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Frankenbutt and I awoke in a bed in one of the private counselors’ dorms at Ohio Dreams. It was nice to wake up cuddled together in a real bed, while our daughter slept in her own dorm room in another building. It was almost like being at home in our own bed … what a mid-ride treat for us! Thank you, Ohio Dreams!
We stretched, dressed, brushed teeth and joined the other counselors as they drove the Ohio Dreams van down to the kids’ dorm to pick up their luggage. It was officially their last day at camp and parents were arriving shortly. I noticed that the campers all looked a bit sleepy and then the Beast told me why. The former evening’s campfire had to be cancelled due to rainy weather so the counselors got together and told some pretty believable ghost stories. The Beast and her bunk mate, Hannah, woke up several times in the night, having heard noises and letting their imaginations run amuck.
By the time the kids made their way down to the lounge area near the indoor skate park (WHICH IS AMAZING!!), they were all laughing and wide awake, playing practical jokes on one another. Camper CJ’s dad arrived pretty early carrying a 24 oz cup o Joe and I think I saw Frankenbutt drool. He so misses his Keurig morning coffee. As we sorted and balanced our pannier bags out, I heard CJ says “oops” and then he told me he spilled his dad’s coffee. Since his dad was inside the building, I stepped in and offered some advice. I suggested that he pour out what was left and replace it with Red Bull. CJ smiled widely and did just that. He set the cup into his dad’s cup holder in the cab of the truck and went on packing his bike and luggage into the bed of the truck.
Word spread of the coffee/Red Bull switcheroo and soon there were campers watching out the windows to see CJ’s dad’s reaction. When CJ’s dad returned, he took a big gulp of “coffee”, and stepped back, made a face and looked at the cup. CJ was smiling and said, “oh, yeah. I spilled your coffee so I replaced it with Red Bull.” Luckily, his dad was really cool about it, laughed and said, “I guess it does about the same for me.” The campers on the other side of the windows were cracking up and high fiving one another; it’s always good to get one over on the adults. (Yes, I know. I’m an adult, too. But, being at Ohio Dreams made me feel like I was 12 all over again!)
Now that my work there was done, we thanked Justin Travis, Chris and Val Ashcraft and their enthusiastic staff for all that they did for our Beast this past week. We exchanged hugs, and pictures and then off we rode into the hot sun ahead. We had programmed our GPS for the Norwalk, Ohio track since we discovered it was right along our path and has a race on Sunday. Although we hadn’t planned a stop there, I sent an email to the track and received a very positive invitation to stop there.
We left Ohio Dreams about 10:30 am and pedaled in light breezes for about an hour before the sun started scorching every ounce of fluids out of our bodies. We stopped at a park where we re-filled our water bottles, had a snack and registered that all three of us had soaked through our clothes with sweat. That darn dome of Mexican heat! I felt like a hot tamale frying over an open flame!
We put our helmets on and rode on as the hills started to get a little smaller. There was the occasional warm breeze which actually was better than no breeze at all. We found a local convenience store that offered pre-made sandwiches and bought a few to eat out front. They tasted strangely familiar, like school cafeteria sandwiches, lacking the cohesive factors that separate good sandwiches from bad. We still managed to eat every bit of them and shared two 1 liter Brisk iced teas (summer special: 99 cents each!). Someone had dumped their cooler nearby and left rather large chunks of ice so we scooped one up for Coco and put it in her trailer to keep her cool. She seemed to like that.
Following lunch, we rode on as the sun beat down on us, listening to the Beast’s camp stories and loving having her back with us on bikes again. We all noticed the sky darkening to the west of us and that the breezes were getting cooler. Then, we got some really strong, actually cold wind that blew against the bottom sides of our tires. We all adapted our riding style to leaning into and away from the currents to keep our bikes upright. Frankenbutt alerted us to ride a little faster and see if we could outrun the storm. We all geared up and poured all of our energy into our pedals and watched as rain started to fall to the west of us. We saw a sunny portion of road ahead and made that our goal and we actually managed to outride the storm.
We all noted that we were starting to feel a bit tired and since it was about 4pm, we consulted the GPS for an upcoming campground. We noticed that there was only 1 before Norwalk and several 5-10 miles North and West of Norwalk. So, we chose the one before Norwalk and pedaled towards it. It’s a good thing we did because soon after we arrived and set up our tent, the rain started. The Beast and I had gone to the camp store to get online while Frankenbutt took care of rolling out bedrolls and sleeping bags. Since it was raining already, the Beast and I played a few easy board games that were in the camp store lounge area while my pictures uploaded from my phone to the laptop. It was nice to have some fun time alone with just the two of us. I missed her sweet smile and infectious laugh while she was away at camp.
When we returned to the campsite, we found Frankenbutt and Coco resting in the tent as rain pelted the rain fly. We scrambled in and Frankenbutt got out and started fixing dinner under the big tree that shaded our picnic table. He fixed the Beast her favorite Ramen Noodles and then made Chef Boyardee raviolis for him and me. Even though the Beast was happy with just the Ramen, he asked her to eat some beef raviolis, too, for the protein, and she did. By 8:30 pm, we had all crawled into sleeping bags and called it a night.
FYI, we are still in a sketchy cell signal area so we are only sending limited emails and we're having trouble making even one phone call. If you need to reach us, please email first since we get those messages right to our phone once we get a signal or get access to wifi. Thanks for your patience.