Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year.

On this blue moons new decades night.
my hopes yours are good and right.
The days months and years ahead.

Best wishes, health and happiness.

Cheers and good night!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks...

This year has been filled with good people, wonderful sights and experiences. I am grateful for them all. From my home to the top of high mountains I was helped and inspired by countless influences. I would still be walking if I took the time keep record of them all, though I wish I had. For now a heartfelt thanks is what I can give to one and all.
Happy Thanksgiving!

i

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Building a Foundation and Finding Inspirations

With every day comes the challenge to do more with Worldguy. Some days just walking to keep fit is all that seems to happen on the outside.On the inside I think of where I may go next and how I might be of more use to the cause of diabetes in my own little way.

When I am out with the World on the road in my city I am asked my purpose. After over ten years it is interesting to me that there are always new people to tell my tale. Walking across the mid-west then struggling to ascend Pike's Peak for diabetes awareness is impressive. Walking from Kentucky to Pennsylvania two years ago --and the first trip in the last century of 160 miles to promote the ADA's awareness week-- show I am dedicated to the cause that took my mother as well as many friends and family over the years. I could keep keep walking for years encouraging fitness and better diet to control and prevent diabetes, constantly finding new people to share the message with as evidenced by my walking here in Louisville for years. I can walk across the country until I am old, broken down, and more grey. Doing this alone I could be happy to have made some impact.

Or, I can do more by building on that and create a WorldGuy Foundation, take the time necessary to make it a non-profit, and do more than get on a mailing list as a result of the donations we have made. Enter the WorldGuy Foundation. With the help of my family and friends this is what I have begun. The process takes time, but I believe we can do more for diabetes awareness by taking this step.

Now I feel more inspired to do more... to learn how to get sponsorships, to ask for help, to make World Guy more than a man spreading a message by walking on the highway getting his message out with local news coverage or a CNN spot filmed fr0m the air. I can add to that with help and inspiration from others to give to the cause of diabetes in more ways. A world of possibilities.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A walk in the Park

Today it was just a walk in the park. I did break a sweat, unlike the many walks I have taken recently with only the dog (Nice). I get so bored walking without the World in tow. Today I walked for my health, for my own peace of mind. I let the world roll down the big hill in the park and got as close to the long path at it's bottom as I ever have. A border Collie corralled it at the bottom until we walked down to it, the dog was happy to have some work.
Still planning to go for another walk for Diabetes in the spring of next year. Am beginning to get excited about it. North East is looking pretty good unless something else comes up as a better trip.
For now working at home will keep me busy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Driving wind and the trenches

After a hard rain two days ago the sk cleared with a stiff wind that gusted and turned the skies clear and blue. I was waiting yet another day for payment from a customer who I had performed work for weeks ago whose story changes on a daily basis. Their excuses have become my entertainment. Never in all my years has anyone spun such yarns of personal troubles and reasons for being unable to pay. Always assuring me that tomorrow things will come together and I will be the first to be taken care of. "Taken" is the only word I am inclined to believe. To add to the drama they have hired me to work for them when they do get things strait, and always it is tomorrow. So, I have put off work for others. A bit of honesty on their part, or less gullibility on mine would go a long way to help the situation. As I said, the wind was blowing hard. The best use of my day was to blow up the world ball and walk Nice (the dog) against the wind that had turned the skies from gray to blue.

As we walked against the wind, and every step was a labor, I looked back to this summer when we walked beside roadways against the prevailing winds across the mid-west. I remembered days and weeks I spent laboring to get to the next town or mile marker, walking in the trenches and high grass, assuring myself the wind was not holding me back, but pacing me so I may be at a certain place at a certain moment to meet someone or see a sight that I would not have seen had the wind been calm. After having this thought while standing at an intersection, I looked up to see my customer driving by doing their best not to make eye contact. The excuse for this day would have found them on the expressway to file papers with the state. I smiled to myself, thanked the wind for the opportunity and resolved "to go back to the trenches" and take other work. I said this to myself in metaphor but within hours I was talking on the phone to a friend about other things when he offered the possibility of some work where we would fix a water flow problem around one of his customers' pool. Everyone has talents, trenches and flow are one of mine. I should be careful of what I say to myself about trenches...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Stand-bys and story books

I walked across the mid-west and up the second highest peak in the U.S. with my Blackberry hanging from my neck and never misplaced it. I named it my "chest top" because it was how I blogged all the way along the road. I had it wrapped in a zip-lock bag much of the time to protect it from sweat and the elements. Once the thing shorted out from the dripping dew inside our pup-tent, luckily it turned on after a fresh charge. This morning I lost it walking Nice (the dog) with it in my pocket. I have been keeping it there after some peer pressure that it looked funny or cyborg-like. My defense was that it never was lost like so many phones in my past.. Now I am back to the old stand by from before the B-berry. I had on it pictures from the top of the world , which at least are on my face book page, and many phone numbers of people I had met on the walk to Kansas. All lost from inattention to the sound of it dropping out of my pocket as I trotted across the busy street a few hundred yards from my home. I was worried how I looked. Laughable from a guy who rolls the world down state highways.
The story that phone could tell of that journey. The miles, the rain, the thousands of people and sights. The pictures it took .It was even about my neck when my finger was bitten off. From bouncing from my chest as we climbed Pike's Peak, to bouncing finally on the pavement to be picked up by some street person just a few minutes before I returned to find it. A sad story in the end for the poor Blackberry.
My son called me yesterday with news of his adventure. He has befriended a young man and his older brother who work for a circus. They have invited him to come with them and work the circus this winter in the south. A proud fathers story book tale of the son going off to work in the circus in 2009. What are the odds of that happening? I'm curious to see how that tale unfolds.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'm so proud...or Worldguy's WALK IN WISCONSIN

Normally what I did , where I went and for what reason the last several days would be too personal to post. But since I chose to take to world with me I must bare my story on this blog for continuity.

The phrase " I'm so Proud." has rung in my ear for days. My pride is for my son. This tale involves that pride and my unconditional love for my boy. The world went along for the ride.

Last Friday I posted about mending a roof. This has seemingly nothing to do with my son of eighteen years who has taken to be a "traveler" since he came of age. Nor does a six foot inflatable relate to a rotted area on a poorly designed roof, yet that is the start of this tale.

I was tearing a section of rotten roof off the house where I live last Friday when I got a call from an old friend who I have known since my son was an infant. We have worked together, helped each other over the years and seen each others boys grow up. That is when the mantra phrase began. I shared with my old friend my sons path since he turned eighteen and my feelings since my return from the walk for diabetes this summer. While I was gone my son was left with the one rule of no hanging out with friends or " over nighters " at our home. This was to both keep the house free from the sticky fingers of young strangers and give him a sanctuary during my absence. My son stretched that rule and had people in the house all the time and had others come to stay.
"I'm so proud."
I left him with enough supplies to last him over a month that he shared with his guests so after a week the cupboard was bare.
"I'm so proud."
With the income of his part time job he would be comfortable and learn the responsibility of living on his own without the burden of rent. He had wanted to move out when he turned eighteen and my being gone on the walk would be good for him to have a taste of responsible adulthood.
He lost his job.
"I'm so proud."
He sold almost all of my collection of DvDs for food at first, then for money to go on the road with his friends as they pan handle around the country.
"I'm so proud."
Several tools and some extra gear for travel came up missing which he has no notion of how they disappeared .
"I'm so proud."
He broke and lost his glasses twice just before he left town and plans to make a sign a stand by an eyeglass outlet and pan handle a new pair.
"I'm so proud."
My boy was now in Wisconsin sleeping in the streets by choice for the adventure before heading to Washington State to" winter over" with his friend who is in the armed forces and is stationed there.
"I'm so proud."
My friend listened to this and many other reasons of the pride I feel for my only child. We chuckled at the list.
The next mornng I was cleaning the last debris from the decayed area and rebuilding the new wood to set the new rafters for the roof when I recieved a devastating call from the mother of a girl my son had dated until last winter and had some contact with just before he left town. The girls mother informed me her daughter has become hiv positive. I first called his mother who was devasted. I then called one of the group my son was with and told my son what I had heard. He did not believe the news but said he would get a blood test. From his response I could tell he would not act. I struggled with fashioning new rafters for awhile before the news caused me to sit and stare at the sky for hours in thoughts deep. Eventually I came down thirsty and of little good to anyone. No good at all.
Sunday I began with a bit of debris clean up around the side of the house. Still worried I called my son again but he and his traveling buddy had split from his group of four and were on separate sides of Madison Wisconsin. They had argued about the importance of getting a blood test. Have I mentioned how proud I am of my son? I ended the day watching television with the volume loud drifting between sleep and the depression of a parents nightmare playing out in real time.
Monday I was back on the roof making progress after waking at four in the morning to walk Nice. We walked for hours in the dark and when I returned I realized I had unconsciously walked past all the places we had lived during my sons life, including the apartment where we were living when his mother and I were married.Before working I loaded the car with my road gear and put the world in the trunk of the car thinking that if I had to find my son in a collage town I might need a way of attracting some attention. On the roof I was talking to his mother trying to calm her and hope for a call from my son. I could not calm her and the only call I got was from his friends in Madison wanting to know if I had heard from him. I thought I was holding myself together well when I noticed my hand was trembling as I worked. Not a good sign.
By the end f the day Tuesday the roof had a tarp on it, there was no word from my son and I had resolved to drive the five hundred fifty miles to find my son and get him somewhere for a blood test. Wednesday I was on the road. I was most of the way through Illinois when realized I had no idea where in Wisconsin Madison was. I had never looked at a map .
I found Madison by the end of the day and found myself driving around this city of a quarter million people where most of the people I saw were wearing backpacks! I was looking for a needle in a haystack with no idea where to begin. I knew only that my son was downtown. I decided to park and walk to get some sense of the hot spots where I might find street kids hanging about. It was about six pm and the downtown metered parking spots were still full. I saw an open spot and parked.
After I parked I got Nice (the dog) out, put on my hat and shoulder bag determined to find my boy however long it would take. Nice and me walked to the corner that was no more than twenty yards from where we had parked. At the corner I noticed that dank smell off crusty teenager who has not showered. The street was full of young kids, some were students and some looked like they had been out on the street for awhile being tan from dust as much as from yhe sun. At the corner were large concrete flower pots and Nice sniffed at it. I thought he was about to relieve himself when he 'hit" on a scent. If you have a good tracker type dog you can tell when they pick up a scent. He pulled me across the intersection to the opposite corner, turned to the right and when I looked up and saw my son and his friend sitting on a bench. Nice ran up to him and I could see he unerstood why I had made him ride all the way there only stopping once for gas. I could hardly believe my eyes, I had found the needle in the hay stack.
My son was happy to see me and Nice. He asked what I was doing there. Was I back on the road on another walk for diabetes? I lied and told him I missed him and wanted to hang out with my boy...My pride overflowed.
After awhile my son asked if I could get a hotel room so he could shower and check his body that was covered with poison ivy. He had spent a few days in some woods with some road kids and got infected after wrestling in the weeds. I got a room and he took a long shower before falling quickly to sleep. In the morning we had a good breakfast and I found a place t get him a blood test.
At the clinic I worried while he was in the back. I prepared for the worst. They had said the test took ten minutes, I waited almost an hour. Finally he came out with a smile,. They had tested him three times and the results were negative. Words can not express my relief.
We then drove back into the city so he could find his friend. I stopped about a mile from the capitol and inflated the world. To drive that distance without making a positive out of it seemed just wrong. After a couple blocks I told my son I would catch up with him later. I then walked around the state capitol and then to the lake were I sat relieved at the news while enjoying the scenery. I worked my way back to State street where the action was. The world fit right in at this disneyland for street kids, college students, home bums, and locals who shop and dine at this strip of shops and restaurants. I found my son with a group of crusty boys. They were gathering change for beer while I talked with students and locals about why I was there. i was honest and told everyone of what I had done this summer and why I was there. I would then point out my son and chant " I'm so proud."
My goal met, I left my boy to his. To try and get him to come back with me was a waste of time and I had no desire to stay and "hang out" so we hugged and said good bye. As I rolled up the street to find a good place to eat a black unmarked police car rolled alongside and the commander inside asked what in the world I was doing. I quickly told of my journies this year and told her of why I was there, she nodded in approval that I had come so far to make sure my "traveler" was healthy. I told her where I had parked and she told me to be careful of the buses and bike riders and to enjoy my dinner. Madison is a good place . After my meal I walked and talked my way to the car, pulled the plug and put the world in the trunk.
On the ride home I listened to Jackson Browne, The Pretender. One song hit home, Your Bright Baby Blues.
I made the trip to Wisconsin an event. Worldguy has chalked up another state. That makes ten states we have walked in. Forty to go.
Now I am back to the long neglected roof at home.
I am so proud...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday morning quiet time.

