Day 154 Tuesday 18th Nov - Finish!!!


Well folks, that's it, my adventure has come to an end. After 154 days, 12 States, 4 time zones, 3 pairs of shoes and 3,100 miles I've reached Santa Monica. No more early mornings, early nights, barkings dogs, crap drivers, camping in ditches, rubbish food or having to translate my Australian accent. Then again there's no more adventures, once in a lifetime experiences, sunsets and star-filled skies or the meeting of random amazing people. A very beautiful woman i met on my travels told me something that has stuck with me-laughter makes the soul prosper. So i hope I've brought a little bit of cheer into your lives and at the same time you've learned a little bit more about American from an unbiased british perspective, albeit a slightly crazy and twisted one who uses words that dont exist. Unlike Forrest Gump who was a mentalist, i will now be flying back to Atlanta after the finishing party on Wednesday, then going back to Blighty on the 1st December. A massive thanks to my kit sponsors Coleman Exponent and my bro Jez along with his wife Lacey, without whom i'd probably be panhandling in Kansas about now. In the next few days I'll upload the last few photos and let you know i survived the finishing party. Thanks for your support and keep in touch all, I might be emailing you to star in 'nickwalksamerica-the panto'.

Day 153 Monday 17th Nov


Its been a pretty fantastico first 24 hours in LA and not a gun-battle in sight. I've been looked after and mothered by the fabulous Erika, a producer for Mix Magazine who made for great company and made me try carrot juice-the verdict's out. The frozen yogurt was a winner. In the afternoon Canadian Courtney and I had a front row seat at the Jay Leno show and we were in spitting distance of Keifer Sutherland no less. Barry Manilo was at his awful best and i was amazed how his suit managed to stay attached to his lifeless-rake of a body. He was entertaining to watch/laugh at though as were his slightly crazy fans. In the evening i was hosted by the lovely Jess, another producer although this time in the film industry. How to make a man feel small or what. After a stop up a big hill to gaze at the awesome city night-scene below we fulfilled another true American past time-eating at the Cheesecake Factory like fat bastards. All in all it's been a pretty darn good penultimate day, tomorrow should be a blinder.

contacting me...

if you've been trying to get a hold of me on my crappy AT&T cellphone, i can unfortunately only send/recieve texts, NO CALLS. I know, no talking, in America? Crazy. So drop me a text instead or if you have fat thumbs send me an email and I'll try my best to get back to you. Thanks! My number is 404 433 5899.

I've also uploaded more photo's into the Arizona folder and final California folder.

Day 152 Sunday 16th Nov


The Angeles Forest is an amazingly scenic place with its windey roads, canyons, high cliffs and mountains. It would have been the perfect place to happily meander if it were not for the traffic. It was bumper to bumper 'i learnt how to drive by watching Noddy' LA traffic, and with a shoulder the size of Victoria Beckham's brain i'm surprised i made it through alive. On the good side the views were spectacular and my injured foot did me proud. Nearing LA the forest fires became visible in the distance leaving a lingering brown cloud across the horizon(pictured), luckily my route was fire-free. My last couple of nights sleeping under the stars were trying ones. The wind battered my tent Friday night and i was left dusty and looking like i'd just been rescued from a mine. Last night i was too excited to sleep, for today is the big day. A 6am i walked over a crest and finally i could see the city below in all its glory. Actually all i saw was smog, smoke from the forest fires and a couple skyscrapers but after 5 months it was enough for me. Coming down the mountain the smog rolling into the valley signalled my arrival-I've reached the city. After 152 days on the road i could think of only one thing-where's the nearest toilet? i'm busting for a whizz. Tomorrow it's on to Beverley Hills, just because i now look like a tramp it doesn't mean i have to keep living like one.

Day 149 Thursday 13th Nov


I'm finally out of the desert and back in the real world, although from what I've seen of it so far all i want to do is turn around and go back. A few days ago i was in Erin Brokevick(?) Territory, a place where everyone knows everyone, people wave and generally live happy peaceful lives on their quiet ranches. Here at Antelope Centre you pay for a soda through bullet-proof glass, people throw their trash anywhere but in the bin and crazy people wander the streets. One guy hassled me wanting to look in my backpack, i thoroughly confused the mentallist by demanding to look into his bag first. He soon swaggered off confused. If you ever get hassled by strange people just act stranger, it works every time. The good news is that tomorrow i leave Scumsville behind and make my way into the Angeles Forest for a few days of contemplation before entering big bad LA Sunday afternoon. Tuesday is my confirmed finish date, in 74 miles it will all be over. If you haven't yet donated please please do, it's unfortunate that I've timed my walk in such uncertain and hard times but it's all the more reason to make sure that our wounded troops and their families are given the support they deserve.

Day 147 Tuesday 11th Nov


The last couple days i've made slow progress due to mr fankle. Luckily I've plenty of time so am taking it slow and enjoying myself. I spend much of yesterday walking on the dry Mohave river as route 66 is no fun anymore. The desert is a barren and dangerous place, so as not to disappoint today(after waking up to frost on my sleeping bag again) i came off the roads at Helendale and walked straight across it all afternoon. It was a pretty relaxing place, and after early embarrassment i had great enjoyment shouting out words like bananas, kamquat and man-alive. It's dark by 5.30 now so i camped early and watched a spectacular sunset over the Los Angeles Forest in the distance. Beyond there is LA...

Final days


As another day closes there is anticipation in the air. With the help of basecamp bro I've decided on my final route to LA. In 143 miles it will all be over. Even better news is that i now aim to finish on the 16th/17th November depending on how my ankle holds up. If anyone happens to be in Santa Monica on the evening of the 19th there will be a finishing party at the Daily Pint pub(thanks for sorting that Dave!). The owners have kindly offered to donate a buck to my charities for every pint sold that evening so whoever said drinking doesn't pay can jog-on. So pop down, the more the merrier and it should be a good laugh!

Day 145


Breakfast was at the world famous Bagdad Cafe, setting for the 1988 film 'Bagdad Cafe' strangely enough. The movie is in the top 50 'movie love scenes of all time', i hope they wiped down the tables afterwards. The wind has really picked up which is not helping my balance or ankle at all, and i'm covered in dust and sand. It even rained at 3am this morning which is not funny when you're sleeping under the stars. Rain, in the desert, in California, i didn't see that coming. Ironically i was prepared-i'd bought myself an umbrella for shade in the desert from the intense sun, turns out it's also good for rain too. By afternoon i was knackered and was none too happy about the huge army base blocking my path into Barstow. I wasn't in the mood for barbed-wire fences and 'government property' signs, i wont say how i made it through but they really should upgrade their security. My evening was spent in the fabulous company of Sandy & friends at a very old ranch, it was great eating real food and having fun company for a change. Tonight i decide on the final route for my last few days, the end is in sight...

Day 144


It's not graffiti it's art. If i dont keep myself occupied I'll go mad(der). The long and winding road(damn that song) is starting to affect me as i couldn't even work out what month it was on my last post. Route 66 is now following the I-40 and i'm starting to see life. People were searching for something around a random big hole in the desert, obviously a UFO crash site. I met a guy with more beard than clothing called Fred who was being pulled along on his tricycle by a dog. Really. Me being an athiest he in no uncertain terms told me 'I've a hellova shock coming'. He didn't tell me when or if it would be a good shock which has left me a bit confuzzled, so I'll make doubly sure i dont pee on any electric fences. I walked on a lava flow. No it wasn't hot. I saw a train overtake another train and felt sorry for the slow driver as i bet his mates are now giving him loads of stick for being so slow. Throw in a load of walking and it's been one crazy day. It's already dark however tonight i can go wild and stay up until at least 7pm as I've reached a Texaco gas station with seats, lights and everything.

Day 143 Friday 7th Oct


The picture pretty much says it all, shrubery, rocks and sand. Tuesday involved a difficult walk across the desert following the railway line and interstate before joining route 66 at Goffs gas station. Apart from a few abandoned houses there was absolutely nothing of interest, so from sun up to past sun down i walked and walked. Maybe i am Forrest Gump. My ankle strapping and Ibuprofen are doing their job and although i'm still struggling i'm confident i can make the finish line. I've been lucky with the weather, things have cooled and a nice chilly breeze has helped me along so no issues with lack of water. Boy am i hungry though. Upon reaching civilisation in Ludlow i stuffed my face with cheap food like a real American. I'm dying for some proper food with a nutritional value higher than a piece of wood. I've seen 4 cars in 3 days. None of the drivers waved. I've decided the best name in the world is Sandy Beaches. I'm covered in sand and keep saying to myself 'how did that get there?!' Apologies if you've sent me an email and i haven't replied yet, i will try my best to get back to you once i get internet again. 12 days left, blimmin marvelous.

