I heard someone say, "excuse me sir".... I sat up from a sleep. A man walked up to me. He was a tall black man in a suit. For some reason I had the feeling that he was the guy from the night before. I asked him if he came by last night, and he said yes.
He asked if I was ok? And I said yes and told him I was just traveling through and took the cover there from the storm last night. He was the pastor there and was actually hoping I hadn't left yet. He sat there and talked to me for about a half an hour. I told him how the night before he had freaked me out and I was ready to defend myself If someone had come back to mess with me. And that I was glad I didn't. He answered some really tough questions I had about faith and something that really stuck with me. He pointed out how the night before when I prayed and went to sleep just trusting god would keep me safe, that I put faith in him to protect me. I didn't know he would. I just in a way took the chance to believe I would be fine. And in that trust I was able to sleep very well.
When I left there I headed up to a McDonald's a mile and a half ahead on the 80 in the middle of Marshall TX. I was going to charge up there and then get my day planned out. But when I sat there and was ready to leave, I lifted my head from looking down at my iPod, and it was pouring rain outside! So I was stuck there until it stopped. It was odd since the weather on the Internet said it would be clear all day. Ironic.
So I sat there. About 10 minutes later the father/son team came walking in! They were going to be in there waiting out the rain also. So funny how we stop at the same place. So we visited there a while before they took off in their van.
I ended up staying there all day. Wasn't to happy I didn't move much, but the weather had other plans. It did stop storming, but by that time it was already almost 4 and couldn't make the long stretch before the next town. So I decided I would stay there on the west end of Marshall that night and get an early jump the next morning.
I left McDonald's at around 10. I walked to a park about 4 blocks down where I was planning to maybe stay. When I got there I had about 5 dogs barking at me, and didn't want people to come out of their houses and see me. And it was also not the nicest area. So I kept walking west back along the 80.
I got to a church and found a little walkway where I could hide out. I made my bed there on the concrete. I wanted to make sure I was up early enough to not be woken up by people coming to the Sunday morning service. So I tried to fall asleep. It was a cool night. A breeze blew also. There were some little bugs crawling around on me and biting me most of the night so I didn't get to bed until about midnight.
at 11:01 AM
About a year and a half ago I died inside. No matter what I was doing I couldn't feel it. I could barely talk as I didn't even know where my words were coming from. I honesty lost my mind and didn't think I would ever feel anything again. I was dead inside, and was now just flesh in this world where it was immoral to give up on life. I'm not gonna hide it, I wanted out bad but that decision, in my mind, was not even a "choice". I could not do that in a way where I would take myself out of something when I still wasn't even sure of what it was. I questioned everything and had no answers. I stopped taking care of myself, and when I say that, I mean it. I didn't brush my teeth or do any maintinence to my body at all. It got to the point where I wasn't even allowed to be on my own. For days, I was away from my own house and basically being nourished by my parents. They would rotate days of staying home from work, even in their demanding jobs, and would stay right by my side as I would just sit with my head down for the entire day. I had no desire to eat, drink, or communicate to anyone at all. It was a very bad place.
My parents would have to hand feed me as I barely had a care to do anything to keep me alive. They would walk me outside to sit me down where I could see the absolute beauty of what was the back of their property. And I would look down at the ground. I couldn't even lift my head and had no desire to see what the world had anymore.
This is very hard for me to share because it was a different time and I was a different person. But I feel like it was the rock bottom. I had no feelings inside of me and no desires. And thinking back I do think there was hope in me, but it was such a small dose that I felt like I was a fly in a galaxy trying to find a rice grain.
At that moment in my life, I still had the world before me. I still had a job waiting for me to return to. And not just waiting, but wanting to have me back as soon as possible. The guys I worked with and for loved me and my work ethic. I was always a go getter and had a good attitude. I was great with my money and had a budget tracking system recording all my spending. I would chart it every month to see where every penny would go and what I would save. I had a nice house that I lived in alone with nice furniture and stuff in it that was a nice "home" to me. My credit score was over 700 and I had all my toys that were clean and well maintained. And my bank account was comfortable.
