Saturday, August 31, 2013

Night shift

For the past several days we have been walking very early to get most of the miles before the heat of the day. We left Wilmington in the dark and had made our way to Salina just after lunch. From Salina to Washington Courthouse we were finished by noon. The next morning we walked from one side of town to the other in the lite of day. 2 1/2 miles in over four hours. Then from Washington Courthouse we were on the road as the moon came up and in New Holland by ten a.m..
This morning, again we had travelled to Williamsport and got a ride to retrieve the van by nine o'clock.
I am very tired...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Catch up

From Pleasant Ridge we walked to the business district of Montgomery. Dave, after seeing us, while riding his bike, gave us a ride back to the restaurant parking lot. I had tied the world to a tree in his yard. I parked the van in a public parking area a few blocks from Dave's in Montgomery, then walked back to retrieve the world.
Out of Montgomery we walked a few miles (4) when I stopped for a latte at a row of businesses that had been a foundation of a construction site six years earlier when I came thru. As I finished my beverage dark clouds and thunder rolled over and it began to rain. Then the brother of Jim " the rock splitter" called. He wanted to have lunch and chat awhile. He had walked the Appalachian Trail. We had a good time exchanging stories. As the rain began to let up he gave me a lift back for the van. When I returned there happened to be an area policeman sitting close by so I explained about staying in the van. He said he would inform the night shift and as long as one of the businesses gave permission I would be fine. The Manager at Buffalo Wild Wings gave me the "okay".
( All of the people I have mentioned here agree that walking and activity are a key to staying healthy )
The next day brings us to the bridge episode of the previous post. There I called a girl who had stopped to talk when I was parked outside BWW the night before, she had offered her help beforehand .. She works two jobs, I was glad she was not Bizy. (A play on words, that's her name... Okay, enough name-dropping)
The next morning it was litely raining and we left late. That was the day we took eight hours to walk less than five miles.. We walked to Morrow.
There we had a reunion. Six years ago, a man and wife took me in after I had run the valley and was soaked through. They gave me a warm bed to sleep in, washed my clothes and dried my shoes with an electric fan. The couple had heard we were passing thru and had come to find us. I had just found a place to stay (at the wolf market/gas). They were happy to give is a ride. Back at the corner of 48&22/3 we had "supper" at the Mexican restaurant and caught up on the last six years while taking in the sunset. Their help that day and their hospitality meant a lot to me back then. Being able to look back on those times with them is priceless.
The next day thru Roachville and into miles of farmland and large homes. Six miles out of Morrow we were invited in for lunch at someone's home. They were so nice that they offered a shower, to wash my clothes and a place to stay over. That led to a early afternoon ride and a maintenance day for the world. Since miles per day don't matter so much this trip, there were some areas that were dangerously close to having tear-out problems. The glue that holds the patches hold for a long time, even years. The constant expansion and contraction, the rain and dew, the heat and cold, inflating and deflating, eventually separate the best of patches from the fabric of the world.
I spent most of the afternoon patching and painting the world. I slept the night by the boathouse next to the shaded pond.
I left before daylight , passed Sligo before noon and got to the west side of Wilmington. I was walking down Main Street and thought to myself for the first time all day where I might find a place to stay for the night. Just as I had the thought a car with a man, woman and young son pulled in the drive in front of me. (As they often do) This carload lived there and within a few minutes the husband offered his yard and then gave me a ride back to the land outside of Morrow. (I'm finished with morrow now)
The next morning we left at nine and took about for hours to walk a few miles to the east side of Wilmington.
This is dry and not very interesting but gets me close to today...

