Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Long overdue update

Wondering why I haven't posted anything new over the last four months? Did you think I quit walking back in Arizona?

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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