Tuesday, January 31, 2012

To St. Bernard

Everyone, and I mean everyone had been telling me to be careful as I got to New Orleans so when then man offered to ride the world on his rollback tow truck over from 90 to the other side of the lake to Pike Rd. And St.Bernard Parish I accepted. I would surely have been run down or caused major distress for myself and others on that bridge. I then walked down to the St. Bernard HWY and turned west. In the morning I have another bridge, I may brave that one over to "The Ninth". Or possibly there will be a man and a truck at the most opportune moment. Part of the adventure.
I met plenty of great folks today and may possibly have inspired a few to take some action, at least they walked from their cars to talk. Any circulation is good circulation. Walk to keep your feet! Enjoy stepping out everyday.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sailing across the Isle

From the bridge to the barrier island to the drawbridge at the other end the wind was just right to sail over the roadside. Today I was a Sailor with the World being pushed along with me holding and steering with little trouble. Just past the new levy gate in New Orleans area a good family gave me a spot to park and a ride back over the bridge to the van. I think I walked about fourteen miles, not a bad stroll. My new boots are the wide size and my Fred Flintsone toes have room to move. My feet are so wide I have never known what it is like to have a shoe that didn't cram my toes to an unnatural point. All day I practiced spreading them apart, it is a whole new way to step! Tomorrow I will be heading deep into New Orleans. Last summer I walked across the Mississippi at the headwaters in Minnesota, crossing the Big Muddy close to it's mouth, I think, is in order. That may be a couple of days to do, I will take time to enjoy the city and the people as I go.
Love Yourself, walk.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Pot Luck to the Pirate Captain

I'll miss Mississippi when I remember the first miles when I was invited in to eat from the monthly church potluck to the last hours and my visit with the Captain. The elders of Pascagoula had every kind of southern cooking and two tables of cakes. I managed to resist the pies but did have fried chicken (when in Rome), "aw-rotten"potatoes, greens(I committed the cardinal sin and drained the 'pot-lickers' off my plate), liver and onions(I swallowed three bites), and cornbread. More memorable was when the congregation broke into song, happy birthday accompanied by the organist and his new "music machine that makes 200 noises." Fifty old folks singing that old standard to a Laurence Welch style polka that transitioned directly into happy anniversary to the tune in happy birthday polka style. In Pearlington I spent my last evening at the Mosquito Coast Yacht and Gun Club at Kelly Point Between two Bayous with access to the Gulf Coast where the Pirate Captain Fou reigns over the Mosquito Coast Tea Party Organizational Compound. (Which by law I cannot give an opinion of). Hearing the Captains tales of Caribbean adventure and survival of category 5 storms that spice his tea or coffee (whichever you may prefer). Someday I may return to the Mississippi and enjoy the Coast again. For now, Louisiana, the thirty third state we have stepped foot in steeps with adventures of it's own.
Walk to prevent or control diabetes.

Friday, January 27, 2012

General Delivery

Luckily all those who estimated how far it was to the post office in Pearlington were wrong. I made it there before the Post Office closed at two. New Hiking boots were waiting there for me. Thanks again to Red Wing Shoes for sending them to me at the last stop before Louisiana, Pearlington Mississippi.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

To the Edge of the Wave

The morning storms and rain lulled me to sleep. When I awoke the front had blown past Bay St. Louis and it's edge was over the Bay. It was ten o'clock. I put my boots back on, donned my pack and rolled away. The paints I'd applied yesterday were rinsing away on the grass and road. The winds behind the front from the west, I pushed against the World for each step. Today was a mule day, I was the mule. Plenty of people stopped to talk, take pictures and talk some more. I found that I would not be able to stop at a facility a few miles past Waveland I had planned to get to. It didn't matter in the end, the winds were so strong and the conversations of the day only allowed me to get to the edge of Waveland. This was a day of few miles but a few of those who stopped left me saying they would walk more; I had a good day walking a few miles and accomplished my purpose for walking.
Wind or not, tomorrow I have a long day of more than twenty miles. I hope to get up and going before sunrise. I'll be walking after dark. An adventure! Walk for yourself, feel better.