The second time around

The first time I went over the little Miami bridge a man took Nice (the dog), my backpack and followed me down the half mile approach to the long two lane bridge. There was no side to speak of, the road going down to the bridge was cut out of the hillside. There was a long line of cars before I made it to the bridge. When I finally got to the far side I saw the long line I had created as they roared by.
It then began to pour down rain. The man who had Nice in the car kept him and waited for me to get to the top of the steep, narrow and curved road to the top of the river bluff. The rain was heavy, cold and didn't let up until I was most of the was out of the valley. It was rush hour. the road was a constant flow of cars.The only room I had was on the narrow ditch. The rainwater rushing down the hillside flowed above my ankles as I trudged up, pushing the world atop the stream. When the rain subsided I was soaked, soar and exhausted. I had ran from one side of the valley to the other and felt as though I had fought a battle.
This time, in 2013, I got to the top of the valley around the same time of day. Two women came from their office and during our conversation they told me of the old bridge and road to bypass the busy, dangerous two lane. I was going to walk around this time. Whatever it took to avoid a similar situation as the last time, I was willing to do.
When I got to the intersection where the old road "horseshoed" down and back around to the other side, a man with a truck called me over to talk. He was returning a power tool to the equipment rental business there. He had seen me three times that day.
It had begun to rain.
I asked if he would be willing to ride me an the world safely over the bridge. I told him of my last adventure over this river . With the rain getting more steady and thunder in wind, I was in no mood for a repeat. He was glad to do it and even had a strap to hold the world by it's lacings. All I had to do was hold onto my hat. Once across the bridge the man insisted on taking me out of the valley. The traffic was heavy and constant again. It was still raining.
I put pride aside and took the safe way out. I accepted the ride.
I was a little wet when I got to the corner store, but not exhausted and soaked through like I was six years ago.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First Bones

Outside of Wilmington, on the way to Sabina, I stopped to visit a small family cemetery where I had stopped when I walked thru in 2007. One old headstone from 1815 was for a man aged "about 65 years". I cleared the grass from a stone of a child aged forty five days. Times back then must have been both good and hard.
As I was about to leave, a grandmother and her granddaughter stopped to take a picture. The young girl had just started at her school newspaper and wanted to interview me. I was her first story, her first "bone".
With our help she got her story. She was a little nervous and shy. Grandmother and I helped with the little things. Most important to her was the name of the dog.
She was not the only reporter to have me as their first story, but she was defiantly the sweetest and cutest.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Going back

I will now attempt a quick update.
Last Monday I had walked all night from eight miles outside of downtown Cincinnati , through downtown and "over the Rhine"(as the locals call it), all night to the edge of Norwood.
At a bus stop bench I had rested for an hour and dozed for five minutes before walking the last mile to the foot of Norwood and the first rays of daybreak.
During the night the two paths had joined. That of six years past and this walk. Both to Pittsburg. The first time I walked from Louisville by walking along the Kentucky side of the river. This time I had walked the northern side of the Ohio River thru Indiana to "The Queen's City".
When those paths met I began reeling with memories of people, places, my thoughts and moments from the first walk.
Though extremely tired, I was able to push the world up the first steep hill much better than before. I attribute it to my relaxed state of mind. I was in no rush,
Forcing the world to do my bidding has long since passed. Gravity, angle of approach, wind are all key to keeping the world in motion. Patience, and calm...
There I go straying off the subject...
I walked to a shaded spot by a large church grounds. A woman who worked at the dental office on the corner came and talked to me. She had heard of us from the media coverage. I asked if she knew of a spot where I could park the van. With their permission I was given a place to park.
I called the two numbers of people I had met the previous day, but got no answer. I did exchange text messages with one man who said he would pick me up after he left work. It was still early in the morning, so I opted to keep moving. I was confident all would work out somehow.. I walked up and down hills to the edge of Pleasant Ridge. A woman stopped in her car, we talked from opposite sides of the road. It turns out she was willing to give me a ride back thru town to my van. I was in a residential section with houses intermingled with apartment housing. With no place to keep the world, we pulled the plug on the world. It took awhile to get it "balled up" but we soon had the world in her back seat. She picked up her daughter-in-law too. She rode sitting next to the world. Nice lay on top of the world and got attention all the way back to the van.
There, the couple I had met the previous day, who helped shuttle the van to their door on Sunday. Were home and offered for me to shower. After the shower, withNice (the dog) fast asleep on their couch I went to the laundry and washed my clothes and blankets and stopped by the hardware store for some world supplies. When I returned they offered for me to rest on the couch and have a nap. I quickly fell asleep. After a few hours I awoke.
I then drove thru Cincy, overReading Hill and The Rhine to a few blocks from where I had deflated the world in Pleasant Ridge and asked to park by the restaurant where, six years ago I had been called in for a meal. That is where I slept and left from on Tuesday morning.

