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Saturday, March 30, 2013


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Finally, Winter seems to be letting go.  Mornings are now in the mid 40s with highs around 65 or so.  The past two days found SAM and ME walking for 3+ hours west on US 64 and US 94 (the parallel service road)

The sinus condition is also diminishing day by day...but not yet gone...give it another day or two should do it.

A weather front is moving into Columbia within 24 hours and should pass by Monday night.  SAM is fully provisioned, tested, and ready to roll.  Physically, I, too, am OK.  Psychologically, however, I do not want to leave.

Karen and Craig have been spectacular hosts, making me feel as one of the family.  As I cross over the Scuppernong Bridge, I will take with me the promise of Karen and Craig to fly out to Bellingham just as soon as she has the current regimen completed...that is enough to sustain me.

Scuppernong River looking south from the Bridge.

US 64 as it crosses the Scuppernong River Bridge entering Columbia.

SAM coasting along on US 94...the US 64 service road.

Please say HELLO to JEWELL.  Jewell hailed as SAM and ME walked past.  We spent a good 20 minutes chatting about walking...and his project to police the yard of his friend's home.

Wetlands along US 64...all this time, thought these breathtaking flooded woods were swamps.  Am pleased I have been corrected...NO swamps around here...just wetlands.

Crossing the Scuppernong River Bridge, this is the view of the local Marina and the home of Karen and Craig distant center...the White House On The Corner.

Not far from downtown Columbia, North Carolina, are the Vineyards on the Scuppernong.  Have not actually walked to the vineyard's, so no photograph to share.  The grapes are vined locally, offered for sale at the Winery.

Please say HELLO to SHARI and JOHN, proprietors of the Coffee Shop located inside the Winery.  We chatted for well over an hour...about walking and a wide range of other fascinating subjects.  Seems we are of a mind (we think alike) and will try to keep in touch.

Please say HELLO to GAYLE, Proprietor of the Winery. 
Gayle and I have shared some quality chats, including Wine Tasting of her excellent wines for the past 2 years that I have been visiting Columbia.

Sitting on the street side veranda under umbrellas, chatting with Shari and John, Gayle popped out..."wondering when you were going to stop in to say hello...". 

Gayle's Scuppernong Winery.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


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Early this afternoon, made the tentative decision that SAM & ME would be on the road tomorrow morning. 

Spent much of the afternoon looking over Karen's shoulder as she worked her way through PayPal Donation program...finally achieving full integration of all details and links from PayPal - Google Blog - my bank.  The first donation transaction is currently in take a day or two to complete the bank transfer phase.

Because of the many hours invested by Karen, we have decided it would be appropriate that SAM & ME remain in Columbia at least until we know the entire system works.

Also reached sister Carol in De Kalb, Illinois, who admonished me by shouting over the phone...ARE YOU CRAZY...the snow is still deep on the ground up here...and you are still fighting a drippy snoz....I want to see you, but ALIVE...not DEAD.  Stay until your are fully healed.

Replied...yes, know I'm crazy...but not particularly stupid...

So, SAM & ME have  (with much pleasure) postponed our departure for a few more days. 

The Donation Button is located at the top of each blog update page.

SAM & ME have walked our walk using only Social Security $$ together with the generosity of dozens of new friends offering themselves and their homes to make our journey more pleasant.  We have received numerous requests for a Donation Button on our blog...and now it is available...

...thank you all ever so much for your kindness and support.

SAM & ME will be making more short forays from Columbia into the local "wetlands".  We have been emphatically advised that there are NO SWAMPS in this area...there are, however, many WETLANDS.

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Update on Division II College Basketball:

Both Men's and Women's Western Washington University (Bellingham, Washington), are only two games away from the national championship.

WWU Men's Basketball won it all in 2012.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


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Yes, I know we have been absent for nearly a week.  Truth be known, retreated under the feathers fending off a torrential outpouring of SINUS activity... fearing it might be contagious (a serious matter for Karen, who has some effort to maintain white blood cell count up...i.e., immune system health). 

