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!