I took my first steps out of Yanks RV Resort onto wet farmland. Instead of producing a cloud of dust, my feet sank into the dark mud. The dirt roads ended after the first mile. The asphalt road was a welcome friend. With each step little clumps of dirt lost their grip on my shoes and exploded as they returned to the earth. I took a turn southbound on road 146 and then turned on the autopilot. The road was like a rollercoaster. From the cliff I could see the 101 freeway in the distance to my right. The cars that zoomed on the freeway were muted at my location. I was free to enjoy the cool day. The road took me all the way into King City. I entered the quiet little town, sat on a corner and called Crystal. It was a light day of running and I had plenty of energy left but we were so far ahead of schedule we figured it we figured it was a good place to call it the day.
With no accommodations in town we found a quiet spot behind the Safeway grocery store. The clouds rolled in from the ocean and the temperatures dropped. We grabbed a few groceries, rented a movie, and took shelter in the trailer. My body felt a damp sensation even when I took cover under the sheets. My sleep was uneasy and I tossed and turned until a bit of light found its way through the window. My morning was spent at a fast food location in an attempt to catch up on computer work. When the weather warmed, I packed away the computer, and resumed the steps.
My road to San Ardo was straightforward. No obstacles obstructed my journey and I enjoyed every step. I even chose to exercise my upper body on the bars at the elementary school. Crystal joined me on the quiet field. To our surprise, kids suddenly appeared on the field. They were running around the track. One little kindergartener named Esteban particularly impressed me. He loved running and he continued circling the track after the other kids had finished. I joined the little one and chatted with him and kept him company. He said that he ran around the track every day, after school, until his dad or brother fetched him. I thought it was impressive that someone so young enjoyed running so much. On this day I was the one that was inspired. I vowed to stop by the school in the morning and drop a set of signed books for Esteban.
The next morning when I stepped into the office, the receptionist recognized me from the previous day on the track as well as from the news. It seemed that I had gotten a lot of mileage out the broadcast. The community was predominantly Hispanic and I assumed that much of the population worked on the nearby farms. I noticed that all the kids were very healthy. They weren’t afraid to talk to me and they were very friendly. I liked that the receptionist had a big smile and said I would be welcome to return for an event.
Every step of the journey had been unpredictable. On the day to San Miguel I never anticipated wandering into a field of oil rigs. The oil workers had also seen me on the news and gave me encouragement. However they did not allow me to run through their property. I was allowed to navigate through of churning, steel machines. The public road took me to a dirt path next to the 101. I continued behind the barbed wire until I had to hop on the freeway. I took a few minutes to find the easiest spot for me to jump over the prickly, barbed wire fence. I didn’t realize it wasn’t the last fence or obstacle for the day.
As always, my stubborn personality pushed my body forward against my better judgement. When I passed Camp Roberts I found myself stepping through field of dried weeds. The green grass patches hid the old dirt trail. I was led to river road which I assume got its name from being located next to a river. The only thing was, the river had run dry. I found myself running through the riverbed until I hit a steep uphill climb. The road opened up and grew plenty wide for the climb but then I realized the road I needed to be on was on the other side of another rusted barbed wire fence that was next to my path. I worked my way through the fence and ran through a patch of wildlife preserve. Eventually I spotted the road that would take me to San Miguel. It was very close. All I needed to do was cross some more dried weeds and then climb another hill that had a tiny trail with loosely packed mud. As I made my way up the face of the vertical wall, I could feel my calves heating up. I used a light jog on Indian Valley Road to ease the tension. I found my mom and Crystal at San Miguel waiting for me. From there we headed to the Hampton Inn in Paso Robles to unwind. We had a large room, complimentary wine and cheese, and a hot bathtub waiting. The simple pleasures in life are worth the everyday struggle. As always, I was thankful.