Yesterday, when the Very Nice Lady dropped me off, it was at a place called Eddie’s Place. I sat in the far corner, by the only available outlet, so I could charge my phone and stuff. Had a cheese omelette, and when I asked for my bill, my waitress said, “You’re good.” Such kindness brings tears to my eyes. They didn’t charge me for breakfast. My cart was even outside, but still I guess they saw it, asked questions, and gave me my breakfast. That was a nice thing.
I got more and more tired as I trudged through towns, the town of Wyoming for one. Then it started to go uphill. Not the day, the terrain. UP, UP, UP. I plotted a route feeling like a damned Donner Party member, blindly hoping I chose I decent route. I came, around 5 PM, to a lot for sale, lots of grass, trees at the back. I was exhausted so I wheeled Panda back fairly far, up a single track road that led nowhere, and pulled out my sleeping bag and air mattress.
Hoped to avoid detection, as there were houses that backed up to the piece of woods, high on a hill, that I was attempting to hide in. Didn’t work, I could see a man in a striped shirt looking at me through binoculars, then he yelled, “Who’s up there?”. I slipped my shoes on, walked down to meet him, and explained my situation. ”It’s private property,” he said. ”I know, I just am exhausted and needed a place to sleep. I’ll be gone at the crack of dawn.” He let me stay, asking me not to burn the woods down. I don’t make fires, I just crashed.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t really a level spot. I tried using my hammock, but got too cold. So I got back on the air mattress, which I kept slowly sliding off of. I ended up resting the foot of the mattress, and my OWN feet on the trunk of a tree, so I wouldn’t slide anymore.
While I was in the hammock, however, I got a phone call from the man I’m so in love with. I’m not yet very used to a mummy bag, and when I recognized his special ringtone, I literally dove from the hammock, wriggled my hands free, lying on my stomach, and reached for my phone which was charging off my poor laptop. (I say poor because it drained it’s battery.)
Anyway, in the morning, I checked my phone’s weather report and it said 32 degrees. I stayed warm in my bag (when not in hammock). So that was nice. Freezing temperatures and toasty toes. It’s hard, when it’s that cold, to unzip the bag and get up, but I was ready to hit the road. I went to sleep at like 7:00 at night, waking on and off when the phone made a noise or I slipped off the air mattress.
The road I had to walk in the morning was called Mountain Road. They weren’t kidding when they named it. I cussed it mile by mile, it was INCREDIBLY steep. ”Who the HELL would live on this??!!”
I realized my watch was missing off my “dashboard” on Panda. I parked it and walked back a bit, but wasn’t going to backtrack on THAT hill, so I’m now out a watch. Only matters because it was a gift from my daughter a few years ago, and when I want to know what time it is, I’ll have to turn the phone on.
Anyway, after sweating and cussing and thinking that I HAD to be at the top at every apparent summit, the road would turn and as I saw what was ahead, it was invariably another steep incline. “If I keep going uphill I’ll be at the damned MOON!” (or I’ll be a DEAD Moon!) Made a couple wrong turns, the GPS gives screwy directions and the street names don’t always match, or it doesn’t know right where I am. Eventually I came to a 5 way corner, and luckily a kind man asked if I needed help. I just said I was lost, and did this road have any place to eat on it? At an intersection like that, placing me at the wrong location makes a southwest turn an incorrect turn.
The road leveled off finally, just mild undulations, nothing that put me too out of breath. I finally came to a town called Dallas. And to a post office, so I mailed my first sleeping bag back to a friend in Cody to put into storage for me.
And here I am, finally charging my computer, iPod and phone at some deli. I had only a power bar for breakfast, and some water. I’m now along a fairly busy highway so I can refill my water, charge my electronics, etc. Just had a nice Swiss on Rye and a couple Heineys. I deserve them.
This has to be short because I need the computer power to charge my phone. I don’t see anything on the road ahead but trees.
This morning, when I posted the last entry, when I went to pay, the waitress said, “you’re good.”. They didn’t charge me for breakfast! That was nice, bout brought tears to my eyes.
But I spent the whole day meandering through Wyoming, KIngston, and a few other towns, trying to get north and west, and onto some road I could walk. Too many stop lights and backtracks. ONly managed about 12 miles, and it took all day.
