Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Think about your troubles."

I awoke reflecting on some people I have met since the beginning of the year.
The day we were walking along the island highway destined for Destin a woman stopped her car ahead of us. As she walked up a feeling came over me like I was seeing an old friend. When she had gotten close enough to be heard over the roar of traffic she said, "My toilet is broken!" I told her I was sorry to hear it, that it would be alright. Her husband had called her at her work, the toilet had overflowed into her children's room and their bedroom! We both smiled and looked deeply in one another's eyes while I answered why I was there, on the side of the road with a dog and the world on a string. Her questions were simple, my answers cryptic and surprisingly philosophical. She was rushing home to her husband and two children. When she saw us walking along the roadside she thought to herself that her troubles weren't as bad as they seemed and had to stop. We talked as two old friends would who were chance to meet, uplifted after a lifetime apart. I was destined for Destin and her family was in need of rescue. I assured her that her family would survive, it was repairable, not to be overwhelmed, breathe, and clean one area at a time. I told her I was carpenter and these things can be repaired. We smiled again and said "goodbye", she looked "at ease" and happy. As we parted my heart was warmed like I had seen an old friend one last time. I stood in place as she walked back to her car. We waved to one another before she blended into the rush of commuters, and was gone.
Many miles before that day a man knocked on my window. I had stopped for the night and was about to go to sleep. We struck up a boisterous conversation and a fast friendship. He had adult onset diabetes which he had reversed with intestinal bypass surgery. His son had become an insulin dependent diabetic in his early twenties. He had nothing but great things to say about his son who worked and lived on a charter boat in Destin. We talked of my path. I was close to a crossroad where I must make a decision. Which direction I would go? He offered advice, which I followed. It was an interesting encounter . A devout church-goer, he was kinda' preachy' but brusque, like a sailor. When the old man told me as we parted ways, that he loved me it took me by surprise. He gave me his phone number and his son's. He told me where to find his son when I arrived in Destin, "The luckiest fishing village in the world!". He said he would call his son and let him know I may pay him a visit at the docks and boardwalk where he lived. When I called his son I first asked if he had spoken to his father in the previous week. He had, but his father had not mentioned me at all. After I explained about my meeting with his father we met by the charter fishing vessel where the young man lived. He looked nothing like his father who was shorter than me and heavy set still after loosing much weight from his surgery . The son was tall, lean and muscular. He was able to show me where I could park the van and kept the world lashed on the boat while he went to a meeting at the ministry he was "practicing" with and I left to get my van. The next morning, as I was preparing to leave, I shared with the young man how proud his father had been when he talked of him and he ought to give his father a call. "He has a phone. He can call me!", was his response. Apparently the two had some things to work through...before he left for work he asked if he could say a prayer with me. There were several construction workers gathering by their trucks a few feet away. He looked uneasy when I grabbed his hand, bowed my head and took in his words while he "practiced". Like my father used to say, "He done good." I hope the two have talked and worked out their troubles. Life is short.
When I awoke early this morning I was compelled to listen to Harry Nillson's "The Point". I walked Nice (the dog), then set out alone. The sidewalks here are well lit, far from the road. It was past five, the traffic was beginning to pick up. I felt safe, the local police slowed when they saw me on the sidewalk. Safer still, when the patrol car rolled past from a parallel side street. Unencumbered by the weight of the world against gravity, wind, backpack and hound I enjoyed the sidewalk all to myself. I began to think about Nice, his limping and sore leg, the possibilities of changes in the way I "roll" until coming upon what looked like a pile of debris on the path in front of the Hampton inn. Walking closer I saw it was a person sleeping, sitting on a collapsible chair next to all her belongings. Walking quietly by I thought it was a very safe place to sleep. Well lit, away from wild animals. Hiding in plain sight directly in front of the lobby of a hotel. I recited the lyrics to the song that was on my mind earlier...""
"Sit beside the breakfast table, think about your troubles.
Pour yourself a cup of tea, think about the bubbles.
You can take your teardrops, drop them in a teacup.
Take them down to the riverside and throw them over -the- side,
To be swept up by a current.
Then taken to the ocean
To be eaten by some fishes
Who are eaten by some fishes
And swallowed by a whale
Who grew so old
He decomposed

He died and left his body to the bottom of the ocean.
Now everybody knows that when a body decomposes
The basic elements are given back to the ocean
The sea does what it oughta'
And soon there's salty watah'
Not too good for drinkin''
'Cause it tastes just like a teardrop
Then they run it through a filter
And it comes out from a faucet
And it pours into a teapot
Which is just about to bubble
Think about your troubles..."

