Saturday, May 31, 2008


If MapQuest be trusted, today's walk was 16.67 miles. The walk took me a pitiful 7.25 hours, but if we subtract the one hour (total) I rested, the time was 6.25 hours, giving me a walking rate of about 2.67mph. While pretty shameful, seeing as the walk was almost entirely on level ground, it's better than the paltry 2.5mph I'd anticipated.

Put yourself in my shoes: get a backpack, then add enough weight so that your total weight equals my weight plus my pack's weight, or about 350 pounds. THAT'S how my feet have felt all day.

Now imagine how they smelled for most of today.

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shout-out to JACK SAMPLES

I met Jack Samples while I was sitting in the awning shade of that grocery/gas station I mentioned earlier. Jack first reassured me that I didn't have far to go to reach Bay-Lyn Road (one of the turns listed on my MapQuest directions), and he kindly offered me a ride. I had to decline, so I explained what I was doing. Jack offered great words of encouragement; I was happy to meet him.

Here's to you, Jack! I hope you visit this site often! Thanks again for your help.


arrived at 3:45PM

I made it. I'm alive. I reached Lynden in one piece, using only the directions from MapQuest as my guide.

Guru Nanak Gur Sikh Gurdwara is a substantial walk from the area where I crossed the Lynden city limits. The temple, a large white building that sprawls over its property, is quiet today; worship, as I was told by Mr. Satpal Sidhu (one of Rev. Rozendaal's Sikh contacts), is on Sunday at noon. I've been invited to stay for worship, and as the next place I'm hitting is a Soto Zen center which claims "Drop on by!" on its website, I'm going to do that: drop on by, but rather late. (I may, as a result, end up in a campground or motel!)

I went to an outbuilding next to the temple and was greeted by a lady who'd been told of my arrival. She led me into what I'm guessing is the men's side of the building to show me where I'd be spending the night. My current digs include an on-the-floor bed that will be familiar to any Korean. I have a bathroom and living room all to myself.

When I arrived, I and my clothes were pretty putrid (I felt sorry for the lady who first greeted me), so I got about the business of showering and washing my fetid garments. They're hang-drying outside now (my thanks to the ladies who allowed this).

I don't know that I'll be meeting anyone this evening, so I might actually have time to catch up on some actual religion blogging. In truth, today's walk was pretty harsh, so I'm rather tired and achy (that reminds me: aspirin!), but I have to stay awake and do these updates, otherwise I'll fall further and further behind.

I can see already that much of my walk is going to involve sucking in car exhaust. There were some stretches of road that were positively empty, like much of the 8-mile stretch of the Birch Bay-Lynden Road once you're past Route 5, but many roads carried plenty of traffic.

I'm worried that I won't be able to access real computers often enough to upload things like digicam shots and sound files (none of the latter yet, but there might be some soon). My camera and voice recorder will fill up if I don't empty them out, and then they'll... what? Explode?

More in a bit. I've got one shout-out to make, then some backpack-related chores to do.


brief lunch

Dead tired. Lunch is apple juice and water from my nifty new Camelbak water bladder. Yes, folks, I drink from a bladder.

I'm guessing I'm about halfway to Lynden, but it's been slow going, so I could be wrong. Will check with the cashier of the grocery/gas station I'm currently sitting at.

Oh, yeah-- two more encounters: (1) a nice lady offered me a ride down the road, but I declined, and (2) a toothless dude at this gas station approached me, asked what I was up to, then told me about how he'd done a 500-mile walk with some religious group. "God bless ya', bro," he said in parting.

So far, the human race has given me little reason to feel cynical.

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a quick pause before moving on

I was barely a mile out of Blaine, walking along Peace Portal Drive, when a horn honked and a 20-something dude in a lawn care truck leaned out of his cab and shouted, "Need a lift? Where ya' headed?"

"Washington, DC!" I shouted back. "I'm walking across America!"

"You're crazy! Good luck!" the dude laughed before pulling away.

