2 coasts ... 1 HOPE

On January 6th 2009, I will be flying out to LA and walking back to Boston, raising money for cancer research. The route I'm taking should take 5 months and cover roughly 3,800 miles. We will be filming the entire trip for an upcoming documentary.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"If you waste your time a-talking to the people who don’t listen
To the things that you are saying who do you think’s going to hear?
And if you should die explaining how the things that they complain about
Are things they could be changing, who d’you think’s goin’ to care?"
- "To Beat the Devil" Kris Kristofferson

Thursday, February 19, 2009

lost and FOUND

Lance Armstrong's bike was returned to authorities. The other two bikes are still missing.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Someone stole Lance Armstrong's custom bike, as well as three others in California. This is a picture of it.

There is a reward being offered, so if anyone has any info.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Till next time......

This is my last post from the southwest. Thanks to all, for your support, love and understanding. I'll put together all the statistics and a more specific thank you list once I get back. Right now, I wanna go home......

Thursday, February 12, 2009


My feet have stopped walking east
My strength faded
My battle was the loneliness of the road
Yours is for your life

My feet have stopped walking east
My strength growing
Your battle is now my battle
MY battle is for your life

My walk across America has come to an end. I will be flying home from Phoenix, AZ on Saturday, Feb. 14th. This adventure has changed me, physically and mentally. I have seen beautiful sunrises and many beautiful sunsets. I've laughed and I've cried. The people I've met along the way have been amazing. Thank you all for sharing this with me.

People have told me that I inspire them. Wow, that's a tough thing to conceive. Truthfully, I'm the one whose been inspired on this journey. Stories of loss and survival have touched my heart. Jordan LeAndre who sparked this whole adventure. Savanaha Pederson, the manager at the Super 8 in Safford, AZ, whose sister is battling with cancer. Scott, a survivor whose followed me since day one. Caryn, who has won the battle with ovarian cancer and is fighting breast cancer now. Jack Hoeger, from the LIVESTRONG video a few posts back. My "Ma", everyday I try to make you proud. YOU and countless others are my inspiration. And you should be an inspiration to everyone.

I walked 521 miles, roughly the distance from New Bedford, MA to Richmond, VA, to raise money and awareness for cancer. WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO? Whether it's walking in a 3k or running the Boston Marathon. Having a bake sale or a hot dog eating contest. You don't have to do much to make a difference, but you do have to do something.

I'm a member of the LIVESTRONG Army now and I will fight this fight by your side.

Day 35 total: 0
Jesse Walks America total: 521 miles, a life time of stories, and a heart full of hope.

p.s. On February 24, Caryn will be going to Pennsylvania to have surgery. My last request from the southwest, is that everyone who reads this will keep her in their thoughts. So you can put a face to the name, here's Caryn

Bat Cave

Today I had plans to get a ride from Las Cruces to Carlsbad, my new friend Ramey had to go there to the caverns to do a photo shoot. We had a good ride out and got to Carlsbad Cavern around noon. Here's the cave opening

It was amazing and when I get a link to all the pictures Ramey took I'll put them on here. Thanks for the ride and the great time, Ramey.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Houston, we have a problem.

Woke up today, at Ramey and Ben's, to some of the scariest clouds I've ever seen. The possibility of thunderstorms, snow showers and rain. The mountains I had to walk towards were not even visible. What do I do? Find a CouchSurf and bunk down for the day. Thankful, it wasn't hard and I'm back on the campus of NMSU at Jen's. Thank you Ramey and Ben for the hospitality.

Here's how the weather broke down - rain: nope ; snow showers: if 2 minutes equals a shower ; thunder: not a peep. What we did get was cloud cover and wind like crazy. The wind was blowing like the big, bad wolf "I'll huff and I'll puff and..." well you get the point, 30 mph gusts for like 5 hours.

Now the fun part. I had a sort of melt down today about the "walk". Do I keep going? Is anyone really paying attention?

The lack of press interest really has me baffled. I guess my delusions of grandeur before this walk started were true delusions. I thought everyone would be all over this because everyone seems to have a cancer story. WRONG! I can't even get a small town paper to write a blurb. This had me questioning everything. What can i do? How come things aren't the way I expected them to be?
"It's the first quarter of the big game and you want to toss up a hail Mary. I'd like to be pimps from Oakland or cowboys from Arizona, but it's not Halloween. Grow up Peter Pan, Count Chocula"

I DO have a cancer story and I don't want my kids to have one. So, I guess I'm gonna walk. I made a promise to a beautiful girl that I'd meet her in Fort Worth to celebrate a belated Valentine's Day and I don't lie to her.

I know the last few days have been kinda of boring for readers but the adventure is just getting started. If you leave now you might miss the good parts. Please stay tuned and donate to one of the organizations, so the only stories we tell have happy endings.

Day 34 total: 0
Jesse Walks America total: 521.4
Jesse Walks America total times I've wanted to go home today: 17
Jesse Walks America total times I went home today: 0

I'd do it the same too

Before I head off and don't have internet access there is something important I need to post. On Thursday, Feb. 12, my new friend John in Peoria(who serves our country in the Air Force) is taking a very big exam for a promotion. I would really appreciate it if everyone who follows and supports me would send him good thoughts on Thursday. Good luck, John. I'll be thinking good thoughts all day.

