Archive for October, 2008|Monthly archive page

October 30

Pictures updated today.

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Day 89–4 miles past Bernardo

We went by Alpine Alley again.  I have not been in a nice coffee shop in a long time, so this one is a real treat.  I had coffee and an omelet again along with more conversation.  I also ordered a sandwich to go, for lunch.  This time a couple of people called me by name.  Eli and I hung out there about 45 minutes but finally had to leave so I could get some miles.  It was almost 9 a.m. when I started running.  There was a mile down to the flat and then 18 more flat, completely straight miles to the interstate.  I ran/walked the first 10 miles.  Yesterday we found a tack in one tire.  It was losing air too fast, so at 10 miles I donned the pack and Eli set out to have the tire fixed.   He was gone about 2 hours.  During this time I went by several houses and trailers that have seen better days.  I took a picture of one and called it Barter Town after the Mad Max movie.  At another, ten dogs came out to the road!!!  Thankfully, most were pups and only 3 were a threat.  I snatched little Eli out of my pack and prepared to defend myself but a woman came out of the trailer and called the dogs back.  As I went by she said, “Nice day for a walk.”  I replied that it sure was and she said, “Do you want a smoke?”  I declined.  I don’t know what that was about, but it’s the first time I’ve been offered a smoke in a long time.  I wonder what she would have me smoke.  Shortly after, Eli showed up with the tire repaired and I made it to I-25.  I continued another 4 miles and stopped for the day with 24 total miles.

Today is dedicated to Meg DeMay.  She is married to Merrie’s son, Matt.  Meg works full time as a social worker.  She also has two active sons.  At anyone knows, a husband, children, and a full time job are lots of work.  Meg gives them all her best.  She is also a kind and considerate daughter-in-law and a pleasure to be around.  Meg, Merrie and I appreciate how special you are.  We love you.

Day 88–30 more miles

It seems we’re always getting a late start so I guess I should stop calling it late since it seems to be the normal start.  This morning we went looking for breakfast and found Alpine Alley, a coffee shop serving breakfast and lunch.  A vege omelet with toast and coffee was five something and was very good. The owners Scott and Mary are very personable and locals come in for conversation as well as food.  I met Dave, a guy who rode his 10-speed bike from Oklahoma City to the west coast in 13 days back in the 1960s.  I also met Pam who owns The Rock Motel here in Mountainair.  We are looking for a place here since the next motel west is about 60 miles. Pam called Melita, the clerk at the motel, and she had one room.  We liked it so much we took it for the 2 nights.  And she gave us a discount! 

My stomach did not feel like it had recovered from yesterday but I decided to push hard anyway.  I ran every other mile for the first 20 miles.  I did not eat and drank only water hoping my stomach would feel better.  In the end it did.  I finally ate lunch about 2:30 and then walked 10 more miles for a total of 30.  We left the flats and went through a 20 mile section of mountains today.  It was strange but nice to suddenly climb and have lots of cedars and pinion pines.  The mountains ended as suddenly as they started though, and we are looking at miles and miles of flat ahead.  Eli had a good day-he saw his first jack rabbit.

The minister at West Rockingham Methodist when I was a teen was Lee Phillips.  I really liked Mr. Phillips even though this was a time in my life that I thought all religion was a farce. Mr. Phillips was always nice to everybody and I remember the sincere way he always shook my hand.  He was a gentle and caring man who would ask you how you were and listen to your answer.  I also knew Mr Phillips outside the church.  His son Al and I were friends so I was often at his house.  His nature was the same at home as at church.  Later, when I no longer went to church, I still enjoyed seeing and talking to him.  Shaking his hand continued to be a pleasure.  I dedicate today’s run to Mr. Phillips, to the minister he was, and to the man he was.  I wish there were a lot more like him.

Day 87–almost Mountainair

We got off to a late start this morning.  Vaughn is a meat town.  At the third restaurant I was able to convince them to fix me a breakfast burrito without meat.  Then we had a 33 mile ride out to the start.  I began running ok but the fatigue of  2 hard days and the morning stress ended my running after a couple of miles and I decided to just walk.  Around noon I had some hummus and bagels for lunch.  Then my stomach decided it hated me.  I had a good start on the week with the two 28-mile days and did not want to give any back.  I stayed out until 5:45 and walked a total of 25 miles.  Hopefully tomorrow I will do better.

On the good side, I found a long stretch of frontage road along the railroad.  The highway has been following the railroad for days now.  But there has never been a frontage road close enough to the highway to allow my crew to help me.  This time though, I went about 15 miles along the dirt frontage road and avoided all traffic on the highway.  It was really nice.  I found three skulls today. My crewman, Eli, and I work for NC Wildlife, so we’re interested in such things.  Two skulls remain unidentified but one is an antelope.  Eli was happy to get it and plans to take it home on the plane.  I want to watch him go through security!  Also, I counted a record train.  That’s one of the things I do to pass time-count cars on a train.  I’ve been counting train cars since Dodge City.  That’s how long I’ve been beside or near the railroad.  There are many, many trains each day going in both directions.  Today’s train had four engines and 127 cars!

