(film embedded on the bottom)
I was at a friend’s house when I first heard about Rickey Gates. We all — she, her husband, and me, have had an exciting evening playing games and drinking and were ready to turn in for the night — at nine p.m. Yes, you heard that right; we may be wild beasts, running mountains all day long and partying ‘late’ into the night, but come nine o’clock, we’re ready to retire and catch some well-deserved sleep.
She asked me if I needed anything before going to sleep, or if I’d like to borrow a book to read. A book sounded nice, however, I was so beat that I asked her for… a picture book. I, a twenty-something human who’s read books way above my age since I was a wee little bairn, asked my friend for a “picture book.”
And she delivered.
She handed me a book with a shirtless man on the cover pushing what at first looked like an old stroller: “Cross Country; A 3,700-Mile Run to Explore Unseen America.” I could almost see her winking at me. She knew something I didn’t when I accepted that book from her hands; that this book would prove to be the last push I needed to decide to go through with my own insane plan. But we’ll talk about that some other time.
I already wrote a book recommendation for this book. What I didn’t know when I published it was that only two weeks later, we would be given a gem of a film; “Transamericana with Rickey Gates running 3700 miles across America” by Salomon TV.
And since I can’t recommend the book enough to anyone, be it an adventurer, a runner, or a couch surfer, I think it only fair to share the film, too.
Because it’s not only about running. In fact, running is probably the last thing it is about. It is a story about curiosity, understanding, and, above all, connection. Connection with people, connection with one’s self. Because in the times when the country seemed to have been divided beyond repair, Rickey Gates found unity.