Hiding on probably private property behind some houses north of Edwardsville, PA, have to walk a road called Mountain Road tomorrow… sounds like it’ll have hills. I haven’t gotten adequate sleep the last 3 nights, despite a nice hotel and a nice lady’s house to sleep in. I’m in my new bag tonight, I hope I’m warm. When it starts to get dark, I may take a couple sleeping pills to assure sound sleep, get up early, eat whatever’s in my pack, and hit the road.
All for now.
I left off yesterday waiting for my FedEx package. Around 12:30 or so the front desk phoned my room and told me the package had arrived. (The very nice Ramada employees let me get a late checkout so I could hang around my room and wait for it.) It was a big box, and the down sleeping bag was loosely packed in a big mesh bag. After looking it over I had the oh-so-fun task of rolling it up into a stuff sack. It does roll up a bit smaller than my synthetic bag. So currently I am traveling with two sleeping bags until I find a mailing facility to ship bag #1 back to Cody for storage.
Anyway, when I left the hotel, I went on a road towards a dam, that headed north, then another road that curved East a bit but essentially went Northwest. The whole day I didn’t pass a business until near the very end, just water, the damn, waterfalls, an occasional house, and a lot of state game land. It was around 5 PM when I came to a crossroad and checked the GPS for a place to eat before I looked for a place to camp. It indicated I was just a couple miles short of a restaurant called Two G’s. Turned out to be an odd little place in a strip mall, but the parking lot was jammed. It was a very lively bar, every seat around the bar was filled, prizes were being handed out for something, there were chicken wings (apparently a contest) on a table. I had to say excuse me several times as I wheeled Panda into a side room and sat down, tired from about 14 or 15 miles of steady walking. People got curious and came over and started asking me about my trip. I had my picture made with some, handed out cards to some.
In the bar, a man in an electric wheelchair rolled over and talked to me. I told him I’d had to walk with a cane or crutches for 10 years about, obviously nothing as severe as what he had, but he was very open and discussed why he was in a chair, and he asked questions about my trip. I gave him one of my cards as well. Several other people came over and asked about my stroller or trip and everyone was extremely friendly (save one drunk who pinched my ass).
Turned out one nice man covered my bill, drinks and all. A very nice, very pretty lady with a strong Jersey accent sat and talked to me a while (asked me not to use her name) and ended up inviting me to her beautiful home for the night. She called her husband to bring their pick up so they could load my stroller in it, which he did. Her hospitality was unbelievable. I met her daughter as well, who asked, with her boyfriend, a few questions about my walk as well. Nice girl, just as pretty as her Mom. The nice woman gave me a set of cute pajamas to wear while I washed clothes. Her husband gave me a highly reflective, neon yellow rain suit, still folded in the package, should I encounter more rain. I sat and talked to her and her husband for a while until I retired into a bedroom. Unfortunately I didn’t sleep well, I don’t know why. I even went down and got a sleeping pill and finally got a bit of sleep, but inadequate for the amount of walking I’d done. Anyway, in the morning I packed up, filled my Camelbak, had a cup of Joe, and she insisted on driving me to a location a few miles West of the restaurant, to a diner near Wilkes-Barre, which is where I am. She had a very beautiful home, exquisitely decorated, on twenty acres. Panda “slept” on their wraparound porch in case of rain. It was nice to get all my clothes washed and have a nice hot shower, extremely gracious and generous people to visit with, and a little more restoration in my faith in humanity. The kindness of people has overwhelmed me.
This area’s full of hills, so sometimes the going is slow, but I rest when I need it, and the hills are getting easier. So that’s good. My feet are doing way better with the Reeboks and the new sock system.
I did want to mention again the OUTSTANDING customer service I got from the Marmot Company. The bag they sent was 600 fill goose down, and I looked it up, it retails for over $225. They went out of their way to get it delivered to me at the hotel at the last minute, and indeed it arrived right on time. To Brian and Angie my very deepest thanks for raising the bar. They didn’t need to do that, they could have said, too bad, that’s the bag you bought, but instead they simply sent me a brand new sleeping bag, hand picked for my excursion. I must say I am impressed.
I left off the last entry at dark. An employee at the restaurant suggested a place very nearby to camp. The skies finally looked clear, so I was able to sleep in a clearing in the woods without setting up my tent.
