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<span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;">Days 1-15 of the VRAA #6 blog can be found here:</span></span><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><a href="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/showpost.php?p=491374&postcount=3" target="_blank">http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/sho...74&postcount=3</a><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;">Days 16-25</span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;">of the VRAA #6 blog can be found here:</span></span><a href="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/showpost.php?p=538688&postcount=75" target="_blank"><span style="font-size:xx-small;">http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/sho...8&postcount=75</span></a><br><br><i><span style="font-size:xx-small;">(Report by mmoonptdeux)</span></i><br><br><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:small;"><br><b><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Day 26 - Day 29: End In Sight(s)</span></b><br>
The days were ticking by. All VRAA #6 competitors, from the battling first place teams to those farther back, knew that the end was in sight, and more focus was concentrated on the myriad of the everyday sights and sounds that greeted these fitness stalwarts over the miles.<br><br>
Famed Route 66 saw Team J members pull into Gallup, NM on Day 29 and welcomed with open arms by the El Rancho Hotel, which was the headquarters for many Hollywood western movie shoots from the 1940s thru the 1960s. IEH4Meals & Apple were taken with all the memorabilia in the main lobby; meanwhile, Captain Billy and riley0003 made a deal with hotel staff which allowed team members to stay in rooms where the stars once stayed, including Jane Wyman, Jackie Cooper & Ronald Reagan.<br><a href="http://www.theroadwanderer.net/66NMex/images/NMElRanchoHotel.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://www.theroadwanderer.net/66NMex/images/NMElRanchoHotel.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
Team K created quite a stir at the U.S. Canadian border on Day 27 at Sweetgrass, MT; cars freely honked as they passed thru the checkpoint once they realized that folks like Sisu and WTPJ were camping right alongside the freeway. One-and-a-half days later, the folks of Blackfoot, Idaho, stirred to life when word got around that team members like fatmantrying and CactusTri were fueling up at Martha's Café, home of one of the rarely seen but easily spotted Uniroyal Gals.</span></span><br><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:small;"><img alt="" src="http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/images/id/IDBLAunigal_horwick3.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
Up in Northern California redwood country on Day 27, the folks who make up Team L couldn't resist a free ride offered by the operators of the Skunk Train when they decided to set up camp in Willits, CA. The trip and bunking for the night featured catered barbecue that knocked the socks off of members like lyndenrunner and aphigirl01; the slow train ride thru the serene hillsides and forests proved to be soothing to the tired muscles of the hard charging L'ers, including "e", eccabex, and Calliope<br><a href="http://www.skunktrain.com/images/skunktrain2.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://www.skunktrain.com/images/skunktrain2.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
Team M on Day 26 got a bicycle escort through the college town of Davis, California, right before they savored the taste of some fire-grilled native bass and a scenic campsite along rugged Route 128 along Lake Berryessa, about 40 miles northeast of Napa, CA. Cgerber, cidersock, and Tamster all ooh'd and ahh'd as they got to see the eerie looking Glory Hole, built to handle excess storage behind Monticello Dam, do its thing with the recent spate of rains inundating Northern California.<br><a href="http://www.trophybassonly.com/26a6ff30.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://www.trophybassonly.com/26a6ff30.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
Most people wouldn't voluntariliy choose to soak in radium…unless you're the members of Team N and you're next to Radium Hot Springs, on the border of British Columbia and Alberta on your way to Calgary, AB, on Day 28. Aija, JohnnyB, and wyrillco were just a few who enjoyed the 100-plus degree mineral spas, and kimbro said it was the perfect thing to help overcome the bug that had been the literal bugaboo the past couple days. This seemed to rejuvenate the team as they forged forward to the edges of Calgary by nightfall.<br><a href="http://www.pleiadesmassage.com/photogallery/images/RHS5.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://www.pleiadesmassage.com/photogallery/images/RHS5.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
