Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Crossing the Mojave by Judy Maguire (Crew Captain)

Crossing the Mojave is challenging enough in July, even driving - but doing it on foot!?!? “Downright CRAZY!” as a local from Essex told us.

Our first night of camping was a far cry from our graciously donated hotel room at the Holiday Inn Express in Barstow (thanks to lovely Wanda, the manager there) - but we made do with what appeared to be an abandoned train or bus station. We didn't get too much sleep, between the relentless heat and trains going by every hour or two, so were up for an early start by 6:00 a.m. After putting in 10-15 miles, we stopped at the “Bagdad CafĂ©” for a nice breakfast - where the actual movie was filmed. Soon we were off again continuing our trip.

We ended the day's run in the middle of nowhere again - so marked the spot carefully and spent the night in Ludlow's only motel. We are finding out that there is no real internet connection, in the middle of nowhere..

We did 36-37 miles the next day – we were determined to make it to "Amboy or Bust"! Meaning - "Anywhere", as opposed to - "Nowhere" again, as we'd had enough of that.. The Sheriff there kindly gave us a free camping spot as the motel was being remodeled and so wouldn't be open for another couple of years.. and also some fresh water to shower with (the taps were all salinated).

The next day after we ran on we found a "shoe tree", literally - a tree which many pedestrians passing through hung up their old shoes. There was also a "sock tree" a bit further down.. We put in 30 miles that day and ended up camping at the High Desert Oasis - which it truly was - a small truck stop "in the middle of nowhere", which had signs posted around for customers not to complain about their prices. They had the highest gas prices I've ever seen..

We drove back the next morning to where we had left off running the night before - and put one foot in front of the other again. Took a pit stop at "JR's Tires" and we had to take photos, due to the shared name with John Radich. JR & wife were very friendly and so we presented them with a
The Way To Happiness DVD and booklet. Our destination that day was Goffs (population 12). Arriving there at 2:30pm gave us time to take real showers and hand-wash clothes - even taste a little bit of A/C (in the "cookhouse"). The property was impressive (the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association) – it was like an outdoor Wild West museum of all kinds of antique relics, cars, etc. It's hard to describe, so you'll just have to look at the photos. The Executive Director was most gracious to us.

The next day was a straight shot to Needles -totaling about 31 miles. Although it was mostly
downhill - the temperature was going uphill, in contrast - was around 120 by the time we made Needles!

That was the "end of the road" for me - I had to turn my car around there and get back to my life in LA. John still has a long ways to go - he inspired me. What keeps him so upbeat is his purpose in promoting
The Way To Happiness Foundation as he knows that their programs really can improve the state of society.

If anyone out there is interested in helping to crew John or assist in any way - you would be most welcome! Please contact Judy Maguire or Patricia O’Brien under

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summary over the past days from John’s crew captain Judy Maguire:

I drove to Monrovia on Monday July 5th, to John's trailer park there - and we put his stuff in my car. I discovered that he has lived in that town his whole life - I didn't know this! It has a small-town atmosphere and everyone there seemed to know him. We stopped for breakfast at Leroy's Cafe - a small-town, homey cafe - which was very crowded, as a lot of people were off from work, after the 4th. Everywhere we went, he was wished well by the people of the town. He started running down Route 66 (Huntington Dr.), while I did some last-minute shopping. The morning was cool & overcast - perfect running weather! We went as far as Rancho Cucamonga - about 22 miles. His brother Ron made a surprise visit just before we ended - and had been studying our route on his GPS and so told us in detail where we had been and where we were going - it was amazing!

We spent the night at San Bernardino at friend’s house there - who cooked us a nice steak dinner with desert. On Tuesday we drove back to where we had left off the day before - and continued on down the road, with me driving ahead 3-4 miles and waiting for John in a (hopefully) shady spot. That day we had a phone interview with the San Bernadino Sun, which appeared the next day. John has been handing out many The Way to Happiness booklets. Some of the highlights of this have been:

1) He handed out some to gang members, in Fontana - who honked and waved at us, later
down the road.
2) Yesterday, in a rough section of San Bernadino, we stopped and I gave a TWTH booklet to
a 19- year-old kid, who was trying to panhandle $ there. Then, some other kids came over,
asking for a booklet, so we gave them to them and took a photo (attached).
3) We then went to the CA Hwy Patrol - to let them know about the run and that we would be
running along the Hwy - and gave the officer there a TWTH (photo attached).