I thought of the many positive possibilities before me and kept walking.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Nurture it, bury it, have patience while you help it grow. Allow it to take root, strengthen and spring out. When elements align, it branches, flowers, goes to seed, perpetuates itself.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Catching hold

It has been more than a week since Nice (the dog) has been resting on his pile of blankets where he has daily been pampered with tasty treats and affection. The veterinarian prescribed a medication for him that has kept him mellow and sleepy. Yesterday he figured it out and when I picked up the pill bottle he walked away as if I was about to pour water on his back ( he does not like water poured on him). He is no dummy and when it was time for his pill in the evening, when I stuffed a tasty treat with one, he knew it, but swallowed the pill anyway. When I take him for his "necessity" walks he looks up the road longingly and pulls hard. He grabs the leash and wrestles with me to play. He seems to be getting better but still favors his hind leg. It is obvious to me he is not miraculously healing. He does love the attention from his new flock of women he shepherds over, and his endless bucket of food. When I sit outside with him though, he stands in front of me wagging his tail, mumbles (in dog whisper) and almost bounces on his front feet telling me it is time to go. I do my best to ignore his pleas. I also long for the open road. When we landed here we were offered more help than I had imagined. I need to accept and learn from it, like I do a strong wind gust that leads me where I need to go. I am learning to catch hold.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Hammer , the Marine and Anybodys Guess

Last spring I had walked to the outskirts of Dallas County where a young man jogged up to me. He was a Marine and had been running off some excess energy. After he listened to me tell my tale to several others, that I had walked from Alabama across three states to end up in downtown Dallas, he asked if he could walk with me for awhile. He didn't have anything to do, had family members who suffered from diabetes and thought it was a good cause. Rarely does anyone walk with me for very long but this young man stayed with me for miles. When he ran up on me and asked if he could follow I expected he would turn back soon because his shoes were unlaced with thin ankle socks, shorts and a "wife beater" t-shirt. We got to know one another through the day. I couldn't stop talking most of the time, being so accustomed to walking alone. Having someone to talk with made the miles pass with ease. Having been to war, he had someone safe to talk to and he, I hope, felt better talking instead of "bottling it up". He offered to stay with me all the way to "the grassy knoll". After a few hours his arms and neck were red as a lobster when a woman called me on my phone(she had passed by earlier and then looked up the website to get the number) asking if there was anything I needed. I said I needed a long sleeve shirt for my new friend. She was there in minutes with a shirt just his size. (Still amazed at the timing of that) He had a good knowledge of the downtown streets leading to Dealy Plaza, the questionable areas I had to pass thru to get there and advised I keep pushing to the end. With his assistance I traveled the longest distance I ever covered in one day. He, coincidentally, had a fascination with the death of John F. Kennedy. While he led me along the route to the plaza he shared several theories he had researched.When we had finally made our way to the book depository and the painted"x" on the pavement showing where the president was first hit I had learned more about the event than I knew before. More than I cared to know. I stood at the grassy knoll, late at night when the city was quiet, as a train clicked slowly by echoing off the buildings as it went. There I had no epiphany, only more questions and I could understand why my new friend had researched so thoroughly though he had been born decades after the assassination. Sometimes I think the world conspires to bring me to places and people so I will look at it from a different perspective. On some things other than diabetes. Even though I constantly learn more about diabetes when I walk for diabetes awareness through the people I meet, the world always has a little something extra, just to keep me wondering.
I met a man. He gave me a ride to my van one day and told me his "Claim to fame!" He was the one that got to fabricate a stretch-convertible to be used by the president when he worked in R&D at Ford. He told me he fabricated bullet proof panels and glass for it and "they" wouldn't let him put them on. " ...ready to bolt together and they wouldn't let me."
As I recall, the wind was blowing hard that day, where the wind would let me get just a few miles. And.(writing on my "smart phone I somehow added these next few lines, a short testimonial from someone I met on the road... It is anybody's guess how it happened..[ Erik you and Nice are awesome and have made a huge change in my families life. We are getting better at eating healthy food everyday. It's a process and a journey to getting everyone on board but we have started the journey and feel great :O) Thank you and may each step of your travels be blessed! ]<3(accidental cut and paste...think I will leave it...some things happen for a reason, a theory)we met by the place I was going to stop for the day. Had the wind not blown me backwards all day I would have walked by hours before he and his wife stopped next door to eat. Did I mention "the Hammer" had been diabetic since he was forty two years old. Diabetes, a world wide problem.
Go for a walk. You never know who you could meet.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Touching Circles

