Mum Nadla Mum

I guess I’m a little bit of a fraud now, having so little to do with the run. I watch from the comfort of home instead of the confines of Jenny, in the middle of who-knows-where. I can have a shower and watch some benign tv programme whilst checking in on Rob’s progress.

So much has happened since I last blogged and I can’t honestly say why it’s been so long. I suppose the truth is that I didn’t feel I had much to say or certainly couldn’t discuss some of what I wanted to share.

Here I am. The most un motherly and anti-child person, pregnant. I’m so excited though.

I realised something was amiss just a week into my return to the US. Fairly convinced it was possibly nothing to worry about, I shoved a pregnancy test into my shopping basket, a long with some chocolate (obv’s) and other essentials. I kept thinking that I’ll just do this stupid test and then I can at least stop wondering. I had that test hidden for 2 days before I took it, by the time I did, I just knew that I was. The pee and then the plus sign, my heart honestly sank. I was mortified at the thought of having to tell Rob; and every single reason on this planet earth, for it not to be a good idea, hit me like a spade to the face. I had a little cry and worried about money (we have none) our lifestyle (we like to party) and how I just wanted to rescue Lurchers (easier). I then had a word with myself and decided there was very little I could do and that I needed to get on with it. How was I to tell Rob? Straight away and then have him stress whilst running? Leave it for a few days/weeks/months? Never tell him and move to one of those tiny islands off of Scotland? I decided that I would tell him at the end of his running day, so that we then had time before dinner, to talk about it. It was only fair, to be honest straight away and well, he did play a part in all this mess after all.

We had arranged our final stop in a large graveled area, just off a fairly busy road but a good, safe place to park up for the evening with a lovely view. It had been one of the hottest days we’d been experiencing but it was starting to cool down and have that lovely, orange afternoon glow to everything. I had his protein shake made and ready to hand to him along with the most heavily burdened news I could share. He opened the door, all smiles of course and I blurted out “I have something I don’t want to tell you and you probably don’t want to hear” he immediately replied “pregnant?” and I sighed a heavy “yes” He then grinned an even bigger smile and gave me a beautiful (sweaty beardy) reassuring kiss. “That’s alright” he said.

It is alright. We could never plan for a baby because we’d never have time for one, so this was really the only way it could happen and as much as I honestly feel I’ll not be a standard mum, I will be a damn cool one. Rob and I have no idea how this will actually change our lives but one thing I know for sure, is that it still won’t be a particularly conventional one and that is fine by me.

I miss him terribly now. I see how he struggles through some pretty harsh weather. Jenny is still out of action, with no certainty as to what the outcome will be, post accident. He’s sad that I won’t be able to make it to see him (all being well) finish this epic journey, that I’ve had such an big involvement in. He’s sad that he’s not with me and the little wriggler as she grows and missing scans. I often wish it to all be over so that we can both be preparing our home together and so that I can have a cuddle and see his amazing smiling face when I need it. More than all of that though, I’m so desperate for him to reach the end. I’m so excited at the thought of him having that amazing feeling of accomplishment at having achieved something so big, that no one else has ever done; when he finally takes that last step of those 15,300 odd miles, knowing that he did every single step of those miles, through every element and terrain.

Knowing, he never gave up on his dream. What a beautiful thing to teach his daughter.

Back in the saddle, so to speak.

Hello everyone, I’m back, so here’s my 1st blog.

Hellish journey to get back out here…HELLISH! It started back at Manchester airport. I won’t say who my flight was with but never again.. (well, after the return flight anyway). After some very unnecessary major check-in faff, I missed out on getting breakfast. Never mind Nads (I thought) you’re soon on that plane. However, apart from the one meal, you have to pay for everything else??!! My stomach was tapping my shoulder and slapping me across the face, it was that hungry. Due to the plane being from the 90’s, the only in flight entertainment was from 4 drop-down screens, so I had no films to distract me from the stabbing pains that my stomach was inflicting on me. I caved and bought a cup of tea and a bag of Cheddars (for £5.60 *dramatic eye roll*); They saw me through until dinner time and all was well. Except though that the fella sat next to me was mostly asleep, mouth wide open and snoring. I managed zero hrs of sleep and ended up with a sore neck from trying to watch Gravity on the closest screen….oh well, soon landing in JFK and onto Nashville eh? Nope.

Once I’d queued for 5 years at customs, I collected my bag and headed to Delta air check – in,  nice and early for my flight to Nashville. Sitting in front of the flight information board, I suddenly noticed a bright red ‘cancelled’ next to my flight…surely not?! Yes. So, after a discussion with the re-booking peoples, we decided that I should head to LA Guardia airport, where a slightly later flight had a seat available to Nashville. Slightly annoying but jumping in a cab and paying  $45 seemed a small price to pay. 

