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