Only the dogs, birds, and chickens up the alley are vocal this morning. I am waiting for the neighbours to do the same. Their sleepy Sunday is about to get loud.

I have torn off a section of my roof, long ago rotten. No amount of patching has kept the rains from seeping in. In years past someone built a roof over the almost flat section. So many layers of patch and tar can not keep the water from coming through. An hour after a storm, the water comes dripping. Since I came to live here I have saved wood for this project. A new design, a new look for this old neglected house. Forty years is long enough, and I have uncovered a monster of damp rotten wood.

Like the mountain in Colorado, what was I thinking? Too much thinking, it's time for action.

This has nothing to do with diabetes. Neglecting a house for years is no comparison to a body.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Something Changed

Something has changed about me after walking this spring and summer. There is an obvious and permanent difference in that I had my fingertip removed in an instant attempting to break up a dog fight. Other things, not as evident at first glance, are becoming clear to me as I get more settled back in my life a home. Working on my jobs has been stress free. I notice that I am less excitable and at ease with the everyday situations that before may have tested my patience. I can sleep more than when I was on the road and there is no need to preen daily for ticks and crawly things. The 500 mile walk this summer achieved, like a sheet in a breeze, I have an empty space where enthusiasm and purpose have reigned for two years. I have begun preparing the foundation for the future walks. That direction of purpose I have held so long is now replaced with laying the groundwork to success for World Guy's next endeavour. I have to step up and do better, grow up, reinvent myself, and walk out of the comfortable box of simply walking and letting things happen along the way. Proper preparation and promotion should make the next goal even more successful. That is more scary than a mountain, thunderstorm, or oncoming traffic.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Home?

Three weeks ago I was heading back from Colorado. Three months before that I began our little walk from Louisville, KY to Kansas City. As I made my way through the towns and cities I reflected on what we had done. On the folks we met and the places we stopped. I was in awe at the expanses we walked. Dumb struck would be good descriptive for how I felt.

I stopped at a few new friends I had met as I went back home. Many more I wanted to visit but my home was calling and bills were awaiting my attention. The ones I did see made me feel especially welcome.

Since I have been back I have busied myself with work and caught up on sleep. I have had trouble with knowing what to write next on this blog. Whether to give a detailed account of my return trip, To suggest in a polite manner that the 2300 plus people who have joined the cause may give to it also. Or to tell of my mixed feelings about being home again. I have felt like a fish still in the plastic bag getting acclimated to the water before being released.

I needed to write something to get past this quiet stage, this post travelling syndrome doldrums. This post will begin my breaking out of this silent time after the little adventure of '09.
Thanks for the help and encouragement from my many friends. Our GPS...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Suggestion Box

Before I loose you all to everyday life or clutter this blog with mine as I save and plan our next walk. I would like some ideas about what to do next. Leave your thoughts as a comment.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Push to the summit , and You good people.

I awoke to the sunlight colouring the eastern sky. I was the first one in the A-frame to rise. The last to start the final three miles to the top. I had to pump some air into the World. Then, up we went.

Altitude and fatigue still were a problem. Now the rocky mountain loomed over my little speck of a world. When the trail, with bushes and tree trunks, gave way to alpine flowers and grass among the stones and boulders, I could see the small figures of the runners and hikers far off above. The thoughts from the previous days magnified. How will I get there?

A runner offered help. He was one of those who they called "the one, two, three runners". These athletes run to the summit then back to the three mile mark, up again to the summit and down to the two mile mark, up again to the summit, then back to the one mile sign and back to the top again. To say I was out-classed is an understatement. This man pushed with ease as I heaved and scrambled with the pack on my back and Nice (the dog) in tow. He helped bring the World higher and higher, patiently allowing me to stop and catch a breath. At one point when I was falling over from the leash getting tangled on my back pack, I saw the Spaniard smiling and encouraging me as he ran down past us. Finally the runner said he would help later and ran on. I was spent. I had not made it to the sign indicating two miles to the summit. I rolled upward.

A group of young men from Nebraska who were cross-country runners volunteered their help and off I went again. They were much slower than the man before, and I was able to last longer between breaks. One of the young men was like a mountain goat and held the leash as he ran along the boulders on the high side of the trail. I was amazed and grateful for the help. When others would pass, I, being the heaviest and most experienced at handling the World, would often hold the World over the edge of the trail. My young friends would answer the question of "why" which most everyone asked as they passed. I could hardly talk at that point. I was more than twice these young mens' age and carrying a pack on my back. One of them was the designated "dog walker" while the others switched-off pushing next to me where space allowed. At one point, Mr, 1-2-3 came back to help but was much too fast for even the boys, and he soon went on training like a gazelle, up the mountain. I was sometimes left holding both the leash and pushing on my own impressing myself at my ability to forge ahead with five boys bounding around me. They did let me rest often. I was out-classed by these young athletes as well. They helped me for a long while until one of the young men's parents impatiently called from the summit to "get up here!". I took a break longer than a minute then.

I looked down at the terrain they had helped climb and was grateful beyond words. Without all the help I had to the summit I would be camping on the mountain-side at thirteen thousand feet that night. We were close enough to see the overlook structure and the passing of the "cog railroad".

The last part of the climb was the "16 Golden Steps", the steepest and most narrow "switch backs" of the climb. My legs were giving out, my balance was failing, the weight of the pack made climbing the steep rocks difficult at best. The turns were so sharp, as were the rocks and boulders--not having been rolled and polished by millennium of erosion--tore holes in the fabric of the World while I, alone, had no choice but to drag it up at times. I was overwhelmed. The altitude and fatigue from the help had drained me. I was about to give in to the thought of deflating the World and honouring my Uncles 82nd birthday with a pile of canvas at the summit. Then a man came and offered to help the rest of the way and a woman took Nice (the dog) by the leash. Not long after, she offered to carry my pack; I was unable to manage the steep rocks and swing the World around the ledge without knocking myself over on the rocks. I fell several times. The trail was too narrow for such acrobatics and a pack sticking out behind me.

The man and I worked together swinging the World around boulders and up the "switch backs", holding it over the side as others still had to pass. He stayed with me as I lost my balance and my will up the "Golden steps" and then we were in sight of the top.

A few more jagged "switch backs" and we made the summit. I stopped several times and gratefully shook his hand. When we got to the top the crowd cheered and applauded. I let them know I could not have done this without help from good and friendly people like these two who helped me get to the top.

People came to ask me why and I quickly was speechless, the reality of what Nice and me had done over the last 90 days and the altitude made me a bit of a mess. I could only lower my head, raise my hand and cry for a moment while I struggled to get my composure.

I was able to get across that I had walked over 500 miles in memory of my Mother and had gotten to the summit there in honour of my Uncles 82nd birthday. A symbolic gesture to his surviving so long with diabetes.

Emotion still sweeps over me, and it is nearly seven days-to the hour since that moment.
Tomorrow is my Uncle's birthday, and I wish him well.

I hope I have done some good.

