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Does anyone even look on this website anymore? I sure hope so.

Arrived safe and with all extremities intact, but with a severe case of planter fasciitis that I’m still nursing months later.

It’s funny, this walk was our whole life. For months we planned excessively, fund raised painfully, and then walked both excessively and painfully and now it’s all over. We are back at our respective schools, trying desperately to get it all over with. For Kate and Josh, the end is much nearer insight, for me, well that’s a horse of another, longer color. Kate is completing her “victory lap” at Central Michigan and according to the latest update, hopefully going to China to teach English for a while. Josh is finishing his last year in his Master’s program with a looming thesis hanging above his head. The two are continuing our work at CMU, educating and advocating for the survivors of sexual aggression. They plan on presenting in Florida at the National Sexual Assault in Our Schools Conference. I wish them luck. Me? I am currently living, teaching and taking classes in Athens, OH at Ohio University. Four more years.

I feel comfortable talking for my fellow walkers when I say that this summer was not only unforgettable (there’s a huge tattoo on my wrist that serves as a constant reminder) but powerful and irreplaceable in our lives. Certainly it was the people who we met briefly but will impact our lives forever, that made this trip everything it was and I don’t know where we could even begin to say thanks. So I won’t. To classify my sentiments into words would not do them justice or master all of the warm feelings I have for so many amazing individuals. I read and reread my journal passages often so that I won’t forget you all or your selfless acts.

Because this entry is getting unbearably corny, I’m going to bring it to an end. We would love to remain in contact with you all, so if you think of us and you happen to be sitting near a computer: Rebecca (thorn1r@yahoo.com), Kate (kathrynkreps@gmail.com), and Josh (phill1jd@cmich.edu). We would love to hear from you all.

Thanks at least a billion.

WalkOn,

theWalkers

Brief Update

We are alive.

We are home.

More to follow.

With so many days behind us, I am constantly reminded of how many days we still have ahead of us.  I know what you must be thinking, “Connecticut is such a small and wimpy state, how could it possible have any power over your indomitable will?”  The answer is remarkably simple…our final test is to walk the longest possible distance through the state; the Southwest corner to the Northeast corner.

With this new revelation of distance comes some sad news.  Rhode Island will no longer be on our journey through New England.  My psychic abilities our telling me your thoughts, “But Rhode Island is just around the corner.  If you travel straight east and then straight north you’ll get to Boston and be able to go through Rhode Island.”  I thought the same thing too.  However, contrary to my previously held beliefs about distances and maps, our certified Math genius Rebecca informed me about an ancient legend that involves some guy name Pythagorean and how diagonals are shorter than the sum of two sides.  Therefore, we’re cutting through the middle of the state like a Miracle Blade through a ripe tomato.
Wait, what’s that reader?  I’m getting something…oh you want to hear about some of our adventures.  Well, here’s a fun one.  As we creeped in on the Connecticut boarder a few nights ago, we found ourselves in quite the predicament.  With the sun setting at a record speed we scrambled to find shelter.  Unfortunately, no one was really interested in what we were doing and, because of our offensive smell, it was difficult getting within an ear-shot of people in order to explain our situation.  So with little options and tired feet we did what any sensible college students would do, we grabbed some Buffalo Wild Wings and went to a 10:30 showing of “Wanted.” (We collectively agree that is it a good movie).  Long story short, we got out of the movie at 12:30 am, walked over the Connecticut border and found a hotel at 2:30 am. (Sorry, that was kind of anti-climatic). Thanks Connecticut for street lights and sidewalks.

As I hit the rewind button on my memory, I wonder if you would like to hear about NYC.  I telepathically understand that you do.  Well, NYC was good to us.  Some great people (that we met through Kate) took us in and allowed us to invade their space for a few nights as we toured the city.  Julie, Andrea, and Molly all currently work in NYC and live in Uptown Manhattan.  Utilizing their space as an operational headquarters (kind of like the Bat-Cave) we ventured NYC just like Sara Jessica Parker.  Kate and Rececca did a little shopping, I visited with some old friends (I love Jonathan and Will), and we all played the day away in Central Park.  At the end of it all, we left NYC feeling a little lighter on our feet (mostly because the city sucked so much money out of us…$4 for a bowl of Frosted Flakes? Really?)

To close, I would like to add this – we love you all.  This trip has been amazing for all of us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  While we are closing in on the end, we recognize that we’re not there yet and there is plenty of time left for more crazy adventures.   Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we continue our journey to Boston and back home.  While Connecticut toys with our emotions because of its deceiving length, our spirits our lifted up by those who reside here.  In fact, this current entry is being typed in the kitchen and on the computer of our gracious host Andrew, Terri, and Jesse.