Reaching Columbia 1.5 weeks ago, the coughing began.  It maxed out 48 hours ago, during which time, got nearly no sleep from fear of drowning in the sinus flow into my lungs...not nice!

Checked into the County Health Clinic where we have been assured it was not the flu or a cold or some other undesirable infectious process...pure and simple sinus gone crazy. 

One benefit...damaged heel healed nicely in the interim.

Even so, Karen threatens to hide SAM if I try to leave before the onslaught of congestion, looks to be another few days before SAM & ME head west.

Sunset over the SCAPPERNONG River...from my bedroom window.

SAM & ME did get out a couple times when Karen wasn't looking.

Downtown Columbia, North Carolina.

Walking South out of town, the roadway passes through near non -stop swamp.

These swamp waters are not more than a foot or two above sea-level.  Much of the swamp water moves very little, collecting thick growth of green plants, some growing into leafy floating colonies.

Some homes have been built nearly on top of the plant-laden swamp waters.

When not sacked out, have done and redone SAM.  Our 6 - 8 mile walks have discovered weak points in our recent modifications...which have been further redesigned to assure SAM survives the coming 3,100 mile stroll and roll.  Also, loading of SAM's provisions is critical in SAM "roadability".  Since she must be pushed 100% of the time, cg - center of gravity - is important for steering.  Have also further gleaned out items of low priority to make a bit of room for some food items.

C.L., our local Barber - I always have C.L. cut my hair when I pass through -, gifted a sturdy light weight chair.  Standing - even when stopping to rest...and after setting up our VERY uncomfortable.  Thank you, again, C.L.

Frank, C.L.'s next door neighbor, who owns and operates the local marina, has gifted us a seat cushion... had to leave ours in Bellingham.  Use the seat cushion when crawling around the ground making adjustments to SAM or when moving around the tent...saves the knees!...thank you, again, Frank.

I owe special thanks to Ann and the staff of the County Medical Center for taking in this old man for a bronchial checkup.  If I do find a job, would hope it is with a staff like you'all. 

Of course, just being in the home of Karen, Craig, Noah, and Carson is a special treat in itself.  Karen is the Chef; but, Craig has the culinary touch,, is master of so very much more. 

Walking away from the white house on the corner ... perhaps for the last going to be difficult...

Now, to listen to my pillows (4 of them) in my delightful four poster bed...hoping for a coughless night of restful dreams.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


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A pleasant weather day in Columbia, North Carolina today...low lying fog with misting liquid sunshine early on, changing to clear skies with zephyr winds allowing warm afternoon.  Had the pleasure of joining Karen cleaning out her flower garden...nice to have dirt under fingernails again.

SAM is essentially complete.  Fashioned a tubular rigid rectangular frame held together with wrist-band type VELCRO.  Stretched over the frame is original oil cloth refitted to suit the new frame.  The oil cloth cover / side panels, are installed with more of the same VELCRO, allowing quick-disconnect to fold back the rain cover for internal access.

The two white boxes are plastic sized to hold a one-gallon water bottle; i.e., when crossing open range land and deserts, can carry two gallons plus a half dozen 20 oz water bottles (smaller 20 oz bottles are stored on internal shelf-supported plastic dish-pan type containers.

SAM opened up for internal access.  The silver tubes hold the quick-release VELCRO firmly holding the rain proof cover in place.

This photograph shows SAM already carrying the tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, and two of six small waterproof carry bags.  The small bags are designated for like items, such as:  medicines/cosmetics; socks & underwear; electrical items; spare shirt and pants.  Computer has it's own insulated carry-on type bag which fits snugly against the side of the carry chamber.

Was able to re-mount SAM and ME plastic sign.

