We have now handed off our running responsibilities to Van 1. We shall not see them again for 6-8 hours. It is time to get food and hopefully some sleep. Keep in mind it is not even 10 pm.
We load up the van and it seems that everyone is still hopped up with energy (I think) from our first legs. The sounds of Redhead bragging about her pace during her 3 mile run. Beth complaining about how she "ain't never gonna have no kids now." Millionaire texting his every move to someone and downing hand fulls of vitamins. C-Steve was going on and on about....well I am not sure what he was going on and on about but he was. And then there was our other female runner. Now because she and I are in a contract dispute right now, I can not mention her name for fear of royalty violations. Oh screw it. P-Funk-U was just so happy to be done with her 8 miler and wanted so much for someone to listen to her. And me. I was just taking it all in and being a good listener like a Captain should be.
I was going down my mental check list and asking all the important questions of my runners. Is anyone hurt? Does anyone need to call home? Is there anyway you guys can run a little faster on your next leg. Who has money for gas? Who just passed gas? Millionaire, where are your clothes? When did we get a dog? B.o.b. are you crying? Redhead does the sun ever shine in Orlando? What does a flat tire sound like? P-Funk-U is that a box of Thin Mints your eating?
We are headed towards exchange 24 which is the next Van change area. The Van change areas are designed to be larger than the regular exchanges and also have food and drink. Ragnar was providing a spaghetti dinner at the exchange for a nominal fee. Spaghetti and sauce heated by a bunson burner for who knows how long. "Just stir the sauce around. You won't notice things that don't look familiar to ya." Guess where I was going to drive the van before stopping at the exchange. McDonalds. I knew there was one close by because of last years race.
McDonalds served two purposes. Everyone could use the bathrooms to freshen up a little and then get a bite to eat if desired. Now this particular McDonalds was in a one stop-light town. But it was the only option other than gas station food. Imagine what the employees were thinking seeing us come in. All sweated up and draggin ass. We were not sure if other Ragnar runners had been here but they weren't here now.
The girls took the opportunity to change clothes and take hot showers in the McDonalds' bathroom sink. The bathroom had one of the electric hand dryers. I later heard the play by play of how the girls were using the dryer to dry off and warm up. It was not told to me by one of the girls. The cook was actually telling the other employees when I was ordering my food. Something about a security camera in the bathroom due to recent vandalism incidents.
I decided since I would be bedding down soon in the tent, I was going to wear what any camper should wear when it is chilly out. Long Johns. At least the pants part. I wore a long sleeve shirt as well. Now when we first got to McDonalds we were the only ones there so I figured it would be okay to wear the long Johns inside. I don't want to say a church bus pulled in but it did get crowded all the sudden. Turns out you could see my butt through my pants. I did not realize this until I caught a lady giving me the once over smile. She offered to pay for my food. In that case I will have a number 11 and a Double Cheeseburger, thank you very much granny.
We left McDonalds slightly cleaner and fresher and headed for our hotel room. Yeah right. We were going to be pitching a tent to sleep in. I brought an eight person tent for us to use so we would not have to sleep in the van. I pulled in to the parking area and drove to the back where there was only one other van. We were pretty secluded, as best you could be given the circumstances, and far enough away from the activity and lights. It was very dark and starting to get chilly. Nice. Great tent weather.
The tent only took 10 minutes to set up. I felt like a father taking his kids out on their first camping trip. I found out that C-Steve had never pitched a tent before. He was so excited. He kept telling me that he had never pitched a tent before. I told him not to brag about it in certain circles but it was okay to tell me. He was among friends. I also brought two sleeping bags. There again comes the lack of communication on the e-mails. I had asked if anyone needed one and the only person to request one was B.o.b.
After everyone went on their potty breaks, we got in to the tent. Well not all of us. P-Funk-U decided she was going to sleep in the van. I thought it was because she smelled the most but I later found out the true reason. Something about a tent collapse at a circus she was performing at years ago still haunts her to this day.
So there was five of us in the tent. Two of us had sleeping bags and the others had blankets. In other words, two of us were warm and the others struggled. I am all nice and settled in for a long Winter's nap when I hear this chattering sound right next to me. I open my eyes and realize that it is Redhead's teeth just a clicking. I asked her what is wrong. She tells me that she is freezing. Quite the dilemma. What should the Captain do? Not enough room for two in my sleeping bag. And the Captain needs to have his warmth in case some tough decisions need to be made. Here is one of those decisions. I say, "mind over matter." I suggest she get in the van. She says she will be okay. I fall back to sleep. I then hear this zipper sound and realize that someone is unzipping the tent. It is Redhead saying she has to go to the bathroom. A short time later, I hear the zipper again. She has returned. Just as I am back to sleep. What do I hear. The teeth chattering. Then the zipper. Then the zipper. Then the teeth chattering. Then the zipper. My God woman, what the hell. "I already have a tiny bladder and being cold on top of that doesn't help." So one more zipper. At this point I am debating on waking everyone else up and moving the tent.
Now during this episode, Millionaire decides he wants to get up and get in on the action. Unzip and then zip. Just as I am falling asleep, I hear this banging sound. I mean a loud banging sound. So loud that it woke everyone up, including B.o.b. who was practically in a coma. I look in the direction of where the noise is coming from and it is P-Funk-U banging on the back window of the van. It seems Millionaire had gotten something from the van and left the light on. I thought I heard P-Funk-U yelling, "this ain't no Motel 6 b%^*h! Turn the light off." She actually was starting to turn green. Redhead was balled up in the fetal position in the corner of the tent hiding under what blanket she had. I debated on getting my critter killer up until the moment Millionaire turned the lights off. Then there was silence. I told Millionaire for safety's sake and all of humanity, could you not make that mistake again.
I then hear my phone going off. It was Kalani letting us know that Milsaps was getting ready to start his run. That meant we had about 30-40 minutes before C-Steve would be running. Was it 3 a.m. already. Kalani also said they had a runner down. Stacey had fallen while running in the fog. She did not see a raised section of road and took a hard fall. Apparently a Blackberry does not work well as a fog light.She was a trooper and got back up and continued to run, and Tweet and update her Facebook status. She was not sure if she would be able to do her third leg or not. I told Kalani to tell her not to worry about that. We would take care of it.
Well time to wake all my kids up and close up camp. C-Steve got ready and we were off on our second legs.
Next: Was That A Chainsaw I Heard?