From Oak Ridge – Day 4April 20th, 2014 at 10:50 pm by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
Easter Sunday night. Everyone one else has turned in and once again I’ve come to the Krystal (fast food restaurant) to log onto the internet. Right now, I’m the only one here (except the 3 employees). Oak Ridge is a friendly town. When I first showed up tonight, I got a table and sat down. I sneezed and the people at each of the tables next to me said “God bless you.” I’ve been here at the Krystal 4 nights now…the staff here is very friendly. You order at a counter and they bring your food. I left a buck last night and today the same guy thanked me a couple times. They must not get many tips. He actually deserved more than that. He asked me a couple times if I wanted a refill on my Diet Coke (unlimited refills on drinks – including a fill-up when you leave…so get the small size and keep getting refills – no need to get a bigger size). Once AGAIN, I’m not in the place 15 minutes and up comes “Wrecking Ball” on the music that plays nonstop here. Fourth night in a row. Oak Ridge is full of scientists and the non-scientists seem to listen to country music mostly. I don’t think “Wrecking Ball” would be at the top of the Oak Ridge request line.
So, Easter Sunday! What a great day we had! The weather was perfect, mostly sunny – cool, about 40 in the early AM and low-mid 70s in the mid-late afternoon. We got up and like we have done for so many decades…we had juice/coffee and mom’s wonderful homemade German coffee cake. I can’t remember an Easter without it. Then off to church, which was about 95% full. Lots of music – good message – I noted that the mothers had made an effort to make sure their kids were looking nice. Then back home for the traditional mom’s brunch/lunch of eggs, ham, peas and carrots, rolls, both scalloped and sweet potatoes…and some Easter chocolate.
After lunch, we did the dishes, cleaned up and then got in the SUV and drove about 45 minutes to Frozen Head State Park. The park is known for the Barkley Marathons, an unusual ultramarathon event that has been held every year in the park since 1984. Competitors run a 100-mile (160 km) rugged course and a 60-mile “fun run” (which is harder than Hardrock) over 60 hours, in 20-mile (32 km) segments that each must be completed in 12 hours or less. The course is unmarked and goes over very rugged and brushy terrain. Entrants must complete an essay on “Why I Should be Allowed to Run in the Barkley”. The race starts at different times each year and (this is Tennessee) starts with the lightning of a cigarette. As of 2014, only fourteen competitors have ever finished the race!! In 2006 nobody finished even the 60-mile ‘fun run’ in under 40 hours. The best women’s achievement is Sue Johnston’s 66 miles (106 km) in 2001. With 54,200 feet (16,500 m) of accumulated vertical climb, the 100-mile run is considered to be one of the more challenging ultramarathons held in the world. In addition to running, competitors must find between nine to eleven books, the number varies per year, and remove the page corresponding to the runner’s race number from each book as proof of completion. More than 30 competitors failed to reach first book (two miles) that year (the race is run in late March or early April and the trail can be muddy, even icy. I’m going to nominate Julie (daughter one), Merrick and Laura V. for the race next year. I’ll even give them a flashlight.
It’s a big park (24,000 acres) and we went hiking. My mother made it about 1/2 mile up the trail to see DeBord Falls (see pic.) (I figure it was named after Terri DeBoer and they just misspelled it). A few people actually got into the cold water and splashed around at the falls. My brother-in-law and I hiked another half-a-mile up to Emory Falls (higher, but less water). All total, I probably hiked about 4.5 miles. The wind was calm…there were LOTS of wildflowers in many different colors and quite a few yellow (Swallowtail?) butterflies…one of them came up right in front of me. We stayed until about 7 PM, then went home for dinner and board games. We played something like “take a pickle” (forgot the official name). We were allowing everything if you’re familiar with the game and laughed hysterically at some of the stretching to make a card fit. Then a game of Dogopoly, which we didn’t have time to finish (my sister is really into dogs, cats…rescuing dogs and cats and helping the local Humane Society). I somehow managed to get around the board nearly twice without being able to buy a property. By the time I got my first property, each of the other players had at least four properties. Eventually, everyone turned in. We start for home tomorrow PM…back to work on Weds. Great trip so far…no rain (though I don’t mind rainy days) and at least partly sunny each day.