Monday, June 25, 2012

Just over a month in.

Made it today to Gunnison, Ut for a break in the afternoon in their library. Backtrack to leaving Bill's in Mesquite. I traveled to Littlefield, Arizona, a very small town where I slept behind what I thought (and what my GPS told me was a Catholic Church. Turns out it was a boarded up Elementary school. Good thing it was closed or at least summer time. I quickly cleared out of there. I went to a rest stop where I stayed out of the sun for a few hours and tried to get food a a restaurant but the owner didn't want me there saying they were closing at 1 and when I got out my phone to look at the time saw it was 12:25 he quickly said we're closed today so I left. Worked out for the best. Went back to the rest stop and as it got hotter I went into the bar next door for some AC, a corn dog, and a soda. Met some of the locals including Barry, and the "Amuck sisters" two close friends Dorie and Dorthy know for the good fun chaos.
     Went the back way to St. George, UT and entered into a new time zone. Desolate road. Between boredom and probably more delirium from lack of sleep, I became thoroughly convinced I was Mario, and my only goal was to get the next "flag" the next mile marker on the road. I also a while back named the stroller Nacho. He won't talk back but whenever I yell at him I hear mariacchi music. In St. George thanks to Dixie MAdsen at Intermountain Donor Services I got a hotel. Took an offnight (which still meant walking a sixmile round trip to Walmart to load back up on supplies). Ate at a Denny's and demolished just under 12 pancakes. Got a new pair of shoes (3rd total pair) cause my feet were wrecked (held onto the others cause I can still get more miles in them but my feet needed a more comfortable pair for a while.
     That night I ran with Cory Reese and Ryan Duckworth, an awesome 100miler ultramarathoner, and great triathlete respectively.  I ran with them towards Hurricane and they turned around after about 8 miles back to their cars. Cory drove by and comes with In-N-OutBurger some snacks and later invited me to crash at his for the night for a shower, bed, and some great home-cooked food. I had a great experience with the run with those guys, and with Cory's family, his wife, two daughters, and son. His daughter also wrote me a note which is probably the single greatest thing I've receive so far. It reads  "Dear Chris, my name is Danica and I believe that you will be able to finish your race. I'm glad that you are able to stay with us. I am so sorry that you aren't able to sleep on a nice comfy bed like you did last night. Thank you so much for caring so much about your brother and running so long for him. I hope you will keep this note as long as you live. From Danica." Cory also has a blog and wrote a story about it. Check it out and also his other awesome posts!
   The next night it was time to continue on. I was stopped in the middle of the night by Crystal who supported the cause and offered me a free breakfast the next day at wildcat Willie's om Springdale. Slept in the park there with permission through Tom Dansie who also got me a dinner the next night. Had a great breakfast at Wildcat's and the waiters and waitresses there even pulled together to donate to help the cause.
   After that still on a nocturnal schedule I passed through Zion Park. Was not able to get permission through the tunnels so got two rides. The first was extremely important and a great encounter. Will, Mike, and Trevor gave me a ride through and well after they had dropped me off right out of the tunnel I realized my CamelBak was gone. This essential item has kept me hydrated and made it easier to have a larger quantity of water out of the gas tank, quickly accessible. Later on that night after leaving the park a car passed by me and about 30 yeards up had to stop as a herd of buffalo were in the middle of the orad. It stood there and had to honk to get them to pass wide enough to clear the road. I stood there for a minute thinking they would hopefully leave but they didn't so I slowly walked through the middle of them with their large eyes glowing and fixed on me. Slept outside a church by Orderville.
           After at best 5 hours of sleep got up and got myself right into a day schedule of running/walking. Made it to a rest stop to avoid some of the heat where I heard someone say my name and I look up and see Will and Mike who found me MILES up 89 to return  my Camelbak. Such a crazy aweosme act of kindness on their part to go so far out of their way to find me and to return it.  Made it to Hatch, slept behind a church.
   Next day feet were in pain so I limped on towards Panguitch. MEt Donny and Darron who worked next door and they helped me out with the tires. Both were awesome people but Donnie was the man for helping me to get a hotel for free at the Horizon Motel as well as a dinner and breakfast at the Flying M next door. He was someone who just went so far out of his way to help me that I was stunned by his charitable heart and goodness. He also gave me the number of a guy up at Circleville (Hometown of Butch Cassidy) where I was able to get in contact with a guy who also offered a free motel room. With the guy up there Mike though I felt like I was a burden to him (something I never want to feel). It was a difficult situation in that I owed it to Donny for all of his help to let him know I was safe so I took the room but skipped on the breakfast Mike had offered the next day there.
   Next I went to Junction where my new great friend Junction had told me to get into contact with the Reber's. I had lunch with them spend a lot of time talking with them, got a shower, and took a nap before continuing on. The lasting impression I will have of them is of their tremendous love for one another and for the family. I will especially remember Jim talking of his time spend at a base in California during the Korean War. Whenever he would have 72 hour breaks he would hitchhike about two-thirds of that time roundtrip to see Dee whom he later married. He said he enver has felt so tired as he did during those times, which often meant walking for miles in the desert to an interesection, but he said every second was worth it. I still saw that love they had for each other during my brief afternoon I spent with them. Continued to Joseph. Was going to sleep behind one church but when I got there it said no trespassing violators will be prosecuted. Laid down for a few minutes but got up and left continuing forwards. Found another churhc and slet in the  dirt behind it. Next day went towards Richfield. Before getting to down I got hionked at by a lot of cars so decided I probably did not want to spend the night in town there. Slept behind a church on the outskirts. Got up the next morning and decided it would be better to find a different church so I found and went to the Sevier valley Baptist Church. Members Ann, Sue, And Karen went out to lunch with me to McDonald's after and Ann bought me lunch. I later went back to the park where I had an odd encounter and made me decide to hightail it out of there. I made it to Salina where at a gas station,  man, James gave me a donation enough to cover a slightly reduced rate at the Ranch Motel there. Based on some odd experiences earlier that day I felt that night safer in a motel which ended up being free through this.
   Been trying to spread the message of organ donation as best as possible. Hopefully by the time I hit a 1,000 miles I'll be able to get more press for it. It is amazing that just about every single day I meet someone who is personally, or has good freinds who are affected by organ donation. I is my most sincere hope that this can continue to grow and get people to change their perspectives and  register to help save lives.


