Day 452 – 455 Ashland OR. To Mt. Shasta CA. – 73 Miles


20151205_120609My stars must have been aligned for my return to the state where this adventure originated. The climb to the top of the Siskyou Mountains wasn’t too taxing. Even with powdery snow in the mountains my roads remained dry. The sun was out and I enjoyed my continued rolling of hills. The last climb of Oregon lasted several miles but the legs pushed through. It was a much lighter workout than the steep mountain backroads of a few days earlier. The payoff came a little over four thousand feet. I trotted over the hump and let gravity go to work. The next seven miles at a six percent downgrade ushered me into California. There was no Welcome to California sign greeting me by the road but I did find my way into a rest area and visitor’s center. The landscape immediately looked drier than the Pacific Northwest area.

20151205_124727The feeling of landing back in California was like floating in the air. I ran over several historic bridges that took me over the Klamath and Shasta Rivers. I ran along the edge of a steep precipice that kept me breathless. A herd of deer stare at me and had no desire to run away. My legs were tired but there was no point in listening to what my body had to say. The last stretch would cap off a journey of a lifetime.

20151206_131552That night, we stayed at the Waiiaka RV resort. The place had lots of trees, plenty of hot water, and great owners. I had everything I needed.

20151205_175849(0)Beams of light wished me happy birthday. That morning Crystal was up at the crack of dawn watching my eyes open. She wanted to be the first person to wish me happy birthday and to give me my presents. Over the years she had not been very good about keeping things a surprise but on this day I was caught off guard.

20151205_141407(0)The Boston Crème birthday cake sweetened our taste buds. It was shared by Crystal and my mom for breakfast. The chocolate and custard was a great way to start my day and. I was happy we would celebrate by doing absolutely nothing. My body wanted to have several days of rest but I would settle for one. We gave Stacy and Rick several books to donate to the local school before we left for the Baymont Inn and Suites nearby. My legs were propped up and I lost myself in comic books until it was time for dinner.

20151206_172759(0)My mom took us to a festive Mexican restaurant that served enormous portions. My Mexican pizza tasted like a giant tostada and the complimentary shots of tequila slipped down my throat. More birthday sweets were carted to the table in the form of a giant fried ice cream ball. It was enough for the three of us and we savored the treat. The meal put me into a trance and we all retired early.

20151207_114550It was a good thing my body received ample rest. I had a twenty nine mile day ahead of me and drops of rain threatened to beat on me the entire way. My destination was Weed California. The town was a couple miles and when I passed Wal-Mart, the population vanished. I stayed steady on Old Hwy 99 for miles and miles. I was really in California. I was surrounded by dried hay. Of course snowcapped mountains lingered in the distance. When I found myself a dozen miles into the day the wind began to kick. At the same time Crystal pulled up next to me and offered to prepare lunch. I figured it was a chance to let the gusts die down.

20151207_125151The trailer rocked. The loud winds sounded like howls rushing through the vehicle. It became obvious that the wind had no intention of giving me a break. I exited the trailer right after I polished of the enchilada, beans, and rice. Moving forward seemed futile. The wind pushed against me as I tried to make my way to the destination. Certain areas gave me a small respite from the powerful blowing but they were always short lived. It might have been one of the toughest days on the road but I just kept putting one foot ahead of the other. Eventually I made it to my destination. I was overjoyed when I spotted our beast waiting for me in the distance. It would whisk me off to the Stewart Springs Resort and Retreat.

20151208_100253The moment I stepped onto the property I could feel something mystical. The place was the source of the highest quality mineral water in America. The sounds of the rushing water calmed me after the trying day. I took a shower to wash away the feel of long hard fought miles. When I emerged from the cleansing, I felt fresh, rested, and ready to run some more. The pitch black night offered me the option of staying inside and finishing some literature.

20151207_153047The final state of this trip had been designed to me lighter on the miles. I wanted to make sure I felt strong at the end of the cycle. My run from Weed to Mt. Shasta was only 16 miles. I slipped on a new pair of shoes which were donated to me in Portland by my friend Dave. It felt nice to have footwear with fresh life. I was able to climb in the forest with ease. The snowy hills followed me the entire time. The sounds of nature eventually transitioned into the sounds of roaring vehicles when I crossed a bridge over the freeway. At that point I only had a few miles of running through the town of Mt. Shasta. There were many shops for tourists and mountaineers. The location of the Finlandia Motel was near the southern part of town so I was able to sneak in an extra mile. I finished the day around the hour that we usually start hitting the road. It was nice having more free time for my body to recover. Perhaps I would even catch up on all my paperwork. Then again maybe I would take advantage of the outdoor hot tub or the Finnish sauna. So many choices.

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