Friday, August 7, 2009

From Barr camp I rolled on. I was able to make progress without using the leash and the willow walking stick attached to the World over the broad path for awhile. Not much later I was back to holding the World by a string with one arm, and getting the world past rocks and trees, keeping it from rolling off the path with the other.

My goal the second day was to get to The "A" frame, the shelter at timber line that is three miles from the summit. The trail became ever-steeper and narrow. Throughout the day I had to let pressure out of the World as it got warm and expanded to be able to maneuver between tight places. A balance between too hard and too soft had to be maintained. Too hard, and my arms ached from the impact against the boulders and trees. Just right, and the World would roll over the obstacles like a motor-cross tire, and my shoulder could absorb the constant redirection without jarring as much.

Not knowing what lay ahead seemed to be still a good thing. Often, as I would stop and catch my breath and look at the beauty around me, I would see someone who had passed me and now up above me. Then question, "How the World would get there?" The answer was, I would get it there. The "switch backs" where hidden from below and I'd never know where they would turn back up the mountain. At those corners is where I could sometimes rest while still allowing the joggers, walkers, and hikers a way past. There were other places I stopped where I could lean the World against two trees and only have to hold the string in case a wind blew. Other times when I was gasping for air, the World would be balanced against a tree on one side and a large boulder on the other. If a hiker bumped it too hard as they passed, my rest was over and I would have to resume the climbing of obstacles, none the same as the last.

On occasion, again, I would get a helpful push or words of encouragement. Telling my purpose was hard amid my constant labored breath. A man passed at mid-day with a slight Spanish accent who helped by encouraging me when I was overwhelmed inside by the mountain. All these runners were lapping me daily. Everyone was passing and I was plodding over boulders that they easily weaved through. Any stone sticking up more than a few inches required more than a simple push. As with this Spaniard (who had a striking resemblance to Adam Sandler), when I was in need; someone was there with an uplifting comment or a simple push over a boulder before they passed.

Was I in this for the recognition of getting to the top of Pike's Peak alone? No. Without all the help we have gotten along this walk across three states, Good people giving of themselves, I don't know that we could have gotten this far. I had struggled with my pride at times during the past three months. Wanting to walk over bridges or walk through the night in rain storms. Instead of seeing the sign of a flat bed truck stopped on the middle of the bridge, or six women at the edge of an all-night rain who were offering dinner and help to safety. Our relatives and friends who live with diabetes may need some little push or encouragement, even active help. Selfish pride would have gone against a part of the spirit of my walks and there was no question this mountain was the hardest thing I had ever done. My Uncle was getting my recognition for decades of staying alive with diabetes. I was doing this for those who climb that "Mountain". None of us can climb life's mountains alone.

As I approached the timber line, the path became close and, just before I got to the A-frame shelter, I had to let so much air out of the World in order to squeeze through that I could see over the top of it. The world almost made a flopping noise as it rolled. I got to the sign that overlooked the A-frame and I tied the World to it. I took of my pack and lay in the gypsum gravel. I rocked back and forth like a bear to smooth down the protruding pebbles and massaged my aching spine before finally relaxing for the first time since almost five that morning.

Some Boy Scouts and their leader were sitting on the rocks there at the sign also, and the leader was concerned at my apparent exhaustion. He asked if I was all right. I lied and said "Yes." After they left, I made my way to the A-frame. I could see the world from down in the cradle of the mountain gully where the timber line camp was, and I was confident no one would roll-off with the world. After looping the dog cable to the foundation of the A-frame so Nice (the hound dog) wouldn't chase the colony of chipmonks chirping and calling, I watched from the large Boulders that were rounded from advancing down the mountain over the years. This was avalanche country and here the evidence was clear. Putting on my rain slicker over my sweat-wet shirt and donning my winter cap, we lay on top of the nap-sack I had recieved from a person the night before. Cradling an ear in my boot hole (my boot was the perfect pillow) I was quickly asleep.

Soon other hikers arrived for the night. Three people came with two tents, a large and a small dog, and all the comforts of outdoor living. Then two more who came and made a fire for their steaks which they shared with Nice (the dog) and me. We had a good evening talking and getting to know one another. One was a seasoned outdoors-man, the other had made the peak a goal because he had turned back as a thirteen year old at timber line because of altitude sickness. Now he knew how to control it. His review of the symptoms and regulation of breath were very helpful for my final three miles. The other shared the confidence of experience. As we bedded-down, three more men came and piled in the A-frame. Nice had a room full of warm breath to protect and absorb.

Before the last three men came, the outdoors-man shared that he had wanted to raft down rivers in an effort to raise awareness for the disease his brother has, muscular dystrophy, and wanted to know how I do it. I quickly joked and said, "You grab a hold of the string, keep it taught with one hand, and use the other to spin it, like a wheel and an axle." I told him of the unconventional way I have gone about this quest with much success. I am always learning and always am open to help. This is just a mountain, and in no way the last thing I do to help the cause of diabetes. We all can do something for what we have passion, whether the gesture is big or little. Like Miley Cyress sings, "It's the climb". Our second day on the mountain was ended.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Don't give up, or, "How I topped-off my summer vacation..."

I had a friend who told me of a mathematics course she had in college. She was late to class, and when she arrived the professor was lecturing on theory. On the board were two equations. She wrote them down and that night she was able to solve one, but the other seemed impossible despite hours of ciphering. The next day she got to class early and while handing the professor the assignment, told him she was only able to solve one equation and wanted to know the formula for the other. The professor told her both equations were examples without solution. He then checked her work and found she had, in fact, correctly solved the impossible. No one told her so she was able to solve it. Years later I heard the same story in a seminar being used to point out every problem has a solution, even what seems impossible to most.

I, over the past three days have attempted to tell the story of my walk up the hiking trail of Pike's Peak, the Barr Trail. My blackberry has begun to freeze-up and lose most postings except for the shortest of script. At a friend's home I stayed with, I was stopped by a problem with the computer. Every word I would write would turn to Arabic when I pressed the space key. I lost yet another post earlier today when my hostess wanted to play me a song and did not "save as draft", and hours of writing was lost. Each time the content has been different, down to the titles. I will attempt to get my story out and get it on line. I am just as curious as you may be to see what I have to say: the above story and title were not in any of my previous attempts.

Last week when I wanted to walk up the road to Pike's Peak the ranger told me I couldn't as I would impede traffic. He said "they" may let me walk the trail on the East face. I had just finished walking over five-hundred and fifty miles for diabetes in honor of my Mother and Uncle and was determined to celebrate my Uncle's birthday by reaching the top of the peak; a symbolic gesture to his achievement of managing diabetes for decades, and being there for his relations, his children, and grandchildren. Until "they" told me otherwise, I was going to get there (to the summit). Call it stubborn pride, love, dedication, or being late for class and not hearing the professor say it could not be done. I was going to get the World to the top.

Friday morning at seven I put on my backpack, unleashed the World from the back of the van, leashed Nice (the dog), and hit the first steps up the trail. I was just in front of a large group of soldiers who were at first willing to help get the world to the top but their mission did not allow the time needed to get over this mountain. After a few yards they had to pass. I would lift the World on the pole railings or the rocks and shrubs as they passed in small groups. There were also many runners training for this month's summit run and marathon who had to pass. Hikers, families, and dogs passing also. All of whom had their mission: to get to the top of the mountain. And I had to get the six-foot-wide World out of the five-and-a-half foot path with post rails on one side and rocks and shrubs on the other, out of the way for every one. This meant rolling it up the rocks or atop the rail sometimes using my head as anchor to allow them by.

No part of my task was easy. The world was twice its usual weight from the rain the night before making it very heavy. I was keeping Nice (the dog) close while dogs and their owners passed still holding the World up. Many of the runners were irritated at the obstacle on their path. The bolts on the rails gouged paint from the canvas surface of the World; as did many rock and boulders. The first three miles had railings and the World was always too wide, causing me to roll up on the top rail without losing it over the side, or to squeeze it by each set of post bolts every eight feet. The altitude kept me out of breath as many who passed asked "Why?", "What?", and "Where?"... all asking as I teetered on the edge of the rail or while I was holding the world against a bolder or tree. I could hardly breath or answer having taken less than two days to get used to the altitude.

Nothing I had done in life had been this hard. I was having doubts about getting to the summit. The World was too wide for the path, and so many people were going by. I was exhausted. I asked a man going by how far 'till the railings ended, and said I was thinking of just deflating the World and carrying it up on my back, after he had told me these railed turns went on for three miles. I'm not sure what he said to encourage me, but it was enough to calm my oxygen deprived mind and I resolved to round the third turn...

Soon I got into a steady pace of pushing and then stopping to get air, the effort with the pack, dog, and maneuvering the World through the trees, rocks, and rails had me breathing as if I were running a race. Once when a woman pushing twins in a baby carriage could pass me, the concentration was extreme, and I rolled the World on the top rails past narrow boulders and tree trunks. One false move and it would tip off the side. Occasionally a passer-by would help me in an especially hard situation. Then they would disappear up the mountain, leaving me with my ever more scarred World, my dog, and my doubt. Lack of air and constant heaving from exertion was second to the task of maneuvering the next boulder.

I was given misinformation by an old German the day before who had said he had made the ascent 600 times. He told me it was nine miles and it was more like twelve. People were running to the top and back in a few hours and hiking with packs in eight to ten hours. I had enough food, water, and dog food for a day and a half. The man had told me the Barr campsite at the half-way point had lodging and supplies. He said they had meals also. With the hard labor of moving the World up the mountain, I took to asking some hikers on the decent if they had any spare water. Though I was trying to conserve I needed more than I had brought and would have run dry by the end of the first day. At five o'clock I called my brother after having to let some air out of the World in order to force it through a group of boulders that formed a tunnel that I could not get through (A man had tried to help and just got it wedged-the World needs TLC) I asked my brother "What was I thinking?" He said "As long as you're having fun." I lied and said yes. I had many funny moments and conversations up the mountain, few fun moments. As the first day came to a close I met three young men who had passed with their husky earlier in the day. They had been bumped from their reservations at Barr camp and had decided to come back down before dark. As they walked away I asked if one of them might sell me one of their bed rolls, it was getting cold and the blanket I had would be enough, but I thought it better to be safe rather than dead. One was willing, and they also gave me their bag of dog food as well as an orange and a couple food bars. It was getting dark and thunder brought a light rain. I was a mile and a half from Barr camp with no hope of shelter when I got there. The young men's information led me to think the camp was not the bounty of help the old German had led me to think.

