Day 1 – Laozi was a Slacker

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Laozi (Lao-Tzu)

Well, if Loazi is right, and my math is correct, then our journey begins with three steps.  After nearly two years of planning, and several days of high-anxiety and nervousness, we finally started our walk across the United States today.  Our primary emotion was relief.  We were so happy to finally take those first few steps.

The Starting Line

Our footprints in the sand at Perth Amboy, NJ

It snowed the entire day, but we still managed to have fun.  Tara wanted to hitch a ride on her new friend:

Tara riding a turtle, which happens to be her favorite animal.

Snow gathering on roadside weeds

Who knew they were expecting John-Michael?

99 cent dreams? Every item is 99 cents or more. Really? That doesn’t narrow it down much. My dream is to have a store where everything is actually 99 cents.

The stuff of nightmares. Or a dream come true for James and Jack.

Tara has her own driving range! She doesn’t even golf.

Which one of these is not like the others? Which one of these doesn’t belong?

We saw a gravestone that was holding up incredibly well for being almost 200 years old.  It appeared to be made of metal, rather than stone.  Does anyone know if that was common back then?

Gravestone from 1815. Is this metal rather than stone?

We crossed the Raritan River.

Crossing the Raritan River

Our day was filled with challenges.  Our feet are blistered, Tara’s calf muscle is sore, we got detoured a few times; it was wet, cold, and we almost ran out of daylight.  Despite that, it was a rewarding day filled with kind people and new experiences.

The staff at the Hilton Garden Inn was helpful and generous.  They gave us free breakfast, let us store our carts and equipment for a few hours after we checked out, and even wanted to give us 10 water bottles for the road.  Unfortunately, we only had room for two of them since we already had several packed.  They also provided us with our first wildlife sighting.

An elegant swan

We met a lady on the street who after learning of our walk, said, “Well, may the force be with you. Whatever that force may be.”  We’re still not sure how she figured out that we are Jedi.

Then, when we arrived at our hotel, we met several people who were eager to talk to us about our journey. One gentleman said, “Why didn’t you pick a smaller country to walk across, like Israel?”  We also met a man named Whitey who rode his bike for four years in Europe and Africa in the early 70’s.  Then there was this awesome family:

Jim, Rachael, and Sharon with Tara.

We talked with Jim, Rachael, and Sharon for a bit.  They were kind enough to share two Snickers bars and a bag of SunChips with us.  After a long day of walking (about 18 miles), it really hit the spot.  It turns out they are from Ohio, so we will hopefully be meeting up with them again down the road.