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May 21, 2009
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Joanne and Russell at the San Joaquin River

“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.”
– Izaak Walton

When my brother first told me he was going to walk from his house in the Gold Country to his house in Cupertino, I thought to myself, “He’s nuts!” When I turn 50 I plan to be sipping wine somewhere in the Mediterranean, not walking 160 miles. I also kept thinking, “He’ll never make it.” After walking with Russell today – on his birthday – I have new admiration for him. He’s still nuts; however I think he will make it.

Russell has always been a dreamer, and his dream of this walk is just one of many. He trained, planned and here he is. When I met him on Wednesday night, he was full of energy, upbeat and happy – not like I expected from someone who had just walked five days in scorching heat. No blisters, minimal soreness, and lots of ambition.

We got a good night’s rest and started off early on Thursday. The one thing he forgot to tell me was there would be very few bathrooms along our 12-mile route. Good thing we used to backpack together and I had no problem “roughing” it. He also forgot to tell me that we would be walking in areas of isolation with minimal places to purchase water, food, etc.

The public restroom at the Tracy Suds Laundromat (taken with flash because the restroom does not have a working light)

Joanne steps off of the road shoulder to avoid an oncoming… er… whatever that is

Russell likes to take pictures, and on many occasions he would run into the street to capture the perfect angle for his photo. I had to yell “Russell, there’ a truck coming!” several times. He took pictures of many things, including pictures of the middle of the road, road signs, wildlife (birds and rabbits?) and every dead animal we happened upon (“I have a collection of ‘roadkill’ photos”).

Russell snapped this photo of a hawk overhead today

Six hours later, we arrived at our destination. I am proud to say that Russell had a smile on his face the whole time. He is an inspiration to me with his dreams and ideas; and being almost half way through his birthday walk, I really think he will make it to Cupertino.

Russell at 50, still dreaming…

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