My walk's been in a straight line for a couple miles now, which has given me time to think. Two regrets:

1. not being able to say goodbye to Nan, Tom, and Jay face-to-face, and

2. not having touched the water before heading out.

Yes, it's true: I didn't touch the Pacific. I had wanted to; it was symbolically important. But last night, before I got word from the Sikh community, I had intended to both find a bed and breakfast (I felt I'd imposed on poor Nan quite enough) and touch the Pacific in the evening-- this evening, in fact. I had resigned to being in town one more day. Instead, I find mysel on the road, trying to keep on schedule with my walk to Lynden.

While I regret the missed opportunity to touch the ocean, I console myself with the knowledge that I spent two sunsets at seaside. I was there.

One bit of bad news: the sternum strap on my backpack came off after an attempted tug just a few minutes ago. Not good. The thing isn't broken, but I'll need to really sit down with it in order to repair it, and I'd rather not make a major stop until lunchtime.

One last item: I saw and photographed a tiny snake on the highway. Cute.

OK...gotta mosey on. Am gonna miss Blaine-- the people, the seagulls (and the shattered clamshells they leave everywhere), the crows, the old cars sprinkled along Blaine's main drag, and the good Mexican food (the Chinese food wasn't all that special, I'm afraid).

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on the move

I got the message late last night: the Sikh temple in Lynden will take me in this evening! It's about 6:50am as I write this; I'll be out the door by 7:30 or 7:45 and on my way.

Alas, this means the only way I can say goodbye to Pastor Nan and Tom the sexton is by phone. Sort of anticlimactic. I'll probably be in touch with Reverend Jay, though; we're still awaiting word from the Zennies in Bellingham.

Off I go! Got a schedule to keep, and nearly seventeen miles across which to slog my meaty carcass and 50-pound pack. Wish me luck.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Ilya, Tim, David, and Vassily

I just got bumped out of my lodgings for two hours by a Russian Orthodox group that uses Hagen House every Friday from 8 to 10PM. The group has a key to the place, and according to Vassily, the taciturn patriarch of a brood of three boys, no one had told him I would be there. No surprise, really: I showed up uninvited!

The three boys, from youngest to oldest, are Ilya (I'm guessing 8 or 9), Tim (10 or 11-ish), and David, who towers over the other two boys and is obviously a teenager.

Tim and Ilya, who both speak fluent Russian, went into giggle fits when I said "I don't speak Russian" and "No, no; I don't think so" in Russian. Their father and the eldest son, David (who seems to have inherited his father's reticence), looked on with wry amusement.

I was struck by how unafraid the two youngest boys were to talk with me. Both seemed outgoing and had startlingly firm handshakes when we greeted each other. David also shook my hand without hesitation, but he approached the gesture with a male teen's native caution.

I asked the group about what was going to happen during the two-hour session. "We sit around and talk about things," one of the boys said. I regret not asking what language they used during their meetings, but guessing from the grandmothers in the parking lot who managed only "hello"s to me, the language was Russian.

I hope the kids keep their Russian as they grow older. I say that not only as a lover of language, but also because, very often, an unfortunate side effect of the assimilation process is the rejection of certain aspects of the parents' culture by the children.

On one hand, this is only natural (though not inevitable). On the other hand, assimilation is like a generation-spanning act of translation, and things are often lost in translation. While some habits and values probably should be lost in translation (e.g., overweening patriarchalism), sometimes it's the beautiful things that fall away.

So I once again find myself outside and enjoying a lovely sunset. I'm wearing a windbreaker right now because the weather's a bit cool. I'll probably stroll around a bit, then head back to Hagen House before the Russian community locks the place up at 10. While I'm tempted to try out the pizza joint up the street, I'll pass because I did the next-door Mexican place for lunch-- my only meal of the day. Not a bad one, either: a taco/enchilada combo platter plus a super-tall Coke, followed by a taco-shell apple pie fritter with strawberry sauce and whipped cream (I took a photo) for dessert.