Fire in the Skies

The rain was supposed to come last night. Just as I was ready to get on the road the lightening and thunders came with the showers. A morning of relaxation watching the light show in the Bay St. Louis City Hall and Police parking lot sounds good. The National Weather Service has announced a tornado warning for this county and menioned this city and others I've walked through in the past two days.
On a positive note, the bushes I am parked next to bloomed some pretty yellow flowers overnight. Winter on the coast.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Over the Bay, Bay Saint Louis

Gulfport, Pass Christian, all the cities from Biloxi have the beaches looking beautiful. Anyone can walk along a side walk all the way from Bay to Bay. Miles of broad boardwalks and benches. The view is breathtaking with the ocean to one side and a few hundred yards thick with hearty old oaks and the occasional tough old home mixed with the new; where there are any homes at all. I have never been along this coast and never saw it before but I can say the coast is ready, building back. The bay bridges are pedestrian safe,and the view... Walking slowly and listening to people talk about the hurricanes and the spill, it touched so deeply what it didn't wipe out. I met a man who built his dream home on the land he was born on. Now it is not a crowded neighborhood. He is like the first one in a brand new subdivision before everyone else gets the idea to move in, except he has a View of the beach. The old fart was happy as a clam. He is diabetic but too happy to care, and told me so.
Tonight I found myself again at the police station. This time it's Bay St,louis Mississippi. Who knows, tomorrow I might spend the night at the new state prison. I've had a long two days, just leave it at that...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Along the Boardwalk

We'll be walking along the beach front again today. The rain is due to come tonight. The sand is slowly grinding the World down. The paint and patches Will need a good day of maintenance soon. The Gulf coast is looking good and there is certainly lots of beach front property ready to rebuild if you want a great view.
Walk for your health.

Monday, January 23, 2012

In a Fog

I've spent the past two days in a fog. A fog so thick I could hardly see an eighth of a mile before me. Over the Biloxi Bay Bridge yesterday the only time I saw even a glimpse of the sun was as I walked upon it's highest point before it descended to casino row. The sun this morning has come out a time or two. We were soaked just before the fog lifted for awhile but I think ot may just be a passing break because it's looking thick. At least I can see about one half of a mile down the beach.
Two tales have stuck with me from yesterday of folks I met one was a man who's mother suffers from diabetes. Like I do often when I speak to people while walking to bring the point home about staying active I encourage walking to keep from loosing toes and feet. This man replied that his mother has had both her feet cut off due to poor circulation. I felt I'd put my foot in it but he assured me that he and his father had warned her and done their best to encourage her but she wouldn't listen. He said, "She made the choice.".
Don't make that choice, walk.
Another man drove up and said he had a hard family history of type-1 diabetes and he was on 8 shots plus 18 pills a day, was struggling but keeping after it. He had a positive attitude despite his burden and family history.
A good decision.

Into the Biloxi fog we go!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"The air you wear"

It's foggy this morning and it rained last night making all the paint I put on the worn spots of the World wet and running down the side. I could wait for the sun to break thru to dry it. There is very little wind to air dry the canvas. I will most likely go ahead and roll the dam-p paint off in the grasses and wet roadsides. I repatched some spots with fresh adhesive yesterday so those areas will be alright. Too many days of being wet wears off the paint faster and also separates the many patches slowly. I had stopped early in the day to work on the world yesterday but the woman who had offered a ride had an errand so I had to wait. The wait was a good time to rest, to be quiet and watch the people coming in and going out of the Walmart with enough time to also see their packages, what they drive. I guess I better get going.
Have a good walk.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pascagoula Crossing

When I approached the Pascagoula Bridge over the Bay it looked daunting. Happily there is a wide emergency lane and there was a road crew doing maintenance on a sign at the far end, they had cones blocking the outside lane so I had a good twenty feet to use as we rolled over the Bay. I was almost to the bottom when I noticed a patrol car shadowing me and then a motorcycle policeman rolled up to remind me to stay to the right side of the solid white line, obvious. When we reached the MLK Causeway the policeman on the bike informed me he had to stay with me to the next town to keep me safe. Where are they when the roads are really frightening? He was a nice man though and was patient as I was interviewed by channel-13 news and then slowly walked to the edge of his jurisdiction. I often have a fantasy that when an officer pulls up behind me, with his dash cam recording, to make a dash across a field rolling the six foot canvas World as if I was going to get away. Just for the quizzical look and the laugh they'd get calling in the chase over the radio. I made my way close to the western side of Gautier Go- c- a and had a fun evening having a homemade meal and a shower with a man and his wife (I showered alone). We had met earlier, he found me at the end of the day and took Nice(the dog) and me to their home. While we talked and laughed their tiny wiener-dog and Nice played and frolicked around the dinner table. When we were brought back to the van and the World my belly was full, shaved and had an arm load of clean clothes. Both of us were snoring in short order.
This morning the skies are thick and dark, the air feels cool with moisture and light sprinkles are falling. Not quite enough to keep us from walking, if it begins to pour I will have a nap. I don't think that I'll be sleeping today.
I get so many thanking me for walking. Remember, I am walking to get others to do the same. Walk with a friend. Praise yourself for your own effort.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Keep it simple

