Friday, March 30, 2012

Wells to Alto

It rained after I got to Wells and any paint I put on before the rain washed away. I tried. This morning I started just as it became light and now at four o'clock I am at the STOP at Alto. No ride yet but fourteen miles is far enough for one day. More Later...
Spoke too soon, I just got a ride.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Staying On Hope

After a two and a half week Vacation from walking from Alabama to Dallas Texas I am heading back to Wells. I should be there today where I need to re-inflate the World and at the very least do some patching and glue where the patches have separated from storage in the rear of the van. My reason for stopping is because my son was, for lack of a better word, lost. He came out of the "woods" and, I hope, he can keep the healing going for the few weeks it will take me to finish this goal. I left Louisville Kentucky yesterday morning and as the sun set I pulled off the expressway and had a good nights sleep in the van in Hope, Arkansas. It was the best sleep I have had since this "lost in the Woods" chapter began. My boy (my son) is doing better everyday. I'm staying on hope he has not done much permanent damage.
On my last minutes of walking in Texas I met a man. His son had seen me rolling the World toward Wells, he had to come see what I was doing this for. When I told him I was hoping to spread the word about diabetes, how walking or some form of exercise can help he, with a shocked look, said he had just started on medication, shots and pills, for diabetes. " Will walking really help?". From the first person I spoke to in Alabama to the last man in Texas, I hope...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Going Home

My son is going home today. I will drive him back with me from Chattanooga to Louisville. In Kentucky he will have help recovering and starting again. This is a good thing.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


The World is covered with a green blanket of pollen. This is the third spring I have experienced this year. First was the Mississippi pollen that filmed the edges of the sands along it's coast. The second came full on as I passed Louisiana into Texas. So thick were those fathers of everything green I was coughing up pollen balls in the morning. Now here in Tennessee I am showered again by the spring green.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Movement Movement.

While I must stay in one place to help my son it is time for everyone to take it upon themselves to be active, to move. For now, the Movement Movement must grow with you.
Love yourself, join the Movement Movement.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lost and Found.

My son was found after six days. Dehydrated, covered with ticks, on a road not far from where he disappeared. He is now in a facility in Chattanooga Tennessee. I talked with him for a long while this afternoon and will speak to his doctor tomorrow to see what help he needs,what they will give him, what the next steps will be. I began to help him sort out some of the experiences and imaginings he has had while we visited today. There are many things to sort out. I think he'll make it past this well. One day at a time...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Hazing

