Vacation sure got off to an interesting start.
On the way out of town, we were driving toward Clarksburg on U.S. Route 50 and every so often we kept running across people riding bikes. Each rider was accompanied by a van.
Despite doing my best to try and figure out what was going on, I finally gave up on getting to the bottom of the story.
As luck would have it, though, fate decided to intervene.
Per one of my usual stops, we took a break at Bridgeport hill to fill up the tank and then head toward the Maryland line and the basic halfway point to Baltimore, which is Cumberland.
However, when we pulled into the gas station there was one of those elusive vans like we had passed on the way.
Wanting to figure out what precisely was going on, I took a closer look at the van and noticed it was the Race Across America (RAAM).
Obviously, since there happened to be a racer out stretching, I decided to strike up a conversation.
I ended up meeting Joao Lin, who since most people can't correctly pronounce his real name goes by Johnny. That's what he had listed on the van as his name and he told me it just worked better for him that way.
The racers, in this case a four-person team, were out to finish their near 3,000 mile journey from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md., doing so in less than 10 days.
Not allowed on interstates, all the racers took old scenic U.S. 50.
The riders competing as teams of four rode for an hour at a time and then rested until it was their turn again. But that's only during the day. At night, those racers pedal for two hours at a time.
Needless to say, the experience was a lot better than blowing my correct destination path to my sisters as I ended up on the other side of the city. The best news about that is I found a beautiful golf course called Turf Valley. Unfortunately, the golf clubs were not a part of this segment of the journey.
That's what the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles game turned out to be this past Sunday afternoon as nothing came close to us in the front row of the right field seats.
Those were located right behind Oriole Nick Markakis and the Reds right field spot, which was vacant regular Jay Bruce. To the disappointment of a few Reds fans I conversed with, they couldn't believe it when I told them he wasn't in the lineup as a designated hitter either.
Only later did we find out Bruce was out of the lineup because of a 24-hour flu bug.
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org