Day 63

Birthday Bill

May 28th, 2010

He had read about me earlier in the day, and figured I must be somewhere in the area. He pulled over his motorcycle to talk when he saw me walking, and let me spend the night at his cabin, which happened to be right near where we met. It was a beautiful, serene place, right on the Mississippi, and the fridge was stocked with beer: a perfect, quiet end to a crazy birthday. This morning he came by to check on me and gave me money for a nice dinner tonight.


  1. lola says:

    I just read about your story on yahoo. It’s absolutely amazing. I wish you well and will be following your blog regularly.

  2. Fox says:

    i love going to your site and looking at the pictures and reading about your journy its kinda soothing lol

  3. Daniel says:

    Hey if your coming through Denver I could give you a place to stay, shower, a meal for the night. My place is a small studio appartment, if you did come through I would ask you a ton of qusetions. what you are doing is inspireing. let me know.


  4. Kit Wilkinson says:

    After reading your blog, I wanted to point out a possible reason one may walk a long distance. It is to connect with the world. Sounds of motors and the vibrations of vehicles cut off our feeling and hearing of the world. T.V.s and advertisements cut off our vision of the world. Exhaust and synthetic scents cut off our smell of the world. I think, walking across America, can connect one to the large and more importantly, the small details of our great land. The sounds of crickets while walking in the evening, the smell of early morning dew on pines, the feeling of leaves brush, the taste of homemade food from difference places, and the sight of a small lizard running under a rock is missed in the concrete jungle. I say, walk on! And continue to notice small details and report back to those who have missed them. Let them be inspired to do the same, even on a small scale to connect again with her. Happy birthday!

    • Jenypher O. says:

      I just had this talk with my daughter’s 3rd grade class. I brought in a bunch of things we had found on our nature walks and hikes. The class couldn’t believe we found all that stuff just walking around. I told them to spend some time walking their neighborhood and they might be surprised at all the things they never knew were right on their block.

  5. colleen says:

    the people that help along the way….so inspiring……..wonderful…….great stories……….great pix

  6. Lisa S. says:

    Well I finally caught up with you and your journey (to date). I read about you and decided to travel vicariously thru you. I am loving the folks you are meeting and the places they live. I particularly loved the garden lady, she reminds me of my mom, minus the beautiful colored glass collection and awesome stamp chair. My mom loves her gardening.
    Well as you know you are not traveling alone, aside from family and friends I am another stranger you have picked up along the way. I live in the great state of Texas, I feel I can call it great because I’m a transplant from California and really enjoy a great life here. Maybe if you decide to venture south (on your way home) you can stop by and meet my boys, I’m sure they’d think you are awesome.
    Enjoy your journey and thank you so much for the pictures you’ve taken along the way, you are helping me fall back in love with America, the America that does not make the news. I appreciate you.

  7. Kenny says:

    I can’t get over how cool this is. Matt, you’re the man. Bill’s the man too for being cool like that. There is something so incredible about what you’re doing here… I can’t put my finger on it, but whatever it is, thanks!

  8. Wow, I just read your article on Yahoo and this is awesome. Probably my favorite thing to see in other people is to watch them follow their dreams as it is so rare to see people do, mainly due to fear. Everyone just gets wrapped up in society and things that don’t really matter. I am currently stuck in a cubicle and I am absolutely miserable, and I’m only 26!!! Maybe this can be part of my insirpation to quit my job to trade stocks, blog about baseball, and travel to all sorts of different places just living life. I currently contemplate doing this everyday but have no where near the courgage (plus I need to become a better trader). I have high regard for what you are doing and I believe that this will benefit you greatly in whatever you decide to do next. Maybe you can be a motivational speaker… I would definately support you.

  9. Rae says:

    So impressive! Best wishes :)

  10. Peter P says:

    Just finished viewing all of your posts (after reading about you on yahoo). Great combination of pictures, text and humor: will be following you the rest of the way. Best of luck!!

