Dennis Crowley continues his story as journeys across California:
California traffic presented some concerns, like that is hard to believe. I had to always be on the alert that someone wasn’t pulling on to the shoulder. Thankfully I had the foresight to install mirrors on the rig which I constantly monitored as well as installing a caution flag. The only time I had any real concern was along the stretch through James Canyon. For anyone not familiar with this stretch it is a slithery, windy, narrow, death trap with narrow and in some places no shoulders. Common sense told me to grab a fanny pack and leave the trailer behind which is precisely what I did. By the time I reached the eastern end of the “gauntlet” the traffic was bumper to bumper and I was doing what I now affectionately call “The Manly Shuffle” meaning that I was walking sideways. Thanks to Paul Gilger’s knowledge of the area I avoided jail time by crossing over the interstate on the railroad tracks west of Cordelia when faced with the onramp to the freeway.
Last but not least there are always concerns with injuries. Given the ground I cover (anywhere from 10-20 miles a day) they do happen and at times in the most inconvenient places. I was pushing so hard to get across the Mojave Desert on old Route 66 a few years ago that by the time I reached Victorville I sprained both ankles. I spent a month off my feet which was still not even enough for full recovery. I had events to attend in Southern California so I picked back up and limped my way to the Santa Monica Pier. In case you are feeling sorry for me hold on to that feeling because it gets worse. Outside San Bernardino a bee stung me in the corner of my eye. He died “an untimely death” but it didn’t make me feeler any better or look any better. The left side of my face swelled up and I looked like the Elephant Man. Looking back maybe I should have made that little stroll down Rodeo Drive. Thankfully I escaped any injuries on my first leg of the Lincoln Highway as well as any “encounters.”
As you can expect everyone I encountered was curious about what I was doing. They were also kind and encouraging and displayed their support of me with everything from a “God bless you” to cold water bottles. All in all I don’t think I could have asked for a better time.
Now I turn my thoughts to May 2009. I will take what I have learned on this leg and prepare over the next seven months to make the trek from West Sacramento to the Reno over the infamous Donner Pass. I pray it will be as much of a success as this journey was.
A complete description of this first leg will be appearing on Dennis’ journal page of his website over the next few weeks at www.walkingamessage.com/.
Top: Lincoln Highway sign in Dixon, California. Above: Pony Express Station at Rockville Rd in Cordelia, and two views of the Bicycle/Pedestrian Pathway in Davis.