I get to La Guardia airport. Check my bag in and pass through security. Hungry again, so I treat myself to a $10 sandwich (*dramatic jaw drop and double check at price*) I settle down with my sandwich, at my gate and look up at the screen and notice, that same bright red ‘cancelled’ next to my flight!! I called Rob. I cried. No more flights out of New York, where the hell was I going to stay? After my mini break down, I joined the mile long queue at the help desk, wondering about my options. I have very little money, especially for a hotel in New York, I mean, a sandwich is $10?! If I can have an early morning flight I could sleep at the airport?? What to do? I was finally greeted by a man that had clearly had enough of customer “support” that day and got told that I’d been checked-on to a flight at 2pm the following day. There was clearly no discussing it, so, I walked away, exhausted. I attempted to collect my bag and was told that there was a 2hr wait for me to reclaim that but I could take a free toiletry bag from them instead if I didn’t want to wait. I took the free bag. I booked a hotel for $140 (*dramatic shake of head and an overly long sigh*) I walked the 20 mins to my 1 star hotel and finally opened the door to my non-smoking room that smelt like an ashtray. Seriously smokers, it’s really gross trying to sleep in a room that stinks of stale smoke! GO OUTSIDE!
I slept for about 12 hrs and managed to shower and feel at least somewhat refreshed, using the contents of my freebie bag. It does have this awesome comb/brush thing too, like almost worth the cancelled flights for it. Walking back to the airport with worry about where I would stay again if the flights are cancelled and feeling grubby from the heat and wearing the same clothes, I had a word with myself, like I always do, and reminded myself that things aren’t that bad and there’s always a solution. Thankfully, after actually taking off, I sighed with relief. The flight of course, had me sat next to 3 year old girl that kept staring at me and making me have to pretend I was asleep, which resulted in her stroking my arm. It wasn’t going to a normal flight was it!!

Walking out of arrivals, towards my Forrest Gump, holding a sign with Lt.Nad on it, made all of the trauma disappear. We were back together. I had missed him since he had returned and I was excited to get going again. We boarded a bus to near where we had stored our Jenny and stayed in a hotel, that cost $50 and didn’t smell like an ashtray. I fell asleep fast that night, after stuffing my face with a Krispy Kreme doughnut. I’d earned that cake batter Krispy Kreme dream.
The following morning had us collecting Jenny. She looked gorgeous and once we had reconnected the battery,  she started like a dream. It felt all cosy and familiar again and although I was nervous about remembering to drive on the right (wrong) side of the road, I was eager to get us back up to Minneapolis, and get Rob back into the route and routine. 

We drove, over 2 days, around 900 miles, through 6 states and with an overnight stay in Chicago and Minneapolis, with a lovely couple called Rachel and John, who bought us pizza and gave us some amazing music for the RV, to avoid the ever changing static of radio stations. Rob got started the following morning, in the raging heat and I followed in Jenny, with cold drinks and food and that feeling of familiarity. Our 1st day ending with a night stay at a Walmart car park, (to keep things cheap) which strangely felt comforting.

So, back in the saddle. Back into the routine of up early and drive 35-45 miles a day over 10 hrs; cook, clean, refuel and generally support. So far so good and if I may repeat my total admiration for Rob, it’s all for him. He’s still doing this. With our own money pretty much spent and injury a constant fear, he still gets up every morning to run. I still get in that driver’s seat and three point turn a house. I know this amazing journey has to be completed and if I can help, in any way, then I will. 

We don’t know how far we can go but we know that we’ll not give up easily. 

Home alone


Longtime no type huh!? Sorry about that but the truth is, I felt I was starting to be quite negative and I was nervous about looking bitter. So, what to do when you don’t like what you feel? Hide. In the literary sense. Thankfully, visa restrictions and lack of funds, forced me back home and away from the day to day toil of being solo support crew…not without the horrendous feeling of guilt though.

So what’s been going on since I left that Rob, all alone with a dismantled baby jogger, stood outside the run down motel in Nashville;  guiltily waving at him as the cab drove off but also feeling some immense relief and excitement about getting home. A lot has happened for both of us and it’s worked out to be the best decision (so I can happily feel less guilty, yay!) but with a few sad and angry moments thrown in there. Can’t all be rainbows and skipping fairies now can it?


On my immediate return I had to have two tyres replaced on the car (of course I had tyre issues) I also needed new brakes! So, heading to Kent (where I became me and grew up) I got busy with sorting repairs but looked forward to being surrounded by my family and seeing my gorgeous lurcher, The Monsta. My parents, the superb beings they are, looked after Monsta for me when I headed to Australia about 4 years ago and they pretty much claimed him and he pretty much claimed them so, it was decided that he was best kept with them and their lurcher, Alfie (he was still mine though!) Unfortunately (sad moment, sorry) Monsta, had developed laryngeal paralysis along with disc disease that was being well managed but had sadly, come to a point that he couldn’t be Monsta any more. He tried to be Monsta very badly but seeing him struggle was simply too much and we all made the most difficult decision to allow him dignity and mostly, the pain free awareness of us being with him and cuddling and kissing him like crazy, until the very end.  He passed with a belly full of ham and a head full of kisses. He really was a very good boy. Now, loss is a difficult thing obviously but I really wasn’t prepared for how I would react. I got mostly quite angry and I aimed most of that towards Rob (poor Rob) The truth is, I felt very unsupported at a time of real significance. I resented the run and I felt quite alone and angry that I had given so much of my time to help him but where was he? A badly timed instagram photo of him all smiles with a bunch of people he’d met, did not go down well at all. I also struggled with genuine nice comments from my family and friends. I guess I didn’t want reminding of it but at the same time I wanted the gravity of it recognised. Grief, we all go through it in very different ways. I have now accepted that this big bundle of crazy personality has gone and that Rob was in no position to be able to help and of course, felt as equally sad and disappointed that he couldn’t be there. He has gone but he left behind memories that I can return to and smile about. We will scatter his ashes and allow all those crazy atoms to return, back into this beautiful world and I am more than content with that. I am grateful that I at least could be there.


