Friday 30 September 2011

Video Clip Update - A day in the life running and on the road

Julia presents a clip showing a day in the life of Chris, Steve and herself on the road.

Note from Ben: apologies for the low quality, due to the clip length and uploading restrictions I had to reduce the visual quality by quite bit to get it to fit on the blog, hope that you enjoy it.


As a result of a chance conversation yesterday with a friendly local couple, we have discovered that the bridge we were planning to use to cross the Missouri river between Nebraska and Iowa was unfortunately washed away in a flood earlier this summer.

Well it could have been worse. Imagine if we had run all the way to the river bank before finding out. We now have to make a detour up to Omaha City and use the bridge there. This adds about 45 miles on to our journey, but never mind- who ever said that running across America would be easy?

ps I admit that "never mind" wasn't actually what we first thought on hearing this.

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Here We Are

View Untitled in a larger map
On Sunday we had the luxury of starting our day's running from our motel stop in Sterling.  We passed through three towns as we headed towards  the Nebraska border each clearly struggling to hold on to their small populations but still claiming to be cities rather than towns. The run featured  long straight roads where the passing  trucks disappeared on the far away  horizon with the inevitability of a setting sun.

Ben and Julia relaxing roadside just before leaving the Rockies for the flatlands of eastern Colorado.

Monday 26 September 2011

Goats etc

An unexpected problem arose yesterday when we were followed by two goats. They refused to go away and we eventually stopped a pick up truck and asked the driver for advice on goat ridding.

The situation then became even more bizarre when he announced that they were in fact his goats, bundled them into the back of his truck and drove away.

Now that we have left the Rockies behind and are headed for Nebraska, the scenery is changing to a mixture of grassland and wheat. It's still gently undulating, but long flat stretches are starting to appear.

Finally, here's a picture of the tools we have found by the roadside so far. It was taken a few days ago, so the latest adjustable wrenches and log splitter are missing. Chris has also started collecting license plates for reasons best known to himself.   

Sunday 25 September 2011

Hard Work and Kind People

Yesterday was hard work. We left Julia and Ben to buy supplies in Fort Collins and agreed to meet up further down the road. After 5 hours we were hot, dusty, tired and out of water. Did we ever think of ditching the large adjustable wrench that Steve had found earlier?

Certainly not. Without its quality die cast steel handles and extra large extension which enables it to tighten nuts of up to two inches in diameter, how could we ever hope to make it safely across this vast continent? A photograph of the impressive collection of tools that we have found so far will follow shortly.

The roads around here are on a grid system, odd numbers go East to West and even numbers are North to South. CR means County Road. Here's one that presumably had to be squeezed in afterwards.

Fans of 2001 A Space Odyssey may find the object below strangely familiar...

This post is dedicated to Karen and Casey, who very kindly put us up for two nights.

Video Clip Update - A brief account of the Colorado Rockies

Another clip, showing Chris and Steve travelling through the Colorado Rockies.

Saturday 24 September 2011

Video Clip Update - Lunch time with Chris and Steve

If the stress of running 40 miles a day wasn't enough, Steve makes things worse by losing a cutlery essential during a vital food break. Watch on to the see the heights of drama as Chris and Steve's friendship is put to the test at lunch time in the Colorado rockies.

Today is also Steve's 45th Birthday! Happy Birthday Steve!

Leaving the Rockies

Very chilly early morning at the highest point on our route through the Rockies. It's all downhill from here to New York (Sort of)

Autumn is on its way and the leaves are changing colour. (The sign is presumably sponsored by local farmers)

Leaving the beautiful scenery of the Rockies behind and headed for Fort Collins

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Still in Colorado

 Scenery still stunning
 Another understated ranch entrance
Crossing the Continental Divide

Tuesday 20 September 2011

The Rockies

We are now in the Rockies and the scenery is stunning. Passed through the ski resort of Steamboat Springs yesterday (very nice town) and currently south of Walden, headed for Fort Collins. The altitude is around 8000 feet so first thing in the morning with clear blue skies it's only a few degrees above freezing, but by mid afternoon it's shirts-off weather.

The video below shows just how much space they have out here.

