Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sulpher to Vinton

The rains that soaked the World while I stayed for a day at Wallyworld loosened the house paint tread and softened the patchwork but to stay was out of the question. On the asphalt by the ball were tiny flakes that had rinsed from it. I have to keep moving until the real world dries the tiny canvas planet. In the morning the wet roads and grass kept a coat of mud clods building on it. Occasionally I would roll through a long clean puddle to wash the mud a sand away. By the end of the day the house paint was all flaking making the world look fuzzy from the hanging "chads" all over. The base coat I have used over the years has kept the fabric very sound in raining and wet conditions but it takes so long to dry and I often loose it the next morning in damp morning grasses. When I get to the Texas border today I will probably need to let the air out of the world and stuff it in the van to get it over the expressway bridge to Orange Texas. I hope a nice person with a pickup truck will be there at the visitors center where 90 turns onto the I-10, the only way over. I can't know till I get there.
Have a wonderful day...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


One lazy day passed. This morning is wet with a fog. It is not raining so off we go from Sulpher to who knows where...

Monday, February 27, 2012

good intentions...

The same day that I ranted on this blog about needing to push away from the tasty foods here in LA. I was brought, while I walked, a hot lunch by a sweet old woman. She told me I was doing a great job. She said she knew I'd have water so she brought me a soda, a Big Red. She also told me she wanted to give me some of the lasagna she had in the car but she was on her way to a wedding so she stopped and bought me the boxed lunch. After she drove away I opened it to find a large piece of fried fish, two fried chicken wings, a boudin ball and a pistolette also deep fried. The twelve ounce bottle contained over two ounces of sugar and more carbs than I care to mention. I chuckled to myself as I turned the bottle from side to side, it was almost as thick as syrup. What could I do but take the gift? The rest of the day I was packin' heat; a pistolette.
Yesterday a man in Lake Charles called me over to a convenience store and asked me to get whatever I wanted. The store was filled with junk food but luckily there were some bananas on the counter in front of the crock pots filled with sausages and nacho cheese. I left with two bananas.

Rain Delay

It's one in the afternoon and has just dried up from the rain this morning and a mist until eleven. I did put my rain jacket on this morning and walk about a mile and a half. I went down to the auto parts store and got something for the van. By the time I returned I was wet from head to toe and figured I could safely take the day to stop without feeling bad. I received a text from a girl who is taking a college media class. She is on her way to tape an interview. That should keep my mind off the fact that now the winds have picked up, dried the pavement and at least the shorter grassy areas. I could get somewhere today without too much wear and tear on the World. I never could take a day away from work without feeling guilty about it, this is no different. I'd even take a large shovel to the beach when we went on a family vacation and spend the day making some huge sand castle or twenty foot long sand sculpture. Now the sun has broken through the clouds for a moment... The guilt, it burns!
I wonder what is up with that helicopter that keeps circling overhead...

Zydeco Steppin' and the Fishing Expedition

I know I didn't post yesterday, I wrote but it was lost when I pressed "send" so I got up from the comfortable curb I was sitting on by the side of the road and continued pushing on. When I left WelSh I tuned my radio to KRVS public radio and immersed myself in cajun and zydeco. The rhythms were perfect for the roadside Do-si-Do with cars and trucks. For two days as I walked into Iowa and Lake Charles I danced a World Zydeco Two Step until the station faded away. When I got into Lake Charles Sunday afternoon I intended to follow US-90 until it merged with interstate-10 and pack the World in the van, go over the bridge which is restricted to traffic and begin again on the opposite side. Many people I spoke to told me I'd be walking through "the hood" and it might be dangerous. Patterson New Jersey, Jacksonville Florida, The Ninth Ward and St. Paul Minnesota had a little more shady characters but Maybe it was because it was Sunday. I softly dipped and weaved along "Business 90" without incident. As I came to one of the last on-ramps to I-10. I was passing a Work truck and trailer which was parked on an abandoned property that was just a slab of concrete where a building once stood. Just then another truck pulling a small trailer filled with construction debris, Two men got out and asked me some questions. After explaining my plan for getting over the river they offered to ride the World over. They were finished working for the day and had left the first truck and trailer parked on this abandoned lot for a few minutes to go across town for some fishing bait before heading home. We strapped the World in the bed of the pickup truck and over the tall bridge we went. He dropped me off at a spot where I walked for miles around the oil refinery. I don't know if you have ever walked around an oil refinery with an earth ball before but let me tell you the piercing stares I was given by some was more frightening than "the hood" in Cincinnati, I survived the journey and by some miracle was within walking distance of Walmart where I arrived just before dark. I called the good people I had spent time with in Welsh after trying the numbers of those who had offered me a ride back to I-a-Way but didn't answer. I had made it a good distance from them and I am grateful they were willing. It seemed the whole weekend there was a perfect timing to the chance meetings which were accented bya sqeez-box and someone singing in French softly playing in my ear. The missed calls, the turns I took wondering whether I should go down that road all came together and I found I was just where I needed to be. I met a lot of people over the weekend, talked of my my reason for this journey, meeting them along the way is a wonderful bonus each day.
Remember to Love yourself and those you care for, put on some Zydeco and two-step in some tall grass.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

the Wind into Welsh

Although it was only three miles to Welch the blustering wind gave me all it's tricks. At the right angle with the wind when big trucks go by the World is tossed aside with great force. Usually they fly by causing a slight ripple to the rotation without making the planet spiral off coarse, not so while I held the World along the edge of the steep drainage ditches. Four hours after I began I had progressed to the edge of Welch. I still had time enough to make it to the naxt tiny town before dark but I felt like I had been running a whole day. The force of the wind and the effort it took to keep the World steady, keeping it past the White Line and out of the waters in the ditch, when cars passed had drained my muscles. If I went on I might strain something, I had to "tap out" and ended the day uninjured. The folks of Welch are more than nice. I slept the night between the conoco and the lumber store across from Bubba's Bayou Bulk at the "blinking light" in Welch. I had lunch, and dinner last night with them and some of their close friends. Gumbo, Boudin, grilled "Cajun style" steaks, hot sausage, beans and rice filled me like a tick about to jump of a deer. I'm gonna' have to exercise with some "push aways" today. Push away from the breakfast table, push away from those tasty cookies, push away from the crawfish steaming...

