Day 220

I finally get to get back on the road today. I ate as much free breakfast as I could eat and then headed outside. A woman was walking in and she stopped to talk. She lives close to the Pacific Crest Trail and does trail angel stuff sometimes for the hikers. I told her the biggest thing she could do for me was to help me raise awareness so she took my photo and made a post on Facebook about my cause. 
I had a pretty wide shoulder for the first part of the day. The highway is very busy at this part. I wasn’t paying any attention to the traffic though. Only enough for safety purposes but I was in my own little world on the shoulder. I saw a car pull up and it was a pretty woman who got out to give me some cold water and a few bucks. She gave me a hug when I told her about my sister. I told her thank you for being so nice and we went our separate ways. 
I got to a point where I had a choice to make. I could either stay on the busy highway or roll the dice and take this road that appeared to connect back with it later on. I took the chance. I wanted to have a little peace and it worked. This road called Pioneer Way was just beautiful. It turned to gravel but it was ok. I was able to listen to my radio and walk in the middle of the road without a care. 
I think I saw 1 car in 3 hours. It was heaven. I saw a bunch of cows and they all got up and ran up to me. It was strange. like they were waiting for something. Probably food. All I had to offer was a speech so I practiced speaking in front of them as if they were my audience. They seemed interested. It was fun. 
I got back to the main highway and there was a gravel road alongside it. I think it’s where the road once was and then they built the new road next to it. Perfect. I had my own road. I was loving today. After going about 16 miles, a car pulls up and it was Wendy and Steve. Wendy has been following me on Instagram and told me that she wanted to do something nice for me. She sure did. She brought a bunch of really good hiker food and $20. We talked for a while and I got some info on what was ahead. Very happy I got to meet her. 
A little ahead, the road I was on was washed out so I had to get over to the main road. it was complicated but I made it. Then I walked on the road for a while until the gravel road appeared again. I hated being on the main road. I was glad the gravel road came back. 
Not much farther was a huge lake. it was mostly dried up. I started looking for places to camp and realized that I could actually go down to where the lake bed is and camp on the soft sand. I found a great spot and that was that. A nice soft ground, some good stumps to sit on, and food that I didn’t have to make. Perfect day on the road!! 

Day 219

Today was the day that I had planned on going back to the walk. The weather was a little iffy but was manageable. I was over a week behind on my blog and had a few other errands that I needed to do. I made the choice to stay one more day. I walked across the street to a nicer hotel and asked nicely if I could use their business center. I have been sitting here for 3 hours catching up on my blog and I have also mapped out the remainder of my route on my map tool. Two very valuable things as far as piece of mind goes. I still need to run to the post office to ship back some clutter I’ve collected and I want to go to the sporting goods store too. I am not going to get anything but I just want to go. I could definitely use another sleeping pad but since I am so close to finishing I will just tolerate it and save the money for something else. I feel so much better know that I got these things done.


So tomorrow I will set back out and will be in Carson City in 3 days. The weather is supposed to get very nice later this week which will be perfect for me as I am approaching the Sierra Nevada mountains. They won’t be so bad as long as the weather is ok. Hoping that I can time it right to get over as safely and comfortably as possible.


That’s that!!

Day 218

Off day


Football Sunday. At least I would have something to do today. I watched the first game and was hoping that they would show the Falcons game in my region. I got a text from Sabrina saying that she was bringing Domino by. She is the woman who is helping me out with Domino until I finish. She came with her son Chris and Domino, who was actually excited to see me. I thought she would’ve been mad at me for all that she’s been through but the love was still there. We hung out for a minute but it was cold and rainy. They had to head back. I was thrilled to get to meet Sabrina. She is an admin with a group called Covered With Love. That’s what they do. If someone needs a little love, they have plenty to offer. I am honored to have been helped by them.


Falcons game didn’t play in the region. So I watched the other game while following the play by play of the Falcons game from my phone. It came down to the last seconds but the Falcons lost. They played well but should’ve done better. Oh well.