Hazing is the word that best describes the past week since I was given my new Cowboy hat by a direct descendant of the James Gang line. If an outsider were to get a big Texas hat what better family from the wild old Texas would be more suitable? The day I got the hat I already knew storm clouds were brewing toward me. My son , I knew, was having a hard way after swallowing three dozen cough and cold tablets a week prior. Until then I had never heard that kids take these for fun but since then I have had an initiation in the tragic effects of fun "gone wild". From phone calls with him, friends and family it seemed he was being watched over well enough but I knew my son was like a man on a high wire in high winds. Where I was in Texas the rains kept me from running back to "save" him, my canvas patchwork world cannot be put up wet, he had people around him who cared for him but they, and I were ill equipped for the haze he had induced. He disappeared in the Tennessee hills among woods and farms, he could have been anywhere. By the time I arrived from Texas his trail was two days old and even their best blood hound lost his scent when he was grazed by a passing auto that carried his scent into a nearby town. It was ultimately up to him to come out of his hallucinational state and allow himself to be found. He finally did and is now being helped by professionals who say from preliminary analysis he is showing signs of bi-polar tendencies. I have been in self denial about this in my son though I know it runs deep on his mothers side of the family. I didn't come from "Leave it to Beaver" street myself, so here we are.
As I was driving from Wells Texas to Tennessee one of my closest friends died. Years ago he had been crushed by tons of earth in a construction accident, a death blow that took twenty years to finish him. While visiting his family I saw all the projects we had worked on over the years. I had a hand in his life more than I realized, a friendship deeper than I can put into words. While my son's ordeal played out I did my best to be a big cowboy and be strong. Who was I kidding, I was a wreck. A few days earlier I was on top of the bull in Texas and then I was tossed landing on my heart. The hazing, the initiation of my new hat kept coming to my mind. It is just a hat but that thought kept me strong, not clear eyed, and I held myself together with a little help from my friends.
The day before the gathering for my buddy Bob, the day before my son came out of his haze and decided to choose life over dehydration and starvation I stopped by his grandmothers home, his mother was there also. I came to drop off three things I had retrieved from Tennessee; My son's jacket, his cellular phone and his passport. That was not and easy visit. When I left from grandma's I drove a few minutes but had to pull off the busy road I'd traveled thousands of times to clear my mind. I turned onto a short road that paralleled the highway. I'd never noticed the name of this road," Dreams End". I pulled into an overgrown parking lot where a church had once stood. There was nothing but a foundation there, and there I gained my composure reeling in the symbolism of the moment when two women pulled up and asked if those horses loose by the highway were mine. The cowboy hat initiation had me again and soon I was getting a rope on one horse while two other used my belt to harness the other and a local fireman unlocked the gate of the pasture where the other horses were. This may not seem strange to a Texan, a Tennessean or even one from Kentucky but in all the years I have lived in the Louisville area and driven along that road I never saw horses loose by the road. It helped me get past my state of mind though the darn horse stole my rope.
I'm not giving up on my son, my friendship to my buddy Bob's family, the movement-movement I have taken on... or the hat.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Release the Hounds!

I apologize for taking so long to update. Sometimes the twist and turns spin you around like a blindfolded child in a game at a birthday party. I'll start from Saturday and try to cover all of what has transpired.
I had walked in the darkness from Huntington between the rainstorms. While walking through Lufkin I met Charles and Brenda who own and operate Pit Stop Barbecue. First I met Charles after I passed their little restaurant on the edge of town. It had just gotten light and he stopped to take some pictures. This happens often and I didn't think about it as I made my way into the city. I don't use the gps on my phone very often but I did this morning in hopes of cutting off some time by walking through the city and not following "the loop" that goes around Lukin. I was soon lost in the maze of streets in the quiet downtown area. I happened by a fire station where I stopped to ask for a fire department patch. The men there didn't have any to spare but I did get an old t-shirt from the captain with a Lufkin logo. After I zig-zagged through a few more streets and crossed a railroad track I met Brenda. She had been searching for me after her husband Charles told her about me and caught sight of me just as I disappeared around a corner. They pride themselves on helping others, having the best barbecue in Texas and the collection of signed photographs that adorn the walls of their little restaurant. We hit it off from the start and talked for a long time. She wanted to feed me some of their world famous food andhave me sign the picture Charles made from when he had stopped earlier. She gave me their phone numbers and insisted she give me a ride to retrieve my van at the days end. As she was leaving she asked if there was anything I wanted, I half joking told her I wanted a Bone-e-fied Texas Cowboy Hat! I didn't think about it as I made my way around "the loop" that was much longer than it seemed on my little-bitty screen. I found myself at the end of the day clear around to the little town of Central where, as I said in my last post, I had an offer to stay outside a home of a nice woman but would have to walk back from whence I came when I took an offer from a man who lived along the direction I was heading. He was on his way to workout with his son and said I could park the world under the carport. I called Brenda, she picked me up and took me to the restaurant to feed me, to the van back in Huntington, to Baskins to get fitted with a Tuff Hedeman Resistol-Stetson Bon-E-fied Cowboy Hat with a longhorn hat-band and a stampede string to keep it from flying off in the wind while I charge against the stampede of cars and cattle trucks. My old hat is old, faded and broken down so this new look will take some gettin' used to but after one day under the shade of the big Texas brim my ears and weather beaten face are convinced. When we returned with my new hat and the van to the Pit-Stop Charles had finished working on the stylish collage photograph that had me wishing I'd shaved before I left from Huntington that morning. I signed the picture that is now on display where you get get the best brisket I have ever tasted anywhere before I went back to meet the family of the man who offered shelter from the rain and storms. They treated me as one of their own, took me out to a special dinner, washed my dirty clothes, et me shower, we watched a movie and I rested during the downpours all through Sunday when I wasn't patching up the World under the carport. They had a big meal with friends Sunday evening, they helped me get back out to the main road Monday morning and were there to ride Nice (the dog) and me back to the van after I walked to Wells as it became dark. Their young son gave me a brand new Camelback military issue backpack that I used for the first time that day. My old pack has seen me throigh four over four thousand miles and as much as I am nostalgic about I did need a change. With my new hat and pack I felt like a kid after Christmas during my twelve and a half mile walk in sunny Texas.
Just when everything was going so well...

