29 September 2017BOOK: …Eye for an Eye…as great as all the others…very suspenseful 

SONG: One More Hello…One More Goodbye by Kenny Rankin And along the Way, this is one of the delights and the sadnesses…it is a time when the passing through our lives of great, good and other people is something that requires as much in the embrace as in the letting go.

THOUGHT: There are two bars. One is up the hill. One is down. The dilemma is which will be the hardest work. I opt for my wine and pincho in the one at the top of the hill…I would rather be walking downward to get ‘home’ and into my bed. Tomorrow is a rest day, and so I will tour this village tomorrow. No need to stray far this evening.
In life, we like to go for an occasional re-branding.   Kelly, my delightfully funny youngest sister, has helped me to come up with one that really tweaked my interest and also made me laugh as I fleshed it out during the early parts of today’s lighter, touring walk through VillaFranca.

For starters, I caught on very quickly to pack-forwarding. For 5 Euros, I attach an envelope to my pack and address it to the Albergue I have selected as my arrival point for the day. It travels First Class with JacoTrans while I make the Second Class group, carrying my little pack with 2 liters of water and some food. As I peel off layers of clothing, they go into the pack and puff it up thru the day. There is also a foot repair kit and some rain gear.

As I was discussing this in some texting with Kelly, she suggested that I could keep on with the pack-sending part, but I could get the driver to strap me to the top of the van. This way I could experience the passing scenery and the wind in my hair thing. I thought that I could wear my scarf (sort of Isadora Duncan-ish) and my dark glasses. The primary effect of this would be the prevention of bugs on the teeth and in the eyes at the practical level.  But it also creates a sub drama of its own by appearing to disguise me. Perhaps I would be mistaken for Shirley MacClean. Kelly encouraged me to go ahead and sign autographs.  

Peter additionally suggested that I attach my watch to the rim of the hubcap so that it could still click off my steps  

We decided that I could create a new ‘handle’ and use ‘Mac’ as my code name for the Shirley MacClain fans. Kelly’s additional suggestion was to notch that up. And make that Mac-Mamma…I am keeping it.



And for the rest of the day I will wonder what my body will do with the raw bacon that came with my celebration of the day off with the American Breakfast Special at Meson de Ancares in the VillaFranca Plaza Mayor.


Ups and Downs

28 September 2017BOOK: The Girl Who Gets an Eye for an Eye – the next in the series with Lisbeth Salander. A good read and the new author has taken over well for Stieg Larssen

SONG: This Could be The First Day (This could be the last day, Try my new day on for size…) by Ritchie Havens. I don’t wear my headset for mostly safety reasons. In the cities, getting lost or run over being in the top items of consideration; on any patch of hiking that is up or down…preventing disasters of all manner are paramount and need full focus so no tunes then either.  Really, it is only on a few flat spaces that I use it, but I am delighted with the recommendations people gave me (I did not download the soundtrack from Hamilton) and the variety of genres is always a very nice surprise.

THOUGHT: Re Ritchie’s, “Last Day…” they are all last ones since we never get to do one again in the same way at all…and first days are always an adventure!!!!

My days are averaging in the 30,000 to 35,000 step range which comes out as 12 to 14 miles…or walking to Bear Moon Bakery in Boerne from our house to get coffee and a croissant. I have just come back into the part of the Camino that is mountainous – after that first shot out and up the mountain on Day 1, from St Jean when the walk started. We have had some gradual inclines but the past 2 days have been rigorous ascent and descent. The loose rocks on the descents are particularly trying.  But the slippery-when-dry smooth ones are killers and I cannot imagine what they might be like in the rain!! And that little black thing nested between the rocks in the first photo is not a bomb…other than that I have no idea what it might be.

And it went on for almost 3 hours

Kind of like a new, emerging mountain range birthing itself

In this last stage I also had the arrival at Cruz de Ferro which was one of the highlights I had been anticipating. I was able to leave some mementos there and the pics are testimony to everyone who does the same thing and brings the sacredness to the site…with all different senses of “sacred” at play.  And for some reason these photos got placed in reverse order…go 3-2-1

Signaling my Photographer assistant that I am about to come back down…

Placing a star and a stone with the heart of my prayer

I journal at the end of each day, just to make sure I don’t lose track of each place I stayed in and what it meant, while it is fresh. In Rabanal, the draw to the Benedectine Monastery was strong because they are known for the beauty of their chanting. There are only 3 monks residing there and the town is very small. The chant was exquisite and I was enlisted to do the first psalm reading in English. I had asked about the possibility of taking them up on an offer for a 2 day retreat that was mentioned in the book, but due to lack of a secular liaison, they no longer provide it. The chant and the silence and work within the structure still draws something out in me. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that the only language in use when speaking time is on us is the Latin and so I do not have to be mindful of what is really being said.