That is all the update I can muster now.
Today I walked from Wilmington to Sabina.
My posts are going to be jumping back and forth.
I have a lot of energy during the day but when I settle in for the evenings getting it on paper is a challenge. I am usually worn out.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Yesterday on the Road from Morrow

After the skies cleared we be began to walk to Morrow. The little town hasn't changed much since we passed there in the summer of 2007.
We have though. We walk a little slower.
There is a bar at the edge of town where we were fed before we walked up the hills overlooking Morrow all those years ago.
It burned down last week.
The small apartments over the hill where a woman took me in for a cold drink had been demolished earlier this year. She had a fascination for Cathy Bates and the movie "Misery".
The three plywood bears in someone's yard were now only two. The Momma bear was gone, leaving only the little cubs.
It's funny the things I remember.
I will write more of Morrow another day.

Friday, August 23, 2013

At US 22-3 and Zoar

Nice (the dog) flops down at a shaded spot under a tree just past the intersection. We had not been out of our last shade for more than the length of a football field. It had been misty and overcast this morning. I knew his titanium plates must have been piercing. When weather fronts are moving in and when they move out is when my bones ache the most from all my injuries. I let him stop when he wants, most of the time.
I was listening to classical on my radio and taking in the blue sky peppered with big fluffy clouds when a man called from his car. He had just stopped for the red light. He asked what I was doing.
I was able to clearly tell him of my travels over these six years, my mother and uncle who are diabetic, my reason for beginning these walks. I explained how the message has refined from what it was to a simple message to walk. He drove off as the light turned green holding up a thumb and giving a positive nod with his head.
I could have talked to someone when I began these walks six years past for an hour and may not have put all those points down so clearly.
Someone once said, " if you can't write it on a 3/5 card you're saying too much.
Soaring in the shade at Zoar. Now I must get to Morrow...

No Drama "up thru"

