Thursday, March 29th, 2012
It is dark as I make my way through a park and then onto an almost deserted highway. I see the lights of an eighteen wheeler rapidly approaching and step far to the side of the road. I am glad I am wearing my recently purchased Wal-Mart reflector vest. It gives me a sense of security even though I am fully aware that the responsibility for my safety is all mine. Drivers at this hour of the morning have likely never encountered a lone walker along this stretch of busy road. The early rain keeps me alert and the hot cup of coffee I carry gives me the perk I need to complete seven miles before breakfast. Yes, this is real life on the road.
Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
It was hot as I wobbled by the peanut farm on the noisy but straight route 84 just East of Duncanville. Desperate for shade as the 1 PM sun blistered above I suddenly noticed a desolate yet parallel road on the North side of the highway. The dusty dirt surface wasn’t the best but the tall trees broke the monotony. Then the dog attacked.
An African American man repairing a beat up pickup truck in front of a run down, but neatly kept house, called off the beast. I waved my gratitude as we exchanged friendly greetings. Five hundred paces later a group of porch sitting elderly women, also African American asked me if I was OK. “I am coming from Alaska and all is well”, I replied. Then two more local men, working under the hood of yet another pick-up, waved congenially. I saluted them back. All was fine. That is, until I headed back on to highway 84 and the police arrived.
When the officer in the highway patrol car saw me and made a quick U turn in the middle of the highway I knew he would be topping to check me out. “What’s going on? We had a call about you”, he asked pleasantly. In a speech rehearsed many times I explained My Dream Walk and thanked him for taking the time to stop. He nodded. Then he speed off down the highway.
The moral of the story â€“ neighbors everywhere are weary of strangers.
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
It is good to be in the old South again. [I graduated from the University of Chattanooga, Tennessee} “Down here there is the Krystal with mini hamburger specials, and, Oh yes, of course The Waffle House”, t he young man at the counter tells me. These are fast food joints Dixie style!
So when a number of patrons at The Waffle House simply said “spread, topped, covered and smothered”, I was not only confused but curious. It seems that in this neck of the woods [As Weatherman Al Rocker would say] this garbled language refers to how you want your brown potatoes- spread em out, pour a healthy portion of melted cheese and fried onions on top, and make sure there is plenty of room for ketchup, that is assuming you do not prefer mayonnaise to round off this delight.
Monday, March 26th, 2012
“You’re not from around here are you?” a well dressed senior citizen asked me. “Cause down here we say doe-than.”
This is a big, spread out, town. Dothan is surrounded by a lariat like road called Ross Circle. People seem o live well here. At Saint Columbine church I am awed by the newness and elegance of this cathedral built in 2007. As the afternoon sun rises I give in to a motivating chocolate covered Krispy Kreme donut.
Sunday, March 25th, 2012
I am near the Alabama little town of OPP. There is a bid day coming. â€“ The Rattlesnake Festival. “First time I see rattlers in January”, a local says.”Been so dern hot brings em out.” Normally for the festival the snakes have t be teased out of their underground nests with a harmless electric probe. But, when the snakes start racing at the festival, and the human types enter their buck dancing competition, then you know you are bound to be in Opp, Alabama.
Sunday, March 25th, 2012
So what’s on the news? After walking 20+ miles each day honestly I could not tell you. When the airwaves do hum I’ve picked up all the talk about Auburn Football. Who’s playing, who has been recruited, what are the odds and of course how will Auburn perform?
So now I know a bit about Auburn University football > It is fun listening to this chatter. It gives me something more to think about during the long day walking alone the road.
Sunday, March 25th, 2012
Enterprise, Alabama is a thriving community. The highway once again serves as the main thoroughfare. But this place is different. It is also the location of Fort Rucker the home of U.S. Army aviation. The neatly dressed soldiers wearing pressed camouflage fatigues show up in the stores, gas stations and chain restaurants. Some wave to me as I wobble along in the early morning. It is then that I get the urge and know that I must revisit my Vietnam helicopter travel days with a tour of the museum.
It is ire seeing that old flying ship at the building entrance and other choppers hanging from the ceiling in the main exhibit hall. Undaunted I wander in the Vietnam room. There the walls are lined with names of the brave pilots who lost their live in Vietnam. “This is as accurate as possible”, a sign reads. It reminds me that some pilotâ€™s bodies still have not been recovered. Yes, sad but true.
Comments Off on Sad but True
Saturday, March 24th, 2012
Miles outside of town you know you are in Trojan country. Road side billboards announce your arrival first to Troy University, home of the Trojans. As an after though you are advised that you are entering the town of Troy. Town pride exudes from the busy highway which also serves as Main Street. Local folks are proud of their special community.
Friday, March 23rd, 2012
Still trying to avoid the ice, snow and closed mountain passes of Wyoming I return to east Montgomery to continue MY Dream Walk through the rural south. Unfortunately highways 231 and 84 are jammed with trucks. The eighteen wheelers do not yield for me but they do seem to slow as they pass a large Baptist church. Several cars are parked in the large parking lot reminding me that religion is alive and well in the old south.
Comments Off on Highway Churches