I am back to nursing (Veterinary) and loving squishing and smooching them pets. I had actually missed being around animals and the routine of work life along with being around familiar faces. I’m back in Liverpool (best city in the world) having caught up with all my best friends and I have my identity back. I hadn’t counted on how much of being me, I would lose whilst I spent every day, consumed with Rob. Everything, whilst being out there, supporting him, was about him. Of course it was and I fear that this can sound very resentful, trust me, I’m not but I have very much enjoyed people asking me how I am and asking me about what I want to do. I have actually been able to enjoy watching Rob’s journey rather than being part of it. What I have learned is that from the outside looking in, you have no idea just how challenging it is. I could bleat on and on about the day to day, hour to hour and minute to minute tasks and obstacles that are encountered but never realised via a social media site. We will only show the good and interesting stuff but the boring, tiring and grumpy stuff is (mostly)left out. I will instead just remind you that for about 10 hrs a day, every day, he runs. Through every climate possible, through pain, through loneliness and constant thoughts of where and when he may rest or eat.  It is no holiday.


Hasn’t he done well though? Baby jogger (Pramsolo) with all his belongings and relying on the amazing kindness of locals that he meets. He has had great press and some well deserved attention here and there from the BBC, the Boston Globe, Sky News and the Daily Star amongst others. He has completed the Boston Marathon and the big turn around at Marshall Point Lighthouse. The biggest struggle, to turn around after all that excitement and feel like he’s starting again for the 3rd leg/crossing. He’s still doing it though; He’s still out there, pushing a jogger and running 35+ miles a day on his own. I feel less guilty and actually believe it to have been a good thing. At least he knows he can truly manage unsupported and that is yet another challenge he overcame.


I have been looking through all our photos since the start in September and realising what an amazing adventure we’ve had so far. I’m really excited to get back out there and see the sights and meet some more amazing people, so I will be returning (all being well) to support him again in July. I have to, for so many reasons but mostly because I love him and I would like to think that I would always help those that I love, to live their dreams. This has been a challenge on our relationship; The daily close proximity to the extreme distance, The feelings of uneven support, the bank balance nearing zero, the waiting around for our next adventure but I am in total awe of what he is achieving. I get to burst with pride at every new stage he reaches and I get to hear him tell me exciting stories about his day instead of not having anything interesting to talk about. Yes, sometimes I wish it was all over but mostly, just thinking about this ‘Forrest Gump run’ just brings a massive smile to my face and let’s be honest, a normal 9-5 life, just wouldn’t cut the mustard.





Can she fix it? Probably not but I’ll try.

I’m a veterinary nurse, I wanted to be a veterinary nurse from around about the age of 13. My Dad would love to interject at this point and tell you the story of when I was 3 and had our pet duck around the neck in one hand and his saw (good parenting skills leaving that lying around Dad) in the other, very much ready to saw the ducks head off. I do love animals though. Like I’m obsessed with them and I truly believe I would never have gone through with it. Luckily the saw was removed and I’m sure I duly headed off for my next adventure.

I’m not particularly academic (any future employees, please note that I am a very good, potential employee!) I like hands-on stuff. If you show me how to do something once, I can copy it, day in, day out. I have honestly thought about a career change that is maybe within the trade industry because I enjoy fixing things, but things that aren’t alive and give you stress palpitations when you’re trying to fix them.  I have learned a lot during this road trip about repairing things. If I had a work space I could have probably serviced the generator myself (I may have been scared to use it after but I would have give it a go) I’m getting finely tuned with Jenny and I know when something’s not right. Our heating decided to not work just the other day, so, I pulled out the multi tool ($18.99 from Walmart) and started undoing things and looking at wiring and fuses that meant nothing to me. However, after removing and replacing the odd thing, turning the circuit breaker back on, we had heat. I have fixed the leaking gutter  (yes, we have guttering), I have fixed the broken latches and levers. I am planning on repairing some worn-away wood to be able to replace a screw that’s fallen out. I’m on it and I do rather love it. My Dad was a roofer and can make ornate cabinets and summer houses. He is 72 and has built a barn in my folks back garden. I learned a few tricks following him about during the school holidays as a kid, both me and my brothers earned the honourable prize of standing on rusty nails and being shipped off to the local A&E for our tetanus jabs, thanks to my Dad’s trade. I guess my love of creating and fixing is thanks to both my parents. At least it gives me something to do and is productive.

This leg of the trip has definitely been different to the first. It took a while for the novelty to wear off on the first leg and learning how to run an RV as a home seemed to take your mind off what it is that I’m essentially doing, which is just a lot of waiting. Waiting for and on Rob. When I’m not in the best of moods, the inside of Jenny can feel very claustrophobic and my patience doesn’t just slim down but becomes just skin and bone. I shouted at Rob the other day, as he promptly told me on his arrival to Jenny that the stop I had chosen wasn’t the correct one and it was a mile short. I also got pretty upset when being all excited at parking up at some quirky museum, full of weird sculptures, that Rob just wanted to sit off and rest (how dare he!) on his arrival to the RV, instead of having a good nose around like I wanted to do. I could have gone on my own but then that in itself gets a bit tiresome. I forget that Rob’s actually running crazy milage and of course gets tired, just as I think Rob forgets that I can’t just sit in or drive the RV all day, everyday. It’s something we both try to ‘fix’ though, by letting things pass and saying sorry, even when you don’t feel you should. So, in between cooking, cleaning, driving and waiting, I try to keep busy. I’ll take photos, knit and crochet (my newest hobby) and write. I even manage to visit the odd, tiny museum if I can, where I will allow myself one purchase, should anything take my fancy (I have the coolest NASA t-shirt). We also have plenty of time in the evenings where we are able to talk about anything and everything. We discussed what our first holiday destination should be after this run, with Rob’s being a lazy week on one of the Canary Islands and mine being some kind of mini tour in Italy or Croatia. I wonder who’ll win that one? 