Monday, February 9, 2009

"I'll make you famous"

Last full day in Las Cruces, so what was I gonna do......laundry. That's right I had to get it done before I hit the road. I talked to Kelly, did my laundry, and played online.
At around noon, Jen And I walked to Old Mesilla, about 3 miles away. The town is an "old west" historic area kind of turned touristy. First thing we did was grab some food at La Posta. It was very good and not very expensive. We walked around and took some pictures and video. One of the shops was the courthouse where Billy the Kid was sentenced to hang. That was pretty cool.

We headed back to her place so I could pack up for the next CouchSurfing place. We said our good-byes and off I went.

It was a 4 mile walk to my next destination but I made it kinda quickly. So I'm at my last surf in Las Cruces hanging out. One of my hosts, Ben, has actually hiked the Pacific Crest Trail so we've been talking a little about that. Some of you may or may not know that I had loosely planned to go hike the PCT right after this adventure. Whether I do or not will remain to be seen. A five month walk, that is kicking my butt right now, followed by a five month hike in the woods, sounds.....????
Check out a map of the PCT
Tomorrow I start the 30 day walk to Fort Worth, TX. As I wrote yesterday, Kelly booked her flight so now I have to be there by then. It's good to have deadlines, I've learned, especially with rewards at the end.
I haven't walked route for 4 days, wow. This has been a nice break, but it's time to get back to business.
All the walking I did today was in my new LIVESTRONG sneakers. I wanted to break them in a little before I retire the Asics. Speaking of sneakers let me give a quick thanks to Walt for the sneakers he donated to me. Thanks Walt. Watch this......

I'm heading to Alamogordo, NM through White Sands National Monument where the first atom bomb was tested. I've been told they still do missile testing, so I have to check a schedule to insure that the road will be open. Being hit by a missile would really suck.

Day 33 total: 0
Jesse Walks America total: 521.4

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Planes, rains, and how does this make you feel

Today was very laid back. I woke up and talk to Kelly for a few on her ride back from D.C.. Once Jen, my CouchSurfing host, woke up we walked down the street to a different coffee shop for breakfast. It was very nice out on the way there but on the way back a canopy of clouds had moved in. There was rumor of rain and it looked like it may come true. I actually felt a few drops.

Jen had to work so I went for a walk and snapped these pictures for someone who has been following my travels since day one. I think this is the place you were talking about. If so, still here. That's crazy.

Since not to much has happened I figured I'd give you guys a few videos and some facts.

-Cancer may affect people at all ages, even fetuses, but the risk for most varieties increases with age.
-Cancer causes about 13% of all deaths.
-According to the American Cancer Society, 7.6 million people died from cancer in the world during 2007.

Wideawake performance of Maybe Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow at Antone's in Austin, Texas. Download the song at iTunes. All proceeds benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

The good news of the day is Kelly booked her flight to Dallas. She will be arriving on the 12th of March so that gives me 30 days starting Tuesday to get there. I can't wait to see you, Kelly. It will be so wonderful.

Day 32 total: 0
Jesse Walks America total walked: 521.4
Total number of people who have died from cancer since I left the pier: 46,080(roughly)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"C" is for cookie

Day 2 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Last night I stayed with my CouchSurfing host, Michelle. She picked me up, dropped me at her place, told me how to get to the local coffee shop, Milagro, and had to go back to work. Later that night we went downtown with a couple of her friends, Jo and Craig who are from Connecticut (and surfed with Michelle last week) to an art exhibit. Afterward we returned to her place, where two other friends came by, Justin and Abby, and we watched a movie. The movie was Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus, it was very good.

We sat around and talked a bit before turning in.

Unfortunately, the string of strangers effected by cancer continued yesterday. Abby's mother had been told about another tumor that had developed. Not to get into her personal details, I know that my family wishes all the best for her and her family.

Today I got up, talked to Kelly, and headed to Milagro to start emailing local radio stations. Once I finished that I felt my primal urge kick in. The urge, for some reason, to go to the place I always go if I'm bored.....the mall. I located it on the map and it was only 2 miles, so off I went. What do you know it was pretty much the same as every mall. So back to the coffee shop to start figuring my route to Dallas.

So, I was working on that when my next CouchSurfing host called to set things up for tonight. Seems she works right down the street from Milagro, so I walked down to meet her. We sat and talked briefly, she was supposed to be working, and made plans to meet up later. Now I'm back at the coffee shop waiting for Michelle to finish her daily things so I can say my good-bye's and thank you's and begin a new adventure. Tonight, I'll be staying on the campus of New Mexico State University with a new friend, Jen.

Today was very relaxing and kinda boring so far. The boring part was by my choice, I guess. I just wanted to get those emails done and figure out my route a little. One of the things I told my step-dad before I left was that I wanted to teach myself to stop procrastinating. I'm trying, Bob, I really am. HAHA

I met up with Jen at the local grocery, where she had to grab somethings for dinner. We got back to her place and just started talking while she cooked. I grabbed a quick shower, we ate and headed out to one of her friend's to watch a movie.

Once all the introductions were made, the questions about the walk began. This is one of the things I love about doing this, talking to people who are genuinely interested. Everyone in the room seemed to enjoy my stories and I enjoyed telling them. I love when a group of total strangers and I share a laugh or two over my misadventures. While all this was happening Katie, whose dorm room we were in, made chocolate chip cookies. When they came out of the oven a line was formed like a soup kitchen. They were some good cookies.

We watched "Once" and the movie was good, but the soundtrack was terrific.

All in all it was a great night. The kindness of strangers is still amazing me. To be in a room with complete strangers and feel like you belong, is a great feeling. That has been my experience to date with CouchSurfing so far.