What's Poutine? Well, if they weren't familiar with it already, folks like Flounder, L Train and Shuffler were invited to try it out as they and their Team O mates dropped by the Bugaboo Creek Grillhouse and Beverage Co. in Kamloops, BC, for some food & brews on Day 29. The team later on reached Salmon Arm, BC, where the double I's (Ice Cream and Indy) almost took up a dare to dive into the chilly waters of Lake Shuswap from their specially chartered houseboat courtesy of VRAA officials.<br><a href="http://www.bcadventure.com/twinanchors/houseboat1.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://www.bcadventure.com/twinanchors/houseboat1.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br></a></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:small;">Between their trek through the winter-cooled baked plains of the eerily beautiful Death Valley and the beautiful vistas of Yosemite National Park, the residents of the tiny town of Bishop, CA gave the members of Team P a surprise reception. Courtesy of the fine staff of Erick Schat's Bakkery on Main Street, a feast original of Sheepherder Bread and other goodies had team P members like crazyfrog, techgoddess, and runninirish raving as they pulled in to camp on Day 27.</span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:small;"><a href="http://www.erickschatsbakery.com/images/esbakery.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://www.erickschatsbakery.com/images/esbakery.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
trail_runner of Team Q must've felt at home on Day 28 of competition at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls, MT, a facility dedicated to detailing that duo's pioneering exploration efforts of lands acquired in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. Indeed, the center's staff members seemed very tickled at the feats of fitness folks like Flounder, fbgrrl, and Cashmason were putting forth as they were making their own paths through the countryside via the VRAA.<br></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:small;"><img alt="" src="http://russell.visitmt.com/images/categories/photo_lcinterpcenter.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
Day 27 saw Team R's members doggedly making their way through the rugged Canadian Rockies. They camped for the night huddling for warmth inside a cabin within the realms of Glacier National Park, between Kamloops and Banff along the Trans-Canada Highway. Recent add-on LEEMBO34, KyKy, Tithers, and Captain runninINnyc all agreed that everyone had never had tastier marshmallow smores than that cold night in the rugged Canadian wilderness.<br><a href="http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/glacier/images/a-GlacierCircle.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/glacier/images/a-GlacierCircle.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
Most tourists come up from the Grand Canyon via the US 180/State Route 64 from the south, but on Day 29, JJJessee, alan fletcher, and monikam of Team S all knew about the grand opportunity to visit the North Rim first courtesy of the VRAA course before heading to the more tourist-inundated/familiar South Rim, where most of the viewing is done. From the Grand Canyon, the team headed south where muzicgrl and bard73 enjoyed the quick and kitschy visit to the wacky, seemingly out of nowhere Flintstone's Bedrock City theme park in Valle before continuing their workout routines toward Flagstaff.<br></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:small;"><a href="http://z.about.com/d/honeymoons/1/0/k/5/x7gc.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://z.about.com/d/honeymoons/1/0/k/5/x7gc.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:small;">Captain Marathon Princess relished day 28 of the VRAA, as her Team T would be crossing back into Canada a second time, though some 2000-plus miles away from her normal climes. Vancouver proved to be a terrific workout area for her group, as chosha2002, originalsuds, and Hanging Jury enjoyed landmarks such as the Lynn Canyon Park Suspension Bridge and enjoying the areas famed dim sum restaurants before heading their way out to town of Chilliwack (a Halkomelem word that means "quieter water at the head".)<br></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:small;"><img alt="" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/24/Lynn_creek_suspension_lores.jpg/200px-Lynn_creek_suspension_lores.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br></span></span>
 

