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Young man on the run
Jim Dunn
August 12, 1974
He had strong legs, a poet's eye, and he was 16 years old—what more did he need to cover the 1,750 miles between Mexico and Canada?
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August 12, 1974

Young Man On The Run

He had strong legs, a poet's eye, and he was 16 years old—what more did he need to cover the 1,750 miles between Mexico and Canada?

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The land remained beautiful, with evergreens, ferns and berry bushes growing right on the side of the road. It was more inviting to run by a road where plant life flourished than just looking down on gray gravel and tar stains.

THE NORTH

I entered Del Norte, the last county in California. This area was much like the rest, but passing the county sign made me feel that much closer to my destination.

I continued on and soon came to Trees of Mystery, another tourist trap. I stopped to check out the place. As I looked up at a 100-foot giant resembling Paul Bunyan, my mouth opened like a 5-year-old and a voice inside the giant asked, "Say, did you run all the way here?" I nodded, again like a little kid.

I got down to serious running after Trees of Mystery, climbing the long mountain road dividing Crescent City from the southland. The fog was rolling up the mountainside and the evergreens seemed sculptured silhouettes. I wish I had had my camera with me at the time.

When I reached the crest of the mountain it was raining, but I didn't care. Nothing could stop me. I would have loved to stay there, under the fog blankets and evergreens and redwoods.

Within minutes I was going downhill. I could see Crescent City and Point St. George jutting into the ocean. Five miles to go. And farther off on the horizon I saw what I knew must be the Oregon coast. In my excitement I ran harder than ever. I was down close to sea level when I saw Mom and our red truck coming down the road. When she was close she yelled, "Just a little more!" She turned and headed back toward the city. I followed close behind, trying to stay up. When we got within the city limits, Mom led me, as I ran behind, to the motel she had chosen for the night. My 45-mile day was over.

At first I had planned only to run the length of California. Later I changed my mind. If I had kept to that first plan my journey would have been over on Aug. 10. But I was glad I changed my mind, for there was much more to do. Over 1,000 miles were behind me, but I wanted to see the rest through.

Then I was at the state line. I ran across the border with all the grace and poise I could muster. Then I stopped and looked back. There lay the nation's third largest state. It had taken me 41 days to get to this spot. I was very proud of myself. I wanted to tell everyone what I had just done. But no one save Mom was there to see me. It was rather sad.

OREGON

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