Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Yeah, well, I didn't quit.
In fact, I have now walked about 2,830 miles from Santa Monica, California to my parents' house in central Ohio. I just haven't been able to blog because Blogger made it impossible for me to blog all this time and there was nothing I could do about it. It especially pisses me off because I didn't know it was going to happen until after it happened. Consequently, I was never able to let you know what was going on.
Some highlights from the time I was unable to blog:
- Beginning about a week after I left Phoenix, I spent the next two months in elevations of 5,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level. It was very cold most of that time, especially at night, when I often had to wear all my clothes and winter gear inside my sleeping bag just to stay remotely warm.
- The Navajo are the most awesome people on the planet, particularly the Oliver family of Mexican Hat, Utah. (I know 'Oliver' doesn't sound very Navajo to you, but yes, they are Navajo.)
- Colorado was miserable in just about every way possible, with cold temps, snow, and 50 MPH winds tossing me around all the time. I crossed the continental divide at Wolf Creek Pass (10,850 feet above sea level). It last snowed on me on May 14, as I came down from La Veta Pass, near Walsenburg. Ever since then it has been miserably hot, excluding two days.
- Kansas has no trees. No trees means no shade. No shade means no comfort. No comfort means no good rest. Also, I was harassed by cops just about every day for three weeks as I crossed central and eastern Kansas. The people of Kansas, however, were very friendly and kind. I met tons of amazing people in Kansas.
- Missouri, with its absence of standing water, provided a couple weeks without mosquitos.
- Illinois was pretty boring.
- In eastern Illinois, a car drifted toward me in a spot where I had only a couple inches of shoulder to walk on. As the car continued to drift in my direction, I watched and waited for the driver to correct the car's path, but it never happened. So for a split second, I knew I was about to die. Somehow, though, I managed to get out of the way and save my own life.
- In Putnam County, Indiana, I was harassed and beaten up by a sheriff's deputy, then forced to spend three nights in jail after he charged me with offenses that never happened. (Actually there were two deputies; it's just easier to write this by turning them into one person.) This ordeal is nowhere near over, and it is the event that made me realize for sure that I will write a book about this adventure, which I likely will call Land of the Free. By the way, my rib still hurts almost three weeks later from the excessive force used by the deputies, who each weigh about twice as much as me.
- I'm totally sick of being harassed by cops, and I will continue to assert my rights every time they harass me for the rest of this walk.
- I did two consecutive 30-mile days after passing through Indy. This blows my mind because 30 miles is nuts even for one day. So to do it again the very next day... WOW! (Let me tell you about pain.) On the second night, after about 29.8 miles (five miles into Ohio), an 18-wheeler flew by me at highway speeds, a foot outside his lane, missing me by mere inches. Having walked 60 miles in the previous 38 hours, I had no strength or energy to move. This was so surreal; it felt like it took five minutes. You've never experienced anything like this.
- The day before I made it home, Mike Harden from the Columbus Dispatch met me near South Charleston. His story about me ran a few days later on Sunday. I also received a call from WCMH's Jerod Smalley the day after I met with Harden. I expect to hear from Smalley again within the next couple days, so keep an eye on channel 4 if you live in Columbus.
I am fortunate to have met tons and tons of the most amazing people you could ever hope to meet, but that's a very small sample of the American people. I'm sorry to report that when I'm not meeting these people, I witness one stupid act after another. We, the people of the United States of America, must stop being so stupid.
I hope you can make some sense of the recent posts here, now that I've clued you in a little. I haven't tried blogging from my phone yet since I've changed the blog's URL. Hopefully it will work. Even if it does work, though, I don't anticipate writing many new posts as I walk the final 600 miles from here to NYC. But who knows?
So much more to say, but I can only say so much right now. Besides, I'm here to relax so I can feel rejuvinated when I start walking again on Friday.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010
If they have NOT committed an offense, and I ask for their ID and they tell me to **** off, I have no lawful right to demand their ID. I have had several people ask me why, and I just simply state that you see my name on my chest and I like to know who i'm talking to. They're usually pretty good about giving it up. It's all in talking to them with respect and dignity.
Now on the flipside, if they have committed an offense and I ask for their ID and they do not provide it to me, well then they're getting cited for failure to provide ID. If they do not have it on them they're getting hooked, and taken to the PD to be fingerprinted and ID'd.