On Wednesday we started much earlier, as we were meeting a group of runners (called the San Bernadino Pacers), who paced us along a difficult and tricky stretch of highway called the Cajon Pass. The leader of this group had already read the article in the paper before we had a chance to even see it and 5 of the runners came out to support John and his cause.
As we were running, another long-time ultra-runner pulled up in a truck, who had read the blog - and so decided to come out and say hello. After running about 15 miles, we stopped for breakfast at the Summitt Inn - a very classic Route 66 diner type of place (photos attached) and met a 92-yr-old man named Enrique Barrios, who first introduced himself as a "white Mexican" and went on to tell us how he had been a competitive runner in the 1930's. He name-dropped a few names that most of us recognized - and so we knew that he was for real.

After the other runners left, it became hot and crowded outside (lots of traffic), but we pushed on into Victorville and made about 30 miles today.
Thursday, July 8th - We started today with an in-person interview, at a restaurant (Coco's - great organic coffee!). This was done by a young reporter from the Daily Press and maybe it will appear also in the Barstow paper.

Starting the run at 11:15am was a bit non-optimum, as it was already scorching hot! So I ensured that we had enough ice & water (and even bought a lawn chair with a canopy over it, to protect me from the sun - and for JR to sit in on breaks, etc.). I also checked the fluids in the car, as we had a long stretch through the desert ahead of us, with possibly no services in places. We stopped at a Route 66 Museum, on the way out of Victorville - very cute! We talked to people there about our run, and got some photos of a guy who was traveling the road with his dad, promoting a book they had written about the "Mother Road" (nickname for Route 66). It has sometimes been called "Main Street USA".

Throughout the afternoon, it got very hot - up to around 104 degrees! Both John and I wore long-sleeved white shirts, to protect us from the sun. JR was determined to make it to Barstow, so we pushed on - (he said that it was now reminding him of the Badwater race..!). We did make it into Barstow - a total of around 34 miles - by 8:00 pm. We were so excited and high morale that we went straight to a nice Holiday Inn Express. The General Manager was very nice granting us a night for free after explaining John’s cause and run.

Thank you very much to everybody who helped and supported us so far!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Trans USA Run Officially Started!

Sunday, 4th of July, 2010 – John Radich started officially his run across the United States! He started off at the Santa Monica Pier following Route 66. His crew team Captain Judy Maquire keeps things organized and running smoothly. John's motivation is to help and supports with his running the youth programs of the non-profit organization The Way to Happiness ( Get the full report by Sun Bernardino Sun newspaper. Pictures will follow!

Coast-to-coast runner makes a stop in San Bernardino
Wesley G. Hughes, Staff Writer

John Radich has harbored a wish to run across the United States since high school, and he's got a good start. He reached San Bernardino on Tuesday with at least 75 miles behind him already, and he'll be headed up Cajon Pass this morning with a couple of runners from San Bernardino.

"It will take me two months to reach Chicago and then on to Atlantic City to dip my toes in the ocean as I did in the Pacific," the Monrovia man said. Radich used to live in Muscoy and ran frequently in Lytle Creek. The purpose of the run is to help kids and keep them out of gangs, Radich said. His run is under the auspices of The Way to Happiness Foundation, which is based on a book by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology. Although he is a Scientologist, Radich said "the run has nothing to do with Scientology."

Radich began the run at the Santa Monica Pier and is following old Route 66 all the way to its
end in the Windy City. "From Atlantic City, it will be on to New York and then if I still have the horses I will end up in Washington at the Vietnam Memorial," Radich said. "If everything goes well, it will take 3 1/2 to 4 months. I expect to average 35 to 40 miles a day - at least 30," the runner estimated.

"The foundation gets kids involved. I'll be connecting with youth groups along the way," Radich said, admitting that he is in it for the recognition. "Making good works known" is part of the foundation's philosophy, he said. You can check it out online at

It's not like Radich is new to running. "I've run across Europe three times. In 1999, I ran
from Athens to Hamburg. The cause was human rights." He's completed the 135-mile Death Valley to Mount Whitney run nine times, from 282 feet below sea level to an elevation of 8,000 feet, a climb of about a mile and a half. Radich is being followed by a support crew in a van, he said. Judy Maguire, 51, is his crew captain.

An Army veteran, he laughed and quipped, "When we get to Barstow, then I'm promoting her
to major."