Chico to Gridley, California

15 running days down, 120 to go

Yesterday was a 30-mile day, and it looks like today will be a 28.5-mile day. I can do this.

I have trouble getting going this morning. If you’ve been reading my blog posts, you already know why, and there will be no talk of it in this blog post. Suffice it to say that I don’t get started until around 10, and I have to give myself a serious motivational talk in order to do that.

Yesterday, the northern Sierras broke the record for the most precipitation in a year. They will get more, but not today. Today is sunny, dry, calm, and in the 60s. Today, I don’t wear a rain jacket, rain pants, or running tights. Today, I wear socks, shoes, shorts, shirt, lots of sunscreen, and sunglasses.

Today, I’m going to run for the sheer joy of running. Left knee hurts? Screw it. Right ankle hurts? Screw it. Got concerns and worries? Screw ’em all. Run for the sheer joy of running.

I decide to air it out a bit and run the first six miles in 60 minutes, from the motel to Durham. 10-minute miles aren’t bad when pushing a trailer. I am on a bike path for a lot of it so it is especially nice not to have to worry about vehicles. Durham is a cute little town.

Durham, CA
Durham, California

There are three things I pass a lot of today. Two won’t surprise you, but the third might. I pass a lot of orchards.

Orchard in Durham, California
One of the many, many orchards I passed

This isn’t a great photograph, but I love what is pictured in it. Those greenhouses and plants may give you the impression this is a nursery. It’s actually a park in Durham, and it’s a joint endeavor of the local park district and the local school district. They’re teaching our next generation of farmers.

Park in Durham, California
Park in Durham, CA
Nelson Richvale Biggs Gridley mileage sign
6.5 miles down, 22 to go

22 to go, I think.

View from Nelson
Settin’ on a chair in front of the Nelson Post Office and Market

There’s a very inviting chair sitting in front of the Nelson Post Office and Market so I take advantage of it to sit, drink, and have one of my This Bar Saves Lives bars. I haven’t talked about those before so I’ll mention them now. I’m not required to mention the FTC warning because I haven’t been given these bars in exchange for anything, but I want to be completely aboveboard. I’m being provided with these bars just because. If you’ve ever seen me review a book that I received for free in exchange for an honest review, you already know the free book does not keep me from giving negative reviews.

I’ve now had four kinds of these bars, and here are my thoughts on them:

  • Dark chocolate, cherry, & sea salt: my absolute favorite. The dried cherries go really nicely with the dark chocolate.
  • Dark chocolate, peanut butter, & sea salt: Let’s see, I’m a dark chocolate person and a peanut butter person, so… definitely very good.
  • Wild blueberry & pistachio: I wasn’t sure what I would think of this one, but then I opened the package and the smell of blueberry wafted out at me. I had no doubt I was eating blueberries, and I like it!
  • Madagascar vanilla, almond, & honey: This one is not my thing. There’s nothing wrong with it at all, and when I think of snack bars, this is often what I think about: seeds and nuts. I prefer other things to be included. However, if this is the type of snack bar you like, then you’ll enjoy this.

Now back to Nelson. How many times have you been able to buy beer in your local post office? The only thing missing is guns. Mail, beer, and guns would make this truly complete.

Signs at Nelson Post Office and Market
Ship a package, get a Bud Light
Richvale Biggs Gridley mileage sign
16 miles to go

16 miles to go, I think.

The second thing I see a lot of today is birds. I see a lot of ducks. When I saw ducks around Klamath Falls, Oregon, they were in flocks. Here, I always see them in pairs. I also see a great deal of small, black birds with red markings. They’re gorgeous.

The third thing I see a lot of is rice. I had no idea Butte County grew rice, and I mean a lot of rice.

Rice field
Rice field

A large co-op is a couple of miles down the road, the UC/USDA experimental rice station is right behind me, rice fields are all around me for miles, and a couple of very large rice growers are coming up shortly. Rice is very big business around here.

Princeton Gridley Biggs mileage sign
Only 5 miles to go!

It’s funny how preconceived ideas can influence thoughts. When I was in Chico, someone told me I should watch my back when going through Biggs. Did that influence my reaction to Biggs? You bet it did. I saw Biggs in a negative light. If I hadn’t been told that, Biggs would have just been another town I passed through, nothing especially great about it that I saw and nothing bad about it that I saw.

Getting off country roads, I pop out onto Hwy 99 for the last mile or two into Gridley. I stop at a motel/RV park combination, and a woman immediately comes out of the office and asks in a not-friendly way, “Are you waiting for someone?” She finally allows that I can go into the office and inquire about what is available. Gee, thanks. No, they don’t allow tent camping. Yes, they have a room, and it’s their cheapest room. It’s a smoking room. It’s on the second floor. My trailer does not do second floors when there are only stairs. At least the person in the office was nice. On to the next place.

On the extreme southern end of town, and thus why my 28.5-mile day turned into 30 miles, I get a room; unpack my trailer because, you know, narrow doors; and head to a Mexican restaurant for food. They have a chips and salsa bar so you can guess I ate a lot of chips and salsa. I have a huge burrito and endless soda for 6.99, and the burrito is excellent.

I end the night talking with a friend about various things I can try and things I can look into (yes, I’ve used settin’ and a dangling participle in the same post, because I can).