August 30 Sam arrived at Snoqualmie Pass after completing a 70 mile leg from Steven's Pass. Although he arrived several hours ahead of schedule, he also appeared to be limping and relying heavily on his poles. After peeling off his socks, Sam revealed his swollen ankle. His support team sprang into action with a steady drip of pasta loaded with cheese, muscle milk, and a dirty tepid water foot soak. After a phone call to his doctor, it was confirmed that Sam's ankle was NOT broken, but running dozens of miles a day would not obviously not help, not to mention, hurt. While pressure was mounting on, in, and around Sam's ankle, there wasn't much we could do but wait for any improvement and prepare for potential changes in the plan.
In desperate need of supplies, our RV caravan set out to find food, gas, and running water. Our venue of choice was a parking lot of a Chevron station/locally famous pancake house about half a mile down the road. Luckily for us, the pancake house turned into a bar at night, which we soon learned about when a friendly local knocked on our RV and invited us in for a round of shots. Like moths to a bluelight bar sign, we obliged. However, after Ben, Jeff, Marion, and I walked into the practically empty bar, immediately uncomfortable, and after the group of toothless men realized we weren't an RV filled with hot girls, I think both parties were disappointed. So we took a shot of Jack, chatted for a bit, then made an excuse to leave. I will say though that my omelet and hash browns at the very same restaurant the next morning, were amazing.
Hanging out in a gas station parking lot isn't as bad as it seems. Plus, the Chevron station had more resources to offer than we had most of the time, like flushing toilets and beef jerky! Sam's girlfriend Chloe flew up from Berkeley, bringing a frozen lasagna and cleaning supplies-both much appreciated, and the weather was warm and sunny, putting a bright spin on the littered patch of grass we were parked next to. During the two days we spent chez Chevron, we filmed John, Eric, and Sam, ankle propped up in Chloe's lap, as they convened to discuss Sam's injury and how it might affect the run. With one of the primary issues being the strict time schedule since it starts snowing in the Sierras in October, taking too much time off was definitely not an option. The meeting concluded with the decision that Sam would do the next 70 mile leg and see how he felt. At the next support point, John, Eric, and Sam would then have to make concrete and drastic changes, depending on Sam's condition.
That night, we set up some folding chairs and drank beers that we'd bought from the store twenty feet away. We talked in a dreamy, distant sort of way about the celebratory trip to Vegas at the end of all this, and later, Eric, Ben, and Jeff tossed a frisbee in the parking lot, as I cooked a chicken stew-thing that we poured over rice. Overall, the evening was oddly calm and pleasant. I had to remind myself that despite the good company and good food, we had become the creepy people who had made a gas station their semi-permanent home. I was even on a head-nod basis with the gas station employees and considered buying a coozy that said "Men are like blenders, you know you need them, but you don't know why." Yes, I had become too comfortable there and it was definitely time to move on. The next morning we woke up at 4 a.m. and drove back to the trailhead. After some brief jokes and hugs, Sam disappeared into the darkness, his bobbing headlamp the only light source. Now we all anxiously wait for his return so we can plot our next move.
Cecily "Crazy Legs" Mauran