Thursday, June 20, 2013

Duchenne to Roosevelt

I'm not sure what day I left... I think it was a Friday or maybe Saturday. Anyway I can't remember but I headed out early in the morning on my way out of Duchesne to Roosevelt. I gathered up my things in my backpack and went to the local grocery store to re-supply. I bought some nutella, tortillas and sunflower seeds. That was going to be my meal for the next couple days. I've been trying to travel light lately so I've cut back on the food and only carry 3 liters of water.

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.

P.S. Today is my birthday... I'm 34! Crazy! 
6/23/79 also the best year for Cadillacs 

1 comment:

  1. Happy belated birthday and that's just a crazy story. We are pretty normal here. Good luck, keep walking, and YOU GOT THIS!