Thanks

theWalkers

-We were given a tour of Washington, DC by the sharpest cat on Capitol Hill. Miss Laly let us in on all the secrets, and we learned that Lady Liberty actually faces East because she is Muslim and must face Mecca. o, how we wish that were true. Also, our waitress wrote an award winning play by 17 years of age. Apparently we’re past our prime.

-Outside of the Capitol we met up with the Death Penalty Protest Walkers we met just North of Raleigh… except for that their walk just ended, and we still have several hundred miles left. We shed a tear on that one.

-Spanish soccer fans are intense, and sometimes they take baths in the fountain at Dupont Circle when their team wins.

-I have bad news and good news. Bad news- there is a serial killer loose in Fayetteville, NC. Good news- we are no longer in Fayetteville, NC.

- Kathy and Doug Bohle are phenomenal human beings who found us a place to stay in Baltimore when all other hope was lost. Much appreciated, seeing as people have been warning us about the streets of Baltimore since Florida.

-In every city/ town/ farm we walk through, people will say something like, “it’s a good thing you are here because this is where sexual violence REALLY happens.” EVERYONE says that. In every place/ ethnicity/ social class. That’s why we walk.

-Who is this Dwayne Johnson, and why does he look like the Rock?

-We stopped at a gas station to ask where the nearest church was, and we ran into a man named Dominic who decided just to take us to church with him. We had a great time with Pastor Mike and the Nathansons, and Steve and Linda were kind enough to open their homes to us that night.

-Here’s to Bob Gell. We stopped in a little place called North East with the hopes of finding lodging for the night. Instead we found fireworks, a flock of politicians, and most importantly, Bob Gell. He was a wonderful man who secretly ran the town who was able to find a church to sponsor a hotel room for us for a night. He also treated us to his life story, which we felt very honored to hear.

-The Fourth of July found us in Philly, and at a John Legend concert right before the big fireworks. I spent Independence Day in the city where they signed the Declaration of Independence. Where were you? I kid, I kid.

- Shout out thank yous to Katie, Bob, Chris, and the crew at Urban Promise.

A strange thing has happened as we move North. When we were in Miami and told people what we were doing, we got the total brush off “yeah right, you’re never gonna make,” and other uplifting bits of encouragement. In Georgia and the Carolinas we had enough distance under our belts for people to take us seriously. Now that we are this far North, though, no one believes us anymore. I cannot tell you how many times I have been forced to remove a shoe so that people can smell just how far we’ve walked. Seriously, it’s not pretty.

It is most decidedly NOT always sunny in Philadelphia,

theWALKERS.

I would take this opportunity and publicly announce my love-hate relationship with Southern Virginia.  We walked through some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen.  With the possible exception of a road running through it, the land was completely untouched.  So what’s the problem?  A girl’s gotta eat.  We spend all day walking at least 15 miles, and what do our little eyes spy in all that time?  A post office.

That is open four days a week.

Two hours at a time.

And guess who wasn’t there during the right two hours?

But being the superb troopers that we are, the march continues until we stumble upon the next building.  In Alberta, VA there is a horse-race gambling joint set a ways off of the road and, though I do not agree with horse racing, it was the reason we got to eat at all that day.  We were greeted at the door by a woman by the name of Murry.  She ushered us inside, assuring us that ‘the food here is delicious.’  That’s what we like to hear, Murry, that’s what we like to hear.  What we do not like to hear, however, is that the next speck of civilization in 12 miles up the road.  Especially when the sun is setting and we are in wild animal country.

While we were distracted with quesdillas, Miss Murry worked her magic on the telephone, and by the time we were done eating three police cars were in the parking lot.  Our own personal escort 12 miles up the road.  What’s more, she arranged for the mayor of Alberta to foot the cost of a hotel room.  So we each were treated to our own personal police car, got a personal tour of the cruiser, and after twelve miles and one donut joke by miss Becca we were settled in at the Nottoway Motel.

So apparently we are famous now.  As we were walking down still empty but not quite so deserted Route One, a man in a truck pulled over and just started snapping photos.  “I’m an amateur photographer, and every day I send out my picture of the day in an email to my friends.  I’m gonna call you $4 a gallon.”  I can’t go anywhere without being bombarded by the paparazzi anymore. Le sigh. Hopefully I make it to your inbox.

