Florida to Georgia was about a 6 hour drive. This was the longest drive that we had since we were in the western United States. We arrived in Atlanta early enough that the Wingmen were able to catch a little nap. When James arrived, a while after us, we all got up and were ready to get going for the day.
Poor James, sleeping in the van, was just fighting to wake up. The Wingmen and I worked together to get him to sit up and eat his loaded bowl of oatmeal. I had given James full body massages every night that we had ridden together, but with the rides that he was getting in other vehicles, I couldn’t do anything for him. It really bothered me that I couldn’t do this for him every night, especially once he finished for the day. I am no professional, but I have had enough body work, and know his body well enough, that I knew enough to do something. I also had Nat Attack show me a few things before we left Utah, knowing that I would be his massage person on the 50/50/50 during the week.
He finished as much of his oatmeal as he was going to eat, and put his speedo on. We went into the gym to find the pool to start day 22. My cousin Matt and his wife Bonnie happened to be in the area for a youth group camp (EFY) and came by to cheer us on. They had their cute baby Joyce with them, and it was so nice to see familiar faces!!! We visited through the swim and had until about noon with them, before they had to head to the airport. They proudly wanted Iron Cowboy T-shirts and were so excited to be there!
James’ start for the bike/day was about 40 min away. People loaded into the van; Kyle drove, Dallas treated James while they drove, and the Wingmen followed in the Subaru to the start line. I drove the RV to the home of Jason and Tara, to leave it there for the day. I figured that I would hang out with my cousins until noon, then we would head out to the Six Flags until the 5k. Even if it was only half of a day, it would still be a blast for the kids.
We got to the Stine’s house, and I knew I need to do a quick clean in the RV. I borrowed Tara’s vacuum and Bonnie vacuumed the RV for me while I started laundry. ‘Someone’ asked to borrow The Little White Mazda, and they left. Noon came, Tara ordered the entire crew my favorite pizza Papa John’s. My cousins left, after enjoying a delightful morning with us. I kept wondering when the car would be back…and then I continued to wonder…and wonder…. It was now 3:00, the car pulled up, and I knew Six Flags was not happening. I was so mad! When ‘they’ asked to use the car, they neglected to mention that they would be gone for 5 hours. So instead of going and doing our favorite thing in the world, we sat at the house all day. To make matters worse, the Wingmen sent me a picture from Six Flags. James had plenty of support for the day, so they had the day off. Jerk-faces were out having a blast, while I sat and answered emails and social media posts.
I asked Casey to send me the address to the race location. I was so mad, I wanted to leave while ‘they’ napped. I was so pissed that our day been ruined. I had been promising the kids for 20 days that we would go to an amusement park, and it was unlikely that this would happen the rest of the 50/50/50. We grabbed our stuff and got in the RV. I just pulled the empty trailer behind the RV; loading the Mazda would have complicated things, needing the Wingmen to help, and ‘they’ wouldn’t have had a way to get to the race location. I was so grateful to the Stine’s for hosting us for the day. They made us feel right at home, a feeling that we haven’t felt in over a month!
Our destination was further away than I had originally thought, closer to 50 min from the Stine’s house. The gas light was on in the RV, so I needed to get gas along the way. I was driving through some sketchy areas. I really thought I was going to run out of gas, so I stopped as soon as I saw a gas station. Where I stopped didn’t work; apparently if the store is closed, the gas doesn’t pump…just like the olden days. It was a lot of work to get the RV in and out of places, and I had just maneuvered into this gas station, and couldn’t get gas. Boo.
I hadn’t driven the night before, so I was stressing a bit, not knowing how long the gas light had been on. I kept driving, and found another gas station. This place was sketchy, sketchy enough that I locked the RV door while I pumped gas on the opposite side. I just had the worst feeling when I got out. There were guys standing around, and I was worried that while I was pumping gas, a bad guy was going to climb in the RV! I really felt like mama bear, like I needed to protect my children. I had my keys ready to defend myself; it was not a good feeling. I put in $20 and got out of there! I kept driving until I found a better place for gas, then I filled that bad boy up to $200. A side note, some gas stations will only let you put in $100. It took about $210-$220 to fill our tank, so we would have to start the whole process over again after $100. Sometimes, the credit card wouldn’t let us run it twice at the pump, so then we would have to find another credit card. Filling the RV gas tank was often a real pain.
We were much closer to the park when we stopped for gas. The address on GPS kept taking me in circles, around a neighborhood. Again, turning the RV down narrow, one-lane roads made these bad directions really annoying. After just a couple of circles, I called and asked for more instructions, finally finding my way to the park.
This park was absolutely beautiful! The run was on a trail, through beautiful trees! Food had been provided for us, smoked barbecue, aka southern food, and we had a great crowd to run with James. The RV needed some serious TLC, including the bins on the exterior, down below. My cousin had vacuumed it for me, so that part was done. I went in and cleaned the bathrooms, mopped the floors, and spent a decent amount of time cleaning in there. No one had been there during the day, so it wasn’t as scrambled as it usually was. I exhaled with pride, but with a hint of sadness knowing that in 10 minutes, it would all become public once again. The kids set up the shirt stand and started selling shirts. In an instant, it felt like a normal, beautiful, summer night. We pulled out camping chairs and visited with all the people there. Many of them were in disbelief, admitting that they never knew if he would make it to Georgia. There was such a warmth about this event! Jason and James have been triathlon friends for years, just having crossed paths in life, and he put on this event like a friend. We felt that warmth that night!
Our friend Dano had ordered us Costa Vida that day. It is James’ absolute favorite place to eat! There happens to be one in Atlanta, so Dano took orders for my family, the Wingmen, Dallas and Kyle. We were all excited for a little taste of home. When we were leaving for the night, I saw Costa Vida bags, and everyone had eaten all of the Costa Vida. I asked Casey, “Where were the desserts that James ordered? And my and the kids’ food?” Apparently anyone and everyone was eating them, like just whoever passed through the RV. I swear… I guess my Costa Vida, that I ordered, was eaten by someone who just didn’t even bother asking if they could eat our food…
This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it was just another strike under already hard circumstances. When we planned this journey, the RV was supposed to be the space for me and my family. The idea was that the Wingmen would obviously be in there, and us, so we would have some privacy. This was never the case, not even one day. We had crowds of people in there, all the time! Random strangers, and other crew members who would just hang out in there during the day. I adapted, and figured that it was just going to be like that, but every once in a while, like when someone touches my stuff, or eats my food, I would feel a little claustrophobic.
We got some fun news while leaving Atlanta; our cute ambassador for South Carolina, Elizabeth, had booked us a suite to spend the day in while in South Carolina. Wow! Tomorrow should be something amazing for everyone!!!