After a lunch like that, the term "windbreaker" takes on a more pungent significance.


what's going on

It's finally time to explain what's up, because I imagine some folks are wondering why I haven't been tromping from place to place yet. Instead, I've spent three nights in Blaine and will be spending a fourth one here-- possibly even a fifth.

Without going into too much detail, I can say that the situation before the walk began was somewhat up in the air. What I had wanted last year, when I began planning in earnest, was a Point A-- a place that would lodge me, talk with me, and then tell me where my next stop would be and how to get there. With Point A established, the ball would, in theory, be rolling.

As you know, my good friend Nathan had offered to help out with arranging the first part of my journey. I was originally to start from his house because he lives in Coquitlam (pronounced "koh-KWIT-luhm," I discovered, not "koh-KEET-luhm," as I had assumed based on the Frenchness of the name) and, if possible, visit a Sikh gurdwara before crossing the border. For a number of reasons, many outside of Nathan's control, none of this came to pass, which means I've had to engage in the search for a Point A myself.

To be sure, this wasn't for lack of trying on Nathan's part; I don't want to give people the impression that he spent the last eight or so months doing nothing. To the contrary, Nathan made up PR fliers and did his best to contact his Sikh friend along with various places of worship in Blaine. Juggling all this with the demands of family and a tough ESL market in Canada hasn't been easy for Nathan, and I can't say that I did anything to ease his burdens.

End result: this past Tuesday, I crossed the border into Blaine with nothing but the address and contact info of the Unitarian church in my hand (my thanks to the commenter who originally left the UU church's URL-- you saved my life).

Once in Blaine, I waddled across town to the Anchor Inn Motel and booked two nights there. It was during that time that I (1) visited the Unitarian church and met Tom Dorsey, the church's hardworking sexton, and (2) first got in contact with Rev. Nan Geer of the Unitarian church. That first meeting was by phone, but Rev. Geer was very friendly and offered her outbuilding as a place to stay. I took her up on the offer yesterday (the 29th), which is when I did all that weeding. (Can't say I'm all that proud of the halfway job I did.) It turns out that FCU's pastor likes hugs, which is always a good thing in my book.

Because Rev. Geer was originally too busy for a sit-down (I'm going to try to trap her into one, anyway), I followed a lead she gave me: Pastor Rieke (pronounced "REE-kee") of the local United Church of Christ. Alas, Pastor Rieke was finishing up a sabbatical, so his answering machine referred all calls to a Pastor Walter (I think that's his name), who has been Pastor Rieke's temporary stand-in. I called the number for Pastor Walter, left a message, and never heard from him. He might have thought, with some justification, that I was just some frothing prank caller. Anyway, silence from the local UCC.

This led me to wander up the street, two days ago, to Christ Episcopal Church. I was hoping to catch the vicar and schedule an interview, but by that point I had begun to despair of meeting any soul face to face. I was in luck, though: Reverend Jay Rozendaal, who has been the vicar of CEC for only a year, was in. Not only that, but he told me that he had indeed received Nathan's missive. Before I could throttle him and bellow, "WHY THE HELL DIDN'T YOU RESPOND TO IT?" (never the best way to open a dialogue), Rev. Rozendaal explained that life's been extremely busy for him: he teaches classes at a nearby university, and the bishop's visiting this weekend. As is true of most people of the cloth, his days are almost completely booked.

Somehow this notion that "the bishop is coming!" conjured up visions of Rev. Rozendaal in a Darth Vader suit, striding through a massive gray landing deck alongside a wizened, corpse-pale figure in a black robe. The Vader lookalike rumbles to the Emperor lookalike, "The Death Church will be completed on schedule." (Having chatted comfortably with Jay for a bit, I'm pretty sure he'll understand my sense of humor.)

