Midsummer Night’s Dream

Midsummer Night’s Dream

Workout Date:

06/24/2022

QIC:

Quaker

PAX:

Rousey, Baggage, Jedah, Jambalaya (FNG), Flop, Penelope, CrossStitch, Billy Banks, Quaker(QIC)

The Thang:

AO: BombSquad

Conditions: Perfect

Well let’s begin by saying that when you Ruck 20 miles a lot happens besides just the Ruck. There’s laughter, fellowship, misery, triumph, bonding, quiet time, reflection, rejection, appreciation, doubt, determination, fulfillment, discovery, and myriad of other experiences. This Ruck, like its predecessor, had it all!

Sure it was a dumb idea (we apparently didn’t learn our lessons from the last Midnight Ruck Club excursion) . . .I personally blame Rousey for making us do it!

A few months after our last all-nighter ruck, Rousey (who missed it) kept begging YHC to lead another one. After constant badgering bordering on harassment, YHC finally gave into Rousey’s request and set a date (according to Rousey’s schedule) for this one.

Because we rucked for 18 miles last time, YHC set the mileage at 20 for this one. Likewise because we had one off road experience in the shire last ruck, we would have at least 2 off road treks to get hyped for this one!!

If the mileage was too much and/or the off grid experience to taxing, blame Rousey! Therefore if there are any complaints, it was all Rousey’s fault! All hate, nasty text, and angry looks should be directed towards Rousey!  Any praise, T-claps, or other accolades can still be directed to YHC!! (Thank you in advance for your cooperation).

When the call went out for hard commits, CrossStitch, Baggage, & Jedah jumped right in. Billy Banks was also “volun-told” (I think), too. (What better way for a 14 year old to spend his Friday night!!). Not only did Baggage commit, but he offered up an FNG (aka “Jambalaya”) for the event!!  In addition to being Jamablay’s first time rucking in 10 years, it was also his Birthday!! What a gift!!!

Although there was a lot of interest from additional pax, scheduling conflicts unfortunately made their attendance unlikely. Don’t worry though, if you weren’t able to attend we kept you in our hearts & minds (yeah, we talked about you).

But where there’s a will there’s a way and Flop & Penelope HC’d for a partial (7 mile) ruck. Penelope welcomed all takers for the 7 miles with 1 caveat, he wasn’t taking any “quitters” who HC’d for the 20 miler back to the AO . . .note this statement contained a ‘Jedah Clause’ implicitly embedded in the shadows of the penumbra cast by the specific language. More on that later. 

Once again, YHC was so excited for this event that I arrived at the AO at 8:30pm. Shortly thereafter a well-greased Penelope (who came directly from date night with his M after consuming 4-5 libations) and Flop arrived after dropping a 2nd vehicle off at the designated 7 mile mark. Next to arrive was CrossStich, who sported a very stylish tank top which coordinated well with his fanny pack, and Billy Banks, who was very interested in where we were going to eat (I still think CrossStitch tricked him into this ruck).

Rousey came rolling in with an extra ruck sac and long distance rucking sneakers which made YHC question my foot choice of Mac-Vs (which I eventually traded in for a pair of Brooks). Then Baggage arrived with a high & tight buzz cut & a take no prisoners attitude.

As we checked our rucks & made last minute adjustments, our FNG, Mark, arrived with about 5 minutes before the start. Introductions were made and we all agreed that Mark could not be given an official F3 name until after completing the ruck and the subsequent beatdown!! Talk about being FNG friendly . . .these guys (once again I blame Rousey) are brutal!!!

The 1 minute warning was given and everyone was offered the chance to back out now or accept their fate to embrace the suck! Everyone stood firm (except Penelope, who wobbled just a bit – but that was more likely from the drinks then from any doubts).

The following BackBlast is a weak attempt at capturing some of the magic that occurred during our ruck. Read on to find out what happened this time and next time don’t just read about it, join us!

9:00 pm – Ruck up & lets move!

Law Abiding Citizens

We got no further than the entrance of AO when we saw a familiar sight, no it wasn’t Jedah arriving late, it was a MB Police Cruiser sitting in the large parking lot (He must of thought this was a Catapult Event, J). Anyways we figured it would be best to explain to the officer what our group was doing (especially since Jedah was with us).

We selected Rousey as our point man to flex some FBI muscle on the officer as we waited for Jedah to park and join us. This initial interlude seemed to take forever!

After Rousey finished his detailed explanation, which no doubt included multiple acronyms, the officer was probably more suspicious of our true intensions then before the greeting. Although this should have bought Jedah plenty of time to join us, he was nowhere to be seen. He must have been thoroughly ‘prepping’ his ruck (#Don’tAskDon’tTell).

