To promote participation in the upcoming annual American Diabetes Association Step Out Walks in the Tennessee and Kentucky area I have set a goal to walk from Nashville to Memphis.
The Memphis Walk, September 19, 2015 is being held at the Botanical Gardens, 610 Cherry Rd.
Now is the time to join a team for the Step Out Walk, create a team of your friends and family, or go to email@example.com , or donate virtually on-line.
That's the goal, over two hundred miles.
Wish me luck...
Update: after four days I am tired, sore and behind schedule. A heat wave has forced me to transition to walking in the early darkness and switching has added to the fatigue. On the first day I met man who said that if I could walk more than ten miles per day with all I had to manage, he could manage to get involved and walk a 5K. I was able to walk from downtown Nashville, at Fanny Mae Park, thirteen miles where I stayed by a roadside produce vendor and the Jerky Shack overnight by a fork in the road.
The second day, beginning at the same time as the previous day (8am), with high temperatures, tall grass, heavy dew and stifling humidity, I didn't get so far. I reasoned I had to walk at night to stay out of the heat. That evening I parked at an Auto repair shop. The owner had been waiting for me after seeing the TV news. Nashville's channel 4 found me as I was walking out of town the day before. Both the owner of the towing/ auto repair and the woman who gave me a ride to the Jerky Shack ( to get the van ) recommended I skip over "the Narrows" that were just ahead to be safe. I did, there were some spots that could have been tight. The time it took to deflate and transport two miles then blow it up was the same as walking it at 2am to avoid traffic.
Through the narrows to Shacklett I began walking the third day at 4am. It was'nt long after I began walking, when I slipped backwards down a shallow bank while waiting for a truck to pass. The backward momentum when my feet hit the ditch launched me onto my backpack and buttocks.. Though bruised and sore since, the way I landed seemed to adjust my lower-back like never before and my spine feels great, despite the bruised buttocks. I am moving slower while the bruises heal but I can't fault the fall because my lower back has not felt this loose for decades.
The early start helped and I was able to make it to Montgomery Bell State Park, where a nice couple were going back the same direction and gave me a lift. When I got back to the park I tried to sleep and rise early. I began that day at 2am and made good distance, but between two towns I ended up at a biker-bar with no shade or hope of sleep in the heat. I transported the World ahead after a sweaty nap in search of a motel. The nearest was Waverly. With no dogs allowed, the motel did let me use an outside electrical outlet for my fan. I was rested and walking again at 2am.
Update after a week:
From Waverly we made out way through New Johnsonville over the Tennessee River bridge leading to a long straightaway with guardrails on both sides. Just enough room to lean the world on the rail as autos passed. A patience exercise. The local police took a dislike to my distraction and I had to deflate the world and go to the next county.
Starting again from the police/administration building of Hollow Rock after an afternoon of patching and paint we left early to pass Huntingdon, ending that day at a country store in Leach. Rain soaked the world overnight to make the roadside wet going. The water rolling off the canvas and onto my arms when a rain came ,mixed with the ivy oils I unavoidably plow over in the ditches. My forearms are covered with ivy rash. Eventually we made our way to Spring Creek where I was interviewed by the Jackson TV News. I found a shaded spot to park and got to sleep comfortably without sweating too much. Leaving at 3:13 am for Jackson I was able to get to the west side of Jackson, 17.5 miles. Only because a woman offered to keep Nice (the dog) for the day while she worked at the storm shelter store.
I wish I had more time to go into detail but I have schedule to keep. Walking a half marathon each day to get to a 5k takes some concentration.
While walking through Jackson I talked with a woman who showed me her tiny counter she keeps which tells her how far she has walked each day. Since beginning to use it she makes sure she has gotten those steps in each day. Each day she walks 5k, mostly on the job. With determination she has lost fifteen pounds.
We all could benefit by walking a 5k each day.
Late start from Jackson, 5am.
Update: by the end of the morning out if Jackson it was obvious that Nice (the dog), who had a slight cut between two toes was beginning to limp. He had the cut for two days but the long marches I was leading him through were not giving him the few days he needed to heal.
We got to Bond's Crossing, at Bond Cemetery Road. I was thinking about how I was going to get Nice back to the van from the middle of nowhere. Then a box van came up the cemetery road, the man inside was the Gravedigger on his way to the store during a break. He stopped to talk. Soon, when I had told him of the injured dog, he and I loaded the World in the Gravedigger's truck and back to the edge of Jackson.
Then I had to decide to stop altogether or call the only friends I could leave him with while I somehow get to Memphis to the 5/K at the Botanical Gardens.
Saturday I drove back to Kentucky to drop Nice off with friends then drive back. I was on the road Sunday around eleven.
Feeling drunk from exhaustion after driving to Louisville and back I was happy to get a place to park only a few miles up the road at a banquet hall, Big Brother's. watched the World while I retrieved the van from a Couple and their infant who were going that way and dropped me at the lumber yard.
