Belated Conclusion

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It’s been six weeks since I got back from the great adventure. Naturally, I meant to post something earlier, but you wouldn’t believe how the unemployed-yogi-on-a-running-comeback lifestyle can keep a guy busy.

Nonetheless, here’s the delayed conclusion for my trip across the lower 48.

I wrote the last post on my iPhone in a roadside diner called Little America. This is a diner (and accompanying motel) so popular that the town in which it resides adopted its name as its own. Now, after traveling the 2,000 miles through the Black Hills of South Dakota, corn fields of Iowa, and the traffic-laden Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania, I’m back in Wilmington. And with plenty of time to waste on iMovie…

Naturally, upon my return, the couch surfing and truck camping continued. A week in Maine with Jason Nista, four days of Boston tourist traps with Mia Schon, and a few days in Connecticut to see runners, camp people, and the angel of a man that sells me falafel sandwiches for $3.95 on Howe Street. All this to say that (once again) the trip is over. I have 24-hour access to a bed, bathroom, and running water — the only three luxuries I really need; though sometimes I still sleep on the floor, for old time’s sake. Don’t want to be spoiled.

It feels good to be back in Delaware. Though there’s still a lot to digest from the trip — notes to look back on, pictures to develop, and memories to write, the post-travel recovery doesn’t take long. After a few twelve-hour sleeping binges and a bit of running at Brandywine Creek, I’m ready for the next chapter. This, of course, begs the two most important questions that no doubt just came to the forefront of your mind: What’s next? And will you keep blogging?

First, my plan is to find my way back into the world of creating (or generously adding to) a social good. Whether through the SeriousFun Network, or another organization, it’s what I love to do — and, after taking advantage of so much generosity for the past seven months, I’d have a hard time not building a bit more selfless service into my next line of work.

Second, while I hope these posts to Harvey’s Run have been a welcomed distraction during the work day, this travel blog has run its course. Most blog posts were written either on my computer in a McDonald’s, or on my iPhone while laying in the back of my truck, so the comments and messages that followed from friends back home were very much appreciated. Writing on the blog also helped me rediscover the importance of writing things down. In addition to the dozen or so articles posted to Harvey’s Run, I kept a private blog with about a hundred pages of rambling, rants, and random thoughts from those seven months on the road. These memories would not have survived if it were left up to my sieve of a brain (‘Sieve’ reference courtesy of Mary Helfer). And for that, I’m grateful.

If anything noteworthy comes up, I’ll post it to the blog, but I hope that’s not the case. I look forward to putting travel aside for a while — working again, training for a marathon, and building a community in one place.

Thank you so much to everyone who read the blog and helped with the trip. The way I see it, all I had to do was stick to a tight budget for a few years, then quit my job. The rest of it was riding on luck, and the generosity of a few special people, some of whom are mentioned below.

Lots of love,

Pete McBride

Back To The Easy Coast

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For the past few weeks, the big question on my mind has been, What to do with these last 3,000 miles of driving across the country? Truck camping, national parks, even the small-town diners don’t hold the same appeal that they once did and, not wanting to waste a cross-country roadtrip, I’ve been in a bit of a haze on how to come back east.

Originally, I thought it best to see as much of the country as possible, use every hour of every day to find some new adventure, something I could write home about. Or, more pathetically, blog about. Four weeks, however, is a long time to get a truck across the country. It’s difficult to admit, but I just don’t have four weeks of material left. Continue reading

A Two-Day Fast in Olympic NP

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Fresh off my week of volunteering as a cabin counselor at Camp Korey, I drove out to the Olympic peninsula for a bit of backpacking. After a quick and familiar trip over the Bainbridge Ferry and two-hour drive up the coast, I arrived in Port Angeles. Why anybody would establish a residence two hours from a ferry ride to Seattle is beyond me, but they do. And little do they know that with a Walmart, Anytime Fitness, and a McDonald’s in town, they’ve constructed a traveler’s oasis just outside one of our greatest national parks.

I drove straight to the Olympic NP Visitors Center to plan my first solo backpacking trip. As always, the rangers were super helpful, letting me use any and all maps and backpacking books I desired, without having to pay for them. After a long conversation with ranger Pablo McLoud (coolest name I’ve ever encountered), we decided I’d hike the 7-Lakes Basin loop over two nights and three days. Pablo gave me all the details – 21 miles, 4,000 ft elevation gain, and plenty of scenery to look at. He failed to mention the wild goats at the camp sites, massive snow fields covering the trail, and 1,000 ft descent to my second night’s campsite, but we’ll get to that later. I paid my $12, took a bear-proof food canister, and was on my way. Continue reading

A Runner’s Pilgrimage

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In all of my “planning” for this trip, I’ve always left the itinerary pretty flexible. I wasn’t sure that I’d hit the central states at all, and never ruled out the possibility of tearing down into Mexico to see if a shopkeeper or two needed any pro bono accounting services. One destination I was sure to hit, however, was Oregon. If the long-distance running community has a most sacred place, or at least a town that can draw 21,000 spectators for a track meet, it’s Oregon.

Before driving up to grandaddy of running destinations, Eugene, I had two important stops. First, Ashland — a small town in southern Oregon with a fine running shop and enough mountain trails to draw some of the best ultra runners in the country (I first read about it in this Running Times article). Second, after a gorgeous drive back through the redwoods of California and along the Oregon coast, Coos Bay. Home to the Steve, himself. Continue reading

Back to the drawing board

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The last time I said, “Back to the drawing board,” I had put a 1995 Fleetwood Storm up for sale on RVtrader.com. This time is not nearly as dramatic. It just so happens that I gave up looking for a good parking spot in Reno (not for lack of trying), and am back to the eternal Plan B of auto-dwelling travelers: The Walmart parking lot.

So, tired from a long day of basking in the sun on the shores of Lake Tahoe, all I can muster are a few bullet points from the last few weeks. Sadly, I took the time to put them in numerically descending order…

(Sorry if this is littered with formatting mistakes and spelling errors. There was a thirty-minute limit at the South Lake Tahoe Public Library, so I’m writing this from my iPhone. Linda Cassidy – please feel free to point out any and all typos. Merci!)

12: Dollars spent on two burritos from Baja Fresh (Not on the same day, of course, but back-to-back). To draw an Old Testament analogy, Mana is to the Israelites, as Baja Fresh is to Vegetarians On A Budget. I have, indeed, found the promised land. And it comes with free tortilla chips.

11: Minutes spent waiting for my Nalgene bottle to heat up beside the fire. I eventually gave up and went to bed, freezing…a failed attempt to modify my cousin Ryan’s plan to stay warm when sleeping outside. “Yeah, if it gets real cold out,” he told me last month, “I’d just pee into a Nalgene and throw it in the sleeping bag. Keeps your feet nice and warm.” Sorry, Ry! Maybe I’ll try it for real if I go to Canada. Continue reading