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<b>Moon</b>: I gave your post it's own thread for all to see better. Thanks for the final report from the road.
 

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<b>moonie</b> - these posts have given this VRAA round its own very special feel. Thank you! Your writing has been wonderful!!!
 

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I'm going to add my comment here that I made before roots moved your post.<br><br><b>moon</b>, most excellent reporting! I've thoroughly enjoyed the reading, as has everyone else. Thank you for that. And that freaked me out, reading your first paragraph for Day 29 because back in 2002 I briefly lived at the El Rancho when I worked in Gallup for a few months. The photo really took me back! The addition of the pictures just adds an entirely new element to your reporting. I never knew you were a photojournalist as well!
 

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You must have spent an enormous amount of time planning and writing these for us. Thanks so much.
 

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<b>Joe</b>, I just loved your reports. Thanks for posting them and showing us your creative side. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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<span style="text-decoration:underline;"><b>Day 30-31: Winners Declared, but True Winners All<br></b></span>The weekend came. The final points cascaded in furiously. Officials toiled as they tallied the deluge. Checks and double-checks were made to assure the finality and quality of the count.<br><br>
And in the end, Team J's steady doggedness took the top spot and Gold Medal position; their heated rivals, Team S, hung in there to earn the Silver Medal. In a tight three-way battle for third, Team K eked out the Bronze Medal over Teams N and Q.<br><br>
But as it turned out, all teams, no matter where they finished on the course, were worthy of praise. As teams reached the end of the race, eleven separate team powwows broke out across the Western United States, and all eleven worthy of celebration. Every member knew that they had accomplished quite a bit, not only on a personal level but also on a team basis. New acquaintances and perhaps friends were found, new levels of physical prowess and fitness were achieved, and already new thoughts of VRAA #7 had entered people's minds.<br><br>
With race markers and aid stations were broken down by the multitude of volunteers, VRAA staff arranged to pick up everyone from their final locations to bring them back to Salt Lake City. After all, the supplies that were stored at Team N member Solitude's place for pancakes, french toast, eggs, and all sorts bacony goodness weren't going to waste if everyone could help it.<br><br>
As all participants sat down and feasted on the hearty eats, a story started spreading about a strange meeting out in the state of Nevada somewhere by some unknown VRAA #6 team and a lone truck driver. Strangely, every VRAA participant denied that it was their team who made this mythical encounter, but deep down, everyone sensed that it did indeed happen. And everyone felt as time ticked onward in its incessant juggernaut manner toward the future, this story would become a legend, that would grow in stature as future generations of participants followed in what has become a legend in its own right - the Virtual Race Across America.<br><br>
Thanks for reading everyone - I've had a lot of fun reporting on you all, and I truly hope you enjoyed your VRAA experience. And without further adieu, that VRAA story/legend-to-be, with a little help from the Man In Black, Johnny Cash (cue guitar)...<br><br><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><br><i><b>I'VE BEEN EVERYWHERE (VRAA Style)</b></i></span><br>
A semi came upon a VRAA team on a long dusty Winnemucca road<br>
The driver looked out the window behind a canvas covered load<br>
If your goin' to Winnemucca, guys, with me you all can ride<br>
The team said thanks, but we'd all rather run outside<br>
The driver said what about all this frickin' dust and sand<br>
The team said, "We're VRAA, and we've hit every road in this land"<br><br>
We've been everywhere, man<br>
We've been everywhere, man<br>
Ran through deserts bare, man<br>
Core-work in mountain air, man<br>
Miles we've had our share, man<br>
We've been everywhere<br><br>
We've been to:<br>
Reno<br>
Provo<br>
Peterburg<br>
Lordsburg<br>
Kingston<br>
Boston<br>
Greenville<br>
Brockville<br>
Laurel<br>
Slidell<br>
Tempe<br>
Biloxi<br>
Indio<br>
Toronto<br>
Arlington<br>
Hamilton<br>
Davenport<br>
Gulfport<br>
Abbotsford<br>
Hartford<br>
Moline<br>
Eugene<br>
Surf City<br>
No need for pity<br><br>
We've been everywhere, man<br>
We've been everywhere, man<br>
Biked hard over the land, man<br>
And swam along the sand, man<br>
This is part of the plan, man<br>
We've been everywhere<br><br>
We've been to<br>
Tucson<br>
Houston<br>
Charlotte<br>
Lafayette<br>
Fernley<br>
Tuskegee<br>
Schulenburg<br>
Healdsburg<br>
Burlington<br>
Hopkinton<br>
Pocatello<br>
Amarillo<br>
Raleigh<br>
Truckee<br>
Canmore<br>
Baltimore<br>
Carson City<br>
Salt Lake City<br>
Pueblo<br>
Socorro<br>
Tijuana<br>
Ensenada<br>
Bridgeport<br>
All for sport<br><br>
We've been everywhere, man<br>
We've been everywhere, man<br>
By elliptical machine, man<br>
Weightlifting was our thing, man<br>
This is our workout fling, man<br>
We've been everywhere<br><br>
We've been to:<br>
Napa<br>
Omaha<br>
Gautier<br>
Santa Fe<br>
London<br>
Jackson<br>
Gastonia<br>
Philadelphia<br>
Durham<br>
Bellingham<br>
Pinole<br>
Montreal<br>
Livonia<br>
Catavina<br>
Camden<br>
Methuen<br>
Denver<br>
Chester<br>
Tacoma<br>
Atlanta<br>
Ann Arbor<br>
Windsor<br>
Hard work is what it's for<br><br>
We've been everywhere, man<br>
We've been everywhere, man<br>
35 states we did go, man<br>
Four provinces we now know, man<br>
And to Baja Mexico, man<br>
We've been everywhere<br><br>
We've been to<br>
Elko<br>
Winslow<br>
North Platte<br>
Chilliwack<br>
Laramie<br>
Crowley<br>
Royalton<br>
Washington<br>
Sonora<br>
Corona<br>
Emmett<br>
Joliet<br>
Eureka<br>
Opelika<br>
Bellmawr<br>
Del Mar<br>
Ogallala<br>
Mississauga<br>
Brooklyn<br>
Lincoln<br>
Palm Springs<br>
New Orleans<br>
Kerrville<br>
We got our fill<br><br>
We've been everywhere, man<br>
We've been everywhere, man<br>
The VRAA was great, man<br>
Better go before it's too late, man<br>
The next one we can't wait, man<br>
We've been everywhere<br><br>
We've been everywhere<br><br>
FIN
 
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