Day 139


There's a real sense of freedom walking down a mountainside with 25 mile views of the valley below with nothing but rock and sand in sight and a deafening absense of noise. Then i tripped and broke my ankle. It's ok i didnt really, however the dirt track i walked down was pretty rough forcing me to continually watch my footing, not for dog poo like my mother taught me rather big loose volcanic rocks. It's been a big day. I've walked my last mountain range; passed through my final reservation; said goodbye to Arizona and hello my California; entered Pacific time, and i'm now at only 500ft elevation, my lowest since back in June. Tomorrow i start my penultimate challenge- 153 miles of desert to Barstow. I'm couldn't be more prepared-my exact route is plotted (walk west), I'll be in continual contact with myself incase of emergencies, and my underpants are clean. The bonus is I'll be away from the blast zone of Russian nukes if John McCain becomes President tomorrow.

Day 138 Sunday 2nd Nov


Route 66 has so far been slightly disappointing. Most of it has been along mass expanses of flatland with the Mesa and mountains in the distance. However today i would be walking through the mountains to the historical gold mining town of Oatman 23 miles away. After strapping up my foot and swallowing perhaps more ibuprofen than recommended, i was on the road by 5am. The first 12 miles was a boring straight road past abandoned settlements and desert wasteland. Thanks to Greg the cyclist for stopping to chat for a bit. At the base of the mountain i took a break at the famous Cool Springs Cabins. There was a guy outside who must have been in his 80's selling amazing stone artwork he'd produced. I felt ever so sorry for him because there are no tourists to sell to anymore, they're all at home counting what little money they have left, moaning about gas prices and putting up 'Obamacan' posters. From Cool Springs the road became steep as it slowly weaved its way up the valley around giant Mesa. The views were spectacular. Over the top it was more of the same and i could finally glimpse California-my last State. A few miles downhill i finally made it to Oatman, a themed town where you can hold a shotgun wedding, where cowboys gunfight in the street and donkeys roam freely. Thanks to Paul the Legion member who bought me a drink at the bar, i only popped in to use the mushrooms, honest.

Day 137 Saturday 1st Nov


It was foot-rest friday, a hard thing to do when you need both feet for menial tasks such as walking and kicking small children. The evening was spent with my fabulous Kingman host Tanya. Along with the gorgeous Maryanne & Helen we trick-or-treated (i watched as i forgot to pack my fancy dress costume), ate fantastic food and consumed a range of alcoholic beverages all in the name of science. One of the bars was halloween fancy dress only so i went dressed as an Englishman. I pulled it off beautifully. Today i decided on a foot test. After a sad farewell to everyone and a quick stop at Walmart (selling America for less) i slowly made a short 6 mile walk to Crazy Fred's truck stop south of Kingman. The outcome is still inconclusive-i can only make 3rd gear before the pain kicks in, but i can walk. That's enough for me, so tomorrow it's back to business...

The old lady and her melons


Hello from north carolina we are meeting up with fellow couch surfer in arizonia love Helen and Maryanne!

foot & mouth disease



I now have a sumo-foot. But never fear, it's okay. This is no ordinary foot, this is a foot that has travelled continents, time zones, historic trails. it's stunk out entire eateries, caused me more grief than a herd of pre-menstrual woman, and has never quite grown to the same size as my other foot poor chat.

Apparently i have damaged my ligament/tendon, however with a bit of anti-inflammatory and some strapping I'm good to go. Im resting today in Kingman and will see what the story is tomorrow. Trust me if it gets any worse i will bloody well hop the rest of the way.

Day 135 Thurs 30th Oct


The funniest thing happened and i'm still laughing about it. This morning a pickup pulling a caravan drove past and rudely honked at me. I'm used to it by now and it doesn't bother me as i'm a firm believer in what comes around goes around, and boy did it today. An hour or so later i turned a corner to see the same pickup pulled in at the side of the road. Upon reaching it i laughed in hysterics at the flat tire on the caravan, and as i hobbled past the truck i gave the driver a smile and a 'honk honk'. Priceless. My other highlight soon after was the classic stereotypical route 66 store in Hackberry. It had everything from classic old cars, rusty 66 signs, original gas pumps, memorabilia, the lot. It was a tourist magnet and i loved it. Now the downside. Its been a long day of walking from 4am so i could reach my last stop Ville Vista before dark, leaving me with a short 14 miles tomorrow to Kingman to rest and get my ankle sorted. Unfortunately my ankle had other ideas. I've held off the painkillers so i wouldn't overdo it and a mile before Villa Vista it got really bad. It didn't exactly give way but it hurt enough for me to confess my dirty mouth sins for a month. Short of money, i took the sensible option of hitching a ride to Kingman to pick up a money transfer and buy a new foot. Lets hope Walmart have my size in stock.

Day 134


It's a unique experience sleeping under the stars in the quiet desert and i would recommend it to anyone. You could spend hours just staring in awe at the sky, which is a good thing as there's little else to do once it's dark. It's a bit like having a relaxing hot bath, except it's not hot. And you're not in a bath. The main street of america is becoming mountainous and i'm becoming to realise that my route 66 leaflet has slightly over-hyped my stretch of the highway. There was nothing vaguely historic or well preserved in Peach Springs apart from the lady who served me in the hotel restaurant. I didn't have the energy to give Truxton enough credit as it sat on a long, painful 9 mile straight road which i just managed to walk across before dark. I still have a few towns left though so i'm hopeful I'll see some Monroe lookalikes draped over a '57 Corvette. Today i saw an Indian sat at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, a German and a donkey. Not all at the same time though.

Day 133 Tue 28th Oct


Ever since Flagstaff there's been a feeling of excitement in the air. I'm on the last leg of my journey and I've even bought a California map-my last state. i've only 22 days and 450 small miles left on the road, and my brain and body know it. Being so close is becoming a motivational nightmare. My fankle isn't getting any better and this morning i scared the bejesus out of another herd of cows as i went through the pain-barrier. My final gripe is that its getting hot. Although its a cool 82f, the intensity of the sun has the same effect on the skin as it would a vampire, toastie. Never fear though, this is but a test. I have no time for moaners, whingers, pessimists or mood hoovers and i dont intent on becoming one yet. So my fankle hurts, at least its still attached. Id much rather be under the brilliant blue skies than back home in the cold and snow. And in 22 days, i will have walked across a whole continent without getting run-over, shot or mugged, so its not all bad. Apart from Seligman, route 66 so far is a lot like Kansas-an open expanse of nothingness. Seligman is pretty neat with its brightly coloured buildings, 50's memorabilia and there was a chilled atmosphere in the air with music filling the streets. I was glad to finally reach the Grand Canyon Caverns-thanks to the Manager for organising me a ride up to the restaurant and the free pie, it was yummy.

photo's

I've just managed to upload a load more photo's into the Arozona folder for your vewing pleasure. Unfortunately there aren't masses of reservation photos as i was trying to save my camera-phone battery for Monument valley, don't even get me started on that one. This old library computer doesn't like google maps so my map is a bit behind, but I'm in Seligman if you wanted to know....and it's hot....

Day 131 Sunday 26th Oct


In Williams yesterday i bumped into some pastey Englishmen, they were amazed that an Australian could pinpoint exactly their Blackpool accent, magic. I've nearly reached the beginning of the longest remaining stretch of route 66. I was hoping to be a good 10 miles further but my ankle is still playing up and has only just now decided to swell slightly, medically known as a fankle. I may have to amputate. The surrounding forest has given way to shrubery and it's starting to look, and feel, decidedly deserty. i'm back down to 5-6000 feet so it's also starting to get pretty toastie. Alas I've had to say a sad farewell to my Platypus water pouch as it finally sprung a leak. It's held over 400 litres of water and saved my life many a time, i'm deeply saddened to loose such a dear friend. I really need social interaction back in my life.

Day 129


Getting up at 4am yesterday made for a long day, however i was glad to finally make the trip to the Grand Canyon. It was grand, and canyonee. A big thanks to Dan and his missus for putting me up last night and stocking me with food. Thanks Dan's mum too for the pressie! I would have loved to stay in Flagstaff a few more days as it's another hip and happening town to rival Durango, but i have some walking to do. After posting mr longboard back home i limped back on the trail-my ankle is still giving me grief. I'm headed towards the fun of the mother road route 66. Getting there isn't so easy as there's no roads, so i'm now zigzagging between abandoned parts of 66, a railroad track and spooky forests. So far my 3 mapreading skills are still on form and I've made it to an interstate rest area for the night so elk don't eat me or my food whilst i'm snoring. I've seen my first roadsign for LA, flippin marvellous.

Day 128 Thursday 23rd October-Navajo Reservations



One of the last things Candace said to me before leaving Durango was "At least a longboard is more romantic than a bicycle". If this is romance, then I'm in a pretty messed up relationship. It's been tough long days, and i have the cuts, bruises, sprains, ripped clothes and dents on my board to prove it. Balancing with a 30kg rucksack is near impossible on a board because the weight continually shifts. It didn't matter how tight I'd screwed everything on the board or how low i stood, if i did over 15mph the board would wobble and I'd eat gravel. Which i did a few times. Every day.