I was watching motivational videos on youtube and thinking about how I’d like to eventually work my way up to helping troubled youth and with prisoners re-entering society. Just doing a little dreaming. Out of the blue, I got a call from an unknown number. It was a kid I met while incarcerated a while back. I was released in 2008 and have worked my way off of probation and all other restrictions. I earned my freedom back. Part of this trip for me is celebrating that. This kid is still locked up. He said that he didn’t even know why he called but he did. I told him what I was doing and that I worked my way out of the system. I made sure to let him know that it wasn’t easy and that he can’t rely on any of them for support. But I stressed the fact that I have gone from a convicted felon to a hero to many. I told him to call me when he gets out and I’d try to help him. I don’t think I’ll be set up to help him the way I’d like to by next year but I’ll do what I can. I think he was truly inspired by the way I was speaking to him. I guarantee you that he went on to talk to other inmates about what I was doing. It felt good and the timing was beyond coincidence. Crazy.

Day 215

About 50 people were camped out in the middle of nowhere on the same night. 30 of them were the students but the rest were from all different places. None of them had an office to go to that day. Only an adventure. Everyone was up and moving with the sun. Not because they had to go anywhere, but because they wanted to experience as much as this place had to offer. There was a large gathering around the coffee pot. I packed up quickly and went for coffee and breakfast in hopes of beating a hangover. I was still drunk. I felt fine though. I was happy. Had a great night and met a lot of wonderful people.


I talked to the horse ladies again and we were all worried about the weather. Extremely high winds and cold rain were forecasted for the next few days. I was long walking days away from safety. I arranged for a ride into town with their support vehicle later that afternoon. I didn’t want to but I didn’t want to be stuck in a bad pacific northwest storm in a tent with duct taped walls.


I had breakfast and talked to an older couple who were really thankful for what I was doing. They were in AA and both had over 20 years clean each. I had to admit that I was a bit hungover but told them that I haven’t used any illegal substances in 6 years. It was that stuff that I had my problem with. Drinking from time to time is something that I am personally able to handle. They didn’t care and thought it was good that I had good night. They bought my breakfast and gave me hugs before I left. Breakfast and hugs are a great way to start a day!!


I said bye to all of my new friends and got back on the road. I had a hard time leaving. That place was incredible. I stopped and looked back to give it a proper goodbye. The road was great and I wanted to get as far as possible before being picked up. Jets were everywhere. I was getting closer to the base. I looked back and saw the 2 women on horses and thought about waiting, but they were a little too far to justify it. I needed to get going. I left them a note that was easy to find and drew indicator marks, pointing to the note, into the ground with a stick.


I made it up and over one mountain pass and saw a good place for a big truck to pull off. It was around the time that I had arranged to be picked up and she arrived shortly after I got there. We loaded my cart into the back and drove into town. I would have to find a way to get back out there but I knew I was doing the right thing by finding appropriate shelter from this storm.


It was a nice ride into town. We went to a Wal-mart and I decided to just get out there and figure my way around from there. I sat down outside the Wal-mart to look up options of hotels and a guy came over and gave me a McChicken sandwich haha. I love nice people! This trip has opened my eyes to a total new way of living life. My brother called me and I talked to him while walking over to the hotel that I chose. It was the only one less than $50 a night in town. I checked in and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would’ve been at all. The owner was very nice and the wifi worked incredibly well. That’s all I can ask for!!


I booked 2 nights and left the option open to add more if needed. After checking in, I could hear the winds start to pick up. Rocks, sticks, and dust were being thrown up the walls of the hotel. I thought the door was about to fly open. I locked the dead bolt. Glad I made the right choice. That would’ve been a wild night in a tent.

Day 214

I looked on my map while still curled up in my sleeping bag, waiting for it to get warmer. I noticed that in 6 miles was a RV campground and restaurant. There was a chance that the restaurant would not be opened but I knew that I would most likely be able to use the restroom at the campground. A toilet is a lovely gift when walking through long stretches between towns. I figured it would be worth it to hold my daily duty and hurry to the campground to take advantage of the facilities. It was a close call but got there just in time.


The restaurant in front was only 45 minutes until it opened. I decided to wait. I found a picnic bench and did some reflecting. I came to tears a few times thinking of all that has happened in the last few months. I wondered if I was the only grown man to ever cry while sitting at that particular picnic table. Then the restaurant opened up. I got my shit together and went in for lunch. Great people inside. I very cool place too. It’s called Cold Springs. Originally, an old stagecoach stop and then transformed over the years to keep up with the times. It is a little oasis in the desert. The guys inside offered fresh fruit grown on the property (which I can’t eat of course) and were really nice and supportive of my walk. They also joked about how quickly I ran into the bathroom earlier.