In honor of the Texas part of my life, I did have to get a picture en route of the Cowboy Bar.

There is a Cowboy Bar at the very heart of our existence!

As an add on of the physical sort, I apparently have become an attractive draw for an insect somewhere between a no-see-um, a gnat, a chigger and the devil incarnate. My greatest relief was that they were not bedbugs which seem to have been following along for some reason with more than usual tenacity. The Australian girl who talked me through them said they are Midges and another local man confirmed that they come up in September and are all done by the end of October. The welts are big and red and itchy and they blister. I got something off the shelf that subdues the itching but the one over my eye is just ugly. There was another suspect who might have been the culprit…when I took my hat off coming into the hostel tonight a little spider came along out of the headband. I crushed the life out of him with pure pleasure.

Other than this bout, I have taken so little ibuprofen that I am actually in awe. While my body is tired at the end of the day, there is nothing inflamed, tender or in need of medication. Walking seems to suit me well. And there is much to be said for Forrest Gump holding on to his running for so long…it’s just something about the mechanics I guess…it is not something I can identify clearly at t his point. But I do love it.

Oh, and I did have pink-eye for the first 10 days…that was pretty. The Farmacia gave me some magical drops that kept the goo-eye at a minimum.

There is a washing machine at this hostel…washed everything I had and in the mountain air, it dried in about an hour. I was able to pass through 2 cities with no temptation to stop in either of them. Columbriano is a tiny village. I will stop in Villafrance del Bierza tomorrow and spend an extra day regrouping before I hit the entry into the pass that goes up to O Cebriero – our highest point. Because I am keeping a fairly good pace, I will be able to at least get a bus one way out to Fisterre and Muxia – the outermost points of the coast where James drifted back to Spain from Rome, miraculously, on his stone ship.

This most surely is an amazing journey. And now it is time for supper…I love you all.

Leon and On

24 Sept 2017Santinabez, Spain

Lest anyone who is following my schedule should be feeling impressed with my progress, I don’t think I mentioned that I decided to credit myself with the solitude of desert walks I completed throughout my training in the neighborhood around Pipe Creek (in 80 to 90 degree weather) + time walked in Big Bend over the many vacations we have spent camping and hiking there. Setting that against the need to walk the section of the Camino that is called the Meseta – it is flat…much like getting up and taking a walk from El Paso to Amarillo, I hopped on my second bus for a ride through it and arrived in Leon (from Burgos.) It put me ahead of schedule but meant that I finally decided to cancel my Parador and dinner date with Cory. Since she was not able to come before the 26th, I recognized that there is just not enough Leon to really fill that length of time (almost 6 days) in any circumstance.

Old against the new: Roman walls and new urban construction

Jacque napping in front of the Parador

Entrance to the Parador…from garden under work-over

Against that rationalization, yesterday was one of the most joyful along this entire adventure. My walk was just a simple wonder for me. I was rising in the face of all my greatest fears of being lost and I boldly chose to do an “alternate route” that would keep me off the edge of the highway, and move me out through what I realized 1/3 of the way along that I was continuing on the fringe of Meseta-like land, and I was walking as if I was on my Bumpgate Road practice walk…without the fences and longhorns. I was completely at home in my world.

Actually a bit like looking out the window in Bakersfield to the Mtns

My pack got dropped off for transport at the Parador (something of me got to stay for a while in the luxury of the Parador) and I lurked outside the main entrance where peregrinos passed on the route out of town. When I realized there was a little cafe across the plaza where I could get my “git-er-dun” cup of Cafe con Leche, I headed over and waited out the glimmer of safety most of us find in first light when we don’t have to wear headlamps to walk. As I went back to latch onto the hem of a group headed in my direction, I remembered Anne’s directive that if all else failed, follow Germans as they are hardwired for good gps sense. As I followed one couple, we came to the point where one eats some protein-carb item (ham/cheese/bread sandwich or potato/egg frittata like thing called a tortilla). Mine is always the tortilla as it requires the least amount of chewing. And it goes well with the 2d café con lèche. Unfailingly served with a large hunk of baguette.