Louisianna Roulette

Like one woman said to me a few days ago while we talked on the roadside about the long list of delicious cajun foods, "the deck is stacked against us diabetics, we just take our insulin and go on." You might as well put a pistolette to your mouth and pull Le' trigger. Mes O mey.

Friday, February 24, 2012

I don't Wanna'

Thursday I sat in wallyworld parking lot at Jennings, it was wet in the morning with high winds against the direction I had to go. People who came up said it would get worse and even a man from the "table of Wisdom" I'd met in Mermetau said I should stay and wait it out. I was feeling aches and pains, under the weather and lazy. By ten thirty I couldn't stand it anymore and loaded up for a walk. By eleven I started to Roanoke about six miles away. I had to walk full against the winds for about a half of a mile back to US-90, it took over an hour with the winds and stopping for conversations. When I finally turned the corner the angle of the wind wasn't much better. I struggled before I left the parking lot with myself about how I deserved a lazy day, it didn't really matter if I skipped a day. Before I had pushed forty feet from the van a woman and her daughter stopped and gave me encouragement. A hundred yards and a man ran across a field to get a picture with me,"show some teeth" he said as he lined he and I into the camera's view. Just past the first driveway where I had to walk down along my first steep ditch of the day with the World over my head to coax it past the watery ditch a
woman stopped and called to ask why I was walking. I harshly said "To encourage people to walk so they won't loose there toes and feet to diabetes by pushing this canvas ball against a heavy wind, carrying a backpack, and walking a show if I can do this your love ones can walk a little each day to help themselves.", I blurted it out before I could check my infantile attitude. She had just lost her mother in law a few days earlier to diabetes and said her own father was suffering from numbness and the family was "trying" to keep him walking. I told her of the woman who lost some weight, walked for three days and could feel her feet again. "Happy as a schoolgirl!, tell him that story; it might help." Her eyes lit up and she said I was a messenger from above. I don't know about that but for some reason when I tell that story it strikes a note in people. I was glad I began this ugly morning and struggled against wind all day because of that one minute meeting with a woman who cared and wanted to encourage her father to get his circulation back. I was glad I took the long way to snowfall last year and met a band of Indians who walked with me all day (very few folks do)and met the happy woman who's story I tell. All day she was so excited as she held a sign in her hand and a happiness in her step on the feet she could feel again.
The rest of the day I walked in ditch edge with a wind that reached thirty five at times. In the end of the day I had walked less than one mile for each hour I was on the road, or ditch, or edge of fields with two inches of standing water. The winds this morning are strong but the direction has changed. I will see if it helps or hinders.
Any day is a good day to walk, we were built for it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Morning After and the Tree Hugger

A fog lay over Mermentau as daylight came. I had breakfast at C'est Bon with a few men who sat at the "Table of Knowledge" while I waited for the haze to lift. I had gotten off the roads for the end of Fat Tuesday and watched the parade floats return from their last day of celebration. Some of the passengers who had thrown beads to us looked a little "worse for wear" while others still had "a full head of steam" as they yelled and danced to the loud music booming from the purple, green and yellow covered trailers and old buses converted for use once a year. Some still had strings of beads to toss and when daylight came beads were strewn all around the World next to the road. I picked up handfuls that had been offered to the canvas ball. As we walked on Ash Wednesday into Jennings I picked up strings of beads as I went. During my slow shlog thru NOLA and C.A. country I had seen hundreds of beads from years gone by along the road in the most random places. Crushed by car tires, color worn away, half buried in gravel, intermingled in anthills. I wanted to do a small part to save what I could from roadside oblivion. As I rolled the miles to Jennings I found the fresh shining strands here and there where I'm certain no one had been standing while the inebriated participants sped past. There must have been one particularly sentimental "closet hippie" amongst them because at every big old oak tree I would find a strand of purple beads. Even where there was no house or industrial driveway in sight. As I got into town the random strings were tossed at old abandoned buildings, again, where no one had stood.
The fog may have lifted from the road but it was clear there was a fog laying heavy on some of the drivers who may have been "floating" on Fat Tuesday. I had to "hurry along" a few who slowed to take a picture as an eighteen-wheeler barreled toward them and their foggy haze.
It had been too many days of dampness and some of rain since I washed the blankets and clothes so I walked to the only laundramat in Jennings,sat in front and within minutes a man rolled up and took Nice (the dog) and me back to Mermentau and the van. I washed all the blankets and clothes. I washed the clothes from the day I had been soaked in the rain twice. (They still had a dank scent). Parking at the laundry was not the most promising spot to spend the night so I gathered my things and went up the road past US-90 to Walmart. During the short walk there a man offered a ride and when I arrived there he whisked us to his home in the "hood" for a "rinse and go" (a shower). I can truthfully say I spent the first day, at least, of Lent cleaning up.
As with everyday I met many who suffer from diabetes, too many to mention, and heard some heartbreaking tales of others. Let's all walk to help control or prevent it. Do it for yourself, eat well and walk.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Trip Trap and the bridge troll

