Day 481 – 482 Palo Alto to Santa Cruz CA. – 44 Miles


20160103_113942I hesitated to leave the comforts of the Courtyard Marriott as my destination was a non-descript spot on the side of the street in the town of Los Gatos. Even though I only had a few hundred miles of running left before the end of the journey, I found it difficult to motivate myself to run. My breakfast consisted of a few donut holes but I had eaten tons of tofu the night before. The high protein and ample spice had fortified my muscles.

20160103_120403My muscles grew stronger once the blood began to pump through my body. The route was fairly straightforward. All the miles were city miles so there were plenty of stoplights. The surroundings were very similar to the communities in Southern California. I saw many suburban looking homes on my route, plenty of European cars, and markets with exotic looking food. For some reason I expected large estates and mansions in Cupertino but they never appeared. Didn’t Steve Jobs own a home in that area?

20160103_145538After a light hill and a turn through an affluent neighborhood, I found myself on Wimbledon St. I once again thought of my years of playing tennis. Even though running was the primary sporting outlet, I missed the thrill of competition and the comradery of team sports. It was no surprise that a tennis center was locate on the street. The sounds of strings smacking fuzzy yellow balls resonated in the air. Just around the corner I found the beast and two lovely ladies waiting for me; my mom and Crystal.

20160104_104946I agreed to meet them again less than two miles away. We would make our camp outside of a hotel. There was ample street parking and the hotel looked to be undergoing renovations. After a hot meal we tried to retire but a set of blue and red colored sirens alternated in the rear view window of the trailer. I started to put my shirt in preparation for my inevitable encounter with the policeman. Just as I was about to open the door until I heard two voices talking. He was asking to see a license from a driver. We sat there in the dark without making a peep. The cop took an hour to give this guy a ticket. During that time, the siren colors changed once. The knock on our trailer door never came and we were happy when the flashing lights finally stopped.

20160104_125435It had rained in the wee hours of the night. The ground was soaked when I took off. I knew I was near the ocean though. The air had a salty but damp taste. I hit the trail and expected rain. The trail ran along the freeway for several miles. At times the ground turned muddy and slippery. There were plenty of hills and I was surprised that my route took me into a forest. I had been warned that the side of the freeway was very dangerous. The running lane was nil and the dense fog sat low. The slippery roads with the speeding cars scared the bejeezus out of me. After winding through the forest and climbing up and down hills in the sprinkles and fog, I saw a ray of sunlight in the distance. When I reached the point, the fog suddenly lifted. My eyes went from obscured vision to clear 20/20 in an instant. From that road all the way to Santa Cruz I was blessed with a window of clear skies. Every day the reporters had predicted stormy weather. It was only a matter of time before they were right. But, at that moment, I had survived another day. I had reached the Best Western all suites in Santa Cruz. It was all I needed.

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