I woke up to Casey trying to figure out where the pool was. I don’t know if the GPS was confusing, or if this poor guy was just trying to survive another all-nighter. I slept in the passenger seat, sat up and started to help him navigate. We were in some random neighborhood, “Pretty sure the pool isn’t in one of these houses.” We both started laughing. I later found out that he was trying to find the AirBnB for the day, which we never ended up finding.
We got back on the freeway. “Exit at the next exit,” I instructed from the passenger seat. He wasn’t changing lanes, I repeated, “EXIT AT THE NEXT EXIT, HOME SKILLET.” He responds with, “Yeah, yeah, I got it.” He blows right passed the exit. I busted out laughing. At this point, I couldn’t help but to laugh out loud for minutes. I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t give him any more instructions. He joined me in my laughter, but it took him a minute to realize why I was laughing, “I just passed the exit didn’t I?”
As we tried to compose ourselves, we figured we would take the next exit. Up ahead I could see that there was a toll, ”Good thing you missed that exit so that we can pay money for a road that we don’t need.” We both started laughing again. Later in the journey, Casey and Aaron looked forward to the toll booths. They would plan out what accent they would use, which props to wear, and this was potentially one of the greatest highlights of their drives. In Oklahoma, it was our first toll; without skipping a beat, Casey was ready to make this bored employee smile. This was simply a warm-up for what was to come later, when the two Wingmen had each other to play off when coming to a toll.
After a moment of comedy at the toll booth, we proceeded, looking for an exit at which we could turn around. I swear it was 5 miles down the road before we finally got to a place where we could turn around. We then had to come back through the toll the other way. Not sure how or why, but we had to pay twice, once each way. We looked at each other and started laughing hysterically. The entire ‘exit missing’ experience ended up taking an extra 30 min.
We arrived at the pool, it appeared to be a medical recovery center. Rumor had it that there are a lot of doctors in OKC (Oklahoma City), so I guess we were sticking to the theme and swimming in a medical recovery pool. The kids wouldn’t have been able to come in, but it was just fine, since their new routine was to sleep through the swim. Another amazing locker room, jaw dropping, just like the one in Kansas. I walked through the locker room, all by myself, wishing that I could be with the group. This always really bothered me.
Our friends Ron and Cathy had been in New Mexico, and they were with us again in Oklahoma City. They had a great system to come out and support us. They came to the states where they had children living, or the ones that aligned with their drive to see their children. It worked out really well, and it was so amazing for us to be able to see them so many times.
James’s shoulder was killing, and he was dreading this swim. The kids were sleeping and James was getting started doing his thing; I now had all the time in the world. In my mind, I figured that I would get in and swim forever; but then reality set in, and I got tired after swimming only 500 yards. I realized that I hadn’t swam real laps in over 3 weeks, and I was completely out of shape. I had done a few laps, rested and goofed off a few days on the 50, but my attempt to do a real swim was pathetic. I even had to break up the 500 yards that I swam; this was a real slap in the face, and I knew that this summer was going to affect me more physically than I had ever thought.
Before we left home, I had a plan in my mind of how this summer was going to go. I had planned to do a little bit with James each day. I had a 200 mile bike race just 6 weeks after I got home from the 50/50/50, so I had brought my bike with me. Between the swim, bike and run, I figured I could for sure keep up on my training. As is with life, things did not go according to plan. I did not ride my bike once the entire 50/50/50; I had packed it along,12,000 miles for nothing. And over the entire 50/50/50, I walked about 2 miles, is all, with James. Needless to say, I was plump and out of shape by the time we arrived in Utah, at the finish line.
After my rude awakening, I got out of the pool and visited with Ron and Cathy, as well as a couple of other people there to support James. When James finished, he went right over to the hot tub. At this point in the 50/50/50, he began to be very creative in his ways to procrastinate his start of the bike. The hot tub became protocol because he would get so cold swimming. We were now starting to catch on, we knew that it was his perfect solution to stall getting on his bike. After a little attention to his shoulder, we dragged him out of the hot tub and we went our separate ways into the locker rooms. I showered while he prepped for his bike ride. We eventually got him out of there, and onto the bike, with a zillion supporters who had come to ride with him. I was excited because I had a fun activity planned for the kids today!
Our friend Kyle, who had journeyed with us, has a sister who lived in OKC. Alyson had invited us to spend the day with her. Because I absolutely adore Kyle, I couldn’t wait to meet his sister. Her house was relatively close, so the kids and I loaded into the RV and headed to her house. She lived on a narrow street, and I had to figure out how to park the RV. After a 75 point turn in and out of driveways, I still couldn’t park it, facing the right direction. We decided that we needed to unload The Little White Mazda from the trailer, and unlatch the trailer; it was just too long to turn around. Even after unhooking the trailer, it took a ridiculous amount of turns to get the RV turned around. There were neighbors watching and wondering how we were going to do this, and worried that I would run over their lawns and mailboxes.
It took forever, but we figured it out. Once we got it parked, on the correct side of the road, we headed inside to get things going. Alyson has kids, so the kids integrated right away. She pulled out food for lunch, while I headed out to grab laundry. We visited for a bit, and then prepared to head to The Cowboy Museum. I thought it sounded so awesome, and perfectly relevant for Oklahoma, plus there was a kids area to play.
