iRunFar Road Trip Itineraries Spring/Summer 2009

As noted in last week’s iRunFar Goes Fulltime post, I’ll be touring the mountain west from late-June until at least late-August. Well, truth be told, there will actually be three iRunFar road trips this summer, all with top notch trail running destinations en route. I plan share these runs – as well as the races, places, and people I encounter – with all of you. In addition to standard race reports and personal profiles, I plan on regularly publishing accounts of the trip itself. While the name, format, and content of these travel dispatches are still up in the air (suggestions welcome!), I thought I’d share the general itinerary for the road trips.

Below are the iRunFar Road Trip itineraries, which I will revise as my plans develop. I already know that I’ll see many of you over the coming months and hope that I’ll learn of many other iRunFar readers that I’ll get to see, as well. Please leave a comment or drop me a note if you think our paths will or could cross. It will be a long summer if I don’t have friends – old and new – with whom to share it. Stop back tomorrow afternoon to find out how you can have your own iRunFar road trips this summer!

iRunFar Road Trip 1
(a/k/a The Small Cross – 3694 miles driven)

Sean Meissner is entirely to blame for this first road trip. Over the course of the past month, I decided that I’d make my westward move in two trips: first I’d drive a rental truck cross country and later make a second leisurely trip in my soon-to-be home on wheels, Pri the Prius. A few weeks ago I Sean called asking when I’d be driving west and whether I’d be interested in running the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim (R2R2R) just after Memorial Day. I’d yet to pin down my timing, so I told him that while I was interested, I couldn’t yet commit.

Last week I emailed Meissner to clarify which day he might be running R2R2R, as a two-stage return voyage to DC was only marginally more expensive than a single shot return. In addition to his Grand Canyon plans, Sean then pitched me running the Pocatello 50 mile next Saturday before driving with him to the Grand Canyon for the R2R2R. Being the sucker that I am, I bought into the following plan:

iRunFar Road Trip 1 Itinerary
  • 5/19 – Late in the day I will depart Arlington in my rented moving truck.
  • 5/19-22 – I’ll get in some quality time with Route 80, as I drive across it to Salt Lake City before heading north to the outskirts of Pocatello. [Folks, please give me suggestions for short trail runs just off Route 80. I’d like to log a run daily as I cross the county and the only I-80 trails I know are in Utah and Wyoming.]
  • 5/23 – Run the inaugural Pocatello 50 mile. [Entry is open through Wednesday, May 20!]
  • 5/24-25 – Road trip with Meissner to the Grand Canyon.
  • 5/26 – R2R2R.
  • 5/27 – Fly from Flagstaff, Arizona to SLC.
  • 5/28 – Drive rental truck from SLC to Yosemite.
  • 5/29-31 – Chill in Yosemite. Possibly run, volunteer, cover, or some combination of those three at the Shadow of the Giants 50k.
  • 6/1 – Fly back to DC. Phew!


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iRunFar Road Trip 2
(a/k/a Kentucky Camp – 3940 miles driven)

After a few days spent recuperating in DC, I’ll head home to New Jersey to see my family and run in Washington Crossing State Park that sits between my parents’ and sister’s houses. Heading north, I’ll visit my grandmother in Schenectady, NY before going on to Ontario where I hope to run with Derrick and Sara near Kingston. Not one to miss a chance to see some new ground, I’ll swing north through Canadian bush country from North Bay to Thunder Bay by way Route 11 before dropping back into the States at International Falls, Minnesota. There are two reasons for me taking this northern route: (1) to avoid yet another drive across I-80 to Chicago and (2) to hit the Badlands of North Dakota for a run. [Any suggestions for short trail runs in northern Minnesota or the North Dakota Badlands?]

After kicking up some dust in the Badlands, I’ll bolt southwest to something I’ve wanted to do for over a decade. In fact, it’s an ultra-length dream run that predates my ultrarunning career by enough time that I was actually a collegiate sprinter when the idea burrowed its way into my brain. This June I will finally get to run the length of the Ruby Crest Trail in northeastern Nevada’s Ruby Mountains. These were the first snow capped mountains I ever saw and in which I spent a total of roughly two weeks of camping during the summer of 1998. It looks like Solar Weasel will be joining me on my quest for dream fulfillment. After conquering the Ruby Mountains, I’ll spend a week relaxing in Yosemite … before the BIG iRunFar road trip begins.

iRunFar Road Trip 2 Itinerary
[The destinations on this itinerary are unlikely to change much;
however, the timing may shift a few days either way.]
  • 6/7-9 – Reconnect with my family and my trail running roots in central New Jersey.
  • 6/10 – Visit Grandma Jo.
  • 6/11 – Trail run in Ontario.
  • 6/11-13 – Drive from Ontario to the Badlands via northern Minnesota.
  • 6/14-16 – Drive from the Badlands to hte Ruby Mountains via Yellowstone NP and possibly the American Prairie Reserve.
  • 6/17 – Bag the Ruby Crest Trail.
  • 6/18 – Drive to Yosemite.


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[Doesn’t this road trip’s route eerily mirror the shape of the northern border of Kentucky?]

iRunFar Road Trip 3
(a/k/a The Pincer Maneuver – 5116 miles driven)

The Big Kahuna of road trips will begin June 27 in Squaw Valley, California. This summer of fun and adventure was by far the biggest factor in determining when exactly I put my legal career on hold. While many of the details of iRunFar Road Trip 3 are still up in the air, this is my best guess at the itinerary. Dates followed by an asterisk are firm cornerstone events. Dates followed by a question mark are tentative.

  • 6/27* – Pace Andy Jones-Wilkins at Western States
  • 6/29-7/9 – Camp Hardrock, Silverton Colorado
  • 7/10-12* – Pace Andy Jones-Wilkins and others at Hardrock 100.
  • 7/18? – 88k trail relay around Lake Annecy in France or Wasatch Speed Goat 50k
  • 7/20-24* – Outdoor Retail show in Salt Lake City
  • 7/27-31* – Trail running in Canadian Rockies
  • 8/1-3? – Cover Canadian Death Race
  • 8/9-21? – Acclimate in or around Leadville
  • 8/22* – Race Leadville 100
  • 8/23-25? – Cover TransRockies Run


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iRunFar Road Trip 3 may or may not end at this point. I recognize I may want off the road by this point, as I’ll have logged 12,750 miles over the three road trips if I head to Yosemite after Leadville. I’ll also have spent two full months living out of my car. Events after this date are therefore extremely tentative.

  • 9/5? – Cover Grand Teton 100
  • 9/11? – Cover Wasatch 100
  • 9/19? – Cover Angeles Crest 100
  • 9/26? – Race Noble Canyon 50k

Gear
While I’ve had most of the gear I’ll need for the summer for a while, I’m just about finished picking up the rest of my gear. I recently secured Brunton solar panels (Solaris 26) and a battery pack (Solo 15) to remotely charge my laptop, a Jetboil Flash PCS, a wood stove (for larger meals), and a nice sleeping bag liner. I’ll fully discuss my road trip set up in a future post. For now, I’m looking for advice. The only thing I still need to pick up is an ultralight 1-2 person (likely 2) tent. Any insight would be appreciated.

Final Note/Request
I hope to see many of you before I settle down this fall. Please let me know if you have suggestions for places to run, camp, stay, eat, or otherwise visit along any of the routes.