Sunday, December 30, 2012

Overnight stop.

I had a board meeting over the phone and we concluded it best to go south below the frost line. I drove to Bowling Green, found the WallyWorld and inflated the world. After gluing some of the patches that have loosened and darkness fell I tuned into the weather radio. It seems I have not gone far enough. The low temps will be in the twenties with rain and snow expected over the next days. The world is already frosting over from the moisture the sun didn't burn off. A few people stopped to ask what was up with the world so at least I got to get the message out while I was working the world over.

Frozen in Place

There is a first time for everything. This morning the world was frozen. The sweater for the dog has frozen from his playing in the snow. I discovered the distance to Bardstpwn is a few miles further than I thought. Wearing the big yellow "duck boots" cuts down my speed. On my best days twenty miles requires that I would need to start early and walk into the night. I am old, the world has it's pace over the bumps and brambles, that is the best I can do... On my best day. The canvas planet and every thing is frozen. This has not happened before, I can only wait for sunshine and warmth. Today is a good day to wait for sunshine and warmth. Perhaps a Chang of plans... Darn that spell check...
The world can only bear so much abuse.

This is not my best day for walking twenty miles.







Saturday, December 29, 2012

Peace on Earth, a great thing to wake up to.



Getting to it

I walked away from the neighborhood where I stay. The drone of the expressway numbs from over the concrete wall three houses over. As the morning light defined the bare trees, all with some sort of animal nest, I settled into the quiet and wobbled the World past the darkened homes then out to the busy morning traffic. Knowing the streets in my hometown I took advantage of a few shortcuts out of town. I had it in mind to stop and give my son one last hug as I passed by his grandmothers home where he lives but he was at orientation for school. My missing him in that manner made me happier than an embrace. My brother and sister have been home for the holidays, possibly the last time in years we would all be here at the same time. My brother called as he was waiting to go to the plane. My sister appeared with her car full of memories to take with her and as we kissed and talked about the good in our life Bobby McFerron's " Don't worry be happy" came on the radio. We smiled at the timing and coincidence. I weaved through one last quiet neighborhood before the main road south out of the county where at the end of the day I was able to stay in the parking lot of Bootleg B-B-Q next to the bar. A friend helped me get the support van and I settled in for the night with a light snow falling. When I arose as it became light the world was covered in a coat of fresh snow, someone had etched a Peace symbol in the snow-cap. Peace on Earth...a good idea to wake up to. I put on my bright yellow rubber snow boots, slipped booties on Nice (the dog) and we began the first day ever in snow. The booties disappeared one by one as Nice frolicked in the snow. He doesn't like the boots so his playfulness increased as he lost them. From the B-B-Q we walked to Mt.Washington. To my surprise many people stopped to talk even with the slush. A woman came out from her house wearing flip-flops and a t shirt. She worked at a local hospital and knew well the ravages of diabetes. We shared stories concerning diabetes , good and bad, concluding some get it that diabetics need to do more than take their medications without changing bad habits that may have contributed to their condition and thrive by keeping and living healthy. Others stubbornly do not and suffer from their choice, so do their families left with memories. Their choice... After walking up a long hill pushing the waterlogged canvas world I was wet , I had to keep moving to stay warm.As I made my way to the south end of town I was pondering if I should press on and commit to another fifteen miles to the city of Bardstown which meant walking into the night on the narrow highway when a carload of women stopped. They had looked us up on the "net" and came for a picture. After a few questions and answers they offered to take us to the van. I was able to roll across to Walgreens and leave the world tied to a pole returning a few minutes later and get permission to stay on the property from the manager who coincidently had seen us "all over social media". Thanks to the grace of good people I was saved from my stubborn tendencies and can wait for the weather front to pass in the relative comfort of my support van. Fifteen miles is more realistic with a fresh start in tomorrows clearing skies.
All in all it was a good time to begin, despite the speed bumps.
Enjoy!



Friday, December 28, 2012

South Bound

Read into it whatever you like.
I am beginning another hike .
Maybe Michigan...by way of Tennessee.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

An unexpected journey

Instead of driving the three miles to see The Hobbit where I will sit in the theatre for the length of the movie, I walked.
If I can talk the talk about daily exercise I can walk the walk.

Friday, December 14, 2012

12 12. 12

I inflated the world and walked with Nice and Toby ( the dogs ) hoping to find the little one a home. We walked all day what could have been 12 miles. We started at 12:12. Did not find Toby a home. I was sore to the core all night trying to sleep but it felt great to be so worn out again.

Toby needs a home.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I have been to the mountaintop.

I took a drive to the top of Goat Mountain and even rode the elevator up the observation tower above Hot Springs. Before that I met up with a woman who had stopped the previous morning as I was readying to walk for the day. The purple van had caught her eye and the blue and green world tied to it was too much to resist. She brought me a small bucket of quartz crystals her late husband, a Native American had collected. West Arkansas is not only famous for its hot springs but it's rich crystal deposits and as I walked through the state II asked people about it. Some told me that Goat Mountain has been a place where native Americans revered as a place of spiritual importance. A short time before I arrived a large number of of locals and natives had gathered there for a hand-holding-moment to bring a sort of healing to the world. I was late for the "moment" but felt the healing power, real or imagined, of the area though the mountain was long ago taken from the Indians and was now part of the national park system. As with all the parks I have visited the throngs of visitors and necessary development have helped to both trample and preserve the beauty. Over the miles and years I have met those of many faiths by the side of the road. There is no denying the power of nature, whatever force I believe creates , assists and maintains.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The morning after

When I got out of the shower and took a good look at my heal any doubt that I should keep walking faded. A diamond of swelling wrapped the back of the foot. It was time to heal and enjoy the holidays. I wanted to see my son. Still, pride battled with reason and I was stuck in the middle to referee. There were two days until Thanksgiving, plenty of time to get back home and also view Hot Springs from the mountain park above. Or I could walk just a few miles each day, avoid the holiday traffic, not step in any holes, or run over bridges, scurry along ditch lines while walking across a national park hoping the foot would heal. (I struggled with this?) I put my socks on and winced as I slipped on the shoe.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The fork in the road

When I had made my way to the far side of Central Avenue, Hot Springs main attraction with shops, spas and hotels who's "hay day" roared in the 1920's, I stopped. The day had begun outside of town at a Subway. The day before we had started from the Subway by Hot Springs Village. There was a Subway at this fork in the road, so I walked in for a cup of soup and a sandwich. There I met a young couple who had talked to me earlier as I walked the tourist gauntlet of pictures and questions. With more time, they now told me of a friend who had passed away the previous day. A young man with diabetes who never took good care of his condition, had lost his leg a month before but still found his way to the bar. They had found out he had died as they walked in the local hospital to visit a relative when they met another childhood friend who had been there at the hospital when the mutual friend had passed. This was another of many similar stories I had heard across Arkansas, not just in that state, where the end could have been different. Maybe it was "their time" to go, we three were there at the counter ordering relatively healthy meals, I can use the dear lost friends as an example to remind me how important is to take better care of myself. I have a long way to go, I have many bad habits to change. (Holding on to them "kicking and screaming" like child being torn away from a toy covered in lead based paint.) I went out and sat on the curb to eat between the World with Nice (the dog) and relaxed. As I ate I reflected on the journey from West Memphis, the many people and things I have learned along the way. I had walked to come to terms with a death and by talking about it a thousand times I did feel better. I had succeeded in bringing attention to diabetes while processing the passing of my loved one but I had also injured my foot (I downplay the pain) and with Thanksgiving a few days away I decided it really was time to stop.
Deciding it was time to return home was one thing, that happening meant i had to get moving and have "faith" that decision was a good one. I stood up to get my backpack on and roll on to find a place to end the day when my ride appeared with the added bonus of a hopeful tale concerning diabetes. It was a couple, the wife was diabetic and the husband had lost a large amount of weight. They helped restore some balance to the day dominated by tales of lost hope and victims to diabetes. We loaded the world on their truck and I enjoyed hearing the man's story about being near death from obesity and finding faith in himself to "turn his world around". My foot had been stinging with pain so their offer to transport us , world and all, had perfect timing. Once back at the van I let the air out of the world, loaded it into the back and returned to the fork in the road where I parked for a few minutes then decided to drive away into the sunset. Just then a woman called, she invited me to meet her son and husband but first told me of the annual Chili Cook Off that was just a few blocks away. I drove there instead of hurrying out of Arkansas and waited for them to get there. The event started a few minutes after I arrived. The family showed up as I had eaten my fill of chili samples. They invited me to stay at their home to shower and rest till morning, they didn't have to ask me twice. The fourteen year old son had been type-1 diabetic since age eleven, a fine example of lifestyle management. The whole family changed their diet eliminating sugars, monitoring levels and being active. The disease runs in the family and the young man had relatives who gave him examples of what not do. His dedication was inspiring, at fourteen he had one of the best attitudes about it. With two great parents, help from his community and a strong Will he will strive. An interesting coincidence is the two men, my ride and the father of the boy with the strong will, had worked together for years. Though it was time to stop, by the days end I felt it was not yet time to leave.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Healing

