Walking Coast-to-Coast

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Jazztonight
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Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Jazztonight » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:28 pm

Hello to my fellow Bogleheads!

I just returned last week from a Coast-to-Coast walk, Pacific to the Atlantic. I succeeded and survived.

The first 40 days of my 170 day journey took place in April & May of 2017. When temperatures in the Southwest reached over 110 degrees, I came home. (The alternative was dying).

I resumed my journey on February 1, 2018, and other than an early foot problem that forced a 2-week rest, I continued walking and reached the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday, June 24.

I started in Huntington Beach, CA and ended in Rehoboth Beach, DE. For much of the journey I pushed a specially adapted Runabout stroller cart; after Cincinnati I carried a backpack.

Anyone interested in reading about my journey please look at my Frequently Asked Questions page: faq.notesalongthejourney.com

Disclaimers: this was not a fundraiser--I paid for the trip myself; it was not easy; I'm 71 years old; I lost ~12 pounds and have quickly gained back half of that; I almost died only once; I'm married and spoke to my wife every night on FaceTime. I dedicated my walk to the memory of father, a World War 2 Army Air Corps veteran, who flew 44 missions as the flight engineer in a B-24 bomber in the South Pacific, and passed away in March 2017 at 96.

Yes, I'm writing a book about my journey. 8-)

It's good to be home, but it feels anticlimactic, and it's taking a while to readjust. Did I mention this was not easy?
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Doom&Gloom » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:48 pm

Awesome!

I read only the faq's you posted. That wore me out. Your dad would have been very proud. Congratulations and well done!

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whodidntante
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by whodidntante » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:53 pm

Interesting. Thanks for sharing, and congrats!

JoinToday
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by JoinToday » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:05 pm

That is impressive at any age!

What did you think about when walking, or did you have audio books & podcasts to keep your mind occupied?

a little over 16 miles per day. Very impressive.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:13 pm

Amazing!

Congratulatioins. Well Done!

VERY impressive, and a special way to honor and remember your father.

RM
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letsgobobby
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by letsgobobby » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:22 pm

it’s wonderful - mazel tov!

When I got my first real job at age 29, the first thing I told my boss is I wanted to retire early so I could walk coast to coast. He laughed and said, “You know, things start to hurt as you get older.”

I can see his point 15 years later. But I still dream it.

I have done sections of the PCT and am more likely to do a long stretch of that before walking coast to coast. The scenery is more concentrated, and the people fewer. But the coast to coast walk is very unique and its own challenge and I think it’s terrific you did it.

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rob
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by rob » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:49 pm

Amazing... Look forward to the book - Loved this part of the FAQ....
Will you be carrying any weapons?
Yes.

After seeing Jason Bourne kill a man using a ball-point pen, I carry a similar pen on this trip.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

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Cyclesafe
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Cyclesafe » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:01 am

Walking? Never hear of anyone walking. At least not since the 19th century...

Congratulations.

Thought first that you walked across England (which I have done), but the US ? Hard to imagine. Rode a bike from San Diego to Jacksonville, but walking? No way. Totally awesome.

supalong52
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by supalong52 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:56 am

Amazing story. Thanks for posting it. You're an inspiration to many!

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Jazztonight
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Jazztonight » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:03 am

JoinToday wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:05 pm
That is impressive at any age!

What did you think about when walking, or did you have audio books & podcasts to keep your mind occupied?

a little over 16 miles per day. Very impressive.
The first 1/3 of the trip I just paid attention to the road and listened to the music in my head as I watched oncoming traffic and the sights along the way. I'm a musician and have a very large repertoire--in my head ;-)

By the half-way point, I was listening to podcasts and audio books. I documented some of these in my daily posts--some fiction; biographies of John Quincy Adams and Charlie Parker; recorded music by artists from John Philip Sousa to Bill Watrous (he's fantastic!); podcasts (particularly: It's Only A Game, and Stuff They Didn't Teach You in School; Fresh Air; Marc Maron; This American Life).
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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Jazztonight
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Jazztonight » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:05 am

letsgobobby wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:22 pm
it’s wonderful - mazel tov!

When I got my first real job at age 29, the first thing I told my boss is I wanted to retire early so I could walk coast to coast. He laughed and said, “You know, things start to hurt as you get older.”

I can see his point 15 years later. But I still dream it.