Before I forget this... When walking along the steep edges out of Crowley where I'd have to stand deep in the ditch holding the World practically on my shoulder as I waited for cars or trucks to pass standing inches from a steam of ditch water frm the recent rains, I cam to a short bridge that crossed a wide creek. The bridge was new so it had a wide approach paved with asphalt, it had a guard rail with a boxed end that I used to cradle the World so I could rest and have a vegetable snack. We sat there for awhile before I threw my pack on my shoulders and crossed the bridge. When I passed to the opposite side a woman stopped to talk saying she had called the newspaper and they were on their way. She stopped and looked past me with concern. I turned to see a man walking up from under the bridge. He wasn't dirty, his clothes were well worn and clean. His blue jeans were hiked up to his ribs but he wore no belt. He walked by without a word even though I spoke to him when I came close. He tried sticking out his thumb as he hurried away but soon crossed to the other side of the road and was gone. I walked for over and hour before I saw him again. First just the top of his head as he walked along the far side of the railroad tracks, soon he was on the tracks, pants still high and snug over his rib cage. I walk slower than a mother pushing twins in a bay carriage and I almost passed him. At one point he began walking along the easement when the tracks became too hard with his thin shoes. When the wet ground became mud he disappeared again. I never saw him again. We must have walked just yards from one another for three miles without a word. The only times he looked my way was when I called a command to Nice (the dog). I'll think of the strange little man as my bridge troll.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Let the Parades begin!

We had a quick walk today so we could get off the roads before the revelers returned from the Mardi Gras. Now I'm taking some time to do a little World-maintenance. During our walk many parade floats drove by and threw beads. My neck was full by the time we stopped in Mermentau at C'est Bon where they let me park for the night. Happy Mardi Gras!

Happy Mardi Gras

We made it to Esther Wood and stayed at the fillin' station/ liars club. The young man who rode me back to get the van brought me a bag of boiled crawfish. He and the regulars of the station showed me how to eat the "mudbugs" telling me the in-and-outs of gettin' the innards' out. Not a delicacy for the faint of heart. It was an initiation this boy from Kentucky won't soon forget. Today we hope to get midway to Jennings. I'd say more but a Lou Z anna version of "Ramblin' Man" on the radidio' has got the moss gatherin' under my feet. I hope you'll understand...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Walking thru the Rayne, Odd Fellows and the Crowley WallyWorld

For those that are following this little trip thru Louisiana I want to say I received a call from a woman who represents Walmart who sincerely apologized for the miscommunication at the last store I stopped at where I was asked to leave. On behalf of Walmart she told me the cause was a good one and hoped for success. I accepted, told her I had moved on and held no hard feelings. I write this as I sit in the parking lot of their store in Crowley Louisiana on this sunny morning. The store watched over the World last evening while I was kidnapped by a family o' Cajuns for a delicious meal, another to add to the list of recipes I can't spell that you can only taste if you visit Cajun country. OohWee! I was away for hours while the World was safe in the welcome hands of Walmart.
Sunday morning the storm front that poured 4-1/2 inches on Saturday had passed and I left Duson from the Firehouse long before the Mardi gras parade and Walked into Rayne, the choppy high Winds dried the roadside and helped us along. Before I began I went to the food mart and ate breakfast with a coffee. As I sat there eating I was overcome for a moment by my emotional loss of mom. I can talk about her death from diabetes all day long during my months and miles... Later in the blustery morning some good folks brought me a coffee by the roadside in a hard plastic Clown cup from the circus," the greatest show on Earth", I recalled the tune "Tears of a Clown" and felt comfort as I sipped the warm drink, alone by the marsh. I had eaten a Subway breakfast sandwich in the morning and ate a cucumber during the day and felt much better than the heart-heavy diet I complained about from the other day; Boudin ball and Pistolette followed by a large dressed burger and fries. Better food, though less quantity, gave me more energy and endurance. Maybe there's something to this healthy diet thing, eh?
I walked into Rayne (the frog capitol of the World), past it's frog Depot city center and nostalgic main drag where I was met by the local newspaper. They brought with them a man who was walking to promote cancer prevention. His message is to enjoy a walk to keep the body healthy and strong to fight cancer. Maybe there's something to this exercise thing, Eh? We exchanged contact numbers and a few thoughts with one another as we posed for photos with well wishers, and the press who documented the rare occurrence. I was onto to Crowley while he was off to Lafayette.
As I walked to walmart, getting closer to town, I saw in the distance a man walking on the opposite side of the still rural road. He was flailing his arms and I could see he was talking out loud to himself, or to whatever demons he was leaving behind. I see troubled souls like him more in inner cities so to see a man dressed in clothes not suited for a country walk arguing to himself out there by the crawfish fields was an oddity. When he noticed us he forgot his angry rant, turned tail and headed back in the direction he came. At his first opportunity he disappeared behind a building of business closed for the weekend. I made my way to my stop for the night (the name of the road is "Odd Fellows") where I had dreams of people and places from home.
Tomorrow, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, will certainly allow many hidden personalities to surface. Today I'll walk in the sunlight...
Love yourself and walk those demons away.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Deluge at Duson

