Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Days 120, 121

Saturday, Sunday  02/25, 26/12  Days 120, 121  58 miles 3,737
Sat. had my thumb out all day in town as I was advised not to get caught out side of town when it started getting dark. Only think I got was a sun burn and a motel room with a lot of issues.
Sunday morning head north hoping to find a church I was told about.  Came across Second Presbyterian Church and it was one of those I sure glad I did churches.  Real good Sunday school class and sermon.  The men all had suit and ties and they still welcomed me with kindness and interest. Also got a generous donation from Ken for the kids.  Got an invitation from Sonny and Patsy Peaster and had a scrumptious lunch with them and their attorney son, Rich. (Ham, grits, scrambled eggs, and biscuits:)  Really enjoyed these people.  Sonny is 75 years old and a retired farmer who still spends a lot time at the farm.  He gives me a ride 56 miles to Greenwood to insure I don't end up in an undesirable location.  This is one kind and wise man who I would try to hang out with if I ever had the chance. Walk and try to get ride until about 5 when I find a decent place to roll my bed roll out.  Very nice Sunday.  First picture is of Sonny and Patsy.  Second is from my bed roll just before the lights went out.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Days 117, 118, 119

Wed., Thurs., Fri.  02/22,23,24/12  Days 117, 118, 119  103 miles 3,680 total
Wed. I had camp grounds all to my self and decided to stay an extra day.  Wrote until my lap top battery gave out.  Thursday:  Try to get a ride for about three hours when a park services officer stops to to tell me I can't hitchhike on the Trace Parkway.  On Tues. I had talked to two rangers and told them what I was doing and they said nothing about no hitchhiking.  Officer Scott was just doing his job, but it caused me a real problem.  I have close to 400 miles left on my jaunt up the Trace and now I can't hitchhike.  He takes me to the next exit.  I know he felt bad, he gave me his last $5 for the kids and assures me he is going to buy my book off this web site.  Hwy. 27 turns out to be a nightmare.  No shoulder to walk on and I try till almost dark to get a ride.  Give up and roll out bed roll by old church / cemetery.  It was kind of funny as someone a few days earlier told me if I wanted a place to camp where no one would bother me, camp by a cemetery.  Friday, after a few hours, John picks me up and takes me to Vicksburg.  He drives me around trying to find a affordable place to stay to no avail.  He stops at a store and I get some supplies and he drops me off at the north end of town.  John is a retired truck driver and he slips $20 in pocket for the kids.  Walk a few miles out of town before Monty a very nice ag. guy from La. gives me a ride to Yahoo City, Ms. I am beat, dirty, batteries dead, and decide to take advantage of a gift from my good friend and former boss, Pat Dolan, and get a room and write this blog.  First and second picture are outside and inside of a Methidist Church build at Rocky Springs in 1837.  Third is of a grave marker for a Mr. Harding... 1780 / 1865.

Days 115, 116

Monday, Tuesday  2/19, 20/12  Days 115, 116  60 Miles  3,577 total
Monday I hung out in Vidalia waiting for Natchez paper to call, they never did.  Tuesday head for the Natchez Trace.  Before I even get to the bridge that crosses the Mississippi Austin offers me a ride and ends up taking me 14 miles up the Trace and showing me a lot of very interesting historical sites along the way.  Walk for a few miles up the Trace to a rest stop.  Was trying to get a ride when a lady who had parked her van at the rest stop while she road her bike 47 miles, came up to me to see what I was up to.  Janice is a 71 year old lady from New Orleans and she ended up taking me all the way to Rocky Springs which ended up being close to 80 miles out of her way.  Totally amazing.  There is so much to tell about Austin and Janice, hope you get book 2 to read about them.  Camp at Rocky Springs for the night where I met Brenda, a retired school teacher, and Susan a retired judge, who had stopped to camp on their way to Texas.  If you are like me and do not know what the Natchez Trace is: It is a 444 mile parkway that runs from Natchez, Ms. to Nashville.  It was a trail used by people who floated their goods down the Mississippi and then walked or road horses back to their homes in the north.  Very heavily used from 1785 to 1820 when the paddle wheelers changed everything.  First pic is of Austin at a very famous slave trading site and second is of the amazing Janice from New Orleans.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 114

