Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Depending on which radio station I tune to the rain is certain to come late this afternoon or possible. Strong winds are forecast by one and all. It happens the wind and gusts are coming from the south almost directly the way I am heading. I have pushed and been holding the world against these gusts for nearly six hours and have covered five miles. I have stopped at an abandoned motel. Overgrown and falling down where there is any roof at all I have eaten and fed Nice (the dog). I am tired and my back muscles are stiff despite my doing my best to relax and be patient against the hard winds. I will rest here for awhile.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Perry post

Walking is great for clearing your mind and getting your circulation flowing.
I feel I should write about the people I have met the past few days who are great examples of diabetics who take care of themselves with diet and exercise or the nice people who have helped me, the long talks I have had and the passing friendships that make the journey rich. I have drafted a post this morning but I was forcing myself to say something interesting. Sometimes I need to be quiet until I have something to say.
We walked the last few miles into Perry and stopped at the Winn-Dixie about three o'clock. Had enough daylight to paint some worn spots on the world and this morning I have organized my backpack. We are going to walk to the outer edge of civilization, I have been told it is six miles, where we will stop for the day . After days of long distance we both could use short days to recuperate. The next days will again be long unless we sleep in the tent. One day at a time. It could be windy.
Take a few minutes to walk each day. It will do your body good.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

From moonset to moonrise

Sunday early, I awoke at the exact time the moon was full. A little "tidbit" I had learned from public radio the day before. They said tradition gave this moon the name Wolf moon. What that has to do with price of beans or my then getting loaded for the day and finally walking twenty miles, your guess is as good as mine. I landed at Rockies Campground and truck stop at dark, a pair of brothers offered a ride to the van , the nice woman at the counter let me park and gave me the code for the shower. This morning I had a thought and called a friend to let him know I was thinking of him. He told me his love had died in her sleep Christmas Eve next to him. Had I known... I would be back in Kentucky helping my friend.
I'm going for a walk now...

Buster and The Massage

We were on the coastal road in Oregon one Sunday. The miles passed quickly early on the day. As people got out on the road we were stopped by many, slowed to a crawl. At one driveway we stood and talked to at least a dozen people as they pulled up then drove away only to be replaced by another car and visitor. During this a woman came and asked me to remove my backpack, she was a massage therapist and wanted to given back a rub while I talked. She worked on tight muscles and knew her business. People kept stopping and she kept rubbing. When at last all the others had left the woman told me she had recently lost her home, was living out of her car and asked if I would mind her following along with me. She said,however, she had a dog who might not get along with my dog(Nice). She told me some of her story and I thought if I turned down a traveling massage therapist I should have my hard examined. A little later, further up the road the woman had met a man having a yard sale who had agreed to let us stop for the day,it was still early but I opted to stop for lunch. As we walked up we passed Bister;(her dog) who was leashed to the bumper of her vehicle. Buster barked and Nice wagged his tail. I spoke to the man there for a moment as I removed my pack and was about to sit down in a lawn chair when the massage therapist let Buster loose. It was about twenty seconds before he ( I later found out Buster had been returned 3 times to the shelter by military personnel who couldn't deal with Buster) and Nice were in a brawl. Luckily the man had a water hose close enough to the scene to spray down Buster as I pulled Nice by his leash separating them. I don't know what would have happened had the man with the hose been there because Buster was coming for more though he had been fighting on his back with Nice atop him. Not good.
" And that's all I have to say about that."

In between

After we arrive in Perry ( I think that is the name) I will work on a better update. Twenty four miles from this store by the river is a big effort...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Moving on

