A mentioned in my post of 9/3/08, Dennis Crowley is walking across America on the Lincoln Highway, breaking the trip into manageable segments. He’s completed leg one from San Francisco to Sacramento and sent a round-up for our enjoyment. Now back in Arizona, he writes that “It seems like only yesterday that I first conceived of the idea to walk across America on the Lincoln Highway. Tired muscles, a collection of photos, and a pile of credit card receipts are telling me that the first leg of my walk on the Lincoln Highway is over.” Here’s part one of his note, with more to follow later this week:
After completing a walk across America on Route 66 in 2005 doing another walk was the furthest thing from my mind. Getting back to living a “normal” life was the only thing on my mind and that is precisely what I did, but it would only be short lived. In the spring of 2006 I received a phone call asking me to meet someone who was walking across America. When this man, also named Dennis, arrived at my home he was pulling a wheel barrow with his gear in it. It was quite a novelty to be sure, but it got me thinking. What he had was crude, but he had a good idea and I knew I could improve on it. As I watched him leave in the middle of the night the wheels on his “rig” were not the only ones turning.
Over the course of the next two years I worked with a graphic designer developing a logo, pestered custom bicycle builders for ideas on how to build a lightweight trailer, befriended some folks with the Lincoln Highway Association, planned, strategized, and tossed and turned at night. Before I knew it I was at Lincoln Park in San Francisco strapping myself into the harness of my trailer.
No crowds gathered and no bands played. It was just a quiet beginning, but an encouraging one. Kent Laak and Carlos Toste with the Mountain Hardwear Company showed up to wish me well. They presented me with tent compliments of their company and an acknowledgement of their support. And as representatives of the athletic shoe company Montrail they informed me that they would be providing all the shoes I needed. It would prove to be the sign of how things on this first leg would go.
I am not saying that everything went perfectly, but given the type of undertaking this is I certainly can’t complain. I do wish though that I would have been more attentive with my maps. Thankfully I learned that lesson early on. As I told people along the way, “It’s one thing to have to back track when you are driving and quite another when you are walking.” Soon after leaving the Presidio over looking the Golden Gate Bridge I had a bad feeling that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. I quickly got on my cell phone and called my niece in Oregon to have her check a map. Sure enough, I was ten blocks south of where I was supposed to be. I turned myself around and made my own contribution to global warming with the continual utterance, “I can’t believe I did that!”
There was also one other “learning experience” as I would prefer to call it that I also have to share. Someone at one point recommended that I install brakes on my trailer. I didn’t think that would ever be necessary. Was I ever wrong! I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult it is to walk down the steepest streets in the world pulling a trailer behind you. My friend Paul Gilger nearly fell out of his chair laughing when I told him about it, but I am feeling much better now. (Grin)
Looking back I wish I had a camcorder mounted to myself as I walked. The attention the trailer got was unbelievable and at times even hysterical. Heads turned, people stared, and some people even pulled over just to ask about it. Of all the comments that were made my favorite was from a man in Berkley who said, “Now that’s manpower!” Because the Lincoln Highway coincides with parts of the Pony Express Trail I affectionately deemed my rig, “The “Manly Express.”
The full story of this first leg will appear on his journal over the next few weeks at www.walkingamessage.com, or visit it to learn more about “Walking America The Lincoln Way.”
Above photos are at Dixon and Fairfield, California.