Day 1: There’s no fool like an…

This is where the walk began, at the edge of the Pacific Ocean outside of Bodega Bay, California.

This is where Rick’s walk began, at the edge of the Pacific Ocean outside of Bodega Bay, California.

Okay, Day 1 is history. First step took place at about two minutes till eight this morning and it was a mile or so on the beach,  then up a hill of a golf course and onto a residential road. After a quarter-mile we got onto CA SR 1 for five miles and then onto CA SR 12. We finished the day on it,  getting as far as Sebastopol, CA before l pooped out. Actually, as l write this, I feel pretty good, just sore feet and calves, but no blisters. I walked 17 miles today, and although it wasn’t 20, it was pretty good as far as I’m concerned. The terrain varied from ocean to houses to rural pastures with cows and sheep to small towns to a medium-sized city. It all passed beneath my Etonics. I am tired though and this will end shortly. Hopefully all of you who signed up got our newsletter. Tomorrow is day two and l can’t wait. For all of you who weren’t quite sure if this was an April Fool’s joke, {come back tomorrow}.

Miles covered:  17
Money found:  $0.73

Day 2

Rick Hammersley Walking Hwy 12

Rick Hammersley Walking Hwy 12

Day 2 went okay, but not as good as Day 1. I woke up and felt pretty good and took off from the corner of Dutton Drive and SR 12 in Sebastopol, CA. I thought I was honking along pretty good, but when I hit first break, I had only done a little over four miles. The rest of the day seemed to just be a struggle, but there were extenuating circumstances. I walked through Santa Rosa and hit (I think)  every stop light red. It doesn’t sound like too big a deal, but they add up to a lot of wasted time. I had an interview on the run with a reporter for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and that took about 20 minutes,  so there were things that worked against me. Late in the day my back started hurting and my left foot bothered me some, but we did cover 13.5 miles and today tomorrow is another day.

Miles Covered: 13.5
Total Miles: 30.5
Money Found: $1.14
Total Found: $1.87

Day 3: Grape Vines & Blowing Horns!

I feel really good this morning and have just read several emails encouraging me to keep at it. I do look forward to reading them and appreciate all the good thoughts coming my way. Please keep them coming. I need to see them.

Rick Hammersley Walks by the Vineyards in Sonoma Valley

Rick Hammersley Walks by the Vineyards in Sonoma Valley

We are through Santa Rosa and have stopped for the night in front of Saint Francis Winery if you know where that is. Very pretty. I see at the clock that I have seven minutes to get to my place on the road. This is going to be a great day. Thanks everyone!

Day 3 is history and we had a much better day than yesterday. I’m feeling better every day and the feet are hurting a little less. I met Chris Smith of the Santa Rosa paper yesterday and he wrote in his column about our Walk. He asked for people to toot their horn if they saw me and they did just that, all day! l even had one family yell at me and say they saw the paper and to keep up the good work. While walking through a small town named Boyes Hot Springs, a guy in a white truck drove by, blew his horn and waved as if he knew me forever. Then, he turned around and parked right in front of me. Not sure what was going on, I keenly kept my eye on him. He came around the truck with a paper in his hand and said, “I read about you.” Well eventually I figured out what was happening and the guy named Mylo shook my hand and asked a few questions. He said I could have the paper and he even took it back to Valda in the RV. What a guy. Things like this really make me feel good and forget my woes.

Rick Hammersley poses in front of a Sonoma Valley winery.

Rick Hammersley poses in front of a Sonoma Valley winery.

The terrain l passed today included mile after mile of vineyards. I know I don’t appreciate the beauty as much as I should, but it’s tough to sightsee while keeping one eye on the traffic and the other eye on where I’m walking.

It’s 10:00 now, so I’m going to bed.

Miles Covered: 17.25
Total Miles: 47.5
Money Found: $0.82
Total Found:  $2.69

Day 4

We have really had a great week of weather. It started out a little chilly, but finally crept up to the 7o’s by Thursday. Friday it was a bit windy and I kept my sweatshirt on all day. It probably got up to around 60 or so. Anyway, it was delightful weather to walk.

Here's the first bridge Rick Hammersley crossed on his walk.

First bridge Rick Hammersley crossed on his walk.

I passed over my first bridge of any real size, a bridge on Hwy 12 over the Napa River just south of the town of Napa. It was around a half mile long, and seemed a pretty long way down to the water. Glad didn’t have to find out how far.