From Carrabelle I walked all day and into the night toward Panacea. All the people I spoke to along the way kept saying there was nothing between the two towns. First I passed through Lanark. It had been a military base during WWII where they trained for the D-Day invasion. I stopped at the little store there, Nice (the dog) was given a hot by the woman there who had a hot dog cart outside the store. Further on there was a summer camp resort and a state laboratory. I met a man early in the day who offered to give us a ride when we made our way to the lab. It was almost sunset when we got there but the traffic was lite and so was the wind so I kept with my plan to walk the twenty five miles to Panacea by morning. After dark as the road opened for me to walk for long stretches without any traffic I received a call from two women I had met who were concerned, they offered to pick us up if we had any trouble or found a place to stop. Though I had started late that morning I kept a steady pace and felt good until I stopped to rest then my legs cramped making the next hours a little harder. I knew there was a very long bridge a few miles before Panacea, I wanted to get across the bridge while there was no traffic late at night. Itwas good I walked it at night, only four cars passed and it was better that I couldn't see the full length as tired as I was. By that time my muscles ached and I had given up the idea of walking all the way to Panacea. I was going to find a spot over the bridge and rest. To my surprise, after being told there was nothing, I found a campground , restaurant, a gas station and deli in a tiny row of businesses. It was before midnight so I called the ladies who had offered us a ride. Though they had gone to sleep they were glad to come get us as they had been worried about us being stranded. When they arrived I hid the world in plain sight and soon returned with the van where we slept a few hours. In the morning I checked to make sure I could leave the van until later and we walked the last few miles to Panacea. There I was told it was just few miles Menart where I could find a suitable parking area by a local county officer. Still sore and tired from the previous days of walking I was willing to travel six or so miles but at nine miles I was glad I could finally stop. I had stopped for lunch in Panacea where the lunch special was all- you-can-eat fried chicken(grilled was $1 extra, I had a salad and grilled chicken strips). There I met a man who planned to ride us back to the bridge when we had made our way to the stop at the end of the day. While he, his wife, Nice (the dog) and me rode in the cab of his truck back through Panacea with him honking and yelling at friends and relatives, once turning around rolling through grass and gravel to say hello to his brother, he asked if I had met any characters during my travels... I'd met a few. Once I settled down for the evening exhaustion settled in and I realized I had sprained my wrist somewhere along the way. It's not too swollen and I am hoping it will loosen up today.
The sun is up and it's time to get ready. My GPS says it is only twelve miles to the next town. Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

For, not to get...

I can spend the entire morning writing about the people I met, just yesterday ,from the first to the last, who told me they have diabetes or their husband, deceased wife, grandmother etc. with the disease. Some who are getting a surgery to bypass part of their intestines to beat it. Others who exercise and change the diet to turn it around. The last young girl who walked up to me before I settled into the van for the night whose father was diabetic on medications but did little else. It made me sad to see the look on that young girls face when she said her father was not faring but would not change his habits to help himself.
After walking fifteen miles from East Point to Carrabelle a man had a dinner for me from the seafood restaurant ordered and ready. French fries, fried shrimp, hush puppies and cole slaw. I will accept most everything someone takes the time to bring me. And there was a time, a long time, in my life where that meal would have been my first choice if I ordered a meal at a seafood restaurant. Lately fried food or food cooked in heavy oil has not set to well with me. I awoke in the middle of the night thinking I had contracted "the flu". I lay there feeling worse and worse until I had just enough time to get one shoe on and rush out the door to hurl. Thinking I had the flu I have slept late but this morning I feel better. Maybe it was the greasy food that lay heavy on my stomach at the time I ate it last night. I do not want to eat myself diabetic while walking toward everyone being more aware. I need to change more in myself. Walk to prevent diabetes, eat healthy to prevent diabetes.
It has taken me years to begin to change. I can't keep walking for awareness and keep eating food that will lead me to get diabetes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To East Point

