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.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I am in Missouri !!!

Please be patient for the tale
I am so tired. I slept forty minutes last night. I must sleep...I am safe.

Turn and face the strange, cha' cha' changes...

We are less than ten miles from the bridge into St. Louis. Much of the day we spent huddled under the scattered shade seeking relief from the hottest day of the year. At five-thirty we got back on the road and were walking past a church whose digital message board read a temperature of 107. Then the pastors son came inviting us to have a drink of cold water. We had been drinking hot water for hours, so I was thankful. First, they allowed me to hose Nice (the dog) down, as he had just jumped in a pool of ditch water to cool off and was half black and half brown.

After a meal for us both and a bath we were off to Pontoon Beach, population 6900. We were soon met by Lt. Dan of the Police Dept. who offered us every courtesy and gave us directions to Chain of Rocks bridge where we will be as soon as this rain storm and wind allow us to move from this overhang at the food mart gas pumps. A nasty storm it was. Now it is raining with a steady wind that will keep me from moving. It was raining so hard the bugs were finding refuge on me. Some even crawled in my pant leg (they did not survive the journey) to get out of the rain.

Being stuck here has afforded me the opportunity to answer questions from the large clan named "Curious", many whose first names are "Just".

We will make it to the bridge in the morning one way or another. If not for the reputation of East St. Louis we would already be at "The Gateway" and be working our way through the sights of Louisville, Kentucky's Sister City of St. Louis. This detour has been thirty miles on this side of the river alone. That translates to several days for us.

The wind has seemed to let up and I have miles to go before I sleep.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mad dogs and Englishmen Go out in the Noonday Sun

We are under the shade of a tree and it is hot, hot, Hot. The heat index is to get to 110 today, and is already 100. We are walking a bike/walking path that overlooks the roadway but has little shade. We made good time this morning, and now we sit and wait again for the cooling hours. I just might be stupid enough to walk in this heat, so it is luck that Nice (the dog who has more sense than I do) is with me. Now for a hot nap.

Friday, June 26, 2009

general update

We walked eleven and four-tenths of a mile between yesterday at six a.m. and five a.m. this morning. After a forty-five minute nap we went three and one half miles. I then got a short nap riding with the Ice Cream Lady to the Chain of rocks bridge to try to gauge the mileage of that distance, but we did not find it so simple as we had thought and I fell asleep.

Now I have the remainder of the day to get some rest. I will not match eleven. I need to rest.

the last mile on 15 and the quiet streets of Bellevile

We left the shade of the Oak tree just before seven but it was still too hot. Over a hot four-lane with an emergency lane. Nice (the dog) had napped all day but as we got to a restaurant / ice cream store I got a malt at nine, and the next l knew it was after eleven and were on the road with darkness. Then the state police kindly escorted us the last mile of Rt15.

I am exhasted now after walking through Bville in the wee hours.

Just can't keep my eyes open.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Freeburg and the afternoon sun

First a note about my grammaticl errors: I can't write! 2nd. I am writing from a blackberry. I have a few more, excuses.

While I'm waiting for them to cut the grass around the shade tree where we will be for the afternoon sun. let me suggest that for those who are on the fence about walking as a way to prevent or improve your condition as a diabetic. What is your excuse? Too busy? Too sore from not moving around at all? I have used many in my chubby life, and still after it is over (the walking), I feel better for doing it. Like watering a tree so it can live longer to see it's saplings have saplings... Ahh! They are done with the grass, so I can try to get a nap again. Which I should have done before the last sentence.

This evening we will walk over this sweltering stretch of highway, so hot is this heat that it turns to shimmering glass from a distance.

If I have enough battery power I will write tonight or first thing in the morning.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

From a spider bite to The Big Dipper

This morning when I awoke in St. Labori I noticed my left hand was swollen and later found a spider bite on my wrist. I had to take some benadryl which made me drowsy, and I was a;ready tired from having had only three hours sleep. I walked about four and a half miles before it became too hot and we found some shade. I was in sight of the bridge to the next town and called the Ice cream Lady to ask how long it was. She then asked me to come rest at their home for the afternoon. I was exhausted from the heat and she let us sleep in her cool basement. She brought us back in time to get the van spotted and the world over the bridge before dark. I have walked a couple of hours and am resting by the road for a moment to give my shoulders a break from the pack. The benadryl and the spider bite are taking a toll. I suppose the heat is also At nine o-clock it was still over eighty degrees.

As I sit staring at the stars feeling the mosquitoes land and wonder if I napped if I would wake up soon and get some good night miles in. I am guessing I should go now and walk before I get too comfortable.