The small wheels are mounted in "U" frames with Pintal shafts.  Lift them out of the mounting plate...reinsert them into the bottom of the plate...provides back-up pivoting front wheels.

Original design structure carries the entire load suspended on thick plastic mold plates.  I have added thick walled extruded aluminum square on each side, mounted directly onto the rear axle...reaching in one piece to the front axle; i.e., SAM's load is carried directly on the axles.  Cross tubing members add support in the center of the floor.

SAM is provided with excellent suspension which takes additional shock loading.  In the early days of walking, the main axle broke while walking...due to excessive weight.  Discovered the factory used an extruded alu. axle with drilled brake mounting holes dead center...the location of the axle failure.

Contacted the Canadian factory, discovering they have a heavy-duty axle without the drilled holes.  Purchased two new axles (one spare).  SAM has performed beautifully on the first heavy duty axle...but still carry the spare along just in case.

The front wheel has a bicycle-type calliper brake.  Each rear wheel is provided with bell-crank type activation of honest-to-goodness shoe brakes.  I have added a positive stop (another of my VELCRO bands) to hold the shoe brake lever (one lever activates both brakes simultaneously) tightly closed...a definite secure parking brake.

SAM from the rear.  I have added the two shelves and the second (one on top) pushing handle (also serves as rain cover mounting frame installed yesterday).

These shelves provide space for plastic pans (tied down with wire ties) to carry miscellaneous items...snacks, water bottles, flashlight, maps, spare gloves, utensils, etc.  The "bag" at the bottom contains eight (8) Butane Bottles for my Butane stove, which is carried in the forward chamber.

SAM's recent makeover has eliminated ALL electrical items...but has also given up considerable storage space.   Have therefore, eliminated at least 40% of original provisions...mostly clothing and electronics...

SAM is now a lean mean green machine.  Must be pushed 100% of the time...except on down grades, where she requires some considerable restraint to keep her from gaining too much speed.  Reduction of over 150 pounds of "stuff" should help me hold her back descending the many 8% 5-mile long hills crossing the Allegheny - West Virginia - mountains.

We shall soon see.

Karen has set up the procedures for SAM's new "Donation" Button.  Hope to have it installed in the next day or two.

Monday, March 18, 2013


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So nice to be sleeping in my big four-poster familiar bed again...dining on super home cooked food - Karen is a master chef -, and spending time with old friends.

Decided to take this morning off...did just absolutely nothing...but enjoy the boys going off to school...the light drizzle dimpling the serene waters of the Scappernong River...just a short stone throw from my upstairs window...and snuggling back into the feathers for 2.5 hours after a grilled ham sandwich lunch.

Craig spent hours cleaning out his backyard store room...Karen grabbed a shovel and attacked some weeds in her flower beds...both making me feel guilty.

So, I bit the bullet and attacked SAM.

Removed SAM's Solar Panels, Controllers, Switches, House Battery, and ripped out all the wiring I so lovingly installed so many years ago...yes, it has been nearly four years since I designed and built SAM's self propulsion system.

Stripped of all her finery, SAM looked naked and forelorne. 

Using existing extending twist poles, Velcro bracelets, and existing Solar Panel adjustable supports, built a new rectangular frame for SAM.  Over this frame, I fashioned a rain cover using SAM's original oilcloth coverings[

.The rectangular frame incorporates a "second" handle bar...raised about 6 inches above the factory designed handle, giving SAM access into our tent at night and a second push / controlling handle for more convenient pushing geometry...i.e., do not have to bend when pushing as in SAM's original design...allowing me to stand straight when pushing and walking.

Loaded up 3/4 of SAM's provisions to verify form and fit, took SAM for a quick tour around the town of Columbia. 

She is now light as a feather, has room for all necessities, and is impervious to all but the strongest downpour and gale-force winds. 

Built two bakealite shelves into SAM's hind quarters for storing her stove and food items. 

Push comes to shove, SAM could be loaded ready for the road within an hour.