I camped under a pine tree and covered myself from the rain with the small 4' x 7' tarp. We quickly fell asleep. We were first awakened by two men just as it was approaching full darkness who commented I looked comfortable under my plastic and pine bed. I was. Later I was startled awake by Nice (the dog) bolting to the path into four men with head lights who were walking at night up the mountain. He had pulled from the loop of the leash out of my sleeping hand. And, having scared them thoroughly, was wagging his tail with pride and leaning against them as we talked. They also commented on my comfortable sleeping arrangement. The next wake-up call was a nice woman who was going up alone for a summit sunrise. She had seen only the glowing green eyes of Nice the dog (who apparently also looks like a mountain lion in the dark.) She had her knife drawn, but as I woke up again, she was getting the proud wag from Nice and was soon the leaning post of my attention-deprived companion. The nice woman offered to help get the World further up the mountain in the dark with the use of her head light just as a wind and rain became stronger. I thought about it, and even got to my feet, but the wind and my wobbling legs fatigued from the day sent me back under my cover. A little after four I woke finally to the darkness and began to gather my things when Nice began to growl at a light coming down the path. It was the nice woman from earlier who had been soaked from the rain and had napped awhile in the outhouse at Barr camp before heading back down. She said she would try again in a couple weeks, more rested and prepared for the ascent. She shown her light as I pumped some air into the World and got my pack loaded up, another example of our getting help just when we need it. Since beginning this journey from Kentucky months ago we have had so much help for which I can't thank people enough.

I made the mile and a half to Barr camp around seven, the air ever thinner in the darkness before dawn. My exhaustion caused me to stop several times to rest. Once I was almost falling asleep when Nice kept nudging me. He usually is content to lay there when I stop. At his urging I plodded up the dark path. A man passing offered to help at one point just as it became light. He helped for a few minutes before wishing me luck, and, like several good people on the climb, disappeared up the mountain trail. When I got to Barr camp I had coffee and leftover pancakes and garlic biscuits, rented a water filter, and filled my bottles from the stream. The folks were nice to me and I heard of the four men who were sent away in the night. Their lights shinning as they asked to come in and get warm. The woman who ran Barr camp told them to put on more clothes and move along. Wearing shorts in the alpine darkness pleading for help got them no quarter from that well seasoned hostess. I politely thanked her for the pancakes and the filter and made my way up the second half of Pike's Peak. Six miles to go.

Here I will stop until I get to another place to write and I hope to complete the telling of the climb. I have not seen my home in months and am not half the way back. Again I ask for your patience.

Until then, be well.

The climb

I just lost three hours of writing in one stoke. Please have patience...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Summit update

I made it to the top after three days and it was the hardest thing I have ever done.
After some rest and when I can write from a computer and not this Blackberry I will tell the tale. I lost this Quik update once already.

Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The drive, the setback, the path, the rain. Or where fools rush in.

Yesterday after recreating the last post of our walk to Kansas (which had been lost to the either) net I was ready to go on to the next part of the journey, to walk to the summit of Pike's peak. To do this we had to get there. More miles than we had walked in two months, and we drove it in a day! We drove into the night and as Nice (the dog) slept in the drivers seat of the van I bundled up tightly next to the half deflated World I had crammed in the back. It was a cool sleep and the time change helped little when I arose to a fog filled morning there at the scenic pull off over looking NORAD and the drone of express traffic.
I changed into some heavier pants and walked Nice along the barbed wire fence with the military warning signs before we drove the last mile to Colorado Springs. The springs had hail storms which damaged cars the day before and the ground was soaked from all the rain as we stopped at The Garden of the Gods Park. There I worked the World out of the van and took some Face book pictures with the pretty scenery before going to the entrance of Pikes peak with the inflated World then strapped to the rear of the van. It was there at the gate my plans to walk the road to the summit were dashed by the ranger who told me I could not walk the road because I would impede traffic. I could rent the road for a small fee of forty thousand dollars. I am a few pennies short...
My only option is now to roll up the walking trail on the other side of the mountain which has a shop and lodging at its half way point should I need it. There is the long route which can be walked in nine hours or the "incline", a steeper way that shaves some distance but is too steep and has giant steps at one point. I arrived there at noon which would be two o'clock my time. (My phone has never changed time zones so I am still living EST) and when I hastily made ready and was about to begin the climb thunder and rain came from the mountain which I still could not see for the fog. I strapped the World to the van and waited watching hikers with little more than water bags coming and returning soaked from rain above the fog line on the mountain. I asked a young man if he thought I could make the climb if I left then or should wait till morning. He said "yes". Then I added I was going to take the World along, his answer hedged. I said to myself "heads I will go today, tails I will wait till Friday morning." I reached in my pocket for a penny which slipped past my newly lost finger tip and fell to the ground, tails.
(For an explanation of the finger tip scroll down and find my postings for May 13th) I there decided to start fresh,washed,and rested in the morning. I drove down to a motel and got a room. The third time this trip I have done so. As I walked from the office of the Motel with key in hand a short ray of sunshine broke the grey cloud cover. As I have been writing this the thunder and rain have come and gone again. And I can see an outline of the mountain here and there. Still a fresh start seems wise. Fully charged batteries on the phone and another day of rest will help also. The drive here to Colorado was almost more taxing than walking against the wind all day.
I will start in the morning up the narrow path to the summit with the World and the dog on a string. From watching the hikers I may be the only dog owner with my dog on leash even though the rules state otherwise.
Have a nice day and get some exercise.
P.s.I may not post till I am back down the mountain.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The lost post...

Nice (the dog) and me spent Tuesday resting with friends, wrote a heartfelt post about Monday. Between exhausted sleep where I had vivid dreams filled with adventure and people I have met along the road. Then I lost the post because this Blackberry gets clogged up and seized up when I pressed the "publish post" button. Now I will do it again...
Monday we were at our starting point and were visited by two women and their little dog named Dixie who had fun with Nice as we talked and took pictures. As they drove off they were singing a Worldguy song they made up as they went. I was quite flattered. We began from the parking lot of the Zion church just East of the Martin Luther King Jr. Park where I stopped to take some pictures at the pavilion. Hundreds of geese had been staying there and were gathering in gaggles for flight. Every few minutes a group would leave overhead. I wondered who was the goose air traffic controller because it was a very orderly pattern. I took a great picture as the flew above our little World but my file system was full. Lost to my memories.
We then rolled on through a historic district before coming to some large sculptures on the grounds of the museum where I, like a good tourist, posed pictures and sent them to face book. I saw later a sign pointing towards H&R Block Art space and thinking it too may be an outside space went in search of it. Finally I asked a man who was leaving a corner store where ut was. He said he had lived in the neighborhood for years and knew it was close but had not seen it. He held the World against the wind as I inquired inside the store who pointed across the street to a "block" structure hidden in plain sight from the man outside for years. He and I walked on laughing about the grandiose Art space.
As we went further. The heat of the day super heated the inner city like a croc-pot. We had to stop several times and I put on the paw protectors for Nice who was not liking the endless pavement. (nor was I)
We rolled on closer to downtown and walked to the WW1 war memorial across from Union Station. The big cities are fun to walk through because people are too busy to notice a man, a dog, and a six foot inflatable World rolling by. All day we talked to very few people. Only those who had heard of us in the media seemed interested. I am aware of this and had no expectations of the warm welcome of smaller communities like Sedalia Missouri, or Wayne County Illinois. I was content taking a few picture at the fountain in front of Union Station being invisible to most as they passed, involved in the hustle and bustle of their day.
As I was about to move along from the fountain and on toward Kansas a man came up with a bag of water , an apple, a banana, and a treat for Nice(the dog). He was many years younger than I and he thanked me for what I was doing. He also gave me a donation as he again thanked me for helping raise awareness for diabetes. As I shook his hand he told me his Mother had. had diabetes. Now I can't say whether it was the heat, my exhaustion from walking without a full days rest since St.Louis or (as my host jokingly said) "a Jesus moment" but when we clasped hands and looked at one another I was overwhelmed with emotion. I could see in him the same pain of loss I have known since loosing our Mother as a young man. We shook each others hand and without another word, just a strained smile, we turned away. I was a train wreck outside Union Station. Picking up the pieces I walked on.
Later I came to the world headquarters of H&R Block for. Whom my sister "up North" has worked for decades. She had e-mailed her associates that I. Had walked a great distance for diabetes and would be stopping by. I did , and I talked to many as they left hurriedly from work asking if they had gotten the e-mail. Some had actually read it and some shared stories of loved ones who were living and managing their diabetes. I was encouraged. I hope somehow to encourage a large organization to contribute to research and help find help for this epidemic disease. I am committed to my little walks for diabetes and know the generous help I get from good people along the path is a small contribution compared to what corporations can give. I will learn someday to climb that mountain, cross that bridge, walk that road.
For now I will walk along the roads of our good land and do what I can to encourage exercise and a healthy lifestyle to prevent and manage diabetes.
We then walked along to the last bridge we needed to cross into Kansas (my goal for this part of our journey) The bridge was under construction and one side was free for us to walk when my son called as I was on the middle of the span. We talked and said our "I love you's" . Then a man came up and sat with us for a time, we talked of the walk and of other things... When he left I was searching for something in my bag and when I looked up the bridge he was gone. I am sure he must have ran because it seemed just a few moments from when I looked in the bag to when I looked for him on the bridge. Again, the heat.
Then my support team for the day came and we walked to Kansas where a good man watched over the World and Nice(the dog) while another took me to get the van.I began this little walk having faith things would work out well. Times like those, help from good souls along the way, are a daily example of this.
We are going to drive soon to Colorado and in honor of my Uncle and everyone else who work to keep diabetes under control I will roll up Pike's Peak, the highest "14" in the contiguous U.S.A , to complete this little contribution to the cause of Diabetes
I will keep posting and will again remember to. Reboot this Blackberry before each post so I don't loose another post.
Walking with love , erik

KC to KCK , the bridge and the mountain left to climb

Today we rested at the home of our hosts who have offered to have us stay for a few days to recuperate before the next leg of our journey. I want to thank them now before I go on with my little posting.

