Whew! What a week!
I just want to start off by saying thank you to everyone who is keeping up with my trip! Thank you for your help in spreading the word about Envirothon as well.
As an additional note, (and to clarify), since I no longer have a support team, I am having to do this alone. Therefore, I am having to carry about 60 pounds of gear (electronics included) and am only able to run when people are willing to hold my pack for a day (or more) and allow me to get longer distances accomplished. This is officially a RUN/HIKE across America.
I left Brett Carson’s apartment on Tuesday 3/26 and took the bus back to where I got off of the ferry in Oakland. I walked by a Whole Foods and realized that they don’t sell half of the stuff I buy when I am out hiking/running. Fortunately for me, I was able to go to a Quality Market not too far down the road on my route! Ah, a complete resupply.
I decided to eat at a Burger King (and enjoy the finer things in life) before aimlessly walking into the dark into Berkeley California. I was fortunate to meet a couple students from U.C. Berkeley and they gave me some tips on where I should try to crash for the night. I continued walking toward the campus and came to a crosswalk with a young guy standing there. We started to walk together and he asked where I was headed… “Delaware?… Yeah I don’t know where I’m sleeping tonight…”
Hooray for Henry! My new friend from Berkeley High! I was able to sleep on Henry’s couch that night and hung out with his awesome dog. Henry’s mother made me some warm oatmeal and strawberries in the morning and I headed down the road.
So, on Wednesday 3/27 I had a very peculiar encounter with an older man as I was walking down the street. He started our interaction by cutting a U-turn in the middle of the street and then proceeded to tell me that I had a “Sexy John Muir look going on…” I said thanks and mentioned what I was doing, then kept on my way. Not TWO BLOCKS later, here comes Mr. Creepy BLOCKING AN INTERSECTION explaining to me how John Muir founded the Sierra Club and that “John Muir has actually been to his house.” Seriously everyone. So what is the logical next question?
"So do YOU want to come to my house?" Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh NO. Thanks anyway, I have to keep walking. Besides, who uses a John Muir pickup line? I may look like John Muir, but I’m more of an Aldo Leopold and Gifford Pinchot kinda guy. Hah. Boom relevant historical reference!
On a better note, I saw my FIRST ADT signage since starting the trail! Hooray for clarity!
I settled in on a grassy patch off of Bear Creek Trail near the Briones Reservoir, and pulled back some bark on a fallen tree to discover a fence lizard. Oh the little pleasures in life.
On Thursday 3/28 I found a pretty cool salamander walking the trail with me and decided to put him into my most recent video. I walked along the Briones to Mt. Diablo trail and found myself in Walnut Creek at a pub/restaurant called “The Greenery.” I met a kind man named Paul and he ended up treating me to some beverages and a meal. It was great fun listening to the Karaoke that happened that night. You would be amazed at how ridiculous it is when three grown men wield guitar hero instruments and play for an HOUR (lick for lick)(trading solos). I could hardly contain myself. Fun times.
On Friday 3/29 I was dropped off by Andy (Paul’s friend) and I walked down to a wonderful establishment called the “Sports Basement.” I bought a fantastic white long-sleeve UV shirt to protect me from being scorched every day, but before I could check out, I was pleasantly bombarded with questions and a quick photo session by the (very cute) staff! I felt like a celebrity and was given a goodie bag for the road! Certainly a great way to start my day.
I also came across a 4+ foot diamondback rattlesnake and enjoyed getting a little footage of that bad boy. Fortunately for him, I was still eating snacks from the Sports Basement. He was probably living in snake heaven though because I think I saw about 500 ground squirrels in the short time that I was walking though the area.
