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Day 3- The Infamous Falmouth Road Race

Start- Bay View Campground, Bourne, Cape Cod MA

End- Saco KOA, Old Orchard Beach, ME

Miles- 193.6

Total Miles- 570

We packed up most of our stuff the night before since we knew we needed to get out of camp early in order to get to the race and find a spot to park the camper. We were up and showered and out of the camp pretty quickly- before many others were around. Originally we had come here because Tom was going to work one of the splits for the race. We’d found out the day before that the race organizers had nixed the split and that there really wasn’t work for Tom. But as a visiting race official (he’s got certification in 5 areas of judging from USA Track & Field) we had access to the finish area and the VIP seating in the tent and Tom is always interested in checking out how others run finish lines and score events.

We quickly ran into traffic getting into Falmouth. One of the things about bringing 9000+ people in to run a road race is that they come with cars (and lots of other stuff). We had eyed a large parking lot not too far from the finish line the day before as a good place that had possible pull-through spaces. Once we got there, we realized we weren’t the only ones who had eyed that lot. It was full. So we found a building with an “opening soon” sign in the window and parked in their lot since it didn’t look like they could possibly open in the next few hours. We got to the finish line and Tenzin and I got settled in some chairs in the back of the tent. Tom went to sit with David and check out the scoring operation.

The race at Falmouth started back in the early 70s when a bunch of guys who had been drinking at a bar in Woods Hole decided to run to another bar along the beach in Falmouth. It happened to be 7 miles and after running it, they thought it would be a good race. Tom’s college landlord, Dave Douba, was the winner of the first official Falmouth Road Race in 1973. Now there are more than 9000 people who come to Cape Cod every August to run the race. It’s a nice course through town and then along the beach road.

Tom thinks that we were bored at the race. Not so. It’s just that Tenzin had settled into a nice nap on my lap with his head on my purse and I didn’t want to wake him or bother any of the spectators who were actually there to see people run. So we sat and read. After the race, I got a picture of the winner with Meb by the port-o-john. Nice. And we got to see Frank Shorter.

We got back to the camper and back on the road, thinking we’d have an easy time getting to Old Orchard Beach. We almost immediately got caught up in the onslaught of racers leaving Cape Cod. At an entrance ramp, a particularly rude driver cut me off without even looking. The woman in the car leaned over and waved and Tom realized that it was Joan Benoit-Samuelson and her husband and two girls. She had just run the race. (For those of you who don’t know- she’s a US marathon celebrity having won the NYC Marathon more than once) I hope her husband isn’t that aggressive when he’s driving his UPS truck!

We stopped for lunch at Panera, which is what we consider to be acceptable fast food so we eat there a lot. It also happened to have a lot big enough to get the car and trailer into. And there was a Trader Joe’s next door, so we were able to pick up a few things for our on the road pantry.

We got to the camp at Old Orchard Beach in the early evening. It was a KOA, so on one hand there is always an expected level of service and on the other hand there are always rules. Tom was immediately annoyed by the fact that it had a gate that you had to give a deposit for a keycard to get out of. And they had a “greeter” who took you to your campsite. I was just happy that he didn’t stay around to “help” me park the trailer. We got settled in and camp setup pretty quickly.

I wanted to go down to the beach and see the amusement park there, so we packed the dog into Blubaru and went. This is always a struggle for us because I love these cheesy old amusement parks as being reminiscent of my childhood and Tom gets sick at the idea of something spinning. We wandered through the park and I decided to ride the Matterhorn while Tom took pictures. We were unimpressed by the beach, but a little frightened by the size of the bleeding sea birds who seemed at least 2 or 3 times as big as the gulls at the Cape. Then we got in a little skeeball action. The woman laughed at us for taking a few minutes to decide on whether to get the deck of cards or bouncy balls with our tickets (we got the cards). We debated whether to stay and try to win the 250,000 tickets necessary to get an iPad (we estimated it would take no more than $600 worth of games to get it). But instead we headed back to camp and made mango chicken sausage with yellow pepper and israeli couscous for dinner.

Pics from today are here- http://bit.ly/czbzQu

Day 2- Circumnavigating Cape Cod

Start- Bay View Campground Bourne, Cape Cod MA

End- Bay View Campground Bourne, Cape Cod MA

Miles- 124
Total Miles- 376

Today we got a leisurely start. Tom went for a run while Ten and I strolled through the campground. Then we grabbed showers (had to get the marshmallow from s’mores out of my hair) and had oatmeal and coffee at camp.

We met up with our friends David and Jermaine who are in town from Detroit for the race. The four of us and Tenzin wandered through Falmouth and we sat outside at Laureen’s for lunch. Tenzin and I enjoyed some lovely chicken salad with cranberries (he’s nit as discerning about chicken salad as Tom and I are, but he enjoys it just the same). Tenzin was well behaved and sat on top of my shopping bag (he prefers to not sit on the ground)- note to self, take him a little mat. We were happy to hear that David had recently settled a difficult legal battle he has been going through with a former business partner.

After lunch we decided to drive towards Provincetown and check out some beaches and we meandered through a bunch of towns.

One of the interesting things we noticed about Cape Cod is the large number of bookstores. Every town has at least one little independent store and likely a used store as well. There are significantly more bookshops than ice cream shops which either says something about what these folks like to do with their leisure time or something about how many months of the year it is not ice cream weather.

Another thing we noticed about Cape Cod is that in Massachusetts they seem to like using “mouth” in place names the way New York uses “kill”. They have Falmouth and Yarmouth and Weymouth and Plymouth. We have Fishkill and Peekskill and Plattekill. Our kills were named by the Dutch for creeks. And from the map it is clear their mouths were named for round bays shaped like mouths.

We ended up at a beach out at the Cape Cod National Seashore. One with cliffs and a steep slope down to the beach. I was cautiously inching my way down the slope when Tom ran back and pulled me down the last little bit. We walked the beach and realized it was cold and rocky, but pretty. Back to the car and we drove for miles to find an ice cream shop. It was one of the best hot fudge sundaes ever and Tenzin totally enjoyed his vanilla cup. I started to worry that dogs might get ice cream headaches.

We got back to camp just before dark. Tom was dismayed to realize that the open air theatre where they had a live band playing loudly was on a cliff overlooking our camper. After we found out that the band would play till 10pm, I tried to convince him to just go with it. We have 3 weeks to talk to one another. One night of listening to the Klassics play Elvis covers won’t kill us. After a dinner of steaks cooked in our fire pie cookers and some pasta and snow peas and wine, he even did the big shoe dance on the picnic table. We were tucked into the Shadow by 10pm since we had to get up and out early in the morning to get to the race. We heard a weird noise and I got out to check. Our neighbors had a blender and were making margaritas. They partied much of the night.

FYI- our Internet access is somewhat sporadic, so I’ll post when we can.

Pics from today are here- http://bit.ly/ceTmXn