After thousands of miles, over a dozen trips in- to- thru forty two states, walking every inch is only a point of pride. The first walk to the last, there have been times where I had to take a ride over a bridge or an unsafe section of road. Yet whenever I do it, there is a sense of failure, but it is necessary and everything turns out well.
From Downtown Marshall all four roads I looked at to get me back up to highway 70 were too dangerous to walk by myself, especially with a dog and a six foot orb.
I had taken the ball to a point roughly parallel with where I was downtown and the bypass of the highway where all the towns modern stores and businesses are. When I started in the morning down the wide four-lane with a good shoulder I felt better, despite failing again to walk every inch. The World wasn't going to end. I had to trust it was the best decision to go to higher ground by automobile, rather than on foot.
Nice (the dog) and I were on the road only short while when I saw, at the intersection ahead of me, a satellite-van for the Asheville ABC news affiliate turn in and stop. The cameraman and reporter emerged, the photographer setup and began filming as I approached.
It was early, I hadn't worked up a sweat yet and was very relaxed, the interview went well. After the cameraman followed us awhile he gathered up his remote microphone and they went on their way. This is not my first "rodeo", I've found that a forty-minute interview may yield about eight seconds of me talking. I have to trust that I say something intelligent.
The news-crew's visit opened the flood gates. The rest of the morning I was stopped by people pulling onto the side of the road so many times, I filled my phone with so many pictures of faces it was full. One of the visitors was the program director for the same station's weekend morning news. He invited me to come to the station that weekend if I could manage it. I have him my information so we could coordinate later. The roadside stops didn't end with him. The sun rose high, the clouds cleared and soon Nice (the dog) and me were walking from one shaded spot to the next. I had to trust we would find our way to a safe place to end the day without needing to spend too much time under a shade tree or scrub bush.
The heat of the day was full tilt. We were still in sight of the last shaded stop when Nice edged the World and I under a tree line. There we met Kelly. I had drained my phones battery by then, so I have no pictures of her, or Nice jumping into the back of her car. All she had to to was open the door. He has learned that if he looks pitiful enough he can get me to emote certain noises to another human and they will take him home until evening when we reunite. We had talked for a half-hour, most of which he was staring at her SUV . All she had to do was open the door.
I only had to trust someone I had just met, again.
When I had time to charge my phone and called about the dog she told me had been given a bath, was getting along with her three little dogs and was playing tug with her twelve year old son. (Not the best activity for a dog with plates for rear knees but you can't cover everything) I got a little lonely without him but was also glad he was having fun.
Because Nice was well taken care of I was able to get a few more miles closer to Asheville. All afternoon I was met with people who had seen the report on the news, the response was enthusiastic. I walked until evening to Weaverville, or was it Woodfin? Whichever it was, I ended the day within a days' walk to Downtown Asheville. Kelly came and we shuttled, wadded-up-World-and-all, back to the van, with which I followed her to her home for a shower before heading back to the city.
Trust has it's virtues.
Here is the link to the news clip...