March, page 5
Continued from March page 4
Journal entry, 3-27-06
This morning I woke up about 7:30 am. I felt the warm sun shinning through my tent and it felt good. I can say that I
didn't want to get up. But I knew I had to get started if I was going to get good miles in today.
I left Wheatland at about 8:30 am. Today I walked on the right side of the road because it was still a 4 lane and it
had plenty of shoulder. The day was pretty much uneventful until I was about 2 miles from Washington, In. I needed
to rest so I crossed the road ditch and went up the side of a hill to a grassy area about 30 yards from the highway. I
leaned back on my back pack as I sat on the hill side with a great view of the highway. After about 10 minutes I
heard a siren and I thought that maybe there was an accident on the highway. I saw several emergency vehicles
approach from the west. To my surprise they stopped right where I was. It took a few seconds to click in that they
were stopping for me. One of the EMT's recognized me from seeing my picture in the news. She explained that
someone with a cell phone had spotted me and thought I was hurt or something. There was a total of 2 ambulances
and 3 police cars that pulled up. I apologized to them and explained I would try to hide further off the road in the
future. We all had a good laugh and they were grateful that I was okay. They posed for a picture.
I am used to getting the police called about me, but that was the first time that a whole emergency crew showed up.
The problem is that there is no place to rest so that passing motorist can not see me. So this may be an ongoing
problem for me. I cannot walk more than 7 or 8 miles without needing at least a 30 minute rest. But with a few
breaks I can do 15-17 miles easily.
I got to Washington at about 4 pm. I stopped long enough to use the restroom & grab a sandwich. It started raining
so I sat inside for about an hour. The rain let up for a while so I went about 1/2 mile up the road and found a nice
grassy area behind some trees just off the road. I set up camp and got inside the tent just as it started raining again
and continued most of the night. I can say that with my nice REI equipment I stayed nice and dry. About 30 minutes
later Tim O'neal from the St Louis Post Dispatch called and said he would like to come out and walk with me. I was
happy because I had grown to like him a lot. He always calls to check up on me and he did an outstanding job with
his article about me when I first started my Journey. He was bringing Robert Cohen, The photographer as well.
So I told him I was really looking forward to seeing them both again and to come when ever they would like. He said
they would be here bright and early in the morning.
So as I lay here listening to the sound of raindrops falling on my tent, while feeling nice and comfy. I am looking so
forward to seeing my friends Tim & Robert tomorrow. I am growing tired now so good night all. Gary, "Keep on
Walking, one foot in front of the other."
Journal entry, 3-28-06
Tim & Robert showed up early. They found my tent and came up to me as I was getting up. I was sure happy to see
them. It took me 3 times as long to take my tent down because I was so excited to talk with them. Tim did me the
honor and brought me a cup of Decaf and a sausage sandwich. After about 30 minutes I finally got my gear packed
away. Robert was doing his normal thing of taking hundreds of pictures..
Just before we started walking Tim ask me about some of the most unusual occurrences that I have seen. I told him
& Robert about how cows & horses notice me when I walk by and most of the time they run to the fence and stare at
me until I am out of sight. Later during the walk Robert found a pasture that had a few cows in it. He went behind
them to see if he could get pictures of the cows looking at me as I walked by. They did look and he did get pictures.
As Tim and I walked we talked a lot about my experiences. Robert was always just ahead of us taking picture.
About half way to Montgomery we came upon a fruit stand that was closed but offered a place to rest. After about a
30 minute rest we continued on and shortly came upon an Amish Restaurant. Tim & Robert treated me to a nice
lunch. We met Katrina Knepp and Dona Yader, 2 Amish Girls that were our waitresses. They were very nice and
friendly. They allowed me to take their picture. (Most Amish people will not allow their pictures to be taken.)
The restaurant was nice, clean and the food was excellent. After lunch Robert walked with me for a while and Tim
drove ahead. As we got to Montgomery we stopped at a business and Tim went inside to ask if it was shorter to take
old hwy 50 or the newer one around town. We met Fannita Wagler who is a Menonite Lady. She was very friendly &
helpful. We were told it would be better to stay on the new hwy 50.