The people of this area look at lot but don't stop and talk so much. I think that many are busy with the wheat harvest. I am out here to raise awareness for diabetes and the money is second to the message of exercise and prevention, as well as management for those who are type 2 diabetics. The donations ebb and flow, but the road goes on.

Too tired for any witty lines, so I will strap on the back pack and move closer to Kansas.... I wonder if the flash photos turn out on these night time drive by flashes.

walked in the night, and the John Wayne theory

I can't say enough about the fine and good people who were gracious enough to help me yesterday. They went above and beyond common courtesy. Thanks a hundred times.

Night walking in this heat is the best, and safer for the cars because they don't see me and slow to dangerous "gawking speed".

I am in the shade now for a moment this morning, and thought I'd share my John Wayne theory: He walked like that because he was wracked with pain. I find myself doing the "John Wayne" walk after a day on the road, straddling trenches.

Gotta' go!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The wind said "Don't be stubborn"

This afternoon I heard it got up to ninety-seven degrees, and I believe it. After our shade break we started out again. A rain cloud hid the sun for a couple miles and kept the intense heat at bay. Then came an offer to stay in a trailer with "air" just around the corner if I wanted to. Now, I was stubbornly thinking I had to get more miles in and was leaving the option open.

Here is where the rubber ball meets the road, where you separate the city boy from the country man, where mother nature gave her gentle advice. Like I said, I was thinking "push on," then the sun came from behind the cloud, revealing the true heat I had been shaded against. And the wind started up. And blew right against us. By the time I got "around the corner", that's a "country" corner and it was one hour later, my stubborn pride had been "taken to the shed" and I was happy to accept any relief from the heat and wind. Funny how mother nature gives her two cents worth.

After a meal, good conversation, an epsom salt foot bath (ahhhhh!), and a chilly AC rest, I will start early from our saviors' farm in the morning.

Today was not so much the day for collecting donations as receiving good graces of the people of Washington county, Illinois. From the three reporters to the male nurse, to the mid-day shower and shade, to kind people and the "Ice cream lady" and her family.

I am thankful and again humbled for all the help , friendship, and advice.

When life give you lemons, make lemonade.

We left Nashville this morning, and as we got out of town the wind was against us. After almost four hours we had only gone two miles. A couple offered a shower and a place to rest in their shaded yard. We are still getting used to the heat and Nice is as tired as I am. So we rest till the heat of the day has passed...

It is hard for me to sit in this shade and rest. More a lesson of patience. I know this is best to wait for the hottest time of day to pass and still I feel I should be walking the trenches, dodging through heavy mid-day traffic and plodding ahead. I need to get used to the pattern of walking early then resting and then walking again.

I have had three interviews today so I suppose it has been a good day .

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ashley to Nashville / Testing the water of the summer heat

My plan to begin from Ashley at the crack of dawn Sunday morning worked well. By five-thirty we were packed and walking west to "little Nashville", as I've heard it called. By nine-thirty when I took our first major break where I took off the pack and ate some food, the heat had already become intense. Nice held up very well, finding fresh rain water in the ditches all along the way. He would lay in the water to cool as he drank. He drank so much this way that when I regularly offered him a drink he was full. We had traveled six miles with very little wind and light early Sunday traffic. The rest of the miles to Nashville took 'till after three. And, if we were further from town I would have waited in the shade. The afternoon heat was bad.

We made our way into town where I took off Nice (the dog's) leash and saddle and let him cool in a shaded creek on a hill. At the edge of a well groomed property. Just a we got on the road again the lady of the house pulled in and gave Nice some loving, he wanted to stay but we pushed on the few blocks to the Kroger where I met a nice man and his son who later brought me a spare walking staff for the world that I could not refuse (though the van was still back at Ashley.) Then, it was on a block and a half to the Chinese restaurant for dinner, where the man from the radio station and his girlfriend stopped-in to interview me about our journey. After a good meal and a berating from a dog lover who hates to see a panting dog next to a water bowl, they gave us a ride the eleven miles back to Ashley and the van. He was gracious enough to let us park behind his home where I am now writing.

Before bedding-down in a pouring sweat in the van, we walked to the gas station and got some lemonade and talked to many people as we always do. People who had seen and spoke to us in the previous days were among them. As we don't travel fast some enjoy keeping up, and checking in on our walk.

Now the sun is up and I will prepare for the day. I do not expect to get as far as Sunday considering traffic and heat. Today we will start later and surely find a shady spot. during the hottest afternoon hours.

