I had prayed for rain all summer as my plants shriveled up in the hot, dry summer, but the rain didn't start until Friday, the day we were to leave for the camping weekend. Joel was the first to leave. He was going up early to hang controls for the Canoe-O, but due to work and slow packing he didn't get off until after 3pm. I waited until my daughter got home and packed then the rest of us took off at 4pm. I figured I wouldn't hit the worst of the traffic, but I was wrong and the easy hour long ride turned into 2 1/2 hours with the rain and the Friday traffic.
I had hoped that Joel missed the worst of the traffic, but he only arrived about 1/2-hour before me. He set up a couple of controls, but it was getting dark and we left the rest for the morning. We were going to sleep in our tents as usual, but the rain never let up. We decided to stay in one of the lean-tos Friday night, sharing it with the Federers. I don't think any of us slept well that night. The rain didn't let up until 1am in the morning and it was hard to sleep through the noise of the rain on the shelter roof.
Joel and I woke up early to a beautiful sunny morning and ate a quick breakfast and went out to hang controls. I took my bike and did the rest of the land controls. After hanging the second control I saw the most beautiful sight, mist rising off the lake in the early morning light. I went back to the pavilion to get my camera to take pictures if there were any more good views. Ben came riding along with me. The next half-hour I spent mostly taking photos. I hung the controls but they were no longer the focus of my bike ride.
The family spent the rest of the day running courses and working the Canoe-O. Ben and Beth went out on the white course (1.5km) and both came back with quite good times. Joel did the brown (3.1km). He wasn't very happy with his run, but still posted a respectable time. I was going to convince one of my kids to come out on the yellow course with me, but Beth really wanted to do the orange. So we went off, with Beth in the front navigating for us. It is a good learning experience for Beth walking the orange course, but we didn't break any speed records. I made sure she didn't get too lost so we would be back in time for dinner.
Every year, UNO holds a competition for the Couple's Cup, which is given to a team of two family members who run the fastest combined courses. Contestants must run the course appropriate to their age group and scoring is based on the speed (kilometers per hour). Ben and Beth started competing for the Couple's Cup last year, when they came in third. This year the combined time of the white courses they ran Saturday morning were good enough for first place. So we now have a large award on our fireplace mantle.
Every year the award is brought back to be claimed by the next winners. Sometime during the year the winners have to add something to the award. All sorts of different things have been added in the last four years, a nail, a control on a stick, a piece of map. I wonder what we will add to it this year.
UNO puts on a Saturday supper every year. This year they brought the hamburgers, hot dogs and appetizers. Everyone else is expected to bring a salad. I chopped up the Gould contribution, not quite a salad, but close. I bring lettuce, tomato and onion to put in the hamburgers every year. Every year I don't bring enough even though I bring more each time. Then we all waited for the food to be served, eating appetizers while we waited. The food was yummy as usual, though I ate too many appetizers and wasn't very hungry for all the salads.
Then it was time for the vampire-o. This is a night-o with a twist. There were 8 vampires out in the woods. If they shined their light on you, you had to give up your control card to them and you become a vampire. Joel and Ben went out as a team and did quite well, only getting tagged by a vampire once (though it is more fun the more you are tagged because being a vampire is fun). Beth went out with the Meeks. I stayed in the pavilion and helped set up the s'mores for dessert.
After all the ghouls came back, the awards were given, including my kids favorite prize, the lightsticks. All the kids get lightsticks and vampire teeth. Our kids decided to save them since it was late and they were going to sleep right away.
Sunday morning was another beautiful sunny morning. We were preparing for the relay. Our team was Gould's Desire. Joel (on orange), Ben (on white), Beth (on yellow) and John (on green). I didn't run as I was working the canoe-o. But the relay was set up to go right by my table and I got to watch as the finishers ran in. Joel made no mistakes on his course. Though he doesn't run it was still a solid time. Then Ben went out. Ben got a little lost, but found himself in not too long, so his time was decent. Beth had side cramps so walked the whole yellow course which took quite a while. While Beth was out, the winner of the relay came in. The pressure was off John. He knew we couldn't win. But we were rooting for him to make up some of the time that the family had lost and give us a decent showing. This was not to be. John says he got lost and didn't reorient until he found the lake. We think he was just hot and wanted a swim. The good news is we got photos of most of our team finishing.
All good things have to come to an end. We had a great time as we always do. Thanks UNO for a wonderful meet.
This web page (http://www.gouldhome.com/Pawtuckaway99.html) was last updated on December 19, 2001.
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Contents copyright © 1999-2003 by Joel and Daphne Gould.