The vicar and I had our religion chat right on the spot, which was both fortunate and unfortunate: it was good that I was finally conversing with someone, but bad that I hadn't thought to bring along my voice recorder in order to free myself up from the need to take notes. I had also neglected to bring along a copy of my "10 questions," and when I tried to access them through my BlackBerry's browser, I was taken to my blog's front page. Reaching the proper post would have meant scrolling downward with the BlackBerry's teensy tiny trackball for literally minutes. Because I had only a few minutes with the vicar (whose picture I took, but whose photo failed to upload yesterday), I stuck to taking notes. I'll discuss the content of my conversation with Rev. Rozendaal in a subsequent post.

The vicar contacted a Sikh gurdwara in the city of Lynden, which lies about 15 to 17 miles east of Blaine. The gurdwara itself is about a 16.7-mile walk from Hagen House, the old parsonage that now belongs to the Unitarians and sits right next to their church. Hagen House is the outbuilding in which I'm currently lodged. There's no bed, but the floors are nicely carpeted, and with my foam pad, sleeping bag, and a bundle of clothes as a pillow, it's perfectly serviceable.

Yesterday, when I came back indoors after a long day's weeding, I emailed Rev. Rozendaal's Sikh contact, but have yet to hear back from him. I'm going to call the contact momentarily; I'd like to be on the road by tomorrow morning, if at all possible. It's time to ramble on, like Frodo or Forrest Gump.

Rev. Rozendaal also has Zen community contacts in Bellingham, which according to my dad's online map research lies south of Lynden. If Rev. Rozendaal is able to get the Zennies interested, I might have my Point C all prepared. That would be nice; it would mean the ball was truly and finally rolling. And if we get all this established by tonight (a big "if"), that'll give the Zennies, and whoever they choose as my Point D, more time both to prepare for my arrival and to find a Point E.

One commenter noted that it would be nice if I could give readers a more specific idea of where I'm headed, so that they can see whether they know any interested and charitable parties along my probable path. If I recall correctly, this commenter also said that knowing my route in advance would allow people to anticipate where I'll be and intercept me (to say "hi," etc.).

I agree, but as I've said, this is a self-planning route, so I can't predict where I'll be next unless the people at my upcoming stops work very quickly to arrange the stops that lie beyond them. It's conceivable that the people at Point C will be able to lock down a Point D right away, and that the Point D'ers will quickly find a Point E, and so on. If this happens, I'll blog the upcoming addresses so that you, Dear Reader, can have some idea of whether I'll be swooping by your area.

Another commenter wondered whether I plan to plot my routes on a map. I seriously doubt I can do such a thing from the BlackBerry, if what you're looking for is a constantly updated JPEG image. I need to see whether either MapQuest or Google Maps has some sort of publishable (that's key-- it has to be bloggable) "plot my course as I navigate it" function. I do have a GPS "Spot" device, and whenever I press the "I'm OK" button, it can send an email to a limited list of contacts, who can then follow a link to an online map site and see where I was at the time of the signal, accurate to within a few yards (when I pinged my location while at home in Virginia, I laughed when the Spot declared that I was actually next door!). But the Spot is for a select group of emergency contacts, so it's not much use to the general public. I suspect what will happen is this: I'll discover that an online mapping service does indeed have a "my path thus far" function, and I'll use it to plot major points like cities, not every single meter of my path. That really ought to be enough for my readership, because I'm pretty sure that no reader is going to try retracing my exact route across the country!

Wow. That's a mouthful of a post for you to have chewed on. Thanks for bearing with me. Now you understand, more or less, where we are and what needs to happen next. As always, feel free to leave comments.


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FCU sanctuary interior 4

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FCU sanctuary interior 3

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FCU sanctuary interior 2

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FCU sanctuary interior 1

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Reverend Nan Geer of the Free Church Unitarian

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Thursday, May 29, 2008


It's 8:41PM as I write this entry in Marine Park, and the sun hasn't set. I know it hasn't set because it's hunkered down near the horizon, looking right at me. "Don't try a staring contest with me, boy," the sun says. "You'll lose."

I'm reminded of my first-ever summer in France, which began with ten days on a farm in Cherbourg, way to the north. We had daylight until at least 10PM, as I recall.

I wonder what the days are like in Scotland. Or Alaska.