Sunday  02/19/12  Day 114
First and probably last time I walk across a mile long bridge, over the Mississippi, to go to church.  Half way across a policeman pulls up to see if I am OK.  Someone had called the PD to say there was a man who looked like he was going to jump off the bridge.  When I assured him that I was not a jumper he offered me a ride and ended up taking me to the historical part of Natchez.  I sure am getting a lot of rides from the police on this journey.  Walk around really enjoying this very historic little city.  Architecture is amazing.  Finally decide to go to the The First Presbyterian Church which was established over 200 years ago.  Man and wife pastors with predominately older congregation and 90% of men had on coat and ties.  Felt a little out of place.  Several people greeted me and a few talked to me.  The history of this area is amazing.  First picture is of Kendrick Lewis of the Natchez PD.  Nice young man.  Second is of St. Mary Basilica and third is inside the Presbyterian Church. Notice the little doors on the pews.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 113

Saturday 02/18/12  Day 113
Storm came in like gang busters at 7AM.  After the wind slowed up I went into the office to dry out.  When a couple of the employees found out I had standing water inside my tent they made a phone call and then had me move to a FEMA travel trailer they use as a rental.  What a nice thing for them to do.  Went from swimming to a nice dry place.  Thank you Lord. Explore Natchez tomorrow.  Second pic is of a old steamer that has be converted into a casino.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 112

Friday  02/17/12  Day 112  35 miles  3,517 total
I was packing up when two men pull up to check out the river for fishing this weekend.  We end up talking and they end up offering me a ride to Ferriday, where I have an appt. for interview.  JJ and Shawn are working on a construction project only one block from the newspaper.  Wow!!!  After the interview I stop for something to eat and had my first ever sweet potato casserole.  It was OK.  Walk to the outskirts of town and the road really narrows so try getting a ride.  After about 30 minutes two teenage girls give me a ride right to the front door of the rv park I am staying at in Vidalia, La.  Another Wow!!!  Get a much welcomed hot shower and wash my clothes and go for a long walk on the Mississippi River.  I can't believe how big the barges are here.  The Red Neck TV Show is hosting a benefit for disabled kids and wounded vets at this park, so I hang out there for the evening.  Had my first ever gumbo and I loved it.  Two girls are Jasmine and Damisha, very nice girls who gave me a ride.  Bridge from Vidalia, La. to Natchez, Ms.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Days 109 to 111

Tues., Wed., Thurs.  02/14-16/12  Days 109 to 111  50 miles 3,482 total
It is not raining and I head out from my nice dry motel.  Don't have to wait long before a man who didn't want to give me his name takes me to Jena.  As I was walking two ladies stop and give me some money.  Couple hours later a man does the same.  Then a really nice lady named Rachel and her daughter Lily, give me some more money.  I didn't have my thumb out or anything else.  These people just wanted to help me and were real happy when I told them it all goes to the kids.  Got a great ride from a man named Tony.  He took me to a Corp. of Engineers boat ramp facility, near Archie, that was perfect for me to camp.  Got hammered with a major thunder, lightning and rain storm Wed. nite.  Everything got wet.  When I got there Tues. I text my pastor to let him know where I was at and he, tongue in cheek, text me back to watch out for snakes and alligators.  After I set up I walked to a gas station about a half mile away and when they found out where I was camping they told me to be careful, because that river is full of alligators. As must I looked for them, I never found any. Head toward Mississippi tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 108

Monday 02/13/12  Day 108  40 miles 3,432 total
Pastor Steve dropped me off at the Natchitoches Times and Andrew did a real nice interview.  Walk through town and get on the out skirts (about three miles from paper) and it is raining pretty hard when Robert takes pity on me.  Robert is a college student who said he couldn't stand seeing anyone out in this weather.  Robert ends up taking me all the way to Winfield, which ends up being about 50 miles out of his way.  He drops me off at Jesus Is The Way RV Park which is about two miles out of Winfield.  I know this is the place for me and Robert takes off.  I ring the buzzer and the lady tells me no go on a tent.  Rest rooms are down and tent area is under water.  It is really raining hard as I walk back into Winfield.  By the time I get there I am one soaked stray dog.  Come to a motel and break down and get the first motel room in over two months.  I needed it and thanked God it was there.  Two more pictures of down town Natchitoches as I am running into difficulties in downloading pics. from cell phone.  Natchitoches is the oldest town in the Louisiana Purchase.  17--?/

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 107

Sunday  02/12/12  Day 107  2 miles 3,392 total
Leave Acorn Hill RV Park and start walking east, looking for a church.  Walk about two miles when I come to a sign that says, Friendship Church of the Nazarene, 1/4 mile. I am a few miles from Robeline, La. and decide to find this church and I am glad I did.  Got there in time to go to a very good Sunday school class lead by 81 year old Jerry.  Pastor Steve preached a very good sermon from 2 Chron.  One statement he made that stuck with me was, "Are we going to play church all of our lives or are we going to serve God?"  Pastor and his wife Jackie and their son Brayden take me to a very nice lunch in Natchitoches.  The plan was for them to drop me off after lunch, but when they found out I was going to hang around for a newspaper interview the next day, they had me come back out to the church and use one of the class rooms for the night.  It was great and they had a missionary couple from Sierra Leone speaking that evening with a pot luck afterwards.  I had been by myself for the last four days so it was wonderful being with these very nice people. They all were very kind to me.  Sure makes me miss my church though.  First pic is of my little tent at Acorn Hill and second is of downtown Natchitoches.   