Starting late I walked through Apalachicola into the historic district and after a cup of coffee I started toward the bridge. I was explaining to someone that on bridges where it is recommended I take a ride, I will. Then a man and wife rolled up with an empty small wood sided trailer. I asked if they were going over the bridge, the man gladly helped load the world and in a few minutes I was safe on the other side. There I met the man from the radio station who later gave us a ride back to the hideaway back in Apalachicola. We stayed behind Barber's Seafood-oysters .
We have a beautiful day ahead. Have an enjoyable walk today.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Out of Mexico to Port St. Joe I stopped often for conversations with many locals, snow birds, retired folks and travelers. Some were like old friends and I couldn't stop talking. Others just had to stop, get a photo and be the one person on their Facebook friends list to get a close up, wish me luck and off they go. It was celebrity day also. I met a president , a cruise captain, grandmothers and media names. Everyone was special and I had a great day walking looking for that thing in everyone that made them King, or Queen. When I had walked past the populated areas I had a few long stretches with miles of walking in the grass and sailing my round plow into the wind. I was brought a meal in the afternoon fit for a king, the king of rock and roll, that was surprisingly tasty. Later I was given a bag of burgers that were almost like White Castle burgers by two women who had just spent several minutes standing safely on the side of the highway but handed them off to me as they were pulling away with traffic bearing down from behind. We had just been talking about my attempts to eat healthy. I guess they took it to heart deciding to give away the temptation of having those square diuretics in the car with them for the rest of the drive home. I was also given a hot meal, a small bag of provisions;road food and a six pack of water. I turned down the two cans of Pepsi. I was escorted over the last narrow bridge into Port St.Joe by the town Sheriff just before dark. With a full day of conversation I was surprised I had made it thirteen miles but one of the celebrity names I had met had reserved a room at the hotel on the far side of St.Joe so I began to walk into the night. A man who had offered me a ride at he end of the day then showed up with his pickup truck. I opted for a ride the last was getting late. When I had returned with the van , tied the world to it, gathered a few things to take into the room and and finally walked into the lobby it was filled with doctors in town for a conference. They had heard about me and were full of questions, wanted a photo, had more questions...I sat down on the lobby couch exhausted, imagined them royalty that may one day save my life with a wave, and told a few tales. When I entered the room I doffed my clothes and fell asleep. I awakened before three and soaked in the bathtub then napped before the the morning coffee was ready in the lobby.
From the hotel it was almost nineteen miles to Apalachacola. After a short patch and glue session with the World, several trips back and forth to the room to get completely ready we pushed off to a head wind that was strong but manageable. There was little traffic but I had to use the grass to keep moving forward. When the wind blows too hard it makes the world slower on pavement. After a few hours the wind died down a bit and I could get up on the road more. There was an oyster festival in town so the road was busy all day And at about the halfway point the grass was taller. A few inches of grass was easier on the dogs feet, no sand spurs, but twice the effort. With the long distance I knew it would be after dark when I got to town. I couldn't rush, I had to keep a good pace. Unlike the day before, the cars stopped in waves. One person would stop and then before they were finished another would pull over, then another . I would walk a few miles the. Have a twenty minute stop with a dozen or more before walking on. I was well fed with six oranges, dog treats for Nice(the dog), a whopper with fries and a diet soda, some burgers from McDonald's... And a bag off road food. As I walked into the night I was offered a place to stay when I arrived in town and a ride there if I wanted. Since I had taken a ride the night before I wanted to finish the day myself. Traffic had lessened the road was open, I could see the cars coming for over a mile away and could stay up on the road until the last moment. I had wanted to stop all day with low energy but taking a ride two days on a road without a bridge or narrow guardrails didn't seem right. When I made it to town I was thoroughly tired and sore. The man who offered a place let me stay at a spot a few feet from the water and said I could stay a long as I needed. He gave me his card, Play-N-Hooky. I spent Sunday repainting the World, watching the sun go up and set . A person could get lost down here at "the Forgotten Coast". I received a message. Someone thanking me after taking my lead with an adventurous walk everyday. That makes it worth all the miles.
After a day of rest I am ready to walk a few miles. I will even take a ride over a bridge.
Have a great day!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


It's all about making a change, recreating yourself. One step a day closer. A bike ride, a walk, sweep a sidewalk or dance to your favorite tune. Enjoy creating reason for recreation. "Don't sweat it", just sweat. That's too much to ask, sidewalk sweeping couldn't be categorized as recreation, unless it was to the beat of your favorite song.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Uh thank you, thank you very much."

A woman asked me if she could bring me something to eat, she would bring it to me on her way back from town. I asked her to surprise me, wanting something healthy since I was walking toward diabetes awareness. When she returned she had a small bag with a sandwich and a cranberry infused water. She pointed out that the drink was healthy as she told me about the "Elvis Presley Special" in the bag. A crunchy peanut butter and banana on what seemed like pan fried white bread with a hard cornbread crust... The first bite, probably because I had not had something cooked in oil for awhile, tasted like gas. The rest of it went down much better. Color me surprised.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Travel note

Never know who you might meet on the shores of Florida. Ran into Warren Beatty. Talked with the wife of James Cahn. The day is still young.

Sheltering Wings and Driftwood

When I find myself alone with little spark there is always a sign somewhere in the silence. Amid the roar, a smile from a stranger, a friend of the soul, like ships passing on a journey.

