Week 7 has been a really challenging week for me, I’ve had some real up and down moments but hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from now!
Getting to the bottom of the misty, spooky Redwood mountain on day 44, I stopped to chat to a road worker. I poured my heart out about the night I’d experienced thinking I was going to be eaten alive by a cougar.
He said, “it was probably a cougar, bear or an elk.” It didn’t make me feel much better, as I didn’t like the odds about which animal it would have been.
After a few miles, I was still feeling edgy and fearful. Though, I hadn’t slept the night before which might have something to do with it.
By mile 10, I stopped at the Woodland Villa restaurant. I ate a burger with my eyes half shut and found out that they had a room I could sleep in. I took it.
That evening, I was doing my stretches by the bedroom on my step to stretch my Achilles heel and a man said about 20 metres away,
“It’s probably important to let you know, if you hear banging on your bedroom wall tonight, don’t worry, it’s a bear coming for the garbage. He’s harmless enough, but I’d probably suggest not taking a selfie with him.”
I took this room just to be out of the wilderness for the night, but I was still in the heart of it. So I said to the man, “don’t worry, I won’t be planning on any selfies anytime soon.”
In the morning, I felt like a new man, fresh and less fearful. It’s amazing what a good night sleep can do isn’t it?
At the start of my run, I felt amazing. I was happy to be back on the road running. I had my barefoot runners on, and I was springing with every single step.
I spotted an ‘A’ spray painted on the roadside, so I took a picture with the ‘A’ for Adventureman on my chest. Looking back at the picture, it looked like a double ‘AA’ Duracell batteries. And I thought of the bunny in the ad, ‘just keep going and going.’
Early on in the run, I went to a big tourist attraction, Klamouth’s Tour-Thru Tree, where you can drive through a tree. Drive THROUGH a tree. So, I thought me and Caesar had to do it. Caesar only just made it though. Man, he’s so big.
After nine miles on the highway, there was a scenic route that ran parallel to the highway and apparently was a lot flatter – so I took that road.
For my lunch stop, I rolled out my mat and led back. I noticed on my little finger, I’d worn away a big chunk of skin.
I had no idea how I’d done it because I haven’t felt any pain from it over the last week.
I think it’s because my body is battling pain in so many other areas that I couldn’t feel pain in this area. I took it that I’m getting stronger and more resilient.
Running through the scenic section, oh my, I’ve never seen trees like it. Trees were as tall as sky scrapers!
The road itself was all slightly downhill too, so Caesar pushed himself and I just tilted my head back to look up at enjoy the tree views.
It was a really quiet road, but every once in a while, you’d see a tourist taking a picture of a tree. I’ve never seen people taking pictures of trees before, but this place warranted it!
I realized this was the holy grail of tree lovers.
After seven miles, a car pulled in and handed me a $10 donation out of the car and a lady said, “I saw you on the TV in Alaska at my grandma’s house. It’s amazing what you’re doing!”
I replied, “that’s awesome, thank you! Where you headed now?”
She said, “back to Alaska!”
I couldn’t believe it, “but we’re in California!? Surely you can’t drive that far?!”
The lady was like, “yeah, we came down this way to see these trees!”
It turns Christal and her friends drove over 2,000 miles to see these trees. It cracks me up how willing Americans are to drive, drive and drive, like the Duracell bunny!
Minutes later, Kathy and Steve showed up. I’d been messaging Kathy for the past month. She turned up with enough protein bars to feed an army.
Eating dinner at Palm Cafe with them, it turns out Glenn Mann, a friend of mine from my hometown Gloucester, tagged Kathy on a Facebook post asking her to help. And here they were… Tagging people actually works!
It also turns out that Steve and Kathy have visited Gloucester at least 10 times, so we reminisced about our amazing cathedral, the beautiful docks and so on.
After lots of chinwagging, Kathy excitedly said, “right, I hope you don’t mind, I’ve been calling the news stations. I’ve got a running club on board up ahead that would like to run with you. I’ve got this motel up ahead that would like to put you up for the night. This restaurant that would like to feed you. Sorry, is this too much? Tell me if I’m stepping on your toes?”
I must have had that look of amazement, then I said, “Kathy, this is exactly what it needs. All I can do is run. It’s you that makes the difference.”
She’s a proper mama bear, that’s for sure!
