Monday, June 24, 2013
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Now I'm not sure how it happens but we always end up with WAY too much water. Some how the water seems to multiply. People see me on the side of the road so they stop and bring me a water bottle and say the same thing every time "its so hot out today, I though you might need some water." I try to drink as much as I can right then and there because we can't carry all that extra weight. Every pound counts! Anyway, we leave Duchesne and it's a slow walk down the road as the trees and bushes slowly turn into dirt, desert and sagebrush. There's just not a lot out there. The heat of course is a constant companion so we try and walk early in the mornings that way we can get a lot of miles in before it gets too hot.
You know what's funny is that I start to crave the lonely road. I start to want to be alone, not near anybody. I don't know where this came from... I've never been like this before but I enjoy being nowhere and honestly I enjoy being nobody. Now I know walking with the goat attracts a lot of attention and then everybody thinks you're a somebody... well not a somebody but you just get noticed is what I'm trying to say. There's this feeling I can't describe… something about complete isolation. Not the "alone" that I've normally liked with the back drop of the city... like alone in a crowd if that makes any sense. The feeling of when there's no cars on the road and its just you and the long stretch ahead in the late afternoon. I love it!
So Leeroy and I walked as far as we could and ended up staying the night just outside of Myton. We snuck off the road about 50 feet into a group of trees and bushes in an otherwise empty field. I set up our campsite right in the middle. The next morning we got up really early and I tell you I could almost smell the eggs and pancakes in the next town. It was 4 miles away and I was so excited. There was a lot of construction on the road in that area. They were adding 2 lanes to the existing road so we were walking on smooth ground. It felt like we are being ushered in on the red carpet into Myton. Mind you it's not a big town, it's actually really small with a gas station and restaurant.
We walked to the restaurant and this big old bearded man immediately came out. He was talking fast, kind of mumbling and added at least 12 curse words to every sentence. He was a good guy, in fact most of the men out here seem like they are good old boys. Most of them work at the surrounding oilfields in the area. Berry Petroleum is the company (I think). So he takes me in and starts yelling at everybody. He doesn't know how to work a smart phone (that was very clear) but he was trying to look up a phone number. He couldn't seem to find it and then sits down next to me and starts telling me about how he worked on the rig all his life and how it's great money. He kept asking me questions about what I was doing with a goat and the walk ….but to be honest all I really remember him saying was the F word ...he was asking me "is this some kind of an f***ing scam ...are you f***ing around and using these kids to instead take all the f***ing money"? At one point I just couldn't stop laughing cause he was such an intense guy! You know the type? Very overpowering and seems to have no idea he's being rude to everybody around him including the waitress. I tried to talk to him but really we had nothing in common and I have a hard time with the lack of common courtesy. So I laugh and told him " it's official man, you can check it out on the website, you can check my tax ID number." He eventually left and I spent a little more time there relaxing and charging up my electronics.
At about lunch time I packed up my stuff and as I was leaving the restaurant the owner and the waitress both gave a donation and some Gatorade for the road. We took a bunch of pictures and I head out hoping to make it the 8 miles to Roosevelt. Chugging along slowly we made our way back to the road. It was hot outside and incredibly windy and I could see the town in the distance. A guy pulled over in a white Cadillac and offered me a slice of pizza. We talked for a little bit as he offered me another one for the road. *Side note* I think I might be the only guy to ever walk across America and gain weight while doing it… no joke. Anyway so I'm walking with a slice of pizza in hand and I think to myself, I have got to be the most odd looking thing anybody's seen.... just imagine ... You see me walking down the road... a guy with a safety vest and backpack walking with a goat while munching on a slice of pizza. How weird! I think the same thing when I'm brushing my teeth. Again walking down the road brushing my teeth and flossing. I think how awkward it must be for everybody else. Strange/weird and a probably a bit confusing... what is that guy doing!?
Just before Roosevelt I meet these two girls. I see them kind of creeping a good half a mile away. They turned around a couple of times before I see them waiting on the side of the road for me. Apparently they're incredibly huge goat fans. We chatted for a bit as I told them my story and they were having some kind of camp out and wanted to invite me. I said I'm always up for hanging out with people plus I love the idea of campfires and sharing stories like a bonfire. At least that's what I was thinking but that's not even close to what was going to happen. We made a plan and I was going to keep walking as far as I could and they would come find me at 6 o'clock with the truck. So I was super excited! I walked toward Roosevelt where people were once again pulling over nonstop just to know whats up and to donate. Constant donations, it was incredible! Everybody was just pouring out everything that was in their pockets and I was so overwhelmed at times by their generosity.
