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NM runner chronicles his cross-country journey

Santa Fe resident Rickey Gates’ run across the country is the focus of his film “Transamericana,” which chronicles his 2017 run from Folley Beach, South Carolina, to San Francisco. (Courtesy of Wandering Fever)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Rickey Gates is always on the run.

The Santa Fe resident wakes up each day and decides which nature trail will take him away from the weights of the world.

Sometimes, it’s up to Ski Santa Fe, where the Winsor Trail helps clear his mind.

Rickey Gates

Oftentimes, one can see him running the streets of Santa Fe.

In fact, the 39-year-old is participating in a project called “Every Single Street,” which will take Gates through all the roads in Santa Fe. He then chronicles it at

“I’m about 300 miles into the 700-800 miles of running,” Gates said. “I’ve done this project in San Francisco when I lived there. It was done in 40 days and nights – about more than 1,200 miles of running.”

Gates has been a runner his entire life and completed treks across the world.

In 2017, he decided to take a camera along with him as he ran from Folley Beach, South Carolina, to San Francisco, over the course of five months. The final product is the film, “Transamericana.”

The film is slated to screen at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, at Motorama at the Downs Santa Fe. He also wrote a companion book titled “Cross Country,” which was released in the spring.

The purpose of the journey was not only for Gates to clear his head after the 2016 election, but also to have some time for self discovery.

“The dynamics of a lot of elections is to divide people,” Gates said. “I just don’t see that as a sustainable way to move forward. Even if you disagree with people, you have to talk with them. I wanted to have conversations with people with no intention of changing their minds. This was a big part of the journey.”

Along the way, Gates often attracted attention.

He was in running shorts, with a backpack containing all his belongings and a long beard. He stuck out in every possible way.

As he arrived at new towns, he broke out of his shell and talked to the residents.

“These complete strangers were interested in what I was doing,” he said. “It was important for me to communicate with them.”

The film highlights the many obstacles Gates had to overcome.

Of course, there were times fear would try to set in, but his fatigue would keep that at bay.

“When I got into California, it was 10 at night and I was on my way to meet some friends (along the path I was running),” he says. “I saw with my light that there were two sets of eyes in trees on both sides of the trail. I knew they were bear cubs. I tried to sneak down the trail. Before I knew it, I was being charged at by a momma bear. At that point, I was so fatigued, I didn’t have the capacity to react.”

Prior to the screening, Gates will lead a run called “Six Hours of Santa Fe.” It will be held from noon to 6 p.m.

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