After a 20-mile run, I set my tent up next to a big tree and nodded off – the Duracell bunny batteries needed a rest – ready to go again tomorrow!
Hearing rain on the tent is never good for morale, but there it was, the second I woke up the next day. I mean, I thought it’s not supposed to rain in California!?
There was no signal on my phone again, out in the boonies.
After packing up my wet tent, I went through my normal warm up yoga moves on the soggy ground.
Leaving Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, I spotted some elk. There was one on the roadside just metres away. He seemed to flaunt his perky bum and stared at me, bending his neck. He didn’t take his eyes off me, like I was a threat to him.
As I ran, it was dreary rain. The stuff that’s not very hard but soaks you to the bone.
My body hurt, and I felt miserable with every step. I tried to fight it to be happy, but I just couldn’t.
After 9 miserable miles, a car pulled in. The door opened, and I heard “duuuuude! I’m been trying to track you down! My name is Dru from Redwood News.”
Dru was young, and so enthusiastic, it perked me up a little. Though I was fairly honest with him and told him I’d been struggling.
After the interview, we agreed to eat breakfast a mile down the road at Palm Cafe.
Whilst eating pancakes, sausages and eggs, a couple came over to ask some questions. After I mentioned I was doing the run for kid’s hospitals, the dad, Steven, pulled out $5 as a donation and said, “here, that’s all I have.”
Then the mum, Mary, said, “we lost our son, Scott, at 4 years old. He was born with a heart defect. The hospital was amazing during those years and even though it was 30 years ago that Scott passed, you never get over it.” She welled up.
I could see it was really hitting home to Dru as he was watching our conversation.
When it came to the bill for our food, the waitress Tasha said, “it’s on the house, I got this.”
Again, me and Dru were just looking in amazement at what had happened in the last 20 minutes.
For the afternoon run, it was tough to leave the cafe, but I had to give myself a talking to. ‘Those miles ain’t going to run themselves’, I told myself.
Hitting the rain again though, I was right back to misery. Everything hurt. Everything I looked at was doom and I was in the worst mood. The clouds looked terrible. The mountains looked ugly… I genuinely couldn’t stop but think that every tiny part of my world was miserable. I was getting annoyed at myself for being so damn miserable.
I even tried to think of Mary, Steven and their boy Scott, but I just felt sad.
I just kept running, clocking up the miles. There was nothing around and nothing else for me to do but run.
As it started to get dark, some bendy narrow roads popped up that needed a lot of my attention in order to stay safe.
I had nothing left in my tank, yet I had to haul Caesar to each side of the road on each narrow bend and then charge up steep hills as quickly as possible, so I was giving cars as much time as possible to see me to keep us all safe, the cars included.
A small perk up was a sign that read, ‘San Fran 297 miles’. So that means I’ll be hitting the big city in just two weeks!
It really was a 30 second perk, by mile 19 I was sick as a dog.
I spotted a campground sign that read, ‘Big Lagoon State Park Campground’ and had to go there as I had no water.
Running on, I was happy that the day was about to end. Though, the road to the campground was never ending. 100 metres. Then 200 metres. ‘When is this freaking campground going to arrive?’ I was thinking!
I spotted a house and knocked on the door. The lady reassured me, it was only around the corner.
After a mile, I’d arrived. I was done. I went to get water – another 100 metres away. Who’s counting the metres huh?
Seriously though, on top of a day like today, adding another 1.1 mile onto your trip, and knowing I’d have to cover that extra 1.1 mile tomorrow, was just the icing on the cake of such a miserable day.
If my mum would have seen my face, she’d have said, ‘if the wind changes, you’ll look like that forever.’
Today, I made miserable look gooooood.
My miserable day was made a little better by the second YouTube episode being ready – it’s called ‘Run like a Cat’
Here’s the 22-minute episode:
After having battled through one of the most miserable runs the day before, I opened my eyes to find that the sun was shining through the tent, I knew it was going to be a better day.
My body was sore, but I knew to crack on slowly and it would soon warm up.
Running along on a country road, a woman called April Putnam showed up. She handed over a bag of Wild Planet Foods. I looked inside and my belly rumbled wondering what treats I might be in for. In it was enough fish for a week! April said, “there’s tons of choices in there, tell us which ones you like and we’ll post some out ahead of you on your route.” I was blown away. And it wasn’t the cheap stuff, it was the real good stuff. Fish on tap!