Any one who knows me, knows that my roots are strong with family and friends. So, you guys know how hard it is for me to be away. I miss you guys like crazy already. There isn't a day that I don't want to come home to regular life. So when I have the "right at home" feeling it makes things easier to deal with. I still miss you guys it just makes it a little easier.

Thanks to everyone for the feedback on "Which came first...." It took a lot for me to get that one together.

Day 31 total: 0
Jesse Walks America total walked: 521.4
Jesse Walks America total rode: 276
Jesse Walks America total fresh baked cookies: 2 (really I only had 2)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Which came first the "walk" or the "reason" ?

Sorry, this is a bad picture taken in a coffee house bathroom mirror. It is my tattoo on my chest that says "MA" which is what we called my grandmother. She was, with the exception of my mom, the most important woman in my life. I bring this up because people who I've met, ask if cancer has effected me personally and I tell them I lost my grandmother 15 years ago. Fifteen years seems like a long time for someone to finally get up and do something in some one's memory. The fact is it hasn't been 15 years since I've done something in her memory, I do something everyday. I wake up, take a breath and try to be the best grandson I can be.

I woke up this morning feeling I needed to defend my choice of accepting rides on my "walk" across America. The fact is, the walk is an amazing side note to a bigger picture. If I were walking just to say I did it, I would have given up weeks ago. Surprised to hear that? Don't be, this is hard. I miss my family. I miss my friends. And I miss the hell out of my girlfriend. But I made a promise and a commitment to raise money and awareness of this terrible disease.

I want to walk from coast-to-coast, but more importantly I want to reach people. If this means accepting the kindness of strangers who offer a ride to the next town, well... Walking in the desert for days on end doesn't get the message out. Each person who I've rode with has lost someone to cancer, a wife, a father, an uncle. Those people's stories touched me and I hope my efforts touched them. In fact I know it did because they told me.

I'm currently one week ahead of my scheduled arrival into Dallas to meet Kelly. I intend to spend the next few days in the city of Las Cruces, NM looking for a way to spread the word of what I'm doing. Whether it's newspaper, radio, tv, or standing outside the McDonald's greeting people.

Am I walking every step of the 3,800 mile route that I had planned? No. Do I regret taking those rides? No. If I let anyone down by that statement, I'm sorry. Truly I am. "Jesse Walks America" is about raising awareness and money for cancer research, not about the number of miles my feet hit the ground.

When I take my last step on this journey I want to feel like I made a difference. Walking from coast-to-coast isn't heroic, making an impact on some one's life is. If I can help someone from losing their "Ma", then I've done something to be proud of.

So please keep following me whether it's walking or catching a ride to the next town. And if you haven't made a donation, please do. We still are making a difference, one donation and one mile at a time.

Day 30 total: 0
Jesse Walks America total walked: 521.4
Jesse Walks America total rode: 276

p.s. I walked across the border into New Mexico today.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Helping hands from everywhere

Woke up after sunrise today, figured I'd sleep in since I'm ahead of schedule. I went down to the lobby and had some breakfast, then went to get packing. I got a move on around 9:45 from the Super 8. I want to thank the manager for her generosity and hospitality. Unfortunately she is another person I've met who has a loved one battling cancer. Tell them to keep fighting the fight and LIVESTRONG.

On the way through Safford I noticed the office for one of the local papers, the Eastern Arizona Courier. So because I'm trying to talk to more people, I stopped in. I spoke to the Managing Editor, Aimee Staten, and she took down my information and took a quick photo. In the next few days there may be a story, I'll keep you all posted.

Once I got out of the city limits I snapped this picture of this beautiful mountain

In the desert again, I was just going along thinking where am I gonna sleep tonight. I passed a sign saying that the next town, Duncan, was 32 miles and Lordsburg (a future destination) was 66. Knowing I would have to walk into the night if I was hoping to reach Duncan, I just kept an eye on cell service and kept plugging along.

I stopped to use the roadside facilities and grab a drink, when a pick-up passed and backed up to me. The driver asked where I was headed and if I was okay, "East and yes." "Well throw your rig in the back and I'll get you to the next town so your not sleeping in the desert." Raised not to be rude I accepted the offer. Larry and I started talking and it wasn't long before he shared that he had lost his wife to cancer 7 years ago.(side note they were married 43 years, no lie) Thanks for the lift Larry.

This is becoming a reoccurring event, someone stopping to check on me, offering a ride and having lost a loved one to cancer. I could really do without the latter.

Larry dropped me at the town hall where he said I'd be able to find out about a place to sleep. The lady at the town hall mentioned that the local bed & breakfast would be my best bet. So once I had directions, I was on my way. Being a small town it wasn't long before I came across The Simpson Hotel.

I knocked on the door and was greeted with a smile by Deborah. I explained what I was doing in town and that I was in need of a room, "Well, welcome to the Simpson Hotel". She showed me my room and told me where to park the Switchback Hybrid. I brought some things in from the jogger before I headed out to explore town and grab a bite to eat. After returning and taking a shower, I went out to grab something from the jogger and found one of the goats checking it out. Yes, I said goat...curious about what might be in there, I guess.

Now I'm sitting, listening to the Celtics-Lakers game on ESPN radio on-line enjoying having a roof over my head again. Come on CELTICS!!!!!!

