Day 20 – Walk slowly and carry a big stick

Cabin packed and walking down the road by 7:45am this morning. Yesterday I had to walk about 1.2 miles up the side of a mountain to get to the campground. This morning it was a slow haul going back down. I have worn the Runabout’s brakes down enough, where squeezing the brake just makes a dragging noise. Also, enough tread has worn off the tires where the parking brake no longer works. Time to break out the wrench and make some adjustments!

I’m definitely at the foot of the Smokey Mountains and seeing more elevation gain everyday. Today I climbed a total of 1200 ft over the hills between Chattanooga and Jasper. Uphill is much better than downhill!

Oh oh, not again!

So much history to read about while walking along the quiet rural roads. Many of the signs have historical information regarding the Cherokee indians. This was their home years ago and is also the location of the ‘Trail of Tears’, where many of the Cherokee lost their lives.

While visiting a museum in my Dad’s home town (Cederidge, CO), my son and I learned that we had some Cherokee blood in our family tree. I think my Dad called BS, but, I’m going to stick with it.

Cruising through the hilly rural areas this morning, I found myself talking to the many horses, cows, chickens, donkeys and dogs that would come close to greet me. When the homeowners would peek their head out, I’m confident they would often think I’m a bit nuts.

Not much for small talk

Moments after leaving my camp this morning, the local mailman passed me several times on a variety of different roads. A couple of hours later he stopped to say Hello and ask what I’m up to. His name is Lonny Ellison, he was incredibly friendly and shared lots of information about the area. After talking a bit, he let me take his picture and wrote down my website information. He also pulled out his wallet and shared all the money he had ($9). Before leaving he also told me about the big sink hole that has made news around Chattanooga for several days. It appeared about 3 days ago in the middle of Interstate 24. Expectation is that it will not be repaired until Saturday. Until then, all traffic is being detoured along SR-41, which is exactly the road i’m walking on. Not good!

Lonny Ellison

I have decided that this week is going to be a slow week, compared to the miles I have been walking lately. A combination of my feet, the weather, the sinkhole, and mountain passes are as good of an excuse as any. I don’t plan to walk past Jasper tonight. Giving me plenty of time to relax and find a decent place to stay before nightfall.  It supposed to rain heavily the next couple of nights, so a roof over-head I shall seek.

Nine miles before Jasper I passed around and over the Tennessee river. It was the first big bridge that I have had to cross. Absolutely NO SHOULDER on this bridge and the metal edge of the bridge was only about 2 feet high. If I didn’t suffer from Vertigo before, I think I do now.

A woman passed me walking next to a campground, approximately 5 miles before Jasper. She was carrying a big stick and listening to her MP3 player. As soon as our paths crossed, she was quick to mention that I should carry as stick with me. Lots of rattlesnakes in the area and they will “jump at ya”! Great…now I need to push a cart AND carry a stick. I think I will just walk down the middle of the road and let the cars passing protect me…

Stopping in the local Hardees restaurant, I observed something that i have never seen in a Hardees, yet alone any other fast-food restaurant before. The place was packed to the brim with locals. Inside, they had brought a local Gospel band in to sing Live for everybody eating their burgers and fries. Awesome!

Today was the first day that I had anything other than a positive experience. Walking into Jasper I was at first pleasantly surprised with the several women who honked, smiled and yelled “Hello”! I was thinking that a rambling man was deemed a bit sexy in these parts. Would there be romance in the air? Nope.

Walking through town I passed 7 bail-bond agencies. 2 youth detention centers, 3 youth court buildings and 10-20 criminal attorney offices. What the heck is happening in this little town? It was soon after that a few of the local men (boys) were vocal and tossed a can my way. My guess is that they may have been a signifcant other of one of the ladies who honked and smiled at me. At this time, I remembered the story Frank told about not messing with another man’s woman…

Time to get off the road and find a safe place to stay.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jeanne Morris on May 23, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Oh Great!!!!! Now I have to worry about Rattlesnakes jumping at ya. Take care Son.


  2. Hey, I am your mom’s hairdresser and really enjoyed hearing about your adventure! I was up WAY to late catching up on your entries. You really have a gift for writing so that I can experience your amazing endeavor. My grandmother walked from missouri to oregon in the late 1800’s at the age of 4 as part of the westward migration. Now, through your eyes and writings I will get a small feeling of what it is like. Thankyou.


  3. Posted by Jeanne Morris on May 23, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Hi Bud, Just to let you know Mom stepped on a water snake yesterday up at the ranch and I know that she jumped 4′ in the air or more. Now she can also carry a big stick.
    It looks like you will be in Nashville by Monday. Your route goes Opryland and the Country Music Hall of Fame. When you get back to Seattle you can tell the folks what good music sounds like.
    Checking your route on Google Earth I see a lot of nice golf courses. I told you, should take your golf clubs with you.
    Take care of the feet, it doesn’t hurt to take a little time off to rest and enjoy the area. Dad


  4. Posted by Blake & Ricki Dowen on May 24, 2010 at 12:29 am

    were they tossing beer cans at you?
    You crack me up with the stick and cart.


  5. Posted by Mike Southards on May 24, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Hey jack, I’m a friend of your Dad’s. (he probably won’t admit that). Keep up the good walk, you’re website is very interesting. I have pasted this site on to a couple of the girls in the office and they are tracking your progress also. Needless to say we are all very proud of you and what your doing.


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