Day 112

A day without pavement

July 16th, 2010

After the quiet gravel roads of North Dakota, the high-speed truck and RV traffic on Highway 200 has been somewhat jarring to me. So it was quite nice returning to the solitude of gravel for today's walk, although my shoes and wheels may beg to differ.


  1. Jan says:

    What a beautiful shot. I think I too would prefer the crunch of gravel to the sounds of a highway anytime!
    Thanks for sharing these photos and your stories. I love sitting down with my coffee in the morning and seeing
    your progress. Safe travels.

  2. Raquel says:

    I agree with Jan…beautiful pic!! I also enjoy reading your travel adventures and pics with my morning coffee…stay safe my friend.

  3. Candice in Alabama says:

    I agree with Jan and Raquel, although I enjoy for an hour without my morning coffee (Dr. Perky) while I let my “empty stomach” meds digest. Then it’s off to the kitchen for Dr. Perky! It’s THAT time now and I’m caught up with Matt for the moment.

    Beautiful blue skies again! Wishing you the best Matt!

  4. Saun in Ohio says:

    Happy Saturday enjoy the view. I know I have through your eyes thanks again for the awesome pics :)

  5. Don in Tennessee says:

    Rock on my friend!

    Hopefully, you will not come unraveled on the gravel!

    It does take more effort but maybe it will be a little less heat on gravel then payment.

    Stay safe and hydrated!

  6. Barb C. says:

    are those small bales of hay along side the road???? I like the idea that the farmers/ranchers mow and bale the hay on the rite of way. That way it keeps the weeds/grass down and the cows/horses enjoy the hay during the winter and best of all the state doesn’t have to pay someone mega bucks to mow. Wish more states would do this.

  7. katzien in austin says:

    Wow, how serene! Just LOOK at those clouds. ;-)

  8. Jim in AR via MN says:

    Not an art student…nor photography guy…and I don’t know exactly what they call a road that goes off into infinity (or seems like it)…I know it is a study that Art 101 covers…but in real life it is unbelievable…most of us are surrounded by roads, with buildings and trees and other “stuff”…and we never can really “see” that picture in “real life”…but here it is…thanks Matt, you saw it, and passed it on to us…have a great day on this Saturday…our best goes with you…(remember lots of wa-wa)…

  9. Gigi says:

    I can see the mountains!

    Safe travels Matt! Have a great weekend to you and everyone here :-)

  10. Jeff says:

    Matt…you need a break. Then mountains are a coming. Thanks for the peaceful shot. You cant joke when all you see is this beauty. For you..if that shot was take today Saturday, It would be the Sabbath..and I think this picture is a perfect specimen of why we rest of the 7th day. TO enjoy the beauty around us and the life we are bleessed with. God Speed (like you haven’t heard that a million times) have a wonderful, wonderful day.
    May I say thank you, Matt.

    • Don in Tennessee says:


      I hope everyone has a great Sabbath day with whatever and however way you decide to spend it. May I suggest with family or if no family around you-get on the cell and make a FREE call to someone who has not heard from you in a while. Even better go to a nursing home and visit a shutin. I did today with my 92 year old father-it was very, very rewarding!

    • Gabsch says:

      Brother Jeff, Do hope you have enjoyed your Sabbath, the beauty around you and the life you are blessed with.

  11. Pacis says:

    The open road, blue skies and crackling stone underfoot. Where I grew up that was the main road and bicycling left many of patch of skin upon the road surface.

    Nice weather!

    There’s another guy walking across America named Mark Baumer, a youthful sole of the Eastern parts currently crossing the deserts of the south in his journey to L.A. from Georgia coast. He’s going though 4 gallons + of H2O a day is dehydrating now.

    He’s got a different sense of humor than many and is entertaining.

  12. B I G S K Y !!!! Can’t believe no one said it. Beautiful shot here, love the clouds. The road looks more enjoyable than a highway. I bet the gravel gives you a sort of soothing sound to as you walk along alone. After all you are out in God’s country and it’s probably a nicer experience on the less travelled road. Just don’t end up in the swamp again like in ND! lol.
    Love the mountains in the distance coming up. I know when I took Amtrak into Denver, what a site! So beautiful. The mountains just jutted up out of no where and they were snow capped. Never seen anything like it. Was awesome.

  13. deanna valenti meyer says:

    Now THAT is a beautiful thing to see on this Saturday. That “road” looks just like the “road” I lived on in both Wyoming and Colorado. The advantage to this type of road is two fold…1.) you get much less traffic and 2.) if you actually do hear a vehicle, you can prep for it way prior to it’s arrival. That was the best thing about living out there. I miss it sometimes, but enjoy seeing it all through the eyes of Matt.

