Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hotter'n Hell 100 Road Trip -- Day 1 Friday

Hey everyone! Thursday night's pasta party was an absolute blast! One of the Fast Girls Slow Guys sponsors gave us a Hotter'n Hell 100 send off party and it was awesome! Jenn Shaw was one of the ring leaders and had some great prizes! I got out with a Starbucks gift card! Gotta feed the addiction!

I slept pretty good considering all the excitement. I packed the night before so I wouldn't have to worry but still checked everything over and over. I woke at 4:50 a.m. ready to run out the door and go sit at Cook's Landing and wait for Keith and Keith.

Terri and I drove over to Cook's and the Keith's came a few minutes later. Terri took a couple of photos and we said our good bys and off we went. First stop would be Starbucks in Conway.

We had fun warming up to the road trip ahead and got to Conway and took the exit and BOOM!!!! The semi truck in front of us blew a tire. Rubber flying everywhere and way up in the air. I don't think none of it hit Keiths truck but boy did it slow down the exiting traffic. We got over to Starbucks and KM (Keith Moore) and I go into SB's. Keith Hill (KH) boldly announced he didn't drink coffee. That's like someone saying you're baby's ugly! HA! He had a big container of water and Gatorade he would work on all day.

As we were about to get back in the truck a orange Element full of juvenile delinquents pull up and throw down some words about bicycle riders. Keith grabbed the driver and threw him in the dumpster while we laughed. Ok, maybe not. It was Yale our fearless leader dawg. As we pulled out of the parking lot he was still in the drive through trying to sweet talk the window host into free coffee. Hey, speaking of free coffee, I bought KM’s coffee and when I paid for it with the gift card all the sudden this big long receipt came out and I won free coffee! She said it was something like one in 10,000. Cool coffee beans!

Back on the road and I asked KH about his shirt, “LR Marathon FINISHER”. Whoa, he’s one of those guys! He was telling us about all the time it takes to train for the marathon. Said he may do the half this coming year. I couldn’t do a 10th. You runner folks are awesome! The Keith’s started talking about movies and road trips and both had seen a movie called Swingers and it was about guys going to Vegas on a road trip and how they first start and everyone’s all excited and saying “Vegas Baby!!!” After several hours of saying it then it gets old but makes the movie funny. I plan to rent it over the Labor Day holiday.

Next stop is Morrilton for the real group meeting spot. Gangs all here, we eat, we talk the McDonalds chick out behind the building into taking out photo. She stands in the drive through line go get the right angle. Man, you can’t get customer service like that these days. Everyone piles into the car and off we go! Oh, I saw Charlie Hight in McDonalds and he was asking about our route and I told him we were going to get on this road out here and next stop was Vegas Baby! He laughed.

Back in the car and all the gang’s traveling now. I say some pretty dumb things on this trip and the first one is just about to come out of my mouth… KH asked what I did and I told him I was a recruiter for the hospital and said something else and then said something about being on this road all the time. Well there was a farmer in a truck, some cows and I think a girl and it sounded like I drove up and down this highway trying to recruit whatever was around. That was when I first heard KH’s infectious laugh. He has a great laugh. The kind that when he laughs it’s makes others laugh.

So we are riding along and Chris and Rebecca Irons come driving by and they pull a bit. Not that we needed the pull (tomorrow we would!). Riding along and then they start to exit at Clarksville. Gee, they can’t hold it very long. As we start to pass them KM called Chris on his cell phone and we are right beside them and Keith says, “On your left!” Irons busted out laughing!

Things sort of settle down a little bit and somehow, and for the life I don’t remember what led to this conversation, I said my next dumb remark. Something about “You know like those mushroom people on Holly Hobbit.” Take it from me, not a thing to say in a truck with guys on a road trip! “Well, uh, Geo, we don’t know about Holly Hobbit”. Then I said Strawberry Shortcakes and KM remembered that. Said something about scratch and sniff stuff that smelled like nasty plastic. KH was unbuckling trying to jump out of the truck by then. I told them I grew up with all sisters so I knew all sorts of girly things. HA! That was about the time KH turned the tunes up so I’d stop talking. HA!

We stopped at the OK tourist stop where there were teepees so we got to pee pee at the teepee!

A little later the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby came into the conversation and The Keith’s had seen it. Emily, my daughter, had seen it and told me about this part. The prayer scene about Sweet Baby Jesus. The Keith’s were laughing so hard and telling about all the different ways Will Farrell’s wife talks about the different Jesus’. There’s teenage Jesus, Carpenter Jesus, etc… I have to go see this movie.

As we are heading down the highway a sign on the side of the road reads: “Infant Jesus of Prague”. It was a sign for some church like the Sainthood of the Infant Jesus of Prague meets here. It was almost too much for the Keith’s.

Then we were talking about the different names of the Oklahoma towns and there was a sing for Lotahwatha Road. 2 seconds later we rounded the bend to see a big lake. Yep, there was a lotta water!

Next stop was around Ok City at the Burger King for a quick lunch break. Jenn was walking around checking off who was here and making us take numbers for going to the bathroom. “Do I have you’re phone number?” “Why, ya going call me in the restroom to be sure I went?” HA! We all LOVE Jenn Shaw! She earned the nickname Momma by the end of the trip.