Unfailing support…and not who is supporting the mapping of Leon

In order to be in the shade, I had taken a space next to someone who was also in search of the alternate and while not being German, he was close enough for me. He was Belgian. We pondered a plan and the bar owner came over and gave us a printed map and flier from his good friend’s albergue in the place we were headed. Confidence enshrouded us both.

We headed out and covered 11k and a vast number of important and unimportant issues, surprisingly finding ourselves at yet another bar, just in time for lunch. From there it was a breeze. He decided to walk on and I signed in to my reserved space at Albergue de Jesus.

You just never know what it will be…only 4 women tonight

 I arranged my bunk, washed my clothes and body in the same shower (take all your clothes off, soap up and as you rinse off, add a little extra shampoo to the clothes you are standing on and it causes washing action. Step up and down on them a few extra times and then rinse everything well). I walked some more steps and met a couple of friends at their albergue where the evening meal would be held.

Pool and all – in the middle of nowhere

 We also walked around town….all 30 buildings, not including the church. Storks nests sat on top of the pillars on the bell tower. 

Bell tower and storks nests

 Supper was good, sunset was great and they bought me an extra beer to celebrate the 500,000th step I had taken as Henry and I crossed the street to head into the wilderness trail cum Pipe Creek.

This is, for me thus far, not mystical or magical. It has been hard work and steady improvement in attitude and outcomes. What I realized on this day however was that it was most definitely a journey and a recognition of the beauty of walking and seeing the place and hearing the sounds and moving forward…chirping birds, crunching stones and gravel, another peregrino about to pass you, signaled by his/her approaching shadow and the sound of the click of walking sticks. Knowing for the most part that your pack would be faithfully delivered ahead of you for Jaco-Trans small fee of $5 and expert delivery skills and you would get the bed you had called ahead for and reserved in your best effort at speaking Spanish on the phone and understanding the return fire, unhesitating rapid-fire commentary from the guy at the other end (It closes out with me spelling my name in the Spanish – just K-I-M) – all this gives me a warm wash of feel-good.  

The routine is pretty secure, less frantic and the absence of Anne’s snoring has not yet been replaced with anything nearly as strong, loud and unrelenting. There is a heavy Spanish guy who followed me in however tonight so the challenge might be on to replace her honors. Fortunately he is 4 beds away from me.

A little time off

21 Sept, 2017BOOK: Presumed Innocent. By Scott Turow…Detective story of the mindless ilk…not all that exciting, but fills in to move me from fatigue to sleep

SONG: There are several and they will be included in another post before I leave Leon. They relate to incidents and people of interest, in places that blur together too much to try and separate them…so I linked them to my music for another post. 

THOUGHT: I think I ‘get’ what walking meditation is…and I am growing to really love it.

Anne on her Way

Softest welcoming light as we head up the mountain

Part of the mystique of the Camino before I started (and probably the same for others who are between the idea of their Camino and the reality of it) was the notion of deeply interactive conversations about spirituality and humanity and that sort of thing. Then there came the reality.

Arriving and getting started at the beginning in St Jean, was a multilevel lesson in chaotic thought. Getting priorities in place was difficult. My underpants were at an equal level of importance with what I was carrying in my lunch bag. Hopefully not a mismatched connection at the physical level. 

 Where it all went was obvious…somewhere hanging off my body, but it needed to obviously (or not), be on the right place on the body. Access to each thing became the focus, as in, what might I need most. Rain gear always won since wet everything was fairly high on the catastrophe scale. Snack and water access came next…camelback wins such high applause and gratitude for Tony and his pre-trip input. And so on down the line. Because of the fatigue at the end of the day, the anxiety was higher in the beginning as to what needed to be done and in what order in the midst of the fatigue fog. At this point in time, I’m happy to report that there is more of the automatic part going on. My two surviving brain cells that still fire regularly, are often missing by suppertime. Time and practice have lead me to the point-checks that are becoming instincts I can trust. Several items have been left behind in the process and while it lightened my pack, it was not voluntary.