  11. Candace W says:

    I’m sure you have plenty of comments now that ppl like myself are finding you on yahoo. I find what you’re doing inspiring (and I’ll admit to almost immediately thinking of Forest Gump) but your blog is awesome, I plan to keep tabs on your journey, and I hope you continue to discover amazing things and have wonderful experiences! Also, happy belated birthday!

  12. Seriously refreshing and inspirational! It’s ok you don’t know what you’re doing after the walk. It’s about the journey, not the destination. Enjoy the trek. Good luck!


  13. Jennifer O says:

    Best of luck! Your story has and will continue to inspire thousands. Enjoy your journey.

  14. Robert says:

    I found out about you on an off topic section of a DJ forum of all places.

    Inspiring, to say the least.

    I’m amazed at all the kind people you have met along the way so far.

    So what happens once you reach Oregon?

  15. Jwnnie J. says:

    Rockaway, Oregon – we have a place for you! I just sent you an e-mail as well letting you know we have a beach house in Roackaway, Oregon we would love to share with you! It’s a little known town and it’s actually exciting you are putting it on the map! My husband’s family has owned and lived in Rockaway 50+ years now. They have a lot of history there and would love to share it with you. Also, my husband and I live in Creswell, Oregon just 20 min. south of Eugene, Or. and you are more than welcome to stay with us if you would like and are going through that way. Just let us know the closer you get! As I said in my e-mail, no matter what, if nothing else I want to shake your hand when you get to Rockaway! Happy and safe travels. You are living….truly living.

  16. Molly says:

    Belated Happy Birthday!
    Sounds like it was very special indeed.
    Lovely pictures from the day.

  17. Miriam says:

    I just knew about you on yahoo. I’m here sitting on my desk, office hours you know what is that, just waiting until the shift is done… and you are out there walking enjoying and learning about real life… I’m jealous!! (in good way, don’t get me wrong) God bless you and protect you, I really hope to meet you someday :)

  18. Jenifer in TX says:

    Hi Matt,
    Just wanted to say how much I admire the journey that you are on. Thanks so much for sharing it with us and giving us access to the everyday America that we take for granted and sometimes fail to appreciate. Wishing you safe travel and more wonderful experiences.

  19. Iscela says:

    Love to see every day how well is your journey going and how all that many people is treating you and showing you their kindness, i find it very interesting… cant wait to see your next stop picture…

    Greetings from Sonora, Mexico!


  20. Ed says:

    Follow your dreams, brother. In this crazy world people need some inspiration and you are doing your small part to provide just that. Be safe. God Bless.

  21. Jake from Birmingham, AL says:

    It’s funny I should come across the article about you today. I’m 18 and I’ve often found myself daydreaming about doing something of this sort (probably after I finish college), so I just randomly googled “walk across America” and here I am. I admire you for having the guts to actually leave behind a job and, as the article said, “stability” in favor of doing something that’s out of the ordinary. I hope to have a journey of this kind myself in the future. So, thanks for the inspiration.

  22. Joe says:

    I want to Thank You for what you are doing and for blogging about it. I am glad to see people are friendly and helpful during your journey. With all the tragic in the world and with people in general not respecting each other, it is GREAT to read that their are good caring people out their and it gives me hope that not all people are bad. Take Care, Go Bless and walk on.

  23. Corri in Georgia says:

    When and if you come to Georgia…lemme know! I will hook you up too! GOOD LUCK!!

  24. Andrea in Alaska says:

    You should head up to alaska sometime i know this wont work with your schedule but june 21st in alaska is summer solstice – the sun never goes down we have a big street fair in fairbanks and its lots of fun. youd love summer here :). oh and im not sure if you have this or not but you should get a facebook so i can link you to my page and have you followed :). if you have a facebook link for this site please let me know- thank you!

