Los Molinos to Chico, California

14 running days down, 121 to go

Late last night, I received a message from Action News Now in Chico that they would like to interview me tomorrow. I responded with my plan and route for tomorrow. We’ll see how this turns out.

I wake up this morning and catch up on some writing I need to do while I wait for it to get light. It doesn’t seem like it rained as much last night, nor was as windy, as had been predicted. That, or I slept through it all. As soon as it’s light, I pack up the trailer, tear down the tent and pack it away, and I’m off to Jack’s in Los Molinos for breakfast. Jack’s is the name of a restaurant; not short for a certain fast food place in which I had breakfast in Red Bluff. The waitress managed to keep up on my coffee consumption. The vast majority of people I meet are wonderful, helpful people. With that, I’m off to Chico.

Chico, Marysville, Sacramento mileage sign
1 day to Chico, 2.75 days to Marysville, 4.3 days to Sacramento

My days of lonely running on a silent highway seem to be over, at least for now. Hwy 99 always has cars passing me in both directions.

As I’m running along, a truck passing results in my hat flying in the wrong direction. After I chase my hat down, I decide to take a couple of photographs to show the countryside I’m running through today, the first to the east and the second to the west.

Hwy 99 between Los Molinos and Chico, CA
Hwy 99 between Los Molinos and Chico, California


Hwy 99 between Los Molinos and Chico, California
Hwy 99 between Los Molinos and Chico, CA

I cross from Tehama County to Butte County. Progress is good!

Butte County Line
Crossing from Tehama County into Butte County

Shortly after this, it starts raining. I’ve got water running off my rain jacket and rain pants, but cars passing me haven’t even turned on their windshield wipers. Am I running under my very own storm cloud? After a couple of cars without windshield wipers running pass me, the rest have their windshield wipers on. Phew!

Centerfolds Couples Adult Superstore and Club
Centerfolds Couples Adult Superstore

I have not cropped this photograph to make it look like I’m in the middle of nowhere; I am in the middle of nowhere when I come upon this sign in a wide open field, and there is a large building coming up on my left. Not only is this place real, it is also open, and it is also a club with exotic dancers. At least that’s what the signs tell me; I only know what the signs tell me.

I turn down Esplanade from Hwy 99 and finish my day’s marathon. With perfect timing, I get a text message from Kay Bennett with Action News Now wanting to set up an interview. Only problem right now is that I misjudged food and drink for the day, and I’m about to pass out. I don’t mean I’m a little hungry or thirsty; I am seriously afraid I’m going to pass out on the sidewalk next to a gas station. Kay’s trying to set up an interview, find out where I am and where we can meet, having no idea I’m about to pass out; and I’m trying not to pass out. We agree to meet at the coffee place across the street from the gas station.

Kay is very sweet, buys me a coffee, and we have the interview. At the very beginning of the interview, a thunderstorm hits. Torrential rain, hail, thunder, lightning… the works. Timing was impeccable. I was inside for the duration, while my poor trailer sat in the weather. Kay and I had a very nice conversation, and she has to get back to the station because my segment will be on the 4 o’clock news.

I continue to hide in the coffee place while it storms out. We lose power for a few minutes. While hiding out, I search for motels around me. There are a number of motels on Esplanade, and the reviews are hideous. Thugs, prostitutes, red stains on sheets, dirty underwear under the covers, transients loudly crossing the property all night… and these are the recent reviews. I make the decision to go an additional 4.6 miles on my route to a motel that sounds like I can sleep without worrying about what might be crawling on me. I’m sure I have another 4.6 miles in me, and at least it’s on my route.

I pass some very nice parts of Chico, and I pass what I hope are the worst parts of Chico. Let’s just say that the placement of the bail bondsman’s billboard over a certain liquor store is very appropriate based upon the people loitering outside the liquor store. I have no idea what they shouted at me.

There’s quite a commotion going on to my right. It turns out that lightning struck a 100-year-old tree, and the tree fell on 17 cars.

After checking into the hotel and going through the ritual of emptying the trailer because the door is too narrow, I go down the street a couple of blocks, grab a burger, and head back to my room. I turn on the local news to see if my segment is playing, but it’s not. Maybe it was only on at 4. I check the website, and I don’t see the story there. If I search for my name on the website, I find a one-liner somewhere pointing to my Facebook page. I was hoping people would see this and be moved to donate and offer me a place to stay. I don’t know what happened.

I still have to solve this simple math problem. The lack of miles on a daily basis doesn’t really bother me; that’s just an annoyance. The problem is that I can’t spend 100 dollars a day. That will shut me down very soon. This is what is keeping me up at night and is constantly on my mind as I’m running.

I have a great, supportive group of people online, but that’s not translating into people on the ground. I’m trying to involve local media, local running groups, local photography groups, local veterans groups, and local mental health groups; but what I’m doing isn’t working. Without seriously reducing my expenses, I can’t continue much longer.

Do any of you have any ideas of things I can do that I’m not doing, or things that I could do better? This is all new to me, and I’m still learning. And I do not want to quit. If you have any ideas, please comment here, comment on my Facebook page, or message me on my Facebook page. I want to keep going. I want to raise money for my causes. I want to raise awareness of the issues. I want to make a positive difference.