Panama to Mexico

The breeze was a little better through town but still blew hard against us. We were able to get almost nine miles after talking and trekking past Springfield to Crandall. There I met a man who offered a lift to his home and some advice about the bridge I had to cross... Get a ride. I have rolled over many bridges and other hazards but when necessary I will go with safe passage on a narrow,arched bridge with a tiny walkway. The man offered a shower, sealing the deal, baby wipe baths only go so far and washing a load of dirty clothes made the matter of riding a short distance with the World in the bed of his truck alright. He had room in his garage to store the planet and for the first day since we began this leg of our journey the world was dry in the morning and I was able to get the world over the bridge leading to Tyndall AFB without much problem. The wind had finally shifted and helped march me across the military facility property before sunset. As I approached Mexico Beach a woman came and offered a room at The Driftwood Inn in Mexico Beach. I walked the extra twenty blocks to get there, almost passing it by. Had the woman at the inn not been looking for me I would have rolled past. The sign was clear but I was exhausted from the nearly seventeen miles I'd covered. I am very grateful for all the nice people I meet and all the help. I am foot sore and tired. I am going to curl up in this bed and go back to sleep.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Panama City Beach

Before I left the Winn-Dixie parking lot a woman stopped to give me a hug and thank me for bringing attention to diabetes, her daughter is living with it. She loved on Nice(the dog) and Nice loved her back. We had walked only a few hundred feet when another woman rolled up. She had been told we were there by a coworker and came to find us. She gave me a hug, it was a great way to start the day. We walked along "the strip" past the high rise resorts and hotels which made wind tunnels that I had to work hard to push past. I passed the hotel I had stayed in for a week ten years ago when my son was young and I was still married. My father had just passed away and I spent days on the beach making a giant sand sculpture of my wife and a huge circular two teared mound that looked like a sand castle but was really a giant recliner which I could move around to follow the sun while drinking large quantities of alcoholic beverages to morn my father's passing. . After a few days of that I gave up the alcohol and just cooked away the tears. .
Moving on...
We turned away from the beach front and by the days end had crossed the bridge from the island into Panama City . I asked for permission to park at a Sleep Inn just over the bridge. Under the crackle and buzz of the high power lines I had a good night of sleep in'. The sun is breaking over the trees, it is time to get going again.
Do something for yourself each day to get your circulation going. Enjoy a walk, play ball, build sandcastles...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Books and a hot plate.

I have been approached by every manner of people. I have passed many and learned you can't judge a book by it's cover. A young man with a Brazilian polo short came and as we talked I could hear he might actually have been from Brazil. He was fascinated and asked many questions. He gave me his cell-number to possibly help with a ride. As he walked away he turned back and asked, because he was about to graduate from engineering school, could I tell him one thing that he should take with him through life. I was on the spot. Fumbling with the request I replied " besides walking everyday, smile" I spread my arms to indicate all the worldly troubles, "be calm,, nothing's THAT important." I was not ready for a man who was about to finish a university education to ask a question like that. I have lost a world of time worrying , or worse, when I could have taken a breath and calmly continued.
I passed a man sitting on a curb with headphones. He had grey hair so I thought either he was retired or "some crazy". His back was to me as I rolled so I didn't make eye contact and kept going. Some distance further I was stopped and talking to a couple of people. When the man i had passed came up with a young girl, he had been waiting for her to get toff the bus. He offered a ride after I asked how far the Winn-Dixie was. The wind blew hard off the ocean against me all day. We began from a Winn-Dixie and the best next place along the high rises of PCB seemed to be Winn-Dixie. He brought his wife and daughter when he came. Nice, the young girl and me rode in the bed of the truck. She told me of all the animals in her life that had significance during the drive as we rubbed on the dog. The man was about as "down to earth " as a man would want to be. His wife was just as nice. They brought me a hot plate of food for dinner 'cause when he spent ten years wrestling bulls as one of the original "45" bull riders that made professional bull riding famous a hot homemade meal was the best thing in the world to him when he was out on the road. I savored every bite.
I not going to check this post over so here it comes...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Royal Ride