Mister King, the proprietor offered up some barbecue at five o'clock, if I decided to stay. The cool day allowed me to have a short nap in the van despite the cloudless sunny skies. The hall, which looked unused, was then surrounded with people and vendors who were there for a car and bike show. There weren't t many entrants but the the turnout was great. The clash of Classic R&B and Hip-Hop
Made for fun sleep. I put on my earbuds and fell asleep to rock'n roll oldies and awoke to an empty lot.
I made my way through Brownsville on Monday. Shook hands with the Mayor, got a shuttle to bring up the van , then headed out of town toward Stanton.
At dark a man who lived at the edge of "the bottoms" offered to take me through a stretch with many long and narrow bridges. The man knew his swamp, I took the ride to Kristies Shack only a few miles from Stanton so when I got going early I had only a few more bridges to get out of the lowland road.
Stanton wakes up early. I arrived just before sunrise and both the stores were open for business. The coffee was right on time and the people were great.
I walked out of Stanton through Keeling to Tipton county then into Mason. It was there I met a man who offered some very good advice to skip over to US-64 that runs parallel to US-70 on the opposite side of Interstate-40. He offered to help get me and the World back to my van then lead me to Somerville and 64 which has wide four lanes with an emergency lane. US-70, he said would only become more narrow further down the road. The distance to Memphis from either Mason or Somerville was nearly the same, I wouldn't have to play dodge-the-semi on the shoulder-less road and tall grass where no one can safely get of the road to talk.
The deciding factor while I waited for the man to come fetch me after a meeting he had with a customer was when the county truck with a huge tank and spray cannon came by in the opposite direction shooting a thirty foot arc, high pressure stream of insecticide and weedkiller. A slight breeze sent a hardly discernible cloud expanding over the fields and embankments. As the glistening cloud passed around me all of the bugs went silent...
A few minutes later the man arrived to take me back to the van. We loaded the World onto the bed of his truck. As we drove away from the mist I became lightheaded from the fresh air. My ride, the area fertilizer salesman assured me the concoction of insecticide and weedkiller was safe for humans. I could feel my brain pulsing in my scull and was not convinced. He led me to the wide open highway from Mason to Somerville. I was able to get supplies at the grocery and wash some clothes at the "coin-op" before I went to the gas station my adviser had recommended would allow me to begin from the next morning.
I inflated the World, patched a few tears , touched up some bare canvas before darkness fell.
In the morning I had breakfast with the Somerville Liars Table before starting out on the wide highway with a pull off lane that made my progress worlds easier.
People could stop safely, I didn't have to stop and wait for all traffic to pass or weave back and forth to dodge big tricks.
I walked to Oakland and was passing a gas/food mart when the manager came out to the road to ask me questions. He was finishing his shift in ten minutes Nd offered to shuttle me back to Somerville and the van while I left the World tied at the store. From there I continued along the wide thoroughfare in the heat of the day. When I made my way to the outer loop240 of The Memphis area I met Patti who got me back to leap-frog the support van the. Later she brought dinner and offered to bring me home for a shower the next day when I was near her home.
She brought enough food to keep me all day Thursday as I walked into the Memphis city limits. She and her husband, Saint Van, came at the end of the day to take me for a meal and a shower.
Friday morning, seven miles from the goal of the Botanical Gardens in Memphis I pondered the starts, skips, the drive back to Louisville to leave Nice (the dog) with friends so his foot could heal, the countless moments with people I met. Amazingly I may make it on time.
Note: I heard on NPR that the organization that counts these things reported that the annual toll of deaths Worldwide is up 1.5 million.
Maybe if we all walk a 5k each day we could lessen that number.
Final Update: I had a good day rolling the last miles to the Botanical Gardens on Friday. A concert was being held at the venue that evening so I couldn't park in the area. Fortunately my new friend Patti was close-by, came to pick me up, took me to lunch and then insisted on getting me a room at a motel so I could be clean and rested for the event.
On Saturday I was back to the Botanical Gardens was the first vehicle to park in the field outside the garden's gate. A worker directed parking in rows, and staged the van fifty yards from the spot I had ended the previous day.
The first person to speak to me when I had inflated the ball and rolled it through the gates was Rico, a man I had met a few days earlier while walking outside Stanton. He had said he would come to the 5k, as he was a daily runner. I gave him the email address of Meagan at the Memphis office.. He had come early and was helping set up the tables.
Rico wasn't the only person who said he would come to the event while I approached Memphis. But he was the only one to follow through.
Seeing Rico warmed my heart, brought goose bumps to my arms and validated my unconventional advertising.
I met Meagan, the event directer, parked the world by the gate and helped finish putting out the chairs as the crowd of participants arrived.
The walk was a success.
Love yourself, go for a walk!