-20 and no hotel, I knew I needed to go north. I called front desk girl again and asked them where the were in relation to the cross street I was currently at, and the answer I got was "Well, our sign isn't lit up, but we're across the street from the Holiday Inn." Girl! If I knew where the Holiday Inn was, that would help, but I don't! I asked for an exit number, and she had no idea. That should be part of training for any hotel. Have directions, exit number, map of the general area, etc. posted at the front desk so if a guest calls and says "I'm here, where are you?" they can actually provide some assistance. So, after several u-turns, another call to my friend, a poorly marked exit, and an additional u-turn, I finally made it to the hotel. At least they were helpful enough to allow me to store my bikes in their office overnight. I made it up to the room, chowed down on left-over fajitas from my friend, and got into a taxi to head over to Billy Bob's. I was with my friend Christy, her step-mom Darlene, and Darlene's friend Pat. Darlene and Pat were a couple of fun, crazy old ladies. They had me cracking up all night long. Spunk and energy! Pat reminded me a bit of Patsy Cline, and I think telling her that made her evening. So, as we made our way into Billy Bob's, we were appriopriately I.D.'d, I was stamped (much to Christy's chagrin, she didn't get stamped...it's my baby face), and we worked our way through the wranglers, bikers, preppies and miscellaneous other individuals to get a much-needed beer. We didn't have long to wait before the concert started, so we got over to our seats. The "concert bowl" at Billy Bob's are a bunch of folding tables and chairs, crammed together so tight that there isn't much room to breathe. Fortunately we were on the side of the table that faced the stage, so we didn't have to sit backwards. DAC came on stage pretty much promptly at 10:30 pm. I had seen him at Billy Bob's a few years ago too. He's not an "old" man. I think he's around 65, but he's lived every single one of those 65 years, a few of them twice probably. I knew he was stooped and old from the last concert, but wow, he has really aged. I guess that's what you get for being a hard-drinking, prison-time-serving, rock-n-roll cowboy. He was wearing black jeans, a black sleevless shirt (to show off his heavily tatooed arms), had his long white hair pulled back, his beard was divided, braided and beaded, and he accented it all with a pair of bright pink Converse tennis shoes. There was a stool on stage for him to lean against, which he did for the majority of the show. He entered the stage guitarless, singing a capella, hands folded and looking down. He moved to the stool, and his assistant strapped his Confederate-flag guitar to him. He started the concert off in a mellow mood, and we would soon decide that he was feeling really "bluesy" that night. I couldn't tell where songs started and ended as they all seemed to be of the same tone. I thought we were nearly on the third song, when I realized, nope, that's still the first song. The crowd was getting a bit restless, yearning for some upbeat honkey-tonk. We didn't get it. He would tease us with a few bars of his more popular standards before taking us back into blues mode. He sang till midnight and then walked off stage. We didn't push for, nor did we get, an encore. In order to amuse ourselves during the snore-fest, we had some good people watching going on. David Allan Coe seems to attract a wide variety of individuals. To our right were the Civil War re-enacters. And, they were definitely rebs. A bit scary, but one guy just wouldn't shut up the whole concert! Then, there was Mr. Mullet at the table directly in front of us. This was a great 80's mullet. Short and spiky in the front, long and layered in the back, and accented by a handle-bar mustache that went all the way down to his chin. Mr. Mullet was also the drunkest guy around. His wife had to guide him to the bathroom...complete with the drunken Frankenstein walk. Across the other side of our table were the college kids. I think there were 3 guys and a girl. One of the guys had to squeeze his ample frame backwards into the seat. We tried to pull a the table a little closer to us to give him room to breathe. Didn't want him to pass out from lack of oxygen. One other guy was Sleepy. Granted the concert started at 10:30, but the dude slept through nearly the entire team. He had either started drinking really early, or he had smoked some good weed, or both. Either way, he was out. I found this extremely funny for some reason. My people-watching giggling attracted the attention of the cowboy behind me. He was kinda cute, and we laughed a bit. At the very end of the concert, he noted that he had asked the waitress to come over, and would we like to order anything. When I ordered another Shiner, he handed me one immediately. Then, the waitress came back with another Shiner. But wait, I only paid for one. I was a little confused, but then realized, HEY! This guy just bought me a beer. Shocked and amazed (it's been a long time...9 years since anyone's bought me a beer), I said thank you to him for the beer. We went back