During lunch, I ate at The Lighthouse Grill in Trinidad and got a salad and veggie chilli. I’ve been eating bad food recently, mostly because I’m tired, so I’m trying to make better choices. I know that’ll help with the longer game and with all the miles ahead to come.
Running on, hitting mile 15 for the day, I started to get an ocean view from the road – so I put on Lighthouse Family ‘Ocean Drive’ just to enhance the moment.
Landing into Mckinleyville, I stopped off at Kathy and Steve’s house. Kathy was the mama bear from the other day who helped feed me with endless protein bars, called news stations and took me for dinner. Her and Steve were actually out of town, but they gave me their address and just said to call when I arrived. It was all rather mysterious!
Once I was outside the address Kathy had given me, I called Kathy. She said, “hang on a minute, I’ll open the door from my phone.” She was miles away. I was like, “Kathy, you’re opening up the garage door with your phone?” She said, “yeah, I know, amazing huh? Once you’re in, I can lock you in too.”
I quickly said, “please do. And never open it. Then I won’t have to run 5,000 or more miles. PLEASE lock me in forever!”
Later on, her son Lorenzo, who lives just around the corner, turned up and took me for a Mexican dinner with his wife, Jessica and their two kids. I then went back to the house and slept like a baby in a big squishy bed.
In the morning, I had breakfast with Lorenzo and the family – pancakes galore! Before leaving the house, 6-year-old Hunter said, “I know why you’re dressed up as Adventureman. Because you travel. Travelling is a superpower!”
During that morning’s run, as I passed through Mckinleyville, three cars stopped to give me a donation. I couldn’t believe it! Annoyingly I could only chat for a short while with each of them, as I was due to be treated to a massage in the next town of Arcata. Actually, I had two massages booked in and I was on a mission to get there!
Arriving into Arcata, I had a relaxing massage from Rob Thompson Massage, Arcata which I fell asleep during. It was just incredible to let my whole body relax. It was paid for by Shawn Breen, a really supportive Canadian Facebook follower and my body is very grateful.
I couldn’t schnooze for long though, because right afterwards I was due at another massage, arranged by yet another Canadian mama bear, Anne Solo. She worked her massage therapist networking magic to get me in with Sylvia from Source Point Bodywork, which was a trigger point session.
You’re probably wondering (as I was before seeing her) what a trigger point session is. In essence, Sylvia pushed every tight muscle group (in a magical spot) so I’d scream the house down with pain until I relaxed. Which, again, was incredible in a very productive and sadistic way.
Though my body felt like I’d done a few rounds with Mike Tyson, everything was loose, and I felt amazing during the second part of my run that day.
That afternoon, having clocked up 15 miles for the day, I got a message from a woman called Karen on Facebook, asking whether I would like to stay at her family home. She said it was five miles up ahead – which couldn’t have been more perfect. So I landed into their house after 20 miles with the smell of homemade pizza ready on the table.
As I led back in bed at Karen’s house that night I thought back over the day’s events. Today, I had well and truly hit the jackpot in every way possible – Adventureman is fuelled and back in the game!
Right before leaving Karen and Matthew’s house, I asked Karen, “I have a blister on my finger that keeps rubbing on Caesar. Do you have any idea how to protect it? Because a plaster won’t stay on it long enough for it to heal!” It’s funny how small injuries and scrapes become all you can think about when you have little else to keep your brain active. They just rub and rub and rub.
Immediately Karen was like, “do you have duct tape?”
Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?! I have duct tape!
All bandaged up, after a few miles, I was running so well. My body was feeling the full effects from yesterday’s massage and trigger point session.
When running, I seemed to be clearing more space from the ground up between each stride. There was definitely a bounce in my step.
Bouncing on, nine miles in, I had a special delivery from Kathy’s dad, Denis. It was my eye mask!
And don’t laugh!
I’ve had the eye mask for three years or more now, and his name is Mr Lavender Fox.
He’s named this for two reasons; 1. he’s a fox and 2. he gives off a lavender scent.
A week ago, I left my Lavender Fox in Brookings and every morning since I’ve been awake as soon as it’s light in the morning. Which means, losing out on the last couple of hours of precious sleep every morning. It has been torture – and probably a big reason that I was so miserable the other day.
When it comes to sleep, I think it’s the number one healer both emotionally and physically. I do. I really do!
So I had the eye mask posted out nearby, and Kathy’s dad brought it to me. I think I could have cried, I was so grateful.
