Vermont is a freaking cool state! My brother Morgan went to school at Vermont Academy when he was in high school. I remember going out for his graduation (we drove across the country) and falling in love with this state (and I fell in love with his roommate John!). I was excited to get back there!
The swim was an open water swim. It was in Burlington, an awesome city. It was so old school feeling, the buildings were beautiful, everything was so close together (very different than the west), and it had a pure eastern U.S. feel to it. We parked the RV just on the side of the road for the swim, knowing that we would need to move for the bike start (which I am assuming it was to avoid city lights).
The day before, the septic tank was supposed to be emptied. There was an attempt, but when they tried to find the location, it had been closed. The eastern U.S. isn’t very RV friendly, with the narrow roads and lack of places to dump the septic. We would typically try to find a truck stop, but these did not exist in New England. When we had arrived in Vermont, we were trying to find bathrooms, which was nearly impossible. We finally got into a gym somehow, and they let us in, to the back, without a key card, to use the bathroom. Someone must have had this connection.
Casey came in and said, “I am having poop problems.” Obviously his body would be freaking out a bit, our schedules were totally messed up! I gave him a hand full of herbs and oils, “Take these! They are like magic!” He throws them in his mouth and drinks water to wash it down. Immediately the thought goes through my mind….”These are for constipation, what if it is diarrhea?!” I started laughing, laughing hysterically! Casey Robles’ eyes get big, “What did you just give me?!?!?” I could not compose myself, I was about to DIE from laughing! Finally, in the midst of my laughing, I manage to get out a few words, “Those were for constipation!” as I continue laughing, falling to the bed! “You just gave me herbs for constipation?!?!” I nodded as I rolled around on the bed laughing, “You are an idiot!” Then he couldn’t help but laugh!!! I finally composed myself, “You said POO PROBLEMS, you didn’t say diarrhea!”
Casey had come down with his ‘poo issues’ on his birthday. I had forgotten that he had actually slept all day in Maryland. I remember seeing him curled up on the table bed, Aaron Hopkinson had said, “He is sick, been sleeping all day!” Well, this did NOT help our toilet issues, not being able to empty the septic. He had run into the bushes a few times that morning in Vermont, not having a bathroom anywhere. Anyone seen Nacho Libre??? “I’ve had diarrheas since Easters.” He was relieved when we finally found a real bathroom, and his pipes were clean.
There was a small group swimming with him. I remember it being mainly girls. They were swimming one-way and we were going to drive down to the finish to pick him up. Turns out James panicked and the whole swim finish changed. They swam back and forth on the shoreline, this helped James calm down a bit. Aaron went and picked him up at the new swim finish.
Someone, who was my swimming buddy, was supposed to get a plunger for me when they ran an errand. The toilet was full and plugged (so annoying!), but my errand was forgotten. We went to Ace Hardware while they went to get James. There was originally a great scene in the documentary of this moment, it was awesome! I assume they kept it in, I guess we will have to wait and see! I plunged the toilet to get it cleared up, but knew we still couldn’t use it, because it was full.
We went to a park for the bike start. There were a few other people who had come to see us from Zyto, Vaughn and Cami. We also had people from Nathan (water bottles, belts, etc.) there, since Nathan was based out of Burlington. It was fun to see all of them and for them to get a front row view of how things were going. James was freezing, and was sitting in the Subaru, with the heater blasting, while he did a radio interview. He wanted me to sit in there with him, which I did, until I almost exploded from heat.
He eventually got off on the bike, and we were off on our adventure. What is this adventure you ask, well, the thing we were most excited to see the minute I found out that this was happening! We went to the Ben and Jerry’s factory!!!! And guess what, we LOVED IT!!!!! It was family friendly, bright-colored, and fun!!!!!!! Brittany and Brytin Delanie Waterlyn came with us, and we were off in the van!
Better yet, it wasn’t far away (let’s be honest, VT is not very big) so we were there in no time. We parked by all of the cows out grazing in the field. Everything had bright-colors, and I felt like I should move here and work at Ben and Jerry’s! I have a mild addiction to bright colors! It was a short wait, then a 7 minute video that gave the history of the business. Loved it, naturally. We then walked up to a room that was above the factory. There was a window and an audio to tell you what everything was. There are signs that show you the specific spots that they are referring to in the video. Next, down the stair for a free sample! Let’s just say, these samples were very generous! This occurred in the small ice cream shop, which was the original shop. After that, we exited and you can buy ice cream or go to the gift shop. Did you hear that? A GIFT SHOP!!!! Not only did they have a gift shop, but everything was normal prices! We all got souvenirs, and I picked up a shirt for Natalie Feher Rasmussen and Carlee Lilley Tulett!
It was then a must to get an ice cream, again, reasonably priced! We got delicious cones, and everyone was smiling from ear to ear. No lie, the tour was 15 minutes! It was perfect for young kids! Then they buzzed around the small gift shop and got ice cream! What more could you ask for?!?! Well, how about a stop on the way back to the RV…
This was an unexpected event. We weren’t as long as we thought we would be, but headed back to the RV anyway. We came across a Christmas shop, and I slammed on the brakes and turned! The kids said, ‘Why would we go to a Christmas shop in July?” Naturally my response was, “Why not?!?!” This would be a great place for me to pick up a few souvenirs too!
This place was huge, “Pick a buddy!” They were off and so happy! I looked at every, single ornament in that store. It was so fun, and there was a lot of random stuff. I love random stuff, it is so…random! I got some ornaments that were s’mores, and some Santas from around the world. We were in there at least an hour, and it was a blast! When we checked out, the middle-aged woman said to me, “Are you with the Iron Cowboy? I recognize you!” That was always fun.