(Note to self: don't sleep on hat.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

pacing for summer, and the City of New Orleons Train

The first day of summer is tomorrow and the heat is already here. When Nice (the dog) and I walked to Pittsburgh, P.A. In '07 we walked in the heat. What we would do is walk from morning to early afternoon then rest during the hottest part of the day until it began to get tolerable enough to walk into the night. It takes a couple days to get the hang of it and a steady pace is the key to progress. And, of course, "shade hopping".

When we got to Ashley we stopped at the first shade tree in the park and help arrived as soon as I got my gear of my back. Some good and helpful people whose Polish name I could never spell watched over the world while I was given a ride back to the WorldGuy support unit (the old van) and we got it back to town where we have ended up regrouping for the summers first day. I am cleaned up, my clothes are ready, and Nice the dog has had a bath in the pond.

Our hosts have a shed with all the comforts and Hank Williams on the phonograph. The train that runs four times daily to New Orleans is just fifty yards away, which adds to the feel. I should be able to get an early start to beat the heat in the morning since I have had such gracious help from the people of Ashley.

And thanks to all those who gave generously during this hot day.

Ashley Illinois, here we come

I made an error in mis-naming the next town "Leslie" and not Ashley, I am sorry.

We made camp at the edge of a field, where around 3am it stormed and accumulated three-quarters of an inch of water. The post the world was lashed to had a rain gauge on it. Though the wind blew very hard, we survived and stayed dry.

We are now about a half-mile from Ashley, cooling in the shade before we get to town. Nice (the dog) has enjoyed a few fresh ditch puddles and the caresses of a few nice women since we left this morning, and his morning tug-of-war with his leash, bounding and jumping as we walked. He is sleeping now, so the animal cruelty lady can get hold of her senses. I love my dog and don't push him beyond reason.

My battery is low so I will check-in tonight if all goes well.

Hot day, rain at night.

We left out of. Mt.Vernon at 8:20 and the temperature was already 86. We pushed against the wind and clambered the berms and ditches between shade trees till 3:30 . It was no fun. I even got a message tonight from a concerned dog lover that I was being cruel to Nice (the dog). She saw him panting in the heat. She did not see us stop eleven times in those hours for shade and water. Nor did she see we stayed at the gas station for over two hours until the front passed. This is no easy journey, yet each morning Nice (the dog) frolics and pulls on his leash even with his full load. So to the dog lovers I say, bring water and find me a dog who does not pant. Or a dog owner who would sleep with the dog that bit his finger off (Accident during break-up of dog fight.) I usually have a better topic at three in the morning but as this concerned citizen woke me up with a message prompt after midnight, this will do.

We are now happy in our pup tent in the rain, camped next to a wheat field. I hope to get to the town of Leslie tomorrow.

Friday, June 19, 2009


I send the pictures I take daily to my FaceBook page, and each day I create a new album.

The day the Worlds met

Today we did not walk because we were invited to a meeting for diabetic advocates of Mt.Vernon by a man named Dick Jones. A man who in a way reminded me of my father who was also named Dick. .Mr. Jones does as much as he can for his community for the cause of diabetes and I was drawn to support him for his organizational meeting

This left us free to fulfill a goal that has long been on my mind. To get a date for the world. I had heard last week while in Wayne City that the Girl Scouts possessed an earth ball and wanted to get the two together for a picture. The ball I have is about thirty five years old and as far as I know has been alone. During an interview with a newspaper reporter this subject came up and she (the reporter) said she would get hold of the council who agreed on the photo opportunity. Their world was at camp about an hour and a half away so I asked a local man who was retired and had helped me with a nights shelter if he would like to help. He brought his little grandson along and we were off with the world tied to the back of the pickup on it's bed. We had some difficulty keeping the ball tied on but eventually made it to the campground and soon after, the two worlds touched. It was love at first sight. Alas the meeting was short and we had to let out some air to keep the world strapped in and got him back to Mt.Vernon. He may never be the same...
We then had time to mail some correspondence and get a shirt at the Goodwill and a special treat of a new pair of walking shoes courtesy of Shoe Stop who's manager was later at the dinner for ADA. I will be very grateful when I next walk in the rain and need the extra pair of dry shoes. Keeping the feet well is very important.
Later the dinner went well. Dick asked me to speak a moment and I shared some of my experiences with the attendants. We laughed, we cried, we ate...
I then had a nice talk with a web designer who wanted to post our story on Mt
Vernon's web provider page. We talked about faith and dedication to the cause so no telling how that will read. As I have said one (I) can't take on this sort of goal without faith.
I went back to the room Dick had provided for us , slept awhile and now will rest till morning and get back on the road to Kansas enriched by our stay in the hub of southern Illinois .

