Wow, the first major leg of my journey thru the beautiful state of Arkansas has been truly eye opening. I am blessed to be walking through not only a beautiful state, but a state full of kind and wonderful people. The generosity they have shown to a complete stranger walking along their highways simply blows me away! Multiple times everyday folks have stopped to give me cold water as well as fruit or other items to eat. Many times I have been offered financial assistance. Although they had no way of knowing it at the time their assistance has come at the perfect time.
On one section of the highway a young lady offered me a liter of cold water at exactly the time I had began to worry about the amount of water I had left for the long stretch ahead of me. At the end of yet another long day of walking a very kind lady not only offered to let me camp in her back yard, but let me take a shower as well. While I will share many of these special instances on this blog the sheer numbers of strangers who have been kind to me makes it impossible for me to mention them all. For the all of the ones not mentioned, please know that you will have my eternal gratitude, and that your simple acts of kindness not only came at the perfect time, but they lifted my spirits when I needed it the most. So thank you from the bottom of my heart, and know that I will never forget…
To Sheena, thank you so much for letting me camp in your backyard, for allowing me to take a shower, and for the wonderful conversation we had. The gift you gave me to carry on my journey I will alway keep close, and it will always remind me of your special kindness. While you did not know it, my legs were killing me and I am not sure I could have gone much farther.
To Mr. and Mrs. Heard from Heard’s Country Market and Deli, thank you so much for the wonderful conversation, the free sandwich and sausages, and for allowing me to spend a day camping behind your store. I dearly needed a day of rest and relaxation, and your concern and kindness could not have come at a better time. And above all else, thank you for praying for me. It is always a comfort to know that others are praying on your behalf.
To the owner of the small restaurant I stopped in after leaving Walnut Ridge, thank you for the free meal and for encouraging me to eat inside, even though I must have smelled terrible after walking all morning in the hot sun. That brief rest inside out of the hot sun and the conversations I had with many of your customers lifted my spirits, and made my afternoon walk so much easier. Once again thank you.
To Branden, a very kind and helpful young man I met at a rest stop along the way. The bearings on my cart were going bad and the new ones I had ordered online came in the wrong size. He did what he could to help me fix my cart and pointed me to the folks I needed to see to get it repaired. I really enjoyed our conversation and will alway be thankful for all of your help.
To the men at the machine shop, thank you for the new axle and bearings. I know you must have thought I was crazy when I walked up pulling that cart and asked if you could help me repair it. Your kindness and help allowed me to continue my journey with only a small delay. Thank you…
To the couple who gave me the short ride in the back of their truck to a local campsite thank you so much, My legs and back were aching from pulling my cart over the Arkansas hills, and there was no way I was going to get to the campsite before nightfall set in. Thank you for making arrangements with the campsite owners so I could spend a couple of days camping there. It gave me time to update my blog and to rest my aching legs and back. By the way, if you are reading this and enjoy cooking, head on over to the Whippoorwill Holler Cooking channel on Youtube. You’ll really enjoy it and this is the couple who gave me a helping hand when I really needed it.
To the owners of Rune Valley RV Park, thank you so much for allowing me to stay at your campsite free of charge, and for taking the time to meet with me when I arrived. You have a beautiful RV and campground site, and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to spend a few days in the Arkansas foothills. I will include some pictures so everyone can see what I am talking about as soon as possible.
I’m only about 15 really hilly miles from Hardy, a beautiful little town in the mountains. Look forward to getting there and seeing everything…UPDATE… I successfully made it to Hardy, and a big THANK YOU to everyone who helped along the way. What a wonderful little town. If you haven’t been to Hardy, AR you need to visit! It has an awesome bed & breakfast (The Old StoneHouse Inn), canoeing and rafting on the Spring River, a really nice campground right in town, and the most delightful coffee & tea shop you could ever want to visit, the Leaves & Beans. Their chicken salad sandwich and potato soup were wonderful, and the decor and atmosphere are amazing. The owners made me feel right at home, and we had a wonderful conversation about Our Lord and Savior before I left. Across the street I visited another cafe and was entertained by several musicians who gather on Wednesdays to play music. I am so glad I made the stop in Hardy!
Now I’m off to Thayer, MO, a 17 mile journey on what may well be one of the most challenging legs of my trip. I’ve been repeatedly warned of the steep mountains I will be walking into, and the lack of any place to stop along the way. Hopefully I will be there in two days….
UPDATE: I know this is a very slow in coming update, for which I am sorry, but exhaustion from walking and the heat have caught up to me. Plus finding good internet access in the mountains and countryside is very challenging to say the least. I have actually made it all the way to Marshfield MO, and am spending a restful four days with my nephew Phillip King. Along the way I have been blessed to meet so many kind people, and to find so many great places to camp including RV parks, churches, truckstops and campgrounds. Complete strangers have fixed or purchased many of my meals, allowed me to camp free of charge, and even helped financially on my journey. Despite what you may hear from the news stations, this wonderful country of ours is full of caring and giving people who come from all walks of life and backgrounds. What an eye opening experience this has been!
While visiting with Phillip, and with his much needed guidance and help I’ve given my cart a complete makeover. Signs of wear had began to show, and my cart handles had to be replaced. My cart body now has a new steel frame and a fully waterproof canvas covering, along with metal handles and sewed in tie downs. I’ve cut down on the items I am carrying to compensate for the additional weight of the steel frame and canvas cover.
Well, in the morning I’ll be heading towards Kansas, and then into Oklahoma for a little while. Due to the limited amount of time I have to get to California I have once again adjusted my route, and will be heading into Texas from Oklahoma and then into New Mexico, instead of going from Kansas into Colorado and then into New Mexico. Going this new route should save me about a month of walking and should get me into California before winter sets in. So until I have an opportunity to update this blog again, please continue praying that God will give me safe traveling mercies…
Always Onward I Walk…..