Running Home

Two weeks ago, Hubby and I set out from our home in Pennsylvania to drive almost 2,000 miles to visit our family in Colorado and celebrate our grandson’s fifth birthday.

I wrote here about the new running routes we explored on our drive west.

Now we are on our way home, finding new places to run on our drive eastward across the country.Meditations in Motion

Sydney, Nebraska

Let me say this: I love the sere landscape of Western Nebraska. The sparse, dry sandhills stretch on indefinitely, as far as the eye can see. The wide-open view of the sky draws your eyes upward, where unfamiliar (to me) birds flit and swoop.

We began our 5.1-mile run on the paved mostly-flat-to-gently-rolling Syndey Deadwood Trail from the parking lot of a tiny community college.

The trail wove through a disc golf course, past a small pond in the center of the tiny town of Syndey, and out into the open countryside.

After several shorter runs while visiting the high altitude (and low oxygen level) town of Steamboat Springs, we decided to do a slightly longer run in Nebraska.

My lungs loved the lower altitude at first. At 4100 feet above sea level, I was not gasping for breath as I was in the mountains of Colorado, but the altitude where we ran in Sydney is still 3700 feet higher than home. By the end of the run, I was feeling the familiar out-of-breath sensation I got used to at high altitude.

I needed two brief walk breaks in the final mile to complete the easy-paced run.

Meditations in Motion

Council Bluffs, Iowa

Nearly 400 miles east, 1,200 feet lower in elevation, 10 degrees warmer, and with higher humidity, our run near Council Bluffs, located on the Missouri River in Western Iowa was on the paved Riverfront Trail.

The trail ran directly past our hotel, so it was easy to pick up. It wound through a casino parking garage (weird), then along the top of a levee next to the Missouri River (beautiful).

We saw a group of 14 wild turkeys strutting their stuff next to the trail and a family of deer – two fawns and a mama – in the trees near the path but we passed very few other humans on our run. One very speedy young man did pass us, however, (we were going in the same direction) like we were standing still.

Our out-and-back run that morning was slightly longer than our Nebraska run, but the time of our two runs – 48:48 – was exactly the same both days.

Meditations in Motion

Joliet, Illinois

It was Bill’s job to find locations for us to run on this trip and with this find, he was three-for-three. The Rock Run Greenway Trail began very near our hotel and featured a newly paved section. For some strange reason, I love running on new paving. It seems spring-ier to me.

We started our run early Saturday morning, aiming once again to get about five miles in before we hit the road toward home.

The Greenway Trail followed a busy road for less than 1/4 mile, then wound its way through a business park and the athletic fields of a junior college.

Soon we were running through fields and woods, once again sighting families of deer and bunnies scooting away from the pavement as we approached.

We saw only one other runner on this fairly flat trail in nearly an hour, a nice bonus in the time of COVID.

We wound up running for almost 5.5 miles. When we stopped, I was drenched in sweat, even though it was not yet 7:30 in the morning. Welcome back to the heat and humidity, I thought. Ahhhh!

Richfield, Ohio

Meditations in MotionIllinois

The Ohio and Erie Towpath is a crushed gravel trail that begins in Cleveland and stretches for more than 60 miles across northern Ohio.

We stayed in the small town of Richfield, about 20 miles south of Cleveland, and ran on the Towpath in a section that crosses the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a beautiful green space with many intersecting trails and historical sites.

Bill and I did a five-mile out and back for the fourth day in a row.

This run was our speediest and my best one by far. Early morning running on the mostly shaded path, which ran between the long-defunct (and mostly dry) Ohio and Erie Canal and the Cuyahoga River, listening to blue jays calling, wrens chittering, and woodpeckers drumming was the perfect way to end our trip.

Our next run will be in our hometown of Lititz, Pennsylvania.

I had fun exploring new running trails with my best running partner, Bill. Now I am ready to find some adventures closer to home.


You can find the places I link up here.


  1. I just think this is the best. I love that you guys did this. You took a normally boring drive and made an adventure out of it; stopped in some places you wouldn’t normally go. So fun!

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  2. Well done, Laurie!
    I’m always fascinated by how people organise themselves on road trips.
    Did you stay in hotels and shower after the run? And did you hand wash you running outfits for the next day?

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    • We did stay in hotels and shower after each run, then we ate breakfast and hit the road for the day. Actually, we put our running clothes in a plastic laundry bag to transport them from one hotel to another, then we washed them all at our son’s house and again when we got home.

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  3. It’s always fun to explore new running routes! I recently learned about Cayuga Valley National Park. I’ve only been to OH for a relatives’ wedding, many decades ago.

    Sounds like Bill did a bang-up job picking your routes!

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  4. What a fun adventure…logging all those miles in different states, and seeing all the various trails would be a neat experience. Glad you had a great time!

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  5. I admire your commitment – especially on a road trip. It is, though, a great way to experience the country and the sounds of nature in each new area – something you don’t do if you drive until you’re exhausted and get up and do the same the following day.

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  6. You make me want to become a runner, Laurie! I love how these runs punctuated your road trip. I think traveling has such a tendency to get oneโ€™s constitution a bit offโ€”keeping with your rhythm in such a healthy way (and one that sets off the domino effect) inspires me. Welcome home ๐Ÿ™‚ Weโ€™re pulling in today!