What urged me to put myself out on the road was to grieve the loss of my brother-in-law. Talking to hundreds about his passing during the walk along the Arkansas "Trail of Tears" helped to bring my feelings up to the surface. Sharing vulnerable thoughts is not a practice "hard wired" in the culture today. For years after my mother passed I bemoaned her loss. Through a strange development of circumstances I found myself literally telling the world about her death over and over. She did many great things during her life to help others but, after sharing what she could have done had she lived longer I had to "come to grip"that she had faults(hard to even write those three words) like anyone else and had not balanced her life properly with exercise, healthier diet, proper sleep, checking her "sugar" while working to champion causes as a state legislator. Two days before she died she was in intensive-care, her heart too far gone, she wanted only to attend a hearing as an advocate for coal miner's rights two days later. Dedication? I am proud that she was determined to the end and have to take a lesson or two that "come knocking" as I open that door over and again. Einstein said life is like riding a bike, easy as long as you keep your balance. Stubborn dedication toward a goal is fine. Giving myself an equal measure of care is a hard lesson to grasp. Even if the need is great giving myself permission to heal (on many levels) is part of life. Of only I can remember that as I charge against windmills or traverse rocky fords in the dark.
It took my walking about two hundred miles for me to get in touch with something about my brother that escaped me until the day I walked to downtown Hot Springs. I was angry at him, frustrated he left two daughters like my mother left us, sad that I knew his habits and the way he balanced his meals with a shot ,didn't exercise or seem to care, and I spent the day telling everyone about it. I mimicked dead brother-in-laws' tone of voice, I flailed my arms in his characteristic style, I called him every name in the book and professed my love for the old grouch. To my surprise many, too many, shared tales of lost loved ones and friends who did the same and had passed. A photographer from the Sentinal-Record in Hot Springs got the same as all the rest. When he asked how far I was going. " I have walked in thirty eight states, walked with this dog over six thousand miles during seven other walks and this one began in West Memphis. I've walked thru Little Rock to here. What more do you want from me?" I told him I had a torn heal, I should allow to heal and I missed my son so I was debating going home for Thanksgiving. He was very understanding, our photo was on the front page the next day despite my honesty.
We laughed with one another the last time we met, I smile with your memories.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gravity and Pull

Walking the world sometimes draws me to the unexpected. Though filled with hot air I am often led to a spot by the wobbling canvas planet making me wonder what forces are at play, gravity, wind or influences "out of this world". I had been rolling down a narrow shoulder keeping the world on the line while I was scrambling along a ditch like Groucho when I felt a pebble in my shoe. Across the road was an overgrown driveway that I thought I might stop at to clear my shoe. Then I had the thought I would keep going for awhile, the pebble was not that large. Then the world stopped, a bunch of tall grass halted its momentum. My phone chimed a suspenseful alert. Suddenly a line of cars sped by keeping me from continuing. As the road cleared a breeze urged me across to the overgrown lane with two metal posts at its entrance. Once to the other side I noticed a broken board with the word cemetery on one broken piece and the name of the cemetery on the other. They had hung from a cable that had been strung between the poles. If there was a cemetery it was either too far back to see or in utter neglect. When I let loose the leash from the world it wobbled uncharacteristically to the pole and broken sign some fifteen feet away finally coming to rest against the pole and the boards. I tried to roll the world back to the gravel, it seemed to resist until the moment I had the thought to prop the sign up off the ground. With no further effort the world rolled out of the way. I leaned the pieces against the pole and walked away forgetting all about the boulder in my shoe.
Thru Arkansas I have been scanning the ground for broken ceramic or china for a mosaic. Many times I have been walking along endless fields and a glint has me look down to find a shard from a cup. In some unlikely places I am brought to a halt by the wind as I come over a hill or bank around a turn or the wind funnels at edge of tree line. Not long after the cemetery grounds we had climbed a hill and rounded a bend that opened to new road construction where a hillside had been blasted away and a new roadbed sloped gently to replace the twisting narrow road below (locals call it Dead Man's curve). At the outermost edge of the newly fashioned bend in the road a wind surged and the world rolled back up the hill a few turns at the edge of the fresh tamped gravel shoulder under the last shaded spot for as far as I could see. I bent down to remove my shoe and the pebble to see there were several pieces of thick pottery amidst the sea of newly quarried gravel. The wind subsided and then gravity allowed the world to spin again.
Where a pond was separated by the road and a large culvert that didn't warrant a guardrail but did have several reflector posts which made me need to wait for traffic to pass. When I had a clear path I was held in place by Nice (the dog). He had found a tuft of grass to sniff and was anchored to the ground where he stood. I pulled, he resisted, I surrendered, he sniffed . I relaxed while I waited and looked out at the shallow pond I was about to race past and was compelled to take a picture because... It was picturesque. Then two families stopped, two mothers with many children. They took turns posing for pictures and we all had a happy visit by the pond. When they had left Nice pulled me over the roadway past the culvert as abruptly as he had stopped me ten minutes earlier.
Gravity or pull by a force of nature, sometimes it's better to relax and go with the flow.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Waxing loquacious

I was feeling rested and enthused when I began the day. When people stopped to talk I was full of stories and answers to their questions. The layover on Saturday was relaxing and I was in no hurry so when I was asked a question they got a long winded answer. I had to stop myself a few times. Recalling people I have met was helpful when a woman and daughter stopped. The mother said she might cry as the was walking up to me. Her daughter had just said she had lost hope of "them" finding a cure for diabetes for type one diabetics, she was one, and there I was on the road with a few tales of a research scientist I met in Connecticut who was working to regenerate pancreas and other insulin dependent people I had met who love long healthy lives with diet and exercise. All the twists and turns somehow had me there by the road to maybe bring a little hope.
The entire day I couldn't shut up. At the end of the day when I was relaxed in the van and almost asleep I received a call from a man writing for "the Village Voice" in Hot Springs Village ,the largest gated community in the nation,who I had seen on Friday as I was working hard to get to my stop so I asked him to call me after dark. When he did call I was still busy and turned him away again. He got an earful once I got started. I could hear his keypad whirring away over the phone as I spun yarn till he'd had his fill. I laughed at myself as we said goodbye and I drifted off to sleep.
Today I will try to keep it short and sweet on my way to Hot Springs.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Loosing spark

We walked along the Hot Springs Highway for fourteen miles over hill and dale through ditches into the dark and during the night both my feet did "protest much". I was willing to give the nine miles walk to the next stop a chance with a small bit of enthusiasm. Very small. I started the van, as I do every morning to use the air pump and "pressurize" the world. It ran normally for a few moments then died. I was relieved more that I would not be walking than I was worried how I could find a place to fix the van. Luckily there was a service station nearby that was able to tow and repair the problem, on Saturday, and get me on the road before noon. By back I mean to say, a dozen miles back outside the Hot Springs Village community to the shopping center parking lot I had began the day along highway 5 where I inflated the world, spent some time adding new and repairing loose patches. Now the patches have cured and the world is ready for another day. That day is not today. My foot very much needs the rest, as does Nice (the dog), the world is better than it was when I crushed it and crammed it into the van this morning and the support van has spark. I intend to have spark tomorrow.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A few good men

The first pulled up just as I was taking the first steps away from the van. I had a hard time starting and almost dreaded walking. Reminding myself that I may reach some old grump that may begin to walk every day and that couldn't happen if I gave in to excuses. This first gentleman told me he had heard I was stopped there and had come to thank me, he was insulin dependent since he was child, had taken good care of his body but as his family members who also had suffered from the disease had passed at the same age in their mid forties he had recently redoubled his efforts to watch his diet and pushed himself to hard exercise even after his twelve hour work shifts. He said his doctor, at his last checkup told him he was the healthiest patient he had. His story energized me and brightened the already cloudless morning.
The next morning after I began walking the first person to stop and talk was also a man dependent on insulin since he was young, also a father, also went to the gym to keep active. Like the day before, meeting someone who for one was more fit than I have ever been, I was humbled by the thanks he gave me when it was obvious he had been more dedicated to a healthy lifestyle than I during my life. I have said it before that some of the healthiest looking people I meet are diabetics who care for themselves, in turn, for their loved ones.
The third, more a story like mine, a man who was overweight, had decided he would change his diet and get back to walking and exercise rather than slip into diabetes and dependence to medications. He had lost and incredible amount of weight and enthusiastic about getting back to the man he was when he was when he served in the military. Again I was inspired. If I could eventually loose the weight he already has I would be the size I had been when I left high school.
I have many friends and relatives who gave up and are no longer here. They didn't give up really, they didn't see signs, listen to their loved ones trying to help. Because of these relatives, friends and a few god folks I meet on the road who spur me on positively, I will walk... One day at a time.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The middle

A coat of frost covered the world as the sun rose over the trees. The morning chill tightened my muscles and my will to get back under a blanket battled my enthusiasm while I prepared to head down "the pike". Once I got going the next two days were a stark contrast to the days since I began. After I walked past the stone that marks the middle of Arkansas people were nicer and more talkative. Some nice women got together last night and got me a room. Showers and a warm bed have given me a better attitude.
I'll write more later, now I am going to walk.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The power

We crossed the bridge to Little Rock and rolled up to the state Capitol before heading thru town. All day in the city folks had time to stop, many asked how I managed and where I slept. When I explained how we get help from good people we meet to leap-frog the support van up to where we finish the day all I actually had at days end was many well wishes . As the sun raced to the horizon I began to loose faith in this system that seems work in all places but in large cities. My foot was sore and I could feel it swelling . As I walked past a seminary some young men came to the road and asked my story. I half heartedly shared and to my surprise they helped. The man who helped with the ride was a veteran who shared his experience after returning home from "the war", becoming lost in drink and depression. He shared with me the night with a bottle in one hand and gun in the other he had his moment where his faith called him to give his life for ministry rather than end it all.
A powerful choice, a good choice.