Today has been a good day to be me and I want to give a few "thank you"s out to some of the people that have made it that way. Again thanks to the Super 8, Larry, Deborah at the The Simpson Hotel. Also to the law offices of Horan Mclean & Horan for their generous donation, and to my cousin Caitlyn for all her help spreading the "word" of the walk.

While I'm thanking people, thank you to my family, my girlfriend Kelly, my friends, all my sponsors for all the love and support. Also to the three organizations we're trying to help, for letting us be part of trying to make a better tomorrow for people diagnosed and living with this terrible disease.

Tomorrow I will walk into New Mexico, my third state on the way home. Thanks for having me Arizona. It's been fun and I'll be back some day, probably driving though.

Day 29 total: 18
Jesse Walks America total: 521.4

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Just to be the man who walked.......

I hit 500 today........

I started the day packing up my Switchback Hybrid for the road. With everything in place Kelly Baker and I loaded it into the truck and headed to Globe. With a quick stop at my new favorite place "Jack's", we were off. Thanks again to Kelly, Jamie, and Hunter for your hospitality.

Started walking around 10ish, it was a lot easier than the last few days. As I reached Peridot, AZ and entered the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation I lost phone service. So, I found a payphone and called to check in and explain that I may be without service for awhile. With that done...

I walked about another 4 miles before a pickup pulled up and asked what I was doing. So after a little explanation, Paul explained how it may be better if he gave me a lift out off the reservation so I won't have to camp. So we loaded up the Switchback Hybrid and hit the road. It was just for my safety that Paul said I shouldn't spend the next couple nights out there. We had a great talk and he explained a lot of what I was seeing as we drove. He dropped me in Safford, AZ and headed off down the road.

So being in a town this early with no place on the side of the road to crash I did the only thing I could, got a room. I'm sitting in the Super 8 Motel in Safford, AZ two days ahead of schedule. By schedule I mean, I have CouchSurfing in Las Cruces, NM for the next weekend and of course my long goal, 40 days to Dallas and Kelly.

Every stranger that I have had the chance to talk to has lost someone to or knows someone living with cancer. It is truly amazing how this disease affects so many people. I made a deal with a new friend that I would start talking to more people about what I'm doing and I started today. People will know about this walk and we will make a difference.

If you wear one of these, please leave a comment. Let's get a count on how many members of the LIVESTRONG ARMY we have following me across the country.

Day 28 total: 22
Jesse Walks America total: 503.4

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

This land IS my land and I love it

Got my ride from Kelly to Superior and was walking by 8:30. The road went up, up, up, it didn't seem to want to stop. I walked through some beautiful rock faces and through some mining areas. I crossed through a place named, Top-of-the-World , AZ. When I asked about the name, David, someone I met said it was named by truckers who passed through and visited a house of.....well let's just say there were girls there. Whether or not this is true it was a good story.

Today I met two really nice people while walking. David, a landscaper by trade, shared some stories and left me with some fruit and a baseball cap. Thank you, sir. And Gerald, who wished me luck and told me to stop and see his brother, Jonathan, if I needed anything on my way through Bylas, AZ. Thank you as well.

My day ended when I reached my new favorite place, Jack-in-the-Box on Route 60 in Globe. I know what you're thinking but no I didn't eat there, I sat and waited for my ride. My friend James came to get me today which was nice because it gave us time to catch up on things. I also drew this map of my adventure to this point

James and I went and picked up his friend Eric and then went to a local place named, Tres Banderas for some Mexican food. The food was very good but I guess what they are known for is the over 100 types of tequila they have. I didn't partake in any of that though.

Back at Kelly and Jamie's we all talked a bit before they headed out to visit with friends. Tonight is my last night on their couch and they have been amazing hosts. They have done so much for me and I can't thank them enough. Hell if it wasn't for them I wouldn't know Jack. (maybe I'd be better off HAHA) No, seriously thank you so much Kelly, Jamie and Hunter for putting up with me for this long.

Tomorrow I start what may be 10 days without a place to sleep. So the blogs will be short and to the point until I have computer use. I just hope that the phone service stays intact for some of it. Also tomorrow I will be breaking 500 miles walked, wow.

Day 27 total: 25
Jesse Walks America total: 481.4

Monday, February 2, 2009

Superior to who?

Excuse me as I share a little #43 information with the rest of 43 nation. Last night was the 43rd Super Bowl. Today when I started recording my sister leaving there were 43 minutes on the tape (it's true ask her). And today was 43 days till I need to be in Dallas to meet Kelly.

43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43

This morning I woke up to bring my sister to the airport and she told me to go back to sleep. So I kissed and hugged her and listened to her. Thanks for visiting Kristin it was great walking with you.

When I finally got up and got ready, Kelly drove me out to where I would be starting. Walking at 8:30, talking to (my) Kelly at 8:35, business as usual. My goal was simple, walk at least 22 miles and reach the town of Superior, AZ. The flat land was easy without the Switchback Hybrid loaded down with my stuff. Then it appeared......an uphill. The grade was moderate but it lasted FOOORRREEEVVEEER !!!!!!!

I finally staggered into a little town known as Superior, AZ and this is on the horizon as you enter

I was so happy to be there but not so happy that the only cell service was Verizon. I had lost coverage I don't know where and I probably wasn't getting it back anytime soon. So I had to figure out how to check in back home and call for a pick-up back to Apache Junction. I hit my SPOT and tried to figure the other part out.

To my surprise they have invented these things on the outside of businesses that if you put money in them you can call people.