My mind is "a jumble" with thoughts about the things I have accomplished in my short fifty. I can drive in the streets of my home town and see tangible things that will be there long after I am gone . An archway over a gated fence I built for a woman decades ago, all the homes I had a hand in building, concrete and stone that I have laid. On them all I have left my hand and yet sometimes I doubt. Making a difference, a mark that lasts, a good impression made by my own hand. The smile of the old woman leaning on the sill of her kitchen window with one leg swinging side to side and a happy smile after I had transformed the kitchen from a rotted hole into a thing of beauty is the best type of accomplishment. Not the toil and hard work, the smile is the mark I remember.
This weekend we rolled down the beech road, 30-A, between Destin and Panama. The beach names blend together. I saw only glimpses of the ocean from all the beachfront homes and resort communities blocking any view. Along the path I had many conversations and encouraging words about what I am doing. Some say they have been "following" me, have read these blogs, came to find me to let me know how impressed they were, how important the message is , that my journey is inspiring. Still I doubt what I do lasts. I receive messages from families and individuals who saw me as they passed and it uplifted their day, or sparked hours of conversation during a long drive, or that they are walking each day. "i admire what your doing for diabetes awareness ... ( with this iPhone I just pushed a button, a message of the type I was speaking of appeared, I must have unknowingly copied and pasted it now in my moment of self doubt...) ."am so glad you have a Facebook so i can follow you .i seen you when you were parked in the front of my neighborhood in avondale .Louisiana and i seen the world ball along the side of your van .it was not till a couple of days that i read about you in the news paper and your story .i really would i could have met you and taken pictures.i lost my mom at 40 with her diabetes and i currently am taking 5 shots a day for my own .wishing you the best at your journey .keep the writing up i enjoy reading it." My mind still"a flutter", I will move on to another paragraph ...
This post was supposed to be about Bob. Bob walked up with a smile. I had walked by Bob's home last year and again that morning. He and his wife have a home along the beach and also in New Orleans on Royal Avenue. I had passed one morning last year as he was in his front yard. This day he offered me a ride, if I needed one at the end of the day, before the subject came up, as we talked there on the beachfront. He seemed to know more about me than I had said. At the end of the day I gave him a call and during our ride back to retrieve the van. as we talked about my travels he recalled the reason I found myself on Royal Avenue in the French Quarter that day. I had been invited to meet someone for lunch at a favorite eatery in the heart of the quarter, he said everyone there was talking of me and I would be welcomed with much enthusiasm because he was going to tell everyone I was coming. When I arrived and called the man who led me there he did not answer his phone, no one there knew his name and none had any idea why the World was tied to the pole outside the deli... Bob had read some of my posts. I remember thinking at the time when I had walked for two days to get to the midst of The French Quarter that though I had not met the person who invited me there it would end up well. I had no idea ...
I don't know where to go with this line of jumbled thoughts and the sun has come up. It is time to get ready for my day.
Walk everyday, you may be impressed at what it may accomplish.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

To the Beach

From Lillie's we continued against the wind to the beach road, 30A, turning more directly against the eastern wind. The skies were clear but it didn't help with pushing the world. Even with a walking path along the road we were able to match the prior day's distance, if we travelled that far. We were invited to have a bite to eat at the Gulfplace winter resort complex and stayed as their guest in the parking area. I painted some parts of the ball that have worn threadbare after days of rain and mist but a few periods of rain overnight have made the world a blue and green mess. I have wiped of as much as I could of the thinned wet paint before it gets all over me and the dog. I have put on a pair of my older torn pants and a shirt that already has paint on it. Settling down to short days with strong head winds will be the meditation for the day.
Thanks and good morning to the many people who we met yesterday. I hope you.have a pleasant walk today.
Here we go!

Friday, January 11, 2013

The wind blew to Lillie's Q

It was a turtles pace. With the wind blowing hard, driving a mist against the direction we walked. At the end of the windy day we walked six miles and " some change " in eight hours ( maybe a little less ). We walked finally by a barbecue restaurant . More a shack compared to the malls and country clubs that have built up since this outside dining, gravelly parking lot, award winning sauces and tasty meat selling establishment was founded ... They took me in.. To their open air dining porch, fed me what I call a "best in show " plate and let me stay there for the night. So when you think the wind blowing hard against you is holding you back...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

For a challenge

From the Walmart in Destin if I can get six miles against this head wind it will be plenty. Should the rains begin sooner than it takes me to get that far I hope we can find a place to stop. I have a feeling I would be better off staying here but the signs in the Wally lot say no overnight parking. It IS a tourist town after all. I can imagine in the season it could become a mobile home park. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Bridges of Cinco Bayou