We’re now heading back through Texas, full of flat, rusty red soil, with slow turning derricks and ploughed fields, edged by the odd cotton plant that managed to escape the wrath of said plough and debris from the taken ones, spilling onto the road. The parking spots available for Jenny  on these rural roads are practically zero, leaving you sneaking into a corner of someone’s field or parked up, along a country lane. Nearly everyone who passes, waves and a few have stopped to ask if I’m ok. It’s nice. It’s reassuring on days when you feel very tired of it all to find someone taking time to check that you’re ok. I am ok, I tell them and in my head I think, you should see the things I’ve managed to fix, all by myself. We have a long way to go yet but even on the days where we’re both a bit tired and fed up, we remember just how much we have achieved. Rob has run over 3600 miles, on foot, sometimes doing 40+ mile days and I….I have fixed a broken latch and cooked a few ok dinners.

One thing I do need to fix is a night out. That feeling of getting your outfit sorted; taking time to get ready with a few GnT’s and a Lush ‘bath bomb’ bath on the go and finally spending the last half an hour doing my winged eyeliner (3 times). I am looking forward to a good night out when I get back, so give me a shout if you fancy a night out in Liverpool when I get home.

Sorry, I’ve been knitting 

Having spent a night at a fantastic RV park, a warm night’s sleep and job list well and truly ticked off, I am a happy Nads. Having a shower after 3 days of abstaining, with my hair tie having great difficulty against the might of the grease in my hair to stay put, I am a super happy Nads. I have also been very busy with my new hobby, knitting. Now, I’m only Nanny knitting level 1 at the moment but I definitely have time and opportunity to improve. It’s funny sitting off and listening to Queens of the Stone age whilst busily throwing out purl stitches, I reckon Josh Homme would totally dig it. It has caused me to be a little forgetful with day to day things; like meeting Rob on time and the dinner boiling over, also the lack of blog writing. My bad. Still, it’s incredibly relaxing and I would recommend it should you want to de-stress.

I have said it a few times before about how this is actually quite up and down and can be very tiring (blah blah blah). We had our spirits well and truly tested just a while back. Rob had decided to end the run at a truck stop for the evening. When we have a stop that will be our start for the following morning, I can usually head on and leave him on his last run. This works very well because I throw a superwomen tantrum if I have to attempt any reversing in the dark so it’s usually light enough for me to get settled. Truck stops are of course for truck drivers. They are essentially services (for UK readers) and it’s not really for RV’s to park overnight, however, they are often massive here, so you usually don’t take anyone’s space and as long as you’re prepared to move if you’re in the last one, I think it’s mostly ok to be in them. Well, except this night. I had parked at the end of an empty row; there were plenty of trucks about but I certainly wasn’t taking up space. I would guess, by the time we had climbed into bed, that there were easily 20 spaces available. Snuggled down and ready to sleep, I pass comment to Rob about how someone appears to be making a dog’s dinner over parking their lorry….then follows a rather angry thud on our door. I send Rob (so brave) and he gets promptly told that we’re parking in this rather friendly (sarcasm) gentleman’s way? Rob replied that we would happily move forward to help him out, even though we’re in a designated spot and therefore it would be no different if a lorry was parked there. This very jolly (sarcasm again) gentleman explained very politely (yep, sarcasm) that he wanted us to move and that he wanted to park where we were. Now, I can honestly say that Rob did the correct thing by agreeing to move as we didn’t want to end up with aggro’ but I know that what we both wanted to do, was to tell this rather horrible bully (no sarcasm), to go f@#$ himself. I am aware of the nuisance that people in RV’s can be. We’re slow and big and we’re possibly on our jollies and not working (little do they know). The thing is, just ask nicely and even before asking, ask yourself are you doing it because you genuinely want us to move to help you out or just because you want to prove a point and be an ass? I feel sorry for the guy to be fair. He must have got himself so angry and worked up over something he could have just let go. Imagine being that guy; imagine how miserable you must be to do that kind of thing? Inevitably, we managed to move across the road where it was actually quieter and glad that neither of us will ever be that guy. That’s the only time anyone has given us trouble in truck stops and mostly truck drivers seem to be really nice. Rob often comments on how they move over for him when he’s out running or they give him a beep and and wave. In the mayhem of moving at midnight for our fellow human being, Jenny actually wouldn’t start. She was being cheeky and somewhat annoying. After pulling the emergency start button, we were able to move but we realised very quickly that we had yet another problem to deal with….oh great. We got super lucky though and managed to find a proper mechanics (unlike the one in Vegas but we don’t talk about that right). They fixed everything, including our broken driver’s window (Yas! I can use my door again) They were also really friendly, which made up for grumpy pants man from the night before so we left grinning and feeling ready to move on. My love for Jenny repaired.

Going back through Arizona was amazing, along with the scenery from classic cowboy movies and the peacefulness of quieter roads. We’ve met a few good people too (except for that one grumpy ass, moody face, poo head) The routine is in and we are having a laugh about things again. We were joined by the sun, with his hat on, for a few days, which is quite the contrast to our trip through Death Valley. I have also been treated to some actual wildlife that’s alive and beautiful sunsets and sunrises. We’re now in New Mexico, a part of the trip that I loved last time, due to its open bleakness. It’s  a different route back through this time and not quite so quiet. It has also been incredibly windy; whistling through the vents and giving me and Jenny the odd nudge from time to time. I felt as if I was in some video game, trying to dodge the giant, kamikaze tumble weeds coming at me. I worry with how skinny Rob is that he’ll be blown away, off into Mexico.