Monday, November 12, 2012

North Little Rock

From Lonoke the distance was more than I like to push us. Nice(the dog) and I hold well up to fifteen miles. By sunrise we had walked a few miles out of town. When the sun went down we were on Broadway in North Little Rock. Both of us were sore after the twenty-plus miles when I finally called the one man and his wife who had taken the time to offer help that day. People stopped during our walk from Lonoke but most snapped a picture then drove on with a thankful word for the cause. They have lived along this highway since childhood and I learned much of the changes and events on this road, The Trail of Tears, heritage trail, butterfield trail. I have followed this road from West Memphis never realizing it was the path also of the famous civil rights march. That, in an abstract, explained to me the distance I have felt along this trail of tears. Because the area I stopped in and the threat of heavy rains on Sunday we loaded the deflated world in the bed of their truck then rolled it up and got it in the van back in Lonoke where I was too exhausted to drive back to the city so I curled up next to the hard balled up world.
When I awakened my old Achilles injury caused so much discomfort I was gasping for breath. Nice was content to rest while I washed a load of clothes at the laundry before heading to North Little Rock where I parked at the vacant lot of a leveled drive thru restaurant. The rain finally came late in the afternoon followed by a cool front. During the night a local officer checked on the van. He quickly recognized who I was having seen our story and recommended we begin in the morning from the riverfront a few blocks away. It is brisk with clear skies this morning. A beautiful day for a walk over the bridge into Little Rock. The swelling has gone down and if I don't attempt walking to Hot Springs all in one day the heal may allow me to keep going.
Thanks to the NLRP and my new friends for the help and advice.
Walk daily, take a friend.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lonoke

Another quiet day walking. The usual tug-o-war with Nice(the dog) for a mile as we walked among the Arkansas farmlands. The Little Rock tv 11news came for an interview. The reporter/meteorologist asked if she could walk Nice as we walked, I told her not to resist when he tugs but she may have weighed half of what I do and she soon was sitting on her haunches, she was not ready for a Nice tugging match.
A few quiet miles later we arrived in the town of Lonoke. The final mile had a paved walking path parallel to the highway, a repurposed railroad bed, where met the first two people I had seen in Arkansas who were out just walking, they told me that they walk twice each day two miles. They seemed to glow with a happy attitude as they bounced along. Of course they agreed walking was a good thing for all.
I stopped for lunch at the center of town where the Lonoke newsman sat and asked questions as I ate. When we left the restaurant that was across from the police station the sheriff and another officer along with two women and another man asked from the opposite side of the road what the world/ball was made of and if Nice(the dog) protected it. He had let the women come and pet him but had put himself between the world and the Sheriff. It worked out well in the end, the sheriff gave me a ride to the van and made sure the whole police force knew I would be parked across the town square that night. If not for Nice standing off men with guns in Arkansas we may have been without a ride. Like I said, it was a quiet day.

Hazen to Carlisle

Not much happened along the road. Just a few people stopped for a photo. Most simply stopped, snapped and thanked me as they drove on. A man who I had met in Hazen stopped three times to chat and even brought me a subway sandwich. He was originally from Connecticut, though he had a southern twang his nor'easter habits gave him away. Asking if I was "all set" and knowing what a "grinder" was gave him away, aside from stopping and being outwardly sociable three times. Somehow that is not atop the list 'round here a'. As I walked in Carlisle I did meet a woman who knew where I could park for the night. A vacant lot with just a concrete slab,,, all that was left of their family business after a tornado a few years ago. I was a perfect spot with a small bunch of willows. With help from the chatterbox of Hazen, an import from California I got a ride back to get the van. I didn't get to say much. Same as the Connecticut Cowboy,or me, you can take the girl out of the valley but you can't take the valley out of the girl. I am joking when I say all of this.

Whatever (roll of the eyes).

At the end of the day a man and his wife brought me fruit and a hot plate of pork chops and greens and a young woman came to find me and tell me her father had recently been diagnosed with adult onset diabetes which scared her enough to start dieting and walking. She now is up to ten miles a day and has lost and incredible amount of weight. The hardest part is her father is doing little to manage his condition...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Hazenarkansas

Aside from the strong headwind I pushed against over the flats and ponds with no cover to break the force of the wind it was a good days walk into Hazen from DeValls Bluff where we began the day with an impromptu interview with Ernest P. Glass and his sidekick. The windshield squeegee was a nice touch. Gotta' have fun wherever you can.
I had a relaxing afternoon and evening with a nice family in Hazen listening. I hardly said a word, refreshing.
As always I met diabetics and families who dealt with diabetes. None disagreed that walking helped control the ailment . Love yourself, go for a walk daily.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The skies cleared

Grey and cloud filled skies loomed all morning as I walked out of Brinkley on election day.The first several miles were wide open with a broad paved shoulder with room enough for me to stay off the grass wet from the rains of the previous day. When the road narrowed through the wildlife refuge the roadbed was elevated above marshlands making the way slow because of the steep drop along the roadside. Whenever a car or truck approached I would stop and hold the world off the road but standing under it to keep it from getting any momentum down the side. U.S.-70 is the old road and the bridges are narrow . When I rolled up on the first long bridge there was a man waiting to take a picture of me. His wife had told him of me so he came out to find me. He knew the narrow stretch and offered a ride over the rest of the dangerous span of road. Sorry to let anyone down, I took the ride. My knees and shoulders were stiff from the rain on Monday, the wind was strong and the bridges as well as the roadsides were too tight. He let us off where the highway turned back to farmlands and wide sloping ditches. He may have saved me from being hurt or worse.The winds were strong across the open fields only lightening up when I got close to the little town of Biscoe before the next little town of DeValls Bluff. The owner of the grocery came and gave me a ride when we got to the park along the White River.
Because of the good Samaritans I was able to have enough daylight to do some repairs to the World before enjoying a beautiful sunset .

-to clarify-
A number of diabetics who happen upon me not knowing what I am doing then thank me for walking for them. I am , more than that, walking to get through to them. Walking is helpful to the one who walks. Not so much for those who do not.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Lost and Found

Outside Palestine I took a picture,then clipped my phone back on its harness that hangs from my neck, walked about one mile before looking down to see the phone was gone. All I could do was walk back scanning the ground for a small black phone. Not far from where I had holstered the phone it lay in plain sight. A heart stroke of luck because I walk sometimes far from the narrow shoulders in the tall grass which could easily swallow a tiny wedge of plastic.
Then the rain began to fall most of the day to Wheatley thru to Brinkley where it was well past dark when I finally found a place to park for the night. Without the help of K and the Brinkley police we could be out in the cold instead of under a warm blanket in the van. Thank you all.

Busy work

As we cross Arkansas encouraging everyone I meet to take time to walk, to stay active for their health and to control diabetes I collect tiny pieces of broken china and ceramic tile for my friends college mosaic project. She has some philosophical theme to the fact it will be made completely with discarded scrap of our time. Often ancient digs leave only pottery. Maybe these pieces will be found by our descendants. What a happy note.
Enjoy a walk, love yourself as you do that for your body.
It looks like rain is on it's way. If I don't go now I might be stuck here...palisteeen.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Walking tall over the bridge to Madison

Didn't make the full twenty into Forrest City because of the winds. The breeze died down just as the storm blew through just after I was escorted across the bridge heading into Madison by Arkansas own "walking tall" policeman,he let me hold his big "walking tall"stick later when I parked outside city hall for the night with the help of the good couple who I had first met this morning, they shuttled my van for me getting it there just as I rolled up. Didn't have very many conversations today but the few I had we're golden, from first to last.
The wind put me through my paces today so I will have to wait for morning to see what parts ache. It may be raining when I awake, if it rains I can sleep a little longer. The storms rolling past already have my shoulders feeling like I bore the world on them today. Today was no picnic with the winds , it ended well. What more can I ask?
I could ask everyone to walk...