After talking with her for a while, Tim & Robert decided to head back to St. Louis, Mo. We had the lady take our
picture. I am getting to know them pretty good & it is hard to say goodbye.
As they left I walked a little further & took a break and called my wife Cheryl. It was good to hear her voice and soon
I was over feeling lonely. I continued walking and realized there were no more places on the side of the road to take
a break. I ended up walking all the way to Loogootee, In. I got there about 8 pm. It was very hard finding a place to
put my tent. Finally I camped beside the water tower. It was very wet & it was hard staying dry. By 9 pm I was in my
tent and by 9:30 I was asleep. Take care all, Gary, "Keep on Walking, one foot in front of the other."
Journal entry, 3-29-06
I woke up about 6 am. As I was breaking camp I realized that I was in a mud hole. My sleeping mat was soaked. I
decided to go to the laundry mat to wash cloths and dry things out. I was very thankful that it did not get very cold
While at the Laundry mat a reporter with the Loogootee Tribune named Nancy Jones came by to interview me. She
was very nice and it was a pleasure talking with her.
After my cloths were washed I went to the local library. They had just completed moving into a new building and were
already set up and well organized. I was able to read and answer a few emails. I would like to mention that most
libraries have no problem with me using their computer. However, one library back in Lawrenceville, Illinois did not
allow me to use their computers. They said their computers were for locals only. Even after explaining I would only
use it for a short time, and explaining about my journey, she was very stern about not allowing me to use a
computer. I told her that her library was the first one I found in the whole state of Illinois that did not allow others to
use their computers. I guess what makes it even worse is that I walked over a mile in cold rain and sleet with the
wind blowing hard, just to get there. I know now to call first to say the least. The main reason for mentioning this is
that most libraries are warm and eager to help. That is also the way most Americans are that I meet out here on my
After the library I decided to ask at the Eldorado Motel if they would give me a special rate for a room. Mary &
Charles Stout run the Motel and they agreed to help me out. Later that evening I went next door to the Restaurant
Mata's Pizza & Grill and met Jeff Bledsoe. He made me a hot sandwich even though it was closing time. He invited
me back the next day for lunch on the house, but I declined because I was leaving before they open. I want to give
him a special thanks all the same.
So now I have my laundry washed, my gear dried out and a wonderful day behind me with new friends. What else
can a fat guy walking across America ask for. I used the rest of the evening to make journal entries. I was happy for
the hot shower and nice clean soft bed. Take care all and have a wonderful night. Gary, "Keep on Walking, one
foot in front of the other."
Journal entry, 3-30-06
This morning I got up and took a hot shower and packed my things. I left the motel at around 9 am. I left Loogootee
headed for Shouls which was about 12 miles. It was really some nice country side with many large rolling hills. I
enjoyed the walk.
As I got to Schoals a nice lady named Jamie Batman stopped and said she recognized who I was when I walked by
her flower shop. She said she was compelled to stop and offer assistance. She called her husband Preston and
asked if they could put me up for the night. He said it was fine with him. She took me to a store and bought me a
diet soda and some fresh fruit.
Their house was very nice and the extra room had a very nice comfortable bed. I had a wonderful time visiting with
them and went to bed at about 11 pm. I had a great night and slept very well. Take care all, Gary, "Keep on
walking, one foot in front of the other."
Pastor Brent Cramer & Jack Smith
Wheatland Christian Church,
people that got a
tip from a motorist
that I was hurt or
dead on the side
of the road
Fannita Wagler of
Tim O'neil, Me and
Katrina Knepp and Dona
Yader, 2 Amish waitresses
Nancy Jones with the
I posed with Mary and Charles
Stout, Managers of the Eldorado
Motel in Loogootee, In.
Jeff Bledsoe, owner of the
Mata's Pizza & Grill
up in the