So this is just the beginning, it gets better. I walked till I was about a mile from downtown when the girls came and picked me up. We had to go and meet some of their other friends downtown at a restaurant that one of them used to work at. Obviously they felt like they want to show me off and once again everyone was like YOUR FAMOUS! Everyone is talking about you on Facebook! Believe it or not sometimes I get embarrassed or shy and I DEFIANTLY don't feel famous. We sat and had some food then drove over to the hotel that the other girl worked at and again meeting more friends. At that point I felt like I was being shown off for sure but I took the opportunity to hand out cards and share the story. I will share with anyone that will listen. Next stop, one of the girls' house to meet their family.
After that we somehow ended up at at the local newspaper where one of the girls' mom has a paper route. So we were going to count papers .... I was jazzed. I was going to see the article that Dustin had written for the first time. I walked in and started counting papers. I take a look at one of the papers and I was right on the cover!!!! A big article! I stopped counting papers so I could read what it said. It was great! More blatant then some of my other interviews about the Lord and my faith and what I was doing this for … but it was awesome. The workers were folding the papers and stacking them and I started yelling and doing a little dance. I'm on the cover !!!! Catching covers yall!!!! Catching covers!!!! I was super excited but everybody just looked at me. Clearly not the crowd that would be excited with me but I didn't care. I take pride in a good article. After getting the papers we ended up leaving. I was thinking, camping here we come! Now when I say camping I'm thinking woods, trees, bonfire but they kept on calling it "the property". Well the thing is it was actually someone else's property. There were some old trailer homes on it and they were building some kind of a huge barn thing.
One of their friends' dad owned it and this is where all the kids hung out. Now I was starting to think this is getting kind of questionable. A 33-year-old guy with a goat and a bunch of younger kids in a trailer and I was starting to feel uncomfortable. I was trying to get to know them, talk to them to find out their story. It was not working. They were just too closed off. One of the boys informed me that we can't stay the night there like I originally thought and no one knew what to do. I was starting to get really nervous at this point. My first concern was the project, then Leroy's and my safety. I want to do the right thing as much as I could. It was starting to get late, the boys wanted to go home and no one knews where anybody is going to stay the night. It was getting dark so we head back into town and on the way I told them I was just going to stay at a hotel and they were to go to their friends. We pulled over at a gas station so I could look up a hotel and call them to try to reserve a place for Leeroy and I.
After that was figured out, I walked over to talk with a guy that I haven't met yet. He was about 22 years old and I heard he owns his own company. I didn't really know much about him but he pulled out all the money he had in his pocket and gave it to me. To my surprise it was a lot at that moment, it was the biggest contribution anyone individually has donated. A 22-year-old kid gave well over $100! I just couldn't believe it. I shook his hand holding back tears. I was so impressed by this young guy. We got back in the truck and drove to the hotel. They dropped me off and made plans to have them come pick me up in the morning and take me back to where I was so I could continue walking.
That night I went to bed thinking about that young guy. I wondered if he knows, if he gets how incredible his giving was. I wanted to know more about him. Why he was so generous, what his background was? I think about that a lot. I think that about a lot of people that I meet actually. I just wish I had more time to get to know them than those 3 to 5 minute conversations on the side of the road. I want to know what makes them want to trust what I'm doing and give. It's crazy. The next morning I got picked up, dropped off, and continued walking all the way into Roosevelt.
Saturday, June 15, 2013
While I wait for my food I plug in my phone, IPad and IPod getting them all charged. In my mind I'm thinking, should I stay here for the night or should I press on to the next city? I look over the maps app on my phone and I check the distances to the next town. About a two days walk. So I decide to stay the night in Duchesne. I get on Facebook and see that I got a message from a guy named Dustin. He's a reporter for the Vernal and Roosevelt newspaper. He wanted to meet for an interview and I'm always excited about that because the interviews always get the ball rolling. Once people see me in the paper they want to meet me and take pictures and ask questions. It's always a great way to get started in a new city. I called a couple hotels (well there were only two in town) the first place was Duchenne River Inn. The receptionist was unsure about the goat so I politely said thank you and hung up. Later the owners daughter of the Duchenne River Inn came into the restaurant and said that I could stay there with the goat and that they had a place for Leeroy. I turned it down because I worked out a place for Leeroy at the other hotel. I continued eating while checking Facebook and working on my school stuff (making plans for the next few weeks).
During that time a couple people from the restaurant had donated to the project. Another lady had left and then came back and paid for my meal which I was so grateful for. Those people were so kind and that's when everything seemed to turn around and all the craziness started. Generosity from that moment on had been outrageous!!! The owner of the Deschenes River Inn found me and said that I could stay at their hotel for free and that they had a place for Leeroy! I had a hard time passing that up so I gratefully accepted. I walked half a block from Cowans Café to the Inn when I was greeted by the owners daughter. We took pictures and talked a little then they gave me my hotel key. I was headed to the room and man was I excited. They even had a little fenced off area for Leeroy so I could look right out my window and see him. I got settled in my room and was getting ready for my interview.