The Navajo Nation is a dangerous place, full of drunks, psycho's, backwards people who are best kept away from. That's the small-minded idiotic view of many people anyway and i wish i hadn't of listened to those numb-nuts, as my first hand experience is a great deal different. On the whole i found the Navajo to be welcoming, cheery and friendly. Yes i met a few drunks but they were so far gone and bemused by my longboard that they made great conversationalists. The rest of the world could learn a lot from the Navajo. They manage the best they can on the crappy land they were stuck with with little complaint. They have strong family ties, traditions and a sense of community which is hard to find anywhere else nowadays. Once i got over the being in a whole different country thing and the poor advice given to me before i entered the reservation, i felt a whole lot safer than in many other parts of the US I've been through. The Police weren't called because i walked past someones house, no-one tried to run me over or shout abuse at me or hassle me for change. I'm most annoyed because in Kayenta i tried to hitch a lift so i could make a detour to Monument Valley, somewhere I've been excited about going to since NYC. I've had over a dozen offers of lifts from locals in the reservation however the only people driving North from Kayenta were tourists. 4hrs trying and not one person stopped. To top it off, after angrily stomping back to the highway and sitting at the side of the road munching on a comfort king-size Snickers, a local Navajo woman stopped to offer me a ride West and gave me $5. God bless America indeed.

Anyway enough of the moaning. Apart from my newly found hatred for tourists(am i one though?!) i had a great time. There were more downhills than up which meant some days i was steaming along. The hard shoulder changed every few miles but generallyi could swap between the shoulder and the road when the traffic quietened. The only places to get supplies apart from Kayenta and Tuba City were small trading posts and I'm glad i took the longboard as there was no way i would have be mentally able to walk it. Most nights i slept under the stars as rock and sand do not go with tentpegs.

The problem now is that I'm right royally knackered and sore. I'm slightly worried that i have a slight ankle sprain in the same way I'm worried about the positioning of the letter 'D' in 'Wednesday'. I'm scared the cut under my knee i got from falling off my board is scarring into the shape of George Bush's face. These are indeed troubling times.

So I've reached Flagstaff. I now need a few private moments with my longboard before he's shipped back to atlanta and I'm back on foot. Then it's the final leg-550 miles to Los Angeles. Before that though I'm taking a bus tour to the Grande Canyon. I also tried hitching a detour there from Cameron but yep, you guessed it-tourists. My descriptive skills are limited to words like 'shiny', 'nice' and 'blimmin marvellous' so i will le the photo's do the talking once they're on the site. Also thank you to the American Legion for putting my mug on their homepage. Take a laugh at www.legion.org

Day 121 Thursday 16th Oct

Erm, I'm still in Durango. I had every intention on hitting the road today but it just didn't happen. I love this place, it has a relaxed, friendly bohemian fell about it and it's unlike any town I've been through. I could quite easy stay here if i had the time and money, alas neither are on my side. I'm glad I've had time to practice on my board, with the extra pack wait a few adjustments had to be made to stop speed wobble-not recommended unless you enjoy signing your name on the pavement with your own blood. I now have a patented air vent on my right trouser leg, all part of the fun. This may well be my last post until i reach(if i reach!) Flagstaff. Indian reservations aren't known for their great phone reception, neither are AT&T. So be safe, stay happy and I'll post as soon as, for tomorrow Nick is on wheels....

whaaat?? Naaa i hear my Mother cry....

There has to be a balance in life; good-bad; hot-cold; beautiful-minging. This is also true of my coast to coast walk, I've just had it too good up to now. Pretty much everyone that has crossed the States has detoured around the Rockies, and for good reason. Personally the Rockies have been the highlight of my journey, and if i had to plan it all over again i wouldn't change a thing, this bit's for me. However if the Rockies are my Ying, then the upcoming Indian reservations are my Yang. Even during the planning stages i knew the reservations would be tough being in the desert wilderness for 4 days at a time. I'm prepared and ready.

Local knowledge has thrown up a major issue. The general concensus from locals, police and even Indians is that walking through the reservations alone for 300 miles would be very dangerous. A small minority of the local population are renowned for muggings, drink driving and taking pot shots at people. They don't tell you that on the interweb. Basically I need a faster means of travel, and there is no way I'm getting a bus or hitching. So I've decided on a compromise in true Nick 'challenge' Mof fashion and it's going to be fun, this is my adventure and i can do whatever i want. "A bicycle!" i hear you cry. No, that would be waaay too easy. I've got myself a skateboard, or longboard to be exact. After reaching Cortez it's going to be 'nickskatesamerica' for a while. You could almost write a book about this.

Day 118 Monday 13th Oct

Today is Columbus Day. I bet when our chap Chris got drunk with his mates and decided to go on a good old fashioned booze-cruise he never expected to discover the New World. Of course by the time they got there they were all royally drunk and starving-hence greasy fast food was born.

I hope Skidmark is okay, because now i know the true meaning of cold. Cold isn't "ooh, it's a bit brassic outside, let's make a nice cuppa tea". Cold is waking up to find your tent is solid with ice, having a thin layer of frost on top of your sleeping bag, and finding your water and apples frozen solid. Due to my previous nights lack of sleep and a warm sleeping bag(and wearing all my clothes)i didn't feel a thing until i woke up. After defrosting my phones screen and realising I'd missed my alarm, the only thing i could do was de-camp quick and get moving before i froze to death.

Good route planning came into play and 3 miles down the road i knew a nice hot breakfast would be waiting for me at the Chimney Rock restaurant. By the time i finished stuffing my face i warmed up and started the 20 mile trek to Bayfield. It was no way 20 miles it went on forever, uphill-downhill, left-right, blah-blah I've obviously been spoilt in the mountains because i was really bored. To top it off i had to pay 15 bucks for a bit of grass because i couldn't camp in the park grr. The campsite owner said last night's low reached 23f which i think is around 'blimey charlie my balls have hibernated' degrees celcius, and I'm glad to say that tonight should be a much warmer 29f. Get the sweat rags out.

Day 117

9pm on the dot last nights thunderstorm turned on me. For 6 hours my tent was battered by heavy winds and hail the size of small marbles. Fortunately my new Coleman Exponent tent laughed it off and i stayed warm and dry, if not a little chilly. By chilly i mean putting on every layer available, banging the frost off my tent before pulling it down and having to tip-toe back down the hillside through snow and ice. And to think i was sweating my gonads off a few weeks ago.

A quick finger dip in Pagosa's hot springs(it really was hot) and i made the uneventful trek to another campsite overlooking Chimney Rock. It's basically a big rock that looks like, well put it this way, from this angle that ain't no chimney.

I was miles from anywhere and the temperature quickly dropped so after setting up camp i lit a big campfire to keep warm and scare off any ghosts or wild animals, or so i thought. An hour had passed when suddenly a small cat-like creature appeared out of the darkness towards my left. Before you could say 'Bob's your Uncle' I'd jumped up, grabbed the cold end of a log out of the fire, skipped to the other side of the fire and awaited in Ninga pose for the imminent attack from mummy Cougar who i was sure was not far behind baby cat. If a Cougar did indeed jump at me from the shadows, i was pretty sure that I'd kick his ass and i would be proud of my quick reactions. However the small cat-like creature turned out to be your average domestic cat looking at me wandering why i was making such a prat out of myself.

I called him Skidmark. He was cold, hungry and very vocal, so after we had warmed up again by the fire i gave him my last Granola bar. Like a typical grumpy cat he took one bite then stuck his nose up at it. The only other food i had was apples and once Skidmark realised there was nothing to gain from being here he disappeared into the night again to scare some other weary traveller. It was an unusual night to say the least.

Day 116 Saturday 11th Oct

My stomach is not a happy chappy. There's only so much noodles, granola bars, apples and power bars you can eat before your body throws a tantrum. After reaching the very charming town of Pagosa Springs i decided to stay so that i would be close to mushrooms, i mean restrooms. I nearly caused a full scale evacuation of Subway, HAZMAT were almost called and a 2 mile perimeter set up. I was glad of the rest anyway and the weather's been rubbish all day. A huge forested hill looms over Pagosa so i decided to climb up to see the views, ease the nasal suffering of the locals and camp on the North ridge away from the wind. All evening big bad thunderstorms rushed through the valley powered on by my gaseous windage, dumping there load on the mountain range i crossed over yesterday. Throw in a load of lightning, and it was an awesome display from my hilltop lookout.

photo's

Lots of photo's have been added to the Colorado folder, no laughing out outfits, hair etc, I'm not on the catwalk you know....

Day 115 Fri 10th Oct

It's been a big big day. Last night i camped 7 miles into the mountains, leaving me with 12 miles to the top and another 13 down the other side to East fork campsite before dark. I didn't get the best start, it's hard convincing myself to get out of my warm sleeping bag at 6am in freezing temperatures. My bladder finally won over and before i knew it i was stomping towards Wolf Creek Pass.

On the way up i had great pleasure in watching a Winnebago complete with pickup in tow get stuck trying to make a U-turn. If i can carry everything i need for 6 months on my back then they deserve everything coming. The rain held off apart from a few snowflakes, however the further up the mountain i went the colder and windier it became. I reached the summit just after midday and was greeted with views of snowy peaks and a big marker showing the Continental Divide.

