A single woman on the road to Ironman

— 6 minute read

While digging through my "office" for a notebook I could use for my crochet designs, I found my travel diary from my summer Ironman roadtrip. You see, I trained for my first Ironman triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) this past year and took a road trip to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho to compete in it (by "compete" I mean "attempt to finish"). I thought I would share a small excerpt of my single-woman travel misadventures for your enjoyment...

I'm sitting next to the campfire I just made in Yellowstone. I was complaining to myself about being bored - mostly because of the horrid weather - so I decided it was about time to start my travel journal. Here it goes...

Dallas #

Fresh off my business school 5-year reunion trip to Boston, I hastened to get ready for the big road trip in time. Alas, in my scramble to gather tent equipment, sleeping bag, cookware, etc., my iPhone somehow ejected from the car, then turned and flipped in slow motion until that glorious finger-printed glass face was facing downward at the immediate moment it made contact with that lovely decorative fake cobblestone my apartment complex installed to beautify the premises. While it has taken many a beating, my iPhone decided this was the last straw and gave me a wonderful web of cracks all over the glass face. Oh joy and happiness. I spent the next hour on hold to talk to someone at the Apple Store in Dallas only to be told that they could not look at it today but helped me set up an appointment at the Apple Store in Denver in a few days. New trip destination!

So, after a bit of a late start, I did get on the road toward my first destination, Palo Duro Canyon. On the way, I happened to pass through:

Iron ranch sign saying Turkey, Texas home of Bob Willis on a farm
Turkey, Texas - I took a photo for all my Turkish friends
Weathered desert mesas with red and yellow soil and green desert plants
Caprock Canyon - very pretty and nearly deserted. First encounter with massive biting flies who do not even flinch at a whiff of DEET
Highway exit sign for Happy, TX
Happy, Texas - if only happiness were always so easy to find

Palo Duro Canyon #

Palo Duro canyon panorama view
I arrived right at sunset. She greeted me with a gorgeous canyon panorama in the changing light... as well as a swarm of those amorous biting flies.

Apparently Palo Duro Canyon is home to a bunch of wild turkeys as well - and I'm not being figurative. They like to loiter around the campsites though just like the other kind of wild turkeys though:

Turkey loitering around my tent

My first morning I went for a bike ride and short run. I quickly discovered that I had to maintain a speed above exactly 11.0 mph to stay ahead of the biting flies. They seemed particularly enamored with my thighs and buttocks. If only all men were (sigh).

The sucky weather in Yellowstone is putting these annoying rain drops all over my notebook. Anyways...

Despite the flies, it was a gorgeous ride through the canyon - one of the prettiest rides I've ever had. I even managed to make it half-way up the canyon rim switchbacks before I decided the downhill would get a little too scary and turned around. Needless to say, my run consisted of a few normal steps before metamorphosizing into a crazy spastic woman waving all arms and legs in my effort to ward off the flies. God help the other tourists understand that I am not a crackhead.

My next excursion was the lighthouse trail - one of the classic rock formations shown in photos of Palo Duro. It was a hot one, but the scenery was magnificent. I love the colors of the desert and Palo Duro certainly has a pretty palette. Something about the extreme colors and extreme heat inspires me.

"Driftwood" on the lighthouse trail with canyon rims in background

Later that day I continued my training plan by going into town for a swim. However, the storm clouds started gathering and I rushed like a bat outta hell to get back to my campsite because I still had to figure out how to put up the rain fly - trust me to go on a mega-roadtrip without knowing how to put up a tent first. After a brief panic and several phone calls, all was well... except that it was to no avail because the rain never came and I spent one toasty night in that tent!

Sucky Yellowstone weather!!!! (raindrops on page) I guess lighting a fire is kind of useless if you have to spend your time in the car to get away from the rain.

Read Part 2...