Craig says I have not yet worn out my welcome, so have no definite schedule to once again follow the Sun into the far West.

My digestive system seems to have quieted some during the past 24 hours, relieving some nauseous feeling I endured the past couple months...sure hope it remains so.

Is now evening...and dark outside.  In the morning, will clean up the awful mess I created on the front porch - SAM's work area.  Then I can pitch in to help Craig and Karen do some yard Spring cleaning.

Tomorrow hope to post images of our "new" SAM.

Will also pursue adding a "Donations" Button.  Must admit to a a bit less stamina and energy than when SAM and ME started out three years ago.  A little pampering would be most welcome.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


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Away from the Holiday Express at 8:00am...located on the West side of the town of Plymouth, I was cautioned that it would be over 30 miles to reach Columbia, North Carolina. 

It rain for about 2 hours.  Did not use my rain gear.  Instead, used my flimsy PANCHO which, as always, kept me dry as a bone.  Along the way, came upon a large pickup truck pulling a trailer of Palomino horses.  Asked the 3 ladies if I could, just retrieving a bag that floated out the window.  As SAM & ME walked away, one of the ladies ran after us, slipping $25.00 into my hand...please just take it...we want to help.

Late in the afternoon, we ran out of water.  The rain had stopped...the Sun came out...and sure enough, the distance to Columbia was at least 10 miles more than I had allowed. 

A lady was watching from her mobile home as SAM & I walked and rolled along US 64.  I held up my empty water bottle...and she immediately came to the fence (US 64 is a fenced "freeway at that point) carrying five full water bottles.  To meet her, I had to descend a 20 foot steep grassy slope.  On the way down, my left foot slipped, causing my first injury in three years walking.  Somewhat like a blister...but much more serious, as the top layer of tough skin separated from the heel bone...O U C H !

The above image is of SAM looking up from the bottom of the slope.

I thanked the lady profusely...I was really hurting from thirst.  As we walked away, she followed asking if we would like a ride...explained that Columbia was only 7 miles, and that we would be OK walking.

She would not take NO for an answer.  She followed on the side road insisting that we accept her offer.  Finally convinced her we would be OK.

Five minutes later, my heel was in excruciating pain from the injury.  At that moment, the lady's SUV pulled along side SAM - heading in the direction of Columbia...this time a gentlemen got out...My wife says you need a ride to Columbia.  So happened, there was an official "cross over" to his side, so I pushed SAM to his car. 

Took only a couple minutes to load up SAM...and off we drove the final 6 miles toward Columbia.

You know, says he...I remember you from last year.  I met you when you were walking back to the Peace Arch from OBX (Outer Banks). 

...and then, I remembered him, also.  We did meet one year ago.  Now, here he was rescuing SAM & ME at the exact moment we desperately needed help.

...and yet, another swamp along North Carolina roadways.

US 64 as SAM & ME walked today from Plymouth toward Columbia.

Please say HELLO to TIM.  Tim is our rescuer today...and the gentleman we met one year ago walking this same road.

Tim drove SAM & ME to the front door of the home of Karen and Craig, helped unload SAM...then lift SAM onthe front porch for safe keeping.  Took a moment to introduce Tim to Karen...Tim apparently knows (of) Karen, having visited many events in Columbia.  All parades and functions pass in review before Karen and Craig's front yard...the prime viewing point.

Wilmington, North Carolina to Columbia this past week has been full of surprises...kind and gracious new friends...and now Tim from our walk last year. 

Sure beats sitting on the couch guzzling beer munching chips...

Thank you all for being there for SAM & ME at the very moment(s) we needed you.  You will be always near our hearts.

At the moment, I sit in "my" room in the home of Karen and Craig.  Wine has been enjoyed...scrumptious ham sandwich filled my tummy (also Augie's), and all is quiet as I finish this post and slip into the feathers.

Tomorrow is another day...gone with the wind !