Downhill was a different story. Much steeper hills crunched my bones and the wind had a habit of trying to blow me over the edge into the Canyon below. Fortunately the views were even more stunning than on the way up and my camera was working overtime. I barely made it to the campsite, my legs and bones were in agony. I just managed to pitch my tent before the rain started and the darkness fell, so the extra ly-in was worth it in the end. I couldn't be bothered to cook so sat in my warm tent planning the next few days route and writing this waffle. It's been an absolutely tremendous day. I have to say that being at the campsite on my own with no phone reception made me feel a little lonely for the first time in a long while. I might go into the woods and go find me a bear to talk to.

Day 114 Thursday 9th october

A few miles out of Del Norte and I reached the 2,000 mile mark. I still haven't got that curry i popped out for. In around 51 days and 1,000 miles I'll be at the Pacific Ocean wandering what the hell just happened.

For the next couple days I'll be conquering my last major mountain range via Wolf Creek Pass. High winds and freezing temperatures are the talk from the locals so this may be my last post, again. 16 miles out of Del Norte i reached South Fork, and spent a couple hours stocking up on food and making sure i knew exactly where my campsites were going to be, just in case a blizzard hit or i managed to poke myself in both eyes.

I still haven't grasped the American accent even though I'm a yankee myself. When i ask for the restrooms people think I'm asking for mushrooms. They must be popular around here.

Day 113 Wed 8th October

I'm now in the San Luis Valley, an immense flatland surrounded by mountains. Although it's been clear blue skies, I'm currently at around 8,000ft and wearing winter gear which is doing nothing for my suntan. Other than the small town of Segauche and a gas station there's nothing here but farmland, producing all the goodies for Coors beer. The weekend weather report is for severe British weather, right when I'm going to be trekking over my lat mountain range. Snowball fights, snowmen, snow-angels(if no-ones looking), yellow snow, it could be a fun weekend ahead.

where's the blimmin' photo's?!

Sorry about the lack of photo's at the moment. AT&T are so set on world domination that they've forgot about their original customers back home and I've had no reception to send any photo's for a few days. As soon as I've strangled someone I'll get some mountain pics on here.

Day 111

I was up at the of freezing. Happy the bears hadn't munched my food hanging from the tree, i packed and set off for Hayden Pass. 3 hours, 6 miles and 3,800ft climb later i was sat atop the Continental Divide. After a quick pee, i contemplated the fact that half my pee would end up 1,000 miles in the Pacific, and the other half would end up 2,000 miles in the Atlantic. It was a tough old climb though, what got me most was the lack of oxygen however stopping every 10 minutes is compulsory to wow at the views so it wasn't too big a deal. Unfortunately there were no views at the top, only trees and a very jolly family who took the clever decision to drive their 4x4 up the mountain. The views going down the other side were also spectacular. I could see the upcoming San Lois Valley all the way to the mountains 60 miles away, all i had to do now was walk it.

After a bite to eat in Villa Grove i found a campsite 3 miles down the road where i could finally shower after 7 days of walking. One other guy was at the site, and he turned out to be the most amazing person I've ever had the pleasure to meet. John lives in a converted van and spends days at a time in the mountains living off the land and creeping up on bears and big cats. After kindly making me some yummy beans and meat we chatted for hours about his life story. He's half Irish/Indian; toured Vietnam 3 times(and was shot twice); owned a Ranch then gave it away to a needy family leaving only with his horse and what he could carry; gave Robert Redford riding lessons for the film 'The Horse Whisperer'; makes knives and Tomahawks and was once the World Champion axe thrower; played an Indian in the film 'Jeremiah Johnson' and ranched cattle all over the Western United States. That's just to start, you could write a few books on this guy. He took the time to go through my route with me and has given me lots to chew over, he was an absolutely amazing guy and i was honoured to meet him. I didn't get to bed until 1am but it was well worth it spending the evening with John.

Day 110 Sunday 5th October

Frickin' amazing. That's the only way i can describe where i am, following the Arkansas River through the Bighorn Sheep Canon. Few cars, no people and awesome views. A few weeks back some killjoy commented that I'd be stupid going into the mountains this time of year. Now to me that sounds like a challenge, and whilst in the Cotopaxi Store i found my mountain. A big map on the wall showed a trail not on my map or GPS. It cuts straight over the mountain range I'm currently taking the girly route around, and would knock at least a day off my walk. Sold.

To get to my mountain required an extra trek past my original campsite to Hayden Creek a few miles uphill. After a 26 mile day and a 1,400ft ascent i was there, albeit a bit colder, wetter and pretty darn tired.

Day 109

It's been a pretty average day. Apart from walking across the worlds highest suspension bridge, riding on the worlds longest single-span aerial tram, riding down the worlds steepest incline railway and purchasing the worlds most expensive crap coffee it's been pretty quiet. I arrived at the Gorge early to gain cheap entry and see the sights before all the fanny-bags and screaming kids arrived. The Gorge is immense and photo's just don't do it justice. I could have sat there staring and catching flies all day but i had some walking to do. The down point of seeing the Gorge was that it took me nearly an hour to recalculate my journey to Salida so that i still had places to camp and pick up supplies. However my ickle brain did me proud and off i skipped to my new campsite-Five Points State Campground. The site was right by the river. I lit a big badboy campfire and stared in awe at the light reflecting off the montainside and the bright stars above. Of course the trouble with a campfire is you can't see the ghosts and goolies creeping up behind you and some of the strange noises emanating from the darkness were cause for me to keep my torch at hand. What was that?!

Day 108 Friday 3rd October

It doesn't seem to matter how hard i push myself, the next day I'm always ready for a good stomp. The are between Penrose and Canon City is a mecca for prisons-State, Federal, Juvenile, death row prisons to name a few. There's even an old 19th century prison in the centre of Canon City. Canon City itself is fantastic. Once you get past the obligatory skanky strip mall, there's all sorts of fun to be had; quirky shops, nice people, interesting museums, all set under the backdrop of the red cliffs looming above. After a lovely chat with the lady in the tourist info office, I've decided to take a detour tomorrow to the Royal Gorge. Apparently it's gorgeous haha.

My afternoon was spent hiking up an 8 mile hill ascending ,000ft. In a flash of genius the locals named it 8 mile hill-brilliant. Personally i would call it 8 and a bit mile hill but that would just be pedantic. The bonus point of the day was that i was able to camp in a free camping spot complete with a covered seating area only a mile from the Gorge. The site itself is sat at the top of a big hill with 360 degree views. With no-one else stupid enough to camp this time of year i had the campsite, views and silence all to myself. For the first time i hung my food up a tree, Yogi ain't eatin' my grub.

Day 107


My new Coleman sleeping bag combined with a new air matress made for a cracking nights sleep, and i was raring to get back on the road. coleman have also given me a new larger pack to hold my extra kit and somehow they've made it even better than my old one. For my 1st day back i decided to take it easy-25 miles of hilly terrain carrying a heavier pack and wearing new shoes. Clever. By the time i reached Penrose i could barely walk and i nearly fainted in the queue at Subway. With a random thunderstorm thrown in (the lightning was waay too close for my liking) it made for a challenging day, but i was happy and the feeling of accomplishment made it all worthwhile. In my book, if you're gonna do something, do it and then some. I'm still on the outskirts of the real momma mountains however tomorrow i enter Royal Gorge country with a 3 day climb up to 10,000ft to look forward to. Let the fun begin.

Day 106 Wed 1st October


Hi there, you miss me? Er hello?! It's been a fantastic few rest days, courtesy of my bro Jez. Big shout out to John Hartford for letting us use his pad in Vail, hugely appreciated. In 4 days we've sussed my final route for the last 1,200 miles, eaten like John Prescott and loaded up with winter gear ready for the mountains. This afternoon after saying bye to Jez it was a short 10 miles to a local campsite. At $25 a night i was dribbling with anticipation, why so pricey? Diamond coated grass? Heated picnic benches? skantily clad ladies waiting to massage my feet? Lets just say i was hugely disappointed. The reason for this disgraceful breach of my american right to camp where the hell i like is due to the fact that i'm walking alongside Fort Carson, a massive Army base stretching 30 miles along my route. Friendly donut eating fuzz i can handle, burly men with guns looking for hiking terrorists i cant. Small fact- the mountain looming over my campsite sits on top of NORAD. If a nuclear war happens to break out tonight my gene pool is safe.

Day 102 Saturday 27th September

Ellicott is around 5,500ft above sea level. Pikes Peak which looms over Colorado Springs is at 14,000ft. To me the mountains looked around 5 miles away when infact they were more like 30 miles away. All day my ickle brain was telling me i was nearly there but the mountains just got bigger and bigger, it was really taking the biscuit. It was only 18 miles to Colorado springs but i tell you it was the hardest. By the time i reached the outskirts of the city i was too tired to celebrate so i found the nearest motel, had a shower and slept.