So being in an adventurous mood I got some quarters and tried it. What do you know it worked. I talked to my Kelly and then Kelly, who was to pick me up. Half an hour later I was in the truck on the way back to her house.

The uphill was really pretty tough and I hear tomorrow will be as bad, if not worse. Tomorrows goal is at least 22 miles and the city of Globe, AZ. The route to Dallas looks good but hard and wide open, not to many towns. But the reward when I get there will be worth any and all hardships. KAF

Day 26 total: 21.6
Jesse Walks America total: 456.4

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Out with the 43rd President in with the 43rd Super bowl champs

This morning the walking was going to be determined my Kristin's feet. If she couldn't walk, I would gladly take the day off to continue healing my ankle and hang out. Check out this blister and guess our decision.

So since I was going to be relaxing for the day, I had to be productive. I went through the Switchback Hybrid and pulled out a few items to send home. Also, I changed my flat tire and lined both the wheels with Mr. Tuffy Tire Liners that I got at REI.

I have a confession to make. While here in Apache Junction, AZ I found out about the most wonderful fast food chain in the world, Jack In The Box. Now I know that I shouldn't be eating this but, I couldn't help it. They serve breakfast all day long. YES!!!!! Another funny coincidence is, the day I realized this new obsession, Skip Potts another cross-country walker posted this blog.

The rest of the day was just relaxing and leading up to the "Big Game". Now, those who know me know that I'm a Colts fan, but I grew up a Steelers fan. Not really rooting for either side, but being in a house of Cardinals fans was going to be interesting. Jamie and his son, Hunter, kept telling me to be ready for a good game and that the "Cards" were no push-overs. I could not have been more impressed with the way their defense held the Steelers. And as a somewhat none fan of either team, it was a great game. I definitely expect to see the Cardinals making noise next year.

Tomorrow morning we bring Kristin to the airport and it's back to business. Kelly and Jamie have offered to let me stay here for a few more nights. What that means is I'll be able to walk without the Switchback Hybrid because they'll be picking me up at the end of my days and dropping me off in the mornings. So I owe them a great big thank you for all they are doing to help on this adventure, THANK YOU.

I also added my vinyl lettering to the Switchback Hybrid . Thank you mom and Matt and Erin from E&M Custom Graphics.

Now maybe I won't look as "homeless" while I'm walking. I'll probably still smell it though. Also, the header logo is new check it out, in case you missed it.

It's been really cool having my sister here and it has helped with the homesickness. Now my brother and my sister have been physically by my side for part of this walk. Thank you for sharing this with me Kristin, I love you.

Congratulations Super Bowl 43 Champions

Day 25 total: 0
Jesse Walks America total: 424.8

43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43 43

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The walk heard 'round the world

The alarm went off and I started trying to figure out what I would be carrying today. I was not going to be pushing the Switchback Hybrid for the first time in at least a week. This is a little more difficult then you would think. Water, snacks, camera, Ipod....wait no Ipod, should spend time talking to my sister. Yes, that's right I was going to have company for the day (tomorrow too). We both packed up our CamelBak packs and headed out. On the road at 8:30 heading towards this mountain

We thought we were making amazing time because my pedometer was saying we were. Yeah well, it was some how set on kilometers and not miles.

We walked to were the Arizona Renaissance Festival is held and where Kelly was. All of Kristin's friends came out to greet us and cheer for what we were doing. I spent a little while talking about routes and reasons before we decided it was best to call it a day.
What I think about when I think about renaissance festivals..

R.I.P. Heath Ledger

It ended up being a little short of where I thought we would stop. Better to stop early today and be able to walk again tomorrow. Kristin did really good, she was able to keep up with my pace without any problems. Of course she got blisters on both feet and we'll have to see how she's feeling tomorrow.

I've been informed that Jesse Walks America has gone trans-Atlantic, the chair recognizes...Norway. Thanks and welcome to the party.

Day 24 total: 13
Jesse Walks America: 424.8

Friday, January 30, 2009

Positivety is not about being soft, it's about being smart.

I know I've put this on here before, but there is one line I think about when I want to stop walking.

"If a person never quit when the going got tough, I guess they wouldn't have anything to regret for the rest of their life."

So I woke up this morning and .......went for a walk. I know I was supposed to be resting but it was only a couple blocks. When I got back, I played on the computer and waited to go pick up Kristin.

Kelly (Kristin's friend) and I headed to the airport and got there almost in perfect time. Hugs and kisses, then off to find REI. Before we found REI though we found a Dunkin' Donuts. I was so excited and showed my New England-side, "Large ice coffee, black please." DELICIOUS !!!!!!

At REI, I started gathering things I felt I needed. I was looking to possibly upgrade my solar charger, grab some bike tubes and just about anything else that was there. My solar charger is a SOLIO Classic and I'm looking for more power. The helpful staff informed me that they were all sold out of the one I was craving. Oh well. Got my tubes, replaced my broken sunglasses, grabbed some bars and powders and headed for the counter. After explain to the staff what I was out doing, giving some LIVESTRONG bracelets and business cards out, we were on our way.

Back home, time to kick back and relax. Kelly and Kristin have been catching up and I've been checking on routes, reading emails, and relaxing. There are a few friends of Kristin's coming by to visit tonight after we eat.

Seth and the folks at Trek Lite gear, one of my sponsors, posted this on Trek Life, their blog. Thanks for the support guys.

Tomorrow I'll head out with Kristin and cover as much ground as she can. She's pretty tough, so it will be good.