I walked out of Lafeyette along Cameron (ol'90), walking through Scott down the road to Duson. The highway narrowed with watery ditches in many stretches. When I made it to town I had to stop and rest. I had been given a boudin ball, a pistolette and later a hamburger with fries during lunchtime, any one of those would have been a meal. I must learn to say no if I want to prevent the disease I am walking to bring awareness to. (That's a mouthful). I had to stop and have a piece of fruit with a bottle of water just to thin the grease attempting to coarse through my system. While I sat there the Duson Police came and because of my big mouth it wasn't long before I was being hauled off in the back of her patrol car... She had arranged with her Captain to take me to get the van and also to the Fire Chief who said I could keep the World at the station in from the rain that was coming. Just my luck, to spend another night at a police station. It's like Tucson all over again, not as cold though. It rained during the night but when daylight came the skies poured down buckets. With the World safe at the Firehouse I went for coffee down the road. I like to talk with the old men who gather at the local eatin' spots but I am in Acadaiana, and Creole is not something they teach at my ol" Kentucky home. I sat, had my breakfast and listened... I love this state. When I returned in the pouring rain to the police station I was met by a man with fresh ben-yays (hey at least I can remember what it sounds like), small doughnut pillows with powdered sugar. We met outside his auto salvage business Friday, we had talked about the Louisiana hospitality and the abundance of good regional foods that aren't necessarily good for you. He brought them to see if I had a breaking point. They were delicious, but I couldn't eat very many. We talked as the rain made the pavement a shallow river. During the conversation I mentioned some trouble I have had with my brakes, a job that was done poorly by Pep-boys.(Another braking point) He offered to help. I handed him the remaining pillows of fried dough topped with sugar and we were back to his shop, the biggest chop shop in the state, maybe the whole U S of A and he By the end of the day of torrential rain, which at times the downpour was as thick as fog, had the van stopping smooth and straight. Thank You just doesn't cover it. This is just another example of the big world of good people I meet all the time.

Dey' Cayn' Cooke'

Maybe I can walk away from Louisiana on my own power, but my belly will certainly be ready for a long winters nap. As I left Alabama I felt pretty proud that I could use the last hole on my belt to keep my trousers up. With the fried chicken, fish, A-2-fay, boudin balls, gumbo, jumbalia, King cakes, pistolettes and a few other delicious cajun standards I can't pronounce or spell I have had to loosen that belt back a notch. I am only half of the way through cajun country with four more days until Mardi gras, walking slower everyday. And loving it!
Someone told me yesterday that the parish I just passed has the lowest life expectancy for men in the country. I' sure it notin' bout' da' good eaten'.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

whatever it takes

For me it's walking a powerful dog while rolling a huge canvas unbalanced ball hooked to a short leash attached to a staff for steering over grass, sidewalks, ditches and roadsides against or with whatever winds that come. Gravity,mud, rain, sun, heat, cold, bugs, going around endless broken beer bottles and road-kill. It takes my mind away from the fact that I am getting a workout. With the World and Nice (the dog) it's fun to walk. What's it take for you to get the juices flowing?

A destination

I haven't been saying much about how many people I meet who are diabetic. Everyday. All sizes , ages and color. Some more colorful than others. I am not doing this to make a World record. Certainly not to get my picture taken or see myself on youtube, again. I have family, living with and who died from the effects of diabetes. I may be destined to have it with my family history. I met a man yesterday who looks better than I ever have or probably ever will. He drove by me as I walked along the swamp back in Houma (Home-ah). He saw us again and had time to see what I was doing. He shared his thoughts from when he first saw me. Was I homeless? He deduced I was clean and neat so I must be on a mission. He pulled up his shirt a showed me his insulin pump. I am walking for a guys health, who looks more handsome, more fit and is probably smarter than me in hopes that someone, someone like you, may give to eventually fund some cure. Then all these children and adults who have everything going for them may someday live without a daily struggle to keep from going into shock, loosing sight, internal organs, limbs. The list goes on. Others can loose weight and exercise, far more than you know have it a little tougher. They may be talking with you now as you car-pool to work talking about that homeless guy rolling the world around...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I can see it from here.

Sometime last week I was interviewed by a Lafayette news station. The reporter found me at the end of the day as the sun was about to set. After the interview we talked about how many days I might take to get to the city. He said it was forty miles. Two days later I realized we were still close to forty miles out. People were stopping who were from Lafayette and thought I had already passed thru. Sunday another guy from a different Lafayette station saw me as he drove by, again the sun was falling fast. He wanted to know when I'd get there. Monday the newspaper came. Same question. Today I somehow found myself stopping within sight of the road where , I am told, Lafayette "officially begins. I think it's safe to say I might possibly, perhaps, maybe, could be in Lafayette Thursday... Today is Wednesday, isn't it?

Hold on, I'm coming!

We didn't walk a whole'lotta on Valentine's Day. I had a ball talking to those who stopped or came from their workplaces. Some invited us in for food and Love for the Nice dog. Several times, when a happy couple would walk up from their car I played Cupid and asked them to enjoy the Valentine holding hands with one another. It was sweet to watch as they strolled back slowly to the cars squeezing each others hands and stealing a loving gaze. I snapped a photo more than once so I wouldn't forget.
We were invited into an industry break room for some chicken and King Cake and left after being given a few gallon bags filled with cake and more chicken than anyone should ever eat if they hope to keep diabetes away. With each bag the woman filled with delicious chicken I said over and over I could not turn anything down AND I am walking for diabetes awareness. Another of the women added an apple, another an orange while the well wishing chicken bagger added a coke to the package. As I talked to the shop workers and a few executives. I "curled" the heavy bags of leftovers. The situation was hilarious.

By the end of the day I had been given no less than seven shirts (two off the back of the givers), four bottles of water, a gatorade, hand cleaner and several Valentine hugs. I felt the Love on this holiday.

Lafayette is five miles away and I heard the rain is coming. With the sunny and warm I must accept the wind and wet times. I will get "there" eventually. Patience.