I'm now taking a 4 day well earned break with my bro in Vail to rest, eat and prep for the mountains. I'll be uploading a load of photo's in the next day or so and replying to any emails i haven't replied to yet.

Day 101


There really is nothing out here. Pumpkin Centre and Rush were nothing more than a cross roads with a few buildings looking pretty strange in the middle of the hi flatlands. It's still blisteringly hot and the last week has by far been the hardest and most challenging stretch of my trip so far, that's the polite version. The thought of seeing the Rockies for the first time has kept me going however visibility hasn't been the best. A few miles from Ellicott i was welcomed by a massive expanse of flatland below my hilltop location. The Rockies were right there on the horizon, but i couldn't see them. At least I've finally reaches civilisation, it feels like I've finally found my way out of the desert, there were people, cars, music, toilets?! I even had a park to camp in complete with swings and a slide to play on.

Early evening the Rockies finally showed their face and the views of the sunset have nearly made the last 101 days worth it.

Day 99 Wednesday 24th September


The last 3 days have been as enjoyable as re-writing George Bush's speeches, as painful as parents evening when you know your kid is a complete bugger, and as uneventful as an all-male pajama party. Monday was one long, very hot walk alongside truckers route 287. Tuesday was one long, very hot walk alongside truckers route 287, except this time carrying 4 days worth of food. In the evening i refilled with water in Aroya before walking a few more miles. The clever idea was to reach Pumpkin Centre 27 miles away by Wednesday evening so i could refill on water. There's nothing between Aroya and there and if it was going to be another blisteringly hot day the 4 litres of water i was carrying wouldn't last too long. It was the perfect plan, the logic was undeniable.

In the high flatlands no-one can here you swear. During the night the bite-valve on my water pouch became squashed between my GPS and the tent pole. Water had slowly dripped out and by morning i was left with a pint, plus a pint in my emergency container. Not funny. A 6 mile round trip back to Aroya was out of the question, so i set off desperately hoping there would be a ranch in the next 10 miles. 18 miles later and nothing. I was contemplating cutting across the scrubland to one of the windmills which are used to pump well water for cattle, yum. As fate would have it a kind guy by the name of Ross pulled up, and as he had no water drove me to Pumpkin Centre. I was alive, if not a little thirsty.

The potential for being so close to death made me think about a few things in a different light-if cows could talk, would they ask for a massage? What would i say to the Queen? If you pull the legs off a fly what would you call it? What can i say, I'm an optimist.

Day 96


A short 16 mile trek and i was in civilisation at last. Last night i camped in Chivington, a small place where half the buildings were derelict and the other half were just liveable. Randy had told me how Chivington used to be a stereotypical railroad town with bars and hore-houses, now it just looks like a tornado has gone through it. The whole area is striaght out of a movie scene with small cacti, sloping scrubland and dry creek beds. Infact it was once Indian territory, and just North(by car at least) is a monument to the Salt Creek Massacre where 300 Indians were slaughtered. It was pretty atmospheric being able to stand in the complete silence looking at the stars and having no-one charging you an entrance fee or trying to sell you 'real Indian sand'. And then 3 police cars sped past and ruined it. They must have been handing out free leftover donuts in Sheridan Lake.

I stayed in Eads for the rest of the day as a big storm was brewing and i didnt want to be caught out in the middle of the Plains. I saw Casey the policeman again, although he was off duty i stopped myself from telling him his girlfriend was hot, you never know. I should have camped in the designated camping area but it was right by the noisy highway 287 truck route, so i pitched instead right outside the police station. A pretty safe bet if you ask me.

Day 95 Saturday 20th September


When i left Towner at 6.30am it was colder than Maggie Thatcher in a grump. 2 hours later it was hotter than Kelly Brooke washing my car topless. It's almost worth fighting the cold to see the sunrise, but not quite. Not expecting to see civilisation for 3 days, it was almost orgasmic seeing a newly opened gas station in Sheridan Lake. Fate had brought us together, but not because they sold coffee.

After using a real toilet i happily munched on my lunch outside. A very smiley guy called Randy (picture) pulled up and offered me a lift. It was like a scene out if 'Me, Myself and Irene' but i managed to pull myself together, say no thank you and explained the unplanned, idiotic, unthoughout trip i was undertaking. A couple hours later Randy stopped on his way back home and passed me a couple of ice cold beers-top man. Another hour later he came back, this time with food, Gatorade and more beer from his wife. People aren't too well off here so it was humbling that Randy was prepared to do so much for a complete stranger. He even called his friend Mary and got permission for me to camp in her garden in Chivington. She was lovely too. Later on when local Sheriff Casey stopped for my first Colorado ID check, he knew both of them and was extremely helpful and courteous too, it's like the Waltons out here i tell ya.

All in all its been a very enjoyable day. My pack is fuller and heavier than it ever has been and I've still managed 26 miles. I hate to say it, but for once i think I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow.

Day 94


This afternoon i waved a fond farewell to Kansas and limped into Colorado. Being a big cycle route, there were also a couple of cyclists taking it all in who were travelling the other way. I didn't want to spoil the excitement of the unknown so didnt ask what i had in store and just passed on my expert novice hiker experience of what lay ahead for them. I ended up in Towner, a small settlement where Main street consisted of a letterbox and 2 houses. I walked around trying to find someone, anyone, but it was just dead. I ended up pitching by the railway track and spent the next 2 hours watching the sun set and the stars come out over the vast landscape before the cold drove me to my tent. Spectacular.

Day 93

A short and very hot 22 miles and i was in Tribune, my last stop before Colorado. In the afternoon i followed a 9 mile dirt track running alongside the highway, the open views away from the traffic were amazing. Last night coming into Leoti i saw the guy from Alexander for the fourth time, and sure enough there he was at the gas station again. He works on oil wells so travels a lot, but it's still called stalking in my book. Nice bloke though. It took me an hour to leave the gas station after the lovely checkout girl screamed "you're walking?!?!" at the top of her voice. All the locals decended onto my location to ask questions and give some handy advice. Old man Bill told me how he used to fly his plane over the area and on just one particularly clear day he could see the Rockies 200 miles away. How i wish i had a plane.

On arrival at the Sherriff's office they already knew i was in town. Someone had called me in because, wait for it, i was walking....ON A ROAD?! That's just cu-razy. I appreciate that there's lots of farm machinery lying around and people tend to leave their doors unlocked but come on, i can't hotwire a tractor and as far as im aware the military haven't invented the Tardis rucksack to carry one yet. What annoyed me is i knew who called me in because only one pickup passed me all afternoon. He waved and everything, i mean what sort of person would do such a thing, wave and not mean it? That's just downright cruel.

I promised the Sherriff i wouldnt go tractor-joyriding and was sent on my merry way to the park to pitch my tent up in the dark again. Ir's starting to get pretty nippy at night, 'you could cut glass with them' as i used to say.

Day 92 Wednesday 17th Sept

I've reached Leoti, slap bang in the middle of the great plains. I've only 212 miles and 10 days to go before i reach Colorado Springs. This will probably be my last post until then as I'm now entering 'the dead zone', no phone reception, no libraries, not much of anything really apart from 2 small towns and a truck stop. It's going to be a case of if I'm not carrying it, I can't have it.

I've prepared a few singalong songs for when my ipod battery dies-
What's wheat got to do with it?
Crazy little thing called wheat
Something wheaty
What a wonderful wheat

They should keep me going, it's not like there's anyone around to hear my shrill cries. If i come out the other side still sane i will be very surprised. Well it's time to hit the road, I'll hopefully see you all in 10 days, another time zone and another State. Adios for now....

Day 91 Tuesday 16th Sept

It's been a quietly enjoyable last couple of days. I must be easily pleased as nothing of note has happened at all, not a chipolata. I'm most pleased with my progress-54 miles in 2 days with little damage to show for it apart from a hungry belly. The only discerning landmarks now are grain silos marking the next town, with the odd ranch or oil well scattered across the landscape. The trouble with seeing grain silos is that although you can see your finish point ahead, it can sometimes be 10 miles away. Hour after hour the damn things just don't get any closer, then suddenly you're there and the next one's waving at you in the distance.

I've now left starestown and entered nicestarestownville. People still gawp, but add a smile or a wave. I haven't seen much of where i am now-Scott City, but Dighton was very welcoming. At 9am a mix of country and rock music played out onto the empty high street from city hall, people stopped to speak, it was all very surreal. Communters are also starting to get to know me as are the cattle trucks. One guy stopped and said "I saw you yesterday, looking good!" Thanks mate, but i like girls. Just now i say a guy i spoke to 3 days ago in Alexander. This place is basically one small community, just very spread out.

Day 89

It's been an unusual day. I cooked breakfast, me, cooked, breakfast, it's just not right. And at 6.30am in the night. The sky was bluer than blue, what i now call blueblue, and it was an amazing sight over the now lunar landscape. I know this will possibly upset a few people so i will say it-God must have been a gay fashion designer in another life. With most of the crops harvested, the leftover landscape complemented the blueblue sky perfectly. Hopefully have some pics up soon.