    The comments from the Hobo Nation are THE BEST! Keep ’em comin’ everyone!

  14. Scott in Georgia says:

    I’ve seen that view before! Last fall, my family and I spent a week at Glacier National Park. We left, putting the mountains in the rearview mirror, and drove toward Great Falls to catch our plane home. At one point, I stopped to get something from the trunk and I saw the Rockies exactly like this picture. The thing is, we’d been driving for 3 solid hours at 70 MPH! One step at a time, Matt, one step at a time.

  15. jerry's kid says:

    Sometime after I started following Matt’s journey I told my mom about this post and now she’s as hooked as I am. She doesn’t have internet access so she asks me for daily updates now. She’s always been a very active person but she turns 81 in two weeks. Some around her assumed she’d slow down which she did for awhile after my dad died last year. As she began to emerge from her grief, she decided to fully embrace what time she has left. She was so inspired by what Matt is doing that she started thinking about what she could do. Since then, she’s become enthralled with the Pacific Crest Trail which can be hiked from Mexico through CA, OR and WA beyond into Canada. She’s been studying and reading about the PCT and has decided to hike as many bits of it as she can access from a paved road. We’ve made several trips already and yesterday hiked a bit of the trail along the eastern shore of Echo Lake which was gorgeous! Echo Lake is above 7,000 ft elevation and just west of the southern end of Lake Tahoe. 3 miles one way isn’t that far but we felt proud of it given our ages (80 & 51) the elevation (I live at sea level & she’s at 1800 ft.) Our little trek was thoroughly beautiful, giant granite walls, sparkling lake, forests, snowy peaks. We got to visit briefly with a couple from San Francisco who were passing our spot & they are in the middle of hiking the entire length of the PCT – very cool! Thanks Matt for inspiring two older ladies to savor “the aches of a day well lived!!!”

    • Christine says:

      jerry’s kid, How nice that you are sharing Matt’s journey with your mom and that she has been inspired to go out and explore! Glad you are savoring “the aches of a day well lived”!

    • Don in Tennessee says:

      Jerry’s Kid

      That is so wonderful about your mother. My mother died at the age of 44 after a lengthy balttle with cancer when I was 12 years old. My father is 92 and still has a great mind-unlike his son-(there are 3 of us boys but you know which one I am speaking of).

      I so wish I had had my mother for more years of my life but feel very fortunate to have my Dad at 92. I took him to the nursing home today to see one of his church buddies. I think way to many people take parents for granted and do not appreciate them. I love to be around older people because they have so much wisdom!.

      I hope you have her in sound mind and body for many more years.

    • katzien in austin says:

      How wonderful for you and your mom!! Great story. Let her know that Hobo Nation is cheering her on too, you as well. Matt inspired me to do a little hiking. I’ve been two times and look forward to the weekend so we can go again. See you around!!

  16. tim says:


  17. Candice in Alabama says:

    HOW WONDERFUL! My Mother is 85 and on oxygen. She has COPD. I wish I could convince her to walk to the mailbox! She’s slowing down and suffering from mild dementia. She used to be a ring-tail-tooter in her day. It’s sad to watch her decline and she’s as stubborn as a mule and I cannot persuade/convince/cajole her to do anything.

    Thanks to Matt and his commentators for giving me some relief!

    Best wishes to all!

    • Candice,
      what is a ring tail tooter? I’m a northerner so don’t know if this is a southern thing or not but I’ve never heard the term. Could you please enlighten this northern girl? Thanks.

      • Candice in Alabama says:

        Oooh….I googled it and some of the responses weren’t what I expected. (something about racial overtones).

        To me and I suppose most Southerners, a ring tail tooter is someone who is/was very vivacious, mischievous, outgoing, unique.

        I looked up vivacious: characterized by high spirits and animation – that fit(s) Mom to a T, but to be a true ring tail tooter you must include the mischievousness.

        Here’s the best “southern” usage explanation I could find using google(and it fits Mom as well!):

        ring-tailed tooter, a wildly energetic person, one who routinely excels. Anything else (like a storm or a locomotive, for instance) that is uncommonly powerful. “The defensive secondary is doing its best, but that wide receiver is a ring-tailed tooter.”

        Here’s a blurb from a facebook page: It was a ringtail tooter”, meaning powerful, strong, uncommon.

        Here’s the blurb about the origination of the phrase, citing the racial overtones:

        The phrase seems to first appear in Beadle’s Half-Dime Library copy of Deadwood Dick, the Prince of the Road ;or, the Black Rider of the Black Hills… a dime novel of the 1880’s here in the western U.S. It’s use in this particular publication had racial overtones, since, in context, it was used to describe a black man in the novel.

