Tuesday morning we started from The Finish Line, a truck stop and casino in Raceland, and walked toward Houma. As we rolled to the divided highway against the flow of traffic a man called from the road next to the highway. He and I spoke as he drank his morning coffee, before I walked on we had exchanged phone numbers so he could give us a ride back to the Finish Line at the end of the day. I knew it would be a good day, my random ride was already handled by the first person we spoke to. I had a happy bounce in my step while listening to a tune on the Walkman from a Baton Rouge radio station.
A mile up the highway I was roused from my radio rhythms to a state trooper. He asked what I was doing, I answered. He then informed me it was illegal to walk on a U.S.highway. "Do you mean that I've been walking along 90 since Seminole Alabama and have walked in 33 states, over 4000 miles illegally?" Apparently. After a short exchange I could read into the conversation this could be like my premature exit from Connecticut so I surrendered to the possibility of a virtual "free pass" to texas. He was the supervisor over this district and thought for the safety of myself and others, also if something should happen it would reflect poorly on him, I should cease and desist, deflate the world and travel to the border. I told him, as I saw it, there were now two options. He could allow me to walk/roll back the mile to the van (The Finish Line), or I could deflate the World and we could transport it back in his (uncannily clean) suv supervisors vehicle. Rolling back was out, in his opinion, so I asked him if I should pull the plug and "Get on that." He decided another vehicle was necessary, his would not do, and wait while he made a call. I calmly leaned on my staff and looked out at the wooded swamp lands, possibly my last moments walking in Louisiana and waited for the "other vehicle". A few minutes later he got out and began by asking me what I do when I come to bridges like the one ahead. From his perspective the pull-off lane was too narrow for a six foot ball, a man and his dog. I answered that I look ahead as far as I can see and count how long it takes for a car or truck to get to the bridge then "mosey on up to the edge, wait for an opening and get my run on." His face twisted a bit as he then expressed his concern that the World may be sucked into traffic by large trucks and... I interrupted, " You know, you are right, just yesterday I saw a duck flying across the road and though it had cleared past a truck the wind slammed it down onto the roadside killing it instantly." I clapped my hands flat together for affect. He winced again. I added, "That said, it is totally in your power, Sir, to have me go to the border. I have walked in thirty three states, over four thousand miles. You would not be the first state trooper to have me do this (he would be the second) and I don't have a problem doing whatever you say." Finally he decided to allow me to continue but "under no circumstances are you to go on the high-rise." A Louisiana compromise.
Truthfully, my friends, I would have been glad to go to Texas and continue from the border. I have taken many rides for safety and necessity. At the end of the day I stopped just short of the elevated roadway near the edge of Houma. Ironically I stopped at the truck stop next door to the State Police troop station. With the world crumbled into the back of the van I am about to drive away. First I am going to ask for a trooper patch armed with my zip-lock bag filled with patches I have collected since I began from Alabama.
Walk for you health. Have a very nice rest of the day.