What's strange is that it's cold, and very windy. After months of sweating like a Mexican wrestler, I'm now in winter attire. Wearing a woolly hat and shades just feels wrong, like a bloke walking into the ladies toilets is wrong(but it still has to be done at least once).

As if by magic I've also left niceville and walked into staretown. No smiles or waves now, just stares. Some yocals even slow down to take a good gawp, which annoys the hell out of me. I will start pulling moonies soon, that'll give them something to stare at. Even when i reached Ness City(which so isn't a city) the yocals were falling over themselves to take a good gawp. "Look look, there be one of those real people from that there real world?! It does exist!!" Even the usually friendly cops couldn't help themselves, wearing their feminine beige trousers and, oh a gun, well I've always been quite fond of beige myself. On the good side the lady in the gas station was very friendly, and Ness City even had a small camping area for drifters like me. Thank god there was somewhere to eat, I'm always starving lately. Fatty.

Day 88

These old railway towns really are dying a slow death. The gas stations which should be supplying me with coffee and donuts just don't exist anymore. That's just downright selfish. I arrived in Rush Centre just before lunch ready to stock up at the gas station and food mart, which according to all my research were waiting for me. They weren't. It looked like an annoying 5 mile detour north was needed to La Crosse as i was still 35 miles from the next town and short of food. Luckily the local bar had just opened so i was able to ravage on an 18oz cheeseburger, curly fries and pasta, yum. My noodles and power bars would get me the rest of the way so on i hitched, sorry walked, to Alexander, and a very nice rest stop to camp. There were toilets and everything, you people don't know how lucky you are.

At the rest stop 3 separate people came over to ask if i was the guy they saw walking earlier. Tired and grumpy, i really wanted to say "No, i just have a very big handbag, prefer to cook here than in my own deluxe kitchen and I've borrowed James Bonds invisible car". Please.

Day 87

The heavy rain is back, and i was luxky to have booked myself into a cheap motel last night as a half-way treat. Towns are becoming more spread apart from here on in, and i will have to plan carefully so that i don't end up as another one of those roadside crosses i keep seeing. Untimely death isn't on my agenda. Due to the recent spell of wet weather my bestest friends the mosquitos have been given a few extra weeks to happily munch away at some prime British meat. They obviously know the end is near as they're making an extra special effort at trying to suck the life out of my legs.

It was a slow and relatively quiet day. It was a case of having to stop every time a truck went past so i wouldnt get soaked, and stopping every so often to dry my feet. A crazy life i lead! I don't see myself getting into too much mischief in the coming weeks, so posts might be a bit thin on the ground or delayed. I've made it to a small town of nothing called Timken, it does have a small park which is a bonus i suppose.

NO WAY, HALF WAY?!

Yes sir, it's as right as the arch-enemy of wrong, I'm half way across the USA. Each individual day has been a right royal challenge, but thinking about them all together to have gotten where i am now, I've pretty much just got on with it, enjoyed it and I'm giving a special Winston Churchill style two fingers at the few who doubted me. Of course big thanks to all those that have helped me get this far, you know who you are!

I'm now due to finish early December, a whole month ahead of schedule which is an accomplishment in itself, as is being able to spell accomplishment. I'm actually aiming to finish November 30th as i have some unfinished business back home, part of my renewed 'life's too short' attitude.

In 3 small weeks I'll be done with the flatlands and into the Rockies. I have some of the worlds greatest minds revising my route over the mountains so rest assured that a bit more effort is going into planning the dangerous part of my trip, there's only so much blagging one man can do. So what have a learned since Kansas City?

-there is a special place in hell waiting for mosquitos.
-a smile can get you anything-if you mean it.
-i would be lost without my mobile phone and ipod.
-I'm still Australian, with a slight twist of New Zealand now. Nice.
-what Americans fear the most is themselves.
-two legs are better than one.
-Kansas just pips Pennyslvania as the friendliest and most welcoming State I've been through so far, well done you guys!
-i love my car more than life itself.

Day 84

I'm currently updating the blog via the library as both of my phones have zero reception, so apologies for the lack of photos.

Through the process of elimination, to be exact walking past fields, I've realised that what has been flaring up my allergies again is wheat. This is a small problem, like Bin Laden is a small problem. I'm currently in the wheat state, the kingdom of wheat, the epicenter of wheat heaven. There's so much wheat here they make houses out of the stuff, cars drive on it, I've even heard stories that dogs are made of it. I've probably walked past or peed near the wheat you'll be eating soon.

With itchy red eyes my charm offensive with the locals is in real jeopardy. Dirty, smelly, unshaven and now with blood-shot eyes, even I'm beginning to think that i may indeed look like a dog-shooting, spider-leg pulling terrorist.

On the walking front, nothing of interest happened and i ended up walking the full 29 miles to Lyons. After popping down the local police station to let them know i was in town, Casey the local policeman not only gave me a lift to the local free campgrounds, but also gave me a quick tour of the place and showed me where a horse endurance race will be coming into town tomorrow. Now that's what i call a welcome, thanks Casey!

Day 83

The order of the day day was eat, rest, eat, see the sights af McPherson, and eat a bit more food. My dreams of seeing Leo the MGM Lion were shattered when i found the local museum to be closed. I don't pick my rest days very well as everything else seemed to be closed too, something to do with being open on the weekend. The weather has turned 'English' and is expected to reach a chilly 8c tonight. Im now only 60 miles from my half way point which is rather exciting. If you're interested I'm also around 65 miles South East of the Geodetic center for North America, which is sat on a ranch in Osborne County(Osborne is a great name).

I popped down the local paper for a quick interview so hopefully I'll be in the paper without the help of crazy people or the police this time. Im now sat in one of the few places open, a local side bar, singing along to 'sweet home Alabama' with a bottle of Miller. A couple more beers and I'll be ready to whip the locals at a few games of pool. It's great to be normal again.

Day 82 Sunday 7th Sept


No wonder these old railway towns are dying a slow death. Even though i camped well away from the railway line it felt and sounded as if a freight train was speeding past my tent all night. Oh yea it was. Zero sleep does not make for happy Nick. I was cheered up every time a cattle train sped past, for some reason the sound of 50mph mooing cows is hilarious. I felt a little guilty as they came back the other way empty, so comforted myself with some beef jerky. I came off the line in Canton and had the most unusual sunday lunch there-mashed potato with gravy, mixed veg and fried chicken followed by ice cream. Not quite roast beef and yorkshire pud but it filled a hole. It was then back on the highway for a hard slog to McPherson where i plan to take a rest day and see the delights McPherson has to offer.

Day 81


I hate highway 56. It's the only main road in this part of Kansas and there's too much traffic for such a barren place. I had 2 options for getting to McPherson, continue to follow the highway an annoying 21 miles south before another 35 miles west, or follow the railway line which pretty much cuts diagonally south west. The latter would be dangerous-few people or roads about if anything were to happen, uneven footing and rather large freight trains which would leave me with a nasty headache if i were hit. Being an expert novice hiker and professional to the last, there was only one sensible option-the railway line. Off to cause trouble i went. The views were awesome in the foggy rain, no roads, no buildings, just the occasional untalkative cow. The only noise was from the rain, my footsteps, the odd train and someone braking wind. I sheltered to eat lunch in the ghost town of Ramona, 10 minutes later i was being photographed by the mayor and offered beef jerky by her daughter, and no, not that kind of beef jerky thank you. A stranger is obviously big news here. They were the last people i saw all day, not that i was expecting to see anyone else stupid enough to walk on a railway. I camped early in Durham, another ghost town, so that i was away from the noisy trains. Im not quite half way to McPherson so it looks like a long day tomorrow, hey ho.

Day 80 Fri 5th Sept


It was another cold wet day and I managed to stomp 25 miles in 8hrs, helped along by some Chris Moyles podcasts. I must look like a nutter laughing to myself. Since meeting guy with name i cant spell last night, I think I've crossed the border into friendlyville. I've had 4 offers of lifts, and one guy called Jason stopped again in the afternoon suggesting a book i should read! It's not called the idiots guide to walking the states so i will take a look. Things got stranger when i found myself being photographed by some random. Ready to do a Liam Gallagher and show the pesky paparazzi who's boss, it turns out it was a very nice local guy who happened to find my website. I ended up having a cracking evening at Evan and Peggy's house in Burdick, they even treated me to a mexican down the road in Lost Springs where i also met my first real rancher. It's been a great day all round, all because of the great people who live here. I love Kansas(just not the walking through it bit).

Day 79


This was pretty much my day, straight roads of nothing whilst looking like a convict. I did finish in civilisation, the historic town of Council Grove, once the gateway to Santa Fe and beyond. Entering the town there was a big sign reading 'you're always welcome in Council Grove', unfortunately that wasn't the vibe i got. The older locals were staring and untalkative, whilst the youngsters stereotyped themselves as uneducated wasters, driving around in their rusty cars with cheap stereos playing 90's R&B. If only i was that cool, oh well it's nothing a good old fashioned rifle couldn't sort out. My luck changed when in the library trying to find a place to camp on the web. I got chatting to a guy who's name i can't spell and he ended up letting me stay in an empty apartment of his. We spent the evening relaxing on his porch talking politics, religion, and other such deep subjects like girls. He was a top man, and i'm indebted to him.