I spent the day sleeping and writing a post that at the days-end I finally completed. I asked my hostess to read it before I posted which she did and cried. It made me cry, and I wrote it. Then I lost it when my p.o.s. Blackberry locked-up, showing an error that was unreconciled. I have been beside myself for three hours hoping it would come to it's senses. It did not, so I am left to tone it down and write again about my last day in Kansas City, Missouri, my walk into Kansas, and the people I met during the day. Again. Before I do I am going to post this and take a nap.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Friends and a coffee cup

All along this little walk we have met good people of all ages and color. Seniors, soldiers, children, and couples. This morning I reached in the cabinet for a random coffee cup, the writing on it said "In life's cookie, friends are the chocolate chips." I have been honoured to meet many as we pass through, and add that, in addition to chocolate chips, my cookies have had nuts and raisins too!

I have savoured the flavours.

Thanks to all whose random acts of kindness have sheltered us. This very help makes the World a better place.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

resetting the GPS and our first steps into KC

My last posting I said I was going to get off SR-50 and take another route to KC. But, my new found friends came to assist me and I rebooted the GPS, dumped the course change, got back on 50, and soon found myself at the sign, "Kansas City city limits". I took a picture and was about to cross into my goal (though it is just a spur of the large metro area and in no way am I really "in" KC's heart), when several cars pulled up and I was ten minutes before taking the first steps into the city limits. Two and a half miles later, and now the next morning, I am in Raytown and have many miles before I get down town. I probably may not get there by evening. I spent the morning at the van cleaning out some debris from the long trip that I have accumulated and we are about to walk in the sunny day closer to the goal.

I, of course, have mixed feelings about my achievement. It is always good to do what you plan. It is the journey and not the destination as the saying goes. When working on something important I will not be finished and simply go back to my simple life at home in Kentucky. I have many Mountains to climb to help in this cause of diabetes awareness.

I would like your help.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Inspiration and our GPS

Yesterday as the day was coming to dusk, as I was talking with a couple by the side of the road who had brought Nice (the dog) a bowl of ice water, a SUV pulled up with an inspired line on each side: "make the change you want to see in your World" was the essence. I posted the pictures of the inspiring words on my FaceBook album from "july 23/09 I lost a day somewhere" where you can see for yourself the exact wording. I had phone numbers of three beautiful ladies who had offered help and support for the evening but took the help of the nice couple who were there at the moment. We have been blessed with so much support and encouragement, I thank you all!

We are getting through Lee's summit and SR50 is getting congested and the shoulder is running out so I will be staying parallel as far as I can and rely on the GPS (good people system) for my route to KC, MO and KC, KS.

I have only been walking one mile this morning, and have met many good people who have relatives lost to diabetes. So, I again urge you to get out and walk for their sake (your loved ones.) Have a great day.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Under the shade of the World

It's hot and late in the day so Nice (the dog) is sleeping comfortably under the shade the World provides while I sit on a rock ledge at the top of the on-ramp from Lone Summit (sr7) under the shade of my dead fathers weathered hat. I have worn this hat both on this walk and while I walked to Pittsburgh, PA from Louisville KY in 2007. All that distance and I just found a long gray hair of dad. I know it must be his as I shave my head and have since before his death. Thanks for coming along Dad!

When it gets above 85 degrees we must shade during the heat of the day (dog rules apply). Today I have begun wrapping his paws. Now that he is grown and can feel the difference he is keeping them on. When he was a puppy he would have nothing to do with paw protection.

It is very windy. VERY windy. And progress has been slow today. I hope we can make it the six or seven miles to the next town. We shall see. As for now many people have stopped her by the road to ask or thank or interview since we began this mid day break. The wind is only getting stronger now.

A woman and her husband just left us. She was told by her doctor she needed to walk to help her manage her diabetes. Her husband had been asking her to walk also. After talking to me she committed to her husband and me she would. She said she reads this page each night. So... Keep your word! I think your husband would love growing old with such a sweet woman as yourself.

Okay, I have nothing else to say for now.

Walking for you, Erik.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Epidemic or Law of Attraction

I have been walking for over five hundred miles with my dog (Nice-the dog) and everyday I meet diabetics and others who either have or have lost friends and family with the disease, young and old, big and small. I would hope this is because of the law of attraction, but I know it is not so.

This disease is one of our silent epidemics and we need to do what can to get control. I am walking in memory of my mother who died from complications brought on by diabetes at 55. She was a state representative who did much for her district and state helping others, yet she was too busy for herself and paid the price. Hher brother, who is 82 now, has had diabetes since his forties, and is still around to know his grandchildren. I tell this story everyday, and it does not get old. For if I can influence someone to take charge and be around for the family who loves them, these months I spend on this journey will be well spent.

I am sitting by the road while Nice (the dog) sleeps under the shade of my little six-foot world. I have pushed into the wind all day and my progress has been slow. They people I meet against the wind make up for the labour. Had I had calm air, I would not have met the soccer team and the mother wearing an insulin pump. It must be the law of attraction. Surely this disease can't effect all walks of life so deeply.

Rest is important!

I saw a newscast that told of healthy teens who were deprived of sleep for weeks that exhibited signs of early stage diabetes. After making my obligatory appearance at the bar where I have had to rest for the night as there is no parking lot within miles, still I have been nowhere where someone is without a story of a loved one who suffered from diabetes.
I must sleep...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A baker's dozen, or you can lead a dog to water but you can't make him walk...

We have had a good day in the sun. Nice (the dog) has stuck with it like a champion but after a little over twelve miles, he is ready for sleep.

One hour later...

Our lovely host from yesterday has come with the van just in time for darkness and we have the world strapped to the back. Just now we were invited for a cocktail across the road from where Nice (the dog) had lain down. Like the title of this post says- you can lead a dog to water but you can't make him walk. I did try, but I will not force him when he is so faithful a companion. This journey has worked as it should and I am sure this is no exception.

Thanks to all the people who have helped me the past few days.

The long road continues thru Warrensburg and dining with Giants

As I walked along 50 yesterday I cam upon construction of a by pass which I walked thru. I rolled thru the deep trench and felt like a kid in a mud hole! Glorious! When I rolled up the other side and asked the track how operator to put the world in the bucket for a face book album picture made the mud was worth it. I then made my way to town and found a recreational vehicle store where they let me wash off the world (if it were that easy in life)and my shoes. The owner had lost his mom to diabetes and had rode the ADA ride for life so he was glad to help.
I walked on and found myself walking up the ramp to sr13, at the top of the ramp I met my support for the night who helped get the van and offered a place for the night. They were gracious and. Fed me a large meal. Being giants themselves (over 6' 5") they ate accordingly, I felt right at home and from Nice ( the dogs) cooing he was happy too..
Today is sunny and I am having lunch. Supplied by some playful hosts and will hopefully make some good progress towards Kansas with the sun and breeze in my face. Walk for health!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Out of Sedalia and our "SECRET" rainy flight to Nob Noster

Monday was a relaxed day where Nice (the dog) was able to get some rest & I had a good lunch at my favorite type of restaurant before our late start. The people along the road were as good as anyone along our journey, and we covered a great distance before the rain. Despite our late start and the plentiful stops for talking, picture taking, and doggy admiration, I was pleased with our progress.

During the day I had many experiences of joy and some of sadness (Both go hand in hand in life.) At four forty-five in the morning when I went to the van outside the care facility where the director had let us stay in the guest room. I gathered up some clothes to wash and, coming back in, a woman had her door open. She happily asked what the World was doing right outside the window. Later, as I passed the ladies having breakfast she was glad to let them all know of our adventure (breaking up the monotony of everyday life.) She beamed with a now tooth-filled smile.

I had come through after a seven o'clock appointment at the local radio station where I was able to spread my message of health through fitness and urge people to be well for their grand childrens' sake. The DJ had left his card with a clerk at the filling station Sunday when I had left the world in their care while I got a ride to shuffle the van ahead. (Good people are everywhere.)

After the laundry, a second shower, a shave, and a bonus nap, I readied for the day. Nice got some love from the director who I thanked just in time for the ladies to take us to the Chinese restaurant for lunch. We had great conversation and I received two fortune cookies! This first said I would receive a large inheritance. I believe I already have in my parents care for my fellow man. The second was without a slip of paper which I always take as a good omen for the day.

When we finally began our days walk we instantly met a family who had looked for us hoping to get a picture. They had looked up the web site and wanted a memory for their family album.

The afternoon was filled with well wishers both happy and sad with relatives who suffered from diabetes. (Their eyes tell so much.) Others included a smiling doctor who left his card clipped to a donation who grasped my hand firmly in thanks but said little. Many who have diabetes and others who came and had soulful conversation.

I received a call from my son to tell me he was leaving today to ultimately live with his best friend in Washington State. A plan he has held for years, I cannot discourage him given my bent for adventure. I am sad nonetheless, my son leaving the nest. Moments later as I walked over a bridge a blue heron took flight down the stream and I was comforted by the symbolism. The bridge, stream, and migratory blue heron. I had never seen one so close: a beautiful creature.