I just spent two hours detailing my walk out of Alabama into Mississippi. I wrote of everything. From the people I talked with to the lunch I had at the church pot luck. Then I pressed the wrong button on this tiny phone and lost it. I had myself laughing as I wrote... I walked to Pascagoula Mississippi from Grand Bay Alabama yesterday. That about sums it up.
Just a little frustrated.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

One more day in Alabama

I was a bad boy and didn't have anything to write last night. It was a beautiful day, the wind was right and helped me along a bit.
I was stern with the man who drove up with his wife. He said he'd lost 80 pounds after being diagnosed with type2 diabetes but gained it back cause he wasn't cured. Now he has numbness in his feet and it's starting in his fingers. His wife was glad to have someone else tell him so I ladled an extra helping. Nice got a lot of attention and I received more hugs from beautiful women than I do walking across most states. I was able to have a shower at the end of the day. It was a shame to rinse the smell of perfume the hugs left lingering on my neck but we must make sacrifices. Today I will have more to say.
Please take a few minutes and get that blood flowing to those fingers and toes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Slow going into St. Elmo

The sun was out when we started walking with beautiful White clouds. The wind was coming almost directly against us. I had to switch from side to side to keep a forward edge as the clouds rolled in grey. Only when I got out to the wooded areas did I have any relief and that was slight. In the end it was a mile per hour day, I didn't walk many hours. I was able to end at the corner of 90 and the road to Bayou Le Battre. I worked for every inch. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it. I met a lot of people, had several good and interesting moments, met more than my share of people who had diabetes.

Mobile Cookie Envy and Serendipity

After leaving the Firehouse in downtown Mobile we walked to Government Street westward. The sidewalks were largely shaded by old thick trees. The old history is evident by the grand Victorian, spanish and plantation style homes which still remain. Some were in fine repair and others showed signs of decline. Mixed in amongst them were stores and shops from more modern times. Service stations of the sixties, small doctor and dentist offices built between homes from before the Civil war. A grocery chain filled a corner location but evidence of a once regal manor still remained with grand stone steps that bordered the parking lot shadowed by the ancient trees that hung low over the now stripped asphalt. There I met an old man having a morning stroll. When he found that I was walking to promote activity to control, turn about and prevent diabetes he said his two children were diabetic and with an almost despondent look he said they don't take care of themselves and would not walk. We passed the Mother's War Memorial, a columned facade in a well kept park with a fountain. Then we passed out to the new roads, wide berms,and shops set far back from the roadway or with service roads to access malls, car lots, and residential neighborhoods. The transition was dramatic, I much prefer weaving around trees as thick as a car to drainage ditches and concrete curbs.
While still shaded by the old growth I passed a florist shop whose name was the same as our neighbor when I was a child. The owner came out and talked for awhile. Many of his family are diabetic but he told me he took action before he was diagnosed by using information from the American Diabetes Association website to help him loose weight, 42 pounds. A serendipitous chance meeting I think. An unsolicited testimonial for positive lifestyle change.
A police officer with a bunch of stripes on his sleeve shadowed my progress for nearly a mile before approaching me about where I would end the day. He had been watching as people stopped on the service roads to talk and take pictures, bring Nice (the dog) treats, or leave us provisions to carry thru the day. He was concerned I'd impede the flow of traffic and helped us pass a narrow bridge way as well as several intersections he thought unsafe for us to cross. With his help I made it safely to Walmart at the outskirts of the metro area. He watched from a distance while a young uniformed Girl Scout came to thank me for bring awareness to diabetes, she is juvenile diabetic, and gave me my choice of Girl Scout cookies she cradled in a box attached to a string about her neck. When I later offered the officer a cookie and told him of the conversation with the young scout he seemed a bit envious but declined the offer. He led me to the next intersection and sped off without a far-thee-well or a wave goodbye.
I had pushed hard against the wind to keep up so when I settled in at the Walmart after a ride by a sweet family we met just before we ended the day. The walmart security, in her truck with the flashing lite, stopped and we talked for a bit about diabetes; she is diabetic. I was too tired t write. That is my excuse for posting this morning. I had also expected rain this morning with a seventy percent chance predicted. Scattered clouds have me about to gather my things and continue west. No rest today.
I wonder how far I'll get today and if I will get caught in the rain. I'm sure I
Won't melt.
Enjoy a walk each day, it could help you live longer.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Daphne to Mobile

