Day 16.

Day 16 - Clinton, IA

Run - Davenport Riverfront, Davenport, IA; Bix Training Run, Davenport, IA

From the eyes of Nico.

4 runs a day keep the doctors away. At least I think that is how the saying goes…

Today was one of those days where I just sort of had to be everywhere. The morning started with a drive down to Davenport, IA, where we got our Iowa run in by tracing the west bank of the Mississippi and admiring old, rusted military tanks. We then flipped the car around, hustling back to Clinton in order to get the car into the shop on time. Already 5150 miles into our journey, Barney the purple RAV4 was due for an oil change, so I also took him in for a routine maintenance checkup. A run back to the house followed that. The afternoon involved a few hours sitting in a coffee shop trying to expand our social media reach (Help by sharing on Facebook and Instagram!) and reach out to people and organizations for donations. 

Now, brief tangent about this coffee shop, 392 degrees Caffe. The only word that could describe this place is “oasis”. It seemed a little out of place here in the heart of the midwest - a SoCal-style hip coffee shop that is focused on the nuances of flavor that different types of beans and different processes provide, hidden on a block that at first glance appears to be lined with empty storefronts. Upon further inspection though, the store across the street is a furniture store, the kind that exists and survives simply because people need furniture at some point or another. It is the kind of place that is simply adequate, but not exceptional or exciting. The front to the south belongs to the Fraternal Order of Eagles, an international fraternal organization credited with creating Mother’s Day. The front to the north is even more barren, featuring dark windows and a simple, yellow “Restaurant” sign. And, somehow, nestled in between, a coffee shop, founded by an LA man who bootstrapped his way to success as they look at expanding to a nearby city.

Stepping inside, you can still see where the former five layers of floor weren’t successfully chipped off, a piece of linoleum standing out next to the sticky tar stains that previously held it to the wooden floor. A simple paint job makes the original 1905 wall and ceiling presentable, covering up any discolorations that may have developed over the course of the century. The space hardly looks like the ancient, decrepit building that houses it, the details - down to the “spa” water traditionally used to mask the horrendous flavor of Los Angeles tap water - making you feel as if you had suddenly been transported to any West Coast city.

At 15:15, my phone rang, so I packed up my bags, dropped them off at the house, and then ran back to get the car. Fifteen minutes later, we were all back on the road to Davenport, heading to a fun run event there in order to talk to a crowd of 200 about who we were and why we are running in every state raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research.

And that’s how you squeeze four runs and six productive hours of work into a single day.

Now back to that event in Davenport…

For weeks, Sadie has been telling us that according to Phil, the operator of Fleet Feet Davenport, there would be a few hundred people who showed up to the event tonight. And, for weeks, I brushed off what Sadie was telling us as a blatant exaggeration. And then we arrived, and it was absolutely ridiculous.

In July, the Quad Cities host an event called the Bix 7, a 7 mile race that takes runners over multiple hills through the town of Davenport. Tonight was the first of a number of training runs leading up the the July 29 shindig. Now, the training runs I am used to usually explore trails while drawing 10-20 people. Davenport shuts their town down. Quite literally. About 300 people seemed to show up to run, and the police cordoned off large swaths of road for multiple hours so that the runners could run the actual route. They even went as far as setting up aid stations. Again, ridiculous.

It also meant more people to talk to. After the run, we the team set up shop in an arcade/bar that was giving specials to runners. We chatted with a few people, sold a few hats, and played a few arcade games. And then we left. And then I got home thoroughly exhausted but ready to hop in the car and head to Minneapolis tomorrow. 

Facts/stats of the day:

Miles driven: 176

Miles run: 50.8

Elevation gained (feet): 1600

Minutes separated from car by a stopped train: 19

Americans providing unpaid care for someone with Alzheimer's each year: 15 million

Help support research: http://curealz.org/heroes/running-road-trip