Day 79 – Sunday, August 17, 2014
Today was moving day from Alexandria to Minneapolis. My original plan was to take the Greyhound to the twin cities. Sandy, my wife’s friend from college, would pick me up from the bus station and drive me to the Double Tree. Doing it that way, I would have arrived at the hotel in Minneapolis shortly after noon. But I found out that I had an offer for ride from the daughter-in-law of Coni McKay. I called Coni, then she called me back later and said her daughter-in-law would be contacting me to tell me what time I could expect to be picked up. She thought it might be sometime around 2 or 3 o’clock, or later. I told her that checked out time was 11. Coni called the front desk to request a late check out for me.
Fortunately, my wonderful friend Linda was working the desk. She checked the registry and determined that not all of the rooms would be needed for the night, and I could stay until my ride eventually got there. She also reminded Coni that I would be there through lunch and was wondering what arrangements would be made for me.
Coni said she would pick something up and bring it to me. Linda found a menu for the restaurant Conni was going to, and I ordered fettuccine alfredo. Coni dropped the pasta off with Linda.
Jessie, Coni’s daughter-in-law, called to tell me that she was meeting with some family, and wasn’t sure when she would be at the hotel, but gave me a time range. Sooner than I had expected, Jessie called me to say she was stopping for gas and then picking me up. She arrived in a few minutes. Linda and I said our goodbyes, and we loaded up my bags in Jessie’s car. Jessie told me her two year old son, Noah, was sleeping in the back. He slept until we stopped in heavy traffic outside of Minneapolis. Noah whined a little bit, but for a two-year-old he did extremely well.
Jessie was a delight to talk to. She said that she would contact her friends in a running club to see what she could do about getting sighted running guides for me. We arrived at the Double Tree around 5pm. We brought my bags into the lobby, and Jessie took Noah to the restroom so she could change his diaper. When they came out we said our goodbyes, and they left.
The desk clerk, Carlos, was extremely kind and helpful. He checked me in, and brought me to my room. I called Renee to see if I had any rides or appointments today or tomorrow. It was not looking good at all. I had no one to run with, and tomorrow I would be going to another hotel. Moving for me is a very arduous task. There is nothing smooth about it. It is very inconvenient to say the least.
I suggested to Renee that maybe I should just skip Minneapolis and go to Eau Claire, WI on Tuesday morning. Renee said she would keep trying to get the ball rolling in Minneapolis. She said already had spoke to a lot of people who said they would try to help, and sent out a ridiculous amount of emails. She said she tweeted and posted on our facebook page that we were desperate, and also called in our secret weapon to help, Nellie Degan back in Jamestown. I don’t usually know much of what goes on behind the scenes, but sometimes I find out after the fact.
As Renee and I were talking, I told her that I was getting a call from a 701 area code, and wanted to find out who it was. I switched over to the other line and it was Nellie. Nellie is an organizing superstar, and began telling me about all the people she would call in the morning to get things up and running in Minneapolis. We had a lot of laughs reminiscing about our time spent together in Jamestown. Like when we went to the Chinese buffet, Nellie helped me load up a plate with a huge mound of food. Once I was seated with my plate in front of me, Nellie kept bringing more plates, until I sat with four full plates of food in front of me. She made sure that I consumed as many calories as humanly possible. She did the same thing at the Pizza Ranch. I told her how much I liked mashed potatoes, so she loaded up a plate with an extremely large volcano of mashed potatoes and gravy. We are so lucky to have met her. She always is eager to help us with anything we need, and she really goes all out, and gets results. I have learned a lot from watching her in action. She really doesn’t take no for an answer. During our phone conversation, Nellie said that she will be there for us when we need her for the rest of this run.
After talking with Nellie I called Renee back. She was on the other line with a woman who could drive me to a track tomorrow, so she conferenced me into the call. It turned out to be Michelle’s sister Theresa. I ran with Michelle Friday morning (Day 77). Theresa said that she would pick me up from the hotel at 9:15am to take me to a track. She said she could pick me back up and bring me to the other hotel, so I could check in, after noon.
Theresa hung up and Renee and I talked about how things might pan out in Minneapolis, about how great it is that we can call Nellie for backup, and that she would be making things happen tomorrow.
I decided to head downstairs and get something to eat, but as soon as I stepped into the hallway I realized that I could not remember where they put the elevator. I called the front desk to ask if somebody could assist me to the restaurant. The woman said “Yes of course! And I have found your Facebook page. I am deeply touched by what you are doing.” A few minutes later a young man from Ethiopia named Abee (pronounced A B), knocked at my door to escort me to the restaurant. Abee has been in the States for two years and joined the National Guard so that he could go to college. Seems like a smart move. Abee waited on me, and after I ordered my food, he brought me a large plate of freshly cut up fruit including strawberries, blueberries, and grapes. He said there was no charge for that. After eating, he escorted me back to my room.
1422.48 total miles ran
$4880.93 total funds raised