A quote:
"You are the bows from which your children are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, an He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let you bending in the archer's hand be for gladness; for even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves the bow that is stable."
Kahlil Gibran.

Where was I? Oh yes, the day continued with many gifts of food and water as we walked the wide and ever longer stretches of highway 50. Then as the storm clouds rolled in I stubbornly pushed on. As I stopped at an intersection to a gravel road and the rain started to fall, our support team (and council) arrived with abundance in the form of a woman from across the road, three local teenage girls in a pickup truck, and two women I had eaten lunch with before I left Sedalia (appropriate host city of the Missouri state fair.) Nice (the dog), usually quiet, cooed at the prospect of getting out of the rain and being surrounded by so many women. (His favorite thing next to frozen steak sickles.) They all counciled that I should not walk into the dark and rain, but should go get the van while the girls stayed with the World then strap it to on back and go to eat at Pizza Hut with the girls up the road where I could find a safe haven. Women do know best. It is in their nature. Nice (the dog) happily jumped in and we retrieved the van. One of the women gave him a bag of treats and a very large bag of dog food she had over-stocked for her visiting daughter's dogs. We put the World safely on the rear of the van and the girls escorted us to dinner. After the interesting conversation with the three girls and the additional friend, a young man who worked at a pig farm, we said our good-byes and left alone. Only for a few minutes as I had neglected to mention to the manager of the restaurant I was parked in the back of the parking lot so she called the police about the suspicious van. The ball could not be seen as it was backed against some trees. After an explanation, the kind officers showed me where I could park for the night and with a recommendation to drive over a narrow bridge viaduct, we find ourselves here in Nob Noster this morning under cloudy skies that threaten rain till this afternoon.

I would have stubbornly spotted the van here last night, left Nice(the dog) to sleep and walked in the pouring rain out of dumb pride (the cause of many wars)and possibly been caught prone on the two lane bridge like a raccoon in the night frozen and squashed by a car. This time I listened to the women, besides, it was six to one. Along with Nice(the dog) and his obvious vote.

Now the decision to risk getting caught in a shower or wait a few hours till the threat of rain has passed. You might guess I will walk sooner than later. I admit to being stubborn.

Have a wonderful day. It was nice to take this time to post so fully yesterday's experiences.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sedalia Missouri a rest and a blue herron

On Sunday we walked to and most of the wat through Sedalia, again with the help of some very good people who not only helped to move the supply van forward but were able to get us a beatiful guest room at the assisted care facility behind the local Wallmart. Nice (the dog) got some much needed rest and the sweet ladies took me for lunch. I had a restless sleep but was able to wash my walking clothes...

I have spent the lasr hour talking to passers by. Sedalia has been Missouri's redemption. Not to say I have not made many friendships ... The "show me" state has been reserved is the best way I can find to say it. I need to walk rather than write for now.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

From Tipton to the night

We walked eighteen miles yesterday. I wrote last night but I think my blackberry was playing editor and the post was lost. This morning I am about six miles east of
Sedalia. I was talking to two young men in the dark last night about a mile from where we are now. One of the men's girlfriend was at a bar in Sedalia saying she was waiting for the guy with the world to roll past. I am not that fast! We had help to move the van late yesterday, and spotted it at about the only place along the road that was off the emergency lane which necessitated the long day.

I did enjoy the long walk and the blanket of stars when we arrived. I even saw a shooting star.

It is cool this morning. The weather has been very nice despite the wind during the day. Luckily, the last ten mile yesterday was without the tempering wind.

I met many good people, too many who were diabetic: a woman with a pump, another who became diabetic as a side effect from another disease, a man who had lost over two hundred pounds since his diagnosis five years ago, as well as too many others who have this epidemic scale disease. We all could benefit if cures were found for diabetes. Aside from healthy diet, walking, biking, and other exercise, help is needed for those who suffer from more extreme forms. So, please give to my FaceBook cause link or the others here on this site.

Sorry to be pushy about this world wide problem, but some more research and help is needed than simply walking and diet.

I will most likely reach Sedalia today. Enjoy this fine Sunday!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The world is in the trenches

The wind was so strong all through the day. Rolling up the trenches was the only way.
Picking up spiders, ticks and gross hoppers for the ride of their lives.

We made it to Tipton and have had help to get ready for tomorrow.

Met a man on the road today who lost his mother as I did. We shared our stories of our mothers who were too busy helping others to help themselves. We shared that sorrow. I extended a warm handshake. So glad he left before we both broke down.

Some days are filled with these sad tales and unspoken looks of heartbreak. Don't be the subject of our stories, and walk for our sake.

Friday, July 17, 2009

First mile marker sign to KC and the humble wind blows

As we walked just past the school parking lot where we slept last night, we came upon the sign that showed 111 miles to Kansas City. Excited, I quickened my pace. The swift wind, as always, tempered my enthusiasm by blowing and gusting from the west at my face. I again set about the slow and deliberate pace against the humbling forces of nature. Reminding myself that the wind always allows me to get where I need to be at the appropriate time. Soon, a teen missionary and her mother came by who had seen us but had been unable to stop the day before. A heart warming meeting. Then as we came to a hilltop, a young man who works at KFC brought us a warm lunch which Nice and I have just enjoyed here under the slightly available shade. I am writing as my cheek is brushed by the low blowing branch of a cedar tree. Thank you wind!

Wind and the last mile of the day

My ride came and we spotted the van at the high school, went back to Motel California and found it easy to leave. The wind made it one of the hardest of the trip. California has a lot of sweet people (the ones who will talk) and the wind kept me talking to more. Some kids came when we got to the van and played tug with Nice (the dog).

I am falling asleep writing so I must end now.

Thanks to all

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Luxury lane, keeping a pace and the Motel California

Last night I was fortunate to get a ride back to the capitol which I had walked around yesterday morning to make up for the bridge bypass. I got my van and then went to the place I had stopped after thirteen miles, a dead-end called Luxury lane -- twenty yards from the new 50 hwy. This lane had been the access during construction and had not been ground up. It was a perfect spot for us overnight.

Today we walked into California, Missouri and I am charging my phone at the California Motel where I met some workers from Texas. They could give me a ride but they have been off all day and should not drive, understandably.

I am waiting for a young man who said he would drop me back at the van, so I hope this works out. I will update later...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pride, and the song I awoke hearing.

Two years ago we walked over four hundred miles from Louisville to Pittsburgh. During that trip I was possessed with walking every inch. Despite. My pride there were four times I had to get help. The first was a county sheriff in Gallatin Co. who was not going to let me walk through "his" county. It was a Saturday and it seemed to me I was interrupting his fishing time by getting calls about a guy with a big earth ball rolling thru. Second I was on a hilltop in Ohio and. The skies clouded up with a wind so strong I was holding on to the laces of the world and it was lifting a foot off the ground. I was hundreds of yards from any tree or structure and a young man drove up with a pick up and drove us out of harms way. We found out the next day a tornado had touched down at that hilltop. Another policeman outside Circleville Ohio got a friend to haul me across the bottoms to the visitors center where we and the policeman were interviewed and photographed by the paper . Good trade off I thought at the time. The last was a family who lived on top of "Kings Hill" which was a long winding stretch with tight guard rail and a shear rock wall on the opposite side. They told me of the many wrecks and deaths that happened often and I was glad for the help. It was an ugly hill with obvious guard rail damage all the way up.

I admit these facts because my pride had me resist all this help. Even with me being prone in forty mile winds with a tornado bearing down on us. Pride was not my friend at a time like that. I am spreading a message, not proving my manliness. I know you may laugh at this, coming from a 47 year old walking a dog and a six foot ball across the Mid-west promoting fitness and walking to prevent or control a devastating disease.

After walking on the road and the Katy trail for eleven mile yesterday and sleeping in the van for five hours I awoke this morning to a light shower of rain and a song repeating in my head. The line that rung in my ears was, "Accidents can happen, it's only hit and run." I don't recall it to be a song by Joe Jackson or Elvis Costello, but the two miles I had to walk on the approach and the bridge to get to Jefferson City and the state capitol with a posted speed limit of 70 mph or swallow my pride and strap the world to the rear of my van and arrive alive. We are now on Main street, the first exit which is also the lane directly in front of the capitol. I will walk around it to make up for some of the miles. I hope anyone out there who struggles with their pride can understand.

I am going to change my clothes and begin the day now that I have shared my story of pride.
I hope you can get a short walk in today. Walk for the ones you love so they can know you when you are old.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

From grey morning to blue skied dusk

I really didn't think I would make it this far today. I have walked from Tebbetts (did I spell it correctly?) to Jefferson City at 54 and in sight of the capital and the bridge into the city. I am at the trail head of the Katy and it just became dark. 94 and the Katy trail have been a test, and at times secluded these past few days. Good for making time and reflecting on things. I spoke to maybe ten people today. I was interviewed by a Jefferson City TV news 17 reporter and heard we were on at 6pm from a passing man in a car. Oh, and near the end of the day as I stopped briefly at a trail-side bench there was the group of bikers who stopped for an iPod interview which Nice (the dog) liked because he enjoys the hunt for frogs next to their feet.

Some Thanks: There was the man who gave us a coke and a snack when we were being filmed for the news and the man at "the little house on the prairie" where we stopped for a glass of water and a "nice" nap. And especially, thanks to the woman and her daughter who I met as we were rolling out of Tebbetts that later drove my van here to the trail head (My GPS for the day! Good people support!)

All in all, I had a very good day considering the doubtful mood and the rain and exhaustion of this early morning, plus the washing-down of the fresh paint on the world that was still running when I left Tebbetts. I did have to renew my resolve with a self pep talk where I just needed to have faith the day would work out well and as it should. The Katy trail did give me time to let the demons of self doubt creep in along with the good reflections. I read somewhere to appreciate the good in the world whenever you pass a body of water. It has been raining a lot and there are many murky puddles. Yet I find inspiration everyday, like the woman who helped with the van (a healthy diabetic) before I had rolled fifty feet, stopping my doubts of the day. (Thank you!)