Friday, March 15, 2013


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After yesterday morning's short walk, SAM & ME hibernated all afternoon and night in the hotel...grabbing a "continental" breakfast and rushing out at 8:00am this morning for our walk to WILLIAMSTON, N.C., some 23 miles north on US 17.

Left in such a rush, totally forgot ALL water bottles and on-the-road ham sandwich.  Tempted to go back, but decided something would turn, continued on our way.


Fallen Tinker-Toy Barn.

Please say HELLO to WILLIAM "Will" ROGERS and 5-month old "TIP", who insisted I play with him at every moment.  Will filled two water bottles from his house spicket...water problem solved.

Will lives at the intersection of US 17 and NC (North Carolina) 171.   NC 171 is a diagonal roadway alternate to reach Jefferyville on US 64 some 10 miles to the East of Williamston...while being the same mileage as US 17 is to Williamston.  From Williamston, it is 10 miles on US 64 to Jefferyville.

So, opted to walk n' roll NC 171 to Jefferyville...then hung a right on US 64 to the next large town, PLYMOUTH, N.C., where we are holed up for the night in the HOLIDAY EXPRESS hotel. 

In all, SAM & ME walk n' rolled 35 miles today.  Took from 8:00am until 6:00pm...with a couple time-outs for purchasing more water.  SAM performed perfectly.  ME, not so good.  Basically, this ole' body did well.  SAM weighs something over 200 pounds, so it is a bit of a chore pushing her for 10 hours on narrow berm of undulating roadways.

Nevertheless, we are in Plymouth, having accomplished the magical 35 miles...actually, quite incredible that we did it so soon after starting out on March 07...and except for sore ankles from straining to push SAM, I am in excellent condition.

I make somewhat of an issue of today's 35 miles, as there have been some who questioned the veracity of my report(s) of averaging 32.5 miles per day during our 8-month circumnavigation of America a couple years ago.  During that trek, SAM was not often used.  Pushing SAM while covering 35 miles is even a more exciting accomplishment.

In the morning, we will again leave around 8:00am.  It is only 25 or so miles from Plymouth to COLUMBIA, N.C., our destination for the home of Karen and Craig...which we should reach by late tomorrow afternoon...completing the first phase of our walk.

Blossoms are "springing" on North Carolina trees.

Walk past a number of "family" burial plots.

This land is quite low...probably only a few feet above Sea Level.  Mostly, it is swamp land.  Over the past 300 or so years, forested sections haves been cleared for growing of cotton, peanuts, and a large variety of other "cash" crops...often employing SLAVES on the sometimes vast Plantations.

As an aside, a local explained that SAM & ME walked near the home of Blackbeard, the Pirate, only a short distance from NC 171.  Blackbeard was killed by British Naval Lieutenant Maynard at the nearby Island of OCRACOKE...see my blog of 1.5 years ago.

Highway NC 171

SAM & ME were on a continual pace of over 4 miles per hour all day.  Did not stop to take many photographs today.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


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Was prepared to start walking at day break, but promised Roger I would see them before, began walking about 8:00am.  Let me tell you, it was not know why I was so cold - there was no ice on the ground -, but I was cold thru and thru...

Sleep last night was superb...warm, comfy, quiet.

Roger has done a super job repairing SAM's front wheel.  Arriving in the city of Washington around noon, SAM steered perfectly...her ball bearings remained in place...all in all, just a great job, Roger.  Thank you, again.


In all, walked about 15 miles this morning.  Walked a very quick pace...something over 4 miles per hour, arriving at the new US 17 By-Pass Bridge around the city of Washington and over the Tar River - above.

Some interesting trees beside the 2 + mile long new by-pass bridge...reminding me ever so much of "lodge poles" as found in the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico...which two ago years suffered a massive forest fire only a couple days after I completed walking through the Navajo Reservation.