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    • Welcome home to you, Carolyn! We probably passed each other somewhere on I80. I wanted to come back by a more southern route, but our state has a quarantine for travelers who have stayed in Kansas or Missouri, which ruled out I70. I liked running on the trip – it balanced out long periods of just sitting in the car!


  7. Every time I read your posts, there is this vast sense of freedom. It must be amazing, to wake up in the morning and see new places, new things, and do something you love.
    You say the turkeys were “strutting their stuff” – hmmmm, what stuff?

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    • It felt so good to get out and about again. Being outside gave us a little bit more confidence since we saw few other people where we ran. The turkeys were actually a set of parents and 12 “teenagers”. Papa turkey had his tail feathers spread out and it looked like he was strutting! :).

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    • We saw markings on the path we ran on that indicated a race had been run there. I bet there are small races happening in Iowa. There are live races in PA (where I live) but they must be smaller than 250 people and have mitigation measures in effect.

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  8. It may be interesting to see how these runs during your trip, impact your experience of running back at home. Since I am a reader but not a runner (lol) I don’t know if that would be the case or not. Just throwing the thought out there! Sounds like a great trip. Best, Michele

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  9. I’m guessing that just like in “The Wizard of Oz” there is no place like home, but your trip was a chance to do more than visit Atti on his birthday. You saw the sights and ran a different venue daily – I’d say it was a success!

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      • You’re lucky you and Bill headed home when you did Laurie given the path of those derechos yesterday as they raced through those same three states. We were spared its wrath, though in the afternoon they weren’t sure the path it was taking. We had a derecho here in 1980 and it was pretty devastating in some parts of the state, even locally.

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      • Bill and I were just saying that today. I am so glad we didn’t get caught in that weather! I have never heard of a derecho before. That would be terrible to be out in a car when one of those went through!

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      • You sure were lucky! I had never heard of one until the one here in SE Michigan, so when I heard we had the potential for one I was concerned. The whole weather pattern has been erratic the past few years and it worries me it will get worse, not better.

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      • I wish I’d seen Alaska before it has started to melt. I heard about Antarctica’s ice shelves melting and the continent losing billions of tons of ice a year. Just heard the story yesterday and that’s since the water beneath is so warm. And everyone laughed at Al Gore … the hottest Summer on record … wow. We had our sunniest June on record.

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      • Oh that would be a wonderful trip Laurie – how exciting to do that. I took a Panama Canal cruise in 1982 … couldn’t decide whether to take that one or an Alaska cruise. So sorry I didn’t choose the latter. The cruise ships that are smaller are able to get closer to the shore and offer better scenic views and then you take the land tours separately as I understand it.

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      • It was nice Laurie … I was torn which one to do first and made that choice. I still would like to go one day. I have only a few bucket item trips and hope, one day, to do them. Traveling now is not the same as when I traveled in the 70s and early 80s, but would like to see France, Italy, Alaska and Fall foliage in New England. I saw a wonderful trip for a train ride to view the colors from the train – it was nice but expensive. Hope some of these can happen.

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      • That’s sad – you had planned and I’m sure your lessons in learning Portuguese have fallen by the wayside for now. At least you had no trouble getting a refund. I signed up for another virtual 5K … a march for animals. You have to pick up your shirt this time, not mailed like last time. You just pick your spot to walk that day like I did for Fish & Loaves food pantry back in May.

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      • You are right, Linda. I stopped the Portuguese lessons when it became clear we weren’t getting a chance to go anytime soon. good for you for signing up for another 5k. That is awesome! Good luck with your race.

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      • I guess there is not much chance to use Portuguese unless you found a website in Portugal. I thought it would be fun to do this 5K Laurie. I usually do the butterfly walk every Summer and donations are cat and dog necessities for local shelters, so the woman can’t have that event, due to COVID-19, so this is the next best thing. Thanks Laurie – the 5K is September 12th.

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      • Well, I have a bunch of credits from a Portuguese airline, so I guess eventually we will be going to Portugal. I think a lot of non-profits are hurting because their fund-raisers are canceled. I am glad you found one to support.

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      • I was surprised that the first cruise since the pandemic began was in the Mediterranean. I would not think that it is safe for cruising yet.
        After all, for many years, cruise ships have battled norovirus on their ships.

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      • Me neither – a friend and her husband were already booked for an Alaskan cruise this Summer. They had no issues cancelling and Princess Cruises refunded all their down payment. I was surprised they were running cruises.

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      • The airlines have been good about refunding fares too. They have to be. Someday the pandemic will be over and people will remember which travel companies had good business practices.

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      • Yes, they’ll take a hit now and recoup later. I heard the other day one airline was selling packages of peanuts they serve as snacks as they were about to expire. Another was selling PJs they have available for long flights.

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  10. Ahhh…I felt like I was running with you. My heart always beats a little faster running somewhere new and I totally get the feels of a freshly paved road/trail. It’s almost like running around a rubberized track. Thank you for sharing your running tour.

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  11. Love this. Running is the best way to sightsee.

    I used to do this when I traveled for work. Find a place to run. I do miss this aspect of my job.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    • Ha! Hubby and I are both retired. We don’t need a vacation from work, so we enjoy being active on our trips. Snowmobiling in ND sounds awesome! I have never been to ND, but South Dakota was beautiful and I would love to go back there.


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