When I tell folks about my journey from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico they invariably ask “do you have someone with you”. Of course the answer is no. I have so far not had the luxury of having a companion driving along side me taking care of my every need. And I am not a backpacker trekking with a full load through the wilderness. So how do I do it?
In Stage 1 down the Dalton highway I towed a small trailer and all terrain vehicle behind my camper van. I would drop off the ATV at a distant point and return in the camper to my starting point. Then walk to the ATV and drive it back to the camper, hook-up, and continue the process again, again and again. This approach is very tedious.
And so, I developed the alternative “leap-frog” style. Here I park the camper, walk a distance of typically five miles, walk back to the camper, then drive ten miles from this point. The process is repeated all day. I of course only drive the precise number of miles that I have walked. Every mile walked is carefully recorded in my log book. I confirm the distance I have traveled by three different methods, road mile makers, the odometer in the vehicle, and by always using a stop watch to carefully track my pace.
The leap-frog approach also allows me to transport food, water, emergency equipment and spare clothes in the van and not of my back. More importantly, other adventurous people perhaps would like to undertake similar journeys but do not because they cannot find others to accompany them. Leapfrogging allow you to go it alone.
Yes, walking alone for weeks at a time along a desolate road can at times be eerie. Having a vehicle, however, gives you the confidence that when needed you will be able to locate those very people who you have worked so hard to avoid.
Finally, all journey walks rely on personal integrity. You must be honest with yourself. There are many examples in running literature where long distance runners, even with a handler in a vehicle, have accepted rides over a distance which they then have claimed to have run. For me, if the road is 411.55 miles, that is exactly the distance I will walk along the road!