Give yourself a Valentine everyday, love yourself and enjoy a walk!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Snail Valentine

I was lucky to find a shelter early in the afternoon where I was able to get a coat of much needed paint on the canvas of the World. The rain came. As they said it would. If not for the Landry's Family Restaurant letting me stay while they closed for monday evening I would be grinding more threads away from a soaked World. I am going to wait for the roads to dry after sunrise so the new paint won't wear off so fast. I don't mind a snail's pace. Lafayette will have to be patient. It'll be days before I get there. I'm in no hurry. Are you? Relax and smell those valentine roses.

The Hump, the Gumbo and the Signs.

During the days walk on Saturday as the World dried from Friday's rain I watched the paint wear away. With blustering Saturday wind each push twisted away layers and loosened some patchwork. I have two grades of paint. The thick artist acrylic dries slow but builds up well to add a sort of tread for the World. The house exterior acrylic dries fast, sticks firm, but doesn't hold firm when wet. It has rained so much here along the gulf coast since I began in early January I have Used mainly the house paint. All the new patchwork and the trouble areas, not quite ready for patches, wore down to bare fabric from the twisting friction of wind, and gravity against the Worlds surface. Sunday morning was too cold to paint, I glued a few loose edges, bundled up for a second cold windy day and rolled the weather beaten ball away for another thread bare day. As Sunday progressed from choppy winds that changed directions often, to a wind where I was able to keep a good pace but with a motion that gave twist, a grind if you will, to the fabric World with every step. This is the only World I've got. If I don't take the time to repair the damage and maintain what I can, I may loose my World forever. (Double 'awn 'tawn 'dre!). Sunday night I got a little paint to some trouble areas, in the dark. The wind dried the house paint despite the cold temperature. A light rain Monday morning just reversed the winds help. I need to be patient, for the Worlds sake.

Sunday I left with just what I needed. I had been well fed at Landry's (sorry if I misspelled) Saturday night and wanted to walk off that and the barbecue,beans,jumbalia, desert "The Kind Folks of St. Mary Parish" brought me after we settled in for the night. I brought a few bottles of water, dog food, two pieces of fruit, a clif bar and "emergen-C" powder in case I need a good boost. I left the truck stop by the restaurant and started down the frontage road. I hadn't gone far when a man came from his home, helped me chase the World across his yard (coyote wind), before I left I was carrying thre more bananas, two ensure energy drinks, an eight pack of apple juice boxes and a warm heart. The freezing wind played with me as Nice (the dog) bounced in his morning tug-of-war with his leash. All day, like Saturday, I could almost count the steps I took between each time I was stopped for a photograph and a conversation. On the frontage road or the four lane, against the flow of traffic, or rolling in the pull-off lane with traffic, I was talking all day. Taking a few steps, then talking some more. The time for forward progress came when I passed over "the hump", that's the over-pass in layman's terms, and waiting for me at the approach and descent were people who either knew what I was doing or wanted to ask. In this manner I progressed maybe three miles in five hours. I wasn't setting personal goals of getting to the next truck stop, but the next speed limit sign. Late in the day a port-o-potty appeared just ahead. After the juices, the bananas, the pizza, the fresh off the oven home made cajun gumbo with the neck bone and several bottles of water, I needed to relieve myself.(Hey people --I am walking for diabetes awareness-- I can't be rude and turn anything down, but please...) Twenty minutes later after dozens of conversations I made it to the green plastic sanctuary, threw off my back pack and shoulder bag (the were now filled with water, beads from the carnival parades and other gifts of tasty food) as a woman pulled up camera ready. I was living the dream, a day not measured in miles, but in getting the message to walk for your health to as many as I can. (Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.)

As the sun set we were two miles from the nearest place to stop for the evening when the St. Mary Parish police officer who had spoken to me in the morning after getting a call a man was rolling a Carnival Parade balloon down the highway. We agreed, as several people stopped to talk to add to the small group that was already gathered, that I would not get to the next "hump" by nightfall. As he pulled away one of the many well wishers came with a covered plate of jumbalia, barbecue, a blanket, two bags of provisions and ultimately a ride to the truck stop two miles ahead and then a lift beck to the van. I had turned down a ride forty minutes earlier at the Port-o-potty but it was still in sight and my load was now too great to make it any farther. I took it as a sign that we were being looked after and helped rather than stubbornly trudging into the night out of pride that I must walk every inch. We made it to safety without walking in the dark.
It has rained again but the clouds a letting the sun shine through here and there. The world needs to rest while the paint dries. A little. Then we will set our sights on the next "hump".
Enjoy your parades!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

How far?

Today was sunny cool, very windy in my face.
Yesterday was wet, then heavy rains with some heavy wind when it poured and soaked us down.
The day before that was clear sailing with a lite wind that helped us get where we needed.
I never know how far. Today it was a little over eight miles in nine hours. Yesterday nine in six raining hours, the other was thirteen in eight.

Wind from the West Whips Worldguy

Not really whipped, but today is not a mule day, it's more a Dung Beetle afternoon. No clouds, just beautiful. Go walk in it yourself, it's not so bad.

The Rain and the Bulldog

After walking along the frontage road for about an hour the mist began to turn to rain. We were on the frontage road alongside the divided highway. Then the East bound traffic was diverted to the access road because of an overturned dump truck filled with a load of dirt. I switched to the empty lanes while the rain and headwind increased. It wasn't long before we were soaked. Eventually the water running down my legs soaked into my boots from the top. The last couple of miles we were both shivering whenever we stopped to talk to people who generally called from their cars asking questions and takin pictures. At the advise of a well meaning young firefighter I got over to the local roads by Franklin. I'd been better off back on the closed down lanes but eventually made it to the franklin truck stop. Rolling into main street was too far in the rain. Once we made our way to the stop an old Texan rode our wet selves to Centerville and the dry van. The old Texan called Bulldog gave me an old Texan hat that I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to use where I am headed. I've heard if you get a big Texan hat it's lucky to be given you're first. Not to say that I believe Texans are superstitious. A Texan,I don't think so!... I spent the rest of the day getting us both dry and pouring water from my boots,stuffing towels in them to dry the pool they had become. I was cold to the core and got a hot-link po-boy to warm me. It worked. But the cold front has rolled in and I'll have to get out the cold weather clothes for the weekend as we head toward the big city, Lafayette.
Next time Nice (the dog) gives me that look as I am getting ready to venure out in the rain...

