Gotta Run: Going on another adventure

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 31, 2021

As most of you know, I’m a big fan of going on challenging adventures. Having just returned from the most recent cycling journey on Sept. 4, I’ve had a very busy last two months. In some ways, the weeks at home are harder than the actual journey itself. There are lots of projects to resume and some new ones to get going. Huge on the list is another book to write!

The next book, “Crossing America, One Convenience Store at a Time,” is complete and scheduled for printing and shipment. Farm and other projects are in good shape, so I had time this past week to go on yet another adventure.

I’m an avid reader, so much so that I couldn’t wait to get started on another book. No real reading for anything but bike ride information since mid-July had especially whet my appetite to wrap my thoughts up into another book.

I’m also a big Appalachian Trail fan, especially over the last year. I started reading about it two springs ago. Nothing concrete has been scheduled and it may never be, but still I read and research what the experience would be like. The folks at the Rowan Public Library have helped me find good reading material for years and when a new book arrives that they think might interest me, someone will often let me know. Such was the case when last week “2,000 Miles Together” arrived. I had just spent a few days at the beach doing the final proofing of “Crossing America” and also completed David Baldacci’s “A Gambling Man.”

When the South Branch of RPL called and said they had another book for me, I rushed through my work for the day and dropped in to get it just ahead of closing. I looked it over in the parking lot and came home with plans to start reading that night. “2,000 Miles Together” is about a family of eight, ages 2 to 18, that chose to hike the trail together. If they made it, they would be the largest family to complete the trail together and their 7-year-old would be the youngest ever to complete the trail. That’s nearly 2,200 miles over 5-6 months, battling weather and terrain. Mom and dad had cycled across country and the whole family runs marathons together. They fuel on Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies and finished the trail in Altra running shoes. All relatable to me.

All family members finished, but not without some severe trials and doubts along the way. For two and a half days, I couldn’t put the book down, effectively controlling my life. Why? I envisioned myself walking and sometimes running with them. Immersed in the book, I had yet another adventure!

Why does reading matter so much? I constantly hear people say that they don’t read. Yet they follow Facebook, Twitter and Price is Right. Here are some reasons why real reading matters:

  • Mental stimulation and memory improvement, which we all need to stay sharp.
  • Stress reduction — nothing calms me like reading a good book.
  • Increased knowledge. Learn about virtually anything.
  • Vocabulary expansion, improved focus and concentration. You won’t just be sharper, others will realize it, too.
  • Improved writing skills — something sorely needed, especially in our young people.
  • Escape. Just as I did with “2,000 Miles Together,” go away on your own adventure! When I finish a good book, I often pump my fist just like after a good athletic achievement. I sit and savor the experience and am willing to admit that I often experience various emotions while reading a good book.

And finally, passing on the skill of reading to a young person is a wonderful gift. Studies show that children who read can be better stimulated mentally, become more fluent in language and can better communicate with people of all ages. Their academic success can be tied directly to their ability to read and comprehend.

Today’s Spooky Sprint 5K and fun run start at Catawba College at 2 p.m. It’s Salisbury’s first race in 18 months. Next Saturday’s Clean Water 5K is at Grace Lutheran Church. Look for both and plenty more at .