Day 428 to 430 Kelso to Vancouver WA. – 45 Miles


20151111_114119A psychologist named Maslow wrote a theory about the hierarchy of man’s needs. He depicts our needs in life as a pyramid. At the base of this are the physiological elements we need for survival; food, shelter, water. As we move up the pyramid, friendship and community become a priority. At the pinnacle of this pyramid is the need for purpose and self-actualization. Day after day I have teetered between my basic survival and my purpose in life. As I approached my final new state on this run I closed in on my purpose in life: making this world a better place.

20151111_125618The grey skies kicked off my day in Kelso. Just after the first mile I started climbing a slippery wet hill. As I ascended the hill, the rain again began to pour. I could hardly believe that I was growing accustomed to running with a chilled body and soaked clothes. Droplets on my eyelashes did little to impede my progress. While the extra weight seemed to slow my pace, I found the weather propelled my feet. The heat my body generated while in motion gave me the incentive to push.

20151111_125733On this day, Crystal tried to keep a close distance to me. She worried about the dreary conditions. When I discovered her by a park in Kamala a hint of sunlight broke through the clouds. We took a break for lunch and I slipped into a fresh set of clothes. Crystal made a warm soup with clear noodles and broccoli. When I sipped the broth, a warm sensation coursed downward from my throat to my stomach. The lightly seasoned soup tingled inside my body and energized my feet. I hit the road where, right after a tiny town, I encountered many curved roads and steep hills. I never expected Washington to be so hilly but I enjoyed my climbs.

20151112_143335The clouds crawled across the sky and blocked out my sun once again. As the time ticked, Crystal abandoned hope for lodging. It was a dark cold evening and signs everywhere in town indicated the town’s stance on the parking of trucks and trailers. We were fortunate when we stumbled upon a lot where several big rigs and RV’s had set up camp. We warmed the trailer and threw a video into my computer. It was time to take our mind of the road.

20151111_154609It rained through the evening and it drizzled when I started my day. I ran a dozen miles in wet conditions. I pushed through a town with four casinos on four corners of their intersection. As I continued I smelled baked goods from an oven. It made me long for a cup of hot chocolate. I wanted to sit inside a warm bakery out of the rain. Instead I reached the cold trailer. I had a quick meal before taking a seat in the front of the truck to sit and wait for the rain to lighten. When the drizzle turned to light sprinkles, a runner ran past our truck and that was my cue to continue.

The sidewalk began around Mt. Vista. On the other side of the street the runner had turned around and was matching my steps. I took the light hills with ease but found that I had gained a shadow. As we ran downhill I noticed he started to increase his speed. I could see that the sidewalk on my side of the street was about to disappear so I crossed over. The back and forth nature of our run was fun for a bit but eventually he turned and I continued into Vancouver. The little challenge was a nice warm up. The brisk run had my blood flowing and I navigated the roads into downtown Vancouver. It was our last stop in Washington.

20151112_145656I giggled with delight when I reached the Comfort Inn and Suites in Vancouver. They had put up a welcome sign that shouted out to everyone on the street. Pride and butterflies in the stomach create a similar feeling. It tickled almost like the warm soup from the prior day. I stepped into our heated room with more energy than when I started my morning. It was a great feeling.

20151112_201744That evening Crystal arranged for us to eat at our go to restaurant Applebee’s. My friend Dave was coming to meet me from across the bridge. But traffic seemed atrocious. I had looked forward to seeing Dave for some time. While on the road he often sent me messages of encouragement and humor to help my days pass. Surprisingly he appeared only a few moments after we were seated. The manager Matt took great care of us. On that very day, they had just introduced new items on the menu. Of course my pasta dishes were a staple and didn’t get changed but Crystal’s favorite meal had been replaced. Luckily the shrimp she ordered were meaty and flavorful. The light dinner conversation was filled with jokes and laughter. We all ended the meal with something sweet. It was my opportunity to try something new. The smell of banana was strong and it tasted delicious. What a perfect way to end the evening.

20151112_204024I turned in early while Crystal watched movies. In the morning we got up early and had our standard breakfast of eggs, waffles, and yogurt. I had the chance to meet the manager that had arranged the warm greeting. Joe was a pleasant bespectacled gent with an uplifting mood. He even offered to let us stay another night since we had a one day gap without lodging. It was perfect for me. I looked out the window and the wind was blowing every leaf off the trees. Shelter and rest were very welcome. I retired back to the comfort of the room and let my dreams take hold. 20151113_105145

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