All this stuff was sitting somewhere just waiting for me to take it and live with it. But I was empty inside my flesh. I couldn't even find enough of myself to think about what I had. I was dead and all those things were no longer mine. That is when I gave all of that up. I already knew that I was not going to call those things mine anymore. The job, the house, the money, the credit, the toys. It was now all garbage to me. I only had enough hope inside me to recover my spirit. Everything else was dust in the wind and I had already kissed it goodbye. Ya, I could have woken up the next day and continued that life. But I would have been chancing death every day. I know that is hard to understand, but in my mind it was how it was. My life was fragile and I was only doing the minimum I could handle to stay alive.
So now I'm out here in the middle of the country. I'm about to hit the biggest challenge of my life. I'm not put here to see the country. I'm not out here enjoying this "walk". Not to sound ungrateful, but I really don't care much to see what is along this route. I appreciate things I come across, but that's not why I'm out here. I don't care much for traveling. I don't enjoy walking. And I would be perfectly happy in my home town. But I'm out here to bring back the life in me. I'm out here to feel again. I want to live where I don't just feel like a body doing things to fit into the system because that how its "supposed" to be.
This journey is to restore me. I lost myself and all I had. Now I'm out here to just get myself back. I don't like sleeping with my face in the dirt. I don't enjoy eating leftover food that is a day old. I don't want to get up every day and drag my ass out of the filth and keep walking down a long road. This is not fun for me. But when I feel the feeling of adrenaline and goosebumps, or my hair standing up when I find a new level of strength I didn't know I had that brings my spirit back little by little. Even though some days I feel like just staying in the ground and not standing up and pushing on, I drag myself up and keep going. Because if I don't, I'm just giving up. And to me, if I give up now, I die. Maybe not physically, but my spirit dies.
I have found that god is right here with me. All I do is powered through him. I'm not fooled by that. I know I am only given what he provides. And maybe I'm still lost. But I still have hope, and that is something that can grow like a raging fire from once being a small spark. I continue with the hope I have and keep moving to rebirth my spirit and my life.
When I woke up on day 73 I felt the sun warming my skin. I sat up and I felt something on my head. I touched my hair and something moved. I grabbed it and pulled it out along with some hair. It was a beetle. I tossed it to the grass and flicked the hair off my fingers.
I got up slow and packed my things. It was my first morning in Texas. I went to the front of the church and spotted an outlet. I plugged in and brushed my teeth and stuff while I waited.
I went down the road a few hundred yards to a gas station. I couldn't find a hose or spicket, so I went into the restroom in there to fill my waters. I filled up and then left there walking.
I headed down the highway and was tracking some ground. It was hot so I was keeping my towel wet over my head and drinking plenty of water. I came across a van parked on the side of the road. I noticed some guys sitting in it and wondered if they were broken down. But as I passed I saw a guy in the driver seat looking into a binder. They looked to be ok so I continued.
About a mile down I saw the van pass by. Then I kept going. Then another ways up I saw the van pulled off again. As I came up to it the man came out and brought me an orange. He said his son and his grandson were walking across the country. I was shocked! What were the odds I would come across someone else's journey across America. He said they were taking a break in the van when I passed earlier and would be coming up behind me shortly.
As they came up I got to visit with them. It was pretty wild and they were out here trying to "wake up America" which was cool and I heard some of their stories. They were documenting the journey to make a film also. So it was nice to exchange feelings that we share that were similar. They had a conversion van that followed them with the grandfather driving. And they bunk up where they can in the van each night. I visited them a while and then moved along.
I walked a long hard day and didn't stop for about 14 miles. I finally got to a gas station east of Marshall TX. I stopped there and sat out front in the shade to take a small break. A guy walked out of the gas station and it was the same guy in the SUV the day before. He said what's up and that I made it pretty far. Then he saw a Mexican guy and yelled at him. He walked up to the guy and they had a full blown argument on a drug deal that went bad. It was nuts! I thought they were gonna brawl. So that was pretty random!
I continued on. I walked to about 3 miles from Marshall and all of a sudden it went from hot and sun, to storm cloud racing over the sky and raining. It quickly turned to pouring. I pulled over next to a big tree off the highway. There was nothing else around so I just stood under it. I still got wet but not as much as I would have in the open.
I waited it out and when it let up I quickly walked down the highway again. I wanted to get to Marshall to find cover as the storm was coming in and just getting started. I walked a mile when suddenly it started again! Lightning started striking around me close by and it was all of a sudden a down pour!! I hurried but saw nothing ahead to use as cover. Then quickly I was soaked! Then I just slowed down and said screw it. When I let go of worrying I felt so free. I just let it pour on me. I covered my cart with my jacket and just walked through the heart of the storm. It was an awesome 20 minutes! I was so soaked I really thought my iPod would be wet and may not work. That's how much I just didn't care in that moment. It was possibly the best 20 minutes of walking out of the entire trip so far.