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much to talk about

I've got a lot to talk about, but have spent almost seven hours pulling weeds on the grounds of the Unitarian church where I'm staying. Am tired, am hungry, and need a fookin' shower. More later.

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Free Church Unitarian

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I'm back to posting via email for the moment because I have been
unable to access Blogger via the BlackBerry's browser all day long.
Apologies to people who have left comments. Unless I visit the public
library again, as I did yesterday, I won't be able to moderate and
post comments until online service improves (every time I've tried to
surf to today, the request has slowed down to a crawl,
then timed out).

The Blaine Public Library staffers were very polite and very forgiving
of my fragrant, dissheveled state yesterday, but their computer use
policy was draconian: one hour per person per day! Imagine telling a
crack addict that that first hit of the pipe is all they're getting
for a long, long time. Yikes.

I have a lot to talk about, but will save it for a better moment.
Right now, I'm still worried that my internet service will fritz out
on me again.


coming back into Blaine after a brief shopping trip

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a look down Blaine's main drag (Peace Portal Drive)

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Red Caboose Cafe on the main drag

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a view of the water from the motel

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a closer look at Room #1

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temporary digs

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

gull strikes action pose

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gull glyphs

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more gulls get their pose on

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"Here's ta' swimmin' with bow-legged women!"

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gull strikes pose

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Blaine Public Pier

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Blaine Marine Park's interesting chunk of concrete

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stepping right back into the United States

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walking past the Peace Arch

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a glimpse of the ocean (Semiahmoo Bay?)

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Will I be able to WALK across the border?

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Peace Arch at a distance

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what greets you when you arrive in Vancouver

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David at National Airport

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Blaine train station 2

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Blaine train station

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things I learned today

I learned a few things today. Here are a few insights.

1. Use common sense when figuring out the proper sequence for putting on your gear! If, for example, you've got both a belt pouch and a backpack to put on, which goes on first? Duh-- the belt pouch. Obvious to most of you, but not obvious to this caveman. Try doing it the wrong way and see what happens. If you put that huge backpack on first, you'll find it's nearly impossible to loop the belt pouch's belt around yourself, because your waist is now twice its original circumference. In life, common sense often boils down to logic. Nature is eminently logical.

2. When you're hauling about 50 pounds, it's slow going, even when the ground is fairly level.

3. Blaine's a nice little town, and it's the people who make it that way. I've spoken with Reverend Geer (not "Greer," as I kept saying on the phone-- sorry, ma'am) of the Blaine Free Unitarian Church, and she seems very friendly. One self-described "local yokel," whom I met in a Chinese restaurant, vouched for Rev. Geer: "She's a really good person," this lady said. I also met the church's sexton (groundskeeper and all-around handyman), a gent named Tom, and had a long, pleasant conversation with him. Also of note is the owner of the Coast to Coast hardware store, who was very helpful when I lumbered into his domain. Lastly, people on the street say "hi."

4. Slap sunscreen on yourself more than once, at least until you buy that sombrero.

5. Watch your expenses! While I've spent only about $13 on food this entire day, the goal is to try to spend ZERO. Blaine's main drag is a gallery of inviting restaurants, all of them singing their siren songs directly at my wallet, which yelps for release like poor Odysseus lashed to his mast and avid to jump overboard.

More posting shortly.


first attempt at direct post

This is my first attempt at posting directly to my blog via the BlackBerry, without emailing the post (as I've been doing).

I may have mentioned-- or maybe I haven't-- that my parents are very kindly shouldering all BlackBerry-related costs. They got me an "unlimited data" plan, which means, in theory at least, that I can blog to my heart's content as long as I have either (1) power in my battery or (2) access to an electric socket. In both cases, I obviously need to be in an area with a signal, or it's all for naught. The plan they got me also exempts me from roaming charges.

