Mar 5, 2021

I ran another fast kilometre this morning. I put a little more effort into it and felt like I was a few seconds faster than Monday’s 4:14. So I was very surprised to see the clock stop at 3:47 – a full 27 seconds faster. And I was much more uncomfortable than when I ran the 4:14. Positive signs.

Today’s world run reminiscing sees me in the Californian desert, around Palm Springs. In fact, the video below is from the day I ran into Palm Springs. It was to remain my longest day of the run for more than a year, until I beat it with 70 km on the Nullarbor Plain.


Mar 2, 2012


Distance today = 52.86 km; Total distance = 2851.18 km; Location = Calimesa – 34 00.969′ N, 117 05.917′ W; Start time = 0843, Finish time = 1618


Today was a day of highly variable winds. I headed off in very still conditions. At the 5 km mark, all of a sudden there was a massive gale-force headwind which hammered me for the next hour or so. It gradually swung around to be a cross-wind from the north, and by lunch-time had eased off to a moderate tailwind. If the intense headwind had continued all day, it would certainly have been the hardest day of running I’d ever encountered.

The skies were extremely clear and I was watched over by Mount Baldy all morning, replete with a very light cover of snow. It made the peak look like a pointy muffin top dusted with a sprinkle of icing sugar.

I am now about 120 km east of the centre of Los Angeles, and yet I still haven’t reached true rural landscape. I think it might come tomorrow, however, as I head toward Palm Springs. I pushed a little further today than I had planned, so that I finished within striking distance of Palm Springs – that is, within a single day of running. It’s like being within a 9-iron of the green.


Mar 3, 2012


Distance today = 68.87 km; Total distance = 2920.05 km; Location = Palm Springs – 33 48.400′ N, 116 32.761′ W; Start time = 0846, Finish time = 1846



It was a day of milestones. Not only was it the furthest I’ve run in a day on this round-the-world journey, it was also the furthest I’ve ever run as part of a multi-day run (eclipsing the 66 km from Lockart to Wagga Wagga on my Melbourne to Sydney run). It was also the latest finish I’ve had so far, concluding in the dark at 6:46 pm.

Ahhh, but there’s more! I also crossed two major meridians in one day – the 34 N latitude and the 117 W longitude. And I also reached my highest altitude in the US so far, with 806 metres above sea level (2,644 feet). I will go much higher in the weeks to come.

And, I also passed 1000 km in the US, but more importantly, I passed the 10% mark for the whole journey. I now only need to do it all another nine times.

At nearly 69 km, it was a long run, but was made all the harder by a strong headwind for most of the day. I also had a couple of bum steers, where the road I was on petered out into a dirt track. But that just makes the day more interesting. Check out the video. You’ll see what I mean.

And, as you’ll see in the photos, I was wearing red and green today. This was in honour of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, who will be starting their season this weekend with a match against the evil Roosters. Let’s all wish them luck.

The day after tomorrow I reach the real desert. We got a glimpse of what’s to come today, with stunning clear blue skies and an amazing, almost rainbow-like sunset projected on to the mountains. I think I’m going to like the desert, which is a good thing, as I’ll be running through it for the next couple of months.

PS I knew I had a long day in front of me, so I was prepared with a well charged spare Garmin. The watch battery was running low, so I stopped it at 57.50 km and activated the spare, chalking up another 11.37 km. Therefore, there are two Garmin records for today. However, for some reason the spare doesn’t result in graphs on the Garmin site.


Mar 4, 2012


Distance today = 33.22 km; Total distance = 2953.27 km; Location = Indio  – 33 43.845′ N, 116 14.328′ W; Start time = 0950, Finish time = 1453


Thought I’d be feeling pretty wasted today, but I was actually fine, although the heat started to weigh in towards the end. It was around 30C, and much hotter out in the sun.

I headed through suburb after suburb of, what can only be described as up-market desert country club living. The land is either dusty and dry, or as green and lush as anywhere in Ireland. It’s amazing what redirected water can do.

I’ve given some more thought to the Red Wine Value Quotient, after various insightful comments from readers. Most issues centred around the fact that price can vary so much, yet my 0 to 10 rating scale is constrained. A deeper issue is the fact that the tax and regulation regime in various countries makes it easier for some jurisdictions to provide “value”. As much as I’d like to compensate for this, it is just too hard, so “tax” will implicitly be factored into the ratings.

However, to adjust for my subjective 0 to 10 rating scale, I have come up with the following formula (I wanted to keep this as non-mathematical as possible, but have been forced to incorporate at least a bit) – the RWVQ is the score out of ten, cubed, divided by the price in AUD dollars. For example, the Napa Valley wine I described earlier, which cost US$1.67 (AUD$1.56) and I rated a 6 out of 10 (but have readjusted to 5.5), therefore has a RWVQ of 5.5 cubed (=166.375) divided by 1.56. This gives it a score of 107, which is hard to beat.

For comparison, another wine I rate highly, the JB Shiraz from the Barossa Valley, has the following – a rating of 8.5 and a price around AUD$25. This gives it a RWVQ of just 25, which is still a good score. However, it’s hard to beat a half decent wine for value when it costs under $2. Sometimes one finds a wine that’s anomalous, I know, but if you can actually buy it, then it’s real value all the same.

And, once again, sorry to anyone who may be struggling with the arithmetic associated with the RWVQ. Does this mean it’s necessary to have some level of proficiency in the subject to fully appreciate red wine? (I can already hear the rumblings and objections starting to build).


Mar 5, 2012


Distance today = 56.42 km; Total distance = 3009.69 km; Location = Salton Sea – 33 18.267′ N, 115 58.968′ W; Start time = 0940, Finish time = 1732


The day got off to a bit of a bad start when I slept in. Quickly getting ready, I raced up to the California Highway Patrol office (and wouldn’t you know it, the CHiPs have a picture of Peter Rafferty on their insignia), only to find out that I would not be allowed to run on the freeway across the desert to the Arizona border.

I had to immediately revert to Plan B. This meant taking an extra two days and running around the Salton Sea – no big deal in the end. I accepted my fate and got on the road.

This had an unexpected advantage, as the Salton Sea is below sea level. It’s a large hyper-saline lake, similar to the Dead Sea, although it actually reminded me of Lake George near Canberra. In fact, my GPS told me my low point for the day was -64 metres. After reaching a new highest altitude in the US two days ago, I now found myself at a lifetime lowest altitude – never before have I stooped so low. I also passed the 3000 km mark for the journey late in the day.

But the real highlight of the day was what I saw – I really and truly saw both a coyote and a roadrunner. The roadrunner was running down a dirt road (they really do run along roads), but the coyote was squashed on the highway – no doubt he’d been hit by an Acme truck while hatching some nifty plan to catch the roadrunner. I also saw lots of jackrabbits, one of which must surely have been called Bugs.

Tomorrow I have another big day, to the town of Brawley. Who knows what I might see – a little black duck with a bad attitude, a cute pig wearing a vest but no pants, or a bald guy with a speech impediment, hunting “wabbits”.

Does it sounds like the desert has got to me?