So I finally got to a church. It was still coming down. I pulled off my soaking shirt and threw it away. My feet were wet. My shorts soaked, my under garmet was soaked. But when I pulled my iPod out it was dry! So I lucked out. I laid down at about 6 at the church in Marshall under the overhang and watched the storm.
I fell asleep around 9. At about 11 I was woken up to a jingle noise. I sat up fast and saw a silhouette of a man standing 10 ft from me. I sat up and said "can I help you?". He said no. Just saw something over here when I walked by. I said "I'm just resting here". And he said "ok, go ahead and rest". And he walked away. I was a little freaked by it so I grabbed my knife and held it while I laid there. I kept thinking he and maybe some friends would come back. So I laid there awake a couple hours and thought about moving. But I might not find another spot and would risk losing sleep that night. Plus the weather was not good. So after a couple hours I just said a prayer to give me the awareness to hear anyone approaching if they were going to, and to let me defend myself. And ultimately prayed not to be bothered at all. After I said the prayer I slept great all night.
at 5:21 PM
So I got up slowly. I was very tired and did not have good rest. I packed up my things slowly and got on the road. I walked about 3 miles up where I came to an exit where the 80 crossed over highway 20. There was a rest stop and also a Mexican restaurant there. I was hungry and decided to pull the Mexican restaurant trick. So I stopped there and ordered a soda and filled up on chips and salsa. It's an all you can eat meal and drink for about $3. Not the best of nutritional value, but for survival mode it will get me the calories to keep moving. I also charged my things there before heading down the road.
I walked the last bit of Louisiana. When I approached the Texas state line ahead I began to get goosebumps and felt a surge of adrenaline. That feeling alone makes all the hardships of this journey worth while. I can't imagine a feeling better than that. Even if there is, I just can't fathom it. Just before coming to the sign a man pulled off. He got out and asked if I was ok in a concerned way. I told him yes very excitedly. And shared with him proudly that I have walked from the ocean and was about to cross into Texas all and only via walking. He went wild! He asked why and my story really touched him. He shared a similar story about him being homeless before after a tough split up with his wife. And how he called out for gods name and then it changed his life! He now has 3 jobs and is going in a much better direction. It was a special encounter. He was so exited and so was I. He sat there and watched me walk to the sign and was almost as exited with me about meeting me at that moment!
As I got to the sign the surge turned more into a confusion. I didn't even know how I felt. I felt a bunch of things but couldn't identify them and could hardly think. Even taking the video there, I didn't really have words to say. It felt very different.
So there I was. 72 days now and I have walked one step at a time from the Atlantic ocean to the middle America state of Texas. It is pretty wild and I am thankful to god first and foremost for the very weird reason that I am doing this. Not sure why he planted the seed in my head to do this but it has grown into something I can't be more thankful for than I am! I'm not sure where he is going with this plan, but I'm along for the ride and all he has in store for me.
So after crossing the line I walked into the town of Waskom TX. As I came to the town a black SUV pulled over and called me over. A guy handed me $10 and said god bless. He asked where I was going and I told him how far I walked. He then was amazed and grabbed another $20 to hand me. I told him no way! And that the $10 was more than enough. I told him to help someone else with the $20 for me! He smiled and said "I like that".
Another mile or so into the town a guy jumped out of a parked big rig truck and crossed the street to me. He walked over and handed me a $5. He said god bless and I said the same to him. I kept going.
I got to a church on the west side of town. I set up a bed next to it along the wall next to an outlet. It was just trees next to it so nobody would see me. I laid down and got comfortable. Just when I thought it was a good spot, I saw a man on a lawn mower pass bye the front of the church along the highway. He was cutting the grass and would soon pass where I was laying. I was bummed out (no pun intended). So I packed up quickly and snuck to the highway when he was mowing away from me.