I looked up my map again and it was all downhill for 14 miles to the next stop. A place similar to this one. Called Middlegate. I asked the guys about it and they said I should definitely stop there. I got back on the road. Two jets flew by low and I did my Maverick motorcycle scene fist pump.


I got to Middlegate after a fairly easy downhill stretch. On the door was a sign that declared the place, “the middle of nowhere”. I walked in and let them know I was a walker. The woman, Dede, screamed out, “we have a walker!” I thought clowns were gonna come running out and start messing with me or something. Nothing happened though. She said that people thought that she was crazy but the SHE thought that all the walkers that come through there are crazy. I agreed. I asked about camping and showers and everything else. She said for $3 I could have a shower, do laundry, and camp. Ring me up!!


She walked outside with me to show me around and where to set up my tent. She asked about the cause of my walk and she knew the feeling of losing a sibling. We had an instant bond. She showed me around this amazing place in the desert. The restaurant being the center with RV hookups and shower houses surrounding. Tents could go anywhere that you could squeeze them in. There were a few people already there and Dede said that a group of 30 geologist students were arriving soon and I was probably better off to get everything done before they got there.


I set up my tent, took a shower, and started laundry all before the 2 motorcyclists who arrived when I did finished setting their tents up. I went inside for dinner and decided on a beer. You know, for extra carbs haha. They had all you can eat tacos that night. Part of the strategy to handle the large amount of people they were expecting. All you can eat tacos, rice, and beans for $6.95. I took full advantage. I was lucky enough to have found a seat as it was standing room only for a little while. I stayed there and Dede kept refilling my glass. I wasn’t sure if she was keeping track or not. I sure wasn’t.


A woman approached the bar to order two drinks and we started talking. Sure enough, she is riding a horse around the freaking world. I mean come on!!! I am in a place literally called “the middle of nowhere” and I run into 2 women on an incredible journey. I went to go talk to them. Megan, from Wales, was the brains and main rider and Rowena, from England, was joining her for this segment. There was also a woman from Sacramento that was helping them with food and water support while the were going through the desert. What a blast. They were so fun. We talked about our journeys for a while and they decided to turn in. I went back to the bar. More seats available now as most people were smart enough to get out of there.


I fell victim. I started talking to two guys at the bar and one of them is from Decatur GA and his mom went to Tucker High School, the school that both of my parents went to. Middle of Nowhere. We talked about Georgia and about whatever else came up. Bar talk. There was a local guy there who had a lot of things to drive the conversation. Mostly, things to bitch about. He was going off about the Navy trying to take over all of the public land or something when I noticed Dede motioning for me to follow her. I didn’t know what I was getting into but I grabbed my beer and ran outside to see what she wanted. She was on a golf cart with 4 other people and told me to get on. All that was left was a place to put my foot.


I stood on the back with one hand holding the roof and the other holding my beer. She took a very curvy route through the open parking lot. Wasn’t sure if she was trying to make it fun or if she had been drinking herself. Either way, I was holding on tight. We came to a stop and everyone jumped off. I literally jumped off. I was hoping this wasn’t a smoking weed thing that I was getting into. She opened up a door with a key and we all walked in. It was a rock shop. Nothing suspicious at all. I was relieved. There were some beautiful artifacts that were all found in the area. Even a mammoth tooth. I didn’t know much about the different types of rocks but you could tell that it was good stuff.


We all got back on the golf cart and swerved back to the bar. The last place I needed to be. It was a great crowd though. Strangers from all over the world all getting along with each other and having conversations that they wouldn’t remember tomorrow. I was among the last ones to leave the place. It was around 1 am. I am surprised I found my tent. I was asleep in a matter of seconds.


My “middle of nowhere” experience…

Day 213

I heard coyotes yelping all last night. Very nearby. I hear them every night but they haven’t been this close yet. I was never truly worried about it though. I heard somewhere that if you pee around your campsite that the cotoyes will stay away. It’s probably complete BS but I do it and I believe that it works. It helps me sleep at night. Plus, it’s pretty fun to try and make a complete circle around my tent and stroller in one go.