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Days 103 to 106

Wednesday to Saturday 02/08-11/12   32 miles 3,383 total
Had a very nice time having breakfast and coffee with pastor Larry and his wife, Kelly.  Kelly and her friend Missy take me across the border to Louisiana.  I have been in Texas for two months and although I really like the state of Texas, it has been all about some very special people that I was blessed with getting to know.  Will never forget them.  Kelly drops me off in Many, La.  I am in a bottle neck, but really luck out and Mary gives me a ride toward Leesville.  We stop to get some gas and end up picking up a couple heading that way.  Drop them off and Mary wants me to meet a 80 year old friend of hers that likes helping people.  Wasn't able to make that connection, but in the process Mary convinces me into going back to Many and heading east instead of south.  End up at Acorn Hill RV park and the owner lets me stay for free.  They have a heated laundry room and it becomes my office to write in book 2 and get what I have written sent off to Jeanne in Abilene for editing.  Mary is a very special person who has this huge heart for the homeless.  I was very lucky to meet her.  Find a church tomorrow and then keep heading east.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 102

Tuesday 02/06/12  Day 102  216 miles    3,135 total
Broke camp and said good bye to the coyotes and started walking east.  Went little over a mile and was setting by the side of the road eating a granola bar and watching a nice herd of yearling cattle.  About a hundred yards away a truck and trailer pull into the field these cattle were in and two cowboys unload their horses and go to check the cattle.  After a while I watched one of these cowboys rope a six hundred pound steer and put him on the ground to doctor him.  Blew me away.  I had worked with cattle as a  kid and for him to lay this big guy down with only the aid of his horse was impressive.  After watching these men work for close to hour they head back to their rig.  I needed to talk to these guys and met them at their truck.  Steve and Troy turned out to be the nicest guys.  We talked and they politely answered all my dumb questions and then they ended up giving me a ride into Chilton. They had another herd in a different location to work and invited me to me to meet them at a little cafe a few miles down the road for lunch.  I ended up getting a ride from Michelle and her son Russell.  Squeezed my cart into their rig and they took me all the way to Marlin.  It was nice to meet both of them.  I found out later that when I wasn't at the little cafe to meet Steve and Troy, they ordered a meal to go and went looking for me.  I felt real bad that I missed them. Was walking through Marlin  when a guy pulls up who had seen me and turn around a came back to offer me ride.  His name is Scott, but his friends call him Redwood. He is going to Hemphill, which is only a few miles from the Louisiana border.  What a great ride.  This man is a retired marine/army infantry vet who has did five tours in combat zone.  We get to Hemphill and the first thing he does is take me to the Hemphill BBQ and I had the best bbq sandwich I have ever had.  Big John was running the place and it was great and they wouldn't let Redwood pay for it, not because of me, but because of him and who he is.  Redwood left the waitress a $15 tip in return.  Redwood takes me to meet his friends who were at a shop rearranging ever thing to prepare for a big project they are going to be doing.  Redwood is the Sargent-of-arms for the Brotherhood of Bikers and James is the local President and Larry is the Chaplin and vp. I have so much to write about this group of people on how they treated me and what they do for kids, but this is a blog that has already gotten long.  You are going to have to get book 2 to read their story. Because of Larry I have a nice, very comfortable, bunkhouse to sleep in to night. Thank you to a great bunch of people I got to meet today. Pic. one, Troy, Angie, Larry, Transient, Dustin & Breanna, who are getting married this weekend, and James.  Pic. 2, twilight from my bed roll last night.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 101

Monday 02/06/12  Day 101  24 miles   3,135  Total
Had a very comfortable night last night.  Thank you, Raydean.  Walked abou three miles out of McGregor, beofre Jim and Carol gave me a ride to Eddy.  Very pleasant couple.  Walked for a few miles when a big dog decided he wanted a piece of me.  Thanks to a good friend that talked me into taking trekking poles, the pouch didn't get close.  About a mile after fido I came upon a clear plastic bag that had some groceries in it and a note that said, "God Bless You".  How cool is that?  Walked until dark and boths knees were griping so I rolled my bed roll out behind some bushes by a field.  I was low on food, so the care package was dinner.  Thank you, Lord.  Watch the moon behind white clouds and listen to the coyotes.  First pic. is a mural of the McGregor high school mascot.  Second is of two nice people who gave me a ride. Jim and Carol from Eddy, Texas