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The bull has been Froggy

Since we crossed the Wabash, Nice (the dog) has had an obsession with frogs. After catching a frog that someone had stirred-up in the grass under his feet, he now stares at all the shoes of those who walk-up, hoping to pounce on the allusive frog. I am no frog expert, but I am sure that frogs don't live under gravel or appear from holes in pavement. But, still he looks, and pounces, and scratches next to your feet when you move them to the side as we will talk. It is funny and obsessive at the same time.

not sleeping so I can get this off my chest

How can I say this?......

Okay so I help people smile and Nice (the dog) warms the heart because he is so cute and a dedicated companion with puppy dog eyes.My story is getting out about how I am walking for Diabetes. And all sorts come to give, and thank, and photograph. My ears ring from the encouraging honks and raor of engines rolling by.but something struck me deeply today.
Many times today I spoke to diabetics who told me they were not taking the nessesary steps to manage their 'sugar'.They eat what they want,don't check their levels, don't exersize or even want to walk. that is fine for some one with no family or friends.
Also today (and evryday) people have sought me out to tell me of loved ones lost to diabetes. I too have lost and I am renched when I see the pain and loss in the eys of sons and daughters. This is pain I know well. Today I was floored by a man younger than myself who came up, shook my hand, gave me a dollar and a few coins. Then he said he lost his wife to diabetes last year and bleesed me for what I was doing then walked away to his van that looked like a family weighed it down. The glance we shared for that moment wrenched my heart...the rest of the day I could hardly contain myself from tears. And many times in the few moments where I was alone I did silently break down . Not a pretty sight, especially as people come over for a picture and a handshake.

I am not walking for a smile,
I want to inspire those who can benefit from exersize and diet to do so that the. Ones who love them can have them living. If you could see the looks of those many grieving family members who I meet everyday you might change. But you can't see and I must share these intimate ,painful thoughts.
I'm finished venting now.
Please make an effort,

Humbly yours, Erik

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

no walk in the park

In my home town where we walk around the two and a half mile loop of the local park we have a whole lane for pedestrians,runners and bikes. In Mt.Vernon they have steep angled walks and head wind or no sidewalks at all next to four lanes of traffic with wind. Add a heavy back pack and four bottles of water in the leg pockets. Let 's not forget the 6irst days of 90 degree heat and my point should be made.
I am sleepy now and this is not what I really want to talk about .I just can't keep the eyes open.
Mt Vernon, thank you.

From the Bunkhouse to the Mountain

Left Cactus Jacks late in the morning knowing that soon we may be in the rain, but Mt. Vernon was a climb I wanted to accomplish by days end.

It was hard to tear away from the menagerie and the hospitable surroundings of the Cactus Jacks playground. Call me crazy, but I think 'Fat Mike" the grill sergeant needs more time with someone other than the donkeys and lamas. He is one good man whom I would trust cooking my dinner, or care for a hungry flock of animals, or stare down a 'rattler'.

It wasn't long till some local resident whose world was shaken by having a man and his dog on the highway as they drove down the road causing them to call the police that we got the roadside visit from a county patrolman who asked us to walk with the flow of traffic as we got to Mt. Vernon just to appease the one complaining citizen who had to go past me. And chew gum at the same time....

Then the rain came with a head wind that had me nervous for about two minutes before it settled to heavy rain, lightning, and thunder. The world triples in weight when it is waterlogged but we press on as we can and soon enough we break into sunlight at the entrance to the Mt.Vernon Airport where I stopped to change out of what rain soaked gear I could.

We were then contacted by one of the town's newspapers and had an interview there as I changed. We then ventured on into Mt. Vernon which is less mountainous than West Virginia. A man who had followed our travels from Wayne City helped us gather up the WG support unit (the old work van) from Wayne City and our climb to Mt. Vernon was complete.

We stayed in the Huck's parking lot till after dark talking until a generous couple surprised me with an offer to stay at their home for the night. So we loaded the world on their truck and followed them out "old route 15" where we are now.

I also accepted an offer from an advocate for diabetes to an event on Thursday evening at the local hospital so I will spend the next two days here in town. Many people and businesses have been offering support so it works out that our. Visit to Mt. Vernon may take more than one day anyway.

The reporter from the paper (a former Girl scout) has also contacted the local Girl Scout administration who have a sister Earth ball. So, we will have a treat of a meeting between Worlds! Our lonely world will finally reunite with one of it's brethren soon.

