After walking up and down what seemed to be endless mountains in Arkansas, I’ve finally made it to Missouri and guess what, more mountains! Upon entering Thayer I was fortunate enough to find a laundry mat and get my clothes clean, and to eat a quick meal at McDonalds. Then I began walking again, right into the Missouri mountains. Almost immediately I ran into road construction, and believe me when I tell you you’ll sweat bullets by the buckets when the sun is out and you are walking on newly laid asphalt highways. I’m pretty sure I’m half roasted by now. On the plus side I was able to walk safely away from the traffic and not directly into it.
After a couple of hours a supervisor on the road crew offered me several bottles of gatorade, and let me sit in his air conditioned truck for a while. That was a much needed rest! After another 8 miles or so I walked into a small convenience store and was warned that a huge storm with hail was on the way. A young man overheard our conversation, and offered to take me the rest of the way to West Plains. Thank goodness for the kindness and caring of others. He drove 15 miles out of his way to make sure I reached safety. What a kind young man and what a blessing!
He dropped me off at the Road Runner RV Park, where the really nice lady in charge of the park agreed to let me pitch my tent for a day, and introduced me to an incredible gentleman by the name of Delbert E. Richardson. This Army veteran, after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2001, peddled a three wheel trike he built himself 5000 miles across the country to raise awareness for MS. In 2004 he did it again, once again on a trike he designed and built himself, this time traveling over 10000 miles and visiting 38 states before ending his journey. What a great conversation we had, and what an encouragement! Delbert also took the time to run me up to the local Walmart, where I stocked up on some much needed supplies. Delbert, if you read this know that I really appreciated your gift, advice and suggestions, and will use and carry them with me for the remainder of my journey. Delbert also carried a torch at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. What an inspiring man and what a great example of human triumph over adversity. I’ve included a few of his pictures…
I will be leaving West Plains in the morning provided it is not storming. Pray for safe traveling mercies as I keep walking.
Always Onward I Walk,