Day 29 - Providence, RI, to New Haven, CT
Run - Washington Secondary Bike Path, Cranston, RI
From the eyes of Nico.
When it happened, I was sleeping. When I woke up, we had officially entered the second half of our journey around the United States. We had completed runs in 24 states and had been on the road for 28 days.
It really didn’t feel any different though. The routine was the same: wake up, run, return to the car looking like we had jumped in a pool, sweat through the seats on our way back to our host location, shower, eat breakfast, drive to the next state. The only real difference today was my craving to watch Gilmore Girls upon arriving here in New Haven. Other than that, everything today was pretty standard.
So, instead of giving y’all a recap of our run or drive, I will instead talk about the ups, downs, and in-betweens of our first half. To start, some stats:
During the first half of our road trip, we drove a total of 7643 miles, just over half of our expected total. Out of the four of us, I have driven the most (clocking in at 3597), while the other three are all hovering within one hundred miles or so of each other. (Important note here: I love driving, so I am quite happy with this balance). Bailee, who came into this trip not entirely confident in her prowess behind the wheel, has quickly proven herself wrong. She has already amassed 1324 miles of the 2000-mile goal she set for herself for the summer, and I will be surprised if she doesn’t blow that goal out of the water.
On the running side of things, we have combined for a total of 666.8 miles, a little off what we were expecting at this point. A combination of random flare-ups and soreness from runs, exhaustion and stiffness from hours in the car, and time constraints due to long driving segments has set us back. However, we expect to slowly claw this total back up as our bodies continue to settle into the pattern of our daily lives on the road.
And now, for those of you who don’t get high levels of excitement from mundane and superfluous statistics, a more exciting part of this recap: highlights and lowlights!
Highlight #1: North Dakota
Y’all have already heard me gush about the wonderful surprise North Dakota was, so I won’t go into too much detail here. Essentially, the beauty of the rolling grasslands entranced me. Weaving around badlands and prairie dog holes on the hard red clay was the most fun I have had on a run so far this trip.
Lowlight #1: The Chase
Unfortunately, I was not the one doing the chasing. In Kansas, I got viciously attacked by a horsefly. For roughly two miles, the horsefly pursued me, failing to drop the pursuit despite my screaming, speed changes, weaving, and inept attempts to whack it with my hat. Luckily, a knight in shining armor (read: immense amounts of sweat) came to my rescue, as Charlie managed to knock it to the ground with his shirt, allowing both of us time to escape.
Highlight #2: Minnesota
This was Charlie’s favorite state of the trip, primarily because it was vastly different than what he expected. Charlie was prepared for a state very similar to his home state, Indiana. Instead, he got Minnesota, a state saturated with lakes, tasty breweries, wonderful wooded rail trails, and very generous people. Note: if you are ever driving from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Wisconsin or just east in general, Nelson’s Ice Cream in Stillwater is amazingly tasty. Just be sure to order a child’s size, as this will still take you two sittings to eat.
Lowlight #2: Periodic Inability to Follow the Path
We have managed to miss turns here and there, both while running and while driving. Fortunately, it hasn’t been a huge issue so far, as we have always been able to get back on track and reach the end of the run before the “this-is-when-we-should-start-worrying” time that we set. My favorite instance so far of somebody getting turned around has to be Sadie’s adventure during our Massachusetts run. Still slightly dazed by the stunning view of the Boston skyline, Sadie wandered around the top of a hill and ended up going down the way that she came up. Normally, this would be ok, however, in this instance, the trail was a loop. She backtracked for about 2.5 miles before she asked somebody for directions and got lead in the correct direction. If you’re interested in seeing what that looked like, her Strava post is here.
Highlight #3: Oregon
Sadie loved Oregon for exactly three reasons. First, her old roommate and current best friend came down from Washington to join us for our run. Second, she found what is probably the best gluten-free beer currently in production when we ate at Deschutes Brewery. And third, running from the forest all the way down to the ocean was phenomenal, only made better by the refreshing bath in the Pacific at the end.
Lowlight #3: Smells
Now that we have hit the more humid part of the country, the amount of sweat being absorbed into the car has increased dramatically. As a result, the mix of scents that puffs out of the car whenever one opens a door has become increasingly more pungent. Combine that with Bailee’s surprising abundance of gas, and there are moments when sitting in the car borders on unbearable.
Highlight #4: Iowa
While the runs didn’t blow us out of the water, Bailee’s happiness at seeing one of her best friends and her extended family push this state towards the top of the list. Combine that with incredibly rich and sugary pastries, as well as an awesome coffee shop, and Iowa remains among the best states so far.
Lowlight #4: Burlington
As a result of an extremely long drive, we arrived in Burlington late on a Friday night. We were all starving, yet it still took us 45 minutes to even find a place to eat and order food. The combination of Bailee’s age, Sadie’s gluten allergy, and Charlie’s veganism managed to eliminate almost every restaurant in the downtown area from contention. Eventually, we settled on a sandwich shop. While it turned out to be quite tasty, none of us were any happier from the struggle of finding it.
Highlight #5: Burlington
Nothing compares to running along the shore of Lake Champlain in the drizzling rain.
Lowlight #5: Dead Watches
Specifically, my dead watch. I suppose that I should be happy overall. I squeezed four years of constant usage out of my TomTom, so I did get plenty of bang for my buck. It’s been frustrating running the past few days without any manner of recording my run, however, I have a brand new one waiting for me in Brooklyn, so I only have to deal with that issue for one more morning.
And there you have it. Some highs, some lows. Actually, looking back, mostly highs, which is more than any of us could have asked for.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have some Gilmore Girls to watch as I clean the dishes.
Facts/stats of the day:
Miles driven: 112
Miles run: 24.2
Elevation gained (feet): 281
Shots of espresso in my dirty chai: 4
Medicaid costs of caring for people with Alzheimer's in Connecticut (2017): $880 million