Plain windy

The wind picked up awhile ago blowing hard directly at us. It is warm and the sky is almost clear with only a few white clouds to the north. I have had to take a roadside break from this wind that is wearing me down with ten miles still to go.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lehigh to Heath

Ten miles with new shoes doesn't usually cause a blister but it being my second day after two and a half months walking comfortable sidewalks then going to grassy shoulders friction got the better of my left foot. Not enough Bag Balm. Tomorrow the distance is twenty so we will need to start early. Blisters or not, it is still twenty miles.
All the people I have met in Arkansas have been nice, most talk with the accent I grew up with so I feel right at home. The land is pretty flat so far and the spiders ride the wind leaving single strands in my path covering my hat by the end of the day with glistening webs and fluff of cotton that hitch a ride.
I still have writing block. A long walk might loosen my tongue. I certainly feel better when I walk. Give it a try.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Leaving the nest

For two and a half months I have been at home, making a home, letting myself be at home, nesting. During that time as I picked up a few pounds of leasure-weight despite long walks, bike rides, yard work and regular "work-work". Whenever I would have the thought to stay home and leave my efforts to get out the message of moving to prevent or control diabetes I would receive a call or a message from one of the many people I have met encouraging me to keep pushing. Several things in my personal life and of those close reached completion of sorts. So many things I wanted to write but I couldn't , I had writer's block. Losing my Brother-in-law to diabetes, my son finishing high school after his trials and tribulations both rocked my World and lifted it up are just two examples. Though it has rough edges my nest is as tidy as it ever has been. My boy is on "the road to recovery" with a plan for his future I have to watch from a distance. My Brother-in-law passing despite my asking him to "walk with me" each time I stopped by to visit has me charged to keep the "movement-movement" going. It is time to fly the coup, to inflate the World and West Memphis is a good as any place to continue...love yourself, walk.

Friday, October 12, 2012

When the World goes quiet...

My brother-in-law died last weekend. He passed of an apparent heart attack. He was insulin dependent and recently blind from diabetes. "This is some cruel joke ", is what  I tell myself.  Knowing him since I was seven years old he helped form the way I "go about" my world. Certain mannerisms a child picks up from the teenaged boyfriend that was always at the house hanging with your big big sister. Now , at fifty,   I can only honor him with good delivery of a tale or joke . Many other things I learned from him through the eyes of a child. Those lessons, good or missed, are'nt easily forgotten. In my life, he was as close as a person could get to being a  blood  relative. Goodbye Curt.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Friendships, moments, the Journey.

Each of our little walks have had a beginning and end. For me they blend together, each adding to the mix of friendships, days with beautiful sights, challenges from weather, many one-line-wisdoms from a short yet everlasting roadside conversation that fold the all journeys into one experience. Not only the months and miles I walk, but the periods leading up to the walks and times like these at the "journey end" combine to blur the "start" and "finish". While I have been pondering the experiences of the walk from Washington to California it feels like a continuance of the last walk and the first walk hasn't ended. If the end is blurred then when did my journey begin? Was it decades ago when I first set eyes on the World, when I borrowed it for a picnic that ended up being a memorial picnic for my mother who passed three days before the event; hundreds attended. Or was it when I inflated the World for my son's birthday and took it for a walk to the park?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bridges and Fog

I handed the World over without reservation to Thomas and Skye knowing they could finish the journey to the Golden Gate Bridge that I could not complete by foot. I spent the day shadowing them from a distance. As darkness fell I knew they were going to find a place to camp close to town. There was a man and woman splitting wood close to the highway. I asked if they had seen a young couple with reflective jackets go by. They had been by a few minutes prior. The woman asked if I was with them, I hesitantly told them I was not, and then confirmed I was, wanting to let Skye and Thomas to their own devices. As I walked away I overheard the woman berating the man for thinking "those kids" were homeless, that they are what they had said they were. Further into town there was a baseball field filled with people. There I thought the young couple could find some help. When I later talked to the new guardians of the World they told me they had asked many for a place to pitch there tent for the night but encountered distrust from the townsfolk, only finding a nice man at the far end of town. Hiking down the road is very different from the sideshow of the World tied to a guy and a dog lumbering along; less smiles. I stopped next to the only gas station in the next town that night so I could be there when they opened, there are few towns along the forgotten coast and fewer places to get fuel. After a night of restless dreams I awoke knowing I had to stop holding on, let Skye and Thomas take the reins. They had made it from Seattle without a chaperon and my lingering around would deplete what little resources I had for my trip home. reluctantly like a bird pushing a chick from the nest I began the journey home through the foggy snakelike Shoreline Highway down the coast to The Golden Gate (where Skye and Thomas called on the cell phone just as I passed over), the Bay Bridge (I last crossed the Bay Bridge 8 days before the earthquake that closed it), toward home.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Good Advice

A woman, a friend called her son to ask for his input on a guy walking a six foot ball down the coast. Being well versed on the ins-and-outs of the right-of-ways and after "shooting down" all the possibilities during the lengthy conversation he asked why I was walking. When she told him he had one piece of advice...
"Don't stop."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

WG to HP

Once I handed off the World (in tin form) to Skye and Thomas I had a transformation. I suddenly became a doading parent to them instead of fearless World Guy. I spent the day waiting, driving back and forth to check their progress and didn't rest until I knew they were safely off the road and settled for the night. If I hovered over them the rest of their journey I would take away from the magic of the road. I was going to be their helicopter mom and I didn't want that so I had to leave them to the task at hand, they will make it to S.F. on their own, without me.
They update the journey on: www.walknumberone.tumblr.com

Friday, August 17, 2012

Reasons

Who knows the plan really?
Sharing a drive along a wooded road, then an ocean vista before a stop at a seaside deli. All twists and turns, stops and starts seem random. Then you are privileged to witness a rainbow, or the courtship of two beautiful creatures through the fog, or as you patiently wait for your hot meal to be prepared. Surrender your World to the care of the Skye. Be a Positive Thomas!
Cast yourself to the wind. A spiders web may slow you just enough to bump into your next inspiration...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Turning "The World" Over

I had walked since midnight in the dark and early morning mist when I had to stop on the side of the road. From the bluff above me across the road I heard a woman's voice calling,"It's World Guy! Look! It's World guy!" It was a couple, Skye and Thomas, who were walking from Seattle to San Francisco. They had heard of us through the travelers grapevine long before meeting us there in Oregon. I had walked that night to avoid the high winds that had just picked up. I was grumpy, they were getting started from where they had camped by the beach, excited and fresh for the day. We talked a few minutes and they were gone. They passed me again one day as the sun grew hot. I was pushing against a head wind on an uphill grade, not so enthusiastic while they were full of energy as they disappeared around the bend.One morning I was getting a ride back to retrieve the van and saw them off to the side of the road hugging for warmth after rising out of their tent.(Awww! I thought to myself), I had somehow passed them a third time after an all night walk when we crossed paths again. This time I gave them a reflective vest I had in the van. Given to me by a line-repair crew for BNSF when I was in Minnesota. After they left I unburied another lightweight mesh vest added to a bag of shirts and safety items a company out of Louisiana gave me. I carried it in my pack from then on in case I met them again. Meeting them again was unlikely, because I had a string of shorter walking days, having to skip past long stretches of restricted roads and my slow pace while getting through the Redwoods. After my previous posting I zigzagged down the treacherous Route-1 in the van with the World crammed in the back, stopping several times for pictures and to let Nice (the dog) bask in the cool shore sunlight. The road along the coast is twisting up and down hills with blind spots throughout. There was no straight section we could safely walk until I had driven to Fort Bragg. I was feeling down from having no road to safely get the World all the way to San Francisco. From Fort Bragg to Mendocino the way was wide but I would then have to skip for safety past many miles of coastal road unfit for the World as we know it. I motored into Fort Bragg and stopped on the Main drag. I got out and walked a few blocks quite aimlessly then turned around to walk a few more blocks in the other direction. Deciding that I needed to get back to the van I turned about one more time, crossed the Main Street of Fort Bragg, got to the van to keep wondering south. Looking over my shoulder after putting the shifter into drive I saw the traveling love-birds. As they saw me. We had a happy reunion, going to dinner and catching up on one and the other's adventures. They had been able to walk all the way where I had been warned off, turned around, the World vandalized and repaired, the World neglected and repaired, then I had little choice but to swallow my pride and drive to the coast which was not seeming any more accommodating. Of all the stops and starts we each have had we were all amazed to see each other again. I stayed the night by where they camped, we had breakfast together and they walked with me awhile as the wind blew hard from the South and interested folks stopped us for pictures, explanation and to love on Nice (the dog). I was setting my sights for Mendocino, they were going to have their scheduled day of rest, get a room to wash and catch up on correspondences so they parted with me by the post office as I posed for another photo. They passed me one more time before they checked into their motel, we said our final goodbyes.
I walked along the token stretch between Fort Bragg and Mendocino which was about all I knew I could walk without getting into any tight turns where no one could see the World in front of them. I crossed three bridges without incident, two were narrow and I jogged across their short spans. Then I came to the Casper bridge which had a three foot bike lane on each side. I stopped to take a picture, had a bite to eat, I just stood there for several minutes before I started over the long straight span. Two cars passed with traffic on both sides moving along with enough room for all of us. Then I hear a voice that loudly tells me to get off the road. I had waited all that time so the CHP sergeant could find me on the bridge. After jogging to the end of the bridge before removing myself from the road, it was a beautiful view with one long step off from the Casper Bridge. The long and short of it was that unless I get a permit from Caltrans I could not walk on Route-1. Caltrans won't give a permit because "You are on the CHP radar now. Caltrans has known about me since I got into California. All the local and county police have been more than supportive all the way as they all said. It's ok until the CHP see you".
To symbolically finish the walk to S.F. I found Skye and Thomas the next day before they crossed the bridge and asked if they would carry a tiny World that has been with me on all my trips. They had a choice, a foam world the size of a tennis ball or a small metal key chain. They chose the key chain, good choice and light weight too.
I am not upset over these turns of events... Things do happen for a reason, I know it in all the bones I have left.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'm taking the day off to take it all in

