THE JOURNEY ACROSS AMERICA – AGAIN
Day 5 (May 5, 2000) – 47.0 miles
We departed the Winterhaven RV Park in Yuma, AZ on Friday, May 5, 2000, and headed towards Welton, AZ. Day 5 was a major transition day, the last day Greg would be with us for a while.
Greg, Ray and I had a conversation about the possibility of Greg rejoining us sometime in early June, as we got closer to the east coast. There was also a chance that Greg’s partner at the time, Dr. Heidi Sonn, might join us at some point as well. I’d known Heidi even longer than Greg. In fact, it was Heidi who introduced me to Greg. Heidi was a friend and my chiropractor prior to my working with Greg. Unfortunately, she was injured in a car accident and needed to recruit someone to take over her practice while she was recovering. She asked me to let Greg work on me, and I agreed to give her my opinion afterwards. Obviously, I communicate to her that Greg was a keeper. They were still working together during the time of the Journey, though eventually, they moved-on to maintain their own practices. At that moment in time, the possibility that the two of them might “tag-team” as part of the Journey as we approached New York was quite comforting.
Day 5 was also the first day we were no longer in the California desert and moving into a more heavily trafficked area, with a seemingly endless string of traffic lights. There was also not much of a road shoulder on which to run. Other than the stretch on the California Interstate, vehicular traffic was not much of an issue. This was the first time that traffic became a steady and ominous threat.
Before Greg left, Ray, Don, Greg and I had a conversation about the possibility of getting a permit to run on the Arizona Interstate. That would allow us to avoid the congestion of the main road, and to create a more direct route towards the east. Even though we had previously planned to avoid the Interstate, it seemed to be worth exploring that option in order to create what would essentially be a short-cut through the state. Ray asked me if I would be okay with it, and I said: “Sure – if we got the permit.” So, we all agreed to find out if getting a permit was a possibility. Greg offered to go to the Arizona Highway Patrol Police Station and find out. He also was going to arrange with Don to get me a new pair of running shoes.
Once we agreed on the plan, I began to run towards Welton. Soon, Ray pulls over and smiles at me, waving the permit for me to run on Interstate. Ray decided to drive ahead, and wait for me by the entrance to the Interstate – which was about one-mile up head. As I approach the entrance, I see Ray waving or me to stop, which I did. When I got to him, he says: “I’ve got to be honest with you. I just looked at the permit and it does not begin until tomorrow. I guess Greg thought we were still trying to stay off the interstate as much as possible.”
We decide to just keep going and enter the Interstate, given that we did have good fortune with our encounter the day before with the CA Highway Patrol. As we approached the Interstate on-ramp, we saw a frontage road, and decided to try that out first – again guided by our experience the day before. We were on the frontage road for only about a quarter-of-a-mile when we realized that it was a dead end. We turned around and started back to the Interstate entrance. Ray drove up ahead, while I ran to meet him there.
This time, I noticed a restaurant just before the on-ramp. As I looked more closely, I saw a Sheriff’s car, and next to the Sheriff’s car was Ray having a conversation with the Sheriff’s deputy. Apparently, Ray had convinced the deputy to radio the Arizona Highway Patrol to explain our situation. As a result, we received permission to enter the Interstate a day earlier. Additionally, we were to be joined by a highway patrol car that would escort us on to the Interstate. We just had to wait in the restaurant parking lot for the patrol car to arrive.
Meanwhile I decided to go to the bathroom in the restaurant, and had my first encounter with a local shopkeeper. The restaurant was a small Fish ‘n Chips place. I went in and introduced myself to an elderly woman at the cash register, who turned out to be the owner. I explained to her that I was running across the United States and was about to enter the Interstate. I asked her for permission to use her bathroom. She looked at me, laughed heartily, and said: “Sure honey”, and gave me the key. When I returned the key, she offered me some ice water and wanted to know it I wanted anything to eat. I said I had plenty of food and drink waiting for me in the RV, and thanked her for her hospitality.
