While those who follow this blog might not know, I posted the following a few weeks back on my Facebook page.It’s over. Despite my highest hopes and commitment to multiple treatments, I am still plagued by plantar fasciitis. I reached the Ohio/Indiana border yesterday, and am now 800 miles from the starting point, but I cannot go on. After my last blog post I started building up to a steady pace of 15 miles a day. To finish this walk before winter hits the western mountains, that’s the rate I must sustain. I learned, over the last several weeks, that walking 5-10 miles per day is quite tolerable. But last week, I walked nearly 100 miles, and now the pain is back. Apparently, optimism is not a cure for plantar fasciitis. And my threshold for pain is lower than can be accommodated by the schedule for this walk.

The frustrating thing for me is that I logged more than enough miles to walk across the US during my training period. My Fitbit notified me with great fanfare that I’d passed the 4132 mile mark last week (significant, as that is the length of the Nile, the longest river in the world … do Egyptians get plantar fasciitis?). Of course, that distance was covered over 2.5 years. Doing the math, that comes out to about 4.5 miles per day. Last May I did 31 miles in one day during training. Then I rested for several days. So the message is clear. I could do this walk over a period of several years, if I was willing to limit the daily distance to about 10 miles. But today, with some 2300 miles to go, that’s simply not an option.

What now? We’re not sure. This setback, along with all that is happening in the world right now, makes for a bad environment for strategic decision-making. On the other hand, Alanna and I are unbound by major obligations or commitments. So, for now, it’s one day at a time. We might hit some National Parks that we’ve always wanted to visit, take a few day hikes, and wander across the US over the next several months.

It’s now about 3 weeks later, and while the plantar fasciitis is still there, Alanna and I have done some amazing things. Since leaving Indiana we’ve:

– Traveled most of old Route 66, from outside Illinois into New Mexico

– Visited the National Weather Center (and some old friends) in Oklahoma, where only hours later we were hit with golfball-sized hail and just missed a tornado

– Walked through the battlefield at Wilson’s Creek (MO), where the first Northern General was killed in the Civil War

– Quickly drove through, and left, Branson (MO)

– Climbed the tallest mound at Cahokia, in Illinois, where ancient pre-Columbian tribes lived in the largest settlement in North America

– Toured the UFO Museum in Roswell (NM)

– Toured Abraham Lincoln’s home in Springfield (IL)

– Ate at the world-famous Big Texan restaurant in Amarillo (TX)

– Visited the courthouse where Billy the Kid was tried, in Mesilla (NM)

– Hiked through several miles of pure white dunes at White Sands National Monument (NM)

– Toured the King’s Palace, the Queen’s Room, and the Big Room at Carlsbad Caverns National Park (NM)

– Hiked up a dry creek bed to Devil’s Hall in Guadalupe Mountains National Park (TX)

– Hiked through the Gila Wilderness (NM) and orienteered our way to a cave dwelling from the late 1200s

– Visited Saguaro National Park (AZ)

– Ridden mules down the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

As the old saying goes, “When you’re handed lemons, make lemonade”. So, lemonade it is. We’ve had lots of fun touring the Southwest, and plan on staying on the road for several more weeks. However, I’m not sure what to do with this blog, as it was designed to follow my walk. I’ll think about that for a while, but in the meantime, if readers have thoughts about the future of this blog, I’d welcome your comments.

4 thoughts on “Lemonade

  1. “The best-laid plans….” but lemonade is good!! Safe travels, and continue to enjoy. I was going to say that this development must make the trip more enjoyable for Elanna, but… does she still get to visit knitting stores? …

    Look forward to hearing more about your travels.


  2. While not quite what you all had planned, the opportunity to take your time driving across country and visiting lots of off-the-beaten path (and some beaten path) places is a great one. Also, as a native of the state, driving through Branson and leaving quickly is the best way to see that town. Shudder.


  3. Please just continue to do all the cool stuff you have been doing – it reminds me that so many things are waiting to see and do. Even again and again, with my always favorites Saguaro. Did you see any Elf Owls perched in the saguaro hideaways?

    Sent from my iPad



  4. Since I am so much older than you, I will offer an opinion. I set out about 7 years ago to “row” my erg from Seal Rock to the South Pole. I knew going in that it was a multi-year project. I have completed nearly 9 million meters of the required 15 million. I am currently hobbled after taking a truly nasty fall in Arches National Park. I did not break anything, but I was bruised from above the knee all the way to my ankle on the left leg. For three weeks I was unable to walk without crutches, get into or out of bed or the car without help, or drive. Poor Linda had to do most of the driving from Moab on. We still saw three national parks and, speaking of off the beaten path, the burial site for Sacajawea’s son who was the youngest member of the Corps of Discovery. I am now just able to stand up from a chair and walk about in relative comfort. Things improve every day, and I am hoping to be back on the rowing machine in 2-3 weeks.

    So, here is my advice. If this thing you are doing is worth doing, and it clearly is, accept the fact that, like me, you are no longer 25 years old, take the better part of a year to recover and/or do PT, and then go out with that 10 miles per day goal and take on the next section. I figure I have about 5-6 years on that torture machine before I get to the South Pole, but I decided it is worth doing, so as soon as I am able, I’m going to be at it again. Keep the blog alive so that you stay motivated to complete the journey. As I read of your alternative itinerary every stop sounded like something I would have loved to do, or have already done. BTW, my sister and BIL just love Branson, which explains why I don’t talk to them except under duress.


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