In the morning I returned the The Jubilee for breakfast. The sky lightened with dawn but never got bright. At best it was a weak yellow grey. By the time I finished my breakfast, it was drizzling lightly. I sprayed waterproofer on my pack cover and on my fleece sweatshirt and shoes, and Buff bandana which I put on to cover my hair, which was invariably destined to look like crap in the damp weather.
I walked along the 940, intermittent drizzle, light rain and just cloudiness persisted all afternoon. I stayed wet all day. I put a tarp between my pack cover and the packs, for extra protection against the rain. Despite the rain and a very sore back, I managed to keep my spirits up.
Around 4 PM I came upon an Econolodge on the outskirts of White Haven, the town I am expecting the package in. More rain, wind and cold was expected for the evening, so, after begging the clerk to cut me a break on the price (he knocked off 10%), I checked in.
The room is actually three rooms, a big living room with a TV, couch, coffee table, a small dining area, a full kitchen with a stove and refrigerator and microwave, and a bedroom with 2 closets and anoter TV. It’s bigger than my last apartment.
That’s where, unfortunately, the pleasant surprise ended. First, there was no ramp to the room, the clerk had to come out and lift the front end of Panda while I lifted the back, so we managed to get the heavy conveyance up the 5 of so wooden steps to the walk that led to the rooms. The “food” in the vending machine was as stale as an over-told joke.
Anyway, I left in the morning at 11, and headed to White Haven’s post office, to see if my package arrived. The post office said, no it, hadn’t come, they get one mail delivery to the station in the morning. I sent the customer service guy an email, then decided to call the Marmot company. Turns out they sent it FedEx so the post office rejected it, because it didn’t have postage. The tracking number indicated it arrived around 1 PM, and was now back at the FedEx facility in Pittstown (wherever that is).
Cold, irritated, tired from inadequate sleep, I called Fed Ex back and the best they could do was to send it Monday, and the postman at the post office there said I’d have to intercept it, because they’d reject it again. That would entail hanging around White Haven all day Monday, and also TILL Monday. Not something I wanted to do.
A friend got me a hotel back in Lake Harmony for the night, so I could figure out what to do. I debated calling my sister to pick me up and bring me back Monday morning, but I *really* didn’t want to put that on her.
When I got to the hotel, I called Marmot company again, because only the shipper can re-route a package. The lady I was dealing with, Angie, was extremely helpful. She scrambled to get a call in to FedEx and have the package delivered today, Saturday, to the hotel I am staying at. They called the hotel, they called FedEx, and according to the tracking number, it’s on the truck. So I managed to avoid a 3 day wait in a small town. And according to Angie, the sleeping bag is down. The bag it’s replacing is synthetic down, and a nice bag, but not warm enough,. Good thing, because it was downright cold yesterday. Usually I get warm when I walk, and stop along the road to take off my fleece pullover. Yesterday I stopped and added a layer, and a hat. Supposed to be cold again tonight, but I think I’ll be warm.
Last night I went down the really nice lounge off this hotel. Even had a fire. Had a few beers, did one drawing (which earned me a beer) and stayed up too late talking to the cook and waitress.
And here I sit, waiting for the FedEx delivery, before I head out of here. Think I may go north a ways, then West again. Trying to avoid as many mountains as I can, but I’m surely going to hit some.
After an extended stay at my sister’s house in East Stroudsburg, partly due to rain, I finally hit the pavement again today. Doona insisted on driving me to Tannersville and we used the parking lot of a big outlet mall as the “staging” area while I assembled Pandemonium again. Attaching the packs, bungeeing stuff down, etc. Gave my dear sister a couple hugs and kisses and thanked her for her hospitality, made a wrong turn, bought a couple red Bulls and headed in the right direction.
The road climbed. And climbed. Took me forever because I kept stopping to rest.
When I finally reached the summit, I checked my GPS and it said I’d climbed 1000 feet in four miles. Between all my rest stops, I kept having to duck behind bushes and “rest”.. I don’t think I got my bladder infection from week one knocked out. So, I am BACK on the damned antibiotics. >>sigh<< Just lucky I have them with me. Don’t need to wait for a doctor, find a drug store, etc. My doctor, Dr. Robert White from Cody, is a good one.