I'm sure we will enjoy our stay here in Mt. Vernon and will remember this leg for years to come.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

stopping at the elders home

We are at th home and have made the day for many of our elder citizens having diner with them. Remember what thay have done

Monday, June 15, 2009

again help came

We slept last night on the porch of a store for a few hours and I got up before rthe birds getting it together for the long haul into Mt Vernon it was not long till a couple stopped to ask what our story was and we soon found out they write for the paper in town so the interview was made. Wirhin a half hour it began to rain. After putting the rain cover on the backpack I began the slow walk up a hill where I was invited to an oasis. Cactus jacks burrito bbq and ice cream restaurant. Then the rain came for the rest of the day till almost 4 pm. I was hold up in a childrens playhouse in their pllayground,heaven for a 47 year old kid who spends his dsys walking an earth ball around. Here I will sleep till morning after much needed rest. Rest I needed and help that came without my asking or knowing. Humble thanks.

mistaken about "nothing"

Over the past days I have been told that from this small community to that there is "nothing". I have not found this to be so at all. I live in the city of louisville Kentucky where I have been since I was five years old and though I have lived literally a stones throw from many I couldn't tell you their names or the names of their children. Few of them would come out of their house and give a stranger water as they walked by if they felt that person in need. When I moved to my neighborhood at five we had come from living in Georgia and I recall knowing the names of everyone in the street and all through the surrounding blocks. Especially the kids that played in the creek that wove through the back yards to the fork and the wood where we made clay figures by the bank and caught "crawdads" in coffee cans.
This land of "nothing for miles is populated with good and helpful folk like I recall as a child. The good man who took it upon himself to watch out for me (a stranger) as walked the road of "nothing" knew most of the people in his close knit community and miles hence when I would stop to talk he to was known and respected as a good man by both young and old. So I say that in these stretches of "nothing" you and I speed past daily are full and rich and worth appreciating.

-I have crossed into Jefferson county from Wayne county and applaud the generosity of the good people within its thirty mile stretch of state road 15, most of which is "nothing"-


I am walking for awareness for diabetes so please: no more Mcdonalds care.packages. I am. Grateful.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Up before the Dawn

This night I've had good rest
In quiet and peace I've slept
Up as the sun is breaking
Nudging the world awake
Tho hours few I spent sleeping
This night of all in life
I'll count amongst the best.

short and sweet

Went through simms and in to Wade city. Too late to talk about the great day. Will be in Wade till early afternoon will be a short days walking.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The small town with the big heart

Friday I started about 9am at the east side of Fairfield Illinois headed West. I had made it two blocks from the home of our host when it began. I have not seen such love and enthusiasm for a little walk to raise diabetes awareness from ant place I have been. The kids at the town hall who came in a group from a school were loving on Nice who just let them crowd us and pet him from all sides. I could not see him for the hands petting him all at once. All throughtown we were stopped for pictures and people giving for diabetes. It was over four hours to get the mile or so to the edge of town where the wall mart is and where I got a money orderr before I tried to walk on further out of town. The people of Fairfield. Are generous and good people. The manager from the Briarwood in offered for me to stay the night ,I thanked her but tthought surely I would be to far to get a ride back but several hours later I found myself just two miles up the road in the yard of a nice family trying to pump some air in the world and I guess I hit the tip of my stubby finger because it became bruised for the firste time in the month since it happened. I was not going much further anyway, standing and talking witha backpack in the sunis almostas hard as walking. I was tired and in awe of the big heart of the towns people.
I did get a ride the short distance back to the motel and. Am staying here for the night. Well for the rest of the morning because I fell asleep after the shower.
Saturday I will make it back to the world which is safe in a shed and roll on up the highway towards Kansas at whatever time it takes.
Thanks to the people of Fairfield, you are the best!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Coincidence, chance, choice.

This is the second time I have got up this morning. I don't know what time it is, just that it is dark, with a light breeze and the crickets are making their warming song. The first time awoke in a hot sweat. Doubtless from body pushing out the tannin in my muscles from the eleven or so miles I walked in the day. That is double what I walked the previous hot and windy day where I camped at the county line by the wood in tall grass. Each day has it's own special qualities. Thursday I broke camp as early as I could, it had rained throughout he night with lightening and thunder.that displayed a fabulous lightshow as it rolled in. During it's entrance ,for about 90 seconds, I heard the roar of what sounded like a train that faded away in an instant. After the glorious beginning we the huddled in the pup tent as it stormed all night. Nice (the dog) had the the high spot while I lay in a small pool of fresh water. I ha dbeen so tired and desperate to lay down when I pitched the tent I had layed the tent on several very short and narrow weed tree trunks that I had not seen but could then surely feel so my choices for a comfortable sleeping position were limited. I was incredibly well rested in the morning and we were on the road at 7am.
It was not long before the rain came agaain and we were cooled as we walked along the bottomland of the Little Wabash River. The wind was neither at my back nor stoping progress but a few times I had to walk the inside lane thus having to jump off the road for oncoming traffic.unlike my usualbstyle where a pull with the left and a roll with the stump while leaning against the leash to keep ,ice(the fog) off the road.
As we crossed the river and rose from the 'bottoms' the clouds bured off and thesun dried all but my soaked boots and at mid-day I stopped to change socks and dry the boot slightly .