When we arrived at the park, where everyone had been for the day, I pulled in and saw where the RV was parked. I got in the RV and said, “How do you guys plan to get the RV out of this parking lot?” People looked around, “Oh, we didn’t think of that?” It was a long and skinny parking lane, with cars all over the place.
I had planned to ride with James this day. After all of this time, I figured I could get a couple of miles in with James, even if I was painfully slow. Brittany Chatwin Light was prepared to watch the kids so that I could go out. Well, James was lost. There was no service where we were, so we couldn’t track him or get a hold of him. So basically no one had any idea where he was, where he was going, where we should be, etc. I had lost my chance to ride with James.
We then get a call from Kyle Woodruff, it was 4:40 pm, “You need to pick up the shirts by 5 pm at UPS! They just called me!” We google the address and it is 30 minutes away! Aaron Hopkinson got in that Subaru in a flash, and sped away!
I felt so much anxiety! We had enjoyed such an awesome morning, and the only thing that I could think was, “I go away, and everything falls apart!” There were several issues that I was handling, due to 3 separate phone calls, all regarding different issues that needed to be addressed NOW! And to make it more unsettling, James was missing! I felt like someone had smashed my birthday cake, and was laughing as they picked the pieces up and threw them at me. I know this sounds dramatic, but believe me, it was this dramatic.
We decided that we would head toward the 5k site, and see what happened. We knew we would at least get to a place that had cell service. We had to get the RV out of this parking lot! We pulled all the way to the end of this narrow, dirt strip. Tommy Rivers Puzey unhooked the trailer, and I did a 75 point turn. It was ridiculous. The tension and stress are through the roof! Everyone feels it, and everyone is trying to refrain from freaking out. We get back to the main road, and I realize that it is now well passed 5. I was hoping that Aaron had made it to UPS in time!!! Oh man, I needed to get the kids dinner!!! We pass a Mc Donalds in a gas station, “Pull over! We have to grab James something or he won’t have food!” I went in with Rivers and grabbed a bunch of grilled chicken sandwiches for my family and the crew.
I went back outside, and the Zyto girls had met us in the parking lot, and they had grabbed Pizza Hut for everyone! Seriously, so nice! The kids picked at both, and then I had plenty of sandwiches, which would come in very handy in a couple of hours. While we were eating, James had finally gotten service, as had we now that we were out of the lake area. He was coming to the gas station! Being able to drop a pin on our phones, for our location, was so amazing during the 50! He came flying past, slammed on his breaks, and made the turn.
“Dude, I was TOTALLY lost! I had NO IDEA where I was. The guys with me had to take off, and I was on my own. I figured miles were miles and eventually I would find someone!” He was so happy to see all of the chicken sandwiches, and scarfed those suckers down! Just then, Aaron Hopkinson called; he ended up getting there at 5:05 and knocked on the door. The UPS lady said, “I wondered if you would make it!” He got the shirts!
That was an intense 90 min! Sheesh, it was ridiculous! But we now had things under control as we drove to the 5k location, the same place that we had been for the swim in the morning. There was a good-sized group there, and there was lost of shade for us to sit in. To make up for that last 90 minutes, I see a bright, white smile, Dallas Makin was back for another adventurous weekend! When this guy shows up, all of the world’s problems go away. Instantly, we all felt like things were back under control.
Casey reminded me that this day James had gone out to do a few run miles before the 5k, but had miscalculated and was 30 minutes late getting back for the 7:00 5k start. People were anxious to see/meet the Iron Cowboy, and he made them wait, making it all the more exciting! We had shirts laid out to sell, people had congregated and things were okay again.
I visited with a lady from Canada. Her husband had been following James, and this was the closest place for them to come, and make it work with their schedule. If I remember correctly, they had driven like 5-7 hours, or something like that. I was flattered, that was seriously so cool! And she was pleasantly surprised to find out that James is Canadian! She had no idea, and was just beaming when she found out.
When the 5k was complete, we cleaned up the shirts and went back to the RV. It was a disaster! I had been gone all day, but there had been lots of people in and out all day. On top of that, the toilet was full, which inevitably ‘fumigated’ the RV. I went in and loaded it up with essential oils and the Young Living Thieves Cleaner. It is a concentrate, and I just poured it straight down the open hole, and then also left it in the bowl! That had to do the trick, that stuff is potent and magical!
I got to work, cleaning everything up and doing things like filling the water tank with water from water bottles, using my homemade funnel. Dallas was outside in the parking lot doing adjustments on everyone in the crew that wanted them. I was trying to figure out where to put the leftover pizza and sandwiches, with no fridge. Well, the crew was hungry again, so they pounded as much of the food as they could. We now had 13 people in the RV to travel with that night. Did you hear me?!?! THIRTEEN PEOPLE!!!!! And what I neglected to mention, the pop-out on the RV had stopped working several days ago, like maybe a week ago! We had lost an extra 4 feet when we parked. Tonight, 13 people were riding in this RV, and I had to figure out how to make them all fit.
James finished, and Dallas started to work on him in the parking lot, with a massage table that we had been hauling around since the beginning. He figured he would do the adjustments outside while the table was up, and then work on the muscles while we drove. They soon joined us in the RV. I drove this night, I am not sure why. If I were to guess, the Wingmen were probably doing stuff for James, so I drove. I am sure the drive was short too, we were driving to Maine! I had never been to Maine, and I was still chasing fresh seafood! Maine was a huge landmark…we would now be at the furthest part of our journey, and afterwards, we would be on our way home!