Archive for December 2nd, 2008|Daily archive page

Day 117–Cabazon

This morning we were up a 5 a.m.  There are some tricky sections along I-10 and I cannot run this interstate.  We spend some time exploring the possibilities along the interstate and decide that I will attempt the powerline road paralleling I-10 and meet again at exit 111.  From there, I can run the old freeway into Cabazon.  The drop off point is 15 miles north of I-10, so I still have a few more miles on Hwy 62 first.  Most of this is downhill and I alternate running and walking.  After passing through Morongo Valley I enter a narrow canyon that is all downhill.  It lasts for a few miles and is too narrow for Roger and Kim to meet me.  I push the downhill and the canyon is over quickly.  The downhill continues for several miles more.  The junction of Hwy 62 and I-10 is at San Gargonio pass just north of Palm Springs.  It is a very windy area and there are are hundreds of windmills here.  A couple of miles before I-10, I leave the highway and take the side road that will lead me to the powerline.  Here I see my first roadrunner.  I have been hearing about this bird but had not seen a live one.  I also saw a covey of Gambel’s quail.  Roger and Kim leave me at the powerline and drive ahead to the meeting place at exit 111.  The powerline road is like most powerline roads and is a steep uphill.  At the top of the hill the road T’s.  Straight ahead is a big drop from the mountain.  Fortunately, a work van drives up and I get more instructions about which way to go.  It’s through a the windmills and down the mountain and then around on the side following the freeway.  I follow these instructions and come to the Whitewater exit.  There I have four parallel dirt roads along the interstate and it does not appear to matter which one I take.  I choose one in the middle and continue west.  After 2 hours I rendezvous with Roger and Kim.  From that point, it was just follow the old freeway with little traffic to Cabazon. 

We come to a good stopping point at 3:30.  It will do us no good to get caught up in rush hour traffic here.  Roger and Kim are leaving this evening and will take me to meet Eric Clifton in Hemet.  I will be with him and his wife Noni for the next few days. 

Today is dedicated to Wayne and Doris Park.  They were my in-laws for many years and I do not think it would have been possible to have better in-laws.   They were more like a second set of parents and I felt often that our relationship was better than the relationship I had with my own parents.  They were good to me and I missed my close relationship with them after the divorce.  Mr. Park died earlier this year and Mrs. Park died this past Saturday.

Day 116–Almost Morongo Valley

Today is one of those good days that I don’t have a long ride out to the start.  I had finished yesterday at room 126 of the Motel 6, so walking out the door was the start.   Roger did drive me to Burger King for breakfast first.  Then, back to the motel and onto the road.  Twentynine Palms should end the long spells without services.  The map shows towns at reasonable intervals all the way to the finish.  I’ll be able to stop along the route and get what I want again.  Today, that meant a Starbucks coffee in the next town, Joshua Tree.  Starbucks used to be more special to me.  They varied the daily coffee but for some reason they always have only “Pikes Place” coffee.  Pikies Place is good but it was nice to find Kenyan or a good Columbian on the menu occasionaly.  Given the choice, I always stop in a local coffee shop because they do offer something different. 

As I was waiting to cross the street to Starbucks, I got a call from Kathy French.  I was stunned when she told me Rick was at a ball game and had a heart attack.  He was at that moment being transferred to the Sanger Clinic in Charlotte.  There was good news.  He was awake and responsive although he was unable to talk due to a breathing tube.  I crossed to Starbucks and took a 20 minute sitdown break with my coffee. 

Rick is not my brother by blood.  He is my brother by choice.  We have been through much together.  Although I am older, he functions as the older brother.  Always the wise one, he has taught me more about running than anyone else.  I am not talking about the technical details.  I am talking about the mind and spirit.  I have been a whiner, a complainer, and a quitter.  At Sauertown was the first lesson.  After miles of mud and misery and listening to me complain, he asked, “Have you tried a goo lately?”  The simplicity of the question stopped me in my tracks.  I was pushing my misery to its max and he was focused only on doing what was necessary to move ahead.  The humor of the contrast did not escape me and I moved on too, following my friend to the finish.  Many lessons have followed.  I doubt that he realized that I began to look at him as a model for the proper mindset of an ultrarunner.  In my second Leadville attempt, I learned a lesson that changed my attitude completely.  I went to 47 miles climbing partway up Hope Pass, did the math, and came to the conclusion that a finish was impossible.  It would be less difficult to turn around and go back to Twin Lakes so that is what I did.  Rick made it to Winfield before he did the math.  He had only a two minute lead on the cuttoff and knew he could not finish.  But instead of quitting, he left the aid station quickly, not wanting to be pulled.  He knew he could not finish but he wanted to see just how far he could go.  What a difference in our attitudes.  I was inwardly ashamed of my poor, whimpy attitude.  I vowed from that point on to try Rick’s approach instead of mine.

Rick, this is not a dedication.  You’ve already had two of those.  This is just a statement of fact.  I am in California and winding up my journey.  Although it’s not quite over yet, I owe you much for being here.  In fact, I think I would never had made it without you.  I don’t expect you will be here for the last week as we planned.  I thought of having a life size poster of you made for the dunking ceremony but I decided not.  Just know that you will be there in my mind, heart, and spirit. 

I finished my coffee at Starbucks and moved on down the road.  It was a quiet afternoon and the Yucca Valley was the beginning of a change in the desert.  There seems to be more moisture here although there is none visible.  I finished the day early with about 25 miles just before Morongo Valley.   

Friends please pray for Rick as he begins his recovery.