Dinwiddie, VA brought us Huntus, Lemuel, and the Smyrna Baptist Church.   Again we found ourselves at the end of the day with absolutely nowhere to stay.  Sitting on the steps of Smyrna Baptist, we quickly found that we had no desire to get back up, and that if no one stopped by so we could ask permission we would simply sleep where we sat.  Luckily a couple by the name of Lemuel and Huntus stopped by to check on something, and let us in for the night.  The next morning us two girls crashed the men’s bible study and were treated to breakfast and a warm welcome.  

Richmond probably one of our most interesting days thus far.  If we had forgotten that we were Yankees, we were reminded when we crossed the Robert E. Lee bridge on Jefferson Davis Hwy.  A little BP station in the middle of the city saw our two-some returned to the trio state, we were interviewed by a MSU journalism intern [a little shot of home for the weary travelers], and for the first time we had absolutely no place to stay.  At all.  We spent the better part of two hours wandering around the city.  There are no hotels in downtown Richmond, the homeless shelters were full, and the police couldn’t help us [or wouldn't after a joke about a bomb and a backpack.  Ask Becca if further clarification is necessary].  And so we did what we do best- kept walking.  As the sun dipped out of sight, the thunder rolled in so we said screw it and ducked into a little bar with a live band.  We sat there until one in the morning when we decided it was time to go.  Fully prepared to sleep on the street, we were stopped by people on the way out the door [bulky backpacks have a way of doing that] and in mere minutes we had several offers for places to stay.  We ended up leaving with a woman named Liza and unidentified woman with ukulele.  Apparently the unidentified woman, let’s call her Sally, just travels around hopping train, hitchhiking, and playing her ukulele.  And just like that hopping a train and learning to play an obscure instrument were added to the trip goal list.

I have never in my life craved soda like I have on this trip.  After so much water, a body needs some flavor.  Leaving a gas station in Ladysmith, VA after unsuccessfully attempting to purchase a fountain beverage from an establishment that does not sell fountain beverages we ran into a man with purple and white striped hair and a german shepard tattooed on his calf.  We engaged in a conversation that lasted maybe 30 seconds, and before we knew it we were headed back home with him and his three sons.  We spent a fantastic night in the Aucarrow home with Brian, Sherry, Chris- the master hiker, Lizzie-the social butterfly, Patrick-the handyman in the household, and Joshua-the future NFL star.  It is rare to find a single person that you clip so well with, and here we found an entire family. 

The next morning Brian and Sherry introduced us to workers in the locla domestic violence shelter.  It is always interesting to meet people in the field, and this organization offered two programs that are missing a lot of other places.  The first is a Latino outreach, where Spanish speaking survivors can get help, speak to someone in their first language, and not fear repercussions from Johnny Law.  The second is a 24-week long rehabilitation program for batters.  There is a fair amount of controversy surrounding rehabilitation programs for batterers, so it was a great to have an opportunity to pick the brain of someone who actually facilitates the group.

We also met Jackie, and amazing individual who hooked us up with a place to stay for the evening.  Her friend Adam, who was not home and who we didn’t even get a chance to talk to, let us know his door was unlocked and he would be home in a couple of hours.  It is amazing to receive that kind of trust from others, when I am a little unsure whether I myself would be so generous.  At midnight we all ventured out to J. Brians, a local pub, to celebrate what is soon to be a national holiday.

The next day was our first rest day in a while.  We explored the wonderful town of Fredrickburg, getting lost for hours in the most magnificent used bookstore, going to the post office to mail books home because they are heavy, eating at a pub that really was just posing as a pub, and ending up at a bar called the Loft where we stayed for approx. 6 hours.  Now there are a lot of connections that we make on this trip that are completely random and completely awesome, and yesterday was no exception.  It turns out that we stumbled upon a gathering of people who refer to themselves as “Green Drinks.”   It is a group of people who get together once a month and discuss environmental issues.  At this particular meeting we were treated to a presentation about the manatee.  The people there were just amazing; the type of people I wish were walking with us.  But of course, they are real people with real lives and real obligations, and we are not.  It was yet another reminder that there are people all over this country who are extremely passionate about making this world a better place, and that is encouragement enough to walk on for days. 

After the meeting, two regular attenders, Jeanne and Joyce, stayed to hang out with us for a while.  Unfortunately, I think we were poor influences on Jeanne and her younger sister Joyce, as they ended up staying out with us until the wee small hours of the morning.  Afterwards, Jeanne invited us to come back to her house for the night.  Happy birthday to me.

