Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day 08: High Speeds and Livin' the Dream.

Forgive any missed events or lack of description, I'm still in a daze from the Labor day weekend activities. I hope to come out of it by the time '09 gets here. Orcas Island was invaded by seven entities over the weekend. They have names: Kelly, Alex, Drew, Adam, Kate, Liam, Sherry. If you can only visualize a face with each of these, then I'm sorry, because they brought with them the wrath of heaven and hell. First to sweep over the shores were Kelly and Alex via the Vibrator on Thursday. Their charisma and energy on the dance floor that night will long be remembered. Some of the island natives- Brad, Kaitlin, Megan, Elizabeth, Emily and Finn- joined us and witnessed a serious Riponia shredding of PJ's chipboard floors. When they stepped in, it was all over, and we cut such a rug that the support beams under PJ's house may have buckled.

Meanwhile, over the endless fields and pass the Continental Divide, Adam, Kate and Drew rushed across the Great Plains and Rocky Mts. faster than a sixteen year old on prom night. They departed Madison at 9 pm, Wednesday evening and were at PJ's house Friday morning before we could awake from the deep slumber set upon by the dance party. 28 hours. Thats roughly 2000 miles folks. With only a minor situation in the ferry lane in Anacortes (Adam had difficulties locating his computer-- which was in Wisconsin), they beat the total estimated time given by mapquest-- shattered it, and unfortunately, they also destroyed the long standing record held by yours truly. My hat goes off to them. While they recovered, napped, and scampered about Isle de Orcas, I laid out the crab pots for one final go to finish off the 08 crabbing season. By the time we all reconvened at Orcas Island Pottery we were ready to scoop up some dunges and reddies for a crabby feast. I rowed my little Walker Bay dinghy out in to rough seas (later found out that there was a gale advisory that day) to loaded pots. Sadly though, the busy season had depleted the numbers of keepers and we had to throw all of 'em back.

Spirits were lifted later with the resurrection of the pong table and we all learned some interesting things about Alex and his affinity for brightly colored underwear. Furthermore, you might be able to expect a hit single from Adam and I hitting stores sometime in the Spring of '09. It is headed to mixing and "Wabash Cannonball" will be available soon.

In lieu of becoming complete sloths, we ventured forth on Saturday to hike up Turtleback Mt. The blackberries are in full force these days and we snacked on many as we tramped up the south end of Turtleback to be graced with stunning views of Orcas and other surrounding islands. This was followed by snacks and brews on North Beach. We tried to play "throw things at things" but PJ selected the smallest piece of driftwood he could find and the game fizzled out. It was recommended that Liam and Sherry depart as early as possible that morning to arrive in time for the planned night activities but there developed some delays around "Bullshit Central" (which is a city near Portland-- I think) and we had to depart on our fishing/whale watching expedition without them.

Beau of Outer Island Expeditions again went above and beyond the call of duty and took us to the Gulf Islands (a continuation of the San Juans, but in Canada) to be dazzled by a frenzy of orcas.

We drifted about as the sun set over Salt Spring Island surrounded by forty-some whales occasionally breaching, spy hopping, and tail slapping. On our way back to Orcas, we scooped up his nine crab pots and had much better luck, raking in ten luscious crabs keen to be eaten. We also caught two of the largest sun stars that I have ever seen, much to the dismay of Kate. Upon arriving back at Camp PJ, Liam and Sherry were waiting there for us and we cooked up a fine feast fit for friends of crab and frozen pizza.

Steve Braun was a native islander and avid outdoorsman whom sadly passed years back in a kayaking accident. In memorium of him, the Orcas Rec Program started an annual triathlon in his honor. I heard about this Thursday evening from Brad and was immediately sold on it. It may come as a shock to you, but I'm not in that good of shape. Thus being the case, I knew I would need some assistance in completing this test of endurance and, unknown to them, I signed up Liam and Alex to participate in team "Livin' the Dream" for the 10th Annual Steve Braun Memorial Triathlon. They were informed of there required participation on Friday afternoon and left to prep in their own ways; which we did nightly until one to two a.m. After an exceptionally viscious training session on Saturday night, we woke up at seven a.m. to depart for Cascade Lake, leaving our team of trainers snoring and drooling.

In a haze, we registered and got ready for a .4 mile swim, 17 mile bike ride, and 3.5 mile run which myself, Alex, and Liam did respectively. It should be mentioned that I do not swim. I know how, but I also know how to swing dance, and I do that about as much as I competitively swim. It should also be mentioned that Alex is a fine biker... a damn fine biker. Alex also likes beer, and the bike that was available was a 1984 Schwinn that PJ purchased at a garage sale a year and a half ago and had never even rode. Furthermore it should be mentioned that Liam was one hell of a runner, but as Sherry pointed out, "In the two and a half years that I've dated Liam, I've never once seen him run." A more unlikely group there never was. But we were stubborn... and hungover.

I can't speak for Alex or Liam, but the swim was hell, and I don't doubt they would say something similar to their legs of the event. The water couldn't have been warmer than 65 degrees and I don't own a wetsuit, or goggles. I took the plunge and started strong but it soon became clear that I was going to have to keep my head out of the water for how hard I was panting to catch my breath. Thus, I lagged behind and finished leaving my teammates a large margin of time to catch up on.

But luckily, Alex has the largest calves of anyone I know. In slip-on Vans and a ProTec skateboarding helmet, Alex crushed the biking section of the race. He passed upwards of forty people on his ride and tagged off to Liam in good position.

Liam harnessed some serious endurance and rocked the running part, passing a handful of other runners even with a minor detour. Our trainers had stumbled their way to the lake by the start of the race and with 20 oz. lattes in hand, cheered their faces off all the while. PJ even suffered a flat tire in his quest to catch up with Alex. By the time it was over we were happy to have completed it and not mindful of our time or ranking.

And the best way to follow up a triathlon? Burgers, onion rings and beer from the Lower Tavern. Plus a long lie-down in Eastsound Park while PJ, Sherry and Megan played volleyball with some tourists. Getting back to PJ's and everyone was wiped... that is, until we received the results of the triathlon via email. Turns out that we placed 3rd out of thirteen in the team category and 20th overall. Not bad for a bunch of drinking and smoking SOBs. And finishing immediately before us were islanders Carlos and Dyana (they did the whole thing). If you didn't follow the link earlier, you can see the full results here.

Needless to say, a tame, restful night got flipped right around when it became a bronze medalist celebration! (No medals were actually given out.) Furthermore, Adam also awarded us with Rookie of the Year and first place in the "No Goggles" category. Pong, finger moustaches, encore perfomance of "Wabash Cannonball," you name it, we did it.

Alex and Kelly snuck out early the next morning and PJ, Drew, Kate, and Adam ferried over to San Juan to play some frisbee golf while Liam, Sherry, Megan, and I visited the folks at Bullock's Permaculture Farm. As we walked about the farm, I was overcome with Dionysian fantasies of running through the throngs of veggies and fruit trees in search of nymphs and satyrs. Whatever pheromones that are running in those roots, keep 'em coming.

Liam and Sherry left later that afternoon and we passed the night away with Kate's divine potato soup and Drew's famous artichoke dip, followed by Trivial Pursuit with Doctor Uno. Kate, Adam, and Drew left early this morning, hopefully at more of a leisurely pace back to Wisco. I haven't been able to pull myself together all day. One hell of a weekend.


Abby said...

sounds like an amazing weekend... you've got a great blog going! you're a very entertaining writer :) i miss all of you west coast folk!

Cassiemarie said...

I second what abby said!!
I miss you guys!!