Friday, February 10, 2012

against his "better" judgement

It has been sprinkling and a lite rain passed thru while Nice(the dog) scowled at me from his bed in the dry van. I will give it a few more minutes and then go. The World will be a gritty mess if these conditions keep up.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Patterson to Patterson

I have walked from the edge of Patterson to Centerville after a full day of walking talking, interviewing, being stopped (in a good way) by police, and finally sleeping all night while thinking of all the things I could share about the special moments of the day. All I have so far is the title of the post. I wrote that just before I lost the war with my eyelids. I'll just begin and see what rolls off my thumbs...

When I got up from the night at GameStop I stepped over to Walmart to get a gallon of water so I could shave the grey away, some dog food for my companion and a sack of seed for the pretty birds I noticed scavenge for crumbs (poor things). On my way out I passed the woman who had helped me get permission to park the night before. She asked why I had moved over to the GameStop parking strip. I explained the lapse in communication between the Women who were handling the business of the day and the men in charge who were handling things from the video monitors. I thanked her for being so nice and we both giggled over my purchase as I pushed the cart away. By the time I returned to the van at the GameStop, after getting lost and disoriented in the huge acres of parking lot, I noticed there had been a hole in the sack of bird seed, alas, not one kernel was left in the bag. I prepared for the day, moved the van to the edge of the twelve slot Gamestop parking area before sailing across the wide sea of wallyworld asfault. The wind ushered me west effortlessly. I made a phone call to a friend, had a conversation and posed for a picture and steered the World behind a perfect wind until I finally left the vast parking area. A hundred birds lined the roof, waiting... The call had been made, more were on their way. Pretty birds. Worn out from the trek over the empty parking lot I had to stop and rest.

That has nothing to do with the title of this post...Let's try again.

The day before I stepped into Patterson (there, I used the word) I had a lively talk with a fast talking Cajun woman. She talked fast and 'xpressive, I had to quicken my talk just to keep up. We laughed and carried on about everything. From the colas she drinks twenty four-seven knowing they are bad for her to veterans fresh back from the war. She assured me I would meet one 'fo shore' if I was passing through Patterson in the morning. She was right. He was a good gentleman, wound a little tight, strictly by the book and easy to get along with as long as you don't make any sudden moves. Patterson is lucky to have him protecting their community. One of the Patterson citizens had called, they called in saying they nearly hit me. I'm thinking they just wanted to see how he handled the situation and were watching from a distance. During this road side stop I was also interviewed by the local newspaper in Patterson, told more stories than I can remember, talked to a bunch of people who came up for pictures and a few questions, and I had a cup of coffee while we all waited for dispatch to give the "all clear". One of the Patterson police later brought me a patch which is now nestled next to the LA trooper and the 3rd Ward police patch I was given lter in the day as we walked toward Centerville. I didn't get one from the detective who stopped me even before I had walked the length of a walmart parking lot from the walmart parking lot, but he did call me during the day to make sure I was doing alright. I felt safe thanks to our veterans who now serve to protect us locally. I truly mean that. I've met many veterans during my travels, from Firefighters to those on leave from the war. One even called me once when he was on a mountain in Afghanistan with his satellite phone.I have a tribal scarf he gave me. When it's hot and I need to carry a lot of water I have a camelback given to me by a petite little farm girl from wisconsin who faced me off when I hesitated to take her water sack that she had on her tour. When she 'nosed up" to me and told me she'd cleaned all the sand out of it and I better take it I noticed her cheek puffed out from the 'chaw of tobacco stuffed in her gum and the fire in her eye. I took the gear. When I first used it the mouthpiece tastes like lipstick. Not what I was expecting from the little blonde with a chew. Now I call it my lipstick lifesaver and think of her every time I take a drink
Anyway, Patterson New Jersey has got nothing on Louisiana. (There, not great or even close to what I was going to ramble about last night but I did mention both Pattersons)
The sky is thick with grey clouds and it rained a bit last night. I should get ready for the day of walking.
Walk, feel better, hug a cop.

Mrs. Marlatt's Creation

Some things stick in my mind from childhood. This little verse was written by a friend of the family, I can't forget it. Or the image of two feet sticking out of the bowl...This, I hope, will give me relief.

There once was a man from Waddy
He had to go to the potty
His creation was lush
With reluctance he flushed
and followed it down with his body.