I was anxious when the merchants came together to help. Quickly organizing a "meet and greet" to help with the cause of diabetes and assistance for Nice (the dog). The pharmacist, who had once taught about diabetes management, opened his doors and offered test kits if guests wanted to walk down from the bistro. The sign guy made a sign of the world and the website, also a few smaller "peel-off" versions for special places. Even the Cuban cigar shop had a flier in their window. "The Times" ran a second picture and a story in the morning paper with the hours of the...(nervously) "event". We have had our picture in many newspapers but I don't recall a second treatment with a lengthly feature story. That people would go out of their way to come talk with me about my experiences with the canvas world anchored outside the plaza and meet the dog (I would walk them the few feet down to the office) had me more nervous than a pitch-black Oregon highway, in the fog, with the sounds of curious bears nearby at three in the morning. All morning I went back and forth from the bistro to check on the dog (of coarse he was fine) and fought back my self doubts as the hour approached. Stopping at schools, a Boy's and Girl's Club, radio station or health facility as we pass took some time to get used to. With my discomfort standing in front of a video camera, sharing was scary at first. When I stepped out of that fear I didn't melt into a blob on the ground. I always learned something, to my surprise, usually met someone who added to our story and over the years have touched many "circles" to action. All those experiences couldn't keep my nervousness away until I talked with the first people who stopped in. People came who had read about us in the paper and some came after seeing the flier. Two folks who had stopped and talked to me by the roadside came by again. Grandsons, mothers and daughters came and shared their experiences living with diabetes, managing well and learning how to care with it for a long life. There were examples and stories also of self neglect, denial and the consequence. Diabetes can be devastating. On the whole, I felt I had spent the day with family, or my neighbor, no different from so many close encounters on our journey. When I stop on the road or at a school there is little time to get nervous. I had several days to build an unsure house of cards but my angst was forgotten at the door.
With Nice (the dog) finally showing signs of age, getting the message to care for yourself from healthy diet and activity can still grow. With help, like this weekends activity, we can "get across" to the world with less mind numbing distances to walk. Out of the box, my comfort zone, "the circle" becomes larger. If I can remember that next time, I might touch

Friday, February 22, 2013

The glow

It took a moment to transition from the dream I was enjoying then awaking to the van aglow with the spotlight of the local law enforcement. I lay there a moment looking at my bare knee glow like a beacon from the bright light. I could tell, from the chit-chat on the radio, it was going to be a minute before the obligatory knock on the window and a check of my license. Then the explanation of why the world is tied to a purple van with out-of-state plates, how it all landed here, in this jurisdiction, and why. The first shirt I blindly reached for was a gift from a policeman who doubled as a firefighter in Daphne, Louisiana. While he called in my information I slipped on my pants, shoes, and "big Texas hat" (given to me in Lufkin by a direct descendent of Jesse James) and stepped out of the van ready for a good stretch . Since I was awake, I thought it would be a good time for me to check on Nice (the dog). It took a couple of moments for the officer to grasp the story. He questioned if i had really been there the night before because he hadn't seen me and surely he couldn't have missed this the previous evening. He had also missed me the three other nights I was parked in the parking area out in front of the plaza by the highway, hiding in plain sight. On the outside chance the van might be stolen the officer asked for my vans registration, the vin#. I praised him for his thorough treatment while he wrote the number on his notepad as he had been the first in six years to check my registration. I recalled a few of the places, with the officer, where I have been added to the "system" across the nation. We laughed about that. He was shaking my hand , wishing me a good night sleep and thanks for my dedication to the cause before it was all over. He gave me his card. l walked away around the building to the office to give the dog a chance to stretch his legs as the parking lot cleared. Nice (the dog) only looked up from his pillow and arched his back while I rubbed his shoulder but I was awake and ready to move so I left Nice (the dog) and walked to the next county with the distant glow of Tampa to my right and a bright moon at my shoulder. I walked for miles along a twelve foot wide pedestrian path that ended "nowhere in particular" with a sign stating the obvious,"trail ends". I returned the way I had come watching the moon set completely, glad I had that wake-up call at two a.m.. When I returned hours later and caught a glimpse of my reflection in a mirror I couldn't help but notice the happy guy looking back, "all aglow". Startled myself by looking happy, from walking ...was not expecting that.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stepping back, going forward.