I ended up landing at a picnic pavilion on the side of Mt. Diablo. I am pretty sure I was not supposed to be camping there, but eh, what do you do? I nestled into the back of the one sided pavilion and hid my tent behind two picnic tables. Expecting it to happen, my fears came true and here comes a ranger rolling up shortly after dark. It was a pretty big picnic area and I just stayed tucked back and low. It finally got to the point where he was driving around the back side of the pavilion (the one-closed side) and all of a sudden I hear him hit the brakes and I hear gravel flying. DANGIT. “He’s caught me…”
NOPE! That crazy man was just driving to dang fast for the curve and went off the shoulder! He slammed on his brakes trying to save his bone-head move and ended up smashing his front bumper dead on into a 3 foot wooden post! HAH Can you believe it!? So here I am sitting here (literally 30 feet from this guy) and he gets out of his truck, pulls on his bumper a few times, pats down the wooden post, walks around his truck twice and, to my relief, gets in his truck and drives off! Talk about a close one! He could have done that anywhere in the whole area, but I got a paranoid front row seat!
Once the crazy driver was gone, I laid down and fell asleep to coyotes sniffing my head to sleep. (Not quite she same as sheep jumping over fences).
On Saturday 3/30 I climbed to the summit of Mt. Diablo and enjoyed a great view. If you happen to go to Mt. Diablo, please put my name in the hat to re-make the “interpretive video” that they show at the summit. It is in serious need of updating.
I descended off of Mt. Diablo and decided I didn’t like following the rules and apparently made every effort possible to walk an extra half-mile at every intersection that I was supposed to take. The joys of navigating Westbound directions on an Eastbound hike. I learned that the large blue bird that I have been seeing is the Steller’sJay. A delightful bird to watch.
I walked into the town of Clayton and ate a double patty hamburger at Ed’s Mudville Grill. My night ended well with the management giving me the meal for free and with my neighbors at the table (Alfredo and Maureen) putting me in a Days Inn for the night! It was a great blessing and I am very grateful for their kindness. I wish I could have posted a blog then, but I admit that I showered and fell asleep on that wonderfully comfortable bed!
On Sunday 3/31 I attempted to make an Easter service at a local church, but was unable to find a ride. I wish I could have been back in Georgia playing the drums! Oh do I miss it already!
I walked through the Black Diamond Preserve and through Contra Loma Regional Park. I dipped my feet into the reservoir and saw an American White Pelican gliding above the water. It was refreshing in many ways. I decided I didn’t want to make my life easy and took a left out of the reservoir and walked an extra 4 miles round trip instead of heading to the right. Eh, 4 miles schmore miles. I made it all the way to the Safeway and got some extra food supplies and tried to find someone who would offer their yard to me. Unfortunately, I ended up opting for safety and getting a ride back to Contra Loma Regional Park to camp for the night. (My ride told me that one of their friends had been shot in a nearby park that I had suggested that I would sleep in…) Come to think of it, I actually DID see bullet holes in a metal building on my detour earlier in the day.
Monday 4/1 I was fortunate to have to walk the same 3.5 mile stretch to the Safeway again (note sarcasm). (I do believe it is some type of evil when you have to re-trod an area where you have already passed). But, it was not quite long enough to hitchhike, but long enough to be annoying.
After another 1.8 mile bridge walk and cars flying 70+ mph past me, I ended up walking roads all day and walked along several levee roads. At one point it looked like there was a giant boat driving on land (you can see this strange phenomenon in my recent video).
I ended up sleeping next to a bridge on (what appeared to me to be) a very ironically sized concrete camping pad at the base of one of the bridges. I slept for about 11 hours that night. Blisters, sun and a 60 pound pack will take it out of you.
On Tuesday 4/2 I walked about 18 miles and passed though a lot of farmland. I came across the lowest spot on the ADT at -20 below sea level. I made it into Walnut Grove by dark and was picked up by my friend Janelle Poon (formerly Hart, RGNS ’01).
On Wednesday 4/3, I was fortunate enough to be able to run for a solid day and traveled about 25.3 miles. I thoroughly enjoyed not having the weight on my shoulders and my feet enjoyed only being abused by my body weight. I came across several delicious orange trees during my run and wish that there would be an endless supply all along my route across the U.S. I finished my day at Vic’s Supermarket in Sacramento, CA.
I am currently headed out the door to begin the next leg of the trip! I hope to have an interactive map on the “route” tab on my website so that everyone can see exactly where I will be traveling. Please check back in periodically and share with your friends!
You can also see where my route will take me through Nevada via the link below.