I went out to The Little White Mazda to organize it, so that we could actually use it. Again, it was so gross and dirty. I started the air conditioning, took all the boxes out, and loaded them into the RV. I called the kids out, and couldn’t believe how hot it was! The air conditioning had been running for at least 10 minutes while I unloaded, and it was still blasted hot inside. Everyone hopped in and we followed Alyson to The Cowboy Museum.
I was so excited that I was giddy! I was excited for a lot of reasons: I love cowboys, I love museums, our day was going smoothly, and we were actually doing something authentic to the state! As I walked in, my heart started to race as I looked around. This was going to be great, I could feel it! There were cowboy displays, Native American displays, bull riding displays, and a whole warehouse built into a western era, where the kids could go in and out of the buildings and pretend they lived there. There were awards and props from movies. John Wayne has always been my dad’s favorite, and there were many displays about him. I made sure to send my dad a plethora of pictures. I also thought of my cowboy friends Tyrell and Jessica, and of course my rodeo friend, Shad. This place was so great! I would like to go back and spend all day there, looking at every, single display, and reading every word, on every display!
I would have spent 5 hours in there, but we had to head back to the house to get our laundry and the RV, before we met up for the 5k start. On the way back to the house, I stopped for gas. I was sure to wash The Little White Mazda windows well, to create an illusion for myself while I drove it, that the car was actually clean. I called the Wingmen to let them know that I need them to meet me to hook the trailer back up, and also to lock on The Little White Mazda to the trailer. The kids all showered, while I finished up the laundry and loaded all the boxes back into The Little White Mazda. This takes at least 30 minutes, so the timing would have been perfect for the Wingmen to arrive, and for the kids and laundry to be ready. It had now been a long time since I had called the Wingmen and so I did a follow-up call. I don’t know what they were doing, because they had told me that they were only 20 minutes away, but it was an hour before they finally got there. They were laughing about ‘what’ had delayed them, so I knew it was not important; classic Wingmen behavior, which is why we love them so much.
Because the Wingmen took so long, Alyson’s husband had come home and hooked the trailer up for me. Now all I needed from the Wingmen was for them to lock The Little White Mazda down. Because the Wingmen took so long to get out there, we were now stressing about getting to the 5k start in time. The GPS took us a slower way, having us exit 2 exits earlier than was necessary. When we turned, we realized that there was a freeway exit right there; sometimes GPS complicated things for us. I was hoping that we weren’t too late, but I also knew that James was always much later than he planned. Fortunately, James was much later than originally planned, and we were early enough for everyone to prep for the 5k.
This park was by a lake, and it was beautiful. OKC had set up an awesome event, with a blow-up finish line and everything. A generous person dropped off dinner for us, all plant based food. It was always ‘special’ when someone brought us food, and even better when it was healthy food. There was a dip that was to die for; it was nutritional yeast, but tasted just like cheese. I was impressed and the meal was not only delicious, but a huge blessing. It was so hard for me to get the food prepped for 15 people, especially when our schedules and houses have ended up being different than we had originally planned.
I waited for James in the RV, and I was excited to see him. When he arrived, he blew me off. My heart sank, and I remembered that I was mad at him for doing the same thing the day before. He was warm with everyone else, so now I was going to throw a tantrum. In our marriage, this means that I give him the silent treatment. He catches on quick, and typically knows exactly why I am mad without me having to explain. There was some point where I had made it clear to James that we were not friends that day. He was getting a massage outside of the RV and he told Lucy to go and get me from the RV. I was so upset, that I had straight up said, “NO!” I was so mad!
One would think that I was overreacting because he was so exhausted, and I definitely took that into consideration. What upset me was that he was nice to everyone else, and only being crusty with me. I also had made a point to always be positive when I saw him, offering him love and sunshine. The Wingmen and I vowed to not tell him about the chaos, he didn’t know anything that was going on behind the scenes. We were really making an effort as a family, and as a team, to only share positive energy with James. So I felt completely justified in being mad at him, especially since I hadn’t seen him very much since this thing started, he should want to see me and be nice to me.
He begged and I finally went out to talk to him. He was so out of it, it was pointless, but he did feel bad and apologized. That made me feel better. I rubbed his worn feet while Rocky worked on him. James loves having his feet rubbed; this was a great way for me to show him that I love him. The crowds were building, and it was about time for the 5k.
By this point, we had a new 5k plan. Instead of it being James’ last 5k of his run, we set up a strict 7:00 p.m. start time. James would put in some run miles before, if he had time, and then finish his mileage after the 5k. This made it so that the run was at a reasonable time, but also made it so that people had the option to run more miles with James is they so desired. The kids played outside until it was pitch black. They came into the RV smelling of Purification oil, which we use as a bug repellent, and brushed their teeth. They loved these late nights where they could run around, play and just run free until late into the night. When they climbed into bed at night, they had played so hard that they slept hard. What a great summer for them!
I closed all of the blinds in the RV. I needed to retreat to my safe place when there were large groups. Closing the blinds made me feel like we were just a normal family at home, getting ready for bed. I cleaned and prepped the RV to leave. After many nights of driving, and stuff falling every night as we drove, this job became even more specific. It took a dedicated amount of time, and I needed to be precise, otherwise we would wake up over and over throughout the night, as things were falling. I thought about the last 11 days, and how crazy they had been. Every night, James was finishing in the middle of the night finish. The crew was exhausted, the food situation was tricky, the RV was crowded, and yet, everything about this seemed so right. We each had our own struggles, our own tasks, but we pulled together to make it all happen.