Yesterday’s walk was good. I passed a lot of vineyards on the way from Sonoma to Napa. The road was very narrow in a lot of places and I didn’t spend too much time looking around. But, I got through that and now I hope the road to Fairfield will be a little wider.Sonoma Vineyards Once I get past Suisan City I should have a pretty straight shot to Lodi where I pick up Hwy 88 and head in earnest toward the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Personal note to Malachy…thank you so much for the offer to match my money found. I got you yesterday for an additional $2.10. The charity is Gateway For Cancer Research and you can check out their website.

Again, thanks to all for the comments and emails. I can’t answer the comments, but be assured I read every one of them. It is great to get them and I really do cherish the fact that everyone is following my progress so closely. If you would like to see some comment from me about something or the other, let me know. More later. Right now, I’m going out to breakfast!

Miles Covered: 16
Total Miles: 63.5
Money Found: $2.10
Total Found: $4.79

Day 5: What??? A Day Off…Already?!

Soscol Cafe

Breakfast at the Soscol Cafe in Napa

It’s Saturday – you bet I’m taking a day off. I know I’ve only walked for 4 days, but my body tells me to take a day and smell the roses. Actually, we have some laundry to do, some grilling to do, some wounds to lick and we want to see Sonoma and Napa a bit before we get too far away. Also, it is supposed to be nice here today and I’m going to stay off the busy roads till tomorrow. We are currently on Hwy 12, about four miles outside of Napa. I stopped at the entrance of the Chardonnay Golf Club. We are heading toward Fairfield and Suisan City. Thanks my brother Don, a way to Suisan City has been found that will keep me off the railroad tracks. I appreciate that.

I measure my mileage by a pedometer and so far it seems to be fairly accurate. We tried to do it with the odometer on the RV, but with backtracking and visits up a driveway to a winery (Valda did this while I was out hoofin’ it 😉 it became too confusing. So, I think the mileage is pretty close,  but anyway it will have to do.

A few things l wanted to mention: I have been having some mental fun with observing what is on California’s roads. There has been surprisingly little trash as far as cans, bottles and paper, etc. are concerned. However, I have seen a lot of the following in no particular order:

  • washers
  • nails
  • bolts/screws
  • wood
  • bungee cords
  • lead weights for car wheels
  • hubcaps
  • banana peels

I’ve seen other stuff too, but these items really repeat themselves.

A Monster Truck trying to back out of a small parking space in Napa!

A Monster Truck trying to back out of a small parking space in Napa!

Breakfast at the Soscol Cafe in Napa was all I was told it would be. Go hungry and be prepared to wait. What a treat! By the way, Valda & I are thinking about trading our RV in for a truck like the one below. It took the guy about five minutes to maneuver his way out of the parking lot. I thought with a truck like that you just ran over the other cars!

Day 6: Where’d the Ocean Go?!

Rick Hammersley Blogging after Walking 19 Miles.

Rick Hammersley Blogging after Walking 19 Miles.

It was a great day here in sunny California. Governor Arnold should be proud. The temp. was in the mid 60’s and there was a hefty wind at my back all day. I know now why I’m walking West to East! We had a great day too. We left Napa this morning and got to about 5 miles East of Suisan city. We covered 19 miles today and I actually feel pretty good. Yesterday was just what I needed to get my aches and pains under control. This is the first day I’ve gotten in the RV and didn’t head for bed!

The terrain has flattened out since we left Napa. I guess we are in a valley of some sort. There are lots of fields of wheat and other grains and pastures full of cattle. I’ve seen cattle all during the walk, but they have been clinging to the sides of hills for the most part. The flat might be boring to some, but it makes for easy walking. Tomorrow we head toward Rio Vista, then Lodi, then the Sierra Nevada’s. Can’t wait.

Miles Covered: 19
Total Miles: 82.5
Money Found: $1.10
Total Found: $5.89

Day 7: The Road Less Traveled

Val Hammersley taking b-roll video of Rick's Walk.

Val Hammersley taking b-roll video of Rick’s Walk.

Highway 12 in California. What a road. It starts near the Pacific ocean, winds itself through hills and dales and through small towns and cities. It then goes through all the vineyards you would ever want to see and then flattens out and travels through fields of wheat, fields of sheep and cattle. The road is narrow, wide, twisty, straight; it goes up hills, down hills – and is very heavily traveled. The part of it l was on today was nothing like I’ve ever been on before. The road between Suisan City and Vista is about 20 miles long, fenced tightly on both sides, one lane each way with a barrier between the lanes preventing cars from passing. It is straight, fast and narrow. So narrow, in fact, that for the better part of today I had to walk off the shoulder and make my way through the gravel area laced with knee high weeds. It was a blast :/ I have heard the road from Rio to Lodi is just the same. Sigh 😦

I had a pretty good day despite the walking surface. Made nearly 17 mlles and felt good doing it. My back has stopped hurting and the blisters are just about gone. The Etonic Jeparas are comfortable and really feel good after walking several miles. The bright orange Beech Grove Bowl shirts are exceptional and can really be seen a long way off. All in all, I’m pretty happy 🙂

Motoring in Wine CountryThanks to a couple of campgrounds for discounting or comping our campsites. They are Skyline Wilderness Campground in Napa and Delta Marina RV Park here in Rio Vista.