Day 78 Wed 3rd Sept

For the first time phone reception is really bad, my phone keeps linking to some US 40 network which wont let me publish photo's, so I'm old-skooling it at another friendly library.

It's cold, wet and windy, and I'm ba ba dah dah dah-lovin' it. Apart from the ocassional truck soaking me with spray it's been great walking weather. No burning sun, shade-hunting, beaty swollocks or crawling on all fours looking desperately for water. All day there was an erie feeling of a storm brewing, which made for an unusual atmosphere in what i can best describe as the prairie land i was now walking through. Things are starting to open up and everything is becoming barren. Cows aren't great at holding a conversation, i think my 'Queens' English is confusing them. I had aimed to finish 21 miles West in Admire, but a guy at the gas station in Osage City described Admire as a "diieeiinng toowwnn" as if something sinister was going down. Not wanting to disappear forever under strange circumstances, i stomped another 5 miles to Allen. I ate at the Allen Bar and Grill, where i learned the British lads Stuart and Dave also stopped during their Discovery trail walk last year, it seems I'm following them. I was invited for coffee and offered a place to pitch for the night by the lovely Martha and Bill who lived around the corner. They spoilt me with great coffee, great company and a wealth of knowledge to help me on my trip. It turns out Bill has been fishing and camping with some of the Coleman family(my sponsors), a small world indeed.

Personal Donations

I've had a number of emails from kind people wanting to help fund my trip and donate to me personally. Whilst it has never been my intention to raise money for myself, I'm acutely aware that my funds are depleting quicker than i had hoped, and i may regret declining such offers in the near future. For this reason my bro Jez has kindly set up a donation link on the left of this site. Any money raised will only be used if i run out of my own, and anything left will be split between the 2 charities, unless you want it back of course! Thanks.

Day 77 Tues 2nd Sept


It's been a short and uneventful 17 mile day. To keep things interesting i followed the Santa Fe railway in the afternoon, it wasnt quite like in 'Stand By Me' but it beat roads. My finish was an old railway town where the Santa Fe railroad meets the old Santa Fe trail, Burlingame. You could almost smell the history, and it was nothing to do with the dog poo on my shoe. Everyone i met was amazingly friendly-the library staff, Bob the sheriff, Jeanne at the Santa Fe Cafe(pictured) and most of all, all the guys and gals at city hall who went out their way to find me a safe place to camp. As predictable as an American Presidential election, the next few days rain came early. It's going to be an interesting few days, there may even be tantrums...

Day 76


How i managed to drag myself away from the beautiful people for this i dont know. To go west, i first had to hike an annoying 10 miles south. Today is Labor day, why America celebrates child-birth i'm not sure but it gives everyone an extra day to drive their oversized campers and sports cars. It should be called 'i cant drive for jack' day. It seems a lot of people save just enough for their penis extensions then cant afford driving lessons. Not wanting to sound like John McCaine i should point out there are drivers that pull out, smile and wave, they're not all bad. The rest of the afternoon was a long and tiring 15 miles to the charming town of Overbrook. I tried getting permission from the county sheriff to camp at the lake, but they must have all been at the hospital celebrating Labor day as all i got was an ansa-machine. I settled for the fair ground and pitched my new tent for the 1st time. I'm liking it, a lot.

Day 75 Sunday 31st Aug


Another month over. There was little to photograph today so here's an older photo of me kissing a snake, like you do. Back home, September usually means getting out the hat and scarf, however here in Kansas the sky is blue and it was 95f by 6pm. Today was a trek to the surprisingly buzzing town of Lawrence. Lots of shops, cafes and amazingly attractive woman. I had no idea Lawrence was a big college town, honest. I made the most of it, from here on in its just small towns and not much else. The next week is going to be interesting. The flatlands will test my motivation and child-like attention span. Food and water are becoming less available, so good route planning with my 2 mapreading skills will be essential. Finally hurricane Gustav is due to hit the south coast by Monday, although Kansas is well away from it, it will affect the weather here and rain is due Wednesday. Hopefully I'll work out how to use my tent by then. Earlier some idiot tried running me over after not stopping at a stop sign, unfortunately they also pulled in front of a passing police car, how i laughed.

Day 74 Sat 30th Aug


Thats it, i cant take anymore, I've had enough. If i have any more fast food im gonna go mad. The only thing fast about it is the way it comes out the other end. I've taken 3 rest days before my long Kansas leg apart from a short 9 mile hike to Kansas City Kansas where i stayed in the very hospitable company of Gawain. From here i have a few weeks of sloping wheat fields before hitting the flatlands. Today was a slow and tiring walk to Tonganoxie 20 miles west. I made a quick stop at the speedway and although the spectator stand and track were smaller than i expected, it all sat on top of a goliath empty hill which was pretty awe-inspiring. I also stopped at Cabelas, a massive outdoor store complete with every stuffed animal ever shot, every gun to shoot every animal, every bit of clothing to wear whilst shooting every animal and those little bags of chocolate coated peanuts. There was supposedly a big camouflage section but i couldn't see it anywhere. Strangely they didnt stock what i went in for-a rimmed hat. Maybe thats why people cant understand what i say here, their ears are all burnt from wearing baseball caps all the time. The rest of the day was one long straight road. Ironically i gave a local delivery driver directions, except he's probably still driving around-i'm English and he was Mexican and i can only stretch to Spanglish.

Day 72


Kansas City is an amazing place, i would recommend it to anyone. I stayed downtown with Matt who was an awesome host. With a great transport sytem, i was able to see lots of sights without walking too far; funky westport; unique country club plaza; the National WWI museum; the hip power & light district to name a few. In the evening i was shown around the East side and tried out the world famous 'Arthur Bryants' BBQ grub. After Pittsburgh, Kansas City is definitely top of places i would live, the local ale is pretty good too. It's been a great finish to my Missouri leg, tomorrow i make a short hop to Kansas City Kansas, now that is confusing.

Reflections

Like the speed of a man quietly breaking wind on a first date, i have conquered Missouri, and have mixed feelings about this fine State. I've met some of the most friendly and helpful people so far, yet come across some of the most paranoid egits who have no conception of the world outside their own community, and have no inclination to want to broaden their horizons. As burly farmer quite rightly said, these are the few people that give Americans a bad name.

The katy trail, although not a walkers paradise and definitely for bikes, is something Missouri should be proud of, and its success is largely due to the people living along it. Western-mid Missouri has little to offer the traveller apart from friendly farmers and rich people with ego-boosting huge lawns. And the occasional crasy woman. Trying to find anywhere to camp was a nightmare. I have been lucky, very lucky with the cool weather, yet feel slightly guilty. The abnormally cold weather(you're kidding right?!) mixed with high fuel prices(you'd fall off your rocking chair at the prices we pay in the UK) has led to many small businesses along the Katy Trail taking only a quarter of their usual takings, and there are many glum faces behind the smiles. A good Mof hug won't help here i feel.

As for me:
* Im no more crazy than when i started.
* I miss my friends back home and the road can definitely be a lonely place, yet I'm still motivated and accept that this is a challenge, not a holiday.
* I still can't get that stupid song 'the long and winding road' out of my head. Worst still, it's the Will Young version.
* I'm worried Dave the cat back home has been stuffed after being killed by the local plane crash.
* I'm remembering all the words again to all the country music songs i hear thanks to my Mother force-feeding me them as a baby.
* My hair is longer than it has been for 6 years, and although i now look like Buck Rogers i don't want to part with it.

Just a quick hello to my old friend Clare. i have her to thank for me being here, she's always been my inspiration and i will be lost when i get home and she's travelling the world. Have a great time out there with Karl! On a lighter note, i have a new, concept, not yet on public sale tent waiting for me at the Post Office from my sponsors Coleman Exponent. I almost feel dirty geting over-excited about a tent, I'm in fear of becoming a geek. Must find pub....

More pics have been put into the Missouri folder too....

Day 71 Tuesday 26th August



The human body is a triumph of engineering. Im now half man, half walking machine. The rain and faffing before the weekend should have added another day onto my St Louis-Kansas City leg, but i was determined to finish today. I've used the last 3 days to test my limits and see how far I've come in 70 days. The route since Boonville was pretty much rural sloping farmland apart from 2 towns, so there wasn't much worth stopping to see anyway. Also my UK phone battery was dead and i had minimal credit on my US cellphone, and contact with the outside world is what keeps me going.

I'm not sure how far i walked yet in the 3 days but it must be around 80 miles. I'm now sat in Starbucks on main street, Kansas City MO, and pretty chuffed with my achievement. Yes I'm knackered, hungry and smelly, but I'm still positive and my legs are still attached. My feet and ankles are the only body parts that really suffered, and i have a lot of making up to do to bring them back on side.