  1. Simply awesome how kind strangers have been to you. There is still hope for our society. Amazed at how far you've come already, Keep it up Pretz!

    -Adam Stefanik

  2. Incredible. I think it's so cool that opportunities keep popping up along the way. You are doing an amazing thing. Keep up the good work!

  3. It was very cool to stumble across your path at the tunnel in Zion. When I realized we had your water, I put all my Search and Rescue skills to task to find you and get it returned. Actually, I totally didn't see you, but my wife had the eagle eye. You made some incredible time that day. I wish I had the opportunity to put down some miles with you as well. Keep pushing - were spreading the word out here in Calif.

  4. Pretz, I'm floored. I am so proud of you. I left my earphones behind on my run today and instead spent the time praying about your run. I love hearing about your experiences and interactions on this adventure--praying for continuous safety and for the endurance of a healthy body and great strength to continue every day!

  5. Pretz I'm so proud of you, what your doing not only gives me the encouragement to run (if you can run across the entire country surely I can run for a but it also touches me to my soul. I lost my grandpa when I was younger because he wasn't able to receive a new kidney. I loved that man, and so see him suffer through dialysis and then finally lose the battle was heartbreaking. So I just want to thank you for all that you're doing to raise awareness for organ donation, and I pray for your safety and health. I don't know route, but if you find yourself in NH please look me up you're more then welcome to crash here and get some awesome food. Thank you for what you're doing !

  6. Thank you guys so much! Thanks Mike again seriously that was a lifesaver!