I headed to a church down the road that I walked across. I didn't know it was there but I got lucky. I went behind it and it was another hidden spot. There were no outlets there. I made my camp out a ways behind the church by the trees and as the sun set I laid there and eventually fell asleep.
at 5:28 PM
I sat up and then stood. I still didn't say a word. I walked over there. When I got close he grabbed my arm tightly and pushed me to the front of his car. Another cop pulled up. He yelled "put your hands on the hood and spread your legs!". So I did. Then the two cops started patting me down. They reached in my pockets and pulled them inside out. All the gift cards with $5 wrapped around them fell out and onto the ground. I saw them spread out on the floor next to me feet. The cop yelled "what are these!?!" so I softly said, "those are for the homless". The cop said "what?!?! What homeless??". I said "any homeless I come across".
After patting me 2 other cars had pulled up. They said to keep my hands on the hood. I glanced back, turning my head a little. And saw two cops going through my backpack and cart. They were throwing things out and onto the ground. Then a cop grabbed my sleeping bag and shoes. And my iPod and Internet device were inside the heel of my shoe. He threw the stuff about 10 feet onto the parking lot asphalt. I saw my iPod fly out of my shoe and crash against the concrete!!!
I was a little crushed at the thought of it being broken. I hoped it wasn't. That iPod allows me to share my journey the best I can and because of that thing there have been homeless around the country who have been helped through me sharing a perspective of how much it means.
I stayed put and then they started asking questions.... Why am I there? Where am I from or going to? Why an I sleeping at a church? Why am I homeless?... So I answered all their questions calmly even though I felt like decking the cop who threw my stuff and may have busted my only source of communication. Finally after telling them, it seemed like they were still on a power rage, but we're frustrated because not only was I innocent, but I was doing good in their community. It was a weird mood.
I sensed that they felt guilty but were still for some reason revved up and using powerful body language and action. So finally they let me go. They all looked so confused as they talked about it. It was kind of funny.
They said to pack up my stuff and leave. So I cleaned up the mess they made and replaced my backpack. After that I recorded a video and they looked very uncomfortable as I described what happened. Oh, and before anything I checked my iPod. It had a crack on the bottom of the screen but it was small. It still seemed to work fine.
The cop then came over and said he was gonna give me a ride to the next town. I told him no thanks, then he said (in a frustrated manner) to move along if I would and hustle up to get my things packed. I for sure was upset about how they handled it. I understand them coming to kick me out, but their approach was overly aggressive and extreme. Someone had called them as they dropped their kids off at the day care next door. And I had no problem leaving and understood. So I moved along.
Then right across the street from the church I saw a homeless man sitting there. And as the cops were parked there watching me leave, I crossed the street and went to give one of the cards to help out the man. He was so happy and said I made his day! The cops watched from their cars. Man that felt good!
So I headed towards downtown Shreveport. I crossed over the bridge and when I came to the other side I had to roll my cart down 2 sets of stairs. Then I was in the downtown area. I found a few people right there to help out. One man in a wheel chair who was picking through garbage cans to collect recyclables. Another man sitting on a bench along the street. Then another walking down the sidewalk. All very grateful and I was very thankful to share my blessings.
I stopped at a little cafe and ordered a little breakfast sandwich. I sat there and charged my stuff and took some time to upload videos from helping the poor/homeless. Then I mapped out a route for the day and got together a little game-plan. Then before I left I filled up my water jugs in the bathroom sink, and brushed my teeth there too.
I walked west from there to head out to the west suburbs of Shreveport before leaving town and getting close to Texas. I ran into another couple of people to help on the end of town. I stopped to treat myself to a good sized meal at burger king. After a day full of helping others and being roughed around by the police, I felt like I deserved it. So I sat there and enjoyed it. I charged my stuff while I ate.
I left there and headed out. I made my way out of town about 7 miles as the sunset. I had a church near the state line I was heading to. Just as I was making good ground after dark it started raining a little. The rain got heavier and heavier. Then it was getting so heavy I had to pull off and pull the tarp out in a hurry! I covered my cart and myself just in time! The lightning struck all around me and the rain poured down hard! I was stranded there until it let up. I sat there as the wind blew and it was very stormy. As I sat there the lightening struck and bang!!! It sounded like a rifle went off in my ear! It was really close.
I sat there about an hour when the rain and wind let up a little. I got up and halfway packed my tarp in. I hurried up and just ahead there was an old closed down gas station. I went up and under an overhang. The rain was picking back up so I covered up again! The overhang was not wide enough and the wind blew the rain right under it and onto my tarp. So I laid down and thought this might have to be my spot for the night. I pulled out my sleeping bag and laid down halfway on a step on a concrete patio right in front of the closed store.
