Monday, October 4, 2010

When a walk is a home run..and when a city commits an error


When we woke up, there was a little puddle of water on the edge of the tent. My bandana which was hanging off my fanny pack had gotten damp and my shoe laces were soaked. I opened up the flap of the tent to see a dense dense fog laying low on the grass.

The start time for this day was 7am and I wanted to be sure to be off as soon as possible. There were some fine people waiting for us in Mill Valley and I didn't want to be one of the last ones to arrive at their cheering station. We ate our meal of potatoes (tolerable) eggs (ick) fruit and had a cup of camp coffee and off we went.

Into the fog...

You think about the people who came from distances anxious to see the Golden Gate Bridge, and I was somewhat disappointed for them. On a personal level, I felt like geezzzz it is going to be cold walking across that bridge. The weeks before the walk had been unseasonably hot, so this change in the weather was extreme.

But everyone put on their gear and headed out with good spirits, anxious to get to Marin and see what awaited them there.

From camp we walked through some of the bunkers upward to the bridge.

And along the trails in a grey haze...

Finally there is is (I think). For those people who have "bridge phobia" (and there are people like that), it was a blessing not to see below them at all. It was like walking on a cloud.

Some of the Warming Hut Hotties were there to send us off on the bridge walk.

And some much welcomed cheerers.

I am getting good at the arms length portraits! Here are Allison, Katie and I on our bridge cross.

Some of the safety crew were strategically placed along the way.

And a welcome sight -- people cheering at the Marin County line. In the fog and that is dedication!

And so is this.

I promised these walkers that there would be sun in Marin....

Katie's walking like she knows there will be... blue skies soon.

Allison and Patti full of confidence.

Moi! recreating my crossing.

Allison's button for Kathi crossed the bridge.

The Hookers welcomed us to the land of Sally Stanford.

After crossing the bridge we wound our way down the hill to Fort Baker.

Patti and I at the base of the bridge. We own this bridge!

A few supporters waited as we came into the next pitstop.

One of the highlights again was the Coast Guard. These great folks posed with hundreds of women including me and Patti.

Cavallo Point.

The 3 day people asked us as we left the pit stop if we wanted to carry one of the flags. We smiled and said no thanks. My shoulder was already killing me... But I wish it wasn't I would have loved to carry a flag.

A small group of cheerers outside the Discovery Museum.

Love the dog with the bandana.

Heading up East Road we came to several groups of cheerers.

The little kids are the best though. So bright and enthusiastic.

People were trying to find the best way to make noise with their thunder sticks!

Wren, who had a nasty cold, stopped at Starbucks and had 6 lattes waiting for us. Patti couldn't wait!

And then as we left East Road we came into the "quiet zone". We had been told that there were complaints when Avon walked through earlier in the year. Lots of stern warnings were given of how if we made any noise, anywhere in the city limits of Sausalito we "would not be welcome back." I could go on and on about what I feel about this, but suffice it to say.... I disagree.
The Breast Cancer rate in Sausalito is the highest in the entire county. Marin County is one of the highest in the nation. If that isn't reason to make noise nothing is. For years women were asked to sit in the background and take their circumstances quietly. This is one woman who is not ok with being quiet about Breast Cancer. This edict from the city of Sausalito cast a pall over the group that turned our walk through the town into almost a funeral march. 1400 women and men are left with the feeling that Sausalito doesn't care. And certainly made us feel unwelcomed. Sausalito does not wish to be disturbed. All along Bridgeway we passed hoards of tourist bikes, hundred of road racing bikes, crowds coming in from the Ferry. Does Sausalito only want to be disturbed for profit? As a Marin resident, a long time member of a Sausalito club, owner of a boat that is berthed in Sausalito, I was ashamed and embarrassed to hear people say that they will never return to Sausalito. I promised them that when we got to Mill Valley things would improve. But I think Sausalito did themselves as much a disfavor as they did these dedicated warriors.

But there were a few quiet supporters along the way. But as we walked through the downtown area past stores that had given us support in advance of the walk, we followed instructions and kept walking without raising our voices.

The one place where we heard some noise was Dunphy Park where there were some cheer leaders. I thought... shhhh, they might hear you!

Further on the outside of town a few people didn't get the memo.

THANK YOU for being there in Sausalito.

Some of the supporters would do silent clapping to give support. Silent cheering... but the safety folks kept on smiling.

Bunny was at the 2009 walk, I was glad to see her there on top of her bike.