I guess the patrol car that just rolled through without stopping to tell me to move along from this parking lot is a good sign. I will nap a bit now and perhaps run the big bridge in the wee hours, or be safe and strap the world to the van. Decisions, decisions...

The world is running

I put some pint on the world this morning and then fell asleep in this trail side bording house and when I woke up the world was being rained on and the paint is running across the continents.sigh...

Sleep.....

a long night

After a long night I have the world and the van at Tebbits. There is a hiker and biker honor-pay facility here. I am going to rest and touch up the world today. The neighborhood girl dogs are hanging on the porch with Nice(the dog) and the world is in need of the paint we ordered while in STL and got when I picked up the van last week.The sky is cloudy and would be perfect for walking but some necessary things must be done today.
I am not feeling enthusiastic today, I guess I can't be perky all the time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I coulda' had a V-8!

Yesterday I left my gracious hosts at "the Inn" only to walk two blocks and an offer of a buffet style breakfast, in keeping with my experiment of not turning down food ( that would just be rude ) we stopped just before the 3rd bridge across the Missouri river. In talking with the proprietor he offered to help shuttle my van to the next stop of Rhineland. After the transfer and the goodbyes we headed across the bridge, then mid-way across the proprietor returned offering my. Backpack to me that I had left at the door to his office. I had forgotten all about the fifty pound burden as we walked away. He then offered to take it to my van so I could walk light. This had not ,until now,occurred to me. Use the van to streamline my load even more! I coulda' had a v-8!
I am now at Steedman at the end of the next day. I am tired and should review more of the past day but I must rest now from walking twenty four miles distance from the bridge

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Seeing the small things

As we walk along the roads at the 'break neck' speed of one mile per hour, I see so many beautiful things. A patch of wildflowers that have not been mowed down by the highway bush-hog; the well planned yard flora by a country home; a ditch that winds out of a patch of woods and runs under the road into a drain line, overgrown with trees and native weeds and hopping with tiny frogs, flying crickets and other bugs.

As difficult as this walk is at times, I am so glad to have the opportunity to take in so many pretty things that even a relaxed drive could not reveal.

This morning is overcast and on the horizon there is a line of clear skies growing. I spent the night in comfort at The Wohlt Inn, a B&B in Herman Missouri. Yesterday, as we got to this picturesque town with wineries and shops, two women invited us to stay. I had a wonderful evening enjoying a movie and good conversation. After breakfast we will be on our way again to our next river crossing.

I hope you take a moment for yourselves today and look for a little beauty.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

sweet people

I must thank the news man for the arrangments he made and the doctors on the hill for the shade I used next to the first Armadillo road kill I have seen, and the two sweet women and their more than generous 'last room at the inn' where Nice and me are tonight, saved from the thunder showers and lightning, and so many people who are there for us on our little walk.

Top of the hill...

To those who are following along from the comforts of home, "HI!!!"

This big hill I was warned about was a good reminder of some of the rolling hills in Indiana and Ohio, and was nothing compared to the panhandle of West Virginia or the hill into Stubenville, Ohio. Not to say it was easy, it was not. The traffic of Saturday made it even more fun, having to get off and then on again, over and over, and over again. The thirty foot sharp bank was a good test of my concentration.

A couple of the local news orgs have given us some press and several people have searched us down to give us encouragement today (it's a muggy one) as we walked from shade to shade. Now we are resting atop this little hill before walking into town. Funny how used to the smell of roadkill I have become. There is a smelly one just a few yards away. Not strong enough to chase us out of this shade.

Have a good day and please go for a walk.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rolling the trenches

The backroads of MO are much like the roads of PA. Big fun and slow going. I would say more but nap time for Nice (the dog) is about over and the flies seem to like the taste of deet. And ticks are immune to everything but fire!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Shade hoppin' day

It's a hot and muggy day and we are now in a fine shady spot next to the road. Nice( the dog) is sleeping and I am doing my best to rest. Every time I lay back another car pulls up for a picture, a policeman checks on my progress and a newspaper photographer comes for the story. And then there is the ticks , spiders , and other bugs who come for the feast.
I am about two miles from New Haven but the hottest time of day is upon us and this spot feels almost cool..I may gat up soon and trudge to town even in the heat. The bugs are thick and the traffic seems lighter. Then again I may just wait awhile.

I feel like a river

In a way, since I have crossed into Missouri, I have been like a creek or a river. They flow with the landscape, meandering this way and that, turning corners sometimes, almost heading back in the direction they came. This is how I have spent the last two weeks, making progress meeting just the right people at the right time and stopping to appreciate the scenery, like a rivers eddy that swirls in place as it heads downstream.

After these days of seeking the path to Kansas City, I hope the advise I've been offered found me on the most direct and relatively safe road to my destination. Yesterday as I was finally headed from Washington, we were called into the last business before we left town for a drink. A salesman who I had spoken to the night before came in for a call, and we talked of my plans. He redirected me one more time, suggesting a route no one had before. I only had to eddy back a quarter-mile, and I think his advise will be the best for our purpose. No roads are safe for a big ball, yet this one is headed west and looks to be a wise decision when looking at the map and listening to a man who drives these roads everyday.

Take care, and take in a walk today. I'm sure it will not be so hard on you.

Have a good day, Erik.

3:30 am

All I have to say is I am in our tent and the dog has gas.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sometimes you just have to grab hold of the rope!

A lot has happened since yesterday when I sat in Defiance. We were invited to a gracious couples modest home in a small subdivision overlooking the Klondike at a boat dock named Augusta Shores. We had to walk a way up a gravel road to get to their home, passing by a waste treatment facility, but it was a very nice place nonetheless. Our host took me this morning through the towns I would walk today in his little chevy so I would be familiar with the route he helped me plan. I would not have made it over the bridge by nightfall without he and his wife's help (Thank you both!)

I left their home late and walked the Katy trail to Augusta where I had lunch and talked to my brother about this website for awhile. (I am a caveman on a computer and my brother is the best! For your web needs contact him at www.tool.net) Then, I walked on through the day to the Bottoms of Augusta and made it to the bridge across the Missouri just in time for sunset. As I walked to the bridge, I remembered the story of the man who was caught in a flood who asked God to save him, but denied help from a boat, a helicopter, and did not grab hold of a log floating by just before he was drowned in the flood. When at the "Pearly Gates" he asked St. Peter why God had forsaken him . St Peter replied, "He did not, you were just too stupid to see his help. He sent you a boat, a rope from a helicopter, and a log!" When half way across the bridge, a small flatbed truck pulled alongside me and I got a ride the rest of the way across... just in time to greet the police who were on their way to apprehend me. We laughed it off and all was well.

I must go for now. Thank you St. Peter for the bridge pass.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Memorial Way, to Weldons Pond, and now I'm in Defiance!

Everyday brings new and good conversation, the past day is no exception... from the man who followed us for miles taking pictures, to the scientist, a young man who's mother was just diagnosed with diabetes and was waiting for his own blood work to come in, or the good family who had me for dinner and a peaceful evening at the contemplative Walden's Pond (weldon?), or the many bikers along the Katy Trail where I now sit writing after a fine lunch in Defiance, MO. I am ever encouraged onward on our little walk across the heartland.
I am just checking-in before I go on down the trail, and again hope you can find time for a bit of walking to keep the blood flowing.

Thanks again to the GPS that helps me stay on track. (That is Good people System)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

helping hands, and the reason I am here...

I again want to thank the good people who have helped me along the way. Especially those who were there when we were too tired to go on. Their helping and understanding hands kept us well and words can not express my gratitude.

Today is my Mother's birthday. I would prefer to be at her side to celebrate today. I am instead walking across the mid-west spreading a message to those with diabetes to do whatever they can to stay healthy so they my be around in life as long as they can. Diabetes is harsh and devastating in it's many forms.

I know my little walk and message can't help everyone. My mother suffered from adult onset diabetes and could have taken better care of her condition, but she was busy helping others as a State Representative in Kentucky. She worked hard for the rights of many while neglecting herself. She did it out of love for her fellow man, I know. To anyone out there who is too busy, I encourage you to think how much more you could do in a year, or perhaps a decade, if you took the time for yourself, your health, your welfare.

I am here today in Missouri, far from my home walking my dog and pushing the weight of the world before me (metaphors abound), talking to as many good people as will let me about health and walking to prevent or manage diabetes. Please honour your family and take as good care as you can. Today I walk to honour my mother as I do everyday. But on this day if you see us on the road I may be holding back a tear or two.

I am hoping the donations given will help the fight. So, please go to the links on this site and give your Helping Hand.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Rain, wind, and the forth of July morning in historic St. Charles

Here we are again taking refuge by the gas pumps of a food mart. This one is appropriately named, "On the Run", though the only running we do is across busy intersections.

Yesterday was a tough one, the weather was sunny and hot as we walked the Katy Trail that crossed the Missouri the first of three times to Kansas City. I wanted to cross at least once on our own power. The way may be too dangerous or illegal when we find ourselves crossing it again. We were lucky to have the trail with a bike path built on the side of the express-way yesterday. And, thanks to the cyclist whose knowledge of safe routes, we found ourselves alive on the other side.

I am compelled to be a bit critical of some bikers on the Katy Trail. I was quite stressed at days end by the people who seemed inconvenienced by the world sharing the path. The highway may be safer and cleaner for all concerned.

We have been told to move along from our haven from the rain. We can't be blocking one of these eighteen pumps while the rain comes down in sheets. We must be ++++On the Run++++

Friday, July 3, 2009

a bridge too far

There are so many things about the last two days I want to talk about, but to get across the bridge to St. Charles I walked most all the night and then all the day. I am exhausted!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

KVFS-12 News Clip from June 2009

video

The Forest Park and reflections in the pond

The first day of July was very windy as I pushed away from Downtown St. Louis towards the beautiful Forest Park. The wind kept my pace slow and deliberate. Surrounded by buildings and pavement, I am still controlled by the elements. I believe the wind keeps me at times where I need to be. I was held at one storefront as the people inside came and talked with me. When they went back in the wind let up and I was able to move again.

