Day 442 – 446 Cottage Grove to Azalea OR. – 97 Miles


20151124_124628The terrain of the Oregon forest was rugged. Even though I knew the smartest plan of attack was to rush out of harm’s way, the task was still difficult to execute. Crystal and I had already covered so much ground since that day on Santa Monica Pier. We had the privilege of being guests in so many people’s homes; people that we now call friends and family. There were many warm welcomes into many towns but invariably the rough patches creep onto the route.

20151124_140626As I climbed up and down the steep slopes of mountain and forest I ran alone with my thoughts. The quietest times were the times that the universe revealed the most to me. I was able to reflect upon this undertaking without bias. At times, while sopping wet clothes clung to my body, I learned secrets about mother nature and about myself. I thought long and hard about religion and spirituality. The deeper I ran into the woods and the further I ran up the mountain, the more enlightened I felt. Of course I wouldn’t be so bold as to say I was enlightened but I did feel calm despite the temperatures. I said to myself that whatever suffering I felt would pass. I just had to keep moving forward.

Crystal and I found ourselves sleeping beside the train tracks in Yoncalla with our propane heater turned on. The town had a hardware store and two streets. I had asked if there was a place in town where we could plug our trailer but I had no luck. My body was cozy but I told myself that the comfort was just an illusion. It was a nice illusion though.

20151125_123527The next day I had to take my own path through a couple of restricted roads. I climbed a large hill only to reach a fence that told me to turn back. A few bars of metal were not about to keep me from my destination. I saw wide bright green fields that begged me to run on them. Of course I jumped the fence and continued running. I ended up running into a group of grazing cows. I had to walk through the herd to get to another fence which held a bunch of horses. I made my way through the equine gang and returned to the asphalt. I found Crystal waiting for me in the town of Sutherlin where we had a campsite had agreed to donate a space for the evening. It was a good thing we had a place to plug in our trailer because the exhaust had blown black soot.

20151127_120208We stayed at the campsite on Thanksgiving Day, watched videos, and ate lots of food. The park was silent and the streets were empty. My mind and body were void of activity the entire time.

20151130_104800I woke up to frost and ice everywhere. It deterred me from stepping outside and I returned to my warm bed. The next time I looked outside, all the ice had melted. My breath was visible when I exhaled but I was ready to hit the road. Again I was bundled in a warm getup. I smelled like dirty laundry but at least I was warm. I had become attached to my green Altra’s but they were hanging on by a thread. It was hard to imagine anything bad happening in the scenic community. New shoes adorned my feet and I used the day to break in my Zoot shoes which were donated by Garth back in Coeur d’Alene.

20151127_132110On my route I passed the Umpqua Community College. Tragedy had hit there several weeks ago. The area was so beautiful and there were places to watch fish from a bridge. At that point I was not too far from town. I ran to the last business of town at the southern most point and called it the day. I was amazed that I felt so taxed by the recent short mileage. We were blessed once again to have a couple of last minute donations from Motel 6 and Applebee’s. The end of my day was spent being thankful to survive another cold wintery day.

20151125_131732I began the morning asking for the strength to put one leg in front of the other. I prayed for another day of safety and focus. My path took me into the mountains yet again. The steep climb lasted a couple of miles. The run was just me and my thoughts once again. I was headed into the town of Tri City but first I had to conquer the uphill battle. At the pinnacle, I discovered a regal home that looked like a castle. It was fenced off from the world but I would have been surprised if anyone would have been able to reach the place. Even if they could break in, I don’t think getting away was a very easy proposition. The downhill part might have been much more difficult than the uphill climb. Gravity pulled on the body with some strength and I found the downhill speed made my heart race.

20151128_161405I ran right into Abby’s Pizza. The manager of Applebee’s in Roseburg had referred us and said he had worked there previously. The manager of Abby’s was named Heather and she happened to be putting together a toy and book drive for the homeless kids in town. Crystal and I were happy to set her up with some books and she was happy to set us up with dinner. We didn’t have much time to dine though. We had arranged to plug our trailer into the local Smart Shop grocery store at the end of town and I wanted to say thank you to Clayton before he got off work. Crystal went ahead to ensure we arrived while he was there. I continued to run. The recent freezing temperatures left us grateful for any joule of heat we could get. After we plugged into their outlet, we took out our pizza, huddled by our little heater, and enjoyed the evening.

20151128_143929The circumstances of our propane powered heater dictated our movements. We had to wait a couple of days for the RV repair shop in Tri City to fix our trailer so the next day I continued forward. Lucky for us, the Tri City RV Park had graciously agreed to accommodate us. I took off along the freeway while Crystal took our beast to the park and unhitched. The cars zoomed by at high velocity. There were places where I had guard rails in between me and the vehicles. My legs ached as I ran slightly slanted to my left. The blood and adrenaline coursed through my veins. There was lots of climbing but inclines and grades of road paled in comparison to mountainous backroads. It seemed the time passed quickly as the miles faded away. I saw a hint of Crystal in the distance and I began to run faster. She was parked at a church where I could end my day. I would rid myself of the damp clothing and enjoy the hot showers of the Tri City RV Park. 20151124_144236

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