-------- --------I am rambling----------

I will shorten to a point about choices. Upon entering town I was given two offers of a place to stay by two men. One calm and reverent, the other a. Man who racedthru to town on a horse in thhe days third shower. I chose the unassuming host and I was again graced with Gods grace. I am not being preachy but I would be crazy to think all the good on this journey comes from smple chance and not from a determined faith in the good in man. My sermon has ended.

I see now that the time is my 3am ramble.....good night

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

had to stop for wind

After most of the day pushing against the wind on very little sleep I just couldn't take it anymore. My energy low, feet hurting. And a long row yet to hoe before the next town. I pushed next to the closeest stand of trees intending to disappear in the wood for somemuch needed sleep. Ivy. Stopped me at the edge and as soon as I got my tent up I was overwhelmed with help from every direction.I am ever grateful for the waters,dog food and treats,fruit veggies.folding chair, cleaning water and basin, and other things.
Let me say that my foul mood has vanished and the wind has subsided.

If I can get to sleep and the wake up and get going early I may make town tomorrow.

A little rain a little Yarn

So this morning Igot some coffee at the Albion citco and diner where I sat at the 'liars table' and fit in spinning a yarn about walking from Kentucky rolling a big ball painted like the earth...the things some people believe......it is sprinklin' and is forcast to rain of and on today.
I am tired and haven't begun.

another 3am ramble...

Again I have awakened far too early after falling asleep without a couple ibuprophen to ease the swelling in my feet and injured hand. I'm not complaining because it's these times when I remember all the good people I have met who help me during the day. There are too many to mention because even the kind encouragement is as important as the ones who find us on the road with cold water or a snack for Nice (the dog). All through this walk I am in awe at the good in you all.so many times we are helped out just when we need help, even when I don't know I am in need. Like Monday night when the wind stopped me in front of the home of our host for the night. Or sunday (so much help on sunday) when the Promise keepers stopped with a meal-and a prayer- in the tall grass of Indiana. My first day back when the rain steered. Us to an out-building of the landfill and the helping hands who work there. Even to Nice(the dog) who accidentally bit my finger so we could pause our adventure for three weeks to reflect, regroup with the supply van and meet you people on our path today. We would not have met you three weeks ago perhaps. All things have there purpose if we take the time to find the good in them. Even loosing a knuckle to your best friend, Nice(the dog).

Alright , Good People , please forgive these 3am rambles...I will try to go back to sleep so I will not be too sarcastic on the road today while I learn to use my new mast-stick. I broke the mast in the wind yesterday...

Sailing for diabetes.

So many people are more than generous encouraging and giving to the cause. In my trip to Pittsburg I met only two people whose families were free of diabetes. Yet both told me they were so affected by their friends who suffered from diabetes they volunteered and fund raised often. This journey is much the same. We all need to take up the torch in some small way. Many small bits make a mountain. Encourage a friend , walk with a relative , sponsor someone you love .
I guess that may sound corny but as I hold the world against the wind I think of friends I have lost. Relatives of mine and of others who struggled and lost. Hoping I can make a difference in a small way. Will someone renew their dedication to their health- their family- their world by my sailing on the heartland with my rolling sail, my mast and jipp.
(Obviously I have a lot of time for thinking up metaphors)
Get out there people and make a difference. It is easy to do. Call the one you care for and tell them you want them to be around because you love them and ask if they need some help in managing . The asking may be all they need to get it.

Ahem...I had a good day walking and thanks to those who donated generously from the heart.

I must sleep.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I missed posting yesterday. I fell asleep with the blackberry in my hand.

Some time I am just too tired to review at the end of the day despite my best effort. I knew last night I had said I would say more of Sunday, our final day in Indiana. Sleep took me before I could write two sentences and when I stirred early in the night and read them they weren't very clear. ( I'm being polite )

Sunday I left from Princton Indiana not very confident I would get out of the state by nightfall. I went along at a steady pace though and as I remember the wind was light and not working against me. The border to Illinois wass the bridge over the Wabash river 9 to 11 miles from town,depending on which sign I went by. No one said the bridge over to Mt.Carmel was safe. During the day I was able to get the WG support unit (the old van) to the approach of the bridge thanks to a helpful family who made it happen in the early afternoon. Surprizingly I got to the support van with a little time to spare before dark. Several women came in search of Nice (the dog) to pour love and attention on him. Oh, and I got. Some good conversation too and truthfully I did get good help from them. I don't name names so thank you for all the help.I then stapped the world to the back of the van an we made to scary crossing to the great state of Illinois.