Sunday 18 September 2011

Whatever the Weather

            Yesterday afternoon Steve got sunburnt      This morning he had to wear his hat and coat.

                              September weather in Colorado can be rather changeable.

Saturday 17 September 2011

Video Clip Update - Chris and Steve cross into Colorado

Chris and Steve cross the border into Colorado and continue onwards towards the rockies. In an attempt to steal the limelight away from Chris and his previous leg problems, Steve complains about his sore feet.

25 miles of Colorado road whichever way you look at it.

Rocky Mountain High, Colorado.

Steve was determined to be as tall as Chris...

Finally made it to the edge of Utah and are  now 20 miles west of Craig, CO.

We were somewhat perplexed by the advertising of "Colorful Colorado" with such a dull brown and white sign. However, it still comfortably upstages anything we have in England with our county signs typically buried deep in hedgerows.

With thanks to Australian Joe Kelly who donated $20 after seeing us today.

Thursday 15 September 2011


Don't worry the spelling has been personally checked by Dan Quayle.

How do we plan our day?
Motel breakfast finished by 7am
We try to start running by 8am  each morning and reckon to finish by 5pm in order to cover 40 miles.
We break 5 or 6  times during the day  and load up on avocados,  lentil soup, crisps (for salt replacement), iced water, bananas,  milk, coke (great in the afternoon for a caffeine hit) and of course Reese's Pieces. When we pass near diners we take coffee or milk shakes if this fits in with the running plan. If the temperature goes over 80ish we usually run with camelbaks filled ideally with iced water.

At the end of each day feet stay in ice for 15 minutes made possible by the motel's ice machine and a standard waste paper, sleep, alarm clock and so  the routine continues...................

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Colorado cometh...

Good news - we saw our first road sign for Denver.
Bad news - Denver is 367 miles away.

We are nearly out of Utah which is our biggest state in terms of miles - 380 of them twisting all the way east.

We were discussing average mileage per day as we ran today and had to calculate 2208 miles divided by 55 days when we found our most useful tool to date lying in the verge..........a Texas Instruments solar powered calculator which was still working.

Thanks today to James Ross for safely  guiding us thru Roosevelt's road works

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Eastern Utah

Thankfully, the temperature has fallen dramatically as we have climbed through the mountains of the Wasatch Range in Eastern Utah. They should be a good warm up for the Rockies

1000 miles

We're approaching Colorado and the 1000 mile point. Finill seems to be on the mend and was good for 40.5 miles today. Hopefully whichever muscle or tendon that was causing him problems will behave itself in future. (As none of us wish to hear anything else about his leg ever again).

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Howard Quackenbush from Delta, Utah for seeing Chris at short notice and providing such invaluable help.

Video Clip Update - Chris attempts to start running again

Chris has been walking on his injured ankle for the past few days, impressively himself and steve have still being covering around 30 miles a day, but more distance per day needs to be covered in order to make the challenge possible, yesterday Chris attempted to run on his ankle to see whether it was up to running again.

note from Ben: I just want to apologise for the poor music sound quality, this is due to all the recordings I am using just being the drafts I have recorded at a very basic level, I hope to record the full and built upon versions later for the documentary film I hope to make out of this trip. There is also a very annoying clicking that appears on these music tracks, which I am endeavouring to sort out!

Monday 12 September 2011

He Lives!

Three things Steve has become more and more desperate to see recently:

1) A pint of bitter
2) A nice curry
3) Chris actually doing some running.

However, as you can see from this photo, at least one of his wishes has come true.

He has risen like Lazarus from his death bed and although his left leg is still bandaged up for attention seeking purposes, it does appear to be on the mend.

It's still early days and we are being cautious, but fingers crossed and watch this space...

Friday 9 September 2011

Brief Video Clip Update Four - Early days in Utah

The next video clip update from Ben, giving the latest from Chris and Steve's journey through Utah.

Thursday 8 September 2011

Another Wednesday in Utah

Today we paid a visit to the physio in Delta. There is a possibility that Chris has a stress fracture of  his lower left leg but he managed to walk 32 miles eastwards on it without pain. We are therefore hopeful that a few more days of walking will a) drive Steve completely mental and b) give the injury a chance to heal to the point where some running can be resumed - I tell you, straight, flat desert roads at 3 mph instead of our usual blazing pace of 6.5 mph are taxing our sanity.................