After 10 more minutes of waiting on Jedah, we collectively decided to commence rucking and figured Jedah with his aerodynamic body design could catch up!!

As the sun slipped below the horizon, we headed out of the AO & turned left down Carolina Forest Blvd towards Plantation Lakes.

Berm-a-Road

About a ½ mile down CF Blvd, we crossed the road at the entrance of Turning Pines then made a quick dog leg into Plantation Lakes and traversed the top of the berm which runs parallel to CF Blvd. This was done to get a little taste of the off road adventure that awaited us. After trekking 200 yds on the berm, we descended on to Armelise Drive, then onto Abingdon Drive before connecting to Shoreward Drive. We took Shoreward Drive past the round-about, the fountain, and the flags; up & over the bridge before turning left onto Juxa Drive for the next few miles. About half way down Juxa, we observed a creepy, burned out, abandoned Mediterranean style home, you know the usual PL establishment (#DetroitSouth). But that was not the only thing that was creepy along this stretch because as we continued to mosey down Juxa, we came upon a house party!

Girls, Girls, Girls

As we came up to the party, we joked that we need to try to sneak in for a drink or two (Penelope would be our point man for obvious reasons), after all we’ve already been rucking for almost 40 minutes!! Besides, I’m sure we would have blended right in!

Then the front door of the party house opened and a gaggle of high school girls spilled out into the driveway. At first they were like “ooh, boys wearing backpacks” then they saw who we really were (#Creepy) and began heckling us as we continued our slow pace past them.

After we passed them, we felt like we were in the clear, but the girls weren’t finished with us just yet. After a 10 minute separation from the party, the girls decided to jump in their golf cart & track us down to get one more good laugh at our expense. CrossStitch noted to Billy Blanks, that this is what awaits him next year at highschool!! We all had some good laughs as we neared the end of Juxa.

At the end of Juxa we turned right, went through a service gate and entered an open field. The open field turned into a service road which turned into a paved road (Revolutionary Drive) with Ten Oaks Middle School on the left and a new development on the right. We walked the newly paved roads in the community for approximately 20 more minutes, then crossed a silt fence and entered another open field. At this juncture, Baggage noted and CrossStitch confirmed that they had no idea where we were or were we were going.

Snake Chasers

As we crossed into the field, the headlamps were lit and I told everyone to be extra care because the last time I was in this field (which was last week & secretly BTW my first time), I saw the biggest snake I had ever seen!! As we rucked, everyone was on high alert. Little did they know that the snake I was referring to was the winding path that we were embarking on.

As we walked, making left then right turns every 200 to 300 yards, the Pax began to question what we were doing. They began noticing that we kept crossing over the same intersecting perpendicular path. Although I tried to convince them that they were obviously mistaken, no one was buying it. Just before they mutinied, we were off the path that snaked through the field and onto a new path through the woods.

Deep in the Woods

This wooded path meandered pleasantly through a few acres of county owned property sandwiched between the CF Rec Center and The Parks housing community. It was bordered on either side by a thick forest which gave the impression that we were in the middle of nowhere.

Flop was the only other Pax besides myself who actually knew where we were and that was great because it kept the other pax guessing as to how long it would take to find civilization once again.

Like the field path that I had only discovered last week in preparation for tonight’s ruck, this was only the second time I was on this wooded path, too.

The first time on the path was during the day & I rode it on my mountain bike in the opposite directions. Everything at night looked surprising different & I was a bit nervous about getting lost but who would know if we did??

I assured the Pax that I knew exactly where I was leading them, but this was a farce. Nothing looked familiar to YHC. As we walked, we talked and YHC increasingly needed to rely on his directional instinct. Along the way, we formed different sub-groups now and then, split up and reformed other groups. (Jedah Buffering). The conversations changed from flattened turtles, to walking dogs, to bear encounters, to burying bodies.

As we continued, I kept searching for a service road that would bring us out near The Parks, it was here somewhere, but somehow we missed it in the gloom. Along the way, we got turned around and began doubling back. The path began to feel a little familiar but not really. We kept pushing forward and eventually exited the woods near the soccer fields behind the CF library. At the library we took a ten minute break for water & stretching.

Time Travelers

Leaving the library, we walked towards the parking lot, up the exit and on to the paved hike/bike path which parallels CF Blvd towards Food Lion and the 7 mile rendezvous point. Our steps were light and our pace brisk as we enjoyed the harder surface below our feet. We were well on our way to meeting our goal of 7 miles by 11:30pm for Flop and Penelope. As we walk, YHC pointed out to Penelope the service road I tried to find from the woods and when we came to a stop light at the entrance of The Farm & The Parks, we crossed CF Blvd for the home stretch towards Food Lion.