Last week the rain and wind led us to the door of an office in the back corner of a small mall with an overhang that sheltered us from the pouring rain. There we had an unlikely introduction that...(long ponderous pause)...changed the world as I know it. The business that took us in from the rain, Central Energy, happens to sponsor several charitable organizations. After hearing our story of walking in dozens of states across America over thousands of miles to promote diabetes prevention and control they offered to include our cause to their list. World Guy Foundation has now been added to the short list of recommended charities that goes out to a long list. If I added up all the people I have talked to, face to face, about walking ...this list is bigger. If ten percent of those on that list thought about walking and ten percent of those actually began walking. Then, over time, if ten percent of those saw a positive difference in their world and continued walking as a means to stay healthy it would be a good thing... I met a ninety one year old man this weekend who walked everyday. He was the happiest person I had met since the last old man I met who walked everyday... It is possible that one of those on that list, who took the first step, could be walking on a crowded sidewalk at the end of the century remembering that click on a keyboard attached by wire to one of those relics of the past, a computer where they saw a dog named Nice, a ball painted like the world and a guy with a message. Recalling the day back in '13 when they began enjoying a walk everyday. Stranger things have happened.
Back to reality...
On Wednesday Nice (the dog) began to favor his rear leg. We rested two days at the plaza where some good folks insisted we stay before heading south from Spring Hill. Over the weekend Nice (the dog) seemed fine while we walked but, at the end of each day, after he relaxed and "cooled down", he limped badly keeping his leg off the ground. We had walked to Tarpon Springs by Sunday, just a few days walk from Tampa. There I decided to take a step back for Nice's wellbeing. I deflated the world and returned to Spring Hill where Monday morning I took Nice to get checked at the veterinarian, West Side Animal Clinic . An ex-ray showed he has a spur in his knee joint. Two weeks of rest was recommended. We have returned to the plaza in Spring Hill where the ladies at Central Energy have set him up a pile of cushions with blankets and adopted him as their temporary office dog. The merchants here at UHL Plaza ( 120-158 Commercial Way, Spring Hill ) have organized a fundraising event for this Saturday at Michaels' Bistro. David K. Smith Signs is making signage and the Tampa Bay Times has been out to cover the story. If the forces of nature coax you to a place you may have passed by or an injury slows your roll there is a positive sure to reveal itself.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Spring Hill

We have stayed through one day of rain and a second to rest. I worked to keep the world together with a new canvas patch and a few hours of painting worn areas. Nice (the dog) was pampered, hand fed meats and poultry, showered with love from the ladies at the office where the wind and sudden rain drove us to seek shelter on Wednesday. For the relationships we made these two days, for the help they freely offered, brought together by a determined wind, I am"blown away", grateful, in love, reinvigorated, humbled. I will not say more now than thank you Suzanne.
Enjoy your weekend. Oh, and go for a walk...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wind Power

During the years of learning the ways of the world, how to better "roll with it", my perspective has changed. The first walk, to promote The American Diabetes Association's Alert Week, was scheduled strictly. I had little time talk with people while I rolled the world, unharnessed, to a five minute meeting with a mayor at a city hall or the governor on the steps of the state capitol. In rushing to my goals in later endeavors I slowly realized the destination is not so important. Sharing a sincere message, appreciating each experience and individual is the joy that lasts. A hard wind may seem to slow progress. A storm might force me to seek shelter short of a goal where I then meet someone who gives me a "nugget" of wisdom, an insight that brightens a cloudy day. Anyone I meet, whatever they may seem to be, brings a cherished gift to the journey. When I do not judge.The same type of headwind that would once break my resolve now leads me to a breakthrough. When I am open. A struggle turns to gold when I relax, pay attention, appreciate where the wind has brought me today. It may be a brief handshake from an old man with an indescribable youthful glow in his eye who said to me, "Life is great,enjoy yourself!" It could be a granddaughter who wants to send a picture of her and me to her grandmother in hopes of inspiring her to get active and begin to take control of her diabetes. (If that picture could share the deep love I saw I am sure grandma' would choose to change.) The wind may hold me in place, but while I wait for it's force to subside I have time to watch a sunset. Rather than sprain a muscle by forging ahead, I lock a glance and a smile with the driver of a passing car. Now, after thousands of miles and months on the road, to this goal or that, my destination pales in comparison to people I meet and the moments shared. A world of lessons on the wind that I once would have rushed past are beginning to come into a calmer perspective.