From the "What's in my Ipod" file: It took 15 years to release a new song, but once I heard it I was hooked all over again. "Said we wouldn't last, said our time would pass, said we're just a flash, but we're still kicking ass."

Day 23 total: 0
Jesse Walks America total: 411.8

NKOTB - 10/8/08

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Surf in the City

Ok, so let me catch you up on what happened last night. Rob and I went to his friends, Ben and Olga's, for dinner. On the way he showed be downtown Tempe, which just got a Dunkin' Donuts (almost asked him to stop). We had a delicious meal and great conversation about the walk, desert survival, and mountain lions. When it was time to go, they gave me some organic fruit chews for snacking and a small pin of the Russian flag. Olga is originally from Russia and Ben said, "Cancer is a world issue." It was a very touching gift that I will keep with me throughout my journey. Thank you both.

We then picked up another of Rob's friends, Lisa, who is from Australia (she is going back in 12 days. Have a safe trip). We were on our way to the Side Bar where local CouchSurfers (host and surfers) meet up on Wednesday nights. There were about 20 some odd people when we got there and the stories where flying. As well as the PBR.

This one guy (can't remember his name, sorry) had driven from Alabama to Chicago and now to Phoenix was just kinda jumping around. He had a great outlook on life and how he wanted to travel the world. We talked for a bit sharing our travel experiences. By around 11 most of the surfers had left and Rob, Lisa, her friend Linsey, and I just talked amongst ourselves. The night ended around midnight and I was very happy I went and met all those interesting people. I fell asleep pretty quickly.

When I woke up this morning I adjusted the stuff in the Switchback Hybrid and prepared to walk to Apache Junction. Rob and his dog, Honey, joined me for the first 5 miles. They got picked up by Janet (Rob still had a full work schedule to keep) and we said our good-byes.

Thank you Rob for everything it was a great time. And I'll be keeping track of the project at 1700 Curry, it's a great idea.

Today I hit my 400th mile walked. I made this on the sidewalk to make my moment.

I walked into Apache Junction and got to my sister's friend, Kelly's, around 4 p.m.. We chatted for awhile and had some food. I've been sitting trying to figure out my next route. Kristin gets in tomorrow and I'll be taking the day off to hang out and go to REI.

Day 22 total: 21.8
Jesse Walks America total: 411.8
Drive from Santa Monica Pier, CA to Apache Junction, AZ: 422

A quick correction: The base John is stationed at is Luke AFB, in Glendale, AZ.
Some pics John took

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Don't Temp-me

I woke up and talked with John a bit more this morning. We took a few pictures that I'll add here when he's able to send them to me. He brought me out to the main drag, we said our good-byes and I was off. I knew I had 26 or so miles to cover to get to the next surf, in Tempe.

I got to Phoenix and got my second flat of the trip

Yes, that's my Nalgene bottle holding up the Switchback Hybrid.

As I walked through Phoenix I saw these metal sculptures shaped like insects. If you look close there are little people in the claws, on the tail and all around it.

Also my house that is still under construction

This is actually ,Tovrea Castle being renovated. So you don't have to start packing Kelly. HAHA

I was getting really tired and didn't think Tempe was ever gonna show it's face. Then I rounded a bend and I was on Curry Street (that's the street I was aiming for). I walked for about 30 more minutes and reached my destination. This is Rob's business, so I was greeted by his co-worker Janet and shown around. Rob was out working and would be in shortly.

We may be attending a dinner at some friends here in a bit depending on how tired I'm feeling when Rob gets in. We'll have to see. The place is nice and Rob has made me feel right at home. I'll let you know how the night turns out....Stay tuned.

Day 21 total: 26.5
Jesse Walks America total: 390.0

Catch a wave (or a couch)

So let me go back a day or so.....

I woke up Tuesday morning in Wickenburg, AZ and I headed to Peoria, AZ for my first CouchSurf . I saw this on top of a hill I was walking under, kinda

So the road was long and boring, have I said that before. I finally reached Sun City just before Peoria and the sun was off to my right starting to go down

My host for the night, John, meet up with me and we headed to his place. He showed be where I'd be sleeping and gave a quick tour. We decided we were going to grab a bite, so I jumped in the shower to wash off the desert dust. We went to this great sports bar, McDuffy's behind the apartment complex. The food was great and the conversation was as well.

John has been in the Air Force since he was 18. Born and raised in North Carolina and has lived in Korea, Germany and elsewhere. He works on fighter jets at the base there in Peoria. He has done and seem so much for a young guy. I was very impressed and happy to meet him. My stay was wonderful and John was a great host. Thank you for everything John, stay in touch.

Since surf's up the next few nights I can't resist.......

Must sleep

Just a quick mileage update because I can't figure out my hosts computer. I'm such a rock thrower. I'll either blog twice tomorrow night or in the morning before I hit the road.

Day 20 total: 31
Jesse Walks America total: 363.5
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Monday, January 26, 2009

2 signs, a bracelet and a smile maker

It's been three days since my last online access. Not that much has happened. I've been walking down the straightest road I've ever seen, with pretty much the same view. This is the sign into the first town I came across from Parker, AZ (notice the number of grouches has been changed, HAHA)

The next three towns were, for the most part all the same size. They had a diner, a gas station and a general store for the most part.

Yesterday, I ran into a fellow traveler named Jason. He was riding bike from Alabama to Oregon to look for work. Check out his travelpod . We exchanged a little info. and both headed in separate directions. Good luck with your travels, Jason.