I have done sections of the PCT and am more likely to do a long stretch of that before walking coast to coast. The scenery is more concentrated, and the people fewer. But the coast to coast walk is very unique and its own challenge and I think it’s terrific you did it.
PM me before you hit the road. I can probably save you some aggravation!
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

TravelGeek
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:29 am

Wow. Thank you for sharing your story.

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by GoldenFinch » Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:44 am

Very neat! I’m glad you got through your trip safely. Your story made me smile. :happy

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by rich126 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:15 am

Wow, nice job. Personally I don't mind the sw heat but being in the sun w/o any shade would be very tough. I had a coworker ride his bike from the east coast to the west coast. Took about 6 weeks or less. He was run off the road in KC by a pickup truck but only had a few bruises.

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by dknightd » Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:18 am

cool! Not for me, but I'm glad you made it :)

mouses
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by mouses » Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:25 am

Very interesting. Did you get to see interesting places, or was it about the walking? What did you do about shoes?

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by daheld » Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:15 am

Jazztonight wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:28 pm
When temperatures in the Southwest reached over 110 degrees, I came home. (The alternative was dying).
Seems like you made the right decision. In all seriousness, congrats. Very cool.

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by lazydavid » Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:28 am

When I saw the thread title, I assumed this would be a flight of fancy, and you'd be talked down by the relentlessly logical bogleheads. Imagine my surprise when I clicked in and saw that you were already done. :mrgreen: Very impressive sir!

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Artful Dodger
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Artful Dodger » Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:38 am

Very cool. I used to walk across the city of St. Louis each year, and friends told me I was crazy. Nice way to honor your father as well.

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TxAg
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by TxAg » Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:42 am

Very cool!

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by jabberwockOG » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:02 am

Congratulations! Amazing and unique journey in today's world.

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HueyLD
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by HueyLD » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:33 am

So amazing, Jazzy.

When I grow up, I want to be just like you.

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:41 am

I know of several of your awe inspiring achievements, Jazztonight, but this is probably the most impressive, so far. I am sure there will be more.

Honored to be your friend,

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by lthenderson » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:50 am

My parents have ridden bicycles coast to coast four times and from the Canadian border to Mexican border once and have always had lots of good memories that they have shared with me so I'm sure you have lots of good experiences as well. I've wanted to do something similar as well when the time is right.

Congratulations!

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by LarryAllen » Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:26 am

That's awesome! Congrats on your achievement! What's next?

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Jazztonight
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Jazztonight » Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:49 am

mouses wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:25 am
Very interesting. Did you get to see interesting places, or was it about the walking? What did you do about shoes?
Certainly I saw many interesting places. But it was mostly about the walking and reaching the goal. That said, you can't avoid having experiences when on such a journey.

Please go to my faq (frequently asked questions) to read about shoes.

Thanks for everyone's comments!
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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Jazztonight
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Jazztonight » Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:55 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:41 am
I know of several of your awe inspiring achievements, Jazztonight, but this is probably the most impressive, so far. I am sure there will be more.

Honored to be your friend,
That you are! And thank you for you vote of confidence.
Victoria
I'm not sure that I'll be topping this journey any time soon. But I realized when I turned 70 that both my parents lived into their mid-90s, so I better make some serious plans and see what I can do to execute them. This walk was on my list.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

student
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by student » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:00 am

I am in shock. Congratulations.

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Jazztonight
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Jazztonight » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:08 am

LarryAllen wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:26 am
That's awesome! Congrats on your achievement! What's next?
Since you ask...

I wrote a list of stuff I'm doing or have planned, but I've edited it. I'm uncomfortable listing my goals. I'll just say I have a couple of writing projects, planned travel, and I'm still studying Spanish and working out.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by psteinx » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:50 am

How frequently did you encounter non- walking-friendly obstacles (bridges, tunnels and the like), and how did you deal with them?

(I did read your site some and saw a mention or two of getting a lift on a bridge/tunnel, but I would think that on a coast to coast walk there would be MANY such obstacles. Perhaps not, though...)

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Bharat » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:02 am

Great achievement. Congratulations. I hope your family and friends are proud of you and happy of this accomplishment.

What's next? May be Pacific Crest Trail?
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dodecahedron
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by dodecahedron » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:04 am

I am in awe.

