Day -5

Hobo Glamour Shots

March 22nd, 2010

We're just hangin' out

This is the cart I'll be pushing across the country. It's a converted Runabout stroller made and generously donated by Roger Berg. Check out the whole photo album.

Photos by Jason Eppink, who also designed this site for me.

Day -2

Getting there…

March 25th, 2010



Less than two days until I start walking!

Day -1


The technical definition of a vacation

This is what happened when I tried to set up a vacation response for my old Yahoo! Mail account.

Day 1

Rockaway Beach, NY

March 27th, 2010



Getting ready to jump in

Day 1

Starting things off…

March 27th, 2010



...with a dip in the chilly Atlantic

Day 1




There were lots of guest drivers on Day 1.

Day 1

A giant inflatable census

March 27th, 2010



In front of Brooklyn Borough Hall

Day 2

Pictures from the first day

March 28th, 2010

The Day 1 crew Here are a few of Jason's Day 1 pics.

Day 2

First rain of the trip

March 28th, 2010



Just a sprinkle

Day 2

Hearst Tower

March 28th, 2010



I'll be out of New York eventually.

Day 3

Hello New Jersey

March 29th, 2010



The south pedestrian path on the GW Bridge has zero stairs. The north path, apparently now the only one open, has twelve flights of stairs. Not much fun with a big cart on a rainy day.

Day 4

Montclair State University

March 30th, 2010



Home sweet home for Night 3

Day 4

Lotsa rain

March 30th, 2010



Everything is massively flooded here.

Day 4




After a miserably rainy day, I was quite moved by the hospitality of Reverend Jen. I just knocked on her door and she let me stay in the warm, dry confines of the education building. She even made me tea and soup, and brought me a Passover Haggadah to make me feel at home. I'm overcome with gratitude.

Day 5

Thanks Raul!

March 31st, 2010



I stopped in Major Hardware Supply in Boonton, NJ to pick up a few things. Raul asked me about my walk and then, when I was ready to check out, insisted on giving me everything for free.

Day 5

Almost there

March 31st, 2010



Right?

Day 6

First night in the woods

April 1st, 2010



And a beautiful night it was. No tent needed!

Day 6

My bed on Night 5

April 1st, 2010



Got a solid 9+ hours of sleep!

Day 6

Hanging the food

April 1st, 2010



To keep the wild animals at bay.

Day 6




A guy in a pickup truck pulled up beside me this morning. He said he'd seen me walking yesterday and asked me how far I'm going. He gave me 20 bucks and then sped off, yelling "Rock on, dude!" out the window.

Day 6

On days like today

April 1st, 2010



Who wouldn't want to be out walking? P.S. I just saw a swan fight a goose on this lake. The swan won.

Day 7

Cake for breakfast!

April 2nd, 2010



It all started when Randy gave in to his curiosity and yelled down to me from his yard in Johnsonburg, NJ. He offered me a drink and we sat on his porch with his neighbor Mel and talked for a while. He let me take a shower, gave me a box of Girl Scout cookies, and even gave me money to go buy dinner at Sweet Jane's down the road. I ended up spending the rest of the evening at Sweet Jane's. In addition to preparing some delicious food, Kevin and Sheila (the owners) let me sleep on their property and gave me the slice of carrot cake you see pictured for my breakfast this morning. Cindy, Chaz, and David invited me over to their table for a while and shared their wine with me. But I think my favorite moment of the evening was when Kevin took a book off the bar, a book about the history of the township, and asked me to write something and sign my name on the title page.

Day 7

A walk in the woods

April 2nd, 2010



The Paulinskill Valley Trail, which runs along the path of an old railroad

Day 7

Awesome mailbox

April 2nd, 2010



Who can guess which Jeff Foxworthy routine I'm thinking of?

Day 7

A little floral surprise

April 2nd, 2010



For Mom

Day 7

Paulinskill Viaduct

April 2nd, 2010



Once the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world.

Day 8

First night in the tent

April 3rd, 2010



The skeeters were out, so I opted for some shelter.

Day 8

Goodbye New Jersey

April 3rd, 2010



Hello Pennsylvania!

Day 8

A crossroads

April 3rd, 2010



The intersection of two walking dreams

Day 8

Pro-pot rally

April 3rd, 2010

Day 9

Easter Sunday

April 4th, 2010



in rural PA

Day 9

Rock cairn

April 4th, 2010



Doug Schwartz would be proud.

Day 9

Awesome mailbox #2

April 4th, 2010



This road was lined with bizarre mailbox contraptions, many not secured to the ground, but this one was easily the best. According to one resident, the guy who plows this road gets a kick out of flying down the street so fast that the snow he's pushing slams into the mailboxes and knocks them over. Any artists or designers out there have a creative solution for these poor people?




