16 running days down, 119 to go
I moved my weekend around so I stayed in Gridley on Saturday as my day off instead of going down to Marysville and taking Sunday off. I could stay cheaper in Gridley so I chose to do that.
I found one motel in Gridley where the people were incredibly rude and probably lied about available rooms (a 30-room motel with six cars in the parking lot when I walked past it at 6 the next morning?), and I found a motel where the people were great. Guess which one I stayed at. I ate lots of good food, had mainly great service, and had one lousy service experience. All I ask is that you take my order, deliver my food, and keep my coffee cup from getting empty; anything else is a plus.
Realizing I would be running on Easter, I tried to find an Easter Vigil service near me. If you have any involvement with a church — especially a mainline church since I see evangelical churches doing better with this — this message is for you. Easter is the most important day on the Christian calendar, and it is the most likely day a visitor will attend your church. How easy do you make it for a visitor to learn anything about you? Unusable websites are worthless. If your website is dark text on a black background (a local Roman Catholic parish), your site is unreadable. If your site is outdated (many) and mention nothing about Easter, what good is it? Get someone with design sense to design the site and then keep it updated.
After giving up on anything online and via phone, I decided to wander to various churches because certainly churches will have their Easter services posted on their properties. Nope. Online failure, phone failure, and physical failure. I was sitting at a fountain at the local Episcopal church when I realized there was actually someone there. I asked if they have an Easter Vigil service and was told they didn’t have enough people for that. There was a lack of understanding to my reference when I responded that it only takes two or three. There aren’t enough people, and there aren’t going to be enough people because something isn’t offered and what is offered isn’t advertised at all — and I’m not talking about paid advertising. Update a website, put something on a reader board, put up an inexpensive banner, make it easy for a visitor to visit. End of rant.
Now it’s Sunday morning — Happy Easter! — and it’s time for me to get going. My plan is to run to Live Oak where I hear they have really good donuts, have a quick breakfast, and then continue to Marysville to spend the night. It’s a nice day so far so I dress in minimal running gear and slather on sunscreen.
I’m hoping the donut shop is open on Easter. I pass a diner that is crowded, but I don’t feel like a large breakfast, and I have my heart set on a really good donut.
When I get to Live Oak, I don’t see a donut shop. Then I round a corner and see the sign. Are they open? They are open! Two donuts and a large cup of coffee: the breakfast of champion runners! The donuts are as good as advertised. The weather is closing in, but it’s not supposed to start raining until late-afternoon. It doesn’t look like it will hold out that long.
Goodbye Butte County and hello Sutter County! Right after this, it starts raining. I put on my rain jacket, but that’s all I’m adding. It’s not raining hard.
There’s a break in the rain, and I come upon this in Yuba City. This gives a whole new meaning to “Build that wall!”
I would love to be making this trek with a support car. The photojournalist within me really wants me to be running along with nothing but my real camera and taking so many photographs of what I’m passing, and I don’t mean the scenic shots. I think about the juxtaposition of successful businesses and the failed businesses that look like they failed years ago. I think about the juxtaposition of the very nice houses and the poverty, the well-thought-out designs of many things and the “what were they thinking” designs of other things. There are so many opportunities to document what I’m seeing and what it looks like through my eyes, but I’d make no progress if I took photographs of it.
Crossing the Feather River between Yuba City and Marysville also means I’m crossing from Sutter County into Yuba County. It’s been a three-county day!
Last photograph because it starts pouring right after this photograph is taken. The park next to this river is flooded. Much of what isn’t flooded is buried under mud. I don’t know how far above the ground the signs are posted along the access road into this park, but the mud is about halfway up the signs. In the photograph above, you can see soccer goals that are knocked over. Based on what I see in the rest of this park, I’m guessing that area was under water at some point. This is quite the change since the last time I drove down to Sacramento when the water levels were incredibly low. I got sunburned in Oregon, and I’ve been wet much of the time in California. What is wrong with this picture?
I was going to stop in Marysville, but I’m going to continue on to Linda. It’s now pouring, and I run on a freeway for the first time. It’s the only way across a river, and it’s legal to run or walk on the freeway on this bridge.
As an aside, Marysville, California is the reason Corvallis, Oregon changed its name. Corvallis was originally named Marysville. Nothing required the name change since the two cities are in different states. However, long ago, people in the Oregon city kept having their mail delivered to the California city. The only way to fix this was to change the name, thus Corvallis was born.
When I get to the Motel 6 in Linda, I’m soaked. My torso is dry because of my rain jacket, but everything else is soaked. When I walk in, the woman at the reception desk says, “You look a little wet.” Winner of the understatement of the day award. I take off my jacket and put it over the back of a chair in the lobby. I leave a trail of water everywhere I go. I spend more on a Motel 6 than I have anywhere else in the past week, but it seems like a nice place.
I’m finding with online motel reviews, I have to do a few things to try to arrive at the truth since I know nothing about the reviewers. If the person has only ever created a single review, ignore it. Of the reviews that are left, treat them like ice skating or gymnastics scores: throw out the top couple and bottom couple. What is left is probably accurate. The single reviewers are usually either disgruntled about something, are competitors, or are the motel owner.
Upon getting to my room, I immediately strip, turn up the heat, spread wet clothes near the heater, and hop in the tub. Upon getting out of the tub, I get a video call from my youngest son, daughter-in-law, and grandson. I have to be careful about where I aim the camera. Then I get dressed to go to Burger King and WalMart. I’ve redefined Easter dinner.