Anyway, one one of my “rest stops” in the woods, I wanted to see my written directions, to make sure I didn’t miss any turns. The stinking notepad had worked it’s way to the bottom of my pack, so I had to pull about everything out. I tried to lighten my load, but I can’t figure what else to leave out. The mandolin was obvious, some of the clothes were (although I bought 2 tank tops and more socks this week) but everything else has a purpose, or a “just-in-case” purpose. Repair stuff, emergency stuff, first aid stuff, etc.
Yesterday I finally called the Marmot company’s customer service number. The bag I got was made specifically for Sierra Trading Post. So the “regular” customer service lady transferred me to another person. His name was Brian. Anyway, I explained that I was walking coast to coast and that I’d bought the 15 degree rated bag on another walker’s recommendation. Not that bag specifically, but that style, a mummy bag. Anyway, I told him I was quite disappointed in the bag, because I have been cold no matter WHAT the weather, in that bag. And I’m a hot natured person, that’s why I plan to walk right under the Canadian border, to avoid the heat of the midwest. He asked me several questions, did I use a tent? Did I sleep in clothes? Did I have a pad under the bag? Yes to all three . Even in 50 degree weather at night, I was cold. I thought the bag would be warm to fifteen degrees. He asked where he could send a new bag to. (a new bag??) I said to give me a few and I’d see if I could figure it out. I emailed him back after a bit, after choosing White Haven, a town 37 miles from my sisters. Reasonable walking distance for a couple days. I called the post office there and said I’d be receiving a package general delivery and gave my name. I’ll mail my current sleeping bag back to Cody, my friend has a key to my store rooms for stuff like this, he can stash it for me. The customer service man described the replacement bag he was sending (which is really far out customer service so far!) and said it would be warmer than the one I had, and smaller, which would make it warmer as well. I emailed him back and asked what MADE it warmer, it sounded a good deal like the sleeping bag I currently have.
Brian emailed me back to confirm and said he might “send something special”. Whatever that means. As long as it’s warmer. I know we’re heading into Summer, but I’m also heading into the Rockies, and through Glacier Park, and it’s cold tonight even. I’d rather have too much bag, than not enough, which is what I currently have. So I hope Brian follows through and sends me something warmer. I told him originally, that I had posted the brand of bag, and had been complaining about it in my blog, that a lot of people read, so they were getting bad “press” so to speak. I also said good customer service would get rave reviews, and reach all the people reading this as well. I hope to be able to post a glowing recommendation for the Marmot company on Friday. Let’s see what comes in the mail.
I’ve only done ten miles today but am unusually tired. I don’t think I slept well last night, I had a bad night and cried quite a bit (just a broken-heart-related issue) which also makes me tired. I am currently at a place called Van Gilder’s Jubilee in Pocono Pines, PA, having dinner and a couple Heinekens. I’m about to finish up and look for the first available place to “hide” in the woods and set up tent (if rain is predicted, which it probably is) and hit the hay. Want to make good milage tomorrow, and get to or close to White Haven. Then I guess I’ll just hang around the town till my package arrives. Like a kid at Christmas, I am anxious to see what it will be. As long as it’s warmer, it won’t matter if it’s pink with smiley faces on it.
Closing here, it’s getting dark. Lots of miles to accomplish tomorrow.
I am still at Doona’s house (my sister) in East Stroudsburg. Another cloudy, rainy day, another day to heal my feet, organize my gear, see what else I can leave behind to lighten my load. My sister kindly purchased me a new sketchbook, a larger one with perforated pages, so perhaps I can do a few drawings in bars and restaurants and make a few bucks. She also bought me some nice drawing pencils and a few erasers. I’m not often in a bar to draw, but it’s a good back-up plan if I get hurting for money… worked in Cody. I draw people without them knowing, and present them with a portrait of themselves. Nine times out of ten, the recipient offers a “tip”. In Wyoming, when I did this nightly for income, I received everything from a thank you, a beer, dinner, etc., up to $200. So hopefully I can supplement my funds by doing a few portraits.