I ended up staying up from the storm most of the night and slept on the concrete. Not to mention the bugs all over me biting me all night. It was for sure a rough night. But the thought of helping those people in need that day for sure put me at ease. I halfway slept on and off that night never really getting good sleep.
at 5:27 PM
I set a good pace and headed towards Shreveport LA. It was really hot and I was drinking water anytime I even thought about it just to be safe.
After walking a good pace I got to the suburbs where I came across a McDonald's. I went inside and ate off the dollar menu. It was about 3 when I got there. I was getting ready to give back to those in need before leaving Louisianna. So I took a good portion of the little money I have to survive, and bought $60 worth of McDonald's $5 giftcards. I then took $5 bills and wrapped the cash and giftcards together with rubber bands. I sat there about an hour and then headed out along the highway around 4.
I walked a few miles when I pulled off to help a man I saw. I gave him a card with the cash and he was very surprised! Look on his face and his expression was awesome!
Right after I helped him a car pulled over and a guy got out. He came up and gave me his lunch from work that day that he didn't eat. It was a tuna with cracker snack pack and pop tarts.
Another mile up or so I spotted another man to help. I ran across the street and shared a card/cash with him. He had been walking in the heat all day too and he was very thankful. He was homeless and also had a sweet cart like mine.
About another half mile up a lady and her daughter pulled over to give me a tube of Pringles and a few dollars. It was pretty ironic that I had helped 2 people and right after both of those instances, people pulled off to help me.
I was low on charge and wanted to post some videos, so I stopped at a Starbucks and got an iced water and sat down to charge/use Internet. The guy working there took his break shortly after I had sat down, and he sat next to me to ask where I was from and headed. I told him my story and he was blown away! He said it would be an honor to at least get me a free drink. So I told him maybe something small and chocolate. He brought out a drink and shook my hand and said it was an honor to meet me. Pretty crazy when stuff like that happens out here.
So at around 7 I left to keep moving. I wanted to find a place to camp that night soon. As I walked it was quiet and I was witness to an amazing sunset! I was so thankful and can't even put into words how pretty and vivid it was. I stopped just to take it all in as I stared at it. It was amazing.
After dark I finally found a church along the 80. I walked to the back and found I little inlet type part where it was like a u shape. So I walked into the u part and made my bed on the grass. I wanted to get good sleep and it was soft there. I hoped it wouldn't rain or that the sprinklers wouldn't blast me in the night. I laid down and went to bed around 11 or so.
at 5:23 PM
I walked about 3 miles when a car passed and then turned around. The man pulled up and he handed me $40 out of the window. He said when I get to the next town to get myself some food. He was really nice and from that point I had a feeling I had a good day ahead of me.
I headed along the 80 towards Minden. It was really humid and already I was sweating a lot! I walked about 8 miles at a good pace. I also saw the first deer of the trip and I enjoyed that. I look forward to seeing those along my walk. It jumped out behind a bush and stopped and stared at me about 20 feet away. I paused. We stared at each other for about 10 seconds and then I slowly reached for my pocket to get a picture. But as soon as I moved he darted off into the woods.
So I stopped ahead and sat down next to the highway. I hadn't eaten yet so I pulled a snack out and sat down to eat it. Right when I sat down a lady pulled up and called me over. I got to her car and she handed me a box of churches chicken and a side of mashed potatoes. She had just bought it and was going home and said she would feel better that I could eat it. That was really awesome!
I left there and continued to Minden. A few miles up a cop pulled off. He said that they had recorded a call of a suspicious man walking down the highway. When we talked he kind of laughed at the fact someone called and said that. But he had to check it out. He was a nice guy and thought what I'm doing is awesome. He ran my license and then talked to me a bit after. He said he would pray for me before he left and said to be safe. I continued.
It was pretty hot out and I was looking forward to a break in the town ahead. As I got close another car pulled over and a few ladies gave me $4. They said they just had a good message at church and needed to put it into action. That was pretty cool. They were very happy to help and I could tell they enjoyed it.
About another mile up a lady pulled over. She said she passed me on her way to get pizza for her family. So she ended up buying an entire extra pizza for me! I was blown away. She gave me the pizza and she took off. I couldn't believe it. I ate a slice and then carried the rest with me.
Another half mile or so ahead, a man pulled over. He asked where I was headed. He gave me $5 and wanted to say a prayer for me. He said he knew God was taking care of me and he was really happy to hear how I have been blessed by so many people.