Running on, happy to be reunited with Lavender Fox (though I think Mr Fox was happier to see me), I ran on continuing to glide across the ground.
Hitting 17 miles, I made it to Timeout Sports Pub. It was the place where Kathy had told me to stop as dinner was on the house. I ordered a burger and sweet potato fries and sank an IPA beer. It was just what the doctor ordered!
Before leaving, Kathy’s daughter Brittany turned up with her 5-year-old son, Reza. He tapped me on the shoulder to ask me a question, “hey Adventureguy, can you run really fast?” I replied, “no, pretty slow but my power is that I can just keep going. Forever.”
Reza gave that huge look of amazement when young kids are blown away with what they just heard.
Then I leaned in, “you can have that power too. Anyone can, you know! Run forever! You just have to try.”
That look came again from Reza and me and his mum Brittany laughed our heads off.
Fuelled on a beer, a burger and Reza’s enthusiasm, I headed out the door to find some grass just behind a supermarket.
It was a perfect camping spot and Starbucks was a 100 metres away for coffee in the morning.
I crawled into my tent, excited to have a date with Lavender Fox.
After a nine-hour sleep with my Lavender Fox, I woke up lovely and refreshed.
Whilst in Starbucks drinking my beloved coffee, a girl ran in and shouted, “I found you!”
I was slightly bemused, but she continued, “my name is Amie. About four years ago my mom Lucie from Canada came out to see you on your last adventure and she told me I gotta find you to give you this $20 for your charity. It’s from us.”
It turned out I remembered her mum Lucie and this girl had a cycle helmet on, so I figured she hadn’t just pulled in quickly in a car, so I said, “Do you want a drink? This is amazing!” She agreed and sat with me.
It turns out Amie is cycling from Victoria, BC, right down to Mexico, and she’s 17 days into her trip. We talked about the fear of camping (annoyingly, my cougar video that I posted a few days back has slightly freaked her out), and the joy of the 101 coastal highway.
After a warm adventure chat and a lot of coffee, I was back on the road running.
Miles passed away quickly, and I noticed the difference having been loaded up with a good night sleep.
After a 10-mile strong run, I stopped for lunch at Lety’s Kitchen and Coffee.
A man came in called Rodney, loaded with wisdom and wanted to tell me all about the famous peanut-man. It was the guy who created all the different kinds of peanut, including peanut butter, my new-found love.
Rodney was so enthusiastic, “you know, the famous peanut-man, even found out that there’s more protein in a peanut and walnut than there is in any type of meat!”
Now, I don’t know if that was true, but when you have the most enthusiastic man alive tell you this, you believe it.
When it came to settling the bill, I went to buy mine and Rodney’s lunch, it turned it I couldn’t. The owner of the restaurant took care of the bill. Totally lovely and something that I’ll never, ever take for granted.
Fuelled on food and thoughts of peanuts, I ran on. Again, feeling strong. Though, I have to say, and I’m sorry here… my crotch really started to become sore. Like, really sore.
By 18 miles, I hit a mountain and screamed at the top of my voice ‘BAAAALLLLLSSS!’ It felt amazing to let my frustrations out onto the highway.
Landing into Redcrest Resort, I was craving a bed like never before. And I’ve never felt like I needed to shower ‘down below’ more!
So I asked the check in lady what the prices were for a cabin for the night. They were $160, so not really in the budget.
So I told the lady “no worries, I’m happy to camp”.
Then, we got chatting. After a few minutes, she asked, “do you have any documentation for your charity fundraising?”
So I showed her my Facebook page, and then the fundraising totals on the website.
During this time, I felt her huff and puff. I was getting worried that she was thinking I’m really laying it on thick here to get a free camping spot. And I was honestly really happy to pay.
After another minute went by, Tania slid over a key and said “go to cabin 6. Enjoy your stay. There’s a hot shower in there too. Thank you for everything you’re doing for our kids.”
I was blown away. It turns out all her huffing and puffing was a sign of ‘I can’t wait to help you.’
I completely misread her body language.
In the cabin, I scoffed down some Wild Planet Foods sardines and some nuts, replaying Rodney’s nut stories from the day.
What a nutty old day!
Also, if you’re considering donating to Superhero Foundation, it’s what it’s all about, in supporting kids hospitals & helping thousands of sick kids lives in years to come – it really will make a difference.