Getting to Norfolk is a mind-numbing drive from Houston. Thankfully, I planned a layover in Mandeville to see my son and wife, and the grandkids. The perfect way to create a little bright spot on an otherwise long and boring car trip.
Getting to my son's house before 2:30 PM allowed my daughter-in-law to pick my grandson up from school and take him to his piano lesson without having to wake up my granddaughter from her nap. I got to stay with Mimi, feed her a snack when she woke up, and then play with her for two delicious hours before others arrived home.
Tacos for dinner! Trevor opened his belated birthday present from me after dinner - a Lego set - and I read a couple of books to Mimi. Once the kids were in bed, we adults could talk about our plans to take the kids to Disneyworld.
Then the next morning it was back on the road for the long drive to Norfolk for my next race. Almost 600 miles to Greenville SC for the night, then another 400 miles or more to downtown Norfolk. I have never been so glad to be turning that SUV over to valet parking!
I stopped at the Starbucks across the street from the hotel and then walked over to the park to get my race packet. I expected more of an Expo, since that's what the race organizers called it - A Fitness Expo - but there was very little there. Just tables where the race packets were given out, and a couple of small canopies on the other side of the open space, one for Navy Federal and the other for USAA. Disappointing and good thing I didn't forget to pack something, as there was no opportunity to buy it here.
As I stood chatting with the Navy Federal folks, I noticed the jumbo screen on the front of the Naval Museum, which was showing images of Navy fighter jets landing and taking off. It was promoting their latest 3-D movie being shown in the Nauticus Museum. So I made the decision to visit that museum the next day.
A beautiful barque was berthed near the park and as I walked back to the hotel, I admired her graceful lines. She looked to be flying a Norwegian flag so when I returned to my room later, I searched for information on her on the internet. She's the Statsraad Lehmkuhl, here from Norway on a training excursion for Norwegian midshipmen.
The Nauticus Museum was on my mind the next morning. It's a beautiful building sitting on a point of land where the Elizabeth River forks. I paid my admission and took the self-guided tour through the exhibits on the second floor then walked across the gangway to tour the USS Wisconsin. It was warmer in the sunshine on her deck. She's a monstrously large Iowa-class battleship, highly decorated and now proudly berthed permanently at this museum.
Afterward, I stopped again at Starbucks and then walked down to a Subway sandwich shop and picked up a foot-long sandwich - half for lunch now, half for dinner later - and then returned to my room to drink my cappuccino, eat my ham/turkey sub, and watch college football for the rest of the day.
That evening I laid out everything I'd need for the race the next morning, got my Garmin watch plugged in to the charger, and hoped it wouldn't be too cold in the morning.
Tomorrow morning: Norfolk Freedom Half Marathon