My twenty year old son who I love dearly, my only child, did something he should not have done (again) experimenting with a high dose of over the counter cold medication that made him delusional and I got word from Tennessee that he had walked off into the dense countryside. They found his shoes nearby after he had run off to find his mother who he apparently heard calling in the distance. His mother was two hundred fifty miles away. This alone should be enough of a cautionary tale against experimenting... So I stopped walking, deflated the World and high-tailed it to the hills just in time give all the information to the team that tracked his scent to the nearby town and sent out a media and state wide BOLO. When he surfaces there are a lot of caring folks to help him.
In the mean time I just received a call. One of my dearest friends just passed on so I must go back to my old Kentucky Home (not too far away now) for a a short while.
Being the type that would like to do what I say I hope to complete my journey to Dallas before mid-April. If the planets align, that will happen. I have faith.
Thanks for all the messages, support... and the prayers.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

In the dark.

I awoke from my crazy dream in the middle of the night and after jotting the previous lines I flipped a coin to decide if I should haul myself out of the van, air up the World and get to Lufkin before the rains I was told would come around eleven this morning. I made very good time with very few cars on the road. When I got close to Lufkin I stopped for breakfast to wait for the workers speeding by for the morning shift. Once it became light people began to stop me and I thought I woukd be getting wet soon. The rain held off as I walked into town. The rains never came as I walked out of Lufkin and around the loop back to US-69. I was offered a place to stay by a nice woman who gave me her address but her house was back a little way and the winds were blowing against me when I turned around. I hadn't made my way more than two hundred yards when a man also offered for us to park at his home which was down wind. I called the nice woman but she didn't answer to let her know I was going to take the offer that wouldn't have me going backwards. I have walked for twelve hours, pushing against the wind was not in the cards. The clouds are getting thick again, I think I made a good decision to start early this morning during the dark of night.

The Vivid Crazy Dream...

He walked into the party
Not feeling like himself
There he saw the woman
She'd put him on the shelf
Their feelings never faded
With a life apart
They both alone had dealt
Like only one day passing
Renewed the passions built
Upon his shoulders she went riding
On adventures never felt
Climbing buildings dancing singing
In the dream they both rejoiced
Then joyfully they both awoke

A pillow, blanket, and a cool dark night.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Texas Hold 'em

The road from Zavalla to Huntington had a slightly more narrow shoulder that made it necessary to walk along the tall spring grass while the heavy traffic passed on US-69 between the two towns. The rains held off until I got to the Valero truck stop at Huntington but throughout the day the sky rarely let the sun shine through and often a light rain mixed with the mist that fell most of the day. Overnight several inches of rain with lightening and thunder washed over this part of Texas. The temperature fell sharply by this morning with another heavy mass of rains due to move in this afternoon. I could load up and get to Lufkin in this now cold mist that could turn to heavy rain later today or be prudent, let Nice (the dog) rest and straighten the clutter of the van from almost two months of traveling. The rainy weather may keep us here in Huntington for the weekend. I have until mid-April to get to Dallas barring some unforeseen issue that would have me stop early. I have walked across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. A long weekend while holding off for the Texas flush, I think, is the best play. Yesterday I made a had a good run, today I'm gonna' hold 'em and walk away when the drenching's done.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Walking in the forest.