When I was dressing yesterday morning, I found another big blister on my right foot. I didn’t even know it was there. I decided, much as I hated to spend the money, that I’d better try different shoes. Doona took me to a local mall and I went into an athletic shoe store, where a nice young man helped me choose a pair of Reeboks. I was limited by my limited funds, so, for the money, he said this was the pair that would be best suited to what I was doing. He also sold me a pair of nicely padded insoles for $20, but he said they’d make a difference since walking on asphalt all day requires padding. He explained what to do to help prevent blisters in the future I should wear thin socks under my Thorlos, like “trouser socks” or knee-high panty hose type. The reason was that as one walks, and their feet sweat, their feet shrink from sweat loss (I thought they swelled, I was always told to buy shoes late in the day when feet are the most swollen and biggest to assure a comfortable fit). The thin socks stay snugger than cotton or wool, which get moist with sweat (I know, it’s gross, but so are blisters!) and they keep the now looser socks and shoes from slipping.. and friction from rubbing causes blisters. So, hopefully, from here on out I’ll have happier feet. I’ve always worn the brand and style of boots I’ve been wearing, for hiking, for walking, for casual use. So needless to say I was confused and unpleasantly surprised to get so many blisters. I’ll wear the new shoes around a bit today to break them in, and alternate with my Timberlands for a couple days till I feel confident enough to wear them for a full day. I hope it was money well spent. They are lightweight and a lot softer and flexible than my leather hikers.
(What I left out) : In my April 18th post, I said I was at a bar and was going to wheel Pandemonium into the woods to sleep. I was at a place called Luigi’s Rancho along Route 46 in Belvidere, NJ. Because I wasn’t walking anymore that night, and having gotten permission to camp behind the establishment, I lingered a bit and had a few beers and a light supper. Several employees and even a couple guests learned what I was doing (walking sea to sea). A few came over to ask me questions; some guests even wished me well as they departed. I paid my check at the bar, and a nice woman, a waitress I believe, asked where I was going to sleep. I told her the owner of the bar had given me permission to camp right behind it, as it was leased land, (by him) and private, and he said it was unlikely police would bother me. Larissa, the woman who asked, told me I was NOT doing that, I was, instead, staying with her. She explained that she lived just a few miles up the road and I could stay with her. She had not been my waitress, this interaction was the first time I’d even seen her. Talk about trust and generosity! She instructed me to wait outside, as they were closing up and she was getting off, and she’d drive me. I did just that, and in just a couple minutes, she came out and we loaded Panda into her Jeep Compass and drove to her nice home. She introduced me to her adorable 11 year old daughter and her handsome 19 year old son. She asked what I slept in, and the answer is, usually my clothes, I just change in the morning. I don’t have the space for the luxury of pajamas. She gave me a set of sweats, a big warm blanket and pillow, a comfortable couch to sleep on, and the remote for a 72″ flat-screen TV to watch. Unexpected treat. I slept very well, once their psycho kitty settled down. Their black cat named Poe ran back and forth in the living room I was in, repeatedly, and occasionally attacked me in play. In the morning I grabbed a quick shower and she drove me to the Belvidere diner, about a half mile East of Luigi’s, and her lovely daughter got to climb out of the back of the car and get back in the front seat. Sweet kid. I thanked Larissa profusely, her generosity and kindness was amazing… I was a complete stranger and she opened her home to me without asking questions. That’s trust. So, thank you again Larissa. What a kind, kind woman. I wish her well.
I had a VERY delicious cheese omelette and fixings at the Belvidere diner. Just happened to be the special for Thursday, so the breakfast plate was a mere $2.49. I didn’t know that was still POSSIBLE to have a meal that cheap anymore.
From there I continued walking West on Route 46. After a couple hairy highway interchanges, where Interstate 80 crosses 46 and such, the highway divided and I followed my GPS directions to the town of Columbia, where a pedestrian bridge spans the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. I got turned around a bit, as a lot of roads seemed to converge in one spot, going all different directions. I saw a woman in her yard so I asked her how to get to the bridge. I was just a couple blocks away. She said the area was a “Bermuda Triangle” and everyone got lost around there.
I posted a couple pictures here of the pedestrian bridge. It was a narrow, patina green walkway into Pennsylvania. I was disappointed that there wasn’t a “Welcome to Pennsylvania” because I wanted to set up my tripod and take my photo by it. First state I entered on foot after all.
