In Feb 2016 Eric decided to challenge himself to something a little out of the ordinary and run 4,200 miles across America, it took nearly 2 years of logistics, planning and training and in December he finished the run. It’s been a fascinating journey for us and anyone else who has been following it.
Most of the questions that I get asked almost daily tend to follow the theme of, how do you survive on the road? Where do I sleep, what do I eat, how are you still alive?
To be fair I am still not entirely sure on how to answer that last question. Although when you break down my day to day on the road you quickly realise that it’s not as hard to survive as everyone expects. A lot of the time you are within a day of a town, shop or gas station. In the North East you usually pass through numerous towns and villages every day. There are people to talk with, diners to eat at and restrooms everywhere. It’s like being on holiday but with lots of running in between meals.
Obviously the further west you get the more sparsely populated areas become. In Kansas and the plains of Colorado you are looking at a town every 30 miles. You leave one in the morning and then arrive in the next one in the evening. The most desolate place which I passed through was the Mojave Desert. No functioning towns or gas stations for 7 days, 190 miles. My diet then consisted of a few packs of 25 cent super noodles each day and dehydrated fruit! They are small, light and can be packed on mass into my stroller without adding an insane amount of weight. Anyone who knows me will say that my diet isn’t the greatest at the best of times, so living on these 2 items for a week wasn’t overly tough. You can always make up for it and eat 3 meals when you reach the next town!
As for where I slept at night? Those who have followed along with my journey will have seen the kindness that Americans have shown me over the last 8 months. People would pull over at the side of the road to chat and bring me sandwiches and water. Many of them would offer their spare room, sofa or garden for the night, along with a home cooked meal. When you have spent the week only making conversation with gas station attendants, enjoying a conversation and a sit down meal with a host is the best feeling in the world. Outside of the kindness of others my days off would be spent in a cheap motel. Sometimes even a nice campsite for a day.
For the sparcer areas of America you learn very quickly that you won’t have any problems just pitching your tent at the side of a road, in a rest area or behind tree. These become the norm very quickly and usually some of the most beautiful spots to stay.
There are so many more options for places to sleep than I ever imagined when I began the run. I thought that I would be struggling to find a place every night but this was not the case. Outside of what I have already mentioned there are two amazing apps called Couchsurfing and WarmShowers (The later being aimed more for cross country cyclists). These are used by people who have a spare bedroom, sofa or garden that they are willing to let travelers stay in for free of charge. Most of them are obviously found in the more built up areas and cities, although every now and again you will find someone living in the middle of nowhere who is willing to look after you.
This question is such a huge topic to cover, “How did you survive?”
There are still so many things that affect life on the road. Weather, Wild animals, Crazy people, Unhelpful law enforcement. Most things you just need to take as and when they come, day by day. Something that I learnt very early on is not to think too far ahead. Not only will you miss out on everything happening around you, but you also have no idea of what is going to happen further down the road.
It’s an adventure, you need to enjoy it.
Follow Eric and his adventure through the below links:
If you enjoyed this post then please could you spare a minute! Most of you know I have been shortlisted again at the Running Awards in the Blogs category for next year. I would love it if you could go to vote for this personal blog, “Corner To Corner USA”.