Rob’s enthusiasm never ceases to amaze me. He is now running 40 plus miles a day and even though he is clearly tired, he still manages to return at every meeting spot with that lovely smile on his face. I feel sad that I can’t be with him until the end of this leg. I know I’ll miss it and I’ll most definitely miss him (Valentine’s day soon you know ;)). Any way, where did I put my knitting……

Leaving Las Vegas

The flashing lights and semi naked girls, the one arm bandits and poker tables, the high rollers and the low lifes. Vegas was no real surprise to me, much to Rob’s disappointment I think. He asked me at one point what I thought of the place, well, that was actually a tricky one to answer because I don’t think we really  did Vegas. 

I gambled a total of $5 and came away with 45c. I had a few beers but didn’t get drunk and went to bed early, but not ‘Vegas early’, as some Irish fellas (‘course they were Irish) were doing, when we were up at 7am to drop Jenny off to the garage. So, it’s an unfair response to say “meh” about it. I know if I had been there with time on my hands and money to burn, I would have absolutely loved it, it’s bonkers. As America was built around the car, Vegas was built around money and how it can take it away from you, with a sparkly glint in its eye. You walk (surprisingly lots) through New York (New York), Paris, Italy, Greece and Egypt. All of them fantastic replicas of the real thing but still with a casino, slap bang at the centre of them all. Having tried my luck on a fruit machine, for which I had no understanding of what-so-ever, I came away with 4c (winner) and a little pleased that I had partaken in a little gambling (check out this crazy chick). We did a lot of walking; a lot of up and down escalators to cross roads and get to yet another casino. We walked to the TV station for Rob’s interview with the local news and we walked to the famous Las Vegas sign which was of course, surrounded by about a billion other people. Through all this walking you see lots of people. People on their hols having a lovely time; people “working” the street and people selling “stuff” and lots of people without homes. It was cold still, and the thought of laying outside and trying to sleep warm and safely in that weather made me sad and so grateful for the luck and life I have, after all, it’s sheer luck that we get born into the world, where we are. The luck didn’t extend to winning a million off of a dollar though!

Whenever I have thought of Vegas, I feel transported back to the 80’s, full of cash, cash, cash and buxom women with giant…perms. Glitz and glam with the edge of danger but it actually was nothing like that. It felt, just very corporate and as with all corporates, it’s about making money by providing  just enough. We took advantage of the $23 all-you-can-eat dinner buffet, leaving us all a little full bellied and sleepy with a touch of food drunkenness. I must admit, I very much over indulged with 5 courses and a napkin full of cakes and cookies to boot. It was great but still with the slight tone of cheapness and tack. I guess that’s what Vegas is really, tacky but good tacky; like Blackpool but with fewer 12 year old smokers and bald workmen pinching your bum; like the arcades back home, except with men dishing out four $100 notes per game, instead of me gambling 20p in the 2p machine (that always looks like it’s about to drop about 20p’s worth) and very attractive ladies, dressed in feather boas, just covering their baps, walking around, instead of some greasy haired fella with a stained t-shirt that says ‘kiss me quick’. It’s just bigger and better but with a little bit of grime that I’m sure I wouldn’t have noticed, if I was getting in at 7:30am, instead of getting up. One of the best things we did, was go to the Mirage to see the Beatle’s Love by Cirque du Soleil.Now, I was speechless, apart from singing along to every song. The performance, colour, energy and sound just mingled into a giant ball of greatness. If you like the Beatles, then you must go see this show, if you’re lucky enough to get the chance. My particular favourite was ‘A Day in the Life’ and ‘Something’. They made me want to get my lycra out (I know ) and get swinging on some giant swing, being all floaty and elegant  (I can picture it now!) 

I’m on my own now, well, with the exception of Robla obviously. Olivia left us on Friday to return back to the UK – very sad. It’s quite nice having a little bit of time on my own, back. Perhaps in some ways, it makes me a little happier being a bit busier, I’m sure that will wear off soon though. I don’t think we’ll have any one visit us before I leave now so I guess this is it until March, I’ll keep you posted on how it goes of course. I’m happy for now though. I look out of my driver window, with the wind squeezing in through the gap, where it’s not quite closed and stare at the familiar, brown mountains of Arizona, with some sun, finally warming me up. Relaxed from escaping my rising anxiety of driving out of Vegas and through the tourist trap of the Hoover Dam (which was amazing too by the way), thinking about how I should probably start making Rob’s sandwiches for his lunch but just not quite ready to move yet.

It’s cold, I’m cold.

I must admit, I have struggled for a few days here. My mood has sometimes been as icy as some of the overnights we’ve had and I can’t blame much but myself. However, those who really know Rob, know that I have a mini challenge some days just dealing with him. After finding his wallet in the drawer that he had already looked in and discovering that he couldn’t remember the PIN for his card, for us to withdraw some much needed funds, I gave in and shouted at him that he’ll probably die doing this on his own because he won’t have anyone sorting out his s***!!! I come to realise that occasionally, I am not in the best of moods.

