We met Abby and Danny at a gas station/Burger King in Green River, Utah which is just off Intestate 70 and a little west of Moab. Leaning against the window was a makeshift stroller loaded with assorted camping gear and a jug of water. Dressed with almost as much dust as clothes, there was no mistaking the owners of that stroller.
Beginning from Long Island, NJ in March, Abby and Danny have been walking across the country 20-30 miles a day. They hope to reach San Francisco in mid-September. For most of their journey they have walked the backroads, but since entering the west (which allows people to walk the interstate) they have taken to the shoulder of the highway. The heat right now can be a killer which has forced them to walk more in the relatively cool morning. On the day we met them they were hunkering down at a motel. Most nights, however, have been spent camping on public land, in backyards, and wherever else the road leads.
This journey is in part an effort to raise awareness and fundraise for the homeless (Abby and Danny first met while working with a non-profit via AmeriCorps). But they are also walking in order to meet people, gain insight into our country, and for the mental and physical challenge. From their webpage (walkacrossamerica2017.com) they also seek to slow down their experiences and call walking the “poetry of transportation.”
Among the many funny experiences they have had while walking the road has been repeatedly being upstaged by a goat. Apparently a man, with a goat, recently walked across American. Several times at the beginning of their trip, Abby and Danny walked into a town recently visited by this unusual pair. Each time the town folks asked is they were traveling with any animals and then were disappointed when told they were not.
After meeting Abby and Danny, the three of traveled the one hundred miles or so between Green River and Salina, Utah where we stopped for ice cream and coffee. Other than several rest stops, there are no services on this lonely stretch of Interstate. The speed limit is 80 miles per hour. It will take Abby and Danny at least four and likely five or six days to cover the same distance. We worry about whether they will find good shelter as well as water and food. In doing so, we also cannot help but think of the millions of homeless living both on the streets of the U.S. as well as in refugee camps around the world. Maybe, just maybe, their voyage will raise empathy as well as money.
Route 50 in Utah (imagine walking this stretch for days)
You can follow Abby and Danny’s amazing journey via their webpage here. You can also follow them on Facebook or help the homeless by donating to JOIN: Connecting the Street to a Home which is a non-profit serving the Portland, Oregon community.
It took us a little over two hours to travel the one hundred miles from Green River to Salina, Utah. This stretch of Interstate 70 has several rest stops, but no other services. It will take Abby and Danny at least four days to travel the same distance. Whereas we sped along at 80 miles per hour on the good four lane highway, they will be walking along the shoulder. Between them they have a modified stroller which is overburdened with essential gear such as sleeping bags, a tent, and lots of water and food. Every two hours or so they trade places pushing the stroller along.