Mrs. Marlatt, may you rest in peace. Perhaps I may now also.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


The Louisiana State Troopers at the station in Houma were very cordial and after giving me a patch and a few oranges I drove past all the "dangerus" overpasses, elevated roadways and bridges clear to the edge of Morgan City. I had an interview over the phone by the ADA monthly magazine. By this time I knew if I got the World out and inflated I would need to make repairs. Crumbling the World into a wad of canvas is never good, there are always areas that need reglued or paint that flakes away. Since I had a twenty mile "grace" ride and am not on a strict schedule I decided to find a laundramat and wash my bedding and dirty clothes while I had an opportunity. When the wash was finished I went back to the highway to get ready for tomorrow at the store chain where I have had no problem staying in every state but Louisiana, Walmart. Not wanting to repeat my experience of being asked to leave another Wallyworld parking lot like when I was in "Beauty" I went in and got permission to stay there overnight. After I was given permission I inflated the World and commenced repairs and touch ups (putting down a drop cloth first. Several hours later, just before dark, the Wallyworld manager who saw the van over the store video surveillance cameras and was not around when I waited for twenty minutes to make sure I had permission to park, decided that I could not stay, because he had not given permission. He sent his male assistant manager to inform me. When I said I'd gone in and asked, a female assistant manager had given the okay. Apparently the men were sleeping or had the radio off. I had to go. I walked next door and asked the good people at Gamestop who were happy to let me roll the World fifty yards over to their few parking spaces, so here I am parked six feet from the acres of empty parking lot. They even gave me a card with a note in case the loal police have any issue. Though I didn't walk today I feel it was very productive as I spoke to fifty or more people while working to maintain the world, was in a few newspapers and an interview by a New Orleans television station made yesterday aired today. There was also the twenty or so miles of westward progress and a new patch!

Compromise and Truth

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.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Finish Line at Raceland

An added bonus to staying behind Frank's Lounge was that I was able to keep the World under shelter from the midnight rains so the paints I applied were able to thoroughly dry. Over the past several days the off and on rains and heavy dew had left my efforts "hit and miss" and the painted canvas World never dried. Before the game on Sunday I had pealed off many layers off old water soaked patchwork over the Antarctic where the six panels of the original canvas cover had been sewn together. I say "had been" because when I removed all the rain loosened canvas repairs, of four thousand miles and more, all the seams had separated. The only thing holding the World together were the years of layers. Some of the first patches I had ever glued over torn seams were on the ground. One large blanket patch now binds the Worlds' south pole together with contact adhesive. After five hours the process was complete with a clean white arctic and many more ares looking better from a fresh coat of paint.
I rolled the dapper World along the four lane's shoulder to Raceland. For miles we were just feet from the swamp. The tall growth and water hearty willow are beginning to beckon spring. Nice (the dog) would occasionally pick up on a scent of something along the waters edge. I am sure he will be surprised when he gets his first glimpse of a gator. Last winter as we walked along the dormant swamps in Georgia and Florida we would startle them as they sunned near the road , always just out of sight but the splash was distinctive. For a guy from up south in Kentucky all this is a new thing, as far as swamps go I'm still wet behind the ears.
After the day of walking and talking we walked over the waterway bridge, down the ramp and into Rangeland's Finish Line Truck Stop where the security guard from it's Casino came to see what the World was all about. Before I could ask about parking the van overnight she told me I could Park with the trucks in the rear and that they had showers inside. I called the one number I had been given by a good person during the day who had offered. To ride us back to Des Allamends and waited. While we awwaited our ride many people came to talk and have a picture with us. Nice (the dog) loves the attention as long as he is between them and his World. The Worlds watchdog has had issues ever since the Boys of New Jersey teased him while I was away and he was leashed twenty feet from the World. Whatever they did during those thirty minutes two years ago Nice has made sure it will not happen again. The World is a member of his pack, he won't let it down again.
The man. hat gave us the ride is diabetic He told me of "the pink drink" that he uses to help manage his condition with great results. He said his doctor told him he couldn't tell him to use it because it isn't approved by the FDA but as long as he kept monitoring his levels it was hard to argue that th man now does not need the shots and pills daily. I wiLl have to learn more of this natural drink I keep hearing about.
After a meal, some sleep, and then a shower I feel pretty good. I am amazed how much better I feel by finally having wider shoes that give my toes room to move. By back and joints don't hurt as much. I have happy feet! I best finish this line of late night rambling and go back to sleep.
Enjoy a walk everyday. We didn't make it this far as a species sitting on our assets.
I'll finish with that line. Goodnight Louisiana.

Monday, February 6, 2012

a good day

With the superbowl crazy traffic and the need to give the World some tender loving care I worked most of the day on patching after taking three hours to walk a little more than two. Thanks to Frank's for their hospitality, especially the people of the neighborhood who were so warm to include me in their football holiday.
I am going to walk to Raceland today and will keep this short. I have some food to burn away. You may also after this weekend if you were so inclined. Perhaps a walk is in order? A lively tug of war with your dog, or playing stick ball with the kids. I enjoy walking curbs to practice balance. It helps me remember when I was a child chasing rainbows...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Where Cats are King

After a full day rolling the World against a good wind and stopping many, many times for conversations we were about to get drenched by a storm when a man invited us to stop and take shelter. The world survived the days deluge under a carport while we were whisked to retrieve the van. Even though the day had the winds in our faces the wonderful people I met all day let me rest, gave Nice(the dog) constant attention. I am so thankful the man was there at that moment. Two minutes later and we would have been soaked.
I still haven't figured how to pronounce where I am, it de Catfish capitol of the world Des Allmends. Hope I didn't butcher the spelling too much. The people here are great.
Today is superbowl Sunday. I am hoping to make my way to a table with a view of the blowout. Maybe I can get some catfish.
Des Allemands y'all.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Boutte iful View