The night seemed colder than the previous two even though the canvas world was not covered with frost. Once the sun came up it warmed quickly. I sported my new 2011 Nat-champ Crimson 'hoodie, went across the parking lot for a coffee, talked to a highway stripe-crew and a few people from Lowes in the fifty yard trip. After a couple pictures the Lowes trio singled out their "token diabetic". A woman approached me and told me of four or five close family members she had lost to diabetes. So many, I was in silent shock as she told me how important it is for her to take care of her body. For some reason that stuck with me all day. Some of the most fit an energetic people I've met during my travels are diabetic, they take their diet and exercise seriously as if their life depended on it. Oh yeah, it does. The token diabetic... Anyway, I got Nice (the dog) fed as I packed my gear, then we rolled to the causeway across Mobile Bay. The cold morning warmed to perfect temperature for walking.
After some narrow roadways with very sharp ravines on both sides then some mall frontage action we crossed over I-10 to the Old Spanish Trail with a pull off lane; my express lane. The first two river bridges gave me ample room to walk. The third was only passable because a man in a truck stayed behind me as cars sped by in the fast lane. I was helped through the tunnel under the bay by a police escort coordinated by the city photographer who also helped me find the firehouse and then shuttled us back to Daphne where he lives, coincidentally. The men at the station are great, they fed me, found an old patch and let me shower. So far Alabama is shaping up to bump Nebraska from the hospitality national championship. Feel the tide! All states are full of everyday-great experiences but blocking off a tunnel skews the stats heavily...
Happy Birthday! You know who. Goodnight.

Breaking in

The third day of walking along the Alabama roads after my holiday break has my shoulder and arm sore because of the wind, the narrow roadways without a lot of time actually on the road. It's not something you'd think of but new socks need to be broken-in and my feet have a couple tender toes. I had meant to post at the end of the day but last night after getting to Daphne I fell asleep as soon as I settled in my blankets. I to have a breaking in period.
Now the sun is filling the sky lite blue. I hope you take some time to walk today,every day. It can't be as difficult as walking in a ditch pushing an eighty pound canvas ball while leading or being led by a large brown dog.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Walking Softly with a Big Stick.

I thought I'd make it further than the Police station in Robertsdale but with the breeze in my face, the many relaxed conversations during the day, the interviews with the Mobile Alabama News stations, the little talk I had with the class of elementary children as their class was searching for bugs and birds in the schoolyard and the lunch break at the yard sale the offer to stop for the night at the police Department grounds and a ride to get the van was just the ticket. The Robertsdale Alabama police patch was also a welcome addition to the collection. Some days it's not the miles walked as it is the quality of the steps.
During these Years of rolling the Worlds over hills and dales, through ditches and over bridges I have progressed from a man who charges into the fray and forcing my mind and body to power through obstacles to a much more relaxed approach where I will accept a ride past dangerous narrows, bridges or tornado filled wall clouds. Still the constant pounding on my joints is taking a toll. Today I began making myself step more softly, not pounding my boots into the pavement when I transition from thick grass to the edge of the roadway. I notice, now at the end of the day, my feet don't hurt as much, my knees and hips aren't as fatigued, my back is not as stiff. All that from a simple change, walking softly. Not slowly, just softly. Who knew?
Years ago, when I first began this odyssey of rolling the World for diabetes I walked without the World on a string. Only after walking hundreds of miles I found myself going down the side of a long valley road with a cross wind, a rocky trench on one side and a guardrail on the other. Fatigued and desperate for relieve I had to stop. I took out a spare leash I had for the dog and attached it to the laces so I could hold the World at bay while I rested on the hill against the railings. When I continued on I left the leash on the ball and soon realized how much safer it was, how much control it allowed, how stupid I'd been thinking I could walk along the highways being blown to and fro by the elements and passing semi trucks. That I didn't have to jump down revines to retrieve the World after avoiding some dangerous incident. I had a new leash on life. Some five hundred miles later I picked up a broken broom handle as I was plodding up a long hill, tied the leash to the short piece of wood and realized I could steer much better while walking behind the World. All that time "I coulda' had a V-8!" When that broom handle broke I took and old vine-twisted willow walking stick, added some spin toggles and I had a mast that didn't bind or knot at the most inoportune times. I thought this willow branch would. Last a little while, it survived two mountains, twenty six states and over three thousand miles. I glued it back together when Mount Washington's Wind bent it nearly in half, I bound it with fiberglass reinforced oil line pipe wrap after accidentally stepping on it, shattering it. Finally the bottom six inches fell off so I had to bring out the new stick today. It is also willow, very light and since the pipe wrap worked for the broken staff I reinforced the new one from the start. The slightly bigger stick made a noticeable difference for the better. Not a V-8 moment, but close.
To sum up, I walked softly today with a big stick and it felt good.
I was visited tonight and had a great time. The bag of fruits and veggies is the best kind of food to bring the guy walking for diabetes. You deserve a star for your lunch box my friend!
To those who make excuses why they can't walk... It doesn't get easier later. Was that too harsh? How about... Love yourself or walk until you do.
Enough rambling for today, time to settle in for the cool night.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Alabama, the Beautiful.