We walked our last day along the Avenue of the Giants. At a snails pace it was far too fast to appreciate what I was seeing. The massive trees all have personality of their own with burls growing like faces over a lifetime. I noticed several whose trunk had been shaved flat decades ago with chain saws to save the tree and allow for the road to be cut through. After all the years the old tree had been growing around the old wound but also sends an extra twisted knotted burl out toward the roadway for it revenge on some motorist who strays too close not noticing the boxing glove in the shadow. I am happy the people who could were able to help preserve what they have of the old growth stands. Life goes on, for now they are left to grow, if not alone. When there was no traffic on the avenue, and the echoes from the nearby "freeway" fell silent it was amazing to hear the soft sounds of the big trees. Some cars would stop at the pull-offs here and there but far more are motoring past to say they'd seen it, windows up and the bump and buzz of the stereo reverberating in the air as they pass. Once a not-so-sporty car revved by at what the driver must have thought was high speed, leaving a trail of smells that the poor car had been through enough. I had to deflate the World I Phillipsville at the southern end of "the Avenue" using it as an uncomfortable stiff canvas pillow with hints of everything it has rolled over all these years. I had an unusually restful sleep at a pull-off at a sharp curve causing everyone passing to loudly decelerate and accelerate overlooking on the other side a full campground facility bustling with the final weekends campfires, playing children of a dozen families. Because of the "freeway" restrictions on the World and the sudden heat after clearing from under the Redwoods we were on the road to Leggett and the Shoreline Road, Route 1. Down the street from Leggett's closed restaurant, next door to Leggett's closed market I went into the post office for some advice on where I should resume walking. The woman there obviously knew all of what happens being the hub of the community who all come for their mail and the police scanner squawking in the back room. She was very helpful as we reviewed my options from her perspective , given the area I was about to attempt to walk, the distance, the difficulty, the narrow crooked path through the forest road, the cooler temps over on the ocean ( thinking of Nice (the dog) and his feet on hot afternoon roadsides to go to the coast and begin again. It is the best for the dog you understand. The road out of Leggett wound up and down, in and out with sharp and banking turns. Half of the way thru I had to stop to let the brakes on the old van to cool. The woman at the Post Office was right with her advice as there is nothing but one day use parking area and little room at all for anything other than the cars, trucks, rented R-V4 and motorcycles. The forest is beautiful so having to idle through the second have to keep the brakes cool was fine with me. It could have taken days for us to safely roll through those miles to the ocean. Before we broke out to the shoreline the air cooled so that even in the noonday sun laying on the gravel Nice (the dog) sleeps with a rested breath . You can call me a wimp, that I took this "free pass" thing too far after the C.H.P. said I couldn't walk on 101 but between all the well meaning police and people of the "triangle" this is the best, most humane decision. Rolling around those rolling and pitching roads would be fun. I don't know exactly where we will begin, tomorrow or the next day. For now we rest and enjoy the scenery.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Out of the "nue" into the flue

Four almost two months we have been walking in fog and overcast cool weather. Other than the week we walked from the interior to the ocean this is the first day we have been in very hot temperatures. Brrr.

Eye on the Ball

The Redwoods had me mesmerized as we strolled along the Avenue of the Giants. Taking pictures that in no small way captured the feeling or the sights I was seeing but I stopped at points in sharp narrow spots that no carload of vacationers would ever noticed as they sped by. Just as we came from under the canopy into the light a family stopped ahead , they offered lunch, brought out a folding chair for me sit in the shade. Distracted, I forgot to check the air pressure on my little inflated World that sat out in the open sunlight. Just a few minutes passed as the family and me asked and answered questions about our adventures when we heard a popping sound. Looking to the World where the noise came, we saw it had split at a seam across the pacific ocean. A two foot fissure whose progress was stopped only by a wide patch. The epicenter of the event was along another narrow patch that couldn't hold back the expansion of atoms and molecules. Something had to give.
I had just said I was in no hurry to get out of the Redwoods. This blow-out slowed the pace. The rest of the day I patched the tear and got to the nearby town where I was allowed to stay at the famous living tree you can drive through so the glue could set up. I reinforced my patch work more before the sun fell. The consequence I had to suffer for neglecting the World for just a few moments.
I didn't keep my eye on the ball. "Steeee-rike!"

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Humbolt Update

We spent the night at a state campground among the stumps of old, circled by the babies that now tower in a circle around the mother stumps. A man told me a few days ago these redwoods are like weeds, "cut one down and four grow in it's place. The man who rode me to my van last evening, vacationing from B.C. Says there are redwood stumps aeound his area but redwoods have long ago been gone. Efficient weed eradication.
Not trying to "Make waves", just working to change the World by walking for diabetes awareness.
Take a walk, breath the air, enjoy!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Giants

So tall you can not stand at their feet and see the top.
Tallest on the planet, "tree for tree", it's been fond.
The first day I noticed I was among the land of the giants it was weeks ago.
Suddenly shocked by the size, the girth, of the gargantuan stumps scattered amongst babies hacked down leaving a tombstone as tall as a house.
When I visited this side of the world thirty years ago these giants were being hauled by one log to a truck. Now one truck carries the hole tree. The four percent of old growth left now I hope stands for centuries.
Here they still live. Along this narrow strip of what used to be a vast region of...
Giants.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

C.H.P., C.D.C., and Me.

Trying to eliminate the slight leak of the fill valve I walked over to the auto parts store to see if there might be some sort of "dressing" that would help. I was hoping to find somewhere in Scotia, eight miles south, to repair the World. The man there offered his garage for the repair when I arrived in the morning. He gave me his address in Scotia and told me if I got there in time he could bring me back to get the van on his way to work. I had to get going early to avoid traffic but slept late and it was nearly five when I was on the road. Using the GPS on my phone I skirted along "the 101" to the last entrance out of town. I later was told the entrance to that road had recently been closed because of too many bad accidents there. Too far to go back, I draped my backpack, gloves and reflective vest over the barbed wire, eased the World over the hazard and past the road's "END" sign to the highway just as it became light enough to see. Traveling on this highway has been increasingly difficult given the stretches where it has restricted access. Though I was getting on at the highway, I would have to be on the "freeway" to get to Scotia. With the wide paved shoulder this stle of road is the best for walking and the police all tend to tolerate pedestrians. I had been warned by the California Highway Patrol once before so I was doing my best to stay well off the "line". When I came to the last crossroad before the way was again "freeway" I made the choice to stay traveling, as a pedestrian should, facing traffic. At this point the road split wide and the southbound lanes had a modern wide shouldered bridge over the Eel river while the Northbound lane I was walking against led to the "old" bridge with two narrow lanes and four foot wide pedestrian walks with a tall, thick hand rail out side of the bridge spans. Too tight to walk on the roadway I, as I have on many occasions, slowly balanced the World atop the handrail holding it in balance with one hand by the leash and stick along with the leash attached to Nice (the dog) and coaxing the World along the rail over the river below. If you long to find something that keeps your mind from wondering about life's mundane problems I recommend rolling a six foot eighty pound canvas ball atop a five inch beam over an eighth of a mile above a river. It helps you focus.
During my walk to the bridge I was listening to the radio and N.P.R. reported that the Center for Disease Control announced their latest finding that we should all walk every day. Not just a month, or six months. It's something everyone can do and will be able to keep doing however old they become. I met three refined women last week who walk six miles daily. Maybe the C.D.C. is on to something. If you won't listen to the C.D.C. at least learn from your elders who walk more in one day than many walk in a month. They will outlive the couch-potatoes.
It wasn't long after my balancing act over the Eel River when the local town sheriff and the C.H.P. were there after getting the call about me on the road (now restricted from pedestrian traffic). The local policeman was nice and as I was just a few yards from the ramp into Rio Dell that neighbors Scotia he allowed me to walk the short ditance of the "freeway". The C.H.P. Had to give me the second warning about the "freeway" and though, he said, they are tolerant of pedestrians who have to make it past these pedestrian bottle-necks, or cyclist (even one I saw towing a four foot wide boat behind his bike, I would not be. The World is not welcome.
I got to Scotia just in time for the ride to retrieve the van and was able to use the man's garage for the repair(a jagged hole of unknown origin) in the core and check to see that it was the only leak before placing the World in the back of the van, deflated and rilled into a canvas lump. To top the day off the neighbors close to my host called the local county police because of the suspicious man with the Purple van hanging in their alley. I guess none noticed I had working in the garage all afternoon and evening. The County sheriff, after some explaination, told me this was a tight-knit community and when a "purple ghost" rolls into town they get concerned...
The way I see it I now have a sort of blanket excuse for skipping areas of the ocean road to S.F. Where all else are free to tread or at least tolerated.
I will now drive a few miles south to the "Avenue of the Giants". The signal there is probably weak so I will be going "stealth" for a time. No telling where I'll turn up next.
Walk, the C.D.C. recommends it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Big World, little hole.

