Wednesday, September 30, did not start well. When I went to check in for my flight, it said my first flight was delayed and my second flight was changed such that I wouldn't get into Philadelphia until 5pm instead of 2:30 (never mind I booked a direct flight that was supposed to get in at 12:30). I was quite upset and marched straight to a ticket agent. She searched flights, supposedly including some other airlines, and the only improvement was supposed to get me in at 4:30. Fine, at least it feels like it's a little better. I had some time to kill in Austin, got to Charlotte and had more time to kill. Then the flight from Charlotte to Philadelphia was delayed, and delayed some more. As I was on my phone killing time until we we left the gate, I saw a curious post that said something about Ironman Maryland and "options." I had no idea what that meant, so I clicked and it took me to an announcement from Ironman that due to expected flooding from Hurricane Joaquin, the race was cancelled (with a possible new date) and asking people to not even come to the area. I blurted out an expletive at less than a yell but more than under my breath. My brain was swimming in thoughts and questions: "Can I get out of my hotel?" "Should I just get off the plane?" "What the hell am I going to do?" One early thought was to see if there were any other marathons that weekend in the area. Another thought was to go on a road trip of State Capitols and take care of a bit of unfinished business from IM Lake Placid. When I couldn't find any marathons that would work, I decided that if the hotel would give me at least some refund for three of the nights I had already paid, a road trip it would be.
With all the delays, it was almost 6pm when I landed in Philadelphia. I assumed it was too late to cancel my hotel for the night, so I got my rental car and drove two hours to Delmar, MD, the closest hotel I could find to the race in Cambridge. When I checked in I asked about cancelling the rest of the nights, which they seemed agreeable to, knowing that the race had been cancelled, but that I would have to talk to a manager in the morning. I had a chat with the guy who had my bike in his trailer, he planned to leave the next morning with the bikes or leave them at a nearby shop for anyone who planned to come back, assuming the race would be rescheduled. At that time I had no intention of returning (I ultimately did go back and do the race), so I told him to take it back, but I wanted to get into my gear bag. I figured that if I wasn't going to spend any more time in Maryland, I had to get a crab fix that evening; a quick search found a place still open in nearby Salisbury. The crab cake I ate was delicious, probably the best I've ever had, but it was a tad eerie to be in a huge restaurant that was almost empty at 9:30pm. The rest of the evening was spent doing some planning and mapping, as well as Facebooking. The bemusing part of the whole thing was that after I posted about the cancellation, I got a bunch of condolence messages, almost as though I had said a pet died.
I woke up about 6 Thursday, and my brain was immediately buzzing such that it was pointless to try to get back to sleep. I had some breakfast and got ready to check out, expecting to get something sorted out between the hotel and the booking company. I was on hold with the booking company so long I went to the front desk, where it sounded like they were trying to get everyone affected sorted out in one call. It was about 7:45 when everything seemed sorted, and I checked out with assurance that the three nights would be refunded. The bike transport guy was in Easton, north of Cambridge, so I only skirted the town and didn't have a chance to see anything of the race course. I sort of saw the swim venue, which from driving over the bridge, didn't look quite as intimidating as its name "Choptank" suggested. When I did meet up with Kevin, he said that even though it was only raining lightly at that point, with an unusually high tide some of the course was already underwater. I shuffled some stuff around, taking a few things I thought I could use and leaving the bike gear I knew I wouldn't. I kind of thought "Good riddance," still a bit bitter about the travel hassles topped off with the cancellation, and headed north.
The rest of the drive Sunday morning was uneventful. I arrived at the airport in plenty of time, but didn't have as much time to kill as I thought I might. I got home late that night and went back to work Monday morning. The final tally was 1800 miles driven, 3 Capitols (I don't count Vermont since I couldn't get inside), 1 highpoint. My totals now stand at 40 and 46, respectively. Finally nearing the home stretch. Since most people ask, my remaining highpoints are Maine, Nevada, California, and Hawaii; my remaining Capitols are NH, VT, MA, WV, NC, SC, AZ, CA, HI, and AK.