I made the right choice in dumping Katy Trail, I haven't had one mosquito bite since Friday. Im now off for some R&R in the city and to prepare for the next instalment of my journey in Kansas. You'd be crazy to miss it!

Day 70 Monday 25th Aug

The quiet rural hills of Mid Missouri make for great scenery, but a boring blog. Nothing even slightly entertaining or interesting has happened since Friday, that is until last night.

I camped up just outside Blackburn around 7pm. I found a nice grassy verge on a gravel track away from houses off the main road and settled for the night. I'd spoken to the land owners brother, and later his son, and they were fine with my being there, i would be gone by 5am anyway. Things took a turn for the worse when a big burly farmer knocked on my front door. Apparently some woman half a mile down the road was in hysterics because some child-molesting, murdering terrorist was camping near her house. I jumped into burly farmers truck and we drove to her house to see if we could help out and find the murdering scum that threatened her children. When we got there i introduced myself as 'Nick', and she introduced herself as 'Go Away'. She then ignored me and repeatedly told burly farmer that he was an idiot.

She was obviously a paranoid schizophrenic so we left her to find the evil doer herself. We'd just got back to the campsite when the County Sheriff pulled onto my drive. He's also heard there was a dog-shooting, spider-leg pulling terrorist lurking and came to make sure i was okay. As with all the fuzz I've met along the way, Deputy Richard Miller was kind, courteous and professional. After checking my ID we had a small laugh about ME perhaps being the granny-tripping, non-tipping terrorist, as if. However it did turn out that burly farmer was DUI, and promptly arrested, which made me feel bad because i was the reason he was out there.

Fearing for my safety, i recieved permission from none other than the Chief of Police Dean Koch to camp out by the lake round the corner in Blackburn. After thanking Deputy Miller i quickly set up my tent and prepared for a sleepless night, the cat-kicking, jay-walking terrorist was still out there...

For a newspaper report of my eventful evening click on the link Marshall Democratic News

Day 67 Fri 22nd Aug


The rain held off long enough yesterday to walk 15 miles to Rocheport. This morning in true Nick fashion i ended my 9 day relationship with Katy Trail. We had a good laugh but she was always going on and on and i wasn't ready to commit. Breakfast was in Boonville, another typically charming railroad town struggling to survive, with locals who say "how you doing?" and cafes that dont take travellers cheques. I spent 3 hours in town, partly because i've got 'cant be arsed' syndrome today and partly because i couldn't decide which route to take next. katy wouldn't take me back and she goes south, the most promising northwards route would add too much mileage for my liking, and the most direct route follows the noisy I-70. I asked a few people in the cafe, "i'd drive". Thanks guys, you're as helpful as Michael Jackson babysitting. Being a big believer in fate the local church billboard once again showed me the way. Not the one that said "how have you sinned today?", i already knew that one, rather the one that said "there is no easy path to anywhere worth going". North it is then towards Marshall.

Day 66-call me Noah


It's 7.15am and i'm sat under Coopers Campground patio. The rain hasn't abated since yesterday and is in no rush to stop. My 6ft ark of a tent coped pretty well, the reason for my current wetness is the animal that dared to take shelter in it-me. After more crazy sleeping i awoke at 3am to find i had slid to the bottom of the tent, pushing against the canvas and allowing my sleeping bag to happily drink up water and get soaked. I'm not complaining, this is luckily my first day of continual rain in 65 days, i'm stuck here for now which is not a bad thing. Coopers Landing is a small hidden community in the middle of nowhere. People come here as far away as Columbia to sit by the campfire, eat, sing, go for boat trips and forget about the monotony of normal life. Charlie who works here has cycled most of the US and is a fountain of knowledge and stories. It's a hidden gem. So i'm sat here, coffee in hand, waiting for dry weather. It's not looking good.

Day 65-disaster strikes


Mr wallet has gone AWOL and i truly have no idea when or where it could have escaped my evil clutches. Normally i would be swearing right about now, however being the expert novice hiker that i am i've prepared for my own stupidity. From the secret pouch behind the back frame of my rucksack(its okay, no-one actually reads this tripe) i whipped out my back-up id and fine collection of useless travellers cheques. They're useless because hardly anyone will accept them, i would have done better carrying a bag of beef jerky they love the stuff here. I also carry with me emergency food supplies, so a major disaster and strop was overted. For the rest of the day i considered the problem-if your head wasn't screwed on, would you lose your head or actually lose your body? My goal for the day was Providence, a town with zero population 23 miles from my campsite. 20 miles in the predicted rain started falling and i took shelter at the unusual yet interesting campsite known as Coopers Landing. Right next to the Missouri river, it was the perfect place to stop and i was pitched by 4pm, a world record. I'll figure out how i'm going to pay in the morning...

Day 64 Tue 19th Aug


A quick damage report and i counted no fewer than 24 mosquito bites and a new sting from a helicopter-sized bug in my motel room which has swollen my arm again. The death penalty was quickly actioned with a flip flop. According to the NBC channel mosquitos are attracted to some people more than others largely due to genetics, so thanks mum, thanks dad. Jefferson City is mainly for blue collar workers so there were few sights to see, giving me plenty of time to restock, check emails and hunt for a Laundromat. People are pretty friendly here and there's a relaxed atmosphere, although the local workers do look like they've just stepped straight out of a United Colours of Benetton advert. Shock horror there was even a high street with European style outdoor seating which increased the pleasure of my caffeine fix. After the rush hour traffic died down i dodged more cars back over the bridge and camped back on the Katy trail ready for my 2 day hump to New Franklin. There seem to be a lot of cars here with lights on even though the trail is closed at night, best zip my sleeping bag right up tonight then.

Day 63 18th Aug


Fog was the order of the morning, a good day not to be on the roads. It also helped in spotting the huge spiderwebs stretching across the trail. My goal for the day was Jefferson City, the state capital 20 miles away. A motel and day off is desperately needed. I need to wash clothes, check emails, eat real food, shower and finally cut my hair(the wookie look just isnt working). The plan was to get to Jefferson airport then get a taxi across the bridge as there was no sidewalk, suprise. Check the wallet...hmm only $8. Some car dodging later i was in the capital with both legs still attached, i will answer any emails tomorrow, i'm off to bed.

Day 62 Sunday 17th August

Half an hour into this morning a big old black dirty dog appeared from know where and decided to tag along. # miles later i was starting to get worried. Chaz(that's what i named him) was more than happy to follow and ignored my efforts to pursuade him to go back, but he had a collar so someone must have been missing him. Shortly after i hit the village of Rhineland and popped into the local restaurant to see if anyone recognised Chaz. I was slightly annoyed at everyones apparent unwillingness to help or offer suggestions, so i got him some water and bought myself some breakfast to ponder on the situation. Maybe he'd get bored of waiting and go home. During breakfast i chatted to another guy who was passing through. He sneakily tried to pay for my breakfast before i finished, but to my astonishment the locals who had now left had already paid for it. Maybe they did remember who's dog it was and wanted to offer thanks, either way Chaz was gone when i left and i was very grateful for their generosity. The rest of the day was uneventful and 24 miles later i was at Mokane ready for an early night. I'd love some fish & chips right now.

Day 61 Sat 16th Aug


It was an absolutely beautiful morning, the sky was more blue and clear than any other day of my trip so far. It was also a cool 82f making for great walking weather, if there is such a thing. My target for the day was McKittrick 23 miles away, and i was looking forward to some open views of the Missouri river. This part of the Katy Trail is pretty desolate and i must have only seen around 10 people all day. I no longer like cyclists. Most do not say "hello" rather "you okay?" as if they either pity me or worry about me because they think im a hermit. I also dislike Mozzy spray even more. It is like a bad aftershave, repelling women, dogs, infact pretty much anything except mosquitos. My elbow is still pretty swollen and itchy, strangely the bump has moved down my arm towards my hand, spooky. After some decent photos and some slightly boring walking through woods i reached McKittrick at 4.30pm without a hitch. I like the trail because you can set up camp on the trail head on nicely but grass, there's toilets so you dont need to poo in a hole, and more importantly somewhere to sit, eat, plan for the next day and write this waffle. Another crazy Saturday night then!

Day 60 Fri 15th Aug


Imagine if you will your average everyday family of mosquitos on vacation. They're having a cracking time zooming around, having a laugh and taking in the sights. Daddy mosquito decides it's time for a bite to eat, so after checking the map and arguing with mummy mosquito about directions, they whizz down to the local diner, which just happens to be my arm. And boy did they tuck in. My elbow is now red, swollen and very sore. The only half decent thing to come out of the situation is that if one places ones hand on said elbow it vaguely feels like a small breast. Mozzy spray is rubbish, 100% deet is rubbish and i'm loosing my patience. Other news; i had a lie-in, finished early and didn't feel guilty; the Katy Trail is pretty interesting and the villages along the way are welcoming if not a little quiet; still no blister; i haven't had a coffee all day; the champion steer (big bull type cow thing) at the local Washington fair sold for $3,885 and weighed 1,295 pounds.