Another mile ahead, a truck pulled over. A guy around my age. He asked where I was headed and asked if I would share my story. So I told him. He asked me if I would like to rest? He said his church was ahead and that I could take a break there and just get a place to relax and recharge. I was hesitant to accept the offer but he was very sincere so I sort of went with it.
So he called the youth pastor and said he was going to let me rest at the church. He ended up pulling off the key to the church and giving it to me! I was blown away! I never knew this man, and within 5 minutes he gave me a key to the church! It was awesome and made me feel good! He had to go to a band practice and said he would come to the church afterwards with some friends to visit.
So I headed up to the church. I was slightly in disbelief of what had just happened. I got to the church and opened it up! It was a good sized nice church. Inside it was very cool and it felt great to be out of the heat. I walked inside and was just smiling. I looked around and couldn't find a light. So I sat on a couch that was inside and just kept laughing in a shocked/awesome feeling way. I said a prayer just saying thank you. I don't care who you are, when you are in the heat and walking all day then an unexpected thing brings you to an awesome place to cool down and relax, it is something to be thankful for.
So I sat there on the couch and sprawled out. I was so comfortable and honestly sort of forgot how it feels to have something that soft to lay on. It was amazing! I sat there a while and then about an hour and a half later Zach (guy who pulled over) and his friends Eli, and Justin came there. We hungout and just relaxed and talked. I was still so shocked and couldn't thank them enough.
We sat there a while then we headed next door to a house that was the youth hangout. There was another church that came in to have an evening service (they share the church) so we went to the house. A few more people showed up there and we just talked and hungout. Everyone was so nice there. They also had food and fed me also and I shared the pizza I had with them.
So we sat there most of the night and ended up playing games and stuff. It was a really cool night and I really enjoyed the company especially after being alone for most of the days recently. And they all had a great sense of humor so we laughed a lot. Just all really good people.
When it was about midnight I was pretty wiped out and had a long day. I was ready to crash. They had already told me earlier that I could stay there and they would stay with me so that I could. So we went back into the church. I ended up going to sleep on the giant couch and those guys camped out with me also inside the church. It was nice and cool in there and It was a very relaxing night. I was seriously still shocked and just couldn't be in a better mood to have this gift of comfort after a long hard road of grimy and rough living. I fell asleep pretty late at around 1am. What a day!
Me and Zach and Eli sat there on the couch inside the church. We were all still half asleep. We had stayed up late and it was around 9:30 or so. We hung out and talked a little before doing anything. Part of me was still riding the high of this blessing coming my way, and part of me was a little sad that I would be leaving these guys soon. Those guys were really cool and it seemed like I had known them for longer than a day. More like 10 years.
But the time came and I started to pack my things. When I was all ready to go those guys gave me hugs and said good luck on the remainder of my journey. They helped me refill my waters and asked if I needed anything else. I told them as I tell everyone, all I can ask for are prayers as that was all this journey started with. They came up and said a prayer for me before I left. Then I walked out the front door and I left. They were very easy about the situation and were funny, as I walked away they yelled "they grow up so fast" and we all laughed. They had great sense of humors. I turned my head and continued realizing it may be the last I see of them. That is always hard out here even when it's stranger I just meet. People are really awesome that have crossed into my journey of life, and it's hard to leave them so fast. But there's a long road ahead so I kept going forward. Hope to see them again in this life or another.
So I walked a few miles and wanted to stop somewhere to write a few journals to get caught up. I spotted a BBQ place and stopped there. I ordered a sandwich for $2 and sat down inside next to an outlet. It was around noon. I sat there a while and got caught up. By the time I was done it was around 3. I left there and wanted to get about 15 miles in still.
I started down the highway west along the 80. About 3 miles up a car pulled off. The person looked familiar. When he got out I noticed it was Justin. The 3rd friend I had net the day before. He had tracked me down and had a cold water for me. It was hot and that really hit the spot! He said he also might be going to Dallas in a few weeks and if he did he would stop to meet me and get me lunch or something. He gave me a hug and we parted.
I continued down the highway in the heat. I was feeling good and meeting those guys and getting a good night's rest meant a lot mentally to me. At this point my body is being taxed so much that I'm relying on my mind to get me through this. So that for sure gave me a mental boost. And that also has been helpful from all who have stopped to help me. Honestly when someone pulls off just to make sure I'm ok and gives me nothing, it means just as much to me as the person who gives me food or $20. The mental edge of the gesture to watch out for me gives me a big help to keep pushing.