        The phrase has persisted over the years. I heard old cowboys on our ranch when I was a child say the full phrase, which was “… He was a ring tailed tooter and real straight shooter…” Usually in admiration of someone, though one couldn’t tell it from the usual scatological humor associated with the phrase as used by these guys…

      • Candice in Alabama says:

        I’m just wondering if perhaps my Dad used to call her that?!?!? He was from Texas – so maybe that’s WEST enough for him to have picked up the phrase.

        Mom’s always been described as a “ring tail tooter”. In the nicest meaning of the phrase!

        • Candice in Alabama says:

          P.S. I think her “ring tail tootin'” days are over. That mild dementia due to having an 85 year old brain (her neurologist says) is taking its toll.

          She’s no longer in locomotive/storm mode.

          Occasionally the ring tail tooter breaks through!

          • jerry's kid says:

            Candice, hang in there. It is so … hard, heartbreaking, bewildering …every descriptive word seems pale in relation to the reality of a helping a parent through that. My dad was bedridden for the last year of his life and had dementia for a couple of years before that. At first we wondered about the occasionally odd things he’d say or do but it was a crisis that brought on the diagnosis at last. Looking back on it we cry and shudder at the possibilities and, since the end result was no one was injured, we can now kind of laugh about the absurdity of this incident. One morning my dad drove away from the house for his daily trip to the post office and didn’t come back. Four days later we got a phone call from a hospital three states away. Apparently the day he left his home he didn’t go to the post office – he went to a car dealership in a neighboring town, traded in his vehicle for a deluxe fully loaded bright red full size pick-up and drove away. Eventually, he was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving but was actually severely dehydrated and disoriented. He ended up being hospitalized for a few days. We could find no evidence that he’d eaten or had anything to drink in those four days. One of the few things he could remember was that “some awful woman” kept nagging him to put on his seat belt. He said he couldn’t figure out where she was so he could get rid of her and he “sure as hell wasn’t going to let a stranger boss him around.” For a few years it was hard to deal with his confusion because he was able to get around and he didn’t want to stay put. My mom took care of him at home until the last few days when he died in a hospice. There is no right or easy way to get through this. Take care of yourself and as a friend used to say remember to be kind to yourself too. My heart is with you.

      • Candice in Alabama says:

        One more P.S. – just because I’m a research fanatic – I’ve used GOOGLE a long time now – but I used to use DOGPILE.COM till a coworker convinced me to use GOOGLE. And GOOGLE usually finds what I’m looking for.

        DOGPILE.COM still has its use. Try it sometime when you just can’t find it on GOOGLE. I did search for “ring tail tooter” on DOGPILE.COM and found a lot more “helpful” links.

        Just suggesting – try DOGPILE.COM if GOOGLE’s results aren’t helping you.

  18. Ruthie of CA says:

    Pacis…I just read the blog of He is a way different bird then our Matt. I did enjoy his take on his walk but I can say Matt win’s hands down. Maybe there is something to planning…

    • Candice in Alabama says:

      I agree! Matt wins! I did enjoy the “weirdness” of, BUT – I wondered if he was hallucinating due to dehydration in some of his posts. It may just be his personality/character.

  19. Don in Tennessee says:

    OK — It is 9:30PM on Saturday and I am not feeling the love-I think Matt, “You Just Keep Me Hangin’ On”

    I am going to have to have some PROZAC or is it YUENGLING-

  20. Nicole says:

    It reminds of those old shows Touched By An Angel & Highway To Heaven. Very majestic.

  21. Jennifer in KY says:

    Just shared this pic with my daughter, who thought the utility poles look like crosses. How appropriate for the Sabbath/soon to be Sunday!

  22. MN Roxanne says:

    Matt you capture the sky as though we’re looking through “God’s eye”….
    love your road to eternity shots… of the big sky country.

  23. Sharon P says:

    Lovely photo! Like the sky and the mountains in the distance. Take care, and safe journey, Matt.

  24. Jeff says:


    For Matt, For later…so he remembers the sound.

  25. young says:

    ‘Like a Bottle Rocket”

    I went to the road because I wanted to live dangerously;
    to feel along its course and divergencies,
    letting it unwind and kick out the malaise
    and discontent of growing up in suburbia.
    I chose to pull deep from its stranded stretches,
    and when death became inevitable like a head-on collision
    not discover myself an old man confined to bed rest
    but instead a bottle rocket that rushes and explodes into the night
    for all its worth.

    ~Morgan “Salman”

  26. Chaser1 says:

    Eck, that looks monotonous.

Leave a Reply