Before I began walking toward Zavalla I was having a coffee in the store where I had stayed the night when a man I was talking to shared he had began walking daily for his hyper-tension and found it hard to convince people how much better it helped him feel. His mind was clearer and his physical condition improved. He felt strongly that everyone needs to take it upon themselves to make an effort so they can see for themselves. I may not write perfectly but if I can get across the point that we all need to move our bodies to keep healthy, to get healthy. Not just watch some guy pushing a ball through a forest, past your home, over a bridge,along the streets of your town and think "what a good thing he's doing." If you do not take responsibility for your own bones and get active...
I have walked nearly double the miles I like to comfortably walk the past few days. My dog is tired. The forecast is for several days of increasingly hard rains. I had made it to the edge of Zavalla as a light rain and darkness fell. Thanks to the church who let me stay on their property and a man (a type-1 diabetic who is a distance runner) who drove me back the nineteen miles to the van. He is struggling to raise his family and maintain with the high cost of diabetic supplies, an issue that plagues so many who can't afford insurance but make too much money for government help. It rained lightly most of the night. I will at least get to the far side of the this small town and if it is not raining I will attempt to get to the next little town. I will likely get soaked if the weather predictions are correct. But with the news I received from. My old Kentucky home far away I should press on to keep my thoughts from what I have heard. No, I won't share... Give yourself a gift, take a walk, eat something green.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Jasper past Angelina river crosssing.

For now all I have to say after walking a twenty and then a fifteen, facing another that's more than a fifteen mile day; I say to the trucker that backed his rear end up to my van in the middle of quiet country and idled all night... They made this thing before recorded history called a B L A N K E T, why idle when you can snug-up under one.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Dinner Bell