In the morning at 4:45 it started to rain lightly so I got up to unlash the world and then could not get back to sleep. Two young girls. Had arrabged to walk with us in the morning so we had good company most of the day. Even after it began to rain lightly they stayed on. When the girls mom came to get get them late in the morning they were loaded in the car an as we walked on suddenly they called. Out and had to keep going 'cause poor Nice (the dog) flashed them the sad eyes. They walked for over five miles but when their ride came they knew better than to gaze into our heros eyes.

The wind had been in our favor till then , it changed direction and progress was hard. The clouds kept us cool, then the sun burned through and soon we were hot and drinking water often. Then we stopped fir an intervieiw with the local paper (our second od the day under the shade of some trees in a weel kept yard. When the owner pulled up they were nice to let us stay untill I had changed my wet socks and was past the worst heat of the day.
The wind had shifted and each step was a challenge. I was getting worn thin from the elements and lack of sleep fom the past two nights. Then as I was walking past a man on a riding mower(the wind made phrase "walking past" a joke) he stopped. And we talked of my walk for Diabetes and he asked if I needed anything and his wife and he were my salvation for the night. Their hospitality has been great.
Thanks to them and to all the generous people who donate to the American Diabetes Association. And to those at risk- get out and excersize!

Walkin with love , worldguy. .

Monday, June 8, 2009

Seven tenths for safety

The bridge over the Wabash into Illinois is narrow and dangerous and even farm equiptment require closing it off for traffic. I opted to lash the world to WG support Unit (the old van) and be safe at the end of a long day and the final half mile of Indiana. Pride makes us do things, I chose to temper mine today.
I will post more before I begin walking in the morning because I need to sleep.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

This is not a macho endurance test old man!

I made it to wall-mart at 5:30 and I was fatigued and hot. Being an experienced carpenter I have learned to stay in the shade for the hottest part of the day from about 4pm to 5:30 but today I was on the business strip in Princeton just over the rise from the van when the wind kicked up which made it very hard to manage the world especially with my healing stump of a finger. I know, your thinking " Suck it up girly man!". By the time I got to some shade and close to the van I was crisp and shaking . More from lack of sleep and exertion keeping the world from spinning out of control than anything else as I had been drinking plenty of water.
Now it is getting. Toward dusk and the moon is close to full on the eastern sky and I have opted to just rest hear till morning and make. The last push of 9 to 10 miles for the bridge on Sunday. If I get to Illinois on Monday the world will not cease to turn .

Thanks to all who have helped me today and I enjoyed the conversations with everyone along the way. I am ever humbled by the good in people.

The point, the pain, the message.

I wonder when I wake up shivering and crying out from the ache of feet back and legs at three in the morning in this dew damp tent if people will get the point that health is important not just for them but also for the ones they love and who love them. A little pain from excersize is nothing compared to the heartache your loved ones will feel for years, indeed a lifetime ,if you pass on from self-neglect. I realize my mother had her reasons ,good and honorable ones, for putting off her own health concerns for the greater good. She was a State representative and a true public servent.She worked for women and children,the elderly and the sick in a time when shelter houses and regulation against abuse were in their formation.If she had taken the time for her own health she may still be alive today and done so much more in these twenty two years since her early demise..And I could enjoy her company in life, not in dreams so real I wake up convinced she is just a phone csll away. Yes, sadly, after 22 years I still have those tearful moments of a son who lost his mother, of seeing a gift just right for her, or almost picking up the phone.to share the birth of a child or a job well done.

I don't like my picture being taken for novelty. Twisting my ankles in ditches,picking ticks off my dog and myself everyday. News reporters (not. all) who twist your words and quote you as saying things that never left your mouth.I don't like chaffing, blisters,or sunburn. BUT it is worth the sacrifice if I can inspire somehow people to get fit, get healthy, sleep well and smile.perhaps you may know a grandchild , or change the world.

I should stop this early morning whine and get some sleep. Nice ( the dog) just put a concerned paw on my belly. Pets can tell when we are upset you know. Let's keep this little post just between us... Goodnight.

Friday, June 5, 2009

June5/09 All good people

Today I was blessed with help from beginning to end from the patrolman who gave nice a stuffed polar bear while I got ready to walk to the good people who helped me leap the van to Princtons' Wal-mart, the young man who after talking with me for awhile asked if I was taking cash donations (I do) and gave all he had made today saying he didn't know how much it was. He just have it all to the cause, bless him. And finally the couple who found $e at days end with a fine salad fit for a king.

