Morning run in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
We went, as I mentioned, to Coeur d’Alene to visit Wilma and also cheer friends in the IronMan. It was a perfect (though long) day for one. The water was cold as it always is (56 degrees, I heard from Wilma). It stayed sunny and mostly cool until around 3 or so, when it climbed to 85 degrees. Not much humidity at least.
Brian got some good shots of the “age groupers” getting into the water for the swim. We got up at 4:15 in the morning to head downtown to see this. Can I mention that I am 100% certain that I see 4:15 a.m. much more often from the other side of the night (just about to go to sleep rather than get up)? If the swim start were any less cool, not a chance I’d be able to make it to there.
First in the water are all of the Pro IronMan competitors (I don’t have any pictures of this – I was meeting an IronMan to hold his iPhone and end-of-night stuff). About 45 minutes later, the “Age Groupers” go into the water.
(Brian took all of these pictures as I was not entirely awake. Click on the images to make them larger. I have even larger versions of these on my computer, but I figured you didn’t want to wait for them to load.)
Everyone stands when the national anthem is sung, and it’s so brilliantly early in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. And then the gun goes off and the first few people dive into the water. Chokes me up.
While watching this, you just see this solid mass moving through the water rather than individual swimmers. It seems like suddenly there is some mammoth creature swimming through the lake. Michele tells me that there are some people who want to be in the front when they dive in, and some people hang back so they aren’t in the middle. She tells me that it’s not uncommon to be kicked in the face, and people end up with broken jaws and bruises. Yow. They swim 2.4 miles, which takes about an hour and a half. The kayaks are in the water so the swimmers don’t get outside of the race course, which is marked by the buoys.
This year, most of the pictures we took were of the swim. Last year, we had a million and one pictures of the bike riders, but I was too busy cheering them on this year to snap shots. My hands were swollen for two days due to the amount of clapping! I couldn’t even get my ring off that night.
Other things that happened – our friend Dean was hit by a drunk driver on the bike ride portion of the IronMan. The man was on several drugs and had also been drinking. Despite a helmet that had been cracked in half and severe damage to his bike, Dean finished the last 35 miles of the ride and went on to complete the IronMan! I still think he should get an extra medal for that, I mean, who does that? Who gets into a bike-vs-car drunk-driving collision and then finishes an IronMan? (He’s alright, just bruised).
I got to see most of my friends finish (they all finished, it’s just remarkably hard to spot these athletes, man, it turns out they are quick!). We were out cheering people on and helping until almost 12:30 so it was a crazy long day. Very fun though, and worth doing if you are near one.
I will take a few minutes to write about the Merners visiting and IronMan Coeur d’Alene and how Wilma is, but having only a few minutes, I wanted to type up a few things before I forgot them again. Some probably of interest to you, and some not so much.
First the “not so much for most people” – Wilma remembers hanging out with Corwin and his sister Agnes. Corwin was a well-dressed man, but often quiet as he had a stutter. Neat to hear about him, as one of my very favorite collected pictures is of him.
I grew up going to Coeur d’Alene to visit family. In the summer, when we were kids, Bill would take us to Hayden Lake where we would swim in its icy waters (but soooo clear! And felt good on a hot summer day). Gretchen and I would swim out to the landing, where I’d regale her with stories of the whale shark, largest shark in the whole world, which was fresh water. She’d be out of the water so quickly Bill would swear she ran over the top of it. I was a mean older sister, if Gretchen hasn’t told you that yet.
Wilma mentioned this last time but I forgot to write it down so that I remembered it – she said that no one knows how deep Hayden Lake is. Neat!
And also on the interesting end of things – she said the natives in the area, the Schitsu’umsh (also known as the Coeurs d’Alene people for which the area is named) would not go near Hayden Lake. They stayed close to Coeur d’Alene where they fished and hunted, and other areas around there, but they would not go near the lake in Hayden. I can’t find any internet information on this, but I think it’s really fascinating and I will need to look into this more.
Off to accomplish stuff, have a beautiful summer day.
We had an awesome Easter. We packed up the car and drove down the Gorge through Oregon, up through Washington and over to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where I have family.
We made a spinach and mushroom lasagne for Easter dinner, and I made garlic bread from scratch. I discovered that I’ve been cooking on electric ranges for so long, I don’t know how to use a gas one. I accidently lit the garlic bread on fire, which was startling. Brian had to extinguish it with a hotpad (sorry Wilma!). Other than that faux-pas, dinner was good, and the wine and coversation were much better.
It was so fun to take a road trip at this part of year. The Gorge hold such a special place in my heart – I’ve had family up and down it over the past few centuries, so I’m always imagining what it looked like when so-and-so lived there.
On the way out, we noticed a weird sculpture place just off I-90, so on the way back we stopped and took a look. I put some pictures up on the flickr account of the whole trip, although I noticed I didn’t take too many pictures in Coeur d’Alene (was enjoying talking too much, and we didn’t go too far outside because of the snow and needing to get home).
We will head back there hopefully before this summer, although when Gretchen and her kids come to stay with us, we will drive back for a weekend so that Gretchen’s kids can meet Wilma and Pat & Debbie. I told Brian that maybe we could go swimming in Hayden Lake, which is a mountain lake where I swam a lot when I was a kid. It’d be fun if my niece and nephew were able to do that too.
On the way back, we decided to drive along the Washington side of the Gorge. It was a great decision, although there is nowhere to stop to grab a bite to eat (lesson learned, we skipped dinner that night). It was soooo beautiful, and strangely different from the Oregon side.
We were winding along the road in the rain, when suddenly it stopped. We came around the corner and there was the most beautiful rainbow I’ve ever seen. Brian thought he was going to hit it, it was so big. He swerved a bit. Luckily, there was a spot to pull off, and he dove for it. As we were taking pictures and admiring it, about 10 cars swooped in, and people ran up, looked, and got back into their cars and left. Brian and I stood there for at least a half hour watching the sky change and the rainbow become a double rainbow. Really a remarkable view for Easter.