Sometime between my falling asleep in the Wally-world parking lot yesterday and my be awakened by the parking lot security the world sprung a leak. I'd like to think I ran over some glass while I slept or the valve is leaking badly again. I hope we were not subject to a bitter homeless person with a poker, one of too many to count who slipped in and out of the trees around the edge of the mall parking during the day. Whatever the source of injury to the world I will have to find an enclosed space soon to remove the core of the world and find the source. If it's the valve, I apologize to all the homeless around the Eureka area. If it is not the valve I should apologize for the temptation.

Fortuna, the launderland.

It took some doing after I was awakened after dark by the night-shift Parking lot patrol in the mall with Wally-world and was told to leave. Through the night I managed to get well into Fortuna, get the van there and now will spend the daylight recovering as I wash clothes and blankets in Fortuna's own Launderland. Since the last time I washed clothes I have gotten rides from a couple folks whose autos had that old-man-army-surplus-musk smell that covered what I was wearing. If I don't wash all the things I can my little home away from home will start smelling like a thrift-store clothes-rack. It's not the most romantic of chores while walking along the coast but it must be done.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pop's Quiz

I had been kindly asked to get off 101 where it is technically a freeway, tossed the dog and world into a cow pasture (all the cows wanted to come along), walked into the heart of Arcata, stayed at a professional owl watcher's driveway, was taking the old road in a wide loop toward Eureka when I met a man riding a bike. The older man (old enough to be my father) gave me a quiz..." How do you eat an elephant?"
Happily I answered correctly.
How would you answer this life question?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Drifting Sand

I've had a writers block. Not that I couldn't simply tell of this person I met at the last moment who saved me from sleeping in the cold after walking for sixteen hours, or how the mist reflects an earth-bow on the fog as cars pass in the night, but I haven't had a theme. The way I write that often doesn't matter. Walking along this main path south I have met peoples from around the planet, some drifting along at leisure while others sweep past on a mission, from Sweden, Holland,England,France,Brazil or from these United States. All traveling as grains of sand swept on wind and sea to end up brushing past one another, sometimes mingling in an eddie on their journey before being swept back to their own rhythm.
I have met many and all agree we must keep moving.

Friday, August 3, 2012

by the sea break

We've been on the road a few hours, it's now Five thirty and the the sky has it's first hints of blossoming. The moon has done it's part this morning illuminating the clouds like a dim night-light making it easier to roll of into the grass or brush when the early trucks and cars pass. At night I can hear and see them coming sooner. Sometimes I can see them from miles away. I've beem told we are eighteen miles to the next town. Not in a big hurry, Nice (the dog) chose a pull off by the ocean to sut down. he's had his breakfast and is taking a nap. I was sore and wanted to stay snug in bed this morning but after we got going. I roused from a day-dream while watching the ocean in the moon glow and was glad to be moving.
Sometimes I just need to push past the aches, pains and excuses...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

tortiose, hare, bear

We met many cyclists yesterday. Because of the distance I had to walk between towns we walked all night. Passing the only camping area we also made it to Orick ahead of many we had seen the previous day making me feel like the tortoise. Several stopped for a chat when they met me in town. I shared some of my fruit with a couple of them as I had the only fresh fruit in town stored in the supply van.
A few nights ago when were lay close to a motel/ restaurant for a rest I was roused by the sound of something ripping apart what sounded like a thick plastic barrel. Nice (the dog) was smarter than to bark and I was quick to toss my gear on my shoulder and get the World on the road with calm quickness. Watching the bear watch us, Nice soon let me know we were no longer a potential meal as we rumbled into the night.
I'm sure all those hares a long gone since we slept in Orick today but it was fun passing the pack for just a moment in the sun, or the cloud covered moonlight.

Orick

After resting up after an all nighter' to klamath we walked all day and into the evening to get to the campground in the state park. We had taken the old road through the grand redwoods and when we got to the campground the sign said "full". I sat out by the road under the streetlight and took my backpack off for the second time in over twelve hours. The park ranger pulled up and. Told me there was an area for hikers and bikers, gave me a map to the area and sent me on my way. That area was full so I slept for awhile at the trail-head. I awoke from a restless dream so I decided to press on to Orick. Now it almost light, the Cafe sign says open. I think I'll go in ...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Klamath

I strained and pulled things I'd not strained and pulled before as I pushed the World up the steep pass into the Redwoods. Too tired now to give all the details even after resting for the day in Klamath at an R-V park. Hopefully I'll be on my way in the morning...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

three feathers

I began the day with three only
Tucked in my hat band
One, the last I found in Oregon
Two,the first in California
Three,the pretty one I found "down east" in Maine.
Walking through the Tolwa Indian Nation and the few miles to the river bridge my hat band is full. By no other standard, this is a good day.
As I approached the bridge a man stopped and asked me to wait bor him to go to town and get his truck so I can get safely across the narrow bridge. Since he simply appeared at the right moment, I accepted. I walked to the other side of the road to wait, there at the spot I crossed was another very large feather. A good sign.
It is probably not too long but traffic has been steady and busy. It is a good excuse to relax and enjoy my first day at the edge of the giants, the Redwoods.
The safe ride approaches...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

daylight from Brookings to the border

I have been walking during the night the past few night but on my last day in Oregon the winds have died down, I think I can make ilthese last miles without getting in trouble over the pedestrian-fog line infringement law. Have a wonderful day Oregon. And Thanks for the memories!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Not just a bridge

It's the highest bridge in Oregon. We walked it around seven. Traffic was light so I had time for a few pictures over the side. The Thomas Creek Bridge at 340 odd feet is a birds eye view of the tree tops where mountain and sea meet. Some bridges are for walking. I'm glad I crossed this one on my own power.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gold Beach

We left Ophir at twenty until one with 'nary a car or truck for hours. Though I was tired and aching we managed to get to the bridge into Gold Beach in time to pass without causing an incident. After meandering into town, having breakfast and coffee, I stopped at the grocery. When I came out the intercity transit bus was outside and heading back up the coast so I was able to retrieve the van, get a place to park for the day, nap awhile before getting a few new patches on the World. Now if I can get back to sleep I will start the long trek to Billings,or Brookings, they all blend together after a time which will take two days even without traffic and sunshine the entire way there..
This morning at the check out line at the grocery a man was there with his granddaughter. He was paying for the candy bar she had chosen. I asked her if she would like one of my oranges to go with the candy bar. She lit up with a smile and gladly took the fruit. The grandfather thanked me also.
Though I walked all night only being seen by trucks and a few early commuters I felt I had done something good giving the girl a better choice.
Once I get to California I hope to walk more in the daylight but for now I should conduct my disorderliness, for the most part at night.

"Touchy, feely" in the Dark

The winds had died down, we left at midnight. The only ones out and about in Port Orford were the homeless. The young man on a bike knew of a rest area by the beach with a shower. It wasn't time for that. The other man appeared standing on a wall over the beach. He had an even "dusty" hue, even under the parking area lights. He had a large box of food that he offered to share from. I was freshly loaded for the walk so he hefted it up on his shoulder and disappeared in the night. Few cars passed in the still moonless night. A few miles down the road we slowly came upon a flag crew under bright lights. They were sending traffic over the one remaining lane of the highway the ocean had not reclaimed. I scared the worker, in the distance the Antarctic flashed a white beacon against the lights as it rolled toward him. He knew of us and had seen us the previous morning but still was not prepared for the visual as we orbited close. We then walked down into Humbug canyon. Only the white line was visible most of the way through with the sound of rushing water on one side and the brush of rock and fauna touching my staff as I skirted the other. Walking the canyon at night is the only way to get the World past there without creating a traffic problem in my view. In the daylight the wind and heavy traffic make for slow going at times. We made ninteen miles before exhaustion had me stop at a bench at the Ophir rest center overlooking the beach.. Just before we stopped I had seen from the road a group of horse back rider in the distance walking along the beach. A short time after I had sat down. The handler of the horses came up with some children. He had led his horses alone the beach many times but couldn't figure why the horses become excited until he had led them back to cross the road and then saw us rolling closer. Once I explained my purpose, and my situation, he offered a ride so I could retrieve the van. I was very thankful, being so tired I was going to fall asleep there at the park table. The children watched the World until my "road angel" and I returned. I slept without interruption into the night. Now with just nine miles to Gold Beach the road is dark and silent. The scenery is different along the ocean in the dark of night, but not less beautiful to the senses. I'll get to see it later when I drive along at fifty miles "per".