The first person I met after walking away from the fire station in Shalimar was an old gentleman out for his morning stroll. I rolled the World to the side allowing him to pass. He stopped to ask what I was doing. He agreed that the best thing was walking and with his thick southern dialect learned before even home made radio began to blend our speech he said, "If I don't get up I bind up solid." He curled his fingers toward his stomach and for an instant he turned ancient revealing his years, he gave a proper southern encouraging word then walked on, now looking spry as a seventy year old.
To get out of Shalimar was a bridge, naturally, with walkways on both sides guarded by a concrete wall , six inches wide at the top. With the leashed world balanced atop the wall I made my way up the bridge until I came to the first of three roadsigns bolted to the inside wall. The outside wall is higher and has a metal guardrail making it two feet higher than than the inside. To balance the world I need three feet clearance, the signs outside point allows only two feet meaning I would have to swing the six foot, eighty pound canvas over the bayou and not let it fall over the railing. The first sign went well. I took my time to get the guideline in just the right point and was able to pull down hard as I swung it around. It was a "ballsy" move. Before the second sign a man was fishing with two poles. His pile of gear was lined up on the outside. He held his poles down as we did a dance-like pass. The world teetered toward the oncoming traffic. Thirty yards beyond him was the second sign. It may have been the wind direction or rush of air from an oncoming truck, the tension or position of the guideline but when I made the move around the second sign the World fell over the edge of the bridge. Held aloft by the dog leash, the bindings and every ounce of leverage I could muster' I stepped on top of the outside concrete wall and worked the bindings as high above the metal guardrail as i could and pulled the World back over. The rough outside edge of the guardrail and the twisting move I had to use to force the canvas covered balloon back to safety had cut an eight inch tear in the fabric. I had no choice but to make a repair there on the bridge with the World nestled across the four foot wide walkway. The position of the rip and the pressure from the inner-tube would quickly become larger. That morning the last thing I had put in my pocket when I left the support van was a large piece of canvas. I always carry smaller patchwork and several 2 ounce tubes of rubber adhesive for patches while walking. I couldn't know what was about to occur but I am glad I took that piece of fabric with me. The piece was just large enough to cover the rip in the fabric of the World, I spread the glue on the ball and soaked the canvas patch then waited for them to dry before I applied the patch. Thus the name contact adhesive. I had a few visitors while waiting for the glue to dry before rolling the world atop the inside wall again to the last sign. At the third sign I jumped over onto the roadway and ran the last hundred yards during a lull in traffic. I survived the first Cinco Bayou bridge but not without a large slice of "humble pie" and a few lessons on gravity and motion.
When I was waiting for the glue to dry while on the bridge two woman came up the walk. They had come to meet us and had a small bag of dog treats which they fed to Nice (the dog) while we waited for the glue to harden. They invited us to stop at the business where they worked which was just up the road. A man who was roughly my size rolled up on a bike and we all had a few moments there on the bridge talking about diabetes and the wonders of daily activity to get healthy and keep healthy. The women walked on after I ran to the base of the bridge.
The man waited at the approach , he told me that he had lost one hundred pounds since being told his body was " binding up" like the old southern gentleman had said. Looking at him I would have not guessed he had once been so large and sedentary. He now had a vitalic enthusiasm and wanted to share the things he'd learned in life with his children. Changing his lifestyle was the only way he could do that. Mutually inspired, we went our separate ways with like enthusiasm.
I could see the two women with all their coworkers waiting as the manager from Denny's came out to offer breakfast and a bowl of water for the dog so the entire office staff came over for a group picture and many encouraging greetings. Inside the restaurant I sat by an older couple . We talked as I waited for my healthy salad to arrive, the husband was diabetic and after hearing my tales he was encouraged to walk more to help the circulation in his neuropic feet. His wife silently urged me on as gave him a few examples of people I had met who improved their condition with exercise. The woman thanked me for the inspiring conversation, they were late for the man's doctor appointment, she said she would otherwise stay to listen to more about my adventures but had to leave.
Sitting at the booth behind where the old couple had been was a woman and her daughter. She shared that her husband had become diabetic depending on medication to keep his insulin regulated. He had, over several years, lost a few "stones" and was now off medications.. I was glad to hear this and happy for their daughter who also looked happy and proud of her father.
Hearing good stories helps inspire me to work at getting healthy. It took a lifetime of poor habits, of not realizing the damage I was doing. Some of my bad habits a cravings still longer but I am slowly making progress. One step at a time.
I crossed three more bridges before arriving in Destin. One was like the first which I had to balance on top of the parapet wall, the third was an older bridge to Okalooska Island. It had a three foot wide walkway exposed to traffic but with patience I was able to get to the other side. The last span is a long modern structure with a wide emergency lane. The most difficulty were the strong winds in my face.
The day, as with everyday, was filled with conversations, some happy and others tragic. I don't have the ability to write about all the encounters . The type-1 diabetics who look better than most, the husbands and wives and parents of diabetics who beam with pride that their loved ones take such good care of their bodies. But others. despite their best efforts have constant struggle to maintain balance. Some don't care and succumb, for whatever their reasons, and suffer .
I walk everyday. If I could end my days like the old southern gentleman I met this wouldn't be so bad.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Nice Walk to Shalimar