From the bridge, I followed a road called 611 which became a bit scary. I had to walk along a stretch of road with multiple curves and no shoulder. Along the Eastbound side were dense trees and their debris, along the Westbound side was a concrete wall skirted by an old stone wall. The “shoulder” I walked along was just a few inches wide, so I had to walk in the road some. Makes me very nervous especially when the road is curvy, as cars don’t have a lot of warning that there’s a pedestrian on the roadway. Of course, some idiots in a red car, going the other way, yelled, “Get off the road!” Well, put in some sidewalks or a shoulder!
I was very tired, and as I said in my previous post, feeling heartsick, so when I got to the town of Delaware Water Gap, my sister met me at a diner there, and took me to her place, a couple miles away, which is where I still am. And that’s where my other post picked up.
And here I am.
* * * * *
Since I am not walking today, nor did yesterday, I am recording my thoughts and such, which I usually don’t have time, or computer battery life, to do. Some of the details I write I write because I don’t want to forget them. I hope to put all this in a book one day, so this is just a day-to-day account and doesn’t have a lot of the feelings and emotions and revelations and things I’ve learned and all, that are in my head. Largely I use this to keep track of my journey, and for the people who enjoy following me, to see where I am and where I’ve been.
Sometimes, when I’m walking along, it hits me: I’m walking across the United States. Something I’ve dreamt of doing for over a decade, maybe two. Just realizing that gives me a boost. I get caught up in my thoughts, distracted by pain when my feet hurt, whatever, and I lose sight of the “big picture”. Some people think I’m downright nuts for doing this, some people think it’s pretty cool. I’m with the latter bunch. I consider myself very lucky to have the opportunity to do this, to have enough financial support to pull it off, to have gotten my legs back, to have planned it enough to, so far, have it work okay. I get thinking about other stuff, like the man I miss so much, what’s going on with my kids, money issues, stuff I wish I had or didn’t have with me, my feet, etc., and I forget to really live in the moment and look around and grasp what I am doing. Most likely, this is a once in a lifetime experience, and I want to experience every inch of asphalt I travel upon, all the sights, all the plants, all the people, homes, signs, businesses, everything I see. I want to take it all in. I can’t photograph everything I see, a lot of it is retained in my head, the beautiful homes of Cape May County, the geese along the Raritan River and the lakes and streams I’ve passed, the dense woods, the acres of farmland in South New Jersey, all the flowering and blooming plants of early Spring.
I had some bad experiences in Cody with false rumors about me. And I think everyone, at one time or another, whether though personal experiences or just watching the news, loses a little faith in humanity or in the general goodness of people. I had, myself, somewhat, but having read other cross-country walkers’ blogs, I knew it was out there. I needed to experience it first hand. And, so far, I have. I have been moved to tears several times since I have commenced this venture. The random strangers who have helped me, the people I haven’t seen in years who took me in, met with me, gave me money (UNSOLICITED!), people who have simply pulled over to ask if I needed help, the police who checked on me or drove me to safety from shoulderless roads, my sister and her husband who have taken me in a few times to rest, my friend who bought me a hotel room, the manager of a restaurant who comped me a soda, the friends who have texted, called, commented on my blogs, cheered me on, the people who have waved, the strangers who I’ve met in stores, restaurants, bars, hotels, who have asked about my trip, and wished me well, prayed for me, asked for my card with this blog address on it, the people who gave me items to help me along the way, all the people who have supported me in whatever way they have, ALL of them have touched me, made me feel good, made me feel not alone, even when I’m on a long stretch or roadway by myself. I feel like I have a small crowd of people walking with me. And they are, in spirit. My “faith in humanity” is being restored, one mile at a time.
This trip is *more* than I thought it would be. I knew it would be work, there would be bad days, bad weather, blisters, hot weather, rain, mean people who honk, creeps, bug bites, possibly violent storms, stretches when I can’t find water, sore feet, possibly getting arrested for trespassing (when I sleep in woods I’m not supposed to be in), lost items, possible flat tires on the stroller, etc. But I didn’t know how much I’d generally enjoy it, how nice people would be, how well I am received everywhere I go, how much enthusiasm other people have for my adventure, how much interest there seems to be in what I’m doing, how much support I’d get, how much I’d learn about me, how strong I feel, inside, and physically, how emboldened I’d feel, and just how damned COOL this whole trip is. I literally am having the time of my life. I have done a lot to make this happen, but a lot of people can take credit for it too; all the people I mentioned above and I’m sure there will be more in the next 3000 miles. I can’t tell now if I will make it to Washington. My weird neurological disease might decide to return, I might get an injury that prevents me from walking, or an illness, a family emergency might call me away, whatever. But I feel accomplished to a certain extent, because I actually made a dream come true.