After walking about 7 miles a truck pulled over. An old man got out and walked over to me. He moved and talked very slow. He came over and asked where I was headed? I told him I'm trying to walk across the country and started with no food/money. Just as I was telling him this another car pulled over behind his truck. The old man didn't notice the car. A girl jumped out and lobbed a chicken sandwich to me. Just before she lobbed it the old man asked me how I get food? And right as he finished asking that the chicken sandwich the girl threw dropped down in front of his face and down into my hands, and I replied "like that" and smiled. His jaw dropped and his eyes became huge! He never saw the girl so to him this sandwich dropped from the sky. I was laughing a bit then I pointed back to the girls car as she was about to pull away and the old man leaned back and turned and saw her. He was still taken back by it and gave me $10. He said to keep going and god bless. I continued.
I walked a good pace and the sun was setting. I stopped on a bridge to look at the sunset. And a car pulled over there also and gave me 2 gatoraids, some snacks, and a few bucks. I drank the gatoraids there and then kept walking.
I walked in the dark for another hour. It was really humid and I was soaked in sweat. I finally got to a church ahead on the 80 at about 9:00. I walked to the back of it and there was a good sized overhang. I made my bed on two rugs that were in front of the door. I laid down and rested. I fell asleep around 11 or so.
I woke up to what sounded like a gunshot!... I opened my eyes and it was pouring rain! The wind was gusting and blew an empty water bottle I had away into the trees. Lightening struck and the thunder again hit hard! I sat up. The wind was strong and blowing some chairs around that we're under the overhang with me. The way the overhang was positioned at the corner of the church was just right with the wind direction to keep me dry. I really lucked out! I got up and moved my cart closer in to the corner. The wind was that strong. I sat there and watched the storm. It was around 3:30 and I stayed awake about an hour until it calmed down. I fell back asleep somewhere around 4:30am.
I went into the McDonald's and brushed my teeth and filled up my water jugs in the bathroom sink. I wet the towel I have also and put it over my head underneath my hat. It was around 9:30am. I set out on the road.
I walked through the west side of town and made my way back to the 80. It was already warm. When I got onto the 80 I set a good pace and my feet felt good in my new shoes.
I walked until about 2 when I came to the little town of Gibsland LA. It was small and all there really was there was a gas station connected to a laundromat. I went into the laundromat and there was an outlet. I plugged in and was charging up. I sat there and ate some snacks I had received from the people that visited me the day before.
I sat there about 15 minutes when a man came in and asked if I was ok. He seemed to be the manager of the place and maybe didn't want me hanging out there. I told him yes and that I was just taking a break from the heat as I passed through. He said ok and then left. I wasn't sure if he was the manager but I had that feeling. Then about 20 minutes later he came in again and asked if I was doing laundry? So I told him I was going to. He said ok and left again. So I grabbed some quarters and threw my sleeping bag and some stuff in the wash. They didn't need to be washed but I didn't want to get kicked out so I figured I could clean them anyways. I used some shampoo I have packed (mini bottle) in the wash and washed them.
At around 4:30 I was ready to go and hoped the heat was cooling a bit. So I got my stuff out of the dryer and packed up to go. I headed out on the 80 towards a church I had routed about 7 miles west.
As I reached the end of town a car pulled off. It was 3 guys around my age and they asked if I was ok? I said yes and thanks for stopping. They asked if I needed money and I told them no and that I was ok. Then they ended up handing me $17 anyways. They said they would pray for me and said good luck.
As I left town the scenery was nice. The sun looked pretty cool behind the clouds and I took some cool pictures. Then I walked another couple hours. I got to the church along the 80 about 10 miles east of Minden LA. It was a good sized church and nothing was really around. Just bare country and forest really. It was nice.
I got there around 6:30 and found a perfect place to sleep. It was an overhang of a shed that had a concrete pad under it. There was also an outlet there right where I made my bed. I ended up gathering some wood and making a small fire. It was getting cool and thunder came in as the clouds rolled over me. I enjoyed the fire as I watched the sunset.
I put the fire out around 8 and I laid down. It was very peaceful as I was overlooking a green field backed by trees and then a pretty sunset. Very nice evening. The cool air felt good and the sound of thunder was awesome.