I stopped at this gas station today to buy a soda and rest for a little while. I was sitting outside when a guy came up to me and said he was from Far Rockaway. We talked about New York for a little, and then another guy walked over and, out of the blue, gave me a bag with some food and Gatorade in it. Then a woman, Cynthia, came over and gave me a handful of money. She came back a few minutes later to get my name so that the guy who hosts a television show at the children's group home where she works could tell the viewers about me and ask them to look out for me and treat me well if they see me on the road. Then I met another couple, Jenna and Todd, who were really excited about my trip and wanted to get my photo. Todd proclaimed my walk officially "gangsta". I was hesitant to leave this magical place, but I had to hit the road eventually.

Day 10


Dennis and Nancy



Last night as I was heading down the road I saw a man on a riding mower. I walked over and asked if I could pitch my tent somewhere on his property. He (Dennis) and his wife Nancy turned out to be the kindest, most generous hosts you could imagine. They fed me dinner and a double-pie dessert, let me use their shower and washing machine, and sent me on my way this morning with breakfast and a little care package of goodies. Dennis even drew me the map you see above to show me a shortcut I could take.

By the way, I think my favorite thing I learned about them was that they met at a toga party in the 80s at a nearby bar. (That's not classified information, is it?)

Day 10




From the park information plaque:

Hemlock bark provided the tannic acid used to cure as many as 50,000 hides a year, making this the second largest tannery in America during this era. The river and the forest paid an enormous price for the Tannery's good fortune. Wastes dumped into the river turned it black. Logging created a landscape littered with the debris of abandoned trees cut only for their bark. In 1875, an uncontrollable fire ignited and swept across the forest floor, engulfing and forever destroying the tannery.
On a lighter note, I just met some college kids out on a photojournalism assignment. They were excited by the encounter, but they did have one regret: "Man, I wish we had some weed to share with this guy."

Day 10




Butch gave me two Pepsi's.

Day 11




Pennsylvania does it again! I was lucky enough to meet another wonderful couple last night, Marie and John. Marie fed me her world-famous lasagna (plus strawberry shortcake!), and then John and I watched Butler almost pull off an amazing upset over Duke. They gave me a bed for the night to keep me out of the rain, and made sure I had a full stomach when I left this morning, as well as a bagged lunch for the road (Marie: "Well, I had to pack one for me anyway, so...").

Day 11

A Susquehanna tributary

April 6th, 2010



in beautiful Luzerne County, PA

Day 11

A giant rooster

April 6th, 2010



It's not clearly related to anything nearby; apparently the owner of the laundromat next door put it there just to get people talking.

Day 11




I wonder why.




Last night began something like this:

"Hi, my name's Matt. I'm doing a walk across America."

"Cool. Want some wine?"

Jeannie and Norbert, as it turns out, are a very friendly and interesting couple who had, until fairly recently, been living in wine country in Washington (and making wine, including the bottle from which I was drinking). Their house, which I got a tour of after dinner, was built in 1802 and once served as a hotel. In 1933, H.P. Field, the owner at the time, tried to murder his daughter, his wife, and himself. You can still see the bullet hole in the door from when he fired at his daughter down the hallway. The room where I spent the night was a post office in the 1860s. And so on. It was an amazing place.

Pictured above, in addition to Norb and Jeannie, are son Rory and nephew Addison (other son Cory wasn't home at the time). Pictured below are some old photos of Norbert's Irish ancestry.

Norbert's Irish ancestors

Day 12

Subtle decorations

April 7th, 2010



HELLO DID YOU KNOW IT IS EASTER BECUASE ITS EASTER!!!!!

Day 13

Breakfast of champions

April 8th, 2010



The owner of the farm where I stayed last night wasn't too interested in talking, and I thought he was maybe a little suspicious of me, so I said a quick thanks and went out to set up the tent. But as I was heading out this morning, he brought his granddaughter down to see me off, and she brought me the "surprise" you see on the left side of the photo. Also pictured: socks in need of an airing and a couple of good-luck charms given to me by friends before I left.

Day 13

Christopher Sholes

April 8th, 2010



Inventor of QWERTY

Day 14

Shelter from the storm

April 9th, 2010



As I was heading west down Route 45 yesterday evening, I could see a tremendous thunderstorm brewing ahead of me. I pulled over at the nearest farmhouse, owned by a retired Bucknell professor, and was given shelter in this shed/barn mere seconds before the sky opened up. Also provided free of charge were a Coca-Cola, some local beef jerky, a roll of toilet paper, and a two-hour lecture on the virtues of hard work.

Day 14

Rumble strips

April 9th, 2010



In case you've ever wondered what they look like up close

Day 14




Welcome to Mennonite country

Day 14




Waiting for carnival season to roll around again

Day 14

Sandwich and brimstone

April 9th, 2010



I was sitting on the side of the road taking a break when two plain-dressed women pulled up in their car. They said their school was selling hoagies, but they gave me one for free, along with a copy of the famous Chick Publication "This Was Your Life!", seen in the picture open to my favorite page.