I grew up in Washington DC and loved to walk long distances (sometimes up to 20 miles in a day) as a teen, in those hot, humid, steamy, summers but I picked and chose my routes carefully (routes with sidewalks and trees and pedestrian friendly with park benches and plenty of places to stop for water or lemonade or Slurpees! along the way), I carried nothing bigger than a lightweight handbag, and of course, I did not have to give any thought to where I would sleep each night. And I did not do it relentlessly day after day after day ... just every so often when the spirit moved me. Never got so much as a significant blister. But people thought I was crazy then. Later used to do the same as young adult in Boston/Cambridge MA, where it was a little cooler and definitely less humid--but people STILL thought I was crazy. Sometimes my future husband would come along with me on those walks. Though he didn't go to the lengths I did, people thought we were BOTH crazy! And we were young. Can't begin to imagine tackling this at your age. (But feeling inspired by your example and the stirred up memories to walk more around here in Upstate NY after the current heat wave breaks!)

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Jazztonight » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:23 am

psteinx wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:50 am
How frequently did you encounter non- walking-friendly obstacles (bridges, tunnels and the like), and how did you deal with them?

(I did read your site some and saw a mention or two of getting a lift on a bridge/tunnel, but I would think that on a coast to coast walk there would be MANY such obstacles. Perhaps not, though...)
I'd estimate I took rides about 8-10 times. Most of these were because of severe weather and winds. Others were because of risky walking conditions (no shoulders on highways), or through tunnels or over bridges. I tried to be transparent in my posts and disclose such events. There was no point in glamorizing my journey. It was awesome at times, and ridiculous at others.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Jazztonight » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:26 am

Bharat wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:02 am
Great achievement. Congratulations. I hope your family and friends are proud of you and happy of this accomplishment.

What's next? May be Pacific Crest Trail?
Thank you.

I do not have any hiking or walking or biking or running plans. This was the journey I wanted to take.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Jazztonight » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:34 am

dodecahedron wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:04 am
I am in awe.

I grew up in Washington DC and loved to walk long distances (sometimes up to 20 miles in a day) as a teen, in those hot, humid, steamy, summers but I picked and chose my routes carefully (routes with sidewalks and trees and pedestrian friendly with park benches and plenty of places to stop for water or lemonade or Slurpees! along the way), I carried nothing bigger than a lightweight handbag, and of course, I did not have to give any thought to where I would sleep each night. And I did not do it relentlessly day after day after day ... just every so often when the spirit moved me. Never got so much as a significant blister. But people thought I was crazy then. Later used to do the same as young adult in Boston/Cambridge MA, where it was a little cooler and definitely less humid--but people STILL thought I was crazy. Sometimes my future husband would come along with me on those walks. Though he didn't go to the lengths I did, people thought we were BOTH crazy! And we were young. Can't begin to imagine tackling this at your age. (But feeling inspired by your example and the stirred up memories to walk more around here in Upstate NY after the current heat wave breaks!)
Walking long distances is, I believe, in the human makeup. I've met people who will walk all day for hours, and I've always respected them for that. If you can, why not? It's a good thing!

I don't know if age has much to do with it. Once retired, we have much more control over how we spend our time; or at least we should. I don't think I missed much by not sitting at my desk for those 170 days. I also avoided the news.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by marielake » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:57 am

When I read your post, I thought of a book I had read many years ago but could not remember the name. "Walk Across America"--I was glad to see it was one of your inspirations. What I remember and enjoyed about the book are the stories he told about the people he met along his journey. Will you have such stories in your book?

Glad you made it back safely and thanks for sharing.

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Will do good
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Will do good » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:06 pm

That's amazing. Congrats.

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Jazztonight
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Jazztonight » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:20 pm

marielake wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:57 am
When I read your post, I thought of a book I had read many years ago but could not remember the name. "Walk Across America"--I was glad to see it was one of your inspirations. What I remember and enjoyed about the book are the stories he told about the people he met along his journey. Will you have such stories in your book?
Of course! I met some incredible people and will have profiles of some. But mostly I did my best to protect people's privacy.

There were others who walked across the country before Jennings, but his book was significant and the photos were wonderful. My photos were not National Geographic quality, but the USA provides some amazing vistas.
Glad you made it back safely and thanks for sharing.
Thank you!
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by whodidntante » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:27 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 7:28 am
When I saw the thread title, I assumed this would be a flight of fancy, and you'd be talked down by the relentlessly logical bogleheads. Imagine my surprise when I clicked in and saw that you were already done. :mrgreen: Very impressive sir!
No reasonable person would ask the bogleheads permission to do something risky, unless the unspoken objective is to be talked out of the thing.

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WestUniversity
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by WestUniversity » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:33 pm

Congratulations! What an achievement! BTW have you read the Walk series by Richard Paul Evans? Your story sounds very similar...