I then joined Ray, who was standing out by the car, with Greg right beside him. Greg was successful in purchasing a new pair of running shoes for me – New Balance 620’s size 12-4E, the widest shoes he could find. The challenge with my feet is that I had developed very large bunions on each foot, which made my feett very wide. I just cannot wear most running shoes. I had worn this one pair of Etonic Stable Pro 3’s since the Journey began, and which I was told were no longer being made. The New Balance 620 4E fit perfectly. I finally had a new pair of running shoes, and finally was able to retired my Etonics.
We waited for the Highway Patrol to arrive. After waiting for what seemed an eternity, but was probably only five or ten minutes, I started getting quite antsy, and wanted to get moving again. So, Ray, Greg, and I made the decision to resume the Journey on the Interstate without the police escort. Ray and I said goodbye to Greg and headed off to the entrance.
I ran up the on-ramp and was soon on the Interstate. Ray appeared about 10 or 15 minutes later. I thought maybe he had met with the highway patrolman, but apparently, they never showed up. We forged ahead, spending the rest of the day on the Interstate, making our way to Casa Grande. We never got stopped at all. We thought that maybe some official had radioed ahead and told the Highway Patrol what we were doing, and to leave us alone. We used the same strategy we employed the day before on the CA Interstate, whereby Ray and I “leap-frogged” each other at half-mile intervals.
Day 5 of the Journey became memorable in that I was finally able to run in a new pair of shoes that actually fit. Greg headed off to his meeting in Los Angeles, and Ray and I continued our Journey on the Interstate, soon to rendezvous with motor coach. We finished that night conservatively. I decided to cover only about 45 miles that day. We lost quite a lot of time dealing with the permit, waiting for the Highway Patrol, and I didn’t want to push it. I wasn’t sure how my body would react to Greg not being with us and not having someone to work on me at the end of the day.
We all got together that night, and agreed to figured out a new routine, starting that very evening. I would come in at the end of the day, and Don would greet me, help me out of the car. I would take my shoes and socks off, and Don would help me check my feet for blisters. Then I would shower, attend to any blisters that had developed that day, and do my post-run Egoscue exercises, which would take about 30 to 45 minutes.
Ray, Laura and Monea would get the car unpacked. Monea or Laura would prepare the end of day meal. We would then have a quick meeting, to discuss what worked and what didn’t work that day. Then there would be a dismantling of the days provisions and all equipment used, and begin to get ready for the next day.
Laura’s job was to prepare the water for me. Ray and I usually took nine 1.5-liter bottles of Merlin water with us at the start of the day. Merlin water, was an alkaline, reverse osmosis water, and was one of our sponsors. Merlin provided us with water throughout the Journey. At the end of each day, Laura added colloidal drops containing trace minerals, and vitamin C to the water; that everything would be ready for Ray and me the following morning.
Each day, Ray would get up first – usually by 4:30 – get his breakfast ready, and organize the supplies we would need that day. I got up at 5 and did stretches and Egoscue exercises until 5:30, at which time I joined Ray in the main room of the motor coach. We would discuss that day’s itinerary while I prepared my morning protein shake, took my supplements, and got myself “lubed up’ with body lotion and calendula ointment. Ray and I would leave around 6:30. Ray would stay with me for a couple hours while the motor coach crew would pack-up RV and join us on the road at the two-hour mark to rendezvous with Ray and discuss how the rest of the day would go.
Don, Monea, and Laura usually shopped in the middle of the day, linked-up with us one more time, before finding a camp site close to where Ray and I predicted the day’s end mileage would be. That routine was starting to set in and felt comfortable. We planned for a short first day without Greg. When we got to the 40-mile point and I told Ray I wanted him to time me walking one mile.
I started walking and when I got to the 41-mile point, Ray said I had walked the mile in 16-minutes. I then told him I was going to alternate running and walking for the next few miles, thinking I would shut-down at the 45-mile mark. I ended up that day a couple of miles beyond that – at 47 miles. Day 5’s total mileage, 47, was the lowest daily total thus far, and the earliest time of day we shut-down, which was a little after 7:00. I felt that would give Ray and I plenty of time to get back to the RV, meet with the crew, do some stretching, and get prepared for the next day. I planned to build back up to 50 or more mile per day as soon as possible.