A heavy dew had soaked the fresh paint from yesterday so thw world had to redry in the morning Seminole sun while I spent my morning talking with the men of town at the table in the gas station/diner/social club,no dues required. A love of college football on this particular instance is a plus. The sun slipped in and out of the fast moving clouds, I was able to dry the part of the globe I touch the most, got my pack together and began my walk across the state against a brisk wind and intermittent sprinkles. I had intended to begin at a slow pace today. Indeed because of the chopping wind my pace was slow and determined by the gusts from the west, refreshing after five weeks of allowing my body to heal. The ditches and berms of the sharper bends in the road actually helped as I made my way west to the truck stop at the corner of 90 and 87. Several people stopped, all had friends and close family members with diabetes; both types and were very glad to see our effort. When asked by one man why I don't have a large group of supporters, a movement. I told him I was walking to help people know they can help themselves by staying active. A movement movement. The last person to stop me came out from his home that was within sight of my stop for the day. He offered to ride us back to the van. On the ride back to Seminole he told me of his father who is very active as he manages his diabetes with good results. He said, after talking about it for awhile, his father was the epitome of what I talk about, keeping active. Not a bad observation from a drunken sailor. That's all I'll say about my exciting ride to get the van. I ended the afternoon with a pretty healthy meal of greens, beans and stew with carrots at the truck stop. The Liars section there has a twist I have not seen before. Off to the side of the eating tables is the open office where I had a good conversation with the owner who said it is a good way to keep on top of the goings on. The executive desk adds well to this area liars section.
Forecast calls for 28 to 30 degrees in the morning with a high touching 50 here close to the coast. With a wind advisory again I should bundle up for the walk tomorrow. Slow goings again.
Keep walking, eat something green!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Seminole Winds from Toys in the Attic

I guess it's time I began posting again as I've driven from Louisville, my ol'Kentucky Home, and driven to the eastern Alabama town of Seminole where I've been all day repairing and repainting the World since I planted myself here this morning. I figured that if I was going to walk across Alabama I'd walk at it's narrowest part. The five weeks of rest after walking five months was good but it is time to get the ball rolling again for diabetes. I am going to eat better this time, maybe I can loose this ten pounds I gained while I healed during the holidays before I walk three hundred miles. I don't turn down a gift of food, that makes it hard sometimes. Since I am walking for diabetes awareness and prevention you can help me prevent getting diabetes with no high fructose corn products. I was amazed at the number of people who I meet who bring me, the guy walking for diabetes, junk food. Talking about diet is a new thing for me, I am one of those in denial and I need help in making good choices. Like someone said, " The definition of insanity is: Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Help me clear those toys from the attic.
Thanks to my good friends in Kentucky who had me stay at their home, the first time I have ever taken the time to heal. All I did was help take a few boxes of toys and books from their attic and that was to test my sprains and aches. I'll be back to ibuprophen soon, the time to heal was nice.
In the morning we begin again after waiting for these Seminole winds to die down. Hello Alabama!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Pink House and Wild Rice

That's what I've been doing for these holiday weeks, eating wild rice from Minnesota, a gift from the White Earth Ojibwa Nation. Staying at my friend's little pink house, a far cry from the Cat Lady's house I left in June. A welcome month of quiet healing has us plumped up and ready for another stroll. The eye-Hook of the Florida panhandle sounds nice. Soon...