I woke up the next morning in a clean bed, wearing clean clothes and with a clean body... It felt funny. I think I find comfort in the dirty dude vibe now… I know, kind of gross. We got ready and headed over to the concert for the sound check. The singer kept asking me questions about the walk between songs but I got to say I remember the band being cooler back in the day… haha . I waited till they were done and headed to get my picture taken with the band. I don't really know what happened but they took off before we got to take a picture together. It's all good though, I really wanted to go so I would make it on time to the the Relay for Life event. I there just before the opening ceremonies and to be honest they were so awkward and things just seemed to get worse not better. A few cool things happened like meeting the vice president of The American Cancer Society. We took pictures and chatted a bit but that was it.
I don't know what my expectations were for the event but whatever they were, that was not it. It was more like a carnival with games for kids, people camping out and just all kinds of "fun" stuff. I personally took this very seriously and it touched a bit of a sore place in my heart. This wasn't suppose to be some fun event. This was about the lives ruined by cancer. I was thinking a lot about the last few times I saw my father and was struggling to hold back tears ( I realize now that I'm a bit of a cryer haha). My head was down and I was trying not to make eye contact. I didn't want to socialize, I wanted to grieve my father for a bit.
During the opening ceremonies they said no dogs were allowed but I had asked the event organizers 3 different times if it was ok that I walked with the goat and they really wanted me to stay and walk with Leeroy. However everyone around me was like "they said no pets" and every second person was sure to remind me of that. It didn't help that those who didn't care that Leeroy was there actually wanted a picture with him. My heart was just not in to it at all. I didn't want to share or take pictures. After about 4 times around the small track I left very disappointed by the whole thing.
The next day I went to the bank, then to the postoffice and that afternoon while I was chilling in my hotel room Dominos pizza called ME and asked if I wanted a pizza…hahaha…they called me!!! I thought that was pretty funny. Thanks to everyone at Vernal Dominos Pizza!
Monday morning I woke up and headed to the radio station for the interview. I was scheduled to meet Andrea and do the morning show with her. It was quick and easy, we had a good time. Andrea had offered for LeeRoy and I to stay at her place that night and I gladly accepted . The Smith family! Joann, Shaun, and Andrea, it was a great time! Let me start off with this, Joann is a lawyer, Shaun is a detective and Andrea is a reporter and they all live together in the same house. Haha sounds like the start of a joke right!
Monday night they had a BBQ for me and invited friends over. We hung out, ate, laughed and had a great time. Now I don't know how you feel about it but I'm a big fan of cigars. I was given a box of cigars by a girl named Anne in another town so we decided to share cigars, tell stories and talk about life. Those are things I love to do the most. One by one, people started heading inside and going to sleep cause they had to work the next day. The last two up were me and Andrea. We talked about relationships, life, God and at one point I was quoting scripture. The next day we got up and headed to another radio station. Andrea drove LeeRoy and I to my first interview at 8:30am with Lincoln Brown. It was a good interview, no commercials, just talking straight through. Thinking that was going to be my only interview I was going to leave, but in the same building was a country station and they decided to have me on too. So I did another interview last minute and after Andrea took me on a mini tour around town. We had a quick lunch and then I headed home for a nap. That night we had a BBQ again and again I spilt my guts about the good and bad in my life. It was awesome to become friends with these people! Shaun and Andrea have really become fast friends and I really enjoy that this wasn't just a host home but it turned into a friendship.
The next day I was back on the road. I got dropped off and after we said our goodbyes we made plans to have another BBQ in Jensen, UT, the next town the next day. One of the people at the BBQ the other two nights was named Ken. He lives in Jensen and I was going to stay there for the night. They were going to have another BBQ and I made the Smiths promise they would be there. *Sidenote, one of the best parts of this walk is that I get to have a BBQ at least a couple nights a week with host family. Love it!
As I started heading out of town it was absolute pandemonium! I had been in the papers, done radio interviews so by now my story was out and almost everybody knew who I was. I ended up being stopped every few minutes….Pictures, donations, it was great!
Here is a cool little story: So I was walking out of town and as I'm walking I see a huge garbage truck pull up next to me which kind of scared me at first. The guy was holding out a $50.00 bill, said "thanks for what you are doing" and left before I even got to say thank you. So to you Mr. Garbage Man, Thank You!
The reality of this project is that I do not have enough money to get across America. On that same note, I honestly feel that where God guides you, He provides for you. When I left for the second part of this journey I didn't have enough money to make it through even a few months and that was a bit scary. Looking back now I remember being really stressed out leaving Vernal. I spent more money than I wanted to there and honestly I am not really good with a budget. So as I was walking I was thinking about food, money and just how I'd make it another week.
I had walked about 7 or 8 miles out of town when I came upon a gas station that was being rebuilt. I will give you little back story. About a year ago a truck was leaking fumes of some sort and it was parked in front of a big warehouse. All the fumes from this tanker had filled up this building and when the heater kicked on in the middle of the night it exploded, blowing apart several building around it including this gas station which was a good quarter-mile away. I pulled up to this gas station around noon. LeeRoy was eating some bushes and I was kind of sitting in the shade of the building. One of the workers was eating his lunch and we got to chatting about what I was doing, just same old same old, just chit chatting. This guy asked me if I wanted any power bars and I said "sure, absolutely". He went to his truck and brought back a box overflowing with power bars, granola bars, chips and sunflower seeds. The owner of the gas station had given them to him because they could not resell them. Everything was considered lost in the explosion. Remind you, these were perfectly good bars.
I was so grateful and I gotta be honest, I'm still eating those bars to this day! It blows my mind to be able to pray for food and then have a box of granola bars. I want to make something very clear, this is very specific to my needs. If he would have brought me cans of soup or something that would have needed to be heated up I could not have used it. I do not take a camping stove with me. I can't take any food that needs to be prepared. That kind of stuff, the little details, they always get me. I ended up walking the rest of the way to Jensen that afternoon. As I was walking, there was a truck that was repainting the lines on the road the opposite way I was walking. It was going too slow and there was a truck behind it with a big sign that said NO PASSING. You can imagine how long of a line of cars there was behind that truck. For the next 5 miles cars were just creeping by me and It kinda felt like a parade in reverse… like I was the parade but they were moving. I eventually we got to Ken's house and I got to say Ken is a pretty sweet dude. He is one of those guys that is just super friendly and at 23 years old he owns his own house (which to me is shocking). At 23 I didn't even know how to balance a check book… wait… I don't think I even know how to do that now… hahaha... Just kidding... Kind of...
That night we had another BBQ with Shawn, Andrea and Joann who all came over. I like to ask random questions, like what was the biggest lie you were ever caught in or what is your most embarrassing moment. I gotta say, Andrea takes the cake for biggest lie ever told. Well, maybe it wasn't really a lie, but she just has a real doozy of a story. Sometimes when I'm walking I think about that story and just giggle. Eventually Shaun and Andrea left and it was just Ken and I. We sat on his back porch and smoked cigars, finishing off that box that I was given and we talked about life and relationships. He was struggling from a past relationship that he had been involved in. She had really done a number on his heart. He was questioning whether he could even be in another relationship again, whether he could even trust women. I gave him the only advise that I could think of at the time, I told him this, if you don't kill your past it won't let you live. Since then we have talked about that a couple of times through text messaging. I went to bed a lot later than I wanted to that night. The next day I was leaving the state of Utah and finally made it to Colorado.