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Prime time

This part of the coast is apparently known for it's winds. They calm from late at night thru early morning. We got on the road under starlight. With no moon some places were pitch dark. We at one point walked up on what seemed like road kill 'till it moved toward us in a defensive manner so I whirled the World between us. We startled a few deer sleeping close to the road. The first two hours only two trucks and eight cars went by. On my drive to retrieve the van I was astonished at some of the. Would be hazards had I been walking in daylight. The wind is whipping now. We may do this again tonight out of Port Orford.
Have a Nice day.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Soul Searching in the Mythical State of Jefferson

After the "turn" in the road a calm stayed with me while I worked the World past the fork in the road to Coquille. Edging over the lanes I rolled along tight hand rails to stay on the south 101 to Bandon. Occasionally someone would stop, but most of the time a car would slow and a passenger would snap a drive-by shot as I held the World off the white line standing in a ditch or lumbering along washed out cliff edges of hard sand that much of this Oregon Dunes region seems to rest. Not a picnic, I wonder as they slow to almost a crawl as I strain to keep the World from rolling down a ravine and retired couples bear down on them in a motor home as big as a house pulling the V-W bus they travelled with "back in the lean years" that requires no special training to drive, to click a blurred photo through their tinted windshield. Some may pull off and wait for many minutes watching my progress to catch an image when I get close, then drive on without a word. If I have a spare hand I give them a wave but usually the white line,the wind direction, the angle of the road, the change in pressure and elevation as it effects the pressure of the World, has my attention. When someone stops I do my best to answer their questions, share my story and sometimes hear about their journey. Cross county bicyclists, cross the world bicyclists, homeless travelers, families on vacation or a weekend trip, local motorists or a soldier on a soul searching mission. The latter I met Saturday morning. As I rolled up he had pulled off safely, opened the trunk of his car to offer me food and water and saluted me upon my approach. He had driven 1200 miles "balls to the wall". I guess he just needed to stop long enough to have someone like me to tell him to slow down. I recommended the dunes; a man had told me the day before that a walk out in the dunes had a special mystical quality that he took advantage of when he needed to clear his mind. I told the soldier it's hard to find yourself at sixty miles per hour, that he was far enough from Salt Lake to calm down. After we parted I took my own advice breathing in the smells around me and feeling the soft bed of pine needles under my feet along the ditch line.
On the road you don't have to go far to find solace or revisit your demons. While calmly pressing forward I weaved through road construction barriers to a site where a slide had washed out a hillside. A weekend parade of large rock trucks filled in every few minutes to dump their loads down a steep outside bank turn bordered by concrete retaining wall, jersey wall. The boss-man allowed me to roll along the three foot foothold between the wall and the sheer drop to the fresh rip-rap far below. At moments like these I don't have the luxury of giving in to my crippling fear of heights.the World is depending on me to balance it along the edge to safety. At the days end a man and his grandchildren picked us up to save the World from the narrow bridge before Bandon. It was close to nightfall and he wouldn't stop until we got to his house at the edge of town. I had walked 19 miles or so. I complained with a wink and a smile.
This brings us to Saturday night. I am writing this on Monday. It took all day Sunday and until lunch on Monday to walk about fifteen miles. The Sunday afternoon travelers had time to stop and talk. Talk they did, and I talked back only making it half the distance to Langlois where I stayed the night at Art101, an organization that collects shore debris that washes up and makes art from it. We all should do our part to maintain the world. Monday had few visitors. People were commuting to work or driving back from the weekend escape. Just as I approached Langlois I was stopped by the county police. They had received more complaints of the man in the road with the World. Again I was informed about the state law that prohibits anyone, at any time from crossing the white line. A 24-7 imaginary wall to keep motorist safe from dangerous pedestrians. He thanked me for being so cooperative and I asked him to please send the word "up the line" that it is not my intention to be charged with disorderly conduct and if the flow of calls gets to be too much to let them know I will "cease and desist" if told to do so. After five thousand miles my being given a pass to skip to the California border after walking hundreds of miles in Oregon will not hurt my feelings. Time will tell.
This to shall pass.
Be calm, breath.
Don't look too far ahaead and loose sight of the step you take next.
Walk a little, for your health.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

the Turn

We were walking with traffic, as a bike would, on an inside bank with no edge. We were rolling in the ditch when, at the sharpest part of the turn was a washed out portion of roadway, a bush to the edge of the white line and a reflective four foot high metal marker. Cars and truck blasted by in both directions, the noise from them all powering around this steep banked turn was tremendous. I stopped just feet from the obstacle I stopped to gather my senses. Next to my face, poking through the thick dark hedge was a vine's flower. I had to pause and get a picture with my phone. As I snapped I was reminded of a story. A man was walking in the jungle when he came upon a tiger who chased him to a cliff. His only escape was to climb down a vine over the edge. Once there he could not climb all the way down because at the bottom waited another hungry tiger. Then a mouse came along and began to nibble at a sweet spot on the vine that he held onto with both hands. Weakening he noticed a beautiful strawberry just few feet away. The most succulent fruit he had ever seen. "If I could just have a taste" he said to himself...


The road was then silent. I passed the turn alive and well.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Bend, the Bay, the "once over".

It seems like random. The people we meet. The seemingly wrong turn that leads to an uplifting conversation. Someone stops in a parking lot giving the people inside long enough to come out of a business that leads to an offer for a safe place to stay. Random.

We left from the fire station in North Bend at a normal time of seven thirty with the goal to walk only the few miles to the south end of Coos Bay. We stopped for breakfast where a man who had taken a series of photographs of our ride over the bridge and our walk into North Bend to the station. He had made a disk of them along with some choice pictures made from paper, old school fashion. I had my hat off during the rodeo over the bridge when I held the World in the bed by it's strapping. That picture showed off the farmers tan on my 'noggin', white as a babe's buttom. I was worried I'd loose that feather I had found on the Spinreel Road I had tucked in my hat-band. Next time I'll the feathers fly. Don't get me wrong, I like my bald head, but from behind in the sun against a blue background I look like Uncle Fester's light bulb. It's bad enough I look like uncle Fester from the front. Never-the-nun-the-less I do appreciate that he took the time to save the memory and find me again and give them to me. I then had a delicious breakfast talking with the man who gave me a ride last night. Then as I walked toward Coos Bay I talked with all the ODOT workers who I'd met since last night. They happened to be repairing the roadway on 101. We made our way to the Coos Bay Boardwalk where I stopped to talk and get a picture by the arched sign when I was invited for lunch at the fisherman's seafood market then walked down the walkway along the Bay. There a man ran across several lines of railroad tracks and through a ditch to come talk to me. He had seen us on the local news. He had suffered the tragedy of diabetes in his family and had to come see me. I guess the take charge of your Movement-movement- love yourself by walking- idea is something everyone can get excited about.

I have to cut this ramble short. I am 21 miles to the next stopping place. I have spent the afternoon gluing and repainting the weather-worn World today thanks to the Vietnam Veteran who stopped me in the parking lot of Kelley's Accounting who came out and soon offered sanctuary for the World. Once I got the van moved up I spent the day with paintbrush in hand. I must take time to maintain the World.
Have a good evening. I rarely check what I have written. I hope it makes sense.

Another safe passage

Thanks to the Oregon DOT and OSP who were going to close the mile long bridge into North Bend for us to roll over. For the good of all I asked for a ride. By the time I would have made it over the bridge traffic would have been backed up for miles and walking every inch is not something that I would stubbornly cause hundreds to be bothered idling as I lumbered along. In the end Just a few autos had to slow to the actual speed limit over the bridge. The Odot worker who provided the ride helped us find a place to park for the night, after he got off work he took me back to Lakeside for the van and treated me to dinner and dog food for Nice (the dog). I can't thank him enough for his help or the authorities in charge for allowing me to safely pass.
Have a great day Oregon!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Over the Fog Line

Early this morning I walked the Spinwheel Road, the old highway before the bridge that spanned a valley. Only in case of emergency when traffic is diverted do today's tourists venture on this first glimpse of the Oregon Dunes where the pines grow righ to the sand that tower over them. The tracks from the recreational vehicles accentuates it's vastness. It was there ,my friends, I must admit I took Liberty with the road as only a few cars passed by, I walked the line with the World in one hand guided by a string and my trusty Dog, Nice (the dog), in the other also led by a string. With n white line to speak of, I walked the yellow. It was there a couple of "the ancients" passed and I'm sure I disturbed their regular drive to town down the "old road". Having little to do when they returned home but to call the authorities. When, after posing the World in the road with the dunes in the background and made my way back to the highway I was not surprised when a trooper showed up with one thing in mind. To make the reason for these calls to go away. Once we clarified what constitutes a breach of the peace and an act of disorderly conduct of any kind concerning the "fog line", I switched sides and rolled the World in the ravine with me walking the line, dog by my side walking on the line. Safer,by far.
I then met a man who had seen me the day before but today had time to stop. I happened that he had taken care his father during his struggle with diabetes. From that he changed his ways, lost eighty pounds, ate "like a squirrel" with many small meals daily, looked fit and muscular as the best I've seen. He is just what I am talking about. It takes time, it canhappen. Even with me perhaps.
I'll nibble on a snack and be on my way in my disorderly fashion.
Love yourself, walk a curb, it is fun.