It started so well, and even though I had the heavy lack of enthusiasm, we seemed to settle in quick with the routine we had left just before Xmas. We were heading into quieter country and I felt that familiar feeling of comfort and relaxation whilst gazing out of Jenny’s windows or taking photos of alien looking plants and constant beautiful scenery. It almost feels like each stop is in competition with the last, to be the best stop of the trip. It really is stunning scenery that cannot have justice made by any camera. You often have to just not even try and actually just absorb the sight that nature has set out for you at that very moment and just wish those that matter to you could have been there to see it too. Some of the most mind blowing scenes have nearly always contained moutains, with those extra tall ones getting a dusting of snow on their tips. This has also meant that some of our off-road overnight stops have been really cold. We were aware of this before we left. Instead of buying cute outfits and shoes when I was at home, I was eyeing up gloves, thermals and fleece lined snow boots (whoot whoo). Still, cold is something this heat loving girl, is no friend of and it’s been a little uncomfortable. Getting into bed early seems to be the most effective way of staying warm (with my thermal jim jams on) We have stayed in RV parks more often this time, so that we can use the hook-up electric and get the heating on at tropical levels. I don’t get people that say they would rather be too cold than too hot? You’re just weird and I don’t trust you. I can not see how anyone thinks it’s more comfortable shivering uncontrollably than sweating a bit??? Weird and untrustworthy. Any way, it is cold from time to time but we’re coping (just) and it makes for a very different experience compared to back in Louisiana, where I was struggling to blink without sweating. The rain has been quite a pain though. It’s dropped buckets here and although it’s good for the usually very dry land, it’s not that great for some crazy fella that wants to run 35 miles or for the support crew that want to see rolls of mountains and blue sky; instead, it’s more a case of peering through thousands of rain drops, scattered across the screen and using your imagination as to what scene the bumbling cloud is keeping from you.

Weather aside, it was going quite well of course, until one of our tyres went flat. This oddly coincided with the appearance of a Roadrunner (once again) who had very quickly come to check out Jenny (did he burst our tyre?) He was very cute and pretty confident too but the distraction didn’t last long and we decided that we should perhaps stop gawping at the nosey bird and maybe sort out the tyre. I’ve been here before, twice in fact and I was most definitely pretty pissed about this, not so exciting, 3rd time. This led me to believe that we could maybe limp to a near by tyre shop and get a new one but experience doesn’t always pay off and we ended up on the side of the road, needing two new tyres. Four hours later and nearly $500 poorer, my mood had lifted slightly but only because we were moving on. Rob had pulled some pretty impressive milage on his solo mission that led us to an RV site and of course, heating (hoorah!) 

Everything has been so up and down here through Death Valley, both moods and environment alike. Jenny’s (expensive) little tyres, climbing foot by foot to near 5000ft elevations with only minor grumbles, followed by a hasty retreat, as thick, cotton wool balls of snow started to fall. With sadness of not being able to stay and enjoy it and concerns of attempting the icy descent down in the rather heavy lady, hoping that Rob will be ok. Relief follows concern and then disappointment follows as you reach a point to rest at and are held captive by a downpour of heavy rain, or cruising along an open road to below sea level and feeling very vulnerable, whilst being surrounded by mountains, staring down at this tiny speck of a human being. Then finally, you get the opportunity to relax and enjoy the rest of your day, until the weather drops to around 6’c and you sit inside Jenny’s four (grossly uninsulated) walls, thinking to yourself, is it too early to put my jim jams on and head for bed

Here we go again…

Going home for Christmas, or going home due to visa restrictions and it very conveniently being around the holiday season, had been perfect. I managed to catch up with most of my best mates and spent quality time with my folks, which mainly consisted of eating lots of unhealthy but extremely tasty food and talking about my dog, Monty Monster of much monsterness. My Mum and Dad now have (stolen) my dog after they kindly looked after him when I moved to Australia for a few years. I could have him back but the truth is that his life is so much better with them and his partner in crime Alfie, (their lurcher) so I gladly but guiltily leave him there. 

Whilst I was back, I drank tea non stop, ate fish (no fish) and chips about 3 times, beans on toast 1 billion times and a full veggie English breakfast more times than I care to share with you. I enjoyed being surrounded by my fellow compatriots and simply loved being understood the first time I ask for something. Home really is where my heart is and I can’t deny how reluctant I was at heading back out to America. No offence intended of course, it’s just a case of what makes me feel happy. So, sat at Heathrow Airport departure lounge under the fluorescent lighting; trying to avoid that odd desire to buy unwanted items (I always want to buy a book or perfume at airports) and having just spoken with my Mum about a potential long weekend in the Cotswolds sometime when I’m back, I felt a strong feeling of sadness. I just didn’t feel the desire to go back to driving Jenny and having to “adult”, alone. Now, I’m fully capable of doing things on my own that need to be done and would go as far as to say that I’m an independent women (get out of my head Beyonce) but I don’t like having to do it, particularly the boring stuff like food shopping (YAWN) or getting petrol (a slightly less yawn as it can contain excellent opportunities for people watching). Basically, I like sharing the load and don’t we all I suppose. I learned from the previous run that although I am a slight introvert and I got used to driving this big ol’ girl, I still got fed up and a bit lonely; I realised that all the time we had someone else with us, it felt easier; I realised that maybe I can’t do all of this alone for the full run and that does sadden me but it’s simply the truth. I battle with wanting to be truly supportive but I also know that it’s a big ask and that Rob wouldn’t want me to do it under duress. Given how much we have also spent of our own money, it’s becoming very clear that we’ll not be able to afford both of us being here for another year. So this leg of the run will see me leaving before the end and returning home to work and maybe head back out at a later stage. I know that I’m going to feel horrendously guilty but I do believe that Rob will genuinely enjoy the challenge of going solo for a little while. 

