11 days of warm sunny days with tailwinds, it was time to pay.
Rain and fierce headwinds, along with lots of big trucks, creating
drafts that just tossed riders around mercilessly, made this
day a great day to be a crew member. Plummeting temperatures
left many riders unprepared and cold. John and I lent out all
our rain gear and warm weather gear until it seemed that we
had clothes on half of the riders.
About 10 miles before the designated lunch stop, we started
looking for a spot with some sort of shelter, but saw nothing.
I convinced Gladys to drive a few miles further and we were
rewarded for our persistence with an empty outdoor flea market,
complete with bathrooms. I knew riders wouldn't mind a few extra
miles to lunch in exchange for shelter. John and Gladys figured
out how to operate the propane stove and got water started for
soup and hot cocoa. We had prepared a great pasta salad for
lunch, but it was hardly touched. The soup, on the other hand
was a great hit.
Riders had found all sorts of creative ways to deal with the
wet messy conditions. Many had gone on shopping sprees, and
came in wearing all sorts of assorted garb. Team DQ spent quite
a bit of time in a Waffle House, eating everything in sight,
and then in a K-Mart maxing out one of the riders credit cards
with long underwear purchases. I continued passing out clothing,
until I was down to minimal attire, but I could get back in
the nice warm van after lunch !