Crossing River Oaks Drive we passed the closed Circle K (sorry CrossStitch no coffee for you), then walked through the parking lot passed Tavern in the Forest.

At this point, YHC suggested we stop by the Tavern and grab a beer (for the adults) and some pizza (for Billy Banks) but I was overruled on both accounts.  We continue on into the closed Food Lion parking lot and turned left towards Early Risers. It was at this point, that Baggage acknowledged that he finally recognized where we were. 

Early Risers

We made it! Well at least we made 1/3 of the ruck. Time for a group photo.

Before the photo we pressed pause for a few minutes for a snack and water break. It was at this time that Jedah forgot we were rucking with a 2.0 and began telling a rugby story about his youth and his coach’s use of the “C” word multiple times.

After pointing out the obvious to Jedah, we took a picture and learned that CrossStitch had to tap out due to hip issues and/or the Jedah Clause. Billy Bank’s disappointment in having to leave with his dad was written all over his smiling face!!

We said our good-byes to 4 Pax and as they loaded up the Flop Truck, the remaining 5 Pax rucked up to get on with the Full Monte.

20 Questions

The 5 remaining Pax were now locked into the full 20 miles, which at the time seemed like a breeze. Our aches and pain were still minor and our spirits ran high. We walked passed the Tavern and into the parking lot of SouthState Bank then through the parking lot of Area Storage. We exited the parking lot and continued south under the Route 31 Overpass and turned left onto Frontage Rd B-2 towards the Hulk, which Mark (our FNG) has never been to.

As we walked, Rousey led us in 20 Question Movie Trivia. Each Pax (make it take it) would think of a movie and the other pax had 20 yes/no questions to ask to discover the answer. This game continued down Frontage Rd to Boat Landing Rd. at which time we entered The Bluffs community. Rousey presented the first movie which took us 70 questions to answer but as we walked thru The Bluffs our questioning skills became much sharper and we began getting the right answers with only 3-5 questions!! ½ down Boat Landing Rd, I took the crew thru a narrow path out of the neighborhood and into The Hulk.

Celebration

We walked the service road through the center of The Hulk until we reach the pavilion in the parking lot. The time was exactly 12:00am which meant the Mark (FNG) was officially 36 years old!! As a celebration of Mark’s birthday, we had Mark call out an exercise of his choice for 36 reps OYO. Of course he chose Merkins with the rucks on. It was a very special moment!! After 5 minutes of mumble chatter and another picture, we continued on our merry way.

Into the Spider Verse

We began once again by heading down Frontage Rd towards the Battery. Just beyond the Battery entrance, we took a hard turn left off the road, lit our headlamps once more, and stepped into the woods. From the entry point, no defined path existed and the Pax became somewhat uneasy. Where were we going? After a few more feet, a single lane walking path coalesced out of thin air & enveloped us in mother nature. This path was completely different from the others we encountered thus far.

The scene took all of us back the our childhood adventures as the mumble chatter ran high (I have no doubt that Billy Banks would have loved this part of the ruck).

The one thing I did not account for on this leg of the journey were all the spider webs that stretched across the path at every turn. Being the vanguard, it was my duty & honor to walk through them all and clear a path for my fellow pax!!

Some of the webs stretched 3 feet across the entire path and were absolutely beautiful as they glistened with dew an reflected the light of our headlamps. It felt like we were in another world (maybe even another planet!! – that reference was for you CrossStitch). 40 minutes later, we exited the woods at the foot of the bridge that leads up & over the Intracoastal Waterway.

Over the River & Through the Gloom

Its simple, we went up the bridge, over the water, and down the other side. As we reached the top of the bridge, Rousey asked if we were going to hike along side the Intracoastal and if we were, he would need a short break at the base of the bridge.

Apparently the off road excursion that we just left stressed his knee and threw off his gait. “No problem”, there’s a bench on the other side by the Barc Park.

At the bench, we de-rucked, stretched, and regrouped.  We discussed our options and agreed that we would modify the ruck and head directly to the Circle K on 62nd street for a well-deserved break to get some Gatoraid & donuts. 

Refueling

The Circle K was open all night and about 1.5 miles away, so we slowed our pace and headed towards 62nd Ave N. The place was down-right busy. People were mulling around the parking lot, loitering near the gas pumps, and buying packs of smokes.

We didn’t exactly fit in. To call this scene ‘shady’ was an understatement! But we had no worries! After all our Pax consisted of a Marine, and Sailor, a Pilot, a Judo Master, & a guy who likes to write backblasts! What could possibly good wrong?