This morning and early afternoon, however, I may have racked up a hefty bill because, even though I had crossed the border, I was still getting my signal via Rogers Wireless, a Canadian company. I spoke with my brother David on the phone (caught him on the toilet at the office-- ha ha!), and also left a voice mail for Dad and Mom. I hope those few minutes, courtesy of Rogers Wireless, don't end up costing the folks $200.

I was thinking of titling this post "Rogered by Rogers," but decided the image was simply too crude to appear on a religion-related blog, which is why you won't see the offending phrase anywhere in this post. By the way: sometime in the midafternoon, my signal switched back over to AT&T and has remained there, so I think we're good to go.

Also of note: I got another healthy sunburn on my face despite having slapped on a Tammy Faye Bakkerish amount of SPF50 lotion. I fear the only truly effective sunscreen lotions are the ones that reek of coconut. Never having been a fan of coconut-flavored or coconut-smelling anything, I refuse to buy such sunscreens. Joking aside (well, I'm not joking about disliking coconut, but I am joking about why I'm sunburned), I suspect I must have wiped the sunscreen away by mopping my brow and face with a washcloth every two minutes while walking the short distance across the border and into town. Obvious solution: buy a wide-brimmed hat. Yes, I see hat-head in my future.

OK...let's post this puppy and see if it works. I'd rather post directly into Blogger instead of emailing the posts in because, that way, I have access to useful HTML tags, like italics.

in Blaine

I checked out of my hotel this morning and walked to the border, which
must have been about a mile from the hotel. The very nice front desk
clerk assured me that I'd have no trouble simply walking down the
freeway to the border. "I see bikers and backpackers doing it all the
time," she said.

Sure enough, I made it to the US Customs area, got in line, and once
again got a weird look from the passport controller. "Walkin' across
America, huh?"

I wasn't surprised to see the long lines of cars on both sides of the
border, but was taken aback by the number of people in the pedestrian
line. I was the only one with a backpack, which made me wonder about
everyone else. Had all these folks been dropped off by loved ones and
left to walk across the border? If not, why were they in the
pedestrian line?

I'm BlackBerrying this from a bench at Blaine marine park, not far
past the border and just off Routes 5 and 548. I'm heading toward a
Unitarian church about a mile or two from where I'm sitting and
enjoying the wind. I intend to walk down to the marina, touch the
water (this adventure isn't over until I touch the Atlantic somewhere
on the east coast), then move on.

Ah, yes, how could I forget? While I was sitting at the Peace Arch
Provincial Park, I was accosted by a group of Korean ladies, ajummas
all, who wanted to know whether they needed their passports to walk on
the grass where the actual Peace Arch stands. I spoke with them
entirely in Korean; all were shocked except for one lady who made my
day by saying, "Ah, I thought you were Korean!" Most Koreans don't
pick up on my Asian-ness at all; they usually just think I'm white. I
always contrast this with my experience in France, where people picked
up very quickly on the fact that, as I've heard, "Vous avez l'air

My other "language moment" came while I was in line at US Customs. A
middle-aged French speaker muttered a complaint to his companion about
the US staffers at the desk: "One guy's doing all the work while the
other two aren't doing anything!" (In truth, the other two staffers
had been working on complicated paperwork for some Asian visitors.)

OK... More news in a bit.


safe in White Rock

Many thanks to my buddy Nathan for picking me up at Vancouver
International Airport and driving me to the Pacific Inn at White Rock,
BC, which sits barely a mile or two away from the Peace Arch that
marks the US/Canada border. Nathan hooked me up with a fine hotel
room. I cross the border into Blaine, Washington tomorrow morning.
More news once I'm on US soil.

I guess it's safe to say that Nathan's car is the last vehicle I'll be
riding in for the next year or two.

I got hassled a bit at passport control in Vancouver. The customs
agent wanted to know why I was spending only a single night in Canada,
so I had to tell him the whole story of my walk, how I know Nathan,
etc. I also had to go through a full "wanding" at National Airport
this morning, apparently because I had brushed the inside of the
security scanner as I walked through it. No alien anal probing,

Now, I'm reconfiguring my baggage, consolidating everything in a
single backpack, and readying myself for my little adventure.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Bye-bye, my loving family!

