After the rainstorm of this past Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised to see such an enthusiastic and hearty band of runners show up at our Buffalo Chips workout, which met in the parking lot of the La Bou Bakery in Land Park, on the following Sunday morning. It was an overcast day, but it wasn’t wet, so we headed up towards the Sacramento River levee trail for an agreed upon ten-mile run at an easy pace.
In our group, we had a variety of participants, from a relatively new runner to our group, many seasoned veterans, including one veteran of the Italian Army, and even a bicyclist–really. When we reached the summit of the Interstate 5 overpass on Sutterville Road, and made it by those treacherous freeway signs on the way to the levee trail, our group turned north towards Downtown Sacramento for a five mile up-and-back route.
Somewhere during those first few miles, a member of our entourage mentioned that we were headed in the direction of their house, and if we wanted to, we could run by the place and we could then see a cat, named “El Jefe”, which they had adopted and that was known throughout West Sacramento for his prowess at hunting birds and scratching fences. Since we were all in a giddy mood anyways, it was decided that we would take up the challenge and headed out towards the Tower Bridge, to run into West Sacramento, in search of El Jefe the cat!
I don’t know if it was just me, or everyone was experiencing the same thing and just didn’t say anything for fear of being labeled a “baby”, but it seemed to me that as our run got closer and closer to that elusive goal of catching El Jefe in his native environment, we may have run through some type of space-time continuum. We passed over the Tower Bridge, then made a turn, then another turn, stopping to go down a flight of stairs, then some more turns, and all the while I could see that I was in the midst of dilapidated buildings from the 1800’s, with old railroad locomotives and railcars strewn about, and we even came upon the profile of an ancient ziggurat rising up on the horizon. But the strangest thing of all, and I don’t have a logical explanation for it, was that I am pretty sure we passed a sign that read, “The North Pole” as we were following our guide along the route.
Finally, coming around the bend to our ultimate destination, with only one of us actually knowing how we got there, we looked upon the porch of the house where it was suggested that the notorious El Jefe would be resting in the sun but, alas, no El Jefe the cat. Only some old cushions–and not even a door mat!
Such was our unusual experience on that somewhat overcast Sunday morning in this early part of December. The wily El Jefe had eluded us this time, but as they say, “the journey is sometimes as important as the goal”, and for sure, the morning’s run was pretty adventurous, ten-miles total, and very fun, nonetheless! As for El Jefe, legend has it that sometimes he has been seen traveling around West Sacramento, riding on a white Trek bicycle, and dressed up as if he just came back from the North Pole!