Friday August 18th

Well the flight was out at 10:45am. But with the newly added security and liquid prohibition I thought I better get there WAY early. Not long after getting checked in a get a text message from Christine “TIME THROUGH SECURITY TEN MINUTES”. So I go through security and text back “TIME THROUGH SECURITY 2 MINUTES 13 SECONDS”. So now that I have 2 freakin hours to kill, just hung out at the gate.

Trip Goal: Make A New Friend

So I’m sitting at the gate. CNN has the weather on. And big red 106° over Texas. I turn to the lady I’m sitting next to…
Me: “sure gonna be good to get away from that huh?”
Lady Next To Me: * blank stare as in WTF are you talking about *
Announcer: now boarding flight 123 to Houston
Lady Next To Me: gets up and gets on the plain.
Oops! Guess she’s NOT getting away from it.


Eventually Scarlett breezes through security too and we load up. First thing in is I hit the ‘waitress’ button to get Scarlett a glass of water. Seems to help with the motion sickness during take off. Heaven forbid we should take our own water on the plane. The flight out was pretty uneventful.

Landed in Saint Paul and got a text from Christine. She was way ahead of us shopping at the Mall ‘O America. Worlds biggest mall, supposedly. [World’s dirtiest if you ask me.] So off through the human Habit-trail which is known as the Saint Paul airport; ie down the corridor, down escalator, to baggage claim, up elevator, to tram, down escalator… then I got lost after that. Somehow we wound up at Mall ‘O America.

I emailed ahead to make sure there were lockers for luggage there. The guy there says “well… these are full. Try the 2nd floor… um… sir, not sure if your big ol princess bag will fit”. Ok, he didn’t really give me flack and call it my "princess bag"…EVERYONE ELSE ON THE TRIP DID! So off to the 2nd floor. And just I thought all my stuff fit… just took 2 ½ lockers.

Trip Goal: Have A Very Confusing Conversation

So I call Christine once we got at the mall
Me: hey we’re here!
Christine: where are you?
Me to Scarlett: where are we?
Scarlett to Me: near Camp Snoopy
Me to Christine: near Camp Snoopy
Christine: where’s Camp Snoopy?
Me to Scarlett: where’s Camp Snoopy?
Scarlett to me: straight ahead!
Me to Scarlett: I don’t see it
Christine to Me: hello?
Scarlett to Me: straight ahead!
Me to Scarlett: huh
Me to Christine: umm
Me to anyone: where am I?!?!?


Then Christine comes down the escalator. And I say “Take me to Camp Snoopy.” Turns out confusion came in the fact THERE IS NO MORE CAMP SNOOPY!! His big red water bowl fountain is there (with a cheaply made Mall ‘O America sticker covering “Snoopy”) and the dog bone shaped benches, but that was it. Seems Camp Snoopy has pulled out of Mall ‘O America. They still got the roller coasters and aquarium and stuff. Found only 1 shop selling Snoopy swag and even that was WAY on sale. So I got my Snoopy blinkie and wandered around.

The question then was lunch. Sbarro or Famous Dave’s BBQ. Pizza or BBQ, Pizza or BBQ. Obviously the only logical choice was a Cinnamonster cinnamon roll.

Once we hooked up with Phil and the rental car, we decided to head on to Stephen’s place (Duane’s cousin). After the obligatory discussion of the rules for calling “shotgun” (which always seem to change each trip ) we hopped on 35E. yup the same 35 here in Dallas. So realistically, could have saved some money and just headed north on 35…forever.

The 4 of us decided to hit a lil greasy spoon, Mickey’s. Man, your arteries hardened as soon as you enter the door. We shared a banana chocolate shake, chocolate shake, cherry phosphate, cheese burger, hash browns, fries and Mulligan stew.. you know… health food.

Not to long after Shelley & Duane showed up. So after a bit of chit chat we headed to Dave’s Famous BBQ for some protein loading. Loaded up on the 3 B’s: beer , BBQ and blues . A live blues band was gigging there that night. Good stuff Maynard. Then a quick Gelato run!! Mmmm.

So back to the Casa D Stephen and crashed.

Saturday Aug 19th

Debated whether to get up that morning. It seems everytime you get up in the morning something BAD is gonna happen. At least that’s how all the songs from the night before went; “I got up one morning, and my lady was gone…”, “I got up one morning, and my dog was gone…” or “I got up one morning and my lady was gone with my dog….” But risking fate, I got up anyways.

Went for a walk. I couldn’t pass up a morning walk when it’s 65°. Yup, put on a long sleeved shirt and performance fleece vest, since it was 65°. It actually seemed a bit chilly. Did mention it was 65°!!! Oh it was nice. Decided to hunt a GeoCache along a trail.

Trip Goal: Not To Fall Off A Cliff

So I get to the point where according to my GPS the cache is 220 feet to my right. Unfortunately 30 feet to my right was a 50 foot drop off. Oh well. I got back and Stephen mentioned how people have died falling off that cliff. Phil said he'd go GeoCache with me and help me down that cliff. But after the sinister muhuhahahaha and evil grin after the offer , I had to state I was disinclined to acquiesce to his assistance.