I made camp under moonlight next to a tree a road and the railroad tracks.

I got the Evensville paper and the Clarion. Evilles reporter take great license with the quotes and facts but ...

Again, thank you one and all for the love and help.

Ps the vanilla. Extract does great for the gnats and mosquitos! You are great.

Now to be lulled by the rolling thunder of the trains, Good night.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

June4, 09 / From rain to shine

We began this morning staying in a tiny trailer between a church and a graveyard owned by my karaoke host who let us sleep late and picked us up at his break since the rain was not to let up till noon. He introduced his girl boxer who was coming out of heat to Nice(the dog), they wagged and she back right up to our hero but alas he was willing but has no equipment.
Then it was off to the world and all that lay ahead. We started slowly. At least I did,Nice(the dog) was full of vinegar so much that he stayed in front most of the time today as he was glad to be back. Cooing at all those that stopped to talk, it sounds like helloo! In dog speak.
We were interviewed three times today so I guess the newspaper coverage is handled for a few miles. We made it to Oakland city and the van after walking through the lowlands.
I want to thank the nice people of the penagostle church who had us in for a fine dinner, the kids at subway for the hoaggie and bacon for Nice (the dog) and the people who left me a basket of snacks apples and a german chocolate cake/pie under the tire of the van when I arrived.(Sweet!)
To top the night off I spoke to the officer who has been watching the van the past two nights. He was very impressed with Nice (the dog), so much he would not get out of his vehicle. We did have a good conversation after the initial shock of our hero pouring out of the back of the van. He will be checking on us through the night.
Some young men have volunteered to help spot the van to Princeton in the morning so that is one less thing, like Forest says.you know.

Sleep tight and thanks to all the people for their generous donations to the American Diabetes Association.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

three stitches, rain and karaoke

I spent the day dealing with rain and my festering stitches that the doctors office missed.in addition the antibiotics from the incident have thrown my body out off bacteria allowing an inner plume of yeast. Rupes' mom came and had what I needed in probiotics and help with the plucking which gave instant relief. The day was raining off and on so I couldn't walk anyway. I can not risk wet stump and Rupemom' was a Godsend whose care and knowledge I could not have gotten from the Doc
Then the mechanic from theshop took us to a little trailer to spend tonight after dinner and Karaoke. Who'd a thunk it? Life IS an adventure.
They predict rain early and then clearing. Not going to rush.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June2/09: back on the road and the sky opened up

I got up this morning after a restless sleep. Like the ones I always had the first day of school from anticipation. I got the last things loaded in the van and went to the laundramat to clean the clothes for the trip. My son and a friend followed me up past Huntingburg(where I saw the man from the waterworks. Who helped me. With the use of their facilities and one of the two young men from Birdseye as we stopped t the filling station- small world. to my last stop before "life lesson #1107;keep hands from fighting dog" unloaded the world and gear, took the van up the road to the next town and asked the manager of FREDS (I think that is the name) if I could leave it in the lot for a time while I walked to town. She went a step further and gave me a generous donationand said she'd inform the sherriff to let him know and possibly keep tabs on it. When we returned tothe spot and said goodbye to my friend and son who pulls up buy the mother of "Rupe" who had picked us up at that very same spot three weeks to the day prior. She said she rarely comes that way. Two minutes later and I'd have been out of sight. She was with a nurse who asdvised me on care for my wound.(They missed two stitches which I will have to soften and pull).while on the road.. After waling not more than a mile and a half the skys opened up and the winds blew and soaked us just a bit before we could get to an out building at the waste maintainance yard and after asking to stay for the rain we have been allowed to stay in here for the night or till the next shift. A good man had his Mom to bring me a portion o delicious cheese topped spagetti and he had some leftover ribs for Nice from his linch. With that and the piece of cardboard to lay on this dirty floor we are in Valhala. Not Veolia maintainance yard! Now if the sheet and change of clothes are dry I will be in good shape after I wrap my finger for the night.

Monday, June 1, 2009

June 1/ got my clearance from the Doc.

The dressing and sticthes came off today and after telling the doc what I was going to do for. Therapy I got his blessing and good luck wishes.

I spent the day getting all my gear together and supplied the van. Having the van close by (within forty miles enables me to lighten my load considerably. I have daith I will be able to get help leap-frogging with it so I can resupply every few days.I am going to leave a tub with a lid under the van for those who may want to help by leaving me water etc.

Now I am relaxing and waiting for morning. Kansas take two.