Arriving in Washington at noon-time today, stopped in at a unique fully automated restaurant...where each client electronically selects meals from a series of detail images...including kind of meat, type of salads, many selections of dressings...I could not figure it out; received help from one of the young employees...thank you very much.

As I sat to eat, I began shivering uncontrollably.  I then realized that my entire body was cold...seems like the cold was coming from my "core"...i.e., from inside out.  I simply could not stop shivering.

I did realize that the 4 hours I walked this morning was in a very cold wind, as I kept adding layers...but did not realize I was becoming cold to the core.

  The next town is 21 miles north on US 17.  At 2:00pm, I was walking out of the town of Washington when I came upon the motel COMFORT INN, where I am registered from many prior visits over the years. 

Even after eating a good lunch, I was still shivering and felt, I asked for and received a room (at a very low $$).  It is now 6:00pm, local Eastern Daylight Time.  I have slept soundly for 2.5 hours, taken a hot soaking bath for 1 hour, and enjoyed another meal - Chinese Buffet -. 

Finally, I am beginning to warm up.

In the morning, SAM & ME will once again venture out onto US 17 north towards the town of WILLIAMSTON, where we are told more motels are available.  Our budget has no $$ for motels, but I am a bit concerned for my body's apparent weakness at the moment. 

The flight to WILMINGTON from SEATTLE 10 days ago took a lot out of me...two nights spent sitting all night in airports...with our first night walking tenting on the COLD hard ground of the Wilmington KOA.  I was simply emptied of all have not yet recovered. 

So far, SAM & ME have walked and rolled nearly 200 miles, with another nearly 100 to go to reach Karen and Craig in Columbia, North Carolina, where we plan to rest and enjoy a few days before attempting to cross America once again.

For three years, have been searching for the limit - if there is a limit - to this old man's body abilities...perhaps we are creeping up on that limit.

We shall see.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013


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Yesterday's blog introduced Karen and Greg Garris, retired couple married 38 years, both of whom are suffering from major diseases (cancer and heart), who have taken on a major project to provide their community of WILMAR, North Carolina...with... their words: pursue the project(s) of BLESSINGS CLUB OUTREACH to prepare food for the sick, elderly, and homeless...providing low cost housing to homeless families. 

Karen and Gary have received a "convenience store" a 10-unit motel, and a plot of land for growing veggies.  Rent for the facilities is 1/2 the NET income from DONATIONS received.

Begun in October 2012, the convenience store provides FREE lunches to ALL...THOSE IN NEED AND NOT.  Donations are accepted.  From daily donations, food is currently procured from local sources for the next day's meals, which include two types of soup and three sandwich selections daily.

No one is turned away.  There is no set price and donations are "secret". 

The motel is made available at $100.00 per week or $20.00 nightly.  Currently four homeless families- nine folks all told -  live in the one-room spaces....I was offered my room at no charge....only a "secret" donation of my choice.  Each room has:  ultra modern 12 x 12 floor space, queen bed, TV, Microwave, fridge, dressers, desk, night stands, new carpeting and fully remodeled...including central heating/cooling system, and full bath...linens furnished.  Each tenant pays as each can afford...or helps maintain, clean, etc.

All residents receive FREE food...Donations accepted, but not requested or required.

In process is a new modern kitchen to expand food service(s), including cooking lessons as needed for homeless residents.  Out back, a large garden is to be planted shortly to supplement veggies.

The entire operation is licensed by the State of North Carolina as a non-profit Corporation...shortly to be issued certification to become a food bank location.

All this is being done as a VOLUNTARY program by Karen and Craig.  They make their own donations for all food and services they consume...and receive NO remuneration for their efforts.

These comments are intended to be a bare bones peek...the ultimate goal(s) are much more expansive.

It has been my pleasure to spend two nights with this small community...and as is my fate, I will be sad to leave in the morning.  I have, in one spot, however, earned a new family which will fill the following days of SAM & ME trek.