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Safe in O'Hairy

It was a perfect morning for my departure, and I was lucky enough to get an aisle seat with no one else in my row (David, it was a 737-300). The landing at O'Hare went smoothly, and my connecting flight to Vancouver is in three hours. After all the hurrying of the past week, I suddenly find myself relaxed and with nothing to do...except try to master the art of guiding my massive thumbs over this tiny (albeit sexy) BlackBerry keyboard.

Parting from the folks was sweet sorrow today. Mom worries that I'm going to be torn apart by mountain-dwelling werewolves or something. While I take her maternal concern seriously, I also know that one of the overarching themes of this walk is faith, which necessarily includes faith in one's fellow human beings. Assholes may abound, but so do good folks, and I'm counting on them. Ultimately, we all count on each other, no?

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so it begins

Folks, I'm going on a little stroll.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

today's to-do list

I have so much yet to do, and not enough time to do it all.

1. Make new Kevin's Walk CafePress products (w/new Bul Shim, etc.)-- products to include slogans/mottos from Water from a Skull
2. Put up NEW DESIGNS for CafePress (altered tee & bumpersticker & MUG designs)
3. Buy a CORD for camera.
4. Buy a CASE for the BlackBerry.
5. Get GPS "Spot" device synched with Google Maps.
6. Get BlackBerry email thing figured out.
7. Type up the "To Be Opened in Case of Emergency or Death" sheet (includes a "how to resize & upload pics" section)
8. Give Dad the PO Box key!!!
9. Add a "Friends" blogroll.
10. Fix all bad links on blogroll.
11. Pack everything up.
12. Take a two-hour walk with the pack. (Weigh pack!)

I have a feeling that items 3, 4, 9, and 10 aren't going to be done today. Item 8 is easy enough to do; that leaves seven things to do: items 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 11, and 12. I might end up pulling an all-nighter if necessary. I can sleep on the plane on the way to Vancouver. One major regret: not getting my new contact lenses while in Korea. Obtaining contacts in the States is such a procedural pain. In Korea, with eyewear stores on every corner, you simply walk in and walk out in 15-20 minutes, eye test and all.

OK... more later.


many thanks to my church and others

Much thanking to do. If I've missed someone in what follows, I apologize.

1. First of all, many thanks to Mr. Park Jin-keol for his kind article in the Joongang Ilbo. Our family had a chance to see the paper and were very pleased with the results. I had thought the article might appear on the front page of the Wednesday religion section, but Mr. Park told us it was on the front front page. Sure enough, there it was.

2. Thanks to two members of the Washington Korean Women's Society (WKWS) who came to my church today to offer their well-wishes. They also very kindly gave me donations to help me out. Thank you, Mrs. LaPlante and Mrs. Harding! Also, special thanks to Mrs. Cheong Burns and the rest of the Burns family for their constant kindness.

3. Thanks to Pastor Henry Kim and his wife, as well as to Assistant Pastor Jeri Fields, for their warm send-off today. I appreciate the kind gesture.

4. A big THANK YOU to my parents, who have put up with me for nearly a month as I've prepped for this adventure. Thanks as well to my brothers: David, Sean, and Mike.

5. A "Thanks in advance!" to my e-friend Steve Honeywell, who has written an article about me and my walk that will appear in an upcoming issue of the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. I've "e-known" Steve since about 1997 back when we were both writing on a site I shall not name. He's a stand-up guy. If the article becomes available online, I'll post a link to it. Might even steal it in its entirety, even though I know that's not legal. (I do that when I know an article will disappear in a short while. If, however, the Chronicle keeps open archives, I might not have to violate copyright.)

6. Many thanks to my friend Nathan Bauman, who has done his best to help out despite having to surmount some major obstacles.

7. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Higdon, for joining us for dinner and for your kind contribution!

8. Thanks to all friends and e-friends and acquaintances who have wished me well and/or given contributions. I deeply appreciate your support.


heads up!

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