Next stop was going to be Wichita Falls!! We’re off and running and see Patrick on the side of the road at an exit and on the phone. We had a map and buzzed by laughing at them. We knew they weren’t in trouble and Jo, Jenny and Patrick probably had some wild discussion about which way to go. As we head south the excitement is building! So much so that we go through a toll booth and short the guy a quarter. Patrick and the fast girls get ahead of us. Crud! Then Keith takes off and says we need to put some distance between us and the toll booth. I start seeing visions of being in a Texas jail and it’s not pleasant! HA! To make it worse, I noticed that Keith’s tag was expired back in June. He laughed and said, now you tell me. He got his June tag last December. We all just laughed. My Daddy told me I would spend eternity in Hell if I ever let my tags expire. So we get them early. I know…you nerd!

We got to see one of those dust devils spinning out in the farmlands. That was cool.

A little later you could tell we were getting close! Bikes on lots of vehicles all headed south!

We were on a toll road and stopped at the service station island in the middle of the road. I saw one of the guys I met the afternoon before at Arkansas Cycle and Fitness in Sherwood. They had a HUGE RV with a SUV behind it. Now that’s traveling in style until he told me this was his 3rd stop to fill up.

KM came out and said, “Geo go take a photo of the men’s restroom door.” Ok, what’s the catch here? He just said go see the door and take your camera. It’s a road trip and I’m up for a few wild memories go I go it and walk back there. I bust out laughing because the icon of the man has his legs crossed and holding his self like I gotta go bad! I raised the camera and shot the photo and right then the door comes open!!!! The guy just looks at me and I turn real quick like and b-line to the front door and hope I never see him again! HA! The Keith’s bust out laughing! Pigs!

One the road again and we get to Wichita Falls! We have a debate about these grand falls as you enter town. OK, all the creeks and rivers are pretty much dried up but oh no, there’s a huge water fall of pretty clear looking water cascading down these rocks. It’s fake I say. No, it’s the Wichita Falls. Ok ok whatever…

We get to the hotel parking lot and get out of the car and everyone just sort of stands there looking thunderstruck! OMG!!!! It’s HOT. I mean some serious hot! Really, later we found it out was a record breaking heat day! Even when I went to bed on Friday night the Weather Channel was flashing 96 degrees. I really did feel like you were standing in front of a big fan blowing really hot air on you.

I got my key that John and Diane had left for me at the desk and got my stuff put in the room. We had a suite that was really nice and it gave J&D some privacy as well. I think they’ve reserved it for next year as well.

We finally found the room that John Martin and KH would share. It was up the stairs, around the corner, down the hall. KM was going to leave his bike in their room since he was staying with an air force friend in town. KM also rode his bike down the hall. I joked about them have illegal sprints down the hall in the middle of the night.

Met up with everyone and we walked about a block to the convention center to get out numbers and goodies. Man, thousands and thousands of folks everywhere. The line moved quickly but it stretched all through the corridor of the convention center. I saw the booth for Pickle Juice Sports drink. I was given a Snickers Marathon by one of the vendors. I love those things! We got our numbers then moved into the trade show to get our shirts and shop. There were vendors from everywhere. The Orbea guys from North Little Rock were there. I left the show with just my goodie bag.

I walked outside and around to the side because I saw the Toyota United tents. I didn’t know they were coming. It was all blocked off and no life in sight over there. I then browsed the Specialized and Cannondale tents. Nice folks. After that I saw a tent with folks gathered around and a guy was cleaning a bike. There were a dozen bikes that were spotless laying on the ground beside the tent. It was Purple Passion Lube guys. This guy was a riot and told us all sorts of tricks to clean your bike. I had gotten one of the free samples while I was in the trade show. Plan to stock up on their products. As I was about to leave he told me if I would bring my bike over he’s clean and lube it for free! Cool! I was going to have to go get my bike and take it back then get back and get it again later. That just sort of made me nervous since I wasn’t sure where we’d be at what time and I could just see him packing up and leaving.

As I was walking back to the hotel I saw Jose out by his red Sram Volvo. I said hey to him and he said hi and we shook hands and chatted a moment. Folks needed him to check their bikes.

When I got back to the room John and Diane were there. We hung out a bit waiting for dinner time, a pasta dinner at the hotel. John went in the bedroom and came out with a guitar and played a few tunes. It was awesome!! They all had to do with “love” and “my baby”. He would belt out the tune and look right at Diane and she was reading the handout paper about the event and she wouldn’t look up but she would be smiling. Folks, these two really do enjoy life and each other. She later asked me if I watched the weather channel as much as they do? I told her I was a weather channel “Local on the 8’s” sort of guy. She said her and John have danced to the background music. I believe her!

Dinner time! Pasta everywhere. I had 2 plates of it. We had a table and 3 firefighters from Dallas joined us. Nice guys. One was going to race the course tomorrow. That’s serious insanity!

Everyone returns to their rooms pretty early and start getting things in order and checking bikes for the big ride tomorrow. 4:50 a.m. was going to come early and no one ever sleeps that well in a hotel.

Nite nite y’all!

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