I have met so many people who have said, about one thing or another, “I wish I could”. I wonder, how badly do they really want it, if all it is is a wish that STAYS a wish? I know, for some people, it’s almost impossible for financial reasons to pull off such a venture, but only “almost”. If I have learned one thing, it’s that, if you want something bad enough, if you have a dream, if you wish you could,.. that, if you really sit down and “do the math”.. what you want might be attainable. This walk seemed like a huge undertaking, complicated, stressful, impractical. But I researched other peoples’ blogs, used my own experiences in camping, traveling, common sense, considered my own abilities; I studied maps, I read and planned and studied some more… and then I put all I learned aside, and said, “it’s just walking.” It’s a simple existence, walking, sleeping, eating. Combining both lines of thinking, I methodically planned it out, step by step, what I needed to bring, how to get to New jersey, and realized it was completely doable, and, well, now here I am. I would bet a lot of dreams people have can be accomplished if the person would sit down and write down, “What would I need to do to make it happen?” and actually look at it as more than just a pipe dream. Like Nike’s advertisement says: “JUST DO IT”. I’m DOING it.
Now, get off YOUR butt, and make YOUR dream happen. Just do it.
I walked into Pennsylvania, and just a couple miles short of her home, my sister retrieved me. Rain is expected for a few days, so, I’m hanging here till it blows over. I’m trying to use the time to prep things for the next leg of the journey, since I’ve been on the road I see things that I could do to make it go more smoothly. I added a buttonhole to my stroller cover to aid in securing it to the stroller, and put some “Liquid Stitch” along some spots that are fraying.
When my sister met me the other day for the impromptu picnic, I felt cold water running down my side, and realized that my Camelbak was leaking. Turned out the bite valve was missing. I looked all over the area we were stopped at, to no avail. I don’t know when or where I lost it. Could have been anywhere. I just noticed it then, when it started leaking. It’s kind of a specialty item, so it’s not something I could pick up at a local hardware or drug store. The water stayed in the pack okay until I bent over, then it would run out. Yesterday I didn’t even put the Camelbak on, I subsisted on bought drinks and water in my plastic Camelbak drinking bottle. But the single most important item I have with me on this trip IS my Camelbak pack, because it holds 100 ounces of water and a few emergency supplies, like pepper spray, a snake bite kit, a signal whistle, my wallet, emergency “space” blanket, my money, debit card, etc. I have already contended with 89 degree weather, making readily available water all that much more important. Today I went into Dunkelburger’s, a really nice sporting goods store here in Stroudsburg, and got a new bite valve. I keep my Camelbak at least more than halfway full all the time. Some convenience stores have crushed ice and water available in the Coke dispensers, which is nice on a hot day, but usually I just fill it up in a sink. I seldom drink water when I’m home in Cody, but when I am exercising like I am, I chug it down, even luke warm to warm (which I read is actually better for you than cold water). I do like to have a Red Bull or a cold soda, so I occasionally buy one, especially in the morning, when I dig the wake-up call of caffeine and cold fizzy bubbles.
I have been feeling really down the last couple days. I think it’s just a broken heart. I miss that cowboy I’m in love with an awful lot. He hasn’t called or texted. I did call him and talk to him, but I initiated it. People tell me what a fool I am for still loving him… but I don’t love a man because he loves me, I love him for who he is. I’ve also had people, well meaning though they may be, tell me, “Forget him! When you come back, you can find someone better.” which irritates me. Who says there *IS* someone better? I always want to ask, “Why don’t you find a ‘better’ husband/wife?” I think they’d be quite insulted. So am I. Other people may not see his attributes, but I do. He’s a creative, intelligent, peaceful, giving, honest, strong, hard-working, very sexy man. He’s a fine, fine person, and I’m sure a lot of women dig him, but i doubt he’ll find anyone who loves him as much as I do. I didn’t MEAN to fall in love, I saw a few guys, and tried to keep it “light” since I knew I was leaving town in March, it just didn’t work with this one. Hopefully, getting back on the road in a few days and trying to keep my mind on truly experiencing my adventure will help pass the time and soften the sharp edges of this rather unbearable knife in my heart.