Walking peacefully down the road, which is all I do every day, does not give any law enforcement officer justification to stop me and demand to see my ID. If that happens, I have the right to walk away and go on with my life. Even if I tell the dude to go fuck himself, I still have the right to continue walking toward the Atlantic Ocean if I so desire, and the cop has no right to demand any more of my time unless I have actually broken a law.
In my Indiana brush with the law, I did not tell the deputy to go fuck himself. I just told him, calmly, to leave me alone, which I am allowed to do. Regardless, I was effectively beaten up by the cop (who I will name when this is all over). Then I spent three nights in jail for having been the victim of a crime by someone who's paid to protect me. And now I have to show up back in Indiana next month for court.
Yes, I would do it again, and I will do it again the next time a cop stops and asks me for my ID without justification. This will almost surely happen within the next week. But I almost certainly will not end up in jail when I do it again because most cops know their limits. And to be perfectly clear, the cop who arrested me knew his limits; he just didn't care and he mistakenly assumed I was stupid, which is why he wrote a report that is full of lies that don't add up.
Cops know they have more rules to follow than I do.
Still, cops are the only people who give me any trouble. Cops are the only criminals I have to fear out there. There are tons of good cops, but there are also tons of thug cops. And until that changes, I will continue to assert my freedom whenever they try to strip me of it.
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Monday, August 09, 2010
i met you on the road just outside of Yates Center Kansas. I on bike, you, of course ..... not. You were looking forward to getting new sandals, I hope they came.
I cycle tour solo every summer because it gives me life experience to feed my art and my soul. I make paintings along the way.
I told you I was going to make a painting about Kansas "hogging" its shade trees behind barbed wire fences. I made that painting, and I made one inspired by our visit as well. I made the painting not to glorify what you - we - do. Solo endurance and living our lives in a way most consider unusual. I made the painting because I was pissed that a man walking should be considered a criminal by those we are told to trust as our caretakers - police.
Not their fault really. It is an entire culture built on fear. You are different, there for something to fear.
see the paintings at
ps - I didn't think you were scary at all. I thought of you the same as the Kansas wildflowers that surrounded you.
On the back of the painting, Teri also wrote some notes about our meeting.
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Sunday, August 08, 2010
Friday, August 06, 2010
You'll be tempted to take a few shirts, a camp towel, a laptop, maybe a book, and a bunch of tiny things that don't seem like much weight. DON'T DO IT. Instead, learn from my pain.
I'm probably much stronger than I was when I walked away from the Santa Monica Pier, but my body is totally beat up and everything hurts constantly, largely because I was carrying too much weight when I started. I thought I'd be a machine after a month or two, but that does not happen. Instead, the weight just goes down to your feet with every step, and it beats you up like you've never been beat up before.
After a few months, every day becomes tougher than the previous day. 50 lbs now feels like 70 lbs; tomorrow it will feel like 70.1 lbs. And it's all because I started out with too much weight. So just be smart and learn from my experience. It will make your long walk much less painful than it could be.
Shirts. I'm down to one short sleeve shirt and one long sleeve shirt, though I started with three lightweight short sleeve shirts and one long sleeve shirt. My shirt probably makes me smell like dog shit most of the time, but I don't care anymore because 1) I am almost always alone, and 2) There comes a point where you just stop caring. There is no need to worry about being a little smelly because that kind of thing happens when you're doing the most bad-ass thing anyone can do. Get over it and leave your shirts at home.
Socks & Footwear. Even though I walk in sandals, I had one pair of socks in the beginning, just in case I needed to get some shoes for whatever reason. And it did happen. I had to wear shoes for about 10 miles at Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado, at 10,850 feet. I paid $1.50 for the shoes at a thrift store, then ditched them in Walsenburg because I knew I'd never need them again. If I was walking in boots, I'd probably have to carry 4-6 pairs of footies, at 5 ounces per pair. Great reason to wear sandals. Also, my sandals are 2 lbs lighter than my last pair of boots. That makes a huge difference.
Backpack with at least an 80-liter capacity;
Sleeping bag rated below freezing;
Good, light tent and footprint;
Sleeping pad (I prefer inflatable, small);
Fleece top with full zipper;
Down or synthetic winter coat (doubles as a pillow in a stuff sack, though you'll send it home once spring is over);
Waterproof pack cover (if your pack is not waterproof);
One pair of convertible pants + shorts to wear during laundry;
A one-liter water bottle & collapsible water bladders amounting to about a 3-gallon capacity;
Maybe a few other things, too. (For some folks, weed.)
That's all for now. Much more to say about this stuff when I get a chance. Maybe I'll write about it in a book someday.
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