Three days

Pushing a six foot, eighty pound orb into a wind gets tiresome. The first day I had to go only five miles, I had energy to spare. The second day I was told the distance was sixteen before there would be a place to stop. At the twelfth miles I found an oasis, a shopping center. It amazes me some folks definition of "nothing". The wind forced me to the low side of the road easement where I could use the trees and the high road bed as a wind break. It had little effect as the wind blew almost directly at us. The end of the day left me drained. A nice couple rode me to their home for a shower and dinner so when I began the third day at least I felt fresh and clean. The warm southern breeze on the third day along with the increased traffic as I approach the metropolis kept me off the pavement and at as low pace. Several good people gave me supplies for Nice (the dog) and by the end of the day I estimate I was carrying eleven pounds of food and treats for my four legged companion along with a few extra bottles of water. Between the stops for conversation, the wind and the added load I travelled six miles. I was more drained after six miles than I had been from twelve the previous day. I have learned there is no need to be disappointed or frustrated at my progress. When I relax and "step back" I always find a jewel in the struggle. Whether it be a friendship at a crossroad or a beautiful sight in the woods seen from a low ditch far from the road. Though tired,the third day was full of good people, pretty scenery and inspired conversations.
A storm is brewing and the wind is still in my face this morning. "The main thing is...", as Petie the old carpenter used to say, "don't get excited." The wind is gonna' blow and the rain may fall but how else can you rinse the dust off without effort? ( whatever that means )

In case I have not said it enough... Love yourself and go for a walk.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Out of a dream

I awoke thinking I was writing about the twelve miles we had pushed against the wind. It took ten hours. Good people stopped and gave us water through the windy, hot day. Never thirsty, backpack still full at the end of the day with the bottles I started out with in the morning. Others brought food for us to eat. Dog biscuits and salad for me. Burgers and chews kept our stomachs full and my pack heavier with extra dogs treats when we stopped for the night.
We met diabetics of all shapes, ages and size. Stubborn ones who are not to be told and dedicated ones who want to grow old. I was told by all what I am doing is an inspiration, still some could not get away fast enough, lest they admit they could do more for themselves.
Everyday someone will tell me as they leave, smiling ear to ear, that I have made their day happier. A bonus which makes my day a joy.
Now I am awake from my sleepy dream. The fog has lifted from my tired senses. I hesitate to read over what I have just written. Will it make any sense? Will it matter? Or Am I still dreaming?
I think I will push the "send" button and forget, like most other dreams.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Catch up

Just before getting into Inglis while it was still dark I noticed a car with it's flashing lights coming up from behind on the other side of the road but going in the same direction as we were. It was following a man who was walking very fast. They soon passed and it was not long before they were almost out of sight. All I could see was the blinkers in the distance. After the sun came up the van that passed earlier stopped. They were part of a larger team that were walking over four hundred miles to raise funds to assist wounded soldiers and the families of the fallen. The Air Commando Ruck March. They march at four miles an hour. I walk at a snails pace in comparison. The men and I talked for a few minutes before they continued to the next rendezvous point. At my best pace I could not march as fast as they do...
Yesterday, after leaving Homosassa at Mike's Friendly Pub where they let me use the back yard to patch the world and spend the night, I was walking along when across the road I noticed a woman pushing a carriage. The wind was blowing hard against me, I tried to stay ahead . Laughing to myself,I remembered saying that I go slower than a woman pushing twins in a baby carriage. As she passed I saw she had a twin carriage. To add "insult to injury", she was also pushing the twins through the grass. Hard as I tried I could not catch up before she made it to the road where she turned off.
A few minutes later I found a small childs toy at my feet. It was a plastic Inch Worm. It kept it as a reminder of the race.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A point

One by one they emerged from the rental car as I approached each with phone or tablet capturing the spectacle. Only one of the four spoke English but all talked Italian amongst themselves as I attempted to explain my message. To many Europeans eating healthily and living an active lifestyle is so inherent that my message to eat sensibly and exercise is as foreign as a cowboy hat. "Never-the-less" I surely will be one of their pictorial souvenirs along with manatees, mermaids and pirate captains.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

It's a great big itty bitty World.