Another thing that’s been on my mind (since I don’t have trail tales to report), is something a friend said to me a couple weeks back. I’m sure the lady meant well, and was trying to encourage me to “better” myself, but she recommended I “filter” my blog. ”Only publish things that would make your parents proud” she suggested. I gave that some thought. Well, not a lot, because I already know myself. Both my parents are dead, they died a year apart in 94 and 95. Neither parent made me particularly proud. What goes around, comes around, so they say. I was not at all close to my father, in fact disliked him quite a bit, so much so that when I got divorced and was being returned to my maiden name, I had it legally changed to Moon so I wouldn’t have to wear his name anymore. This friend advocated that I clean it up, class it up, refine the face I put up here.
I can’t do it. This is who I am, this is what happens to me, these are my thoughts, this is the language I use, this is the life I live. I am as real as they come. I don’t profess to being a “lady”, refined, feminine, cultured. I am a woman, I am a female, I am very down-to-Earth, honest, natural… I don’t attempt to impress anyone, .. what you see is what you get. I drink my beer from the bottle, I drink whisky, I cuss. I’m just me. This friend said I shouldn’t put embarrassing stuff in my blog. I don’t. If it embarrassed me, I wouldn’t write it. I also wouldn’t do it. So, my apologies to her (she reads this and will know I am referring to her) for disappointing you, but I live by my own standards and am comfortable in them. She was extremely generous to me and took me in, but perhaps I am not what she expected, or liked, but this is who I am. It might be a weird thing to say, but I am one of the nicest people I know. I try to be as kind as possible, I wouldn’t hurt a soul, I try to help people when I can, I’m honest to a fault, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my friends. I might be a little rough around the edges (by her standards, anyway) and unpolished, but this is me, who I am, how I am. I have an adequate number of people who like me just the way I am, and for the very first time in my life, I am learning to like who I am too. I’ve made mistakes, don’t we all, and there are also people who dislike me since I am kind of the square peg in a city of round holes, so to speak. I guess some people can’t handle a bit of diversity, or someone who’s not a rubber stamp of everyone else.
I’m not being disrespectful to this friend, I’m just being honest. I yam what I yam. If she doesn’t like the blog, or if anyone doesn’t; if my language offends, my activities irk her, if I embarrass her, I kindly recommend she no longer read it. I don’t write it to make friends, I don’t write it to impress, I don’t sugar coat it… it’s just an account of my activities and whereabouts and thoughts.. and it’s all real.
Sign and plaque, on the Pennsylvania sign, telling about the pedestrian bridge I’d just crossed.
The pedestrian bridge between Columbia, New Jersey and Portland, Pennsylvania. I was disappointed there was no “welcome to Pennsylvania” sign, so I quietly walked in and headed West.
This picture was taken from the pedestrian bridge that spans the Delaware River between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, looking North up the Delaware. I crossed the river on the Columbia-Portland Pedestrian bridge.
A small waterfall down the rocks that line Rt. 46. Having lived in the West so many years, I forgot how WET New Jersey is. I’ve seen so many rivers, streams, marshes, and ponds in this state.
Along Route 46 Westbound, huge rocks line the North side of the highway. In a few places are small waterfalls and heavily moss covered rocks. Here, a small flowering plant grows amongst the huge rock formations.
I liked this old stone pillar and the wrought iron fencing. Photo taken along Route 46, possibly in Morris County.
I just thought this was a neat old barn. Abandoned and empty now, but still a cool building.
I had to push Panda over this narrow board so I could camp in the woods. To do so I had to keep the front wheel on the board, and hold the back end of the 3-wheeled stroller up, and balance myself while doing it as well. Got it successfully into the woods behind a municipal park in Southampton, NJ. I waited till the little leaguers cleared out, and slipped in to the woods for the night.
I don’t know how old this sign is, but it advertises Frank Sinatra performing live. Somewhere on the 206 in South New Jersey. Must have been before ol’ blue eyes got big.
Another creation by the auto repair place. Pretty good Lady Liberty from metal scraps and spare parts. Wonder if she’s got some Japanese or German parts…
Great sign. South Jersey somewhere. I’m a vegetarian, but I guess for meat-eaters, what more could you ask for?