Lowest mileage week I have ever had, but the most fun. Lots of people seeing me on TV and hearing me on radio stopping to chat, give me food, invite me in for coffee, home cooked meal, hot shower, warm bed, and friendship. I think 4 out of the last 7 nights I have stayed with local families. Does not really matter how far I go, its all about the journey not the destination. Opportunity only knocks once, twice or three or four times a day for me, so I like to grab it and make the most of every experience I have.
Stayed an extra day with the Elliot’s in Tewantin. They wanted to show me around town and all the woods and National Parks they had. Plus they had a BBQ lunch planned with 4 other couples. Big spread of steak, sausage, salads, vegetables, drinks, and 3 different desserts. I just weighed myself again and I gained back almost all of what I lost in the last 2 months this week. Tennis round robin with 5 couples later on in the afternoon. I was pretty rusty after not playing very much the last 30 years since high school. Found a nice Head Carbon Graphite tennis racket on the roadside last week so I did okay. Left the racket with the Elliot’s to use as an extra since I did not really need it for my walk. They called the local Channel 7 TV News and they came out and interviewed me at the park along the river. The local newspaper also came out and took lots of photos and interviewed me for an article. They also interviewed Betty Elliot who had invited me to visit and called the TV station, so she was on the TV interview also.
Stopped at the friendly town of Peregrine Beach on a cold rainy day. Into the Friendly grocery store where a bunch of teenagers said ” hi, we saw you on TV, and you are famous”, and asked me lots of questions. I think the owner must have heard as when I went up to pay for my chocolate bar and batteries she said no charge. Then as I was sitting outside eating and writing on a bench under the awning watching the rain she came out with a hot cup of coffee and a lemon tart for me. One guy came up to talk and claimed this was the friendliest town around.
As I was walking through Collum Beach on a cold, windy, rainy day I was hailed by 5 young people (Brooke, Alana, Mayell, Drew, Luke) from a beach house. They said they saw me on TV and wanted to chat and invited me inside for a drink, questions coming at me from 5 different directions at once, hot shower, warm dry clothes, hot dinner, warm bed, massage for my slightly sore back, and a good sleep listening to the wind and rain pound the windows and the surf crashing against the rocks and beach across the road. Great time with a great bunch of people. I had them all sign my witness book. Usually I just ask people to write their name, city, country, and date they saw me walking for the Guinness Book world record for walking round the world. They all drew all kinds of neat pictures and wrote all kinds of neat stuff for me to read. Off in the morning on another cold rainy day in my Gore-Tex suit fortified with good will and hot breakfast from a really friendly bunch of people.
Into “The Galley Internet Cafe” for some Internet time on the computer. When I was finished I asked the lady how far to the next town. She said 15 minutes and I asked how many kilometers as I was walking. When people tell me in minutes I can multiply by 20 to get a estimate of distance. I walk about 3.2 miles per hour (5kph), cars go about 62 mph (100 kph speed limit here in oz) so times 20 gives me a estimate. Sometimes I will see a sign for McDonald’s,” just 10 minutes away” (not that I ever eat there), times 20 means 200 minutes or 3 hours 20 minutes to walk. Well anyway when I explained to the Cafe lady I was walking around the world and gave her my website card she gave me a big stack of real nice postcards of photos from her gallery (www.surfari.com.au) a hot cup of coffee, and a big chocolate chip muffin. Slow going on cold rainy days as I stop a lot to read, write, and eat. Usually like to camp under a bridge or a picnic shelter when it is raining so that it is easier to break camp in the morning. Dry tent and gear is a lot easier to pack up. Picnic areas here sometimes have these electric BBQ to cook on. I use them to dry and heat up my wet socks and gloves. Hard to put on cold wet socks and gloves on a cold morning. Usually keep my wool pants and sweater dry under my Gore-Tex suit, but my socks and gloves always get wet after all day of rain.
In Nambour I was stopped by a professional photographer named Kim Guthrie. He took lots of photos and gave me a copy of his book of photos of unusual people. Met Mark Johnson who had emailed me to stop and meet after seeing my website. He treated me to a nice lunch of fish,chips, salad, and a Strongbow Cider at the local RSL (returned service mans league) club. Big school bus passed me outside of town and all the students were waving and clapping at me.
Have not made up my “Pizza Please” sign yet, but one lady stopped and had a hot piece of pizza and soda for me. So many people have been stopping to give me food that right now I have something like 8 oranges, 6 bananas, 6 apples, 3 cans of soup, and a bunch of other food. If my jogger gets to heavy I am either going to have to eat more or start turning down extra food.
A man with a dog stopped to talk to me and later on joined me to walk for a day with his backpack, dog called buddy, and bare feet. You have to have tough feet to walk on road or shoulder, but lots of people here in Oz go barefoot all the time. Nice walk all day with Forager and his dog Buddy. They also set up their tarp and spent the night with me and then walked back to there home the next morning. Kind of strange having somebody walk with me as I am used to going my own pace and stopping to “water the bushes” a lot as I drink a lot of sun tea. Matt and Malindi stopped to chat and invited us to join them for lunch and see the Gypsy Caravan their Father had built and put on top of an old Ford Model T flatbed truck. Real nice woodwork and detail made a real neat mobile home. Nice lunch of rice, Kangaroo stew, and yogurt.
Ran into Sue and Eddie Smith with their grand kids. They had stopped to talk to me last month up north in their mobile home and gave me their address to visit if I came through later. Gave a little talk about my World Walk for their grand kids and showed them some of my gear.
Passed Steve Irwin’s “Australian Zoo” with big billboard of him, his wife, daughter Bindi, and lots of crocs, snakes, birds, and other animals. Just missed Bindis 10Th birthday party a couple days ago. $52 to get in and I usually do not go to that kind of touristy type stuff, so I passed it by.
Stopped at the Glasshouse Church just as they were about to start the Sunday service. Saw something about a Bolivian Luncheon on the notice board, so I stopped in for the service. Nice welcome by everybody, nice service and coffee and snacks after wards. They gave me directions to a member house where they were having a Bolivian Pot Luck Luncheon to raise money for bibles for Bolivians. Took me a while to walk there as a few people stopped me to chat, but I made it on time and had a great lunch with some great people.
One man stopped to question me and was quite negative. First he asked me what I was walking for, and I said it was my vacation and I was doing it for fun. He said you can not be doing it for nothing. I guess he thought I had some kind of angle or con, or raising money for something. He was complaining about the electric wires above, smoking a cigarette and driving a fancy sports car. I said you are driving a car when you could be walking or riding a bike, but I had to go, he was emanating all this negative energy. So I said peace, gotta go, you are way to negative. I look on myself as a traveling storyteller. I tell stories about my adventure and people feed me, give me showers, warm beds and a good time. I like to inspire kids and adults to walk, bike, and have adventures and turn off the TV and computer. So I think everybody gains and has a good time.
Headed south for Sydney and Melbourne. Email me at walking_man_50(at sign)pocketmail(dot)com with questions and comments about my walk.
Keep on Walking,Life is Amazing, Singing Zippity Do Dah all Day Long.
Gary “Walkingman” Hause.
Submitted by: www.tonymangan.com