Please say HELLO to the KITE family...l. to r.:  CHRIS, KAIDEN, SHERRI, and ROGER. Missing is daughter McKENZIE (7 years).

 Roger is currently uunemployed...looking for work.  In the meantime, he assists Gary with maintenance and constructing new facilities in the store...presently building cabinets in preparation for installing stoves, sinks, freezers, etc. 

Today, Gary disassembled, cleaned, lubricated and reinstalled SAM's front wheel...which nearly fell apart during yesterday's 25-mile drive through torrential rains. 

Sherri, in addition to being MOM, helps by cleaning the motel rooms and assisting Karen in the store.

Please say HELLO to JIMMY VICK.  The motel is Jimmy's home...I mean Jimmy's life-long home.  His father built the motel back in 1952, naming it PARKWAY MOTEL, complete with all the latest modern innovations...TV, central heating/cooling, modern bath...etc.  As Jimmy the days when pride in what you did meant something.

Today, Jimmy is blind.  Totally Blind from the ravages of Sugar Diabetes.  Jimmy and I spoke for many hours today...sitting in the store after enjoying Karen's Soups and sandwiches.  Jimmy is one of the most learned, knowledgeable, and intelligent persons I have ever met.  His mind is sharp as a tack...and he instantly speaks with authority and conviction on every subject we touched. 

Roger and Kaiden guiding Jimmy from the motel to the store, some 300 feet away.  Greg told me today was the FIRST time Jimmy has left his room since they assumed responsibility for the properties back in October 2012...says Jimmy broke out because of my spend time talking to someone about things important to him.

Two other families live in the motel...of whom I have no photograph:

Keith Anderson, partially paralyzed from a stroke; and,

Tammy McAntosh and daughter Eva. for whom I have no information.

Lunch time at Karen's.  Karen invites EVERYONE every day to join in her FREE offerings.  Karen said to me this evening, as we chatted for a couple hours before saying goodbye (I leave early in the morning), that today was her largest customer day by far...then babbled something about encouragement and stimulation ...something to do with SAM & ME.

Do believe something good has happened here in WILMAR in the past 24 hours.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013


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After gleening an  armload of SAM's stuff, reduced weight much so, that today, pushed SAM most of the  a POUNDING RAIN...with one hand only. 

We started out at 7:30am...still dark because of the rain storm passing overhead.

Guiding SAM on much of US 17 was very difficult...with the roadway running one-inch deep in rain...and lots of traffic - including many 18-wheelers - and very narrow berm.  One Sheriff stopped by in response to a complaint that SAM & ME were walking in the middle of the highway...of course, we do not, but the Sheriff and I got a good chuckle before he sent us on our way.

Passed through two or three small villages on our way to the town of WASHINGTON , some 35 miles distant... our objective for the day.

Wore my full rain gear, including Gaiters and new "waterproof" shoes.  It rained so hard that when the Sun broke out about 1:00pm, every stitch of clothing - including my "waterproof" shoes were soaked thru and thru. 

Need a bit of reconsideration regarding walking in heavy downpour.

No, we did NOT reach Washington.  We stopped for the night about 10 miles short...meaning we walked and rolled a good 25 miles.  Was tired and sore - including chafed nearly bloody on the thighs from the rain gear rubbing.

A swamp we passed by.

Same swamp, however, on the opposite side of the road.

Always stop for a chat with curious animals.

Please say HELLO to JUANITA RAMOS (r.) and JUANNY CARRILLO, where we stopped for a bite of delicious lunch.

Both ladies are from were many of the clients who dropped in...and I left forgetting to leave a tip.

Local Mail Box Art.

Motel where SAM & ME are staying tonight.

Please say HELLO to KAREN, GARY, and DIAMOND - in Karen's arms.

Karen and Gary are my hosts for toight. 

I first telephoned...was directed to a not-so-small store next to the motel.  Asked if a room was you have ID...Yes...OK, your room is No. 2.  What is the cost, please:  For you, there is no cost.

