Saturday, June 21, 2008

Catching up

Thursday, June 19, 2008.

Since we had families meeting us at 5:30 on Wednesday evening, and having taken an overly long lunch break in downtown Warrenton that day, we did not get as far as planned. Dave, Scott, and Patrick picked up the pace and covered 5 miles in the last hour and fifteen minutes Wednesday, but we were still a mile and a half short of Vaughn. We left our hosts and met back near Granpda's Stump Grinding on Highway 159 between Warrenton and Vaughn, and started our 23.5 mile walk to Roanoke Rapids.

We did a lot of fast paced intervals. We've settled into a routine of walking three miles, which normally take folks 54 minutes to an hour, then stopping for a fifteen minute break. To help make up time, we cut the breaks to 10 minutes today.

We entered Littleton after about 7.5 miles of walking. Thanks to some phone calls that our new friend Heidi had made, we had three reporters from local Littleton/Lake Gaston papers came out to interview us!

We stopped at Littleton Baptist Church, on the east side of town, where a parishioner had been murdered there twelve years ago. Reverand Marc Currin met us and we had a prayer of remembrance. W few of us headed south a couple blocks to visit Heidi, and she shared some cold lemonade and Sunny D and showed us her 1908 home which she and her husband Jim have been renovating for 18 years.

We had a nice offer for lunch from Mike and Beth whose friend Neal had a house on Lake Gaston, about four miles off of our route. Erica (with Annie) also drove up from Garner to walk with us for the afternoon. Mike met us at the Piggly-Wiggly in Littleton and helped shuttle folks to the house. While folks were driving, Scott, Dave, and Patrick caught up some distance, covering 2 1/2 miles in 35 minutes.

After lunch, we estimated we had 14 miles to go to get to Roanoke Rapids. We would have to walk the whole way to get to our destination, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. We simply walked and walked and walked. The logging trucks flew past us on Highway
158. Some would move over; others not, so we simply adjusted.

Just outside of Roanoke Rapids, Roberta was driving the van, with a couple of the teenagers in tow. She stopped at an old country store and asked the owner if it was alright to park the van in his parking lot to wait for the walkers to catch up. He said "You can park there all night if you want", and invited her in for ice tea. She asked if the kids could have some and he said "bring 'em all in". She mentioned we had eight walkers coming in in a half hour, and he smiled and said that would be fine. We soon arrived and quickly exhausted their cup supply. We still have about 200 cups, so we brought them in and cooled off with some delicious, authentic North Carolina sweet tea. It was a nice, long break.

After reaching Highway 48, most of us caught a ride to the church, where fried chicken was waiting for us. We had a brief prayer lead by Rev. Michael Butler, a lovely dinner, some car clean up and air mattress inflating, and great foot massages by Erica. We said goodbye to Patrick, Moira, Veronica, Timmy, Annie, and Erica, since they were all returning home that night. Dave drove them back to Littleton, where we had left Erica's car at the
Piggly-Wiggly. Dave drove back to Roanoke Rapids, stopped at the drug store for a restock of sunscreen, lip balm, and moleskin (both the thin the the thick "mole pad" variety) and soon were sound asleep on our air mattresses.

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