The ideas about sitting down and writing at the end of the day and taking pictures along the way proved to be just that…good ideas. While walking promotes ideas in the beginning of the day, it crushes them out of existence as the hours go on in the initial segment of getting adjusted. Because I have stopped to take a few days off the path and rest in Leon, I have got time to both think and write and sleep in a place where there is just one bed and it is for me…and the bathroom is not shared with anyone!!

So, here are some moments that have filtered through, starting with a summary of how a normal walk-day goes.

Staying in the Albergues is a time constrained thing. 12 and 2pm for checking in. You have to be out at the latest by 8am and in some places, 7:45am. Quiet time is from 10pm to 6am (snoring apparently not factored in as noise)

0 DARK THIRTY: Quiet time ends at 6am, when either a few individuals brave it and turn on their headlamps or the Hospitalera flips on the main switch and fluorescence bathes the room. Occasionally there is music to inspire the waking process. In one place it was Gregorian Chant and in another it was Spanish ‘step-it-up’ dance music. 

 Coffee was served in the first Albergues before we left, but that was short lived and now I need to walk to first coffee. I usually have a bite of something with protein to kick my start.

During this brief period between 6am and 7:45, one must:

  Stuff everything into the appropriate places

  Lean out the door or window to verify chill factor or rain conditions just to make sure the stuff process was going to relate to those first steps out the door

Compete for toilet and sink space – whether or not you are having a bad-hair day is totally irrelevant  

  Perform foot rituals (more sacred than all else) Occasionally care requires requesting someone else’s assistance in covering the unreachable open places. Knee bracing is also included in this step.

Beloved socks; outer set


You might want to add a little paper tape to that

Next is finding the boots and your sticks then donning the boots and tying them reverentially to the hoped for perfect tension. 

With all this in order, it is time to step out the door and into the day, ferreal!

For the next 4 to 6 hours, the rhythm is generally: Walk; Pass; Be Passed – all the while wishing the passee, Buen Camino. At about 2 hr intervals there are stop points, and the first is generally Stand-Up-Spoon Spanish coffee with milk. I eat the version of the camino tortilla that has potatoes, eggs and bread.

 Next stop is boot removal time and wound inspection, coupled with a meal or substantial snack.  

And the last segment leads, for most, to the day’s stop point. Albergue beds fill up quickly and reserving space is done much more often. (A day ahead usually you know more about how much you will be able to do.) At this point, I send my pack ahead on the first class transport and if I get to it and still have energy later in the day, I pick it up, throw it on my back and head to a next place. Failing to have a reservation and arriving to a full house, means you HAVE to walk on, sometimes another 10k. At that point, most exhausted pilgrims taxi on to the next place.

Once you have that assigned bed and your pilgrim passport stamped, you remove the boots and put them in the boot/stick place; fall onto the bed (or climb up onto it if you got the short straw and the bunk on top is yours. 

Chilly day

Warm day

 This is only a brief lull however, because there is the washing of the socks and underwear – drying time always precarious, but if they are still wet in the am, they are pinned to the outside of the pack.  

Showering is dependent on a few factors, but if your companion says you need one, you need one. Sniffing your own armpits is not a qualifying standard.

You may arrive around 3 or 4pm but that is dead on into the Spanish tradition for Siesta. Everything in the village is closed and nothing reopens until 7pm. I snack-plan around this factor. 

Only 200 population and we won’t see them til 7

 Dinner with the pilgrims always has some form of communality, even when there is not a common dinner in the Albergue. 

One of the first communal suppers at Orrison

 For me participation is either WITH the firing of the 2 brain cells because the walk just wasn’t as bad as I might have expected…or it is a nutritional barrier I have to push my way through just to get to my bed where I can sleep. As I have continued to get a rhythm in my walking, the end of day has become a happier place.

If I am on the upper bunk, I do strategic planning for the 2 pee times I will need to be ready for…and that includes getting up and down the ladder and remembering where the bathroom is…occasionally it is a flight down stairs…and that is pretty sucky.

As I climb into my sleep sac and open my book, I pray fervently to the snoring god that he has chosen another dorm to go to. Input my titanium ear plugs in and sleep comes on in. 

So re: those real conversations that open themselves to sharing, happen less for me on the actual walking path because I am so very slow and most people want their hustle. Language also limits much of the conversation. Some days, I hear a lot of English, but on others, it is a mix of lots of others and so Buen Camino suffices. There are times like I found today, when the conversation clicks quickly into the wonderful realm of soul sharing and I expect that will happen more often as the settling in has opened me up as well. But then, I am in the midst of time off. We will see how it goes as I get back on Tuesday. 