Looking back, we probably made the other customers feel as uncomfortable as we felt out of place. With our electorlites replenished & some health snacks in our bellies, we were ready to begin our trek back to the AO.

Course Correction

As we crossed Bypass 17 once more and headed back towards the YMCA, Rousey announced that now would be a good time to discuss the Q Source Chapter discussing correcting fellow brothers to make them/us better men. If you care for someone, it is your responsibility to correct them if they start to falter. We had some good discussion which made our time move quickly up & over the bridge.

Once on the other side of the bridge, Rousey requested taking a straight shot down Frontage road till it intersected with River Oaks. The knee was clearly affecting Rousey and apparently was contagious because Mark was hampered by knee issues, too.

Truth be told, we were all starting to feel the pain of our journey. Hot spots were forming on the souls of our feet & between our toes (It sure would have been nice to have some KT tape but that went home with an anonymous Pax at the 7 mile mark).

When we reached the Circle K on River Oaks, another 10 minute break was taken in the grass. We were somewhere between the 12-13 miles logged.  

A Walk in The Parks

After our brief break, it was time to head down CF Blvd towards BombSquad, but if we stayed on CF Blvd, we would be a few miles short of goal so at the 1st stop light, we turned left and I led the Pax thru The Parks. Just like the county field and woods portion of our ruck, this was only the second time I was in The Parks and my bearings were a bit off kilter not only because I rode it on bike in the opposite direction but also because of lack of sleep.

Hopefully we wouldn’t get lost in The Parks because who knows how long it would have taken to find our way out!!!

Along the way I definitely had to trust my gut instinct when we came to multiple crossroads. As I guessed my way through the streets, the Pax became increasingly suspicious of my hesitation and asked numerous times if I knew where we were going.

Although we all had our doubts,  they continued to follow me anyways. Nearing the end of the neighborhood, a red fox darted across our path. For all we know he was either stalking us or something was stalking him.

 Eventually, we ended up coming out of the community right on Revolutionary Drive exactly as I had planned it!

By the time we reached Revolutionary Drive, we gained some distance and had about 3 miles left to reach our goal.

Blue Light Special

It was time for another break. But as we began to relax, something triggered a blue light/emergency siren about 200 steps away. Nothing could be seen in the gloom! Was it the fox or something more sinister? (The Predator, maybe?) There was nothing around us; no one to wake up or hear our cries for help!!

We took some comfort in the fact that the Police would surely be paying us a visit to make sure we were safe, right?? but after the 3rd or 4th time having the blue light/siren sound we knew we were on our own.

So we did what we needed to do; some of us sat quietly on the curb, some surveilled to gloom, while others simply laid down and stretched out!!

This rest for whatever reason felt better than the last one maybe because we didn’t get picked off one by one or because we were only about 1.4 miles from BombSquad. Either way, everyone was re-energized.

Are We There Yet?

I don’t have much to say about this leg of the ruck. We kept our heads down and continued to trudge along CF Blvd. Knowing that the AO was just around the bend motivated us. A suggestion was made that we stop at the AO and end this thing with however many miles we had when we reached the CFCC parking lot. Rousey would have none of this defeatist talk. . . we came for 20 miles and hell or high water we were going to get 20 miles.

Reaching the AO, we agreed to take one last water/snack break. This break turned into an opportunity to lay down for just a few minutes. The voices in our heads were calling us to Never-never Land.

Besides who would know if we stopped at 18.5 miles anyway? WE WOULD!! and Rousey would not let us succumb. He ordered us up! And away we went.

Finish Strong

We headed out of the parking lot and onto CF BLVD towards 501. Baggage did some quick calculations and determined we needed ¾ of a mile out and ¾ mile back to get us our 20 miles. Lets just say that this was a long ¾ mile and the distance back seemed twice as long! Luckily we had a little AC/DC and ZZ Top to get us through it all. Arriving back at the AO we walked back to our cars as the odometer click over to 20.00 miles!!!!

Our work here was done except for the realization that Baggage & CrossStitch were Co-Qing today’s beatdown which was scheduled to begin in just under 40 minutes. We had just enough time to catch some shut eye & rejuvenate ourselves.

Rip VanWinkle

After de-rucking and slipping out of our shoes, we all fell into a deep, peaceful sleep right there on the very soft cement island. Sometime during our slumber, YHC got up and found a more accommodating place to sleep in the front of my car. As the minutes ticked by we slipped further into dream land as other pax began arriving for pre-runs and assorted activities. And as 6:00am neared, the sleeping pax were awakened, all but one!

. . . I hear it was a great beatdown & coffetteria!!

But I doubt it could compare to a “Midsummer Night’s Dream”!!

Aye!! . . . .

Quaker