Before I turned from Third Street to Main Street I was warned by a police officer to be cautious of undesirables who might try to grab my phone and run. I have the phone clipped to my chest and it is also connected to a string around my neck. All night, in some shady parts of the city, few came close enough to touch the world, the dog or me. I walked to the end of Main, turned east at Liberty, north on Reading, up the long hill to Gilbert then picked up Montgomery Road thru the section of town where only "tweakers", prostitutes and dealers in bass thumping- chrome wheeled classic cars with tinted windows go late in the night, without incident.
The few moments I did have walking in the dark streets of Cincy, interacting with the late night locals, were more entertaining than dangerous. On the first few blocks of Main we stopped outside of a nightclub. The women working there cooed and massaged Nice (the dog) on the red carpet outside the entrance. I told my story while the bouncer snapped a few photographs with the proprietor and I. A drunken patron came running from the rear entrance smoking area, jumped and hit the world. Luckily Nice (the guardian of the world-dog) was preoccupied with his his belly rub. After a testosterone filled- alcohol fueled exchange discussing personal space and etiquette he returned to his night of drunken debauchery. We continued on. We rolled down the middle of the road. The curbs were choked with parked cars of the bars and clubs. It was easier to stay off the narrow sidewalks.
Further on I passed a high-rise with a bench lined green-space. At night, it seems, it is the gathering space for the "home-bums" to drink their bottles earned by panhandling. Like stirring up a nest of bees, our passing roused them from their calm inebriation and they were quickly "abuzz" with slurred remarks. A few of the more energetic of them started to rise from their lair of landscaped seats, hidden from sight by the dark night, and loudly called out what they thought were original lines... "He's got the hole world in his hands" ,etcetera. As a few began to walk toward the street one of them yelled out the name of a daytime television soap-opera, "As the World Turns". With my best "southern" accent I called out, " If you don't want no drama, there won't be no drama!". It was like the bee-keepers'"smoker", they went silent and sat down. We walked on.
Now thru the bustling downtown, we came to Reading Hill and joined paths from when we walked to Pittsburg six years ago. Then we had walked to Cincinnati from the Kentucky side. This trip we had crossed the Ohio River from Louisville and walked across Indiana to get there. I felt a chill where the two paths met, at the base of the hill is facade of a castle. (I get caught up in symbology sometimes.)
Nice immediately knew the familiar landscape and began marking and sniffing every tree and fire hydrant. Six years ago, one daylight, we were taken into The Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired. They had fed us and gave us a break from the summer heat. Nice obviously remembered. When we walked past the entrance to the building he pulled for the doorway, tail wagging, looking for someone to let us in. He seemed downhearted when I continued up the hill. It was one o'clock in the morning, the office was desolate.
Over the top of the long hill the setting changed starkly to... less maintained scenery and disparate nightlife. A group of young "tweakers" with blackened-teeth approached, talked for a minute, but were much too busy to linger. A woman with her friend called from a side street that I should give her the world, that it would look good in her living room. She was holding a bottle wrapped in a paper bag. She lost interest when I said I would be glad to let her have it, but she would have to roll it to Pittsburg first. A policeman stopped to take a photograph and ask about my story as two scantily dressed persons came to inquire the same. I gave the officer, the woman in the tight dress and the cross-dresser, the short version. They all left agreeing that walking was a good idea and wished me good luck. A carload of men with stiff brimmed caps and gold jewelry rolled to a stop to ask what "the----is that?" They all piled out for a picture. Two of them had lost family to diabetes.
Around four in the morning I had crossed to the edge of Norwood where I sat at a bus stop. I was exhausted. The bench was next to a fenced area under development. Six years ago I remember these acres were a complex of tree and buildings for some social organization, a Moose or Elks lodge. I suppose the property was much more valuable than when they purchased it early in the last century. It will probably be an office park soon. I remember sleeping at the base of a large tree there, six years past. I had walked the same rough neighborhoods, I was exhausted then also.
At five A.M. the corner store opened and I got a cup of coffee then worked my way to Norwood as the sun came up.
I had made it thru the Queen's City unscathed and touched a few with a message that they would not soon forget.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Into Cincinnati

Along the three day approach into the heart of "Cincy" I learned a few things about some almost forgotten river towns along US-50, River Road, before it pours into downtown's west edge. I slept a few hours at R&K's house. The famous baseball star, Pete Rose, as a boy had played on the steps outside of the hillside home. I walked by the ball field where he played as a River Rat on the Bold Face ball field. I met the man whose grandfather's name was on the main road that runs thru Saylor Park. The local doctor had removed his grandson's tonsils and adenoids when he was a child. Two weeks later, on a fishing outing, the doctor handed him a small jar for the boy to use as bait. Granddad had saved his tonsils. They caught a catfish with them. I met the current living legends , George and Jim. They built a Great Wall in Addyston. George, a sculptor in all types of metal, had many pieces on display in the area.
Sunday evening I was to the edge of the city. I had walked, or talked for seven hours. Rather than stay and sleep under shade trees a few miles west of the city, on the river road, I decided to get past the downtown area on Sunday night. With tight sidewalks, signs, poles and the cars in town. a rush hour walk through Cincinnati would be difficult, if I waited for Monday morning.
The first challenge after I walked the last miles of River Road was an area of construction where the road is being widened. That was not as hard as I had been warned, we walked in the construction area. No work was happening at dusk on Sunday. At the half-demolished bridge I was forced to turn onto the surface roads in the west side of town. I had to go under two major expressways to get past downtown and the northeast side. The road I chose was almost deserted. Few cars passed. I rolled down the center of the street most of the way. Moving the world under train trestles and narrow roadsides late on Sunday was easy for me. Traffic would otherwise be bumper to bumper for those miles. The spaghetti-like junctions under the expressways would have been impossible with heavy traffic.
I finally arrived downtown.
It was eleven at night. I passed the homeless who had lain down beds of cardboard lining 3rd Street, a busy thoroughfare across from the football stadium. A van load of Christian missionaries were giving out red beans and rice, water and fruit to the slumbering transients. as I walked by. Though I explained to the missioners that I was not homeless, they soon handed me a bottle of water, gave me a large portion of spicy beans with meat and rice, lay a bag of grapes by my side, then laid hands on me to practice their faith aloud. I accepted it all...
I knew I was about to roll into one of the more dangerous areas of Cincinnati, late at night. A little prayer couldn't hurt.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Secrets and Surprise