Tuesday 6 September 2011

rhw Solicitors

With thanks to our kind sponsors rhw Solicitors, Guildford. (Left to right- Chris, Steve, Julia)

Third Update Video Clip - Nevada Desert

Brief Video clip update from Ben, showing footage taken from Chris and Steve's time in the Nevada Desert. 

Monday 5 September 2011


Well we've finally crossed the border into Utah.

We held our newly purchased thermometer at waist height above the road today, but had to quickly return it to the car when it climbed past 110 degrees Farenheit. (The dial only goes up to 120) It doesn't feel anywhere near as hot as it was last week on the road between Tonopah and Ely however. We are definitely adjusting to the heat though- when I got back into the vehicle at 75 degrees, I nearly reached for a jumper.

This post is dedicated to Mr Barratt and his Sixth form group (12 G) at Hall Cross School, Doncaster.

Sunday 4 September 2011

Utah nearly

Ok forget what I said about the scenery becoming all nice and lush, with gentle cool breezes wafting us along. Suddenly it's all turned back to this:

The temperature 3 feet above the road was 107 degrees today. Ok this isn't a shade temperature, but then running in the shade is just a distant memory (like a pint of Tim Taylor's Landlord Bitter).

Oh, by the way, if you happen to be near the Nevada-Utah border then don't forget to check out Horns-a-plenty for all your antler lighting needs. Here's a picture of Chris by their entrance.

Yes, they really are antlers.

Finally, Chris and Julia's daughter Jo has left us today to return to Manchester University. She looked after us, put up with our awful jokes and will be sorely missed.

Saturday 3 September 2011

Second Video Update Clip - Yosemite National Park

The next brief video update from Ben, showing footage from Chris and Steve's time in Yosemite National Park, all being well, soon to be followed by the footage taken in the Nevada Desert.

Heres a short clip from our filmmaker Ben Southern, as part of a series of brief montage clips to keep viewers up to date on Chris and Steve's travels. 

Utah here we come!

Now that we've passed Ely and are approaching the Utah border, the scenery is subtly changing. The road still seems to go on for a long way but every now and then there is the occasional bend to give us something to look forward to, rather than running the entire day staring at the same hill. There are also more vehicles using the road. Sometimes 4 or even 5 an hour.

The area is definitely becoming a little greener and more fertile. There is now some grass alongside the hardy desert bushes (although it has been burnt yellow by the strong sun) and there is the occasional stunted tree. First thing in the morning, it's definitely slightly cooler than it was between Tonopah and Ely as we are now back up at 7500 feet.

Here's a quick video shot from the car on our way home after the day's run.

Friday 2 September 2011


We should finish the 168 mile section of Highway 6 between Tonopah and Ely in Nevada tomorrow, which will come as a great relief.

In desert sections like this, where it is roasting hot, the car waits for us every 5 miles throughout the day, so that we can get food and drink, examine our feet and moan a bit.

Here's a short clip of us arriving at the vehicle. (I know it doesn't sound very exciting, but that's what a week in the desert does for you). Look how far that road stretches back into the distance.

Thursday 1 September 2011


One of the things we've noticed on this desolate Nevada highway is that we really struggle to judge distances as the landscape is so big. We constantly underestimate how far things are away from us, so a bend in the road (which gets us quite excited) that appears to be a mile away is still in front of us 2 hours later...

Anyway, here's a little video clip to try and show the sheer vastness of the area we are running through.

Tonopah to Ely (still)

 This sign looks like something you'd expect to find in North Korea.

And this was presumably done by a bored roadworker. (You can't actually see it when you drive past- so we're probably the only people to have ever noticed it.)

And now by popular demand, here's Steve's foot. Neither of us normally suffer from blisters at all, but the extreme heat, (oh and maybe the 250+ miles per week) has made us a bit more susceptible to them. Our cure involves a safety pin followed by some surgical spirit, followed in turn by some loud shrieking and finally a patch of Compeed.

You may also notice that Steve has flat feet, which makes him unsuited to running.