Over the weekend of June June 21-23, 2019 I accompanied my son John Calabrese to the

Viking Dash Trail Run Semi Final Championships

in Muncie, IN. What follows is an account of our adventure.

Friday, June 21, 2019- John got to my house around 9ish. We then loaded up my vehicle and set out on a 10 hour drive to Muncie, IN. John was invited to this race because of his times in previous races. He was going to run a half marathon for this race.

Our route to Muncie world be I66->I81->VA37>-US522->I70. Traffic was not bad the entire way. We stopped in the tourist trap of Breezewood, PA for lunch, then started our trip across half of PA, a sliver of WV, all of OH and a bit of IN. John and I took turns driving. It was a great day weather wise. Nothing unusual happened on the way to Muncie other than it being a looooong drive and some delays around Columbus, OH. We arrived in Muncie around 7:30 PM that night. We ate dinner at the Pizza Hut and stayed at the Super 8 motel. John was disappointed that there was no pool. We got a decent rate of $69.00.

Saturday, June 22, 2019- We got up at 5:00AM, ate the motel breakfast, which was good, and got to nearby

Prairie Creek Reservoir Park

by around 7:00 AM. John checked in, attended a race briefing at 7:30, and we watched the start of the 5K and 10K races at 8:00. There was another briefing at 8:30 and John's race started at 9:00.

There were over 400 runners at this race. We were privileged to have the mayor of Muncie give a short speech at the briefings. They fired a very loud cannon at the start of each race. The Viking Dash races are all Nordic themed. Some people were in Nordic battle dress and some of the awards were Nordic weaponry. Some of this weaponry, such as the battle axes, were real. They even announced to be careful if you won one.

During John's race I relaxed, read my book some and took care of some miscelanious paperwork that I had. When it got close to the two hour point

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of this race I walked over to the finish line and waited. I took a picture of John as he crossed the finish line. He came in first in his age group and ninth overall in this race. He was invited back next year to run this race again. I was very proud of my son's accomplishment.

John got cleaned up and we then listened to the long list of finshers and how they placed. I noticed a strong comeraderie between the runners as they were competitive but supportive of each other. After all of the ceremonies and congratulations it was about 2:00 PM.

I hadn't been to Indiana in about 40 plus years. The countryside was beautiful, there were a lot of farms and the people were very nice and friendly. They had a neat rail trail in Muncie called the

Cardinal Greenways Rail Trail.

It is a 62 mile rail trail that roughly parallels IN35 through Muncie. Very nice. My only complaint was that the roads in and around Muncie were not in that great of shape

Originally, we were going to drive back to VA right after the race. But I wasn't very keen on driving close to 1,100 miles over 2 days. Since I had to visit 7 more state parks as part of my

West Virginia Very Important Parks Person Program

I suggested that we stay at North Bend State Park near Cairo, WV on Saturday night on the way home. It would break the trip up into two 5 hour trips instead of one 10 hour trip.

We departed Muncie a bit after 2:00 PM. We traveled I70->US33->US50. We ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Logan, OH around 4:00 PM, then made it to the small town of Cairo, WV by around 7ish. We traveled 2 miles up a small winding road and made it to the North Bend State Park Lodge by about 7:30 PM that night. The pool had closed at 6. John was disappointed. We were very tired so we went to sleep at around 9:30 that night.

Sunday, June 23, 2019- We again got up around 5:00 AM and went and hiked an access trail to the

North Bend Rail Trail.

This is a 72 mile rail trail that goes through Cairo, WV and is also part of the 6,800 mile coast to coast

American Discovery Trail

We did somewhere between 4 and 5 miles on this trail. We wanted to do more but needed to get back on the road. After about a half hour heading east on US50 we discovered that there was a

Tim Hortons

doughnut shop near Clarksburg, WV. We were elated! So we got doughnuts, filled up the vehicle with gas and set off again.

Our route home was US50->I79->I68->MD51->a series of small roads in WV->US522->VA37->I66. We made fantastic time. I was able to drive a constant 75 miles and hour for about 130 miles. We stopped once more at the

Virginia Farm Market

north of Winchester, VA to use the facilities and buy a few things. Then it was homeward bound. John dropped me off a bit after 1:00 PM and probably got home a bit after 2:00 PM.

This was a fun trip. I got to see John do well in a race, we did some hiking and got to spend some quality time together. I also now have only 6 more West Virginia State Parks to visit in order to get my $25 gift card and a patch from WV State Parks. It was truly a great weekend!

Some additional information about:

Muncie, IN

And the famous Muncie Transmission was manufactured in a General Motors plant near Muncie, Indiana between 1963 and 1975:

Muncie 4 Speed: The Complete History

Cairo, WV

Prairie Creek Reservoir, IN
  Prairie Creek Reservoir, IN.
   By Mike Calabrese
Pre-race Meeting
  Pre-race Meeting.
   By Mike Calabrese
John @ start of race
  John @ start of race.
   By Mike Calabrese
Cannon starts the race
  Cannon starts the race.
   By Mike Calabrese
John @ end of race
  John @ end of race.
   By Mike Calabrese
Celebrating w/ fellow runners
  Celebrating w/ fellow runners.
   By Mike Calabrese
John receives 1st Place Award
  John receives 1st Place Award.
   By Mike Calabrese
North Bend State Park Resort, WV
  North Bend State Park Resort, WV.
   By Mike Calabrese
Hiking the North Bend Rail Trail, WV
  Hiking the North Bend Rail Trail, WV
   By John Calabrese

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