We walked from Niceville after taking in Niceville Avenue. A nice street with a nice hardware store, a nice school, nice little houses, nice commercial buildings and a nice small wooded area. Before we got out of town I stopped for a nice breakfast and a nice interview with a man from the Niceville newspaper. It was all very nice. Then we had another nice interview with a local television newsman , channel 7, just as we entered Valparaiso, nice. Except for the abundant sand spurs along the roadway by the Air Force base the miles to Shalimar passed nicely with several nice folks stopping for a nice visit. At the Shalimar city sign we were interviewed one last time by channel 3... A nice interview. Then a nice girl and her mother asked for a picture, they had called the tv news and were so nice they felt they had to apologize for calling them. it is with the the help of such nice people that we are able to spread the be nice to yourself by walking message. As the nice camera man was still filling us for some nice follow up footage I stopped at the nice fire station and had a nice talk with the nice firefighter who nicely gave me permission to rest there for the evening. I then awaited the nice woman I had met earlier in the day, and her nice husband, to pick me and Nice (the dog) up and shuttle us back to the van in Niceville. Once back and settled at the parking area between the firehouse and the courthouse annex I must have been tired from the nice day because the next thing I knew It was midnight.
I hope everyone can, like me, have a very nice day.
Love yourself and walk everyday.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Nice goes to Niceville

Crestview from Milligan

I stayed up late from the drunken youngsters coming to investigate the ball tied to the van. A giant ball is hard to resist. Still, we got going fairly early and made our way to town where we rolled down Main Street. Turning south we rolled to the last gas station at the edge of town. The man who gave me a ride had ridden a bike across the nation and ran marathons. I met two men who were "extreme runners". I met several who walk a few miles everyday. I was inspired by all of them. I may never run a marathon, ride a bike cross country but I can walk everyday.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

An Average Day

The world was covered with frost. It had not dried from the rain of yesterday so it was covered in a crystal sheen.i pumped some air into the world, put the sweater and jacket on Nice (the dog), loaded my gear and began walking in the dark of the morning. The store was a short walk down the road. The sun was just beginning to brighten the sky as I finished my coffee in the parking area outside the Harold store. A patrol car from the county sat across the road as i plowed along the tree line far from the road until it was fully light. I then switched to the other side and rolled against traffic where I could stay on the bike lane until I saw oncoming cars and trucks. We soon stopped and i put our sweaters into my backpack. eventually the world dried enough and released the sand that had accumulated and I began letting air out of the ball until the mid afternoon when I need to pump air into it with my battery powered pump. As the sun sets i have had to add air five or six times. Nice plays with the leash, jumping and tugging as I steer and push through the grass for a few minutes then walks at my side between the world. Sometimes I forget he is there. He occasionally walks through some spurs that I have to remove for him. By the end of the day I'd picked dozens from his paws and a few off my fingers in the process. He'll catch a strong scent sometimes and we do a pull me, hold him back, roll and steer dance while he scans and sniffs straining every muscle. Not to mention all the dog encounters. At the end of the day we had walked seventeen miles, talked to dozens of people, smiled for as many cameras and had a picnic by the side of the road. Then just before we wobbled to the Milligan BP station to ask about parking on the property with our six foot ball the local television news man stopped with his video camera for a quick interview in the last few minutes of usable light. Night had fallen by the time we walked the hundred yards to the BP and talked to the man inside. The good people support system, in the form of the newsman, gave us a ride back to the van leaving the World tied by the BP until we returned. All evening people have been snapping pictures by the World now tied to the van. A few knock on the window for my story and leave happily saying they will spread the word. A man came knocking, he had heard about some crazy man walking with the World down 90 while he was at work. After we talked a minute he knew why. He was diabetic, had bypass surgery and now controlled his diabetes with diet. Everyone I have met who had been obese and had that type of operation has had similar results to turn around type2, adult onset diabetes. However his son was insulin dependent with juvenile diabetes, he said it has become the epidemic of our times. As he was leaving he told me I was doing a great thing, that I was still crazy, that he loved me... I said i loved him back and got back in the van. I know, I'm as stunned as you. Spreadin' the love. An average day.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Just one...