I ended up dealing with a bunch of beetles after dark. They kept getting into my long hair and when I felt it I would grab them under my hair and have to pull them out through the wad of hair I grabbed. It was pretty nasty and they would crawl on me about every 5-10 minutes. Even though im used to bugs and it's not that bad anymore, it was very annoying.
I fell asleep around 10:30 that night and slept pretty decent. It was a good day overall. I walked about 15 miles.
at 1:20 PM
I brushed my teeth and packed up. It was about 10am and I walked about a mile to a McDonald's that was near the 20. I wast sure yet what I was going to do that day so I just figured I would play it by ear depending on how I felt. Well after sitting there an hour I realized I was still pretty exhausted. I think the nights when I hardly sleep followed by hot days of walking, really takes a lot out of me. So I decided to take the day to let my mind relax and my body rest. After all I'm in no hurry and don't want to burn out.
So most of the day I sat there and caught up on my journals. I had a couple visitors that were passing through, driving from Texas to North Carolina. They stopped and bought me lunch and also brought me some supplies. That was really cool and it's always nice to have people around that have followed my travels.
I literally hardly moved all day. Even thought I was in a hard McDonald's chair, it was still relaxing. I needed the mental rest and to just not have to stress being tired from walking. It was good for me.
At around 10 I went back behind the dumpster of the McDonald's. It was thick grass and was soft. It was hidden too and a decent place. I laid there and passed out.
At about 3:30am the sprinklers turned on and completely blasted me and all my stuff. I scurried to gather my things and moved. I ended up going behind the dollar store next door. I was so tired. I laid right back down and fell asleep.
at 9:03 PM
I sat up and said hi. I explained to him what I was doing there. Luckily it was a small town and I name dropped some of the people I met the night before. He knew the people I had met and I think that helped him to be ok with me sleeping there. He said he thought I was a dead body when he came around and saw me. He said it was no problem and walked back to the front.
I wanted to get up and leave since it wasn't really a good place to stay in the first place. I was EXHAUSTED! I didn't know how I was going to get through the day. I was so tired I couldn't even stand up without losing my balance. I didn't sleep well with the dog keeping me up most of the night.
I packed up and it was hard just to do that. I walked to the front and had to toss my pair of shoes. It was a sad thing for some reason, but I tossed them out and finally put on the new Asics that someone gave me in Mississippi. And man they were comfortable.
They man who woke me up came out to ask questions. He said he actually saw me a couple towns east the day before in Ruston. He gave me a couple waters and invited me in the office. He was the property manager. We sat in his office and talked about my journey. He really admired what I was doing. That was cool.
So after about 15 minutes I took off down the highway 80. I was so beat and was just looking for a place to get to where I could go back to sleep. I was barely able to keep my eyes open. I was literally just looking for a place hidden to pass out. Anywhere.
I walked about 4 miles. I found a driveway where there wasn't a mailbox. So I thought it was public and laid in some weeds behind a tree. I was in some weeds and laying on my jacket. I noticed a red truck pulled off in the driveway a couple times and wasn't sure why. Then about 30 minutes later I woke up hearing another car pull off. I looked up and it was actually the same truck. Then behind him a cop pulled off. The man in the truck said "there he is".
I didn't know what was going on but the cop walked up and asked for my license. I was pretty confused. He took it back to his car and got in. The truck took off. And I was so tired I laid back down. I kept thinking I was dreaming. But when I would open my eyes the cop was still there. Finally about 20 minutes later the cop came out, gave me my license and said sorry to bother you. He got in his car, spun his tires and took off down the road petal to the metal. I went back to sleep.
I slept for about 2 hours when I kept getting bit by aunts. It was getting to be too often and it was like the aunts were making their way to me. I got up and was still really tired and wore out. And now I had a headache from laying my head on the ground. I walked towards Arcadia. It was a few miles up and I wanted to find a church. So I toughed it out and walked til I came to a church east of Arcadia. It was such a good feeling to finally get there.
I laid on the side of the church on concrete between the building and a bush. Luckily it was cool weather and I was able to go to sleep. I fell asleep around 12 and slept til 6.
When I woke up I felt so much better. I didn't know if I would stay there or get to Arcadia. I ended up getting up and heading to town. I came up to a laundromat. I went in and plugged my stuff in to charge. After charging them I went to a church in town. It was a good spot to sleep and was well hidden. I was still tired so I went to bed around 10.
at 8:12 PM