I didn't have much to say on Sunday about my experiences while walking imto and through to the north side of Kirbyville. I had passed a church congregation just before their services, I was asked to stop for a picture with their children and answer some questions about my journeys. The leader of the church asked of the good and the bad, I have found the people all around the country to be good hearted. When I got to Kirbyville I was helped to get a spot to stay by a good woman (a diabetic) at The Dinner Bell Restaurant on the North end of town and had time to get my clothes washed at the laundramat. When I arose early Monday I had coffee and breakfast with the "regulars" at the "table of illumination" in the "bell" and was able to get going toward Jasper just before sunrise. The days walk was one of the furthest distances I have traveled. I made it to the Walmart in Jasper just as it became dark. All thru the day the people I met were warm and I had several people who stopped with food to help me on my way. More than I needed and on this subject, food, I will now address... I will try and be quick about it. Have some miles to walk, a new pair of Vasque hiking boots (graciously provided by Red Wing Shoes), a few important calls to make to my Old Kentucky Home far away, reorganize my backpack and shoulder bag, make sure Nice(the dog) is well fed, etc. And the sun is already high in the sky. (This won't be quick) the first meal I was given was a Sonic double cheeseburger and fries with a complimentary breath mint and ketchup (with high fructose corn syrup as a main ingrewdient). While I ate that I was given two bottles of water and a pepsi (water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, sugar...see where I am going?). After that, a few hundred yards up the road three women stopped, they had been to to grocery and offered something. I asked if they had fruit or vegetables. Let me first say two of the three were diabetic. While I talked to the two diabetics the healthier returned from the car with a box of little debbie marshmallow cakes, a large box of cheese nips and two fruit drink juice boxes. I, as nicely as I could asked her to read the first two ingredients of the little debbie cakes, High fructose corn syrup and sugar...I drank the sugar shots as they explained the groceries were for the husband and children," we're junkfood junkies. But we try to eat healthier foods being diabetic.". We all took. pictures and parted. I declined the cakes and cheese nips. Before I mad my way to the top of the hill a woman stopped to hand me a couple double cheeseburgers from "Mcmuckaluks" she had bought especially for me. She said if I didn't want them I could feed them to the dog. He had also just had his own sonic double cheeseburger. I later gave him the beef from one sandwich and trew the other to a pack of Chiwawas who came from their trailer home out to the road to follow us. When I was still climbing the same hill a woman still dressed in her night gown came from her house with a piece of Little ceasars pepperoni and sausage pizza. She had been saving it for me as she watched me walk up the road. The saving grace was Frankie who stopped to ask what I was doing. He brought from his truck four bottles of water and a box of granola bars. I accepted a few (now that I look at one I see the second ingredient is sugar. Then canola oil, yellow corn flour, honey, soy flour, brown sugar syrup...) Later in the day. I was brought some fruit by a woman who I had met earlier. She said she remembered I said I liked fruit. She also had a cold bottle of water. During my twenty mile walking day I was also given a coupon for two(with a fountain drink by a local restaurant that I couldn't use because when I arrived at Walmart I had been given a foot long sub from the pizza store close by. I could only eat half of it. Luckily I was talking to a young man who kmew the owner of the restaurant that gave me the coupon, he had "baby sat" his children and was good friends with him. I gave him the coupon for two.
My good deed for the day occurred when I took a shortcut across a funeral home parking lot and found a clutch purse someone had dropped while getting in the car for a funeral procession. I was able to get it to the local police and I hope she gets all her cards and license back safely. After some disturbing calls from home I slept soundly but awoke late after dreaming of my son who the subject of the calls from home. This morning I must follow up on that and some World guy Foundation business before I step out into the day.
I have been promoting walking for your heath during these walks around America. Now, for my own good, I must begin to turn down some of these gifts of food. I can't walk it all off.
Love your body. Give it good, healthy food and exercise. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Waking up to sunshine.

The cold and windy day out of Buna began in the dark. Before I had walked a few miutes a young man came to talk. He had just looked up Worldguy and wanted to thank me, he had lost his father recently to diabetes. The wind was relentless. All day I crossed from one side of the highway to the other to rest the arm I was pushing with. The cold front crept in as I had to push in the grass, the wind challenged my resolve blowing harder and harder. More and more people stopped, all seemed to have or be affected by diabetes through friends or family. A man and his wife invited me in for coffee. I knew I would not be able to get to Kirbyville before dark so the visit was a welcome rest from the wind. I am usually the one who does all the talking, not so with this coffee break. I enjoyed listening and could have stayed for hours but I needed to get to the sunshine Handymart on the outskirts of Kirbyville. The air stayed cool but the skies cleared in the late afternoon. When I finally stopped at the store to see if I could stay outside with the van or continue the five miles to town I was welcomed to stay and was soon given a ride. Not before having some warm conversations and Nice(the dog) was given much attention which he appreciated very much. After I returned and got settled in the van I was asleep before I knew it. My knees, toes and hips ached from the relentless wind and it was midnight before I awoke to get under the blanket. This morning I was awakened by a Cardinal hopping along the roof of the van and the sun clearing over the trees. I am feeling refreshed, still a little stiff from the cold temperature. The World has a slight coat of frost which the sun is now cooking off. Today I will have to take an easy walk because I hear that after the five miles to Kirbyville it is twenty miles to Jasper. I guess I should thank the winds for making this day of rest possible. I should also thank the winds for draining my energy, making me sleep so soundly with a few memorable dreams. Sometimes a struggle has a good result.
If you have excuses that keep you from walking think of the benefits on the other side. It may surprise you how good you feel.
Have a happy stroll on this beautiful Sunday.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hello Winter!

