Monday, August 9, 2010

I have a vacation coming to me, what to do with myself...

A week long vacation means different things to everyone. Some people go to the family camp. Others head to Martha's Vineyard, the Hampton's or for the coast of Maine. For one family and friends, vacation means something totally different, and I have to be honest, I kinda like it.

This weekend started out just a bit chaotic. We got up at the butt crack of dawn to get to Cape Elizabeth for the Beach to Beacon, Nichole had to be there and ready to go at 8:00 AM. I plan to go over the race tomorrow in greater detail, but for today, just know that my wife rocks! She got her best time on Saturday and had a smile on her face the whole time. I am so extremely proud of her, she is an amazing woman, and I want to congratulate her again on a job well done. After the race we were heading over to the Flynn's for some poolside lounging and some finely grilled meats. On our way we had to stop and get some adult beverages for us, and something for my little monkey to swill on as well. I figured the 7-Eleven on the way made sense and pulled in. Nichole quickly tells me to go in, because there is a group of 7 people on bicycles standing right outside the door, she didn't want to be covered in sweat, having just run a 10k, then grabbing a twelve pack of beer. Since I have no shame, I was fine going in. I am greeted instantly by the bicycle gang. Apparently the "kind fellow" behind the register inside was actually a complete horse's ass. Not only would he not let one member of the group use the bladder relieving facilities, he double charged them for their water and threatened to call the police on them for supposedly using the bathroom in front of the gas station. Now, I don't know these people at all, never met them in my life. I do feel as though I am a good judge of character, and they seem like super nice people. If they don't think the guy inside is a nice guy, I'm going to take my business elsewhere, no skin off my back.

After they convince me to go somewhere else, they tell me a little about themselves. Apparently, they had peddled up from Long Island, New York, making stops along the way to check out new sights and sounds. They are also handing out green bracelets, much like the Livestrong ones made famous by Lance Armstrong, to nice people they meet during this adventure. Because I decided not to make a beer purchase at the 7-Eleven, instead taking my business elsewhere, they quickly decide to give me a bracelet. After sharing some laughs and snapping a quick picture, I wish them luck and jump back in the car and we are on our way. What a crazy few minutes I thought to myself, but the idea stuck in my head. I retold the story to everyone I saw the rest of the day.

Fast forward to about 9:30 that evening. I'm exhausted from a long, great day. I just finished up watching Mike Doughty at L.L. Bean and wanted to stop into Buck's Naked BBQ to see Nichole and let her know that I was running home to let the dog out and clean up a little before coming back in to pick her up at closing time. I climb down the stairs and round the corner into the Juke Joint and I am quickly greeted as if I was Norm walking into Cheers! One guy at the bar, followed by a half dozen others at a nearby table all yelling "MARK!". I'm going to be honest, I'm absolutely confused. For a minute I don't have a clue who any of these people are and it's written all over my face?! Suddenly, as quickly as the confusion set in, I realized who all my new fans were, it was the bicycle gang from 7-Eleven that morning down in Portland! What, in the hell, are the chances?! I mean, seriously, I am a little in shock that the very same people that I had met, by chance, earlier that day, gave me a bracelet and chatted me up were now standing in front of me at Buck's in Freeport. Crazy! Next thing I know I am sipping on a beer (thanks guys!) and listening to all their adventures, which included the cops finding them. Apparently the gas station guy had a giant hair across his ass, as he did, indeed, call the police. A total of four cop cars show up and realize they are no threat and are quickly chatting with them and joking about the whole situation.

Apparently, it all started a while ago, when dad decided he wanted to take his son and a friend on a bike ride from Long Island up to Boston. The son loved it and couldn't wait to do it again the next summer, and the rest is, as they call it, history. The idea is to bike to a different destination each year, while trying to spread out the invite to include more people. What a great concept. There is no better way to see the sights than to be a part of them. Everyone in the group had great stories to tell about places they had stopped along the way, and raved about meeting so many wonderful people too. Nichole and I were so happy that we were able to not only run into them once, but really connect with them and get to know a little about them. Honestly, I am still shaking my head in disbelief that we ran back into them. I'm anxiously looking forward to connecting with them in the future and learning more about their travels. It was great meeting you guys and I hope our paths cross again some day. I'm just saying...