So for lunch, off to the Greek Fest. Last year we just stumbled upon it. Turns out this year it was also the same weekend. So off we go. Sure the gyros are good, as well as the lamb and spankopita. But the best part is the dessert ROOM. Not a lil table stuck in some corner, but an actual room FULL of every filo dough – honey – chocolate combination you could think of. Mmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmm!! Some of us also bought a lil shaker of “Ancient Greek Spices”. Turns out the ancient Greeks didn’t use anything organic, and had a liking of potassium phosphate nitrate trans hydrogenated polymers, and red #3.

The plan was to then take a nap. But being jacked up on sugar we decided to skate a trail near the house instead. Other than a stare down with a loose bull terrier, it was a good skate. Just 6 miles of smooth trail.

Back to the house for showers and dinner. Went to lil Italian restaurant. Good pasta shared around; butter nut squash ravioli, penne with shrimp in a cream sauce, etc. are you clueing in that these trips are more about the food than the skating?!

Trip Goal: Confuse A Whole Foods Worker

So we need to stop and get some Gatorade and power bars. We stop at a Whole Foods market. I’m walking down the isle looking for their beer section. (They sell wine, surely they sell beer. Especially since I have yet to have a bottle of Moose Drool on this trip!!)
Worker: looking for something?
Me: Beer?
Worker: huh?
Me: Beer.
Worker: Vitamin B?
Me: no, beer.
Worker: Vitamin E??
Me: do… you… sell… beer??
Worker: oh….. um…. No.


So left without any Moose Drool, but a hunk of white chocolate and some cliff bars.

We then headed downtown St P to watch some elimination races. Even chatted briefly with Eddy. Caught up with Tonya and her dad & bro. Saw lots of speed and one crash that night. Then headed back to the house to come off the cupcake high that Tonya brought.

Sunday August 20

Trip Goal: Wake Up With A Lot Of Pillows On My Bed

I was accused of snoring, and was thus pelted with pillows. Five to be exact… well actually some were re-used several times….


5am up and at ‘em!! Had a bowl of Life cereal, seeing how there were no signs of life anywhere else that early in the morning. Everyone geared up and we headed to downtown St P. At the stating area found Mary McCloud, and Chris (I think) from Houston (I think) and her mom (at least that part I know is correct). Also caught up with Tonya. There were about 3 other Texas Flyers jerseys skating around, who I didn’t know. One guy from Florida and another guy “I skate with Chris Ritter”, but never actually introduced himself.

The race itself was done VERY well. The pro group was out 45 minutes before the rest of us headed out. So there’d be no slow pokes like me in the way. Then the rest of us were sent out in waves.

Here’s the route. Satellite view.

So you cruise out for about 2 miles on nice smooth streets. You eventually come to the first hill. Kinda steep, but you go flying down the other side. Only problem there is the shoulder is the smoothest part, which is filled with folks…braking!!! So if you wanna keep your speed you gotta get in the lane which is grooved. But you do get a nice foot massage out of it. Up the next hill and down. Up next is a mile of crap with cracks, but after that a mile of smoooooooooooth new black top. Nice!!!! Then a u-turn through a bank parking lot. [Turn #1] Then reverse…nice smooth… crap and cracks… hills. You then go past the starting line a few miles, and other u-turn. [Turn #2] Then do it all over again. [Turn #3]

After Turn #3, before you get to the starting line again, you turn left and go UP HILL, and I do mean HILL, into downtown and the finish line. Notice the lil blip on the profile at the end between 25.5 and 26.4. That is NO GPS glitch...THAT'S THE HILL!! Man that sucks. You can’t stop and walk it since everyone’s watching and cheering you on. So you just hunker down and kick it into overdrive. That’s the only time I got over 95% heart rate… 104% actually Then you slowly limp to a spot in the shade and collapse.

We stayed for the awards. Tonya, Brenda, and the skater I have chosen to call Chris won medals. As did one of the Texas Flyers from one of the out of state branches.

Trip Goals: Finish The Marathon [or Do The 10 Mile “Tour” Without Anyone Noticing]

Well since I was threatened many times, I decided to do the whole marathon. Man o man, there’s quite a difference between trying to skate 10 miles in 105° weather in Dallas and 26.2 in 70° weather. It really perks you up. On the big hill after turn #3, it was probably 80°. As I was passing people up the hill (yea I know… you're thinking just because I’m writing this, I can make stuff up, but it’s true nonetheless…) I heard this one lady say “man… it’s sooooooooo hot!!” Honey you don’t know hot.

So anyways, I only added 8 minutes to my time from last year, BUT I did cut 39 minutes from my Road Rash time in Round Rock.


Must have been all the tapering I did. I’ll be setting up a Taper Clinic soon, to teach you my secrets.

We then decided to have lunch while still being smelly. So off to Boka Chicka. Not the best place in my opinion, but not bad this second time around. And I made a point to make sure I know where my phone was the whole time. [since it was rather abused by ‘someone’ last year]

Trip Goal: Treat AA Agents Like They Treat Me

So I get an automated call at 2:00. “Your flight has been cancelled.” So I have to call some 800 number and go through a phone tree to get a live person. Trying to figure out alternate plans I had to keep putting the agent on hold! After a while he did seem to get annoyed being put on hold over and over and over. Gee. Go figure.


But karma got me in the behind. The new flight I got on, I was in the VERY row last right between both engines. Nice and loud the entire trip.