...and we have dinner ready...are you hungry...Yes, but...

Serving a bowl of Chicken Soup - 2-inch chunks of white meat chicken in delicious broth...and you cannot pay for dinner either.

For the next hour +, Karen and Gary Garris sat with me as I enjoyed my dinner.  On a large sheet of paper, I made copious notes, ending by excusing myself to go to my room...but not before Karen asked for my room key back...then disappearing.

Karen returned in 10 miunutes or so, saying the heat is on, as is the TV.  There is lots of hot water for your bath and plenty of room for SAM inside.  Need anything more, here is our personal home phone.

In reply to Karen's comment that she has been waiting for me to come she has tons of questions and wants my advice, I agreed that I will hang around another day.

I could, at this moment, write MUCH about this couple who recently celebrated their 38th anniversary, he supporting her 4th level throat cancer...and she supporting his heart problems...and who, together, have mamouth plans to expand their newest challenge...which we will get to on tomorros's blog.

Monday, March 11, 2013


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We finally found ourselves on the road before the Sun rose in the East.

The restaurant across Highway 17 was closed...NOT OPEN MONDAY !

So, walked the entire morning withing to eat...sure missed Tonya's bread and cold cuts which we forgot when leaving the church last evening.

Sorry Tonya...was very thoughtful of you.

Fields seemed to be steaming as moisture rose from the earth as the rising Sun warmed things up...just before Sun-up.

STERN River...about 1/2 mile north of the motel on US 17.

The first bovine to be seen on this trans-continental stroll.  This steer had a couple dozen buddies...all staring at SAM & ME.  Yes, I stopped to chat with some of them...chatting captivates their attention.

A local Methodist Church...on US 17 as we drew near New Bern.

1950s vintage PONTIAC Station Wagon...parked in the hotel lot.

SAM & ME walked about 20 miles this morning to the North end of the small city of New Bern, North Carolina.  Today, the wind was again in our faces...out of the North East at about 10 mph.  Started out clear, cold, and sunny.  Arriving in New Bern, I was gratefully still with energy...having walked some 4 hours without stopping to rest.  SAM performed just fine.

Clouds began moving in from the South-South West.  Stopped to enquire about motels on US 17 north of New Bern.  A trucker offered his GPS to search, finding that there is not a single motel until reaching the city of WASHINGTON, some 44 miles away. 

Knowing we could not reach Washington before dark today, decided to take the local MARRIOTT motel for the night ($105.00/night...clerk called 4 other hotels in town...all were more expensive except one which was $102.00)

Took the opportunity to completely unload SAM, emptying every single bag.  Carefully evaluated need for taking along all things aboard, and finally left the bathroom sink stacked high with clothes, tools, electrical parts...some quite new and costly.  Have now repacked SAM, who is considerably less heavy.  Arriving at Karen and Craig's, will remove the solar panels, which will take off another 50 or so pounds.

Hopefully I will be able to maneuver SAM up and down the 8% - 5 mile long hills crossing the West Virginia Allegheny Mountains in a couple weeks from now.

Tomorrow is forecast for 90 % chance of rain, wind from the South west (behind our back, thank goodness).  Washington being 44 miles away, we will start before sun rise, and try our best to reach a motel in Washington.  I am still a bit weak - usually takes a good month to return to top walking condition...and been on the road only 4 days, so cannot expect too much in the way of success for tomorrow.

Will probably set up our tent some 15 or so miles short of Washington.

Took the opportunity this afternoon to hand wash some really icky dirty things.  Also enjoyed a very nice buffet in the restaurant next door.  Without the kindness and help from A.Christie and family and Tonya the Scott, would not be able to enjoy the Marriott Hotel this evening.

Thank you again.

Is now 8:40pm EDT...SAM is packed ready to roll...I am ready to go count  cloud hopping angles.

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