Road trip finished. Chattanooga is a fun little town. There is a stretch where an artist has painted these tree trunks blue as some kind of environmental awareness thing - I was too tired to read it all. The trees are striking but ultimately creepy after my fourth pass. Whoever was in charge of organizing the Head of the Hooch race did a fantastic job. (This statue gives you an idea of how important this event has become to the town. I thought it was kind of cool.) There were more than 10,000 rowers there from all over the world and it all went off without a major glitch. Thousands of boats on trailers, thousands of equipment trailers and thousands of spectators and, throughout the entire weekend, I did not hear (and I love to listen in on conversations) anyone complaining about anything significant.
I had a great drive up to Tennessee. I dropped Andy off at his bus at 3:30 am. Stopped for gas, caffeine and finding an audiobook on my phone and hit the road around 4 am. Decent book (The Last Tribe) - I picked it because the reader was Scott Brick and I'm a fan of his. I stopped in Atlanta and FINALLY met one of my long-time imaginary friends, Abbey and her two daughters for lunch. After all of these years, I was fairly certain Abbey was not really imaginary. But, now I know she's real and as awesome as I've always thought. Added bonus, she has really great girls!
Checked into the Read House around 3:30 pm. Nice hotel, really helpful staff. Super comfy beds. So comfy, in fact, I took a two hour nap before doing anything else. (The link takes you to a site that explains why the hotel is haunted. I encountered nothing weird at all just thought that link would be more interesting than a generic hotel website.)
I was part of the "food team" (though, until I get a team cape, I will never really feel at home). We were at the assigned race site at 6:30 am cooking breakfast for coaches and 100+ rowers. It was COLD (well, 40ish). After that, we made lunch. On Sunday we did it all again. I won't lie, it was a LOT of work and I would not sign on for it again. Two twelve hour days after an 8 1/2 hour drive there and back? Ummm ... not. Our rowing club has grown significantly since Andy joined. The parent volunteers? Not so much. That will be changing, I hope, in the near future.
There were small windows to explore the vendors, the bridges and the local artists and shops. I enjoyed it all - despite the fact that I was a total disaster. I brought my normal, comfy regatta shoes (I have three pair I usually bring). Never once thought that I wear those shoes all the time with no socks. I was cold in Chattanooga so I was wearing socks. By the time I realized that my feet hurt because of the socks rubbing back and forth, my toes and heels were bloody messes. I spent half of Saturday and all of Sunday walking around in my double layers of socks because shoes were not a possibility. Add my three visits to the first aid tent for knife wounds in the food tent and can you blame Andy for ignoring me?
Andy did not race until 12:15 Sunday. It was his first time racing in a 2-man boat. They did very well in a field of 40 finishing 17th. However, Andy is used to being in a boat that rarely finishes below third. Learning curve. He and his rowing partner, Reid, however, had a lot of fun training and racing. We'll see what happens in the spring. I'm a goober mom - the fact that they did not tip over and were brave enough to do the 5K without arm floaties made me proud.
Anyway, it was fun to get to know a new town. I spent my time volunteering with great, tireless, truly funny people. Can't ask for much more.
Next weekend? We're heading to Stetson University. 5K on Saturday and a 10K on Sunday. Send carbs.