It was a last minute decision. I suddenly found myself with 3 days off, so I decided to take off to Atlanta (I live in WV). I have always wanted to be a marathoner (in my younger days they didn't allow women in marathons) so I set off on my road trip with the goal of watching the Olympic Marathon.
I worked until 10 p.m. that night and as soon as I was finished I took off (that was back when I thought sleep was for wimps). I drove all night and I got to Atlanta at about 7 am the next morning. When I was about a 1/2 hour out of town I stopped at a rest area and I bought a newspaper and right there on the front page was the marathon route which was to start at 8 am that day. Perfect timing by golly.
I drove into town and I parked at what I estimated to be the 20 mile mark of the marathon. There were people celebrating everywhere and it was fun just to watch everybody. I was standing on the corner thinking about what I was going to do when I happened to look over about 3 blocks and I saw they had the road blocked off and people were packed behind the barricades. I decided to see what was going on.
I walked over and it turned out that this was the 1 mile marker for the marathon. The runners were just leaving the stadium as I walked up. I stood there cheering with the crowd as each runner went by until it was pretty clear that everybody had passed. Then I walked about 1/2 a block to a sports bar that had big screen tv's everywhere. They were serving breakfast (or whatever you wanted). I had breakfast and bought a couple of Olympic t-shirts and then I walked back to the 20 mile mark. I was just in time to see the leaders go by to do their victory lap around the stadium. I cheered with the crowd again until the majority of the runners went by.
Then I decided to go back home. I only had 3 days off and I was pretty broke if you want to know the truth. Billy and Lisa had gone down and they watched the women's gold medal basketball game (USA won). They had offered to take me with them (the tickets were $600 from the scalpers) but I didn't want them to spend that kind of money on me.
Here is the stupid part.
I have never seen the Mississippi River. I decided to go home by way of the Mississippi thinking it would only take me a few hours more. Boy was that a bad mistake. It took me almost 8 hours just to drive there (which is what it would have taken me to get home) and then I got lost! I hardly ever get lost but I was trapped in the maize of roads by the levee and I couldn't find my way to the river or out. I ended up in Millington, Tennessee and spent the night in a motel there. (my sister Rhonda was born in Millington) Then I drove up to Kentucky and the trip across Kentucky was at least 9 hours.
I made it back to work a day late. Oh well, it was worth it. I did afterall see an Olympic marathon and I got to dip my toes in the Mississippi River.