Reedsport

The last sixteen miles of the picturesque road to Reedsport was clouded by a troublesome leak that reared it's ugly head when I got ready to leave from Wells Creek. A rip on the edge of the valve which I had glued long ago finally came loose. It was raining lightly and any attempt to fix it wouldn't hold. I put a "band-aid" of sorts on it with the contact adhesive and a piece of a plastic bag that held for the first four of the nineteen mile journey but each time I had to add air the tear became worse. The first few miles I added air at the mile markers by the road. Then it was twice each mile when I finally made it to town the battery was running down on my rechargeable pump and the hissing from the valve was getting louder. Every five or ten minutes I had to stop for air. A few blocks into Reedsport I met Guy who owns the motorcycle repair shop. When I explained my problem he offered to let me bring the World in the shop so I could clean the old goop and let the new set up overnight. It was a good thing because tit rained first thing in the morning and continued either misting or raining all day as I started down 101. The highway was narrow, not like 38 which Guy told me had once been voted the best scenic touring roadway in the nation, with guardrails on both sides in spots. We had ample room to pass along with the trucks, cars and cyclists. I had many stops talking to travelers from England, Sweden, Canada and more. The Coffee News of Reedsport and the weekly both had articles about us so the locals were enthusiast when they stopped to talk. I met a family from Louisianna who had seen us early this year who told me they had talked about seeing us and that it would be "cool" if they saw us on this trip. We got to Lakeside after the rainy day and some nice folks who were heading back to Reeedsport gave us a ride to Shemps (sp). I just talked to a ODOT supervisor who called ahead so the long bridge into Coos Bay won't be a problem.
Do try to get the blood flowing today. Not with video games but with actual exercise.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Scottsburg and it's bridge

Both run down and about to fall apart. I
I touched up some bare spot on the world but it rained last night making it all wet again so I was Faux finishing the highway on my way to Scottsburg. Now that we have crossed the bridge I need to get relaxed for this sixteen miles remaining along narrow roads. It will be fun.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wells Creek

The fifteen or so miles from where I started on the edge of Elkton were not so hard. It's when there were cars tankers,loggers, chip trailers, motor homes,etc. that made the way interesting. One good thing about having to stop and hold the World on the edge of a precipice to wait for a clear path I get to relax and take in the beautiful scenery. I am convinced more each day that Facebook has begun to take away our ability to communicate. All people want to do is snap a photo and speed away, often without a "fair the well". Today, again, I met several people who are managing their diabetes with exercise being a large factor in control sometimes helping to eliminate the need for medications. I met a woman yesterday who looked out the window to see a big ball rolling up a steep hill. I was behind it at just an angle that she couldn"t see me. She ran out the door and up the drive all the way to the road before I appeared. She was so excited and happy to know what I was doing once she realized the World wasn't on it's own. Today she gave me a ride to the Pavilion where we began the day. It is fun to put a smile on someone's day. I sat for coffee with another woman who lives on the proprty that at one time was the boat works. It has a water wheel that still works, at leats spins, fed by water off the cliffs and hills above the home. By the river . It was also known a the $3 hole for it's public boat landing. I enjoyed hearing the history of the center of a community from forgotten days before moving downstream myself.
In the morning it's bridge running time and nineteen miles to the big city.
Keep walking!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Elkton

We left for Elkton just after four this morning after a relaxing evening at Drain. It was overcast with scattered sprinkles. There is a tunnel along the way, we got a ride on the back of a truck to be safe. The last person I spoke to last night was a diabetic. The first man I spoke to this morning had been diagnosed three months ago and by loosing now just a few pounds each month he is already lessened his medications and is using pool-aerobics to. Work his knees after surgeries have slowed him down. It was good to talk to both of them, two people who are taking control. One has lived withit for decades, the other for just months, both with the right attitude.
We were hardly into Elkton when I was given a crazy ride back to Drain. Then after I had lunch I walked out of town to the Elkton community education center where I will sleep. At least fifteen miles to the next little town.
Love yourself, take it off-road and work it out.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Down in Drain

We made our way to the Drain of Oregon just as the heat of the day set in. Now we are on the shady side of The Family Bowling relaxing. I have decided to head over to the coast to take advantage of the cooler temperatures while I can. In the morning we will start for Elkton. There is a tunnel I will have to catch a ride thru. One of those"pride can get you killed situations. I've walked a lot of miles, don't look too break any more records by walking every inch so taking a short ride for safety is permissible.
Have a fun weekend, walk a little.

Curtin is Closed

We managed to follow the railway for a short distance until it paralleled a short spur of the Curtin road a few the small town. If there were a short gravel passage from the Dead end of Longview and the end of the gravel tip of the Curtin road it would have made to trip much easier. No walking the hot rails or rolling thru brambles to get over the few yards to the one lane road. After a good night of sleep I have am up with the roosters across the road that have reemerged as US-99. Today we're going down to Drain.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dead End

Apparently the one guy who knows the way through this little stretch is wrong. A man and wife who have lived here for twenty eight years don't know the way through. Unless..

taking the "Longview"

All day into town I asked the locals how to get past I-5 where US-99 dives into it. There is the shoestring road, part gravel and snaking through "wilderness", until one finally knew the shorter road through that begins with a turn posted Dead End. One out of twenty knew the way. Off to Longview Raod we go!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Goshen, Creswell

We left from the power lines Over the "old guys" shop as the sun rose above the transformers down two-lane. We have walked several days with high totals, we were both tender-footed. Creswell was not far so I took my time. I had to anyway because of high grass and watery ditch. The photographer from the local news met me early and soon returned with good news. She had talked to the Comfort Inn who gave us a room for the night. I could shower and Nice(the dog) could have a cool rest. When we had made our way to town we met with the editor, met or saw pass by many important locals, had a relaxing meal, posed for a few pictures before rolled to the hotel over the freeway bridge. I could tell I need a couple relatively easy days (less than the fifteen-plus we have been walking), I had a headache, one from being tired, a lack-of-sleep drunkeness. I spent the day wondering why I had posted my previous post concluding exhaustion my thoughts. What was I thinking?! Though we walked only six miles I was more tired than any day in the past week. I am very grateful for the generosity of the good people in Creswell for great timing when we need help. The helpful photographer-organizer-town mom also made contacts for the next town. All's well in Creswell.
Sore and tired as I am still it's less than ten miles today. That should be a breeze. Unless the breeze blows against the World.
Have a great day Oregon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

the "way back" file

Don't want to talk about the walk today, of the woman I met while getting a coffee who told me she went on vacation with her diabetic aunt to the Rose Bowl, had to do a lot of walking resulting in her aunt not needing her shots from the activity but when they returned home she would not keep walking. "Some people you just can't reach." I thought I might tell one of my most embarrassing days, not a moment but that's just too much writing. So here goes...suspended from school the day of a jazz band competition, father and teacher went to bat for me so I could play that evening. Had a drum lesson that day after school, there my dad surprised me and told me to pick out a drum set, he thought that ordering them would lift my spirits after such a bad morning, he wanted me to feel good for the competition that evening. After we returned home from the lesson my father said he had some thing to do and would see me at the band competition later. This was his usual pattern. When I arrived with another band member who drove with my little drum kit I had at school. The one I had played since I first began to play. The one that I had finally learned three jazz "feels", three jazz songs. When I arrived at the school gymnasium-auditorium I walked in the side doors in the corner by the stage wall. There, along the wall was a line of brand new cases filled with my brand new drum set. Not ever played, tuned or tightened. The bleachers were rolled out on the opposite side. The bleacher was filled with parents,family and staff from six schools all talking amongst themselves like you might imagine at any school function... A hush filled the room and all eyes were on me...then my father appeared insisting I put them all together and knock this competition "out of the park". I could only get him to settle for me to set up the few I needed to play what I knew. We had fifteen minutes make that happen. It was like a sudden death survivor puzzle trying to find the drums I could use (did I mention the new set had 13 drums, with cases and a large hardware crate with wheels filled with stands,etc?) for the competition. I. Was able to get them cobbled in some alignment similar to what I had been practicing with three minutes to spare...Then I hit them with a stick, the drum heads had not been tightened, never been played in the store. I could get better sound out of a five gallon bucket. There were so many things my mind was trying to process when it was time to play the three songs I had feebly mastered enough for my teacher (who hated me) to smile when I played. I started the first song second, the second song first and the last song first. I ruined all three songs. It was horrible. We came in last for the first time in my instructors career... My father had come with his girlfriend. They had filled his AMC-Hornet and her Crysler-Matador with all the drums to get them there. He handed me the keys to his ccar and said he would see me at home and he left. I had never driven a car. I was underage and never driven a stick-shift, never used a clutch. My band mates felt sorry enough to help take to my homewhat I couldn't get in the Hornet. I learned to drive only being able to see in front and to my left. I had never been on that side of town and had a bout five mils to get home. I stalled that car more times than I could count but got home where my band mate helped me get the drums out of his car and left without saying much. My father and I never spoke of that day. He let me drive the Hornet from that day on everyday for almost two years before I got a permit. I found out later my father had used money from an insurance settlement from when I broke my back as passenger in a car that hit a garbage truck head-on at sixty miles per in the fog, a bad day but not my most embarrassing day.
I walked through Eugene today all the way to Goshen. I put shoes on Nice (the dog) during the heat of the day. Met some good and friendly people today. Many encouraging stories.