I've been in my tent the last three nights and that's been a new thing. I set up around 6 my time, when the sun starts setting, and I'm there until it creeps over the mountains around 7-7:30ish. So what do I do with all that time, you ask? Well I'll write in my journal and make a few calls (guess to who, hehe) then I fall asleep. I'd like to walk longer into the night, but the road's shoulder is too narrow and oncoming cars are scary enough during the day.

This morning I woke up just outside of Aquila, AZ with frost on my tent. It fell to about 35 degrees last night. I stayed warm in my tent, but I was surely surprised to see that. Also I had to fix my first flat tire. The thorns on the desert plants are no joke. On my way out of town I turned to see this sign

So by my math I've walked 10 miles less then it would take to drive to LA from this sign (as of yesterday my total was 307).

Well tonight I'm in Wickenburg, AZ, at the Inn, thanks to my sister Kristin who took care of business for me. Thanks Kristin, see you in a few days. Taking a shower was amazing as I'm sure sleeping in the bed will be.

Tomorrow I head to Peoria where I'll be CouchSurfing for the first time. I'm looking forward to it, it should be fun.

Let me take care of something I've been meaning to do. I need to send thank you's to Karen Davidson of The Forum and Sarah Gonet of The Standard-Times for their great articles.

A couple days back I passed this Arizona Highway Patrol officer, check his wrist

First person I've talked to with a LIVESTRONG bracelet. Represent.

From the "what's in the Ipod" file: This is a song that no matter my mood I smile and sing along. One of my feel good songs.....

Of course mines the album version not the rocking "live" one. HAHA

Day 19 total: 25.5
Jesse Walks America: 332.5

Sunday, January 25, 2009

300 (This is S-I-M-M-O-N-S)

Well I'm feeling a lot better today. Had a good day walking. I'll blog more details probably tomorrow. I actually hit a real size town.

Day 17 (saturday) total: 27.3
Day 18 total: 28.2
Jesse Walks America total: 307
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The BIG 3-0

For the first time I topped the 30 mile mark. Also for the first time it rained a little today. I'm camped along Route 72 (check my SPOT map) Going back to sleep.

Day 16 total: 30.2
Jesse Walks America total: 253.1
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Countdown to relaunch....

Well this is my second full day of rest and my ankle feels pretty good. Is it 100%, no but it feels better. Tomorrow, Friday the 23rd, the 16th day of this trip I will be heading to Phoenix.

Since I didn't really leave the room today I don't have to much to report. I'm currently watching the Celtics playing the Magic on TNT. It's nice to see my team, the defending champs, before I start up again.

Going to go and repack the Baby Jogger Switchback Hybrid a little neater then the first time. Still think I have to much stuff, but....

Day 15 total: 0
Jesse Walks America Total: 222.9

Thanks for the support

I would just like to thank everyone for the well-wishing. It's been a tough start but I'm getting there. I'll be back up and walking on Friday morning, heading to Phoenix, AZ. My sister, Kristin, is meeting me there in 9 days to go for a walk.

So sorry for a couple boring post as I rest up. And thanks to ya'll for the thoughts and prayers.

This is the water from the Pacific Ocean that I WILL be walking to the Atlantic Ocean.

Day 14 total: 0
Jesse Walks America total: 222.9

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tagged and released.

A rare mid-day blog to update my injury. Went to the clinic here around 10 am after a lengthy Facebook chat about it with Kelly. She did all the research of it's location and cost, then suggested I go. I talked it over with my dad and mom, telling them I was needing to know what was actually wrong. They both agreed so I was off walking the short one mile to the hospital.

The reason I mention the distance is because both times I asked for directions here I've got the same response. "Well, it's pretty far. about a mile or so I'd guess." Then I'd explain that I've just walked 222 miles from LA and I'm walking to Boston. "Well I guess one mile won't seem that far to you then". Then we'd share a chuckle.

The hospital staff was very polite and helpful. They were shocked I was walking across the country but very supportive of the cause. When my nurse, Jackie, came in and I explained my pain she said it sounded like, a repetitive use injury. She said x-rays would show nothing and a MRI would be expensive. So her diagnosis : Rest, Ice, Elevate, and Advil. So I'm in my room doing just that.

It looks and feels like I'll be up and going tomorrow but that is still up in the air.
Between the hospital and going to CVS to get Advil I walked about 5 miles today does that come out of the 60 it took to get here?

Another bracelet......

Real quick. It was kinda neat being at the doctors after having gone to E.M.T. classes. I knew my blood pressure was good and all the junk they were doing and what it meant. I even knew most of the questions they were going to ask before they asked them. Thanks Todd, Chris, John and the rest of the staff at SouthCoast Training. I told you I was paying attention. HAHA

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Hope: Episode "O"

Welcome change and our new leader.

Today I woke up at 5:30, my time, after a good night off sleeping. Got my tent and gear all packed up and headed out.

I talked to Kelly, quickly, as I do everyday as I start walking. That was the last phone service for about 5 hours. I had a couple blips when I could text out or texts came in but that was all. This is what I woke up to see

I was walking along, actually limping along, for a while when I first met up with Florian (the guy from a few post back). He was out my way bike riding and graciously was going to leave a few water drops for me. By the time he came back to where I was I was really hurting. We talked for a minute and I asked if he would mind giving me a lift to the nearest town. I had to decide if I was going to keep limping along or go see a doctor.