At least our return started smoothly. Jenny was well when we picked her up, with just a minor brake light fuse to change (thanks Liv) and we were heading out of the crazy of LA. The familiar routine has nestled comfortably back in and I hadn’t forgotten how to drive on the right side of the road or attempted to change gears on an automatic. We have our best friend Olivia with us for a bit and the company is so valuable. It’s someone else to share the daily tasks with and have company for any hiking opportunities that may occur through the beautiful Californian scenery. It was also very valuable when the driver’s electric window decided it was done with “windowing” and slid very abruptly into hiding inside the door. With me sighing and thinking “here we go again”, we knuckled down and used our skills to fix the problem using some wood we found and the teeny tiny mini saw, on our $15 multi tool, until we could get to Vegas and find a mechanic. That’s not what people normally go to Vegas for is it? But hey, what happens in Vegas right? 

I do sit here now though, completely relaxed, and with great company, gazing out across the flat plains of the desert full with sprouting Joshua trees, edged by snowcapped mountains and think, hhmmmm, I wonder if I can make that flight home a little bit later?

It’s all coming to an end..

Wow. I can’t believe we’re here, just under 3 months of that crazy Robla running across America. What can I say about it, well, a lot really but I won’t go on too much.
So, we established pretty early on that I absolutely cacked my pants when first driving Jenny; that she’s a big butted girl in need of constant attention (similar to me really) and I guess I’ve come to terms with the whole ‘wrong’ side of the road driving but I’ll be honest with you, I’m looking forward to getting back to tiny Britain, with my cute car and short distances and being able to ‘walk’ to a shop. I’m looking forward to having some good old beans on toast with a solid cup of tea and a bakewell tart for its companion (cake should always accompany tea in my opinion). I have mostly adored the views and drives along the open roads but the more busier places and venturing in the dark has not had me all too thrilled about a second ‘leg’ (anyone keen to join us for the next one? Must like driving.) I did it though and even though I was petrified  (like, tears and everything) I wasn’t going to give up. I have learned and grown as people say. All challenges makes us a slightly newer person and I have definitely gained new skills (just come find me for any portable toilet questions). I have learned a little more about that Robert and I’m sure he has seen another side to my character, mainly the one that constantly asks him if he’s finished with what ever item he has ‘left’ out for longer than I’m happy with. It has been a truly interesting few months and not many people have ever done what we have together.

Making our way through the variety of scenes and challenges along the way, dumped us at the very end of Santa Monica pier, with friends and film crew, jammed amongst lots of tourists. A classic sandy beach with the ‘Baywatch’life guard stations to your left and right; a rough voiced gentleman singing the blues along with the squawking gulls. I had to try to catch Rob on the camcorder as he made his way down the pier to reach the end, capturing his turn around as to re-create Forrest Gump but it was all just too busy with people and the news crew, and I suppose really, I wanted to see him finish, after all, I’d been there every running step of the way.
I have driven, cooked, cleaned, waited, shouted, cried, waited, cleaned, driven, waited, not showered for days, filled petrol and food shopped on my own many times, waited, talked to myself, written blogs, cleaned, cooked, tweeted, instagrammed, driven, sent a million emails, cleaned, driven and cared. I have to be honest and say that I’m rather tired of it and I’m happy to be going home. I’m happy to not have to constantly worry about if Jenny’s going to fit into our next meeting spot or if we’ll find somewhere safe to pull up for the night. I’m tired of sitting and driving alone. I have been lacking in blogs recently as I have had so much company and I have been too engrossed in enjoying the respite to sit and write and it really has been fantastic to have our friends join us like they have; it made me realise how much time I had spent alone and by my own admission, I rather prefer it sometimes but of course, only when it suits me. So for me, this not being my ‘dream’, I’m really  glad for the break and yes, it is just a break because although it isn’t my dream or my challenge, I can’t give up. Seeing Rob’s face on that final day, surrounded by friends and the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment, beaming with well deserved pride, I knew he would want to turn around and carry on. Just after he had finished, all stood around, chatting excitedly about it I looked down to his discarded ‘Forrest Gump’ Nike Cortex trainers and noticed a white feather, perfectly snuggled next to them. I asked Rob if he had done it on purpose to which he, as equally surprised by the scene, replied no. If you’re familiar with the film then you’ll understand the connection and it was that, that made us realise we should carry on.Watching his story on the local news later that evening (in a British style pub no less) and the crowd roaring with excitement, chanting ‘Robbie, Robbie, Robbie’ and having their photos taken with him, I knew he would feel he had to turn around and carry on. 

Those who know Rob well, know that he will definitely carry on and I know that he could do so without me if I didn’t return. It would be more difficult but he would find some ingenious way but I couldn’t see him do it alone. I realised that along the way, with plenty of giggles, some shouting and tears, tons of shared moments,  and stinking together, we actually make a really good team Rob and I. Team Gump.

Seeing no-one, is the best view

​I felt oddly sad leaving Texas. It took us just over 4 weeks to cross it and I remember at the time of crossing the state line from Louisiana that I would think back on this very day and wonder where it all went, or at least I hoped I would and that I certainly wouldn’t be back home in the UK having given up. It’s like anything you ever look back on, you remember bits of it but you forget most until someone else mentions it. I started off uneasy about Texas, I won’t lie. I’m not what you would call a natural to the way of life here but I found people to be lovely and kind and the things I worried about didn’t affect me as much.  I had grown in confidence with my driving and greedily enjoyed the changing landscape along with he volume of peanut butter flavoured things. One of our last stops led us to a cafe in the middle of pretty much nowhere. The owner claimed to have something crazy like 120 acres of land and she liked it that way, as she told us ‘you can choose your neighbours’. I liked the idea of that, lots of land and away from people unless you chose otherwise.  It had a very homely feel along with lots of trinkets and shiny things that caught my eye.I didn’t buy anything this time though, having little space and genuinely little need for most items that were being sold there. It was just a shame that the exquisite pair of red cowboy boots were too small (dang) but we had our lunch for free and I took a piece of peanut butter cake that was that big, it had Jenny leaning to one side when I placed it in our fridge. With much gratitude from my mouth and belly, we said our goodbyes to those lovely folk. Texas is a big state but I didn’t grow tired of it like we’d be warned we would. So yeah, I feel sad about saying goodbye but thankfully, we stepped (wheeled) straight into New Mexico.