Just once I got out of the van after the rain stopped to rub a towel over it and everybody "showed up". A pick up truck with a couple men on there way by and then another pair stopped as I had nearly wiped off one side of the van. I had just finished when a woman stopped to talk. She was from the newspaper . She had hardly gotten out of her car when another man, in a pickup truck, I practically answered that reporters first twenty questions by her just listening to he and I talk. Another pickup piled up with a pair of women this time . For a moment we were all having a good time there on the side of the road but all those folks have folks or are those folks with diabetes... " it's a epidemic. " The man was type 1 and told of his surgery he recently had despite his best efforts and about battles he'd had with his mother over her bags of candy and how he cared for her so much that he wasn't gonna' allow it on his watch....that they had " a fallin'out ' and she went to his sisters and it was all about choices and some folks you just can't reach. We shook' hands and as he drove away he said what I was doing was worthwhile even of it was getting thru to ... Just one.

Quiet rain day

It is raining and with a ninety percent forecast of rain until tonight. i am tucked away in the van next to the railroad tracks by Hwy 90 and Pond Road. Fairly sure I will not be in the way if the railroad needs to work on this electrical box in the rain.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The first steps

I began walking this morning a little anxious to start again in Florida but before I made it past the first corner a woman came out from the store she was working in. When I told her my purpose she shared with me she had been told three months ago that she was "borderline diabetic". She and her husband took this news seriously, changed their eating habits, stopped eating sugar, stopped eating food that digests to sugar. She had lost thirty pounds and they were both healthier and happier. We were both so happy for one another we had to hug as we parted. If I was looking for a sign I think the first person I talked to with such a great story could not have been better. Any angst I had disappeared .
Grab that bull by the horns! Make some changes and get healthy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sunshine and warmth

There I was in Bowling Green with dark clouds and cold wind with sprinkles of rain. Snow was possible later in the day. The world was covered with frost and I came to the decision to go south past the salt covered roads and the biting cold. The salt and wet had already started separating the patches and thick layers of paint after two days of abuse so I let the air out of the ball, loaded it again into the van, drove to the Tennessee border and stopped. It wasn't any better there. Driving down to Nashville it was still cold enough to make Nice (the dog) shiver. His cold weather sweater was still frozen from the previous morning. I had talked to members of the board and a few close friends and all agreed there was no shame in getting to better climates so I continued south getting off the county roads to the expressway. Tennessee is the only state in the south, other than Arizona, where I have not stepped in with the world. This year I have driven through six times and twice stayed in Tennessee concerning my son ( sad story). I wanted to get that accomplished, put that state out of my mind. When I had made it near the southern border of Tennessee I stopped at a parking area to let the dog walk around. There I decided to get the world out, inflate it roll it a few feet , deflate it and have it, Tennessee, behind me. That done. I felt a weight off my shoulders. I have walked to Kansas twice. There also I spent weeks sitting outside a hospital , again concerning my son, but had only walked in it a few steps. My goal to walk to Tennessee was met with bitter cold, rain, ice and hardship. These walks don't have to be like that. I loaded the world, falling apart and flaking, back in the van and headed to Pensacola. I have walked along the east coast of Florida but not the Gulf coast of Florida. I know I may seem like a wimp for not spending the winter trudging through cold but I am trading salty roads for salt air. Snow for gulf breezes and southern rains. For the sake of the dog and my own laziness we will be walking in Florida again until the season permits me to get back to walking in the few states where we have not been. Everyone asks for a goal is to walk as many days as I can spreading a message to prevent or control diabetes with exercise , healthy living and if you are dependent on medication with diabetes, control. Does it really matter where that is? Like the "snow birds" I choose to do so in sunshine and warmth.