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by RetiredInTheWest » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:53 pm

That is a great story! Congratulations!

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Fitch » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:14 pm

I read thru most of your blog last night. Super enjoyable for me. I enjoy walking and hope to do something epic in the not too distant future. How did you handle the dog encounters? I saw you had some but didn't see what you did about it. I would also worry about snakes and cayotes sleeping in the desert. Basically I'm afraid of animals. :wink:

SuperGrafx
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by SuperGrafx » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:21 pm

Nice accomplishment.

Question --- how is this a personal consumer issue?

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Dave55 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:30 pm

What a Wonderful & Exciting Journey! Congrats!

Dave

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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by GR8FUL-D » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:33 pm

Generally-speaking, did you plan how many miles to walk each day so that you'd end up in a specific location, or did you just "wing-it" and stop walking when you got tired?

"I almost died only once."

Was this the heat-related incident you referenced? If not, would you mind sharing details?

"It's good to be home, but it feels anticlimactic, and it's taking a while to readjust."

Anticlimactic, in that you thought you'd feel somehow different, more of a changed person as a result accomplishing this feat?

When you say it's taking a while to readjust, is that because you now perceive your day-to-day "normal" life to be somewhat boring (less purposeful? less challenging?? less meaningul???) relative to what your life was like on the road?

Kudos for attemping such a challenging goal & summoning the strength & perseverance necessary to accomplish it.

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Jazztonight
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Jazztonight » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:38 pm

Fitch wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:14 pm
I read thru most of your blog last night. Super enjoyable for me. I enjoy walking and hope to do something epic in the not too distant future. How did you handle the dog encounters? I saw you had some but didn't see what you did about it. I would also worry about snakes and coyotes sleeping in the desert. Basically I'm afraid of animals. :wink:
It's reasonable to be cautious when necessary. Fear is another thing, and that's very personal. But certainly, big dogs or attacking dogs can be scary.

During my first dog encounter, the dog came running unexpectedly across the road at me, and I pointed at it and yelled loudly, "Stop! Go home!" a number of times. The owner came out and also started yelling at the dog. It didn't attack me. In fact, none of the barking dogs attacked. They just threatened. I always kept walking.

Other times, I pointed the trekking pole I had at a dog and yelled at it to stop and go home. Another time I picked up a stick and threw it to the side. One time over 40 tiny little dogs (I counted them, but lost count after 40) came running out towards me, followed by an apologetic owner. It was comical, and we both laughed.

I encountered snakes a few times, but they didn't bother me. I heard coyotes while in my tent, but they didn't bother me either. I was fortunate in so many ways, so many times. The most annoying things were swarms of flies. That lasted 2-3 days.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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Jazztonight
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Jazztonight » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:40 pm

SuperGrafx wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:21 pm
Nice accomplishment.

Question --- how is this a personal consumer issue?
Well, it's not a financial issue. And this is where the physical fitness and travel posts are. Hope you don't mind.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

Fitch
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Fitch » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:43 pm

Did you keep track of expenses? I'm curious how much since you stayed in so many hotels and had to eat in a bunch of restaurants.

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Jazztonight
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by Jazztonight » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:53 pm

GR8FUL-D wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:33 pm
Generally-speaking, did you plan how many miles to walk each day so that you'd end up in a specific location, or did you just "wing-it" and stop walking when you got tired?
12-25 miles is a typical day's walk. End of the day was determined by destination, fatigue, or convenience.
"I almost died only once." Was this the heat-related incident you referenced? If not, would you mind sharing details?
Yes. Details are in the post or will be expanded in future writing.
"It's good to be home, but it feels anticlimactic, and it's taking a while to readjust."

Anticlimactic, in that you thought you'd feel somehow different, more of a changed person as a result accomplishing this feat? When you say it's taking a while to readjust, is that because you now perceive your day-to-day "normal" life to be somewhat boring (less purposeful? less challenging?? less meaningul???) relative to what your life was like on the road?
Yes, I thought I'd feel different, perhaps a sense of accomplishment. That's not what I feel. I'm just back into the life I led before I started the journey. It's very strange, to be honest. I don't think I've changed; I'm just more of the person I've always been. And I'm in the position of responding to everyone's curiosity and questions, which is to be expected, but I'm having to learn to deal with it.
Kudos for attemping such a challenging goal & summoning the strength & perseverance necessary to accomplish it.
Thank you.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

sabhen
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Re: Walking Coast-to-Coast

Post by sabhen » Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:57 pm

Amazing accomplishment! It is inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

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