Puenta la Reina to Viana

As Anne planned for travel back to Barcelona, I had a mid level panic attack, realizing that she has just got such a strong sense of direction and precision, and she was leaving me to my own personal…can’t-find-my-way-out-of-the-paper-bag sense of reality. She knew when we left (at 7:50 and the best guess from me was 8ish.) I was going to be one my own. No one would be waiting to tell me that the unmarked turn was supposed to be left when my thought would revert immediately to needing to go right.  I imagined me wandering off to remote places heretofore unheard of and circling sites that meant little or nothing to anyone. She sat with me after supper and helped me go through a mapping and scheduling. In turn I gave her words to use in Spanish…she has zero language awareness. 

I went to bed slightly nauseous and got up with an emerging migraine. I wondered if I would have to stay another night in this formidable hostel. Instead I hugged her goodbye and asked a Belgian woman if she would mind walking with me for just an hour to make sure I wasn’t going to collapse. The meds kicked in and at the end of the hour I was walking amiably and thinking that it might just keep going…without catastrophe and disaster at every turn

And so it has. Deanna hugged me at my stop and went on to hers. I had a truly wonderful day today that culminated in me covering 16miles in 8hours for an edge-tipping 40,700 steps – all by myself. Tomorrow I will do a short day – 18k and a stop in a nice small city. Anne is rejoining me Thursday for a few more days. I will be so happy to have her blue shirt and beige pants and hat in front of me. We will laugh at things and have a great time finding food and shelter like every elder should do every once in a while.

The Casa Magica in Villatuerte, just south of Estella was my stop point. Cannot arrive in an urban setting at the end of a day. Brain dead and unable to remember my own name let alone where to turn. The private Auberge is as magical as an albergue could be and the Paella dinner was delicious.

Vegetarian Paella and wine of course

Made it easily through Estella and my plan had been to stop halfway to Los Arcos, but my energy was great at that mid-point so I picked up my pack and stepped my way into Los Arcos. I got a bed easily and had met Dan and Dee who really did make the miles pass quickly. 

Leaving Los Arcos this morning was less energetic and the day became hot very quickly. I got to stop by 1pm and it was a very good decision as the temps climbed thru the afternoon. The stop point was Vianna and the hostel was comfortable and modern. My walk-mate for this was Rebecca from Vermont and she was a complete delight. We did our showers and rested for a bit before we walked into town center…up a hill!…

Anticipating the parade

Don’t know who is who but they were the prelude to the festival

While preparations were being made for a highly anticipated bull fight that neither of us could contemplate, the town’s pre-game entertainment was wonderful. Everyone was dressed for it, eating and playing in the plaza. A huge parade…almost all of the 1400 towns people were in attendance. I was to honor Our Lady of the Snow…google that if you are so inclined.

Zubiri to Puente de la Reina

12 September 2017BOOK: finished Cohelo’s and am on to Rory Stewart’s book The Places In Between. This guy walked across Afghanistan and Pakistan just finding out what people thought.
SONG: Life Is A Highway, by the Cars

Leaving Roncesvalles for Zubiri was a hot pursuit of one of those exclamation point adventure days, The only scenery was rock formations directly under your boot’s next step (and the gullies and ridges all full of loose rocks that all were signed with whatever symbol represents “peril” and I can’t find an emoji for that.)  Anne was an ever-present lead person who took her small feet into just the right places, outpaced me significantly but waited for me to re-appear on her horizon when she actually lost sight of me for any significant period.

Zubiri at last

At our lunch stop, I had to remove the boots and a sharp piece of an ingrown toenail.  Strangely, these things are not mutually exclusive…a tortilla and toe bandage are equally sacred events and can be easily accomplished in the same place with no eye-rolling or ewwww factor at all.

The bed-bunk areas in this ancient cathedral building, were vast and the bright blue metal was a decorative effect in contrast to the ancient beams.

 The mix of men and women was sort of the first-come first-serve variety and seeing young and old guys was limited to the bed space. Bathrooms were separate…in this case. One night it was a random sight of teeth-brushing humans in a very diverse range of sizes and shapes. The US could check this out when wondering about shared bathrooms and the possibilities that really do exist in the world…without fear or contention.

