Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kevin becomes House?

While I'm about 200 pounds heavier than Fox's Dr. Gregory House (that's only a slight exaggeration), House and I will have something in common for the remainder of my walk: pill-popping to manage pain in the lower extremities. In my case, the pain is a generalized ache in both knees. I get the pain even during short walks of 6-10 miles, so I assume this is simply part of my reality, now. Rest assured: the pain isn't debilitating, and it's worst at the beginning, when I start moving after having sat still for a while. It's not a big issue; this pain is nothing like the agony my right knee was in last year.

I'm assuming that the ibuprofen and Naproxyn tablets that I used last August were not addictive; I managed to wean myself off them rather easily while in Walla Walla. I'm hoping the same will be true after another 3000 miles of walking; we'll see. I don't want to end up in the painkiller-addicts' wing of whatever clinic hosted Michael Jackson.

And now, Dear Reader, I'm staring down at my gut and ruing the fact that I've regained about 20 of the 40 pounds I had lost last year. I don't blame anyone but myself for this, and I know that honesty doesn't ennoble me, but I also know that a few weeks back on the road will start me losing again. Think positive.

Meantime, I'm impatient to get restarted. A dark corner of my brain has been screaming since last year that I've been home way too long, but you'll recall the circumstances that led me back here: the need for a place to stay while I healed; the fact that winter would have been an issue, given the equipment I had with me; and the lack of funds, which disappeared at an alarming rate thanks to my decision to "stay legal" and not act like a vagrant while in towns and between them. ( isn't much help when you're passing through small towns-- a fact I've been rediscovering as I plan stops from Walla Walla to Salt Lake City.)

But this time is going to have to be different. I haven't made that much money, so it's imperative that I conserve what little I have. I'm not even budgeting for food; I'll rely on what charity comes my way. Because I have $500 per month in bills (all scholastic debt-- none of it with credit cards), my parents have agreed to help me for the next several months. For their sake, I need to finish the walk sooner rather than later. The folks are doing this despite having taken heavy hits in the pocketbook thanks to all the renovation since last September. I've promised to pay them back once I'm in Korea and... heh... probably working three jobs to make up for lost time. If I write a book and it ends up making some money, I'm sure that all the initial proceeds will go to my folks.

I'll be in Walla Walla for a few days, interviewing some of the interesting people I met last year (plus a few I've promised to meet), stretching my legs, basking in the high desert climes. I start ambulating in earnest on April 23, striking out for Milton-Freewater, where I hope to have a place to stay (the route to Salt Lake City is here). Unlike the first 600 miles, when I only rarely camped illegally, I see myself imposing a lot more on the largesse of both the federal government and private property owners. I might have to pull a Steve Vaught, camping in someone's woods when needed. That's what you do when you don't have $150,000 and a huge staff to act as your caddy so that you can walk virtually unencumbered.

Despite not having filled in all the blanks for my first 40-60 days of walking, I do have a route plotted out, which is a major difference from last time. I've given up on the "self-planning" idea; it's disappointing to have to let that notion go, but the basic problem has been the insularity (and general unresponsiveness) of many of these religious communities. I've heard excuses from some of them-- they're staffed with only a skeleton crew of volunteers, etc. That's fine, but simple courtesy demands that one respond fairly quickly when addressed directly, and the sad fact is that, on many occasions, this hasn't happened. Just ask my friend Nathan, who sent out a blizzard of mailings on my behalf many months before I even arrived in America. Not a single response after all that effort. Maybe I'm just not famous enough. Heh.

The week is winding down. There's still some shopping and some packing to do, then I'm off to Portland on Saturday. Am looking forward to being back on the road; I feel as if I've been dead weight here in Virginia. I'm deeply thankful to my folks for having hosted me this long and for helping to fund the next several months of the walk, but it's definitely time to move on. I've put my life on hold to do this, but I can't stay on hold forever, not with bills to pay.

If you readers want to help my folks out with this $500 a month burden, go peruse my CafePress shop and buy some items. Every little bit helps.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Damn, if you were going through East Texas, you could camp in the woods I own.

By the way, this might give you a little inspiration:

It took a while, and a rough life, but this 47 year-old virgin made her dreams come true.

John from Daejeon