The sweetest memory of the day came early as a woman called from a parking lot booth. The sight of the world and me rolling along, she said, lifted her from her depression and brought a smile to her. I could tell it truly made a difference. Thank the wind, not me. As I sat looking at a pond in the park later in the day, it brought a warm tear and a smile. If I did nothing the rest of my day, making a difference in that lovely little woman's was enough.

I did talk to a man riding bikes with his grandson who told me how he had been diagnosed with diabetes and had lost weight, was exercising, and had reduced his dependence on medication. Another example of what I am walking to make people aware of. Stay fit and be there for your family.

Off to the day! Have a good one!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The gateway to the west, the outfield, the winds at Union Station, and a talk show host.

As I approached the "Arch" I was quickly greeted by a park ranger on a bike who after asking "why" told me I could not solicit donations while on park property after seeing a little girl with her family give me a generous donation (One dollar. Probably her weekly allowance.) The excited child's mother told me she had seen me several times in their town in Illinois (I believe it was Albion) and when they saw me there at the arch she had to give for diabetes and explained this to the ranger, who was understanding. I was touched by the little girl's gesture and will remember it as I recall passing into the west.

After spending some time at the Gateway Arch park, I began making my way through downtown taking pictures like a true tourist, when a man offered me lunch at Mike Shannon's Steak and seafood (the best hot meal of my trip!) He also invited me to stay the day and watch the Cardinals' game in Mike's Outfield, which is across from the Stadium. The day was cool compared to last week so I thanked him for the lunch, got his business card and pushed on.

Not long after as I spoke to many fine people downtown, I got a call from KMOX radio and an invite to speak to Jack Carney on his 11 o'clock spot. I agreed to be there and pushed forward to Union Station where the wind became so strong I had to stop and call for help to get the support van (and called to see if the offer at the outfield still stood) then made our way back to the stadium. The difficulty of waiting at an outside sport venue for hours when I am used to walking was I became tired. When I am not walking my body needs rest. By the time Nice (the dog) and me got to the radio station I was exhausted and during the interview I did the cardinal sin of talk interviews I stammered with "um", long pauses, and the occasional "you know"... Sorry Jack, and sorry listeners. It was past my bedtime. Hand gestures don't travel well over the airways either. ( I say to myself-BIg Dummy!-)

Last night after returning to my gracious host's home I tried to write my daily blog but the Blackberry kept closing me out of the page. This morning I rebooted by removing the battery and clearing whatever programs were slowing down my small handheld so I can write. I will get a very late start from Union station today but it will all be for the best I am sure. My ankles appreciate the break as the swelling has disappeared almost totally.

I want to thank Marcus of the Outfield, Jack Carney for his patience towards a stammerring guest, and especially the little girl for the love I saw in her eyes at the arch.

St. Louis and Kansas Cities, here we come!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

early start -or- around the fire and into the frying pan

Leaving early to get to downtown...

Persons of prejudice beware the following.

I spent the better part of last week walking to go around East St.Louis, Illinois, because it has a reputation for danger. I made the bridge to Missouri and now I am told by many there a few areas in St. Louis safe to walk. I am sure this has merit, but I have some experience with unsafe areas in my city of Louisville, Kentucky . I was "bused" in the late seventies in integration's first years and grew to know and love many I went to school with. Later, as a carpenter, I have spent years in Louisville's West End building homes in what some may call unsavory neighborhoods, again growing to know and love many.

Last night before bed I called one of my best and closest friends (a 63 year old "black" man) to talk of this situation. I asked if he knew anyone still in St. Louis, but we laughed that all the men were dead, killed years ago. We also laughed that the advise I sought from him I already knew - keep my head up and keep walking- not a wasted call as we spent years together working in the "bad" streets of Louisville and have a great friendship. He told me I'd be all right, and we exchanged "I love you's" as we hung up. You can't choose your family and you can't deny true friendship either. Color should not determine a man.

I have more to say about this, but I am on a walk for Diabetes awareness and need an early start before the griddle gets too hot.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The heat, the rain, the crossing.

Few times in my life have I...

Let me begin again...

At no time in my life have I put myself through such as in the past few days. When we walked to Pennsylvania in "ought seven," we experienced heat and rain but not to the extreme that Saturday and Sunday held for us.

The weekend began with me waking cold in the shade of a small park tucked at the edge of a neighborhood. I had lightened my load the previous day and left the side-saddle of Nice (the dog) at the supply van to reduce the strain from the heat on us. Fate had a different plan for me. So, by the end of the day I had received food, water, a blanket, and a plastic tarp to sleep with, thus replacing the tent and bag I took out, which were too warm at night if I found myself camping. They weighed my pack down to more than before I had cleared it out. I packed up and we walked on into the hottest day of the year.

As the morning progressed we were stopped by many for pictures and our story. Some gave to the cause generously. In this economy any giving I label as generous. Occasionally I talk to an individual who is diabetic and through the miracle of diet and exercise have greatly reduced or even eliminated their dependence on medication. This supports my message and encourages me to keep rolling.

As I went I asked the' locals' their opinion of the shortest route to the Chain of Rocks Bridge , the historic old Route66 that has now been retired to pedestrian traffic and marks the northern most point of the St Louis Pedestrian and Bike path system. With each new recommendation I shaved miles from the long detour around East St. Louis Illinois. ( I don't want to believe it is as bad and dangerous, but found no one out of hundreds who thought otherwise.) Then the heat of the day set in and we were travelling from shade to shade in short spurts until we just had to remain under the protection of one tree as the heat grew unbearable. We drank our now hot water and swatted the after noon flies.

We were on a bike path that paralleled the roadway but I found that the side of the road is easier on Nice (the dog)s' pads because he walks the white line that reflects the heat of the sun. (I have tried dog shoes but he just pulls them off... I will try again.) When the pavement is too hot we stop walking till he can walk on it.

Allow me to jump ahead to the night, to Sunday morning after the storm that found us huddled by the gas pumps in Pontoon Beach, Illinois. The wind was not quite as calm as I'd like to continue, but as it was around three in the morning we had to push on. Just as we got up on the highway, the rain began again. Yet we went on. The traffic was very light and the early morning drunk drivers are more cautious than most. We did stop again to cover my pack with its rain repellent cover, and I must admit to wanting to give up my goal of making Missouri in the morning and taking another day to reach "the west". The rain is more tolerable than the thought of the sweltering heat. The wind against a two hundred pound wet ball is surprisingly easy to push against than a dry eighty pound ball, so we made good progress in the dark, windy, rainy, drunk driving, early morning.

The map and instructions I got from Lt. Dan of the P. B. police were very good and he was specific and detailed when he explained the route. He however left out that the road at one point made a marked ninety degree turn and passed back under the expressway that I had walked over a mile to pass the first time. The road also changed names, adding to my confusion as I had only slept forty-five minutes in a "power nap". In desperation I called the station for clarification. Soon Lt. Dan was there (about to go home after his shift) and Officer Jerry from the neighboring city were there to advise. We laughed about the specific map and instructions and the lack of a ninety-degree turn, or mention of the second underpass, and the officer from Mitchell shadowed me for support as the dawn broke and the roads came alive with morning traffickers. He followed me to the entrance of the canal bridge and I was alone again as the sun broke above the horizon.

I stopped many times to document my traverse over the bridges and even spoke to a man (a trucker) who was getting his morning walk in. He shared his diabetic tale of loosing seventy lbs and reducing his sugar levels significantly. He has a new grandchild and one on the way as his inspiration (MY MESSAGE.) I was spurred on!

As I crossed the canal bridge a barge passed under and I watched through the steel grate roadway of the bridge, a voice came from the P.A. system of the tug boat below, "What do you represent?" I yelled Diabetes. "Oh, okay." It takes a little more than one word to explain. I could tell by the tone of the captains voice. My use of the world was the inspiration of hundreds who suggested I go on some humanitarian journey years ago while my son and I played in the park back home with our giant toy ball. We especially enjoyed "bowling for people" down the big hill where dog owners walked their pets. (The pins always move).

We made it to the island and then finally to the mouth of the old Chain of Rocks Bridge. The gates had been opened and a few early morning cyclists were unloading for a morning ride. As I traversed the bridge I stopped and talked to some of the few pedestrians who asked what I was doing and took more pictures and loaded them to my face book picture album collection. Erik Bendl@ facebook.(June298/09)

As I went further a bike rider called out, "You're not gonna believe what's coming at you!" And quite literally hundreds of cyclists passed me as I went over the bridge. I was crossing at the early morning start of a bike event put on by Trailnet, an organization whose slogan is "promoting active living" (How appropriate' is that!?) When I came to the Missouri end of the bridge I found Trailnet was having a day-long event with a band and refreshment for their three different length bike runs.

As I am promoting health through exercise, and plan to make use of the bike and pedestrian system while in St. Louis and Missouri, and I was not able to walk further that day, I signed-up as a member, paid my membership fee, and received a (much needed) t shirt! I enjoyed the day and waited for the young couple from Friday to come fetch me up and take us back to the supply van past Bellville, Illinois. I also called a friend in the St. Louis area who has put me up while I recover from last week's heat. I also am taking today to do maintenance on the road-worn world. Paint acts as a tread and also spruces it up. I am short of paint for a total coat, and we are looking for a local place to get more of the same product (Difficult task.) The world will not survive without care...

Tomorrow I should be able to return to the bridge entrance and begin my walk down into the city of St. Louis for a rolling tour of it's sights. I am sure it will be memorable.

I want to take a moment to thank the great state of Illinois, it's law enforcement, and citizens for all the help they gave while I traveled through. My task would have been so much harder without their love (and prayers) and support. I am ever in their debt.

Humbly yours, WG.