When Nice (the dog) and I ventured out the first time across a state line it was into Cincinnati.
We walked, rolling the World, from Louisville, KY to Pittsburg, PA. to bring attention to diabetics that, with proper care and control, a diabetic can survive to "old age" and be a part of their families life.
I used my Mother and Uncle as my comparison and example.
My Uncle, a long time diabetic, was about to celebrate his eightieth birthday in 2007.
Twenty years earlier my Mother died from diabetes, at the age of fifty four.
There was to be a surprise eightieth birthday party for my Uncle. My goal was to walk to Pittsburg, the area where he lives and our family came from.
Since that walk we have been on many more adventures, traveled thousands of miles, in forty states.
During these six years I have learned more about diabetes prevention and control from the thousands of people I have met and contacted along the way. I have learned much about the world, people and work to learn about myself. The message has expanded to all of us, we all should walk and be active to prevent and control diabetes.
I have been surprised at the things I have noticed about myself, and the world that the journey has given me. The chaos has become calm. Pride and matters of ego have lost importance in the process. Finding temperance in hardship and difficult times where I had once fell victim more to bitterness and blame. The secrets revealed to me of myself are better than gold.
I know there is much I have passed over in my rush to this goal or that. Many opportunities for connection I have hurried or fell short in my zeal to reach a destination.
On this, our tenth walk, I am walking to Pittsburg again. This time I am going to enjoy as much as I can, to be consistent and balanced like my Uncle. To take the time to notice what I was unable to slow enough to see when this began six years ago.
My Uncle has reached the age of eighty six. It is people like him, and possibly you (the reader), who manage a healthy, long life. I want to honor him still, by walking to see him again. There is now no surprise party planned, no record or timetable to achieve.
This time I hope to give something more than I did the first walk, when completing the distant goal was more important than each step, each thread and stitch between the hems.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Saturday along the Rivertown

From Cleves we left late in the morning ,at ten. At one mile per hour we came to Addyston's Main Street that is parallel with the River Road.We were almost four hours in traversing the one mile length of the small township. We first met Jim" the rock splitter". He was visiting George" the metal man" who was tinkering in his shop. They had built large walls behind the hillside property from stones they scavenged from large construction sights. Jim shuttled me back to the van.Then We talked in George's shop until the heat of the day had passed. Leaving them at Stoneking and Main, it still took us quite awhile to get to the far end of town. We met the mayor and police officer. Half of the town came out. I met a woman who I had talked with while we in Homasasa Florida in February just before Nice's knees gave out. It seemed every shade tree along the end of town Nice could lay down under for the people who stopped to talk.
We walked back along river road until it became so overgrown we had to turn intoSayler Park. Gracely also parallels River road, with sidewalks and beautiful houses, rich with history. Long conversations and gracious people meant we didn't get all the way through to the end. We stayed in the parking area of a small apartment building between the hardware store and The old Parkland Theatre. The residents were having a cookout and we both ate well. They had burnt some hotdogs so Nice was not left out.