The Pits: Fairly rough night of sleep in The Compound. I woke up around 3:30am CST to run my mile (turned out to be 1.5 miles around the Ridgecrest campus). Race workers were out, getting ready for the race. They kept saying, “Good luck today!” I didn’t have the heart to tell them I wasn’t running.
The Peaks: The one good thing about the Ridgecrest dorms, aside from the low cost,
is that they are a perfect location for the start of Downhill at Dawn. Traci was able to walk right out of our room and join the starting line for the race.
I got the boys up, grabbed coffee at the Clouds coffee shop on the Ridgecrest campus, and headed to the Old Fort First Baptist Church, the finish line of the race. All of the NRCers seemed to be in good spirits and had a really enjoyable race.
I took the boys across the road to get donuts for their breakfast. 2 minutes after they ate the donuts, they asked when we were eating breakfast.
We went back to our room to rest and clean up, then met the gang (Alexanders, Watermans, Ellers, Underwoods) at Trailhead restaurant. Traci got the standard burger and Highland Gaelic Ale. I got the Gulley Creek tacos and People’s Porter by Foothills Brewing.
We split up with the group to go hiking at Lookout Trail, which was frustratingly difficult to find. You want to get on Lookout Rd and eventually end up parking here. From there, you basically hike straight up natural steps until you get to a point where there are no natural steps and you have to climb steep rocks to get to the top. The family stopped when we ran out of natural steps, but I continued on further to the tip top. I enjoyed a peaceful, immaculate view until I heard Weston yelling “Dad!” from ~50 feet below.
We came back to our room and rested. I had a bit of a freakout when I realized we were all out of water. We were sorely underprepared for this trip, and there was no place to easily buy water and food. I walked to a nearby vending machine to get some water, planning to use my last 2 dollars on 2 bottles of water. I put in one of my dollars, punched the button for the water and was alerted that the machine was all out of water. Of course. To top it all off, it was a fucking Pepsi machine, no Coke, so I had to settle for a Diet Pepsi. I got a little ill with the family when I returned, because no one else seemed to care that we were all about to die of thirst. I stormed out the door and walked to the Clouds coffee shop. When I got there, I grabbed the last 3 bottles of water they had and walked up to the cashier. She rang up my order, and it was at that point I realized that I had left my wallet in the room.
I calmly put back the water bottles and had a very introspective walk back to our room. My family knew not to make too big a deal out of this. We loaded up into the car and headed straight for a Dollar Miserable, where I instructed Traci to get the biggest bottles of water that they had. She returned with 6 big bottles of water, which saved our lives.
We next stopped at Lookout Brewery, which was our least favorite brewery experience. I got the Belgium Pale Ale and Traci got the Dark Town Brown Ale. They were okay, but there’s better beer to be drunk.
We had dinner at Dark City Deli. Traci and I had the Turkey and Bacon paninis, brussels sprouts and sweet potato fries. It was alright, but this would be my least favorite dining place of the trip.
We walked to Ale House, where we met up with the NRCers to watch the Pred v Penguins game. We took over an entire section of the restaurant and stayed late into the 3rd quarter. We finally left when the score was 5-1, Preds.