Running on dirt today brought back memories.  Lots of my training and racing has been on dirt, especially the ultra races.  I owe my entry into dirt and ultrarunning to David Horton.  I dedicate today to him.  I met him in 1990 at the Grandfather Mountain Marathon.  I found out he directed a 50 mile race called Mountain Masochist on trails in Virginia.  I did not finish that year but in 1992 it became my first ultra finish.  David had encouraged me to sign up.  David is known both for his running talent and accomplishments and as a race director.  David the race director is the one I want to talk about.  Just like he encouraged me, I have heard countless runners give David credit for introducing them to running and ultras.  He challenges them all to do a little more or a little better.  He congratulates them fast and slow at the finish. He also goes out and tests himself and in the process inspires us to test ourselves.  David, thanks for encouraging me to give ultras a try.  I would have missed out on a lot if you had not.

Day 86–28 more miles to the middle of nowhere

That’s right!  The towns here are really spread out.  I started just west of Vaughn, went through Encino, and on toward Mountainair.  It’s hard to believe all the open spaces out here.  The views are still amazing but things continue to get dryer.  The grasses are just stubble in lots of places and there are no trees and hardly any shrubs except around the few scattered ranch houses. I’m on Highway 60 and the wide shoulder is gone.  I have to step out of the road frequently for traffic.  But I do enjoy topping every rise and seeing the next grand view.  The last view today was at 28 miles.  There are miles of flat and downhill and in the distance, barely discernable, some real mountains.  The altitude where I am now is about 6000 feet.  I wonder what altitude the mountains will be.

Today is dedicated to Mike Samuelson.  Mike ran the Boogie several years ago and enjoyed it so much, he sent me a book.  It was “Running with Payne” by Randy Ellis.  Randy did his own run across the US and wrote about it.  I enjoyed the book and read it a second time last spring.  It was one of the first writings I read of runners and walkers crossing the US.  By giving me the book Mike helped set in motion my own journey.  Mike also crewed for me in Kentucky for a week-end and  I  stayed in his parents’ home a few days in Mayfield, Ky.  Mike, thanks for the book and your help in Kentucky.  l hope I can return the favor when you do your trans-USA run.

Day 85–Vaughn, NM

Saturday I went with Ed to the airport.  On the way he took me by REI where I bought some new insoles and Bodyglide.  My old Spenco insoles were flat in the toe area.  The Bodyglide this time has sun protection and I’ll be using it on my face as well as the other areas.  The air here is dryer and there is always wind and sun.  My face has been ok until New Mexico but is starting to get very dry and scaley.  We also stopped by Walmart for Gatorade and some bagels.  At the airport I met this weeks crew, Eli Beverly and we headed back to Santa Rosa.

Sunday morning Eli and I picked up some biscuits and ate in the car on the way out of town.  I was running about 8:45.  My goal for today was Vaughn.  I alternated running and walking every mile.  The day was warm but not bad.  We saw lots of antelope and a covey of quail.  The views here are spectacular!  There is enough up and down to see over the surrounding area for miles.  We passed a wind farm with 80 windmills.   They were visible the entire day’s run.  I entered Vaughn about 4:30 and ran on through the town stopping at west edge on Highway 60.  I finished with 28 miles.

Fred Dummar, you are a special guy.  I have seen you run hard and push yourself.  I have also seen you run with others and help them meet their goals.  In both cases your attitude is always positive and encouraging to those around you.  You like being successful but you seem to enjoy others success as much as your own.  I am sure you are the same in your military career.  It is obvious that your are a man of honor and integrity.  I count myself fortunate to know you.  I dedicate today’s run to you.

Day 84–12 miles south of Santa Rosa

This morning I have 14 miles of I-40 to do.  Ed drops me out at Cuervo and I head out.  He cannot crew for me on the interstate but there is an exit halfway between the start and Santa Rosa and we make plans to meet there.  There is a lot of traffic on I-40.  Also, there is a fence along both sides of the road.  The fence and the lack of vegetation make cover for bathroom breaks hard to find.  Fortunately, there are culverts and I can get most of me out of sight.  An officer of the NM Highway Patrol checked on me.  Pedestrians are not allowed on the interstate but after I explain what I am doing and that I have permission he is very nice.  I don’t mind being checked on because sometime I made need their help.  He had been advised that I would be coming through and it makes me feel good to know that the word is out.  I will have a section of I-25 to run in a few days.