I called home and weighed my options. My mom said it sounded like good idea, so off we headed to Earp, CA. Earp, CA is on one side of the Colorado River and Parker, AZ is on the other. My mom and sister were home working out reservations for me at a local hotel so I could start healing.

Because Earp is smaller than Parker we drove into Arizona to scope out the local hotel and hospital locations. After we found where I had to be Florian drove me back into California, so I could walk into Arizona. I was thankful the hotel was just a block into the city. Florian and I said our good-byes and I thanked him again for his help. I checked in and made my phone calls home. Now we are going to see how I feel tomorrow and make the decision on a doctor visit.

That's where we stand, on one leg while the other gets iced. Not the way I wanted to get into my 2nd state, but what can you do. More tomorrow from the city of Parker, AZ.

Day 13 total: 19
Jesse Walks America total: 222.9
States down: 1
Poll ending total: 118.9

President Barack Omaba busts a move. This is going to be a fun four years I think.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Freakin lonely

First day alone. Freaked out a little when I lost cell service. Talked to Kelly and everything was better. It was a good day walking I'll write more about the day when I have a computer.

Day 12 total: 25.5
Jesse Walks America total: 203.9
Poll total: 99.9
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Lets get ready to ruuummmbbble.

I am sitting here this morning a little scared. I'm a little nervous about the next ten days of solitude. I just want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement. To all my family and friends I say thanks. I'd list you all but I have to walk sometime today (HAHA). Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read my rambling thoughts and run-on sentences. And to everyone who has made a donation to any of these organizations on behalf of the "walk", THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. My vision when I started this was to make a small difference and WE are.

Today's main event: Jesse Eric Simmons vs. The Open Road

What the road doesn't realize is I don't walk alone. Let's get ready to ruuuummmmmbble


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Breaking up the band.

So today was the last day that the crew was going to be following me around. We headed out and this was the view for the day.

After a few hours of walking I ran into them waiting to film and we decided that we would call it an early day. We figured this would be best so I could get everything that I need together. So at 11ish I climbed into the van for the last time after walking. This is what shoes look like after 175+ miles walking.

We got back to the hotel and I started packing. Man I have a lot of stuff (I feel) but I don't want to be caught off guard. I always over-pack.

Here is (possibly) my last blurb about BJ for a little while. He finished his walk last night in Boston. Check it out. BJ finishing

I want to take a few moments to thank the crew that has followed and watched me walk for 11 days.

Steve: What a way to get to know someone, two weeks in a van or a hotel room. Thanks for all the help filming and all the stills you shot. And the quick lesson on uploading those photos (I'll get to them, haha)

Eric: It seems like we had a million 3 hour meetings at the "Bean" about this before it finally happened. Thanks for following me around for two weeks with a camera and a vision. And thanks in advance for all the work that is going to come from here on out. I hope you remember how to make sandwiches.

Carl: What can I say here...you're my brother and my best friend. I wouldn't have wanted this "doc" in the hands of anyone else. I know you are going to make a film that we are going to be proud of. Another adventure, thanks for being there as I started this epic trip.

Tomorrow I start out on a three day walk without a town. I also have 10 days to make it Phoenix to meet up with my sister. She is flying out to walk with me for a couple days. So the next few blogs will be via BlackBerry, depending on service.

Day 11 total: 10
Jesse Walks America total: 178.4
Poll total: 74.4

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dollar Menu

After the day of rest and night of restlessness, I had to start walking again. We got out of Joshua Tree pretty early and got to the route at about 7:30. I was walking at 8 like everyday. Right out of the gate was uphill through a windy corridor. I'm getting used to it now. It soon leveled off and I was able to cover some real mileage.

By noon, I had 12 miles down and had set a goal to reach Twenty-nine Pines 7 miles away. Baby steps. I ended up walking right through the town of Joshua Tree and found out the elevation I had climbed to.

While I was walking, the guys took in the sights and shops of the town (I found out later). Guess you can only watch a guy walk for so long without going crazy.

It was a pretty uneventful day to say the least. The road stayed flat and the view stayed the same, desert nothingness to the left and right.

I want to share something with everyone. As I'm writing this blog, my friend BJ Hill is finishing his trek across America. He has been walking in the dark and cold of Boston to get done today. Check out his adventure, WalkAmerica2008. Way to go BJ, I look forward to seeing you back in Boston when I finish sometime in April/May.

I also want to share an email from a family friend I received a day ago. I left the names out, so I hope they don't mind.

Jesse, just recently found out what you have been up to. I read the blog its great. I'm so proud. In a non condescending way. I just finished a severe dose of radiation 6 months ago. I'm cancer free and feeling better but my friends 1 year old just went through severe brain cancer and although better remains totally blind. Keep up the good work, those of us who don't have the strength or stamina to do what you are doing will forever be greatfull, cherish the sights you see for the little girl i mentioned. Her name is Sophia and we'll be praying for your safety. We hope to get a donation together soon as well.

This is why I'm doing this. Everyone of us knows someone who has cancer or knows someone who knows someone who has it. Monday morning, if you haven't already, when you get to work please tell everyone about my walk. Take the initiative and start a collection for one of the organizations on my blog. If everyone we know gives at least $1 we will make a difference. How many people do you know? And how many do they know? That's a lot of people. ONE DOLLAR.

Every minute someone dies from cancer. Since I started this walk roughly 17,280 people have lost their battle with this disease. It's time to do something.

Day 10 total: 23.1
Jesse Walks America total: 168.4
Poll total: 64.4