Last night I fell asleep in a sweat. In the past ten minutes it has gotten cold and I have been pushing hard against a stiff wind. I doubt I will be able to get to Kirbyville today with the North winds whipping down. But here I am. Gotta' keep pushin'...

Heading North

It is still dark, it rained overnight and there has been a few sprinkles since I awoke. There is a full day of walking ahead and the wind had shifted. I am still tired from yesterday but when I get on the road I will forget all about it. I hope I don't run past another mosquito gauntlet like I did yesterday, there were a couple of mile where it was miserable. Glad I'm not heading for Houston, the Mosquito capitol of Texas.
Enjoy walking, take a friend.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Buna. Rhymes with Yuma.

We were all ready to go this morning but the sun was far from rising. The highway was full of traffic with cars and trucks going to work. I had a job to do so I sprayed on the bug juice and began walking. There was an emergency shoulder so I was confident I could be safe. People usually stay on to the left of the solid white line and I had too many miles to wait around for daylight. I had to walk seventeen miles to Buma and then another mile to get to the truck stop where 62 and 96 intersect. I left my pack in the back of the truck of the nice young man who helped me at the end of the day. I took a shower at the truck stop and when I came out he was there to return it. I'm so glad because I had not noticed I had left it behind. Good people make the world go around. The distances are getting greater from town to town and I will need to keep a good pace, get going very early like I did today in order to make this work. For now I must get some rest.
I met a man and wife early this morning as they were leaving their home who asked my purpose. They had lost their son to diabetes and told me as I was walking away that I had brightened their day because they had met me. I was a wreck when I turned and walked away after seeing the loss in their eyes. Maybe it was the early morning. Maybe it was the accumulation of all the heartbreaking stories people share with me and I was caught off guard. Maybe no one ever told me that big boys don't cry...

Mosquito alram clocks caused this...

My first day walking in Texas turned out well. After walking out of the big city of West Orange where I'd spent Wednesday afternoon doing some heavy maintenance on Australia I worked my way from "Old 90" to Texas-62 and headed north. The road opened wide with a pull-off lane and a south wind, Mauriceville came into to sight and we got a ride to get the support van with daylight to spare. I have 'till mid-April for this little walk (our sixth) so I have decided to head for the little towns of Dallas/Fort Worth. If I get there with time to spare I might head for Arkansas. Last summer I left Sheboygan Wisconsin saying I was walking 'till I saw snow fall, I was on the southern edge of Muskogee five months later, was heading for Arkansas, when the snow melted on my cheeks. I had been short of snow twice, once by thirty miles and again by ten miles, and I don't recommend setting a goal with such an open ended climax. When I was aroused by a mosquito bite on the palm of my calloused hand at 2:45 AM. I longed for the frigid weather for a moment. There's no special reason for this rambling paragraph, just that I wanted to write something other than the thought that I had in my head as got up scratching and saw the county police lights next door at the gas station. He was letting some kid go home when he probably should have hauled him off or at least cal his parents for his drunken stupidity. After walking thru Louisiana my ability to spell is all messed up. The thought I can't get out of my head is-- Don't taiz me braoux! -- the police officer followed the boy home. When the sun comes up I'll be heading for the next blinkin' light sixteen miles up the road.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Big "T"

I probably should write some colorful post about the people, sights, food and music of Louisiana. About my meeting every type from wealthy executives to real-life swamp people. Puffy confections to spicy cajun boudin sausage. The Jazz, blues and Zydeco. The bayou and the Big Easy. Or even the rain, emerging spring and mosquitoes. I experienced so much in the short time I walked across Louisianna but each day, even days when I was stopped by weather, I couldn't hide from the truth; diabetes is big and getting bigger. My walking adventure was born from loosing friends and family to the ravages of diabetes. One big truth I have found is by getting active, staying active everyone can benefit.
Hello Texas.