I got to walking. I am in true peace out here. The last few days have been my favorite so far. Total freedom. I have had time to think and , frankly, I am proud of myself. I had a very important epiphone. Here is the facebook post that I made about my epiphone:

One month from today I will reach the Pacific Ocean. Tomorrow marks 7 months since I started. When I was all alone with my thoughts and nothing else, I started to do some reflecting on this whole experience. There are so many amazing things to talk about but I want to focus on the one thing that started all of this. The grief of losing my sister, Brittany. It’s been 2 and a half years and I still have a hard time when I see her face on the keychain that’s hanging from Lieutenant Dan (my pushcart). Most times, I can stay in denial and just pretend like it’s not real. Sometimes I face the cold hard truth that I will never see her again. I break down every time that happens. I have realized something though. Something that I’ve learned on my walk across America. No matter what you believe in, my sister has been with me this whole time. Her memory, her love, her spirit has been inside of me all along. By telling her story and by loving people the way that she did, I keep her alive in my heart. I didn’t even need to do something so drastic to honor her. It was as simple as spreading love to others. I know she’d be happier to know that I’ve become a better person rather than to just say that I walked from coast to coast. She’d love that too though. Anyways, what I’m trying to say is that love transcends life on Earth. She isn’t here to see or to hug, but I still have her love. And I’m so freaking thankful to have it. I’m so glad that she’s been here with me this whole time!!!


It was a beautiful moment in a beautiful place. I continued on and went through a portion where the road followed a canyon between many high hills. It reminded me of how small I am in relation to the Earth. It’s good to be reminded sometimes.


Later on in the day, a couple of fighter jets flew over. It let me know that I was getting close to Fallon. The next town on my route. It is where the Navy air base is and where the movie Top Gun was filmed. I still had a few days but I knew I was getting close. The jets were coming more and more frequent. They fly by and then the noise comes behind them. Fascinating. I always throw my hand up in the air and scream, “YEAH!!”


I passed my goal for the day and still had plenty of daylight left. I kept walking until I was tired and then found a spot to call home for the night and made it mine by setting up my camp. No one has stopped or pulled over in 2 days. Just me and my thoughts out here. Luckily, I am in a good place and it has been incredible.  I made my “safety circle” and then went to bed…

Day 212

Walked back up the high hill to the cafe to get breakfast before heading out on a long stretch of nothing. Met a nice couple when I left the restaurant. They live in San Francisco and I told them that they would probably hear about me. I am hoping to get some media when I finish. I left Austin and on the west side of town was the cemetary. There were definitely more people buried in Austin than currently living. Weird place. And Trump signs everywhere. I don’t understand. Anyways, back on the road. Loving life at this moment. Simply beautiful views and great weather. My friend from back home said that she bought me a ticket to one of the Falcons games in December! WOOHOO!!


I crossed the Pony Express Trail. Yes, THE Pony Express Trail. I didn’t think it was still there but it is. It crossed the road that I am on and they had it marked. The Pony Express was a route from Missouri to California where young men would ride horses rapidly to deliver mail. It only lasted a year. Once the telegram and then the railroads came there was no need. But these young men would ride for days on end, stopping at stations along the way to swao horses in sometimes as little as 15 seconds. They would be facing danger in many ways but it didn’t stop them. Quite a story. Google it.


I realized that I have a new favorite thing to do. It is sitting on the Pony Express Trail in Nevada on a cloudy day while eating gummi worms. I was looking out at sand funnels in the distance. I don’t know if that is what they are called but that’s what I call them. When the wind blows the sand into little mini tornados. Looks really cool. Great moment.


Got back up and walked on. Great walk. Great sunset. Great day on the road!!

Day 211

Off day


I was in a hotel and decided to take the day off to watch football. Before the games started, I walked over to the laundromat and started laundry. Then decided to hike up to the top of the hill I was looking at. Why not? I get up there and there is this weird structure that is known as Stokes Castle. I walked around and took some pictures then headed back down to get my laundry.


Back in the hotel, I get a message from Kenyon, a guy who walked across America in 2014. He said him and a friend were in Austin and wanted to meet up. Awesome!! I told him where I was and he came to meet me. He understood exactly what I was going through. He had gone on this same road on his walk. We talked for a little while and he hooked it up with a few gifts and some cash. Even some pine nuts. Pine nuts are a Nevada thing that people obsess over. I had been wanting to try some but they are too expensive. He found some and showed me how to eat them. That was great. Him and his friend Lisa were amazing. Can’t wait to see them again. It goes to show you how the walker community looks out for each other. I can’t wait to help out future walkers myself.


I went back to my room and watch the Falcons beat up the Broncos!! Great day 🙂



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