Day 38.

Day 38 - Greensboro, NC, to Charleston, SC

Run - Wild Turkey Trail, Greensboro, NC

From the eyes of Nico

Today, I learned an important lesson: you cannot penguin on dirt.

Now, many of you may not have seen the word “penguin” used as a verb before. In this context, it essentially means to slide on one’s belly with both one’s hand and feet in the air, similar to a penguin sliding around on the ice in Antarctica.

Now, the rest of you are probably wondering how I learned this wonderful fact. I, of course, learned through direct experience.

This morning we were running on a shaded mountain bike trail just north of Greensboro, North Carolina. My legs were still a bit heavy from our West Virginia run, so I was not picking my feet up quite as high as I should’ve been. On a trail full of exposed roots, this was not a successful strategy. About a mile and a half into the run my right foot caught on a root, sending me flying. My hands hit the ground first, but knowing that I had a GoPro in one hand and not wanting to scrape up the other, I quickly threw them up into the air. As a result, my torso took the brunt of the impact with the ground, giving me a lovely set of scrapes and cuts as I skidded down the slight slope. Luckily, very few of the cuts drew blood, meaning I was able to complete the rest of the run without any real difficulty. Unless you count the three other times I tripped and almost hit the ground. But, ignoring those, the rest of the run was smooth, and I figured my day could only get better from there.

Twenty minutes later, we stopped at a grocery store, and my theory was proved correct, as I happily walked out carrying a gallon jug of Arizona Green Tea that I bought for just $3. My grand plan was to keep it in the driver’s seat with me as a sipping drink, allowing me to skip getting expensive chai tea lattes at coffee shops on our route. And, for the first couple of hours, my plan was working great. But then we stopped for gas, and everything came crashing back down.

As we were switching drivers, I placed my Arizona jug on top of the cold foods bag in the trunk of our car before walking around to pull Sadie’s backpack from the passenger side and place it in the trunk. As I came back around the corner of the car, I ran smack into what looked like a murder scene: both the food bag and my jug were on the ground, a puddle slowly spreading around my jug after it was so mercilessly tossed from the trunk. Or, in other words, I stupidly chose to balance my jug in an unstable position, so it fell and cracked upon impact. To make matters worse, the crack wasn’t one of those where you could just drink some of the contents away until the volume line reached below the crack. Instead, this crack ran vertically from the midpoint of the jug down to the base.

However, MacGyver that I am, I pulled out some handy-dandy off-brand duct tape, dried off the crack and jug, and taped the thing up. Satisfied after giving it a few shakes, I put the jug in the wheel well on the passenger’s side, and dipped into the convenience store to use the lavatory. Right as I reached the door to the bathroom, it swung open and a man started stepping out. Startling each other (as people do when they try to open a door at the same time), we exchanged pleasantries before heading our separate directions. By the time I come back outside, the other three are already in the car and ready to go. I circle the car, but as I reach for my door I hear a holler from behind me. Confused and curious, I turn around. The older man (from the bathroom) and his wife are sitting about 10 feet off the ground, furiously waving and gesturing from the window of their massive RV. I stroll over.

“What are you doing? What exactly is this running thing?” asks the man, subtly nodding his head in the direction of our vehicle. While I begin to explain, I notice the woman encroaching on her husband’s space more and more, to the point where she is essentially crawling across his lap as she leans out the window. A palm-sized, black case occupies her left hand, and it takes me a moment to realize it is a coin purse.

“I’m really sorry. We don’t carry cash, but we want to support the cause. We really appreciate what you’re doing.” She reaches out further, beginning to tilt the coin purse my direction. I cup my hands, extending them to meet her as she dumps the contents of the purse into my hands. The donation amounts to seven dollars and twelve cents, primarily in quarters, but with a Canadian penny thrown in for good measure. I thank them, then turn back to the car as the couple drives off, and we are soon passing them as we speed down the highway. Content with the donation, I begin to relax back into my seat as I munch on my sandwich. That relaxation is short-lived, however, as I feel a wetness creeping its way across the floor below my foot. Turns out I am not quite as handy of a duct tape doctor as I thought.

A second attempt at patching up my Arizona jug is as unsuccessful as the first, so the remainder of the ride I am stuck finding ways to position and tilt the jug in order to prevent spillage. But, we arrive without further incidence and the day, as it always seems to do when we arrive in a new place, rollercoasters back up to a peak. We spend our evening with Ozey (one of my mother’s old work colleagues), touring his beautiful restored home in historic Charleston before going out to a little restaurant on the marina. And, after a brief tour of the battery and the historic downtown, the day ends. And that’s that.

Facts/stats of the day:

Miles driven: 320

Miles run: 27.7

Elevation gained (feet): 1416

Number of pretzels successfully placed in Nico's beard: 33

South Carolina Alzheimer's deaths rank: 8

Support the cause: http://curealz.org/heroes/running-road-trip