Funtown, Splashto wn
Crashed early on the bus, so we woke up pretty early. Day broke cloudy and fifties again. What happened to the sun and heat we enjoyed the last few days?! The teams have a water start, so they are all prepared to get a little damp. There is a mile ride between where we camped and the Marina. Also, we have a surprise guest! Nick’s best mate, Carl and his Dad drove all day and most of the night from LA to be here! He said it was a possibility, but we didn't take him seriously. It's extra special and relevant as they were teammates in the kinetic sculpture race back home, and are entered together again this year. Now all parties involved can study the machines.
I packed the kids, lunch and sweaters and we booked it off the bus. Millicent was about to get moved to tonight's campsite, but Peter and Jeri were gone, I had everyone's phones, and we couldn't find more paddles for Innuendo. They were about to be up the creek, as it were. Once again, each kid opted for a field trip, Lilly with Gary to get ice for the cooler and Sam with Derrick and the chick on the bus. She's the biggest hit and crowd pleaser with everyone. What a little babe. Anyway, it left my hands free to ride over to the water start only to find out….. the paddles for Innuendo were in the bus! Peter also wanted dry clothes just in case. So I texted Gary with all of my many phones to intercept Millicent and pick those items up.
The water start got pushed back a while, too, on account of the tide being too low for anyone to make a good splash. Each team had to clear the water entrance before the next machine could approach anyway, and Fired Up was third, Sisyphus fourth and Innuendo way at the end, with plenty of time to get oars.
Then all the sudden, it was Fired Up’s turn, they were cleared by the Rampmeister and SPLOOOOOOSH they were in! Peter decided this was the appropriate time to flag them down and steal their tiny oars for Innuendo, not knowing backup was on the way. Additionally, one of the floats had come loose and wouldn't seat, so Jeri heroically dove in to fix it. When she climbed out, she stood up and reapplied her lipstick, it was all anyone could talk about! Fierce!
Peter's water entrance is a little different. He doesn't attempt the splash, but stands up and lets the machine fall into the water, then sits on top to paddle. In the meantime, Carl had shown up, and I wanted to get him close to the action. While his dad can't see, he tagged along as Carl and I investigated various flotation methods. We walked down the dock with our pit crew badges so he could get a better look at the ramp and splash zone. Teams entered the water one by one and suddenly, my phone rang. Gary was back, with oars! As I handed them off to Krausen and Matt, who had skipped the sand yesterday but we're determined to make the water, the sculpture ahead of them splashed down! They pulled forward with no floats aside from their Hoosier tires and confidently announced to the Rampmeister that the machine had never been water tested. Down they went and…. Success!!
All our teams in the water, I set off on Lilah for the water landing with Carl and dad and Gary & co to rendezvous there. Gary and I both arrived just as a dry Peter was rolling up the ramp just behind Fired Up. Sam and Lilly ran off like it was summer vacation while Gary and I waited to see Innuendo emerge from the drink. The plan was to meet up with the Wagner's again at a predetermined lunch location. Innuendo and their stuffed cow(stuffed animals are a requirement for every team) Alex, came out the other side, though Matt's toes were white with cold. Lilly was right behind me as we readied to go for lunch but… where was Sam?
We walked up and down the bank, asking folks if they'd seen a small green dinosaur (hoodie). Eventually his red head popped up holding a crab and we could regroup in the truck. Where, pray tell, were the leashes?
Gary and I made it to lunch before Fired Up managed to depart and Nick handed off two tamales from the pilot’s lunch they'd collectively saved for me. In the parking lot of the co-op, the kids couldn't get in too much trouble, right? Except climbing in over and under other people's sculptures. They received many stern lectures about not touching other people's things without asking. Carl caught up again, and was engrossed in conversation about the race’s history and previous obstacles. Our time at the lunch spot lasted about an hour while we debated where to go next. The racers were headed past College of the Redwoods and up a mile long 5% grade called Loleta Hill, so we raced ahead to the college parking lot. Along the way, the kids learned to play the alphabet game, looking for letters in order outside the truck, which miraculously kept them well behaved.
The truck sped up the hill where we met the racers again. The Kinetic Medics set up a snack and water station at the top, so we were able to greet them with fresh sandwiches. The downhill side of the slope was supposed to be loads of fun and they were looking forward to speeding down it. Today was the longest day of the race, covering roughly 25 miles. While they coasted down the other slope, Gary, his son having met up with us and I collared the sandy children and headed off to the Loleta cheese factory. I would've liked some fancy California cheese, but my bags and stomach have limited, low budget taste. They dropped us off at Millicent and went to get pizza for dinner.
Night two is hosted in a cow field called Crab Park that's adjacent to the beach. It being fenced off and closed to the public, Sam and Lilly were free to run wild, provided they kept their shoes on and avoided cow pies! Fired Up rolled in not long after we did and Jeri headed down to the water to swim. Carl and his dad came by, too, and we left his dad on the bus with Bob while we three went off to learn more about construction. Additionally, we had to make friends with someone who came to the race from the north and could drop us in Portland or Vancouver. Our roaming continued until the sun started to drop in the sky, when a very tired Carl escorted his father through the field to his car and back to their hotel. Though he said he might return later, it had been a long day for all and we didn't expect him.
Meantime, there is a competition this night for “Best Camp” including quality and quantity of food, tents, music, lights, and bonfires. Nick and I ate wonderful salad and chicken marsala with Matt's family and Krausen and went from fire to fire, looking for snacks. Peter was on kid duty, but they're fast asleep, so he went around introducing the chick. We ended up with Jeri in front of Painapparu’s fire on the same inflatable lounge chairs that Nick's tank used for floats. This would be the perfect place to fall asleep but they're starting to set off fireworks, so I'm off to look for earplugs and a place to hide my head.
Nick: 25 mi by fired up
Jay: many hours of child wrangling