One other strain of reflection was in how people fall from wakeful-ness to sleep….how they move through the middle space. On a cursory study of a very limited population (from 6 to 80 mixed populations, I feel that in the majority of transitions, women have a trailing sigh as they fall into sleep. There is the marked difference for men…they seem to fall into a very relaxed fart that trails and flutters softly into their sleep sacks. I will not extend this into a deeper study, but it is interesting and made last night when I was in a room of just 5 and all of them, women, a sort of sacred sigh experience.  There are no photos of this.

 We hiked on into Pamplona and got a sort of hotel-ish room.  Anne gave me a head start to sleep so I could beat her snoring.  This is strategic planning at its best.  And the next morning we became the Badasses on the Bus!  It was so easy. We arrived in Puente la Reina in 30minutes rather than the 5 hrs we would have taken walking.  My foot was delighted.  So was I and Anne was totally on board for this one.

Badasses on the Bus

First Day Out

4 Sept 2017St Jean Pieds de Port to Orrison then Roncesvalles

BOOK: The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho – One of the stories written by the man who’s first book introduced me to spirituality of the Way.

SONG: “give me sunshine on a cloudy day”…riff from My Girl…

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: An exclamation point on your map, in red with a circle around it, is a SERIOUS warning. Never blow off a sign like this. Set your whole soul in order and tell your feet not to whine! (Clarification of the thought in the segment of Orrisson to Roncesvalles – we took the first stage in 2 segments)

St Jean de Pied de Port is the place where pilgrims converge to take the most well know path to Santiago – The Camino Frances. It fills up and they seep out at different rates and in clusters. I spent 2 days there since it was a meet up point for a friend-of-a-friend to join me for a few days together. We had a day to walk around and get oriented, think about our packs and routes. This morning we had an early breakfast and headed off for the first leg – the most difficult part of the entire Camino Frances. The ascent is sharp and pretty unforgiving. The descent is even reported to be more ruthless.  

I note that cows and sheep are the current wildlife species on the way up to Orrison (our 1st stage). While it is only 8K it is straight up. With full focus on my feet, I also saw some deer pellets so they are another nearby species but none of them appeared on my footpath. Mist shrouds the mountains for much of the morning and as it lifts it is just magical for the soul…less magical for the feet. As the climb got harder I had to wait, making stops to breathe again before I could look around. Few photos for this leg…breathing, again the more optimal choice.  Anne walks 3 steps to my one, but waits for me when I have dropped out of site for too long. There is no chance in this leg of missing the path. No left and right turns to lead me off on some wild hair adventure of my own. So day 1 has some sun.

The overnight stay at the hostel in Orisson was really beautiful and our family style dinner was filled with excitement in spite of the work of the day. The food for the famished was devoured with great joy and endless red wine. The chef took his bow and there was a round of everyone there taking a moment to share the why of their Way.  Basque cake for dessert was just beyond a loving delectable touch.

Family style

OK…now for the down and, literally, dirty. I am actually surprised that any photos get taken at all on this part. Breakfast is bread and coffee (story all along) but stops along the way or pre-prepared sandwiches make for eating on the first break…generally 2 hrs out. On this leg, there are no restaurants. All prepped up, we head out into rain…middle-weight rainfall. There is just a bit more up before the down begins. Actually, a BIT…a BIG BIT. Slogging along, Anne heads out and waits at given breaks…she seems to realize my potentials already. The rain gets more intense. There is no scenic route. There is a huge thick cloud overhanging our journey and the wetness of the cloud makes us unaware of whether it is officially raining or just “clouding” Either way it is just f’ing wet. My sheep-shot was coupled with a pee break.


The most wonder-making thing here…the miracle of the day…was our hitting the actual summit and finding a guy who had come in with a van and was selling eggs, hot coffee and bananas. I could have kissed him right on the lips. Instead I sucked all the food down and laughed until I cried. And then we went on in the shroud.

Arrival. 200 roommates and everyone in wet boots

As we entered Roncesvalles, the sides of the street became visible. It was not a problem finding the 200 bunk dorm and we had little pods of 4 bunks to a pod. 

Our little pods

 Nothing would bar any of us from sleep. The biggest question was…will my soaked, sopping wet boots dry out before morning? Spoiler alert…stuffing them with newspaper to absorb some of it, they were halfway dry by morning. So, with coffee and toast on board, we set out at 7:50. Anne is an engineer. Precision is her speciality.