The New England Ironman Diner Decathalon Challenge
Be careful about making casual utterances made in the company of friends, for on Saturday, August 20 I must make one such utterance a reality: the New England Ironman Diner Decathalon Challenge.
I'll write up the event in greater detail for some magazine or another. But just for you, I'll break down the bare bones of the multi-page Challenge protocol that I created:
THE CHALLENGE: To eat at ten New England diners in one 24-hour period, stopping in every New England state at least once.
EACH DINER STOP shall consist of ordering and completely consuming at least one food and one beverage item from the menu or specials board. All items must be consumed and paid for before proceeding to the next diner. Prepackaged food items do not count.
SEATING can only be secured at time of arrival. Advance reservations or use of confederates to gain a time advantage is forbidden. Likewise, ordering must be done in person and only after being seated.
THREE stops must be "Full meal" stops, consisting of beverage, entree, and one appetizer, soup, salad, side or dessert item. Locations and order of "Full Meal" stops MUST be formally declared before the start of timekeeping, and must be followed exactly.
TIMEKEEPING commences when the participant departs from his or her residence and must include one 6-hour rest period, during which no travel is allowed and no food or beverage counts towards the Challenge total. Participant may declare the rest period to be complete at the commencement of timekeeping, in which case participant must complete all terms of challenge within 18 hours.
A DINER is defined as any eatery which (a) Prominently features the word "Diner" in its formal name and signage, and which (b) offers counter service as a seating option.
DOCUMENTATION of each stop must be obtained and published in a timely fashion, ideally through live moblogging while the Challenge is in progress.
So on Saturday morning, way in the AM, I and my pal Rich depart for Pawtucket, Rhode Island and the Modern Diner therein. We shall travel clockwise through Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and then end in Massachusetts.
BREAKFAST STOP will be O'Rourke's Diner in Middletown, CT;
LUNCH STOP will be the Maine Diner in Wells, Maine;
DINNER STOP will be the Rosebud Diner in Somerville, MA.
Stay tuned to my FlickR blog for live photos as the Challenge progresses through 500 miles, with up to 15 diners on the route. Browse through a live version of the above Google map for route details.
We shall look back upon this day either as The Day This Beloved Hundred-Year Old Yankee Tradition Started...or we shall never speak of it again. Tune in Saturday to find out which.