At 12:05 p.m. on I-40 just east of Santa Rosa I got a surprise.  I usually look at the drivers of vehicles as they approach, especially semi’s.  They are always nice and respond to my waves.  This semi’s driver was  none other than Elvis Pressley!  He had the hair and the glasses and the face.  I know he is suppose to be dead, but I’m not so sure anymore.  What better place for him to hide than as a long distance trucker?  Shortly after that, I fell for the 4th time since leaving the Atlantic.  I was not hurt.  Entering Santa Rosa, I met Ed for lunch at Subway and then ice cream at DQ.  I haven’t missed a DQ yet that was open!  I was glad to be done with I-40.  I had a short nap when I passed our motel and continued out of Santa Rosa until sunset.  This was my second 30 mile day this week and brought the week’s total to 162 miles.  Running late in the day paid dividends.  Just before sunset we saw antelope and deer along the roadside.

Today is dedicated to my friend Don Covington.  Don is a veteran of all 17 Ellerbe Springs Marathons and countless other races.  He is a big supporter of local races and the MTC.  He is also a very generous and humble man, and a pleasure to know.  Thanks, Don for being such a good guy.

Day 83–Cuervo, NM

Ed and I packed up everything this morning.  We would be leaving Tucucari and moving our headquarters to Santa Rosa.  After breakfast of eggs and pancakes Ed dropped me out on the I-40 frontage road that would comprise all of today’s run.  The frontage road is formerly Route 66 and has all kinds of old buildings where there used to be stops for motorists.  Most of them now look like they could be in the set of a Mad Max movie.  Part of the road is range for cattle and I do have to negotiate around a few that are in the road.  The vegetation is changing too as everything becomes dryer.  The higher vegetation like mesquite and cedar are thinning and brown grass is the predominate ground cover.  Sometimes there are views to the horizon and at other times the land is rolling with low hills.

Ed is able to meet me every 2 miles through this area with refreshment.  That is a good thing too because there is no water except muddy cattle ponds and only one service station/post office/convenience store along this road.  The high point of the day is a phone call from John McRae of Iola, Ks.  It has been several weeks now since I was there and we have talked a few times.  John has been reading my journal and we mostly talk about what is happening today and what the area looks like.  I always enjoy hearing from friends by phone.  Quite often there is nothing different for miles and the voice of friends brightens my day.  I finish the day at Cuervo, a small town (???) with a post office in an old mobile home.  It is one of the Mad Max places. 

Today is dedicated to Edward Abbey, one of my favorite authors.  He wrote several books with settings in the American southwest.  I have read most of them.  My favorite is “The Monkey Wrench Gang”, a fictional account of a group of eco-terroists who try to save the southwest from all kinds of modern intrusions.  Another favorite is “Desert Solitare”, the true story of his time as a ranger in Arches National Park.

Day 82–Tucumcari + 14 miles

We went by McDonald’s for biscuits and then out to the start.  I was running at 8:15.  I’m not sure of the temperature but it was cold enough that I wore a long sleeve poly-pro shirt, my Gore-tex jacket, fleece gloves and hat.  The clouds looked to be going away but behind them were more to block the sun’s heat so it stayed cold all day.  I was in Tucumcari at 10:45.  We took a few pictures and Ed went for a sandwich for me.  I headed on through town but he met me soon and I had lunch.  I finished the other 4 miles to I-40 and got my water bottle from Ed.  He would not be crewing along the 8 miles of interstate but would meet me at the next exit 8 miles south.  This section of I-40 and another just north of Santa Rosa I have been given permission to run by the highway patrol because there are no frontage roads.  There is construction along this section so I was able to either run behind traffic cones on the shoulder or in the west-bound lane which was entirely closed.  It was nice to not have the fast traffic close to me.  At exit 321 the frontage road starts and I moved to it for the last 4 miles of the day.  The frontage road is old Route 66 and will be my route until it ends about 14 miles north of Santa Rosa.  I took several pictures in Tucumcari and also one of a tarantula so make sure and catch up on the pictures. 

Thomas Smith is my mechanic.  I used to do more of my auto repairs but cars have gotten more complicated.  I don’t know how long Thomas has been doing my work but it has been a long time.  In that time he has always been kind, helpful, and reasonable.  I never have to worry about unwanted repairs.  He has also become my friend.  Thomas, I appreciate the good work you do and the friendship we have developed over the years.  Don’t ever retire.

Day 81-approaching Tucumcari, NM

The good long day yesterday took its toll today.  Also the wind was brisk and in my face all day.  I worked hard and managed to walked 25 miles.  I did see my first rattlesnake of the trip and some beautiful swallow nests under a bridge.  The pictures have been updated so you can see both.  I don’t know why the snake picture is so dark.  On my camera viewscreen the picture is well lighted and very plain. 

Today is dedicated to Lindsey and Teena Parsons.  They are good friends and have helped with the Ellerbe Springs Marathon since its beginning.  Most of the time they work an aid station or two but they have also helped with traffic, registration, and the finish line.  Lindsey also helps me with the Boogie Races.  They are both very capable and I know when they are working a station it will be done well.  I am blessed to to have them as friends.  Thank-you Lindsey and Teena for all the good work.