Friday, June 5th, 2015
After a hot morning I finally made it to the road junction with route number 8. Bravo!
Thursday, June 4th, 2015
I got an early start and was out walking at 7 AM. Farmers, starting their tractors, waved. I of course moved to the far side of the road to let their large vehicles pass. there was no road shoulder but with very little traffic the walk was pleasant. I detoured through a corn field. The sun was no up but my water supply, tucked into my fanny pack was ample. I know the end of my dream walk is near. It reflect on that reality.
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015
Fortunately there is a pleasant parallel side road to the heavily traveled road 49. The old highway rambles along endless miles of farm fields. It is quiet. Old fading churches show up every few miles. Good fun!
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015
It was Vondell who said “Contra as Corn Con”. I looked startled and Vondell explains, “That means that someone does not understand”. You see that term comes from cooking corn bread but you does it on the skillet not in the oven” she wen on to tell me that she was one of the first black women to graduate from Jackson State University with a degree in bookkeeping. “And”, she continued, “That police officer wants to date me. He said he was 51 and I told him I had a son that old” With a smile she continued, “I am 82 years old. I ain’t marrying no man!”
Monday, June 1st, 2015
Just before I cross the Mississippi I know that having a memorable photo is a necessity. To get a panoramic view a selfie won’t work so I recruit a photographer of sorts. First a homeless man named Ray agrees to help. But after I leave the river I discover that for unknown reasons the photos did not come out. Undaunted I recruit a local young man, Mon, who lives near the river. We are successful. But, Mon’s bright white sneakers are smeared with Mississippi mud. He rushes home to clean them and look good once again. It is then I notice the bulky electronic tracking device strapped to his leg. Best of luck my friend.
Sunday, May 31st, 2015
The ole Mississippi lingers alongside the road as I make my way up a ramp to the paved trail along this famous byway. Barges loaded with heavy cargo ever so slowly meander the murky river. So me how it is romantic and motivates me to push along, happy I guess. I know the end of My Dream Walk is near. Of course, I am not totally lucky as I get caught in a rainy downpour and am driven for shelter when the thunder arrives.
Saturday, May 30th, 2015
I know I am in the deep south now. It is the mood, or at least as a Northerner sees it. It is pleasingly slow moving and more laid back than the hustle of New York. And yes, it is certainly friendly. [New Yorkers are too] Then at least here there is the obvious poverty.
Employment seems problematic. There are not many large manufacturing facilities. There is a Walmart of course. But I wonder what the future really holds for the good people here.
Friday, May 29th, 2015
It was a back road, dirt first hard gravel next. Thankfully it ran parallel to Route 1 allowing me to stay off of this main highway.
The pick-up truck pulled up beside me. “Is that you Tom?”, a familiar voice said.”My son’s farm is just ahead. Meet me there”. I was intrigued and pleased.
The voice was none other than Roger Fisher whom I had encountered both of the previous two days. Small world!
Roger explained many details of Arkansas farming.”We irrigate by gravity”, he explained while showing me an intrecate maze of exactly dimensioned levies encircling his soybean field. “There are many absentee landlords around here”, he continued. “The land lease costs $200 an acre. That will bankrupt a farmer. The other way is better. The landlord takes 25% of the crop”
Now that is education while race walking!
Thursday, May 28th, 2015
I get an early start, while it is cool. By afternoon the temperature is 85 degrees. ther is no ocean breeze here in the deep south. I plug forward, hot but happy!
Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
Well, here I am. It is evening and I am walking, trying to make up time since my plane here from NY was delayed. As it gets dark I am hungry. The local steakhouse is closed. I see the light on the hill just above the well manicured driving tee. As I enter the club house of the golf club I am warmly received by the local Arkansas folks. We chat, I meet Roger Fisher, family, and friends.
The next morning over McDonald’s coffee I ask Roger. “What should I look for in Arkansas”. “It’s the people. We are just friendly. That is the most important thing about Arkansas.