While walking out of Brattleborough Vermont we were invited for breakfast to a house that was built by Rudyard Kipling who wrote The Jungle Book. The city maintains the property by renting it out as a long term bed and breakfast. The woman and her guests, a married couple, were from Minnesota. The house was full of historical artifacts of Kipling's time there. The room where he wrote several novels was, as was the rest of the home, filled with original furnishings and gifts from notable friends such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Mark Twain. I was given the tour from top to bottom, showered and freshened up in the same bathroom where those great minds pondered the world. I sat in the chair at the desk where Kipling imagined the jungles of India while he looked out on the slopes where he and Doyle used the first downhill skies in North America and knocked balls far and away with clubs used in a new pastime named "golf" which Doyle had brought from Europe. In the attic was the game room, "man cave" coined by Twain, with checkerboard and billiard table where the men would relax together. On the grounds are the remains of a spring fed stone pool, and many unique features designed by Kipling who lived in the home only a few years as it was where his young daughter passed. In addition squabbles from the town made living there untenable. I was enriched by the opportunity and the friendships made.
After crossing the headwaters of the Mississippi in Acadia Minnesota I was on my way to Fargo North Dakota when I was contacted by the same folks who had graciously taken us in to Kipling's home. I was glad to hear from them so many miles from where we first met.
As I strolled from Inglis to Crystal Springs a truck pulled to the side of the road and who should come out to greet us but the married pair we had met that warm July morning years ago in a region now blanketed in snow. Some acquaintances are larger than the small time spent together.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Otter Creek and Inglis

I carried a heavy load for the long walk with enough food and water for two days. I kept a steady pace walking miles before anyone stopped to talk. It was a man who had lost his young nephew to diabetes. He had pulled over to get a picture without knowing what I was doing and left grateful that someone was bringing awareness to the disease that touches so many. My load felt heavier as I walked on. On the long stretch between the two towns only a handful of people stopped. Most brought water, all had diabetes effecting them or their family. My load did not become lighter. At the end of the day I was carrying more than when I began.
I stopped as it became dark at the edge of a road closed off by concrete blocks string up my tent and having dinner before night fell. Just before I fell asleep a light rain began to fall so I zipped closed the door flap of the tent. I awoke in the middle of the night to condensation dripping down the walls of the tent . I got out to find the it was drier outside than the closed bag that is my tent so I loaded my gear and continued on to Inglis. I made my way there just after daylight where the towns historian/news person/ sweetheart had arranged a ride by the former mayor and a room at the Hickory Motel after a hot breakfast. I spent the afternoon repairing a large patch on the world. Many of the patches have begun to separate but I could do only a small area as rain was on its way. I also took everything out of the backpack then took it to the car wash to clean with the high pressure wand. It had gotten to the point where no amount o smell good spray was helping. There was enough sunlight and wind before the torrential rains moved in to finish the patch and dry the backpack. This morning before I leave I will repack my gear and let the world dry some before putting it more abuse. It will need some major attention soon...
Whatever your burden, keep moving.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Otter Creek

We walked from the south end of Chiefland to Otter Creek along the wide open four lane. Only a few people stopped to talk all day so we made good time. Just as we made it to "the wide spot in the road" at Otter Creek we met a nice couple who are vacationing nearby. They offered to ride us back to Chiefland. We stayed the night next to the store. It rained overnight and it is misty this morning as the day begins. It is twenty four miles of "nothing" to the next town. I plan to tent out tonight. Carrying two days of supplies will slow my pace a bit, but the distance is too hard on me and Nice (the dog) to travel in one day. I will not keep my phone on all the time to conserve the battery. I don't have much to say this morning. Like the man at the store said, "You can't catch a fish everyday."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

On food

A man once told me not to put diesel fuel in a sports car.


