Fresh updates from the road (now over 1500 miles of it!) in the last days of 2018 and first days of 2019.

 

Day 95/97

Today, on the road out of Seymour (which I reached after a 25 mile walk on Christmas Day), Sheriff Charlie pulled up in front of Koko and I.

From the photo it looks like he is about to cuff me, possibly for crimes against headwear, but, like all the police so far he was super polite and just checking I was ok. He was especially concerned due to recent wild weather.

Yesterday (Boxing Day) there was an almighty storm in Seymour, as the forecasters predicted. So much so the RV Park cabin I was staying had a three hour power cut.

As it was a day off, I did my laundry. Walking back from the laundrette, the heavens opened big time, so much so I might as well have had a dozen buckets of water poured over me. Lightning cracked, thunder rumbled and the wind let rip in furious bursts, sending an inflatable Santa in one garden hurtling down the High Street at a speed Rudolph could only dream of.

When I got back to my little room I was so grateful to have shelter and warmth again, things that come to mean the world when you’re on the road.

I was also very lucky to be treated to a juicy, indoor BBQ at the Big Empty with the jolly staff, Charlie, Danny, Christina, Tessa, once they got their power back.

The area around here is known as the Big Empty, and in many ways, it is, but I have to say it’s a lot more populated than some of the other parts of America I’ve been walking though. But the big horizoned skies here are like nothing I’ve ever seen, and regularly have me gasping in awe, especially at sunrise or during a storm.

Today I strode out from post-storm Seymour, 25 miles to the tiny village of Dundee (population less than 100) where I am now camped inside an old barn. It still has straw bedding and is very comfy. So happy to find it. Will take a photo in the morning.

Tomorrow it’s another 23 miles to Wichita Falls, so I’m feasting on baked beans, sardines, bananas and M&Ms to stoke my engines.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. 

Night, night.

 

Day 98/100

Well, what better place to wish you all a jolly New Year than the hamlet of Jolly, Texas.

I’ve had an especially fine few days, starting off by bedding down in a derelict barn en route to Wichita Falls, famous for painted horses and Lake Kickapoo (sign photo, sorry couldn’t resist).

Camping on top of straw is bliss, especially after a 26 mile walk, and I slept like a dream.

That evening, while in my tent, I got a call from local couple Becky and Steve who kindly agreed to put me up in Wichita Falls, after tip offs from friends.

After walking 22 miles from the barn I reached their house in the southern suburbs of the city. What hosts they proved to be!

Becky, vice principal at an elementary school, cooked up some mouth watering fajitas and Steve, ex-army, now a food delivery truck driver, introduced me to a local speciality – beer mixed with tomato juice, spicy pepper and a squirt of lime, which certainly put fire in my belly. A dynamic, big hearted couple as were Steve’s twin sister, Stephanie, and her Marine vet husband, Paul, with whom I had a spirited debate about who was the best James Bond. Roger Moore, of course.

Becky fixed up an interview with the local news channel and we were all impressed that Landon, the reporter, not only fired questions, took the video footage, wrote up the story, edited the film and then donned a suit and tie and presented it all on TV. Local news is always run on a budget but that’s what I call serious multi tasking!

Click to see the interview: World walker stops in Wichita Falls

Today, several drivers who had seen the news, pulled over to talk. One couple stopped ahead of me, pointed frantically at the road below them, and drove on. When I reached the spot, they had left a package on the hard shoulder labelled Merry Christmas with homemade cookies, muesli bars and hand warmers.

Incredibly, in Texas, thanks to all this kindness, I think, despite walking miles each day, I’m actually gaining weight!

Thanks for reading and wishing you all a jolly and blessed 2019.

 

Day 101/103

Happy New Year! Hope 2019 proves a vintage one for you all. Also thrilled to belatedly celebrate 1,500 miles.

I spent New Year’s Eve walking 29 miles (a loooong day) to Nocona. I hobbled in after dark with two head torches attached to my head (back and front) and one strapped to Koko.

As it was New Year and blooming freezing, I treated myself to a night in the cheap, cheerful Budget Inn: a bed, a shower and a heater. Hurrah!

Next to the Budget Inn was a sign blazing ‘Nocona Beer’. Surely not! Remember, this is the Bible Belt, so most places have no alcohol licence, and I’ve hardly touched a drink for weeks.

Sure enough it was a brewery: the first I’d passed to date. Top result for New Year

Russell, the manager – who’d seen me walking on the road earlier in the day – and the team, Kyle, Cody and Rachel, kindly treated me to a pork bun and a glass of Nocona Special IPA (way better than Bud!).

It only takes a sniff of beer to have me reeling these days and after the 29 miles I conked out pre-midnight, happy as Larry.

New Year’s Day stayed below freezing as I walked on another 22 miles to Muenster, where I’ve been put up by the hearty Henscheid family – Valerie, a social worker;  Lonnie, a postman and twin sons, Chad and Ryan.

They treated me to tasty Taco soup, black eyed peas (eaten for good luck at New Year) and a glass of red, plus an amazing sherry trifle, courtesy of neighbour, Pat. All of them great company to kick off the year and so generous.

“We are German Catholics,’ joked Valerie. ‘We have any drink you like in this house.’

In fact, most of historic Muenster’s 1500 population is of German origin and Catholic. They even hold an annual Germanfest (‘Beer, fun, sausages and oomph bands’).

Snow is due tonight but only light so I hope to walk on another 16 miles to Gainesville tomorrow.

As 2019 kicks off I feel so lucky to be on this strange and wondrous quest.

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping great things await you all on the road ahead….

For any donations and details on any of the three great causes I’m walking for, please go to the Charities page.

If you would like to make a donation, simply click Donate. Pick the charity that appeals to you most.

The Alzheimer’s Society, The Puzzle Centre, Medical Detection Dogs

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