I didn’t know what to expect, except perhaps, just very similar to what we had left, having entered this new state almost halfway across it already. The volume of running that Rob’s been managing each day, we learned that we would likely cross New Mexico within four days to be In Arizona. Not having any expectations and with how my mood had taken me the last few days, it has been the most pleasant and rewarding surprise. After much deliberation over which route to take, we decided on Highway 9, which runs very close to the Mexican border. Therefore, Border patrol are in very heavy presence here and just as you do, whenever the police are around, you feel unnecessarily guilty. The road though, was amazingly quiet and open; it made my travel along it very enjoyable and relaxed, having no-one behind me, hovering like an angry wasp, desperate to pass.  Our final stop on the first night had us sat on a  raised tarmac area facing Mexico, with huge mountains all around us. Rob had spoken with one of the Border Patrol guys about us just parking up overnight; both of us a little worried about the suspicious look of an RV so close to the border. He was more than happy for us to and even insisted that we get hold of any of them should we have any concerns. A good few more patrols took those guys way beyond where we parked, to keep a closer eye on the border all night. I know this beacause once we had settled in our spot for the night, a brilliant thunderstorm started and to my delight, after dinner, Rob suggested we turn off the lights to watch it in complete darkness. I didn’t need asking twice and I had many failed attempts  at trying to catch a lightening strike on my phone camera. I also watched Border patrol cars doing their job along the border, multiple times.  We seemed to have entered a period of strong winds and thunderstorms as we entered New Mexico and I actually really like it. The temperature’s  dropped a little and I mostly wear my jogging bottoms and hoodie in the mornings which is a nice break from the constant heat, it’s still not cold but enough for me to feel all snuggled inside, with my cup of tea, staring out across the flat plains edged by the moutains; looking like a thick pile rug that’s bunched up at the edges. The wind, rushing busily across the landscape with that sound of a bleak winter and emptiness. I know that may sound perhaps a bit miserable but it’s beautiful. You suddenly have a moment where you realise just how wonderful this world is and how peaceful being alone can be. The scenery is a little like what you would find in Scotland and with the weather, it perhaps has made me feel like I’m home. Whatever it is, I don’t care but it has certainly made me contented. Just this morning I sat with my tea, gazing over a field backed by a mountain.
As I previously mentioned, my mood has totally suited my environment. I have been, I guess a little melancholic, not in a really sad way but in a way that my introverted self goes into. I’m very aware and fine with it. Melancholy is a normal and quite powerful emotion that we’re susceptible of and should embrace it, after all, there are no rainbows without the sun and rain. If possible, whenever I feel this way, I try to hide away from people; everyone if I can, by either walking some remote part of he country or being alone in a quiet place where I will listen to certain genres of music and maybe write some poetry, not for anyone to read but as a form of sharing my feelings. I strangely enjoy it but mostly because I don’t feel that way for long or very often and so I guess it’s just another way of being a bit self centred and nurturing yourself. It’s the mood I have mostly been in through New Mexico and it couldn’t be more perfect. For this perfect set up, I have chosen a guy called Ludovico Einaudi, a composer I discovered whilst watching the “This is England” series to listen to. His music is stunning and very provocative to emotions. I particularly like Waterways and Experience; give it a listen, you may like it and if not, there’s never any harm in checking it out; just be somewhere peaceful if you do though.
I have now had a decent chance to feel how life on the road feels, how we all dream it should be, with that perfect scenery of openess and emptiness of humans. It’s been hugely therapeutic and I feel it may be my go-to option in future, when I feel the need to escape for a little while. Get Ash (the VW Campervan) revved up and head off to some nearby Welsh or Yorkshire mountains, drink tea and reflect on life a little. Breath in the peace and beauty of Mother nature to refuel, yes, I would strongly recommend this to anyone, It’s soul food.

Slowly heading to the state border line that will take us into Arizona, eases me out of my self reflective mood into looking forward to our visitor for two weeks, joining us on our odd version of a road trip, Richard Beer. A long time friend of Rob’s and one I have stolen since our many visits to Glastonbury music festival. We have both been as excited as children on school holidays at the prospect of Beer joining us. It gives another angle to the trip; gives Rob someone else to (constantly) talk to and run with and I can enjoy the breaks in between his running with conversation about what you would do in a zombie apocalypse or discuss what time we should  attempt ‘Baggy Mondays’ at Glastonbury next year. It’s just great having friends around and the offer is there for the taking should you fancy it? 

So a very pleasant move through New Mexico with a mixture of my emotions making it so. I recommend it here and I think I’d like to visit here again for sure but with the knowledge of a move onto different scenery. It’s the changes in surroundings and company that have kept this interesting. One day I’ll be dreamily looking out at mountains and another will find me feeling tiny, walking through stacks of american lorries, lined up at a truck stop or I’ll  be sat in a bar in a cowboy town drinking a Golden Ale with friends. I have always found myself wanting to come back to visit a place again and I think, that is always the best way to leave.