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 100

Sunday  02/05/12  Day 100   7 miles  3,111 total
What a great day of milestones and firsts.  It is hard for me to believe I have been out here for 100 days.  It has truly been amazing how God has taken care of me and let me meet some truly fascinating people. 
Firsts that happened today:  1. Went to a Methodist church.  2. Went to a church with a woman pastor.  3. Had a pastor not only introduce me to congregation, but had me tell them what I am doing.  4. Had a pastor send me an encouraging email after visiting their church.  5.  Have a pastor's husband go on the web site and donate to the ministry.  6. Have a Texas angel (Raydean) not only ask her daughter to give me a ride to McGregor, but insist on getting me a hotel room. (got to watch superbowl).7.  Have two women fight over who buys me lunch.(one is 79 and the other 90, 90 won),  I could go on and on about these people and their kindness to me and will in book 2.  Thank you, United Methodist Church of Crawford, Texas.  First pic. George stopped by to say hi.  Second picture is a few of the people I got to meet at church this morning.  l to r  Margie, Cindy, Jeff, Pastor Rebecca, Kathren (bought me lunch), Raybern, my angel, and Bryan, my friend and our waiter.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 97

Thursday  02/02/12  Day 97   zero miles
Not much to report except I am still in Crawford.  This park has such nice facilities for me to write that I am trying to catch up a little on the book 2 rewrite.  Was able to send out another $300 because of the generosity of Malinda, Jen, Emma, Roger, Pastor from Morgan, two young guys in Valley Mills and a young couple. Thank you all very much. First day that it is foggy since I started.  Didn't burn off until afternoon.  Pictures are in the RV park I am staying at.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 96

Wednesday  02/01/12  Day 96  32 miles  3,104 total
Pack up and head out of Meridian.  It is about a mile from my camp to the main highway.  Before I get there two United Pentecostal Preachers who are also brothers offer me a ride to Valley Mills.  Two really nice fellas and I made the mistake of not writing their names down.  They not only give me a ride, they give me a nice donation for the kids.  I have lunch at the Cowgirl Cafe in Valley Mills.  If my contacts don't call soon I will head south toward Crawford to avoid having to go through Waco. After a few hours I haven't received any calls so start walking toward Crawford.  I only walk about three miles, but it is up hill and I am beat.  With only about one hour left of day light a car pulls up behind me and it is Kathern and her daughter Bailey.  They had seen me earlier in the day and were concerned about me.  Can't fit my gear into their little car so Kathern calls her husband ask him to come and get me with his truck, which he does.  Doesn't sound like a big deal, but it really was for me.  I was running out of gas and places to camp were not there.  Roy is a very nice guy and he takes me to a RV park in Crawford. It is locked but we are able to get in and meet the chief of police at the same time.  Chief Eddie McCoy and Roy get me set up and I am very grateful to both of them.  Walk about a mile back into town to get something eat and by the time I get back to my tent I am to tired and sore to take a shower. Even though I am beat and have a head ache most of the day it has been a very good day. First picture is walking back into Crawford from RV park.  Second gives a idea of terrain of this part of Texas.  Hard to tell in the photo, but this is a small hill.  I call these type of hills, misery hills, because when you are already beat and you come to these guys and you are over weight both in body and the goofy little cart I am pulling they are tough.  Solution: Lose some of that weight.  Trivia question:  What is Crawford's claim to fame?  No cheating  by looking it up. email me if you know....  walking4kids@gmail.com

Day 95

Tuesday  01/31/12  Day 95  zero miles
I have decided to stay in Meridain for the day and head out tomorrow.  Jeanne, a good friend in the Anson/Ablilene area has looked at what I have written on book 2 and she sent me some excellent ideas to make it more interesting, so I am going to work on it and enjoy this neat little town.  I walk to the Meridian Tribune for an appointment with Simone (see mone).  This is one of the huge perks of leading the life I have chosen.... meeting real cool and interesting people and Simone is one of them.  She interviews me, which was great because she was really interested in what we are doing.  Then I got to interview her.  Book 2 will have a lot more about Simone, but hear are few things about her.... born in Nigeria, moved to home land of The Netherlands at 12, boy she met in Nigeria finds her 30 years later, he is a school teacher/coach in Meridian, Texas, they marry and she moves to America 1 1/2 years ago.  Speaks Dutch, French, German, Italian, and English and oh ya, she drives a 72 VW bug.  I probably won't meet any other people in Meridian, but that is OK, because I got to meet Simone.
First picture is of Meridian court house and second is of Simone.  She came out to take pictures of my tent and cart.  Notice the bug in the back ground.