Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 1 - Living Proof

Day one started at 4:30 am with a chorus of alarms sounding in Falls Church Virginia.

Allison, Patti, Glenn, Chris and I got up and dressed and fumbled our way out the door. By the time we got to National Stadium, we joined thousands of people piling out in the dark, hauling bags to the luggage trucks.

The first of many porta-potties stood ready as we met up with Judi, Curtiss, Alicia and Barbara.
I headed backstage to get ready for the opening ceremony while the walkers took their place. The upbeat music had people hopping and dancing and getting ready to get going... Or ready to go back to bed. (It was early.)

But I was in the back...talking with the people with whom I would take the stage. I found my flag for Belief, held it first one way then another to be sure it would be held high and strong. I said a silent plea that I would not trip on the stairs.

And I met Sheri Philips and congratulated her on her new job. I asked her is she liked this new gig... and she said she was loving it.

Sheri went on stage and started the ceremony. Our cue was "We have among us living breathing proof of our greatest hopes. "

At that cue we walked two by two to the center stage, climbed the stage and found the spot for our flags, joining hands in a circle facing the crowd.

The walk up and the time in the circle were breathtaking to me. I thought about the 7 other women who stood with me, and their stories, their battles, their victories. I looked out at the thousands standing around me (with flashes going off) and thought about their stories. How many had lost a parent, a friend? Who held the hand of a chemo patient while feeling helpless? Which among them were battling cancer right then, and chose to walk anyway? And the whole thought was incredibly humbling and moving.

The final words were, "Survivors lead us to the route. Survivors, Walkers and Crew show that road what you're made of. The Washington DC 3 day begins right now."

Patty used her new I-Pad to take pictures and video. One day we will get those pictures off of it!

The first crew we saw on the walk were the folks handing out route cards.

Allison led the team out on the walk.

The walkers descended on DC.

The weather held. The forecast was for rain. I guess those heavenly pleas paid off.

Walking in the Nations Capital had its advantages.... Backgrounds most people recognize.

Alicia and Barbara

Team: Are We There Yet? Coast to Coast

By gosh, she looks like she owns this city...

In our Custom Ink shirts.

And there they were...our Coast to Coast Walker Stalkers. Don't you just love pink boas?

Here comes the team...

Pink, pink....

Patti and Patty

Walkers walking...

The whole tamale... minus Curtiss

This woman is walking from Arizona. Her husband was on the safety crew.

They shared a kiss at the corner.

Judi works for the FAA, so of course... a picture was in order.

That's my guy...

Mom and Daughter

Safety crew with style!

And so it begins... the rain...

Rain in Georgetown

Snacks at the pitstop.. in the rain...

Somehow this sign struck me as funny!


Wrong bridge?

Cheers in the rain..

I have to say sitting in the rain eating lunch is not all that much fun.. Ok its fun but not appetizing....

So we found a garage they opened for us to use at the Scottish Rite building.

Apples are better...

Even with foggy glasses...

Our stalkers found a Starbucks...

And we dried out a bit...

The rain didn't seem to bother this DC dog.

Or this sweet little cheerer handing out candy.

We found trees offered a little relief.

I took my foggy glasses off

People coming out on a day like this made the day brighter.

The rain started playing tricks letting up long enough for me to take off my pancho only to start again. The people along the way were awesome.

Walking in the rain...

All the way to Maryland!

Through a tunnel

Down the streets... To a pitstop where we took a bus to camp.

There we looked a little like drown little walkers.

The camp was muddy and our decision to stay at the hotel seemed the right one. In fact the idea of not being able to change clothes or dry out led us to head back to the hotel before seeing the camp show.... or eating dinner.

The good news was I knew some people who would take us out!

So we headed back to the hotel...

Wet and proud to have finished day 1... They saw 20 miles ( it was a little less but the rain added made up for it I think!)


Wrinkled toes...

Dry clothes...

We went out to a Thai restaurant and enjoyed Jazz and Pad Thai....

Came back and dried my insoles...

Went to bed to be ready for the 5:30 bus to camp.