Connecting Communities One Step At A Time

Days 1-3: downtown Portland to Rhododendron, OR


This Monday morning, we began our journey from Portland to Washington!  The sun was out and the air was warm as we stepped out the front door and took off toward the waterfront, along the Spring Water Trail, and toward Mt. Hood.  It’s an amazingly freeing feeling to take off on a one way run, off toward challenges and adventures you can hardly hope to predict.

We have already begun to reach out to folks in the communities we will visit.  Ashley spoke with a group of upcoming 8th grade girls at the Portland Community College campus about the importance of girls perusing STEM fields.  On Tuesday, Adam met with Paul Hanneman, a former Oregon legislator, at his Pacific City home about his leadership passing the State’s and Nation’s first bottle bill in 1971 (just a few years after passing the Beach Bill).  We are both looking forward to speaking with many more inspirational groups and individuals in the weeks and months ahead, and have already begun to reach out to dozens of communities.

We continue to organize these final days in Portland and will hit the road permanently this weekend.  Essential to this is the travel bus/camper that we purchased and will be using as our support vehicle.  While several people have volunteered to join us for sections of the trip, we are still looking for folks who would enjoy sharing this experience with us.

Tomorrow we hope to reach Government Camp, and while it may be down hill from there as we run, we are looking forward to the many incredible miles and conversations that are no doubt ahead.

Special thanks to all the people who have helped to make this possible up to this point.  Many of you have donated and shared your time, expertise, connections and money.  We couldn’t be successful without you!



Over the first three days, we have run about 53 miles from downtown Portland up to Rhododendron, OR. Our first day took us along a portion of the Springwater Corridor; on day two, we picked up where we left off and ran to Joe’s Donuts in Sandy, OR after passing through the town of Boring. Day three consisted of 20 miles along Mt. Hood Highway 26. We have seen a bald eagle, found an American flag on the shoulder of Highway 26, and stopped at two Dairy Queens.  So far, so good Oregon.

This journey is about more than running: our goal is to learn about communities by interacting with local residents. On Monday, I spoke with rising 8th grade female scholars at a Girls, Inc.-sponsored STEM camp at Portland Community College and listened to their opinions about science. Adam met with former Oregon legislator Paul Hanneman on Tuesday to discuss Oregon’s and the Nation’s first bottle bill in 1971. On Wednesday, we had a conversation with Kim at a Mt. Hood Village coffee shop and chatted about local education-related issues. We hope to gain insight into communities based on both organized and spontaneous discussions.

Adam and I are now the proud owners of a 1988 Airex RV. This will be our home for the next few months, and we are in the process of getting her cleaned up and ready for the cross-country trip. We have been commuting back and forth to Portland, but should head out ‘for good’ in a couple of days. We are working on a name for the RV; one cannot rush such important decisions. 

Our bodies are holding up well. We continue to tweak fueling and recovery habits. I hope that we will have important logistical issues resolved very soon so that we can settle into a good routine. Tomorrow will be a test as we climb (steeply) to Government Camp on Mt. Hood. It is a run I have been looking forward to for months, and I am so thrilled that it is finally happening.