We made plans to meet at the hotel I was staying at so I didn't have to go anywhere. When I first started doing interviews at the beginning of this trip, I was very nervous but now I'm very very casual with reporters or whoever is interviewing me. I just do whatever is on my to-do list and let them ask me questions as I work. Dustin was on his way but I needed to do my laundry. So we were going to do laundry together (hopefully he didn't mind). Not to long after Dustin showed up. An average height man, big thick mustache with a short average hair cut and glasses. He had his hands full of camera stuff and seemed kind of quiet, not like some reporters who are just talking talking talking non-stop; full of questions. Dustin just seemed like more of a listener.
The most important thing to me was that he was asking me about my relationship with Christ. He seemed sincerely interested and wanted to know the real story. Who I was as a person, what kind of a man I was. Not just "why you walking across America with a goat" or "where do you sleep". It was refreshing so I spilled my guts to him. We talked about Uzima and he asked all the right questions. He listened as I shared about my friend ST and how it all came about. It was pretty perfect! We ended the interview and he took some more pictures of me and Leeroy walking on the road. I thanked him for taking the time and doing the interview. As he left I sat there thinking to myself.... I may have just given him way too much information!
Saturday, June 8, 2013
At about 6am I got up and started to break down camp. I loaded up and we headed out back up towards the summit. It was brutal! The higher we went, the colder it got. At about 9,124 feet we found the summit and took an extra long break at the top. The summit was enclosed by trees so u really couldn't see anything (well not from where I was) so I walked about a block down the other side of the summit and the song "Bitter Sweet Symphony" randomly came on in my head phones. The trees part and I'm walking along the edge of the mountain with the music being the soundtrack to the moment. I looked out over the Uintah Basin with the rolling hills out in the distance. A few of them were snow caped with the valleys below, trees, and a beautiful blue sky with a few clouds slowly passing in the breeze. There I was... soaking up the moment.... it was like something from a movie! Climbing to the summit had taken all my energy for the day but now I was on top of the world! Smiling from ear to ear, I had this high...this... I don't know just this moment thinking about all that I have done to get there and all that was to come. Just pure joy! We walked another 6 miles to bring the total miles for the day to 15.
We kicked out as far off the road as we could get and ended up in the middle of this dust sage brush field. I quickly set up camp, snapped a few pics and headed to bed. I was beat! At about 10:30pm I woke up to use the bathroom (the things we take for granted ) did my duty and noticed how quiet and completely dark it was. I jump back in my tent and into the sleeping bag... It was getting cold! I stuck my head out the tent door to star gaze for a few. It was amazing! So beautiful! Since then I have tried to watch the stars every clear night. It always makes me ponder God and how big He must be. I fell asleep late, woke up early and walked into the small town of Duchesne Utah. It has been 7 days since I strolled into the town of Duchesne and I have to tell you, my world has been turned upside down! That will be in the next blog...
Monday, June 3, 2013
Thank you again for all your generosity!
Sunday, June 2, 2013
After jammin for a while we put down the guitars and start talking about the walk again. I had to pray right then and there for myself (to myself, not out loud). I asked the Lord to soften my heart cause I can get pretty stubborn at times and when I get something in my head I recklessly rush into it. I told James my plan to go ahead and bury water and food every 30 miles but he was not convinced. He was still concerned about the Roosevelt tunnel and the mountain pass, Vale with all the snow. He was adamant, "go highway 40!" We went over it so many times that at some point I zoned out and wasn't thinking about the route anymore. I still had a lot of things I wanted to say to him... I wanted to bring back our conversation from the night before that we didn't get to finish. It was really important to me.
Here is an illustration I thought of. I hope it gets the point across. Let's say your best friend in the world has a kid and the kid is on the side of the road in distress. They got in a wreck so you stop to help and make sure they are safe and not alone. You might drive them home if need be. You do that cause you love your friend, not to score points or balance your wrongs some how. Now lets say that in the same story you didn't stop. You drove by and didn't help. And let's say your friend found out that you didn't stop and help their child when they were in need. How do you think your best friend would feel? My point is this, as a man that professes to love Jesus the reason I am walking across America and the reason why St is in Africa doing all the work for Uzmia is because we love Jesus! With all we are and to the best of our abilities we are going to serve those in need. Not so we can balance out our wrongs or score points to get to heaven but to serve because we love.
Saturday, June 1, 2013
I have to admit this hurts! It has taken me nearly a year to really put it all on the line! But i really am doing it! steven wescott (@stevenwescott) tweeted at 11:00 AM on Sat, Jun 01, 2013: Selling the last of my gear! Needle2square! I am all in now! Nothing left! I gave music up b4 and God always brings it back some how! (https://twitter.com/stevenwescott/status/340875520499650562) Get the official Twitter app at https://twitter.com/download
Next time I would like to play the drums... or accordion...