And since I feel that we leave SO much out of our blogs, here is a bulleted list of other events:

-the sheriff’s department offered to drive out to Subway to ensure that we received frees subs.

-the National Museum of the Civil War solider was the first place we were not able to talk our way into.

-we got to hang out with a former secretary for the FBI.  We would elaborate, but then we’d have to kill you.

-we met some Indian dancers, all of whom were rescued from the red light district in Bombay.

-two guys let us sleep in their extra bed at Hampton Inn, because we are poor and can’t afford our own room.

- Carl’s Ice Cream in Fredricksburg changed our lives.

-Dan Dukes is the greatest name we have ever heard in our lives.

 

Until next time,

theWALKERS

 

The other day we stayed at a hotel and watched Oprah’s show and I thought, “we are totally Oprah-worthy.” So just our luck, my love to swim, though I shouldn’t exert any wasted energy, proved beneficial. I met a man named Jason who’s cousin works for Gayle (Oprah’s homegirl). A girl can hope right?

Anyhow, North Carolina has treated us well. After we left Kenny and Trudi’s we crossed into North Carolina. Every state border makes my eyes sweat. We are that much closer, and so many said we couldn’t do it, HA! When we first started our Walk (seems like years ago at times), people would ask us if we are crazy. Now, it’s not even a question, rather it’s a statement of fact.

Picture this: 109 degrees, farmland, hungry, no water and not a gas station or business for seven miles. I wanted to cry. There were a few houses scattered thorughout the farmland but we had no choice but to knock to get some water. We knocked on the right door. After the Registers had confirmation that we were not Jehovah’s witnesses, they invited us in to cool down for a while. They fed us lunch, called the Whiteville paper, gave us money and hooked us up with a place to stay for the night. We thought we had found compassionate, giving farmers but they weren’t farmers at all; they sold billiard supplies online. I guess I wasn’t paying attention to a cardinal SAPA rule, never assume. Valerie, I don’t know if I will ever meet another soft-spoken, hospitable woman who’s clam chowder can ever compare. Spencer, you have a real talent, best of luck selling your ocarinas. And Carl, thanks again for re-evaluating us and allowing us to come in.

North Carolina-Please consider paving a straight country highway North/South. These country highways with all these twists and turns that lead to nothingness are killing me. How many items does one need to have on its shelf to call itself a store? In my opinion, at least more than 10 can goods, 2 types of candy bars and 2 different beverages. Tucked away on these so-called stores are men who sit around and chew and share bad jokes. At least it provides us with a different perspective. And that’s all I want to say about that.

In Whiteville, we had the opportunity to speak with some really good people. We spoke with Mr. Ray, the reporter, who was just as excited to talk to us as we were to him. A pentecostal Church treated us to dinner at a Mexican restaurant, where I was able to practice my diminishing espanol, thank you again P. daddy, Nathan, Charity and Friends. Special thanks to Charity for allowing us to crash at her place.

Remember that 109 degree weather I previously mentioned? Well, that was a heat wave with record-breaking temperatures that North Carolina was having. We needed an escape, so we went to NYC with Carrie Bradshaw and the rest of the sexy ladies. A super-awesome guy from the theater not only let us see Sex and The City for free but also supplied us with some complimentary popcorn. I really wish I could remember his name…

Days later we were interviewed at Subway and put in the Fayetteville Observer. Big thanks to Don for being our host that night.

Being in the paper was so rewarding. People continuously honked at us for encouragement, stopped us to chat on the side of the road, and practically threw money at us to pay for our lunch. Fayetteville, NC reserves a special place in my memory. The people who we met and spoke with there are the reasons why we continue walking. It also brought us to Ms. Green, the unforgettable Ms. Green. She tracked us down, called the newspaper and invited us to stay with her and her “Christian Ladies” for the night. Ms. Green ran a home for women who had found themselves homeless, for whatever reason. People say that we are brave for walking but they are brave for surviving. I couldn’t even imagine. I’m so grateful for that empowering experience and for Ms. Green trusting us and taking us in.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY GREG!!! Greg, Kate’s Dad, came out to walk with us for the weekend. I never knew Dads like Eric Camden (Seventh Heaven) actually existed, but apparently they do. I cannot speak for Kate (although I often do and do it well) but that was a very precious time and it meant a great deal for him to travel all that way and spend all that money for just a weekend, but I cannot be more happy that he did. Thank you so much for lending me a temporary replacement to call my Dad.

We met Bill, Jerry and Josh at a little coffee shop ministry that we stopped at to eat. They overheard our mission and without even speaking with us beforehand, invited us into their home. My only regret was once again, not having more time to get to know them, especially after Bill dropped that biker bomb on us just before we departed.