We walked the nature trail through to to south edge of town meeting only two people but I had a person to call I had met days before. He was not available so he called his wife who agreed to give us a ride for the van. Thank God for bikers , Christian motorcyclist Association bikers.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Every Crossroad

We began walking from the church parking lot in Cross City following the concrete sidewalk thru the town's four stop lights to the end of the walk where I crossed over to the Nature Coast.State Trial, and asphalt railroad bed, that parallels the highway thru Cross City, Old Town, Fannin Springs and all the way to Chiefland. At almost all the intersecting roads a car would stop me or people would come over to talk. Though it was hidden from the main road much of the time and passed over the Suwannee River and along stretches of unpaved roads with few people there was she ow a car pulling to the trail just as we rolled past. Then they would stop an take a photo and get an explanation or tell of how they had heard of our travels. A man on a recumbent (hope I spelled that one correctly) on a long trip stopped and we shared stories of the road. A pair of sisters on their way to run a marathon caught a glimpse as they passed, they turned about and came down the trail for a curious conversation. Even with the secluded trail I had a full day with conversations until we came back onto 19 in Fanning Springs fourteen miles, or so, from Cross City. I had worried at times while I walked the nature trail that I may not find a ride back to retrieve the support van, or like Old Town, we would return to the highway past any place to stop for the night. That sort of chatter never serves me well because when we got to Fanning Springs as I passed the first crossroad there were two vehicles parked in a vacant lot with a family who had tracked my progress since they saw me last week as I was rolling to Perry. We had been a topic of discussion all week as one or the other of them (the grandfather or his son) had seen us on the road. They offered a ride and waited at a motel just around the bend, where we stayed to rest though SuperBowl Sunday. Nice (the dog) slept in the sun all day as I reprinted the worn fabric of the world on the grass courtyard of the motel. We have had too many days where we walked more than twenty miles recently and we both needed a day to recover. I didn't want to risk a drunken mishap from a super-partygoer, the world is ready for another week of wear and we are less sore for the break from walking everyday.
Go for a stroll today, meet some good people along the way.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Two years ago a young reporter was sent to interview me. She said then that it was seldom she was sent to cover a positive news story. Yesterday as I walked to Cross City a car pulled off into the grass and an excited woman ran to me asking if I remembered her, of coarse I did, she was the AP journalist I had met two years prior. Her story went viral for a day and news organizations around the world used her "feel good" feature. She was on her way, a six hour drive, to report on "another sad story" in Alabama. We spent a few moments "catching up", glad to see each other again marveling at our random reunion. We parted smiling, perky!
Until next time!

Friday, February 1, 2013


I am walking along in the morning sun
Bouncing in the sticks , a country beat.
Fresh shoes, clean gloves and a new morning attitude.
A man stops to see the world,
Thanks me for the "wake up call".
A new day, a new world everyday.
En joy!

Walk to the light

It is twenty four miles between the blinking yellow lights at the edge of Perry and the state road that leads to Steinhatchee. Both have a store and RV campground and little else. I carried the tent knowing we would be stopping somewhere for the night. Strong winds all day with gusts that floated the eighty pound ball with its force kept my progress slow. I may have covered nine miles before dark where I pitched the tent in tall scrub grass next to the world I had lashed to a tree. The rain came soon after dark on a wind that whipped hard on the small tent. The rain drops sounded like deafening high pitched static against the tent which rocked violently in every direction and billowed in and out from the waves of wind. Water made it's way in across the floor, side and even the vent flaps. Half wet I was determined to sleep but Nice (the dog) was standing over me looking at the tent door as soon as the rain subsided. He won the staring game. I put the tent up wet and we began to walk. The wind changed direction after the rains and pushed me along most of the night. With only the occasional truck on the four lane I was able to stay on the asphalt and use to wind to full advantage . The long straights allowed me to see the headlights for miles before having to roll onto the grass. When I caught a glimpse of the yellow blinking light it was a few miles away and I did not know for sure that it was more than a crossroad but as we got closer I could see the lights of the store. Nice was full of energy and bounded along beside me , he loves walking at night, but was happy when we finally rolled to the Sunoco just as the sky began to change from night to day.
The timing was good because someone was on their way to the Perry and was going to the intersection that we had left twenty two hours earlier. When I returned with the van I rolled the world, then then van to the Rv park behind the store and was asleep for hours before I stirred and was able to clean few loads of clothes and Nice's blankets, glued some of the patchwork on the world that had loosened from the rains and hob-knobbed with the host and hostess of the park. It took me all night to write this post, I kept falling asleep.