The paint had enough breeze blowing over it to dry despite how late in the day I applied it. The world needed some attention and the sun racing to the pacific wasn't going to stop me. The rains came overnight. First a light sprinkle, then an hour or so later a good soaking rain. What paint didn't roll off from the rain or wear away on the rough wet sandpaper roadway did seal some thread-bare areas. The day was hard on the world. The roads stayed wet all morning, the trucks pulling out from the various dumps and industry threw dirt to the shoulder lane we walked and rolled upon pocking the world with hundreds of mud clots. It got so bad it made it difficult to roll. I rolled it through a long deep puddle in the ditch and found a towel on the side of the road to wipe it down. It wasn't the end of the dirt or sand building on the world but the roads were beginning to dry , I had to do something even if it meant rubbing off fresh half-dry paint. Several days of wet has the glue loosening some of the patches. Because of the overcast skies the layers of canvas couldn't dry enough for me to glue them. In the end, however, the world did survive to roll another day.
I enjoy small sights daily as I walk. The clouds, the sun rising and setting, the birds, the willows springing small leaves and so many other moments. Today I walked by a creek where a pipeline ascended from the water. As I walked by the seven turtles sprang into the water from the sunning spot on the pipe. They reminded me of a squadren of planes rolling out of formation one by one. It is those little things that I enjoy when I walk.
One woman stopped and gave me a fresh orange and an apple. She was not diabetic. Another, who was diabetic, offered me some snacks which I accepted (never one to turn down a kindness). It was a grab bag of bite sized portions of candy bars and cookies,two pairs of individual serving potato chips and mixed nuts with M&Ms. What's wrong with this picture? I thanked her and left that elephant-in-the-room alone; she had just agreed to walk so she would not loose her legs to diabetes like her mother so I didn't want to push it. And I wanted a cookie.
A young man came up to me wearing a shirt saying: I can only be nice to one person a day, today's not your day, tomorrow's not looking good. He had face piercings, tattoos all over his arms and a low-boy Mowhawk. He asked what I was walking for. I started with the story of me walking along the highway surrounded by corn fields as far as the eye could see a few years ago in Missouri when a woman stopped to tell me Micheal Jackson was in an ambulance on his way to the hospital and they think his condition was serious. Then I told him of two years ago when I began a ten state walk from Washington D.C. on Earth Day and it was weeks before I heard in passing conversation about the the disaster in the gulf but that I was walking for diabetes awareness. Some subjects are better left alone... The man later gave me a ride back to my van 14 miles back down the road. His shirt was not a true representation of his character. He was a hard worker and a volunteer firefighter. "Don't judge a book by it's cover."
I had stopped at Wally-world as I often have during my travels. They allow overnight parking for travelers all over the country except here and the store manager sent a woman out who apologetically asked me to leave. She told me that she had refused to call someone to "haul" the World off while I was gone to fetch the van. I took it in stride and walked a little way up the road to Majoria's Supermarket where the owner of the shopping center allowed me to stay without a bit of hesitation. The broasted chicken tastes better than that other place. A family business that still survives even with a superstore in the neighborhood. It worked out for the better, my walking a little farther,because I had a beautiful view of the sunset from Majoria's Supermarket.
The chance of rain will be fifty-fifty again tomorrow. I'll be walking again unless it rains first thing in the morning.
Will the world survive another day of neglect? Will the World ever dry up? Will Nice (the dog) ever find his long lost love, the blonde in the white chevy pickup?
Tune in next time,as the world turns..
I'm having a ball.

West We Go.

The day of rain let me rest after the New Orleans tour, the colorful neighborhoods, the bridges, ferry boats, etc. I was ready at dawn to walk thru Gretna on it's main drag of old, 4th street. I was called into the bar/diner beside the police station and the welcome center(tiny train station with a caboose along side) where the local gents were gathered to solve the worlds issues at the long table, the liars table. The tales they spun could fertilize a large garden. Next to them sat Gretna's finest. With a little help from the liars club I was able to get a patch from the city before I rolled on to the canal crossing and then back to US-90 heading West. I passed under the Huey P.Long Bridge ending the day in Westwego. A good day of lively conversations and Intereting people.
In this World of goals and schedules I suppose I should set my sights west. Texas sounds lofty enough. No promises of where we'll go from there or how long it will take to get there. Everyday I talk to people encouraging them to walk helps, wherever I am. Sometimes the message takes hold. A woman I met last winter as I walked past Cape Kennedy sent a communication, she had walked over 12 miles in one day and mentioned me to her Facebook friends... warm a fuzzy...
West we go, for now.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


The clouds are dropping scattered drops and a mist has driven Nice (the dog) back into his sleeping spot in the van. The balloon World has lost pressure in just a few minutes as the wind has pushed cold air from the north. I would usually take a chance and roll out but today I have decided to stay where I am, rest, walk the few tenths of a mile to wash my dirty clothes. Still struggling with the urge to get on the road despite raindrops falling on the screen of my Blackberry as I write. Today pride would just get me very wet...

The Big Easy, The Big Muddy, and me.

Rolling the World from Seminole Alabama to
cross the Mississippi River at New Orleans has left me a little tired. I didn't have the energy to stay up and write last night, I couldn't keep my eyes open after walking thru the Ninth Ward and across a drawbridge where I had to kick the World over as I carried Nice (the dog) over the grated span as traffic waited behind me, then zig-zaged down Royal and Bourbon streets against the one way traffic to Canal St. and the ferry which also had open grates I had to heft the eighty pound dog across to ride over the Mississippi, then a few miles more walking (against the wind) to a shopping center where I could leave the World in the care of strangers before getting a ride back to St.Bernard Parish and be led back over the river by the only man who offered a ride during my day of speaking to hundreds of tourists from Brazil to Germania and locals of every flavor and class. Nine hours to walk and three hours to drive there and back because of traffic and a broken down ferry boat. I would not trade it for a day relaxing on the beach. No one said this would be easy. No one said it would be this hard. Who'd of thought we'd go this far? It's like painting a house. One step at a time. Dip, brush repeat. Eventually you see results.
A chance of rain today, only a few sprinkles so far. I should get eady to walk now.
Walk, does a body good.