This was the big day. The one I planned my trip around...The Warrior Dash! Sunday started as normally as you would expect it to, if you're into crawling through mud and leaping over fire. Any day when you're not decorated in pink and/or skulls is a day wasted in my book!
Seriously though, after JoAnna and Holly got decked out in their Team BadAss/The Pink Ladies costumes (can I call it a costume when I would actually wear it??), we loaded into vehicles and hit the road for Lake Elsinore. Holly, JoAnna, Ryan, and I were in Holly's car, while Holly's parents followed us. Ryan was pretty insistent that we play Go Fish, and I finally gave in. Once I realized we were playing by Ryan's House Rules, however, I had to put a stop to the shenanigans. Instead, we took some lovely photos with my camera:
After a brief moment of temporary displacement, we made it to the Dash site with moments to spare. Holly and JoAnna made a run for packet pickup while I grabbed Ryan and waited for Dan and Mary Ann to join us. I was worried the ladies would miss the starting fireburst, but they made it just in time!
I knew we wouldn't be able to see them again until the very end of the run, so we spent some time people-watching. It was neat being there as a spectator this time, because I knew what to expect....
I can't decide if this guy is more Captain America or Captain Underpants, so I've decided to call him Captain UnderAmeriPants.
Dan planted himself near the finish line while I wandered toward the fire obstacle with Ryan and Mary Ann.
Ryan was antsy to see him mom and kept calling for her. Still, he was very well-behaved and stayed with me while I kept watch as well. Apparently fluorescent pink shirts were quite popular with runners on that particular day, and every time I saw two people in pink I thought it was Holly and JoAnna. No. Nope. Not them. Unh-unh. Not yet. Is that them? And then finally, it was.
JoAnna is crawling down the cargo net while Holly is going over the top. I love this picture because of the guy posing next to Holly.
Their leaps of faith over, it was time for the final obstacle: MUD!!
Ryan and I had been running the rest of the field with them, trying to take pictures the whole way. I was able to get this one of Holly and JoAnna holding hands across the finish line:
Awesome job, ladies!!
JoAnna's husband Mike surprised her and was at the finish line as well! It was great to see the surprised look on her face when she realized he had taken off from work and was there to cheer her on.
Soon it was time for a bath!
Afterward, Dan and Mary Ann said their goodbyes and left for home. The rest of us decided to head over to Chili's for a celebratory meal. It was nice, relaxing after the day in the sun (and the mud!) before driving back home for my last sleep in California. First, though, we had another stop to make: Charlie Brown Farms.
This place is part circus/part flea market/part convenience store/all crazy. It has a crazy eclectic mish-mash of statuary, trinkets, candy...everything.
Eventually we made it back and JoAnna left for home. Holly spent the evening removing mud from herself while I packed for my flight home the next morning. After I woke up Monday and got ready, I said goodbye to my wonderful hosts, Dan and Mary Ann. I was truly grateful for their hospitality and couldn't have surprised Holly without their support.
Holly and I left for the airport, but we had one last thing to do before we got there. A few years ago there was a car commercial (Honda, I think?) in which the auto maker created a 'musical' road for you to drive over and listen to. Being a big fan of all things quirky, I had to witness it myself, since the road was in nearby Lancaster. Enjoy!
And that was it. Aside from boarding the plane and flying away, my trip was complete. I surprised my best friend. I met her parents. I got to know her home state through her eyes. I enjoyed myself! I got to watch her run through a muddy obstacle course and prove to herself that she had it in her to succeed. I was proud of her then and continue to be now. I had an amazing time in an alternate universe. And while I missed my own family and was happy to be reunited with them, for a few days I got to be a part of her family, where I will forever feel loved and welcome.
Holly, I love you babe! You are awesome and I am grateful to call you FRIEND!!