At Gate 6.5 Paul Bergeron had Arizona Ice Tea and MLS listing sheets of the houseboats he sells.

Then I could see it... the APR tent in the distance with Mount Tam behind. I told the people around me the "quiet zone" was over. Time to make some noise, we were in Mill Valley now.

And my business family was there, handing out beads and candy to the walkers. All with bright smiles and eager support.

I was so proud of them!

The whole team was.

They brought little supporters too!

And a lot of smiles to the walkers.
The signs said "We are walking with you!"

Susan Gordon did a great job helping to organize the turnout.

The walkers kept on coming. I think my APR folks thought they would have too many necklaces. I believe they ran out! 1400 people take a long time to walk from the Presidio to Mill Valley!

Monica Bi and her friend dressed in pink to cheer us!

Everyone including the SJ police were grateful.

And as we walked further along we found another cheering group near the lunch stop at the Middle School. They had Ibuprofen and bandages, beads and ribbons... They brought their children and had pom poms and lots of pink.

And signs!

I was thinking what a contrast to Sausalito and made me proud to be from Mill valley.

I could see my team coming up the path....

Albeit a little tired, at mile... 30ish.

Patti developed a pretty big blister. Cherise provided on the spot treatment! Yeah Cherise. Patti didn't even have to walk to the medical tent!
THE MEDICAL staff is awesome. All volunteer. All professionals.

Glenn didn't particularily like watching the blister be lanced.

At this point in the walk the walkers are seeking medical more and more...
Heading back to SF I met our favorite crossing safety guy Bill. He always welcomes you to the crossing by saying "Welcome to my intersection!" Or "welcome to my crosswalk!" I said "Welcome to MY crosswalk" to Bill here, since this is where my office is! He asked if he could borrow it. By the timne I got back here the APR crew was gone and the walkers were still coming up the path from SF. I think the beads must have been gone well before the last walker passed by!

Patti stopped to thank Paul for being there as a representative of dock 6.5

Off we go!
A quiet supporter in Sausalito.

We stopped in Smitty's on Caledonia. Last year the bartender didn't want to let me in because he thought I wanted to use the bathroom. But our husbands were inside so I pushed in anyway. This year, he gave us decidedly unpleasant looks, as we bought a beer. What's up with Sausalito anyway?

But it was good to stop and visit with our guys here.

This cheering/supporting thing doesn' t look too bad!

When we came through the business district downtown Sausalito, we ran into Wren again.
Turning down East Road again, we were out of the quiet zone and heading into Fort Baker.

Thank goodness! People who can yell!

The cheer station here had several groups, some with signs, some with thunder sticks, some with goodies to give.

We made another stop at the Presidio Yacht Club.

And drank champagne and admired the view.

John was a good boy and dressed up for the occasion.

Down by the Coast Guard Station there was an old Mack Fire truck. It is a tourist thing I think. But the kids here are all dressed up in fire gear.

At the base of the bridge before the big climb, some spirited folks were cheering us on.

This hill is a fitting challenge toward the end of another 20 mile day.

The climb was made so much easier by the SJ cop who rode alongside us the whole climb. What a sweet guy. Perhaps he thought Katie was cute. Whatever it was I was so glad he was there!
At the top of the hill Bill escorted a walker the last few steps.
Katie headed toward the bridge, surprising me at how far she had come. She hadn't the chance to train prior to the walk. Her schedule and Seattle rain made it difficult. But here she is almost through the 2nd day... Her shoulder however dislodged itself about 1/4 the way across the bridge. Dana and Patti helped her the rest of the way across. When she saw medical later they said she hurt her rotator cuff.

Thank goodness for friends.

Katie wasn't the only one needing a hand.
Blue skies gone, were were back in the Presidio and the fog.

I had a shower in one of those great shower trucks and then joined everyone for wine on the team bench at the baseball field. A little red wine never tasted so good as after a long walk in the fog on a cold night.
That night they had camp night where the manbulance guys showed us how we were to fold up our tents. It definately was entertaining as they gyrated through the race to be first with the tent in the bag.
Men walkers were acknowledged. there were about 20 who stood up to be recognized including Dana, but when the announcer asked them to shake their booties and dance, Dana sat right back down.

Allison and I went to bed in time for lights out at 9pm.
Tomorrow will be the final day. In and around SF... will there be hills???? Oh yes there will be hills! Lots an lots of hills, after all this is San Francisco!