over to the dance floor area, and did some more people watching. There were some strange people out. The weirdest ones where these college age girls with a guy that set off my gaydar. I'll have to describe one girl as Wenesday Addams, and the other girl...well, there was just no describing her. Too much girl in not enough dress prancing around like a preening pony. Ouch. I can be cruel. As I'm sitting there with my friends, I can see this guy eyeing me. You can just tell sometimes. I said to Christy, "I think this skanky guy is about to ask me to dance." There, I just jinxed myself. Sure enough a skinny, blond, mustachioed, drunk guy comes and asks me to dance. I didn't want to hurt his feelings, plus I like to dance, so I said ok. Yikes. So, I danced with him to Lynnard Skynnard's "Sweet Home Alabama" (also the title of a really cute movie with Reese Witherspoon). He tried to guide me around the dance floor, but after several near collisions and him almost falling off the dance floor, I took over and guided him through the rest of the song. He actually kissed my hand at the end of the song (wow, another first for me after so many years), and then proceeded to follow me back to the table. Christy saved me by declaring a trip to the bathroom was in order, so we escaped to the loo, and when we came back he was gone. We took a cab back to the hotel and called it a night. I showered to get all the smoke out of my hair and clothes before crashing to be at around 3 am. 7:30 came a bit too early the next morning. A little dehydrated, but not feeling too bad, I hopped out of bed, donned my bike shorts, made a little coffee, dodged some blue-hairs in the continental breakfast line, loaded up the bikes and headed north. The drive to Muenster was pretty. It was a chilly but clear morning. I knew it would warm up on the ride, but waiting around for the start was tough. I intended to do the 62 miles. I really did. But, my brake was rubbing on my bike, and so I set out to do the 40 mile course. Hey, it's better than deciding not to ride, which was a serious consideration! Within the first 3 miles of the ride, my bike chain slipped off at least 3 times. I also got a good taste of the hills that make this a killer course. The wind hadn't picked up much yet, so I wasn't having a problem with that. Just the damn hills. Whereas Lancaster was long flats punctuated by a few brief but steep hills, Muenster was pretty much a constant incline with no flats and steep hills. Early on in the race I passed a biker that had crashed, and up the road was passed by the amblulance that went to pick him up. Further up the road I was passed by 2 fire and rescue trucks. I didn't know what they were going to, but it couldn't be good. I would later find out a biker had been hit head on by a car. Stupid car. Get out of the way! I don't know how bad the biker was hurt, but I hope he will be OK. At rest-stop 1, I stripped down to my tank as the day was heating up. I applied some extra sunscreen, ate a couple of oranges and moved on. At this point, the wind started to kick in. It was cool and strong and blowing the exact opposite way that I wanted it to...straight at me. It was at this point that my quads began to burn. I was in granny gear up the hills, and a few times I just couldn't quite make it. Man, I know I'm not in great shape, but this was rediculous. Rest stop 2 was good for some cookies and gatorade. Then I heard a volunteer describing the killer hill between rest stop 3 and 4. Oh no. This was starting to be very discouraging. I hate to quit anything, but I was really hurting and my left foot was really starting to cramp. I decided to press on to rest stop 3 and then reassess the situation. But, the hills and the wind pretty much made up my mind. Make it to 3 and that was going to be it. I have never quit any kind of race before, so I wasn't quite sure how to do it. I kind of stood around the rest stop for a few minutes, and I had just seen a SAG Wagon drive up. The driver was talking to a few volunteers, and pointed out a girl that was waiting to be driven back. I then raised my hand and said "I'm done too". So, the driver loaded our bikes in the back of the truck and we started back to town. Just a few minutes later, we were flagged down by another rider that had had enough. And, when he got in the truck he told us there was a recumbent biker that would probably want a lift too. Sure enough, a few moments later, the recumbent biker flagged us down as well. So, the four of us lamented the difficulty of the course and the wind on the way back to town. We saw several other people that tried to flag us down as well, but we were full. They'd have to wait for the next SAG Wagon. Back in Muenster, Mr. SAG driver dropped me off at my car. I loaded my bike back up and headed out to Saint Jo & Bar-H. I found the ranch OK, but when I stopped to pay my camping and use fees, there were no more payment envelopes. Would it be OK to proceed and pay later. I sure hoped so. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spied Chubby Beaver! "Beaver" I yelled as he biked by. He quickly stopped and greeted me with a big, sweaty hug. For those of you new to this blog, Beaver is the navigator extraordinaire that led me and the rest of the Chubby Harem through Martin Dies Adventure Race back in February. There's a post in the archives...go check it out. Beaver told me where the rest of the AT'ers were camping out and pointed me in the right direction (see, I told you he's a good navigator). My poor little Jetta bounced over a cattle guard and scraped over a big bump, down a hill and through a meadow, then back up the hill towards a "house". Looking for familiar vehicles, I finally spied a pig-tailed, safari-hat wearing gal. Beckbee! I had arrived at the right spot. We were camped at the top of the hill, very close to the showers and toilets. April, Becky, Brian, Cheryl, David, David, Lauren, Sam & Jesee and I completed the AT campers this weekend. I haven't camped since high school, so this was new to me. Becky helped me break out my brand-new tent, which was really easy to set up. I changed out of my bike shorts into "camp pants", but decided not to bother to shower. We were going on a hash later! Oh my. So, we BS'd around the camp site a while longer, and Beaver came by again. The hash would start at 5. So, we left at 5 (hashes never start on time supposedly). We got over to Muenster, and rather than pay $5 for parking, we looked for a spot on the side of the road. The other driver found a spot easy, but Becky was hesitant to park in the spot we saw...parallel parking wasn't her strong suit she said. So, I volunteered to parallel it for her, and it was perfect. We headed over to the hash starting point, and there was Beaver. But where were the rest of the hashers? They had left without us. No worries, though, we have Beaver to navigate for us. What is a hash you might ask? Well, it's difficult to explain. Hashers are beer drinkers with a running problem. The meet frequently to run, and then drink beer and sing songs that would make your hair curl and your cheeks burn. This was a short hash (half-mile) and we then arrived at a softball stadium. Hashers also have "hash names" (Beaver is Dub's hash name). We met Big Gulp, Hog Straddler, Mouthful, Sparkle, Kiwi (yum) and too many others to remember. Hash names all have meaning. I'll just let you imagine... The hash cost $1, and we all grabbed a beer. It was all very confusing, as there was a lot of shouting and bs'ing and laughing going on. There were a few introductions, a demonstration of how Big Gulp got his name, and some more song singing. Then, us "Hash Virgins" were made to stand along the fence, were handed a cup full of beer, and instructed to drink at a certain point in the next song. We introduced ourselves, they sang the song, we drank, they refilled our cups, sang another song, and made us drink again. I like beer, but drinking it this fast was a recipe for trouble. Back in our seats, more songs, demonstrations, accusations, flashing (yes, you read correctly) and I was round-eyed. These people are hard-core. A few more cups of beer were passed around, and then it was over. Holy cow. I think I might go to another hash some day, but these people do this stuff weekly. That's too much for me. So, we trooped back over to Germanfest. Time for more beer. We met a few of the hashers back over there, ate some sausage, and drank some more beer and talked a lot of smack. I think we scared some of the old people over there. Time flies when you're drinking beer. We headed back out to Bar-H, sat by the camp fire, played a short game of truth dare...too many truthful people...drank some more beer, roasted some marshmallows and then someone started passing around a bottle of tequila. Ouch. I don't remember much after that. OK, that's kind of a lie. But, I don't remember much else that I can actually post. Despite all the drinking, people got up with the sun. I crawled out of my tent at 8:22 and with my blanket wrapped around me, sat in my camping chair next to the camp fire for a good 2 hours or so, and drank a couple of bottles of water. Others were off riding their bikes on the trails and coming back to report how great the riding was. I'm a chicken on the mountain bike. I don't ride enough to get much better. But, finally about 11 I decided that I hadn't brought my bike all the way out there just to give it fresh air. So, I forced myself up and got on my bike. Fortunately Bar H has a lot of different trails that fit various skill levels. I stuck to the baby trails. That place is sooooo pretty, and the day was perfect for riding. Dry, sunny, with a cool wind. Spring flowers were in bloom, so it was nice to catch my breath and look out over green fields and flowers. We rode for about an hour, and then headed back, hungry for lunch. I disassembled my tent, packed up my gear (you'd be amazed just how much I can fit in my little Jetta) and, reluctantly left paradise at Bar H behind. For the record, I did finally pay my use fees...even though they were still out of payment envelopes. I was glad to get home though to a hot shower and electricity. Camping is so much fun. I will definitely be doing it again. I am exhausted, but it was well worth it.

4/25/2005 11:28:00 AM :: ::
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