Two walkers with huge green backpacks walk into a buffet and come out with a waitress who has invited them to stay at her place. The story seems to repeat itself time and time again, yet it never gets old for us. Thank you again Leslie, Deb and Theresa from Western Skillet.

Weird, other people are passionate enough to walk for causes, but what is the chance that we would share the same side of the road. We met a group of families who were walking for the abolishment of the Death penalty from Raleigh, NC to Washington, D.C. That was a refreshing coincidence. We wish you all safe travels as well.

*To all the people who take the time to read our ridiculously long blogs and then dare to maneuver the site’s option to leave a comment, THANK YOU. We walk so much lighter knowing that we have us all with us. All the prayers have, no doubt, lead us to the best people the world has to offer. It’s working and we can never use enough encouragement or prayers. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

One more time for the cheap seats: Thank you,

theWalkers

Hey South Carolina and Other States to the South,

We think that should stop littering your streets and killing off your animals. Florida; Armadillos, Georgia; Snakes, South Carolina; Sea Turtles…why do you hate these little animals so much? I know, snakes bite, armadillo smell and sea turtles, well, they just explode when you all hit them.

You know, it’s unfair for us that everyone we meet is so amazing because we can never do them justice. Either we cannot convey just how phenomenal they are or we just don’t have the energy to move our little hands across the keyboard after a long day. With that said, thanks for being so fabulous, you!

After one long discouraging day of having heavy church doors shut in our face, we found a great one, conveniently placed in a shopping mall. The Grace church in Pawley’s Island opened their doors to us after Kate whimpered and displayed signs of an eventual emotional breakdown. Gets them every time, because she’s just so darn undeniably cute. That was crazy, we were in a church fishbowl in the mall, I sure hope I didn’t do anything to hurt their image.

The next night was unbelievable. We had the exclusive opportunity to be under the roof of one of the most impactful, admirable, and unimaginably gorgeous woman’s house….is that about right, Lynn? She heard about us through an artist we met at the Spoleto art festival. We received her contact info and I gave her a call. She told us to meet her at a place called “SBB.” As we walk up to SBB I can see why everyone utilizes the acronym, it stands for Suck, Bang, Blow. A biker joint, and the name refers to the cycle of air through a motorcycle engine, a little bit different than the S&M bar we are anticipating. Inside we found nothing but kind, gentle, generous bikers. No one ever matches up with their stereotypes these days. Anyways, Lynn was everything we hoped she would be and more.

The next day we went out to where she works and we were interviewed by a news station and photographed for the paper at the same time. Finally, my ten minutes of fame has arrived. And now it’s over. We never did get to see the news clip but our newspaper photos are on Kate’s facebook.

And then there was two. No worries, Josh will be back after these messages, or at least on the 21st. I know it’s odd and only a short while but we miss him already.

Walking hotel after condo after hotel in Myrtle Beach became monotonous until we hit the spiritual center. There they follow Meher Baba. There so many things in this world I’m ignorant about (and although I do desire to know a little something about everything, the answer is still “No, Kate and Josh, I do not want to go into the museum” [that would require more walking]). But that indirectly but directly put us in touch with the Files Family. They also took us in, no questions asked, and treated us with so much love and care. Sorry, that we sneaked out in the morning, it was early and we didn’t want to wake you all on your day off, but big thanks.

“Hey, saw you all in the newspaper yesterday, where’s the other?” shouted across the street to us, which then matured into the usual “where are you staying tonight?” Which then transforms into us staying in air conditioning, with big-hearted people, with foods in our bellies and clean hair and clothes. I love Trudi and Kenny. They brought us home with them and we had the privilege of meeting their inhibitionless, lively, and happy son. This blog was crafted using Trudi’s new pink, super bousie laptop. Thanks all.

Something was said tonight that will maybe bring all you worriers out there some piece of mind. This world is full of about 95% genuinely good people, but unfortunately, it’s only the 5% that we always hear about. And I’m blessed to say that we haven’t met those people….yet. And we probably never will. To be honest, we smell so bad that not even Ted Bundy would want to get too close. If I write a book about this whole ordeal I will appropriately name it, “The Three Months I Spent Willingly Smelling Like An Armpit.”

Go Crazy,

theWALKERS 

P.S. We want to put an end to all these ugly rumors: no, we will not all be taking breaks to go home. Other then Josh peacing out for a very momentous occasion, we are in this for the very long haul- all the way to Boston, MA.

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