  25. Nan R says:

    I read about you on Yahoo as well, and I also think what you are doing is brave, inspiring, and a little crazy (but in a good way). I will keep following your blog daily – loving the pictures of odd signs and such, and the stories of those you meet are great! Keep living your dreams!! Someday maybe I will figure out something to do like this to live mine…

  26. Richard M says:

    I will be following your journey… hope to see you in san francisco!!! Cheers!

  27. Leigh says:

    Glad you had a good birthday and able to meet up with nice people to make it a great one. :) You thinking about walking back?? maybe through the south? If you come through South Carolina, you got a place to stay! :) Looking forward to checking in to see your Memorial Day adventures! :)

  28. Leslie says:

    I also just read your story on yahoo and saw your pictures. What a wonderful adventure. I wish you many happy times and a safe journey.

  29. Janna says:

    I read the story about you on yahoo today. I love that you are doing this. I like all of your interesting photos. Best of luck!!

  30. Adriana says:

    I read your story this morning on yahoo & spent time on and off through out the day looking at your pictures and captions. What you are doing is awesome! Most of us would love to do it but we never get to it for fear to the unknown. What a shame you are doing only north. Next time you should do south. Wish you the best.

  31. Jason says:

    Man, you are living out my dream…for years I would talk to my friends about how I thought it would be cool to walk the counrty and see all the things that we would not normally. I’m the type that if I see a detour that looks the least bit interesting, I’m goona take it. Now with a wife and little one, I cant just go out and walk, but you are an inspiration for me to one day maybe hit the ol dusty trail. Thanks Matt…..sometimes people need this.

  32. Amanda says:

    Hello! You are going to get a lot of attention now that you are on Yahoo! :) I am really glad that I got a chance to read about you today on yahoo, which in turn brought me to your website. It took me a couple of hours to go through the entire thing and get caught up, but now I am ready to follow the rest of your journey! I am super excited because you are here in MN! I would really like to say hi and shake your hand if I could…Hopefully I will run into you. I tried to do a random trip myself a couple months back and although I had fun, I felt that it turned out to be a flop. Just ended up driving around for 5 hours aimlessly and then ended up at a bar. lol. I met great people though :) You will have these memories forever! You only have one life to live. Hope all is well with you and your journey brings you where you’d like to be.

  33. Mike Hamilton says:

    Birthday bill you are the man.. It’s people like you, Matt, and everyone who has helped and touched the life of Matt on his journey that keeps the real dream of America alive.

  34. Mike Hamilton says:

    Hey Matt.. Oregon to Key West, to Main.. Maybe.. Something tells me you will not have to worry about anything other than your feet throughout your journey.. If ya come to Florida, I hope ya make it to Avon Park. We have what we call the Walking preacher.. He walks every day 6 to 8 and up to 20 miles for God. He walked to Georgia for Habitat for Humanity just so a needy person could have a house. I imagine he would love the walk to Key West.. What an adventure that would be.. Just a thought..

  35. Sarah Jane says:

    I love this whole thing. Just reading your blog makes me happy. You’re wonderful, your family is wonderful and the people you’ve met along the way are wonderful. You are in my thoughts and prayers. If you ever come through Dallas, TX, let me know! My husband and I would love to meet you. Have a safe journey.

    “Let your mind start a journey through a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be…Close your eyes let your spirit start to soar, and you’ll live as you’ve never lived before.”- Erich Fromm

  36. deborah kervin says:

    Wow,wish we had a lot more “Bill’s” in this world,maybe we could all get along,great stories and pictures,you are awesome!!

  37. Wow, I read your story the other day on Yahoo and I can’t get enough of your blog. It’s simple amazing. I must say I spent hours reading back through your posts that day, each new post has so much personality and I just love your photos and your commentary. It’s inspiring to see so many people willing to lend a helping hand. I hope you find whatever it is you’re looking for on your journey.

    Best wishes and also a happy birthday!

  38. Bob Currie says:

    Nice to see so many people helping out.

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