Thanks also to DT of Brownsburg, IN for her matching funds on my money found. I’ve had a lot of good response to this little feature and l’m working on a new wrinkle that will make it fun for you all, especially the kids out there. Till later.

Miles covered: 16.75
Total Miles: 99.25
Money Found: $1.17
Total Found: S7.06

Day 8: I Knew I Could Do 20!

And on the seventh day – he walked 21.5 miles. Finally, I got the 20 I’ve been looking for! The day started out good, got better after lunch and got real good as dinner rolled around. Hwy 12 was much better today than it was yesterday. No barriers between lanes, wider shoulders (paved) and then a gravel shoulder next to that. There was about two miles of three foot wide shoulder and the rest was six to seven feet. It was really a treat to see all that in front of me.Windmills

The terrain today was mostly agricultural. There were some windmills that I eventually got past,  but the fields were mostly alfalfa and sod farms. The miles and miles of green were really pretty and a stark difference to all the vineyards we’ve seen for the past week. The weather has been perfect for walking. Cool,  sunny and breezy. The TV said this morning that this area usually gets its first 90 degree day in April. I hope it continues to hold off.

Personal to Mason & Patricia – thanks for matching my money found. By the way, it is little comfort knowing you are walking along beside me via your easy chair. While l get blisters on my feet, you get blisters elsewhere :p  Seriously, thanks for the matching funds. It is always good to hear from you two.

We got to I-5 and Hwy 12 in Sacramento County today and this makes the fourth county I’ve walked in. We should be in Lodi tomorrow morning where I have an interview with a reporter for the Lodi paper set up. I’ll see if I can do back-to-back twenties. Hope so 🙂

Miles Covered: 21.5
Total Miles: 120.75
Money Found: $1.99
Total Found: $9.05

Day 9: Goodbye 12, Hello 88!

Spying the CascadesWell, Hwy 12 history – thank goodness. It was interesting. I’m now walking on Hwy 88 and have stopped for the night in Lockford, just East of Lodi. The area today was again mainly agriculture with a lot of homes near the road sprinkled in. I can make out mountains in the distant East and know that shortly I’ll be walking through them. The mountains to my West have all but disappeared from sight.

We had a pretty good day today. Met with Ross Farrow of the Lodi News-Sentinel. We had a good interview and the article should be out tomorrow. (FUNNY SIDE NOTE: Valda’s name changes 3 times in that article!)

“I consider any step that’s not on my route a wasted step unless it leads to a doughnut shop,” Hammersley said with a laugh.

We got in 16.5 miles today and would have probably gotten more, but l got a little puny in the afternoon and took an extended break. Much better now and, in fact, went out and did five miles after taking the break. Tomorrow we head to Jackson. The weather was again perfect, but it started getting warm in the afternoon.

Personal to Jody in Lebanon, IN: thanks so much for matching our found money. Today we added an additional $1.43. More tomorrow!

Miles Covered: 16.5
Total Miles: 137.25
Money Found: $1.43
Total Found: $10.48

Day 10

RV in CascadesWe had a great week. We left Napa last Sunday and are currently in Martell, CA. I will pick up the route at the Wal-Mart tomorrow and head through Martell and Jackson. The elevation is around 1000′ and we passed a 2000′ elevation sign on the way to the campground yesterday. The roads have been much better earlier in the week and we are now on CA 88. I guess I have been more adept at my walking and I don’t seem to have any problems with my blisters anymore.

We had a newspaper Interview in Lodi yesterday, and today we got a call from DH of Lodi who tracked us down and gave us a $100 for Gateway For Cancer Research. People never cease to amaze me! 

Anyway, things are progressing fine and we’ve settled into a routine of sorts. For those of you who want to know, I start out at 8:00am and walk till 11:00am. I take a two hour lunch/rest break and then walk from 1:00pm to around 4:00pm. I then take another 2 hour dinner/rest break and, if possible, l try to walk another couple of miles after 6:00pm. This seems to work okay and we are always trying out different routines. Nothing I have planned is chiseled in stone. I try to always be flexible! 🙂

Miles Covered: 17.5
Total Miles: 154.75
Money Found: $0.43
Total Found: $10.91