Some Personal Observations about the Walk

Here are some crazy stats that have come from the walk and some personal observations that have stuck with me as I made my way across the USA – not in any particular order.

3 things I do NOT care to ever see again: gravel, dump trucks & road kill!

  • Highest price paid for gas: $4.39 in Nevada
  • Lowest price paid for gas: $1.87 in New Jersey
  • State with best roads walked: Nevada
  • State with worst roads walked: Tie – California & Illinois
  • Best breakfast: Hotel Nevada in Ely, Nevada
  • Strangest sight: Maybell Colorado International Dog Show
  • Strangest sight #2: Mini church rest area in rural Iowa
  • Favorite big city: Brooklyn, NY
  • Favorite mid-size city: Carson City, Nevada
  • Favorite small cities: Tie – Hastings, NE & Fallon, NV
  • Favorite town: Delta, Utah
  • Favorite scenery walked through: Desert
  • My highest weight: 234 lbs
  • My lowest weight: 179 lbs
  • Miles walked: 3,206.75
  • Number of miles not walked on route: 2.9 (avalanche area in California)
  • Number of miles walked in error: 4.5
  • Number of times lost on walk: 0 (several times, always on purpose, I took another more scenic route 😉
  • Feet walked: 16,931,640
  • Inches walked: 203,179,680
  • Number of 30″ steps: 6,772,656
  • Number of steps per foot: 3,386,328
  • Number of 7″ Nathan’s Hot Dogs walked (placed end to end without bun): 29,025,668
  • Valda’s favorite state to drive in: Tie – Nevada or Colorado
  • Valda’s least favorite state to drive in: Pennsylvania
  • Number of miles Valda put on RV during walk: 13,479
  • Weather days:
    • Rain: 15
    • Snow: 1
    • Wind: 1
  • Total days walked: 176.75
  • Total days off: 38.25
  • Miles per day: 15 (all 215 days)
  • Miles per day: 18 (of actual 176 days walked)
  • Hours walked: 1,069 (based on 3 mph)
  • Number of days I walked 20 miles or more: 72
  • Most consecutive 20-mile days: 9
  • Highest mileage day: 22.25
  • Shoe mileage:
    • Pair #1: 639.75
    • Pair #2: 615.25
    • Pair #3: 480
    • Pair #4: 476.25
    • Pair #5: 411
    • Pair #6: 584.5
  • Most exhilarating moment: seeing the Atlantic Ocean at Coney Island, NY!

New York Stats!

cropped-finish-at-coney-island.pngNew York – my final destination. It was a long time coming, but well worth the wait. I found walking down the canyons of Manhattan very exciting and crossing over and walking through Brooklyn the most exhilarating of experiences. I had arrived! Coney Island was all I had hoped and Nathan’s hot dogs were out of this world. All the people I met were fantastic and treated me like royalty. Our stay at the Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge was first rate and the NYC Marathon was a non-issue. It was a two-day span I had thought about for seven months and I was not disappointed. 😀

Here are the stats on my walk through New York:

  • Miles Walked: 24.75
  • Average Miles per Day: 12.37
  • Total Miles Walked: 3,206.75
  • % of Walk Completed: 100%
  • Days Walked: 2
  • Days Off: 0
  • Money Found: $0.48
  • Average Money Found per Day: $0.24
  • Average Money Found per Mile: $0.02
  • Counties Walked Through: 2 (New York and Kings)
  • State Highways: 0
  • US Highways: 1
  • County Roads: 0
  • Major Bridges Crossed: .5 (Hudson River) 1 (East River)
  • Most Unusual Find: Box of clothing on street

Day 215: Ocean, Sand, Hot Dogs & Friends!

Rick Hammersley Finishes Walk Across AmericaAt 4:15 PM, I took the final step of the most fantastic journey I’ve ever been on. I walked off the boardwalk at Coney Island and stood looking at the Atlantic Ocean across about 200′ of sand. My destination was in my grasp. Nothing all that dramatic, just another 200′ of sand that lay between where I was and where I wanted to be. I’m not too sure what exactly was going through my mind but I continued on across that sand and very soon I was walking in the surf, feeling the cold Atlantic soaking my Etonic Jepara #1 shoes, the same shoes I wore when I walked out of the Pacific. After seven months and one day, the walk was over.Rick & Val Hammersley at Coney Island

My brother Don told me that at one time he counted 44 people who were part of the final group that joined me on the beach. I’m sure he was correct for there were people everywhere. Many thanks once more to all of them for being a part of my adventure.

There are a number of people I need to thank on this last official walk day, and I’m sure there will be more before this is all over. Please bear with me as I get this all compiled together.tom_1825 I do know I want to thank the following people: Marty Markowitz, the President of the Republic of Brooklyn, NY, Carolyn Greer, who works for Mr. Markowitz and husband Stephen, Nick Kaloudis, owner of Celeste Diner, Cafe & Grill, John Gavakis, our server at Celeste, and Paul Bogosian of CBS Many thanks to all these fine people for their hospitality, generosity, and intense interest in my endeavor. Your kindness will always be remembered by Valda & me. Thank you so much.

tom_1830Thanks also to Kirk T. of Brooklyn for your contribution to Gateway. It is much appreciated. Chris had various friends walk with me today and I promise in the next few days I will get it all sorted out and thank you properly. Meantime, know that I certainly appreciate all of you being a part of my last mile.

I’m pretty bushed as you might expect and think I’ll end now and try to get some shut eye. I’ll give you a couple of pictures to ponder over and more later in the week. Tomorrow we start another journey – I hope it goes as smoothly as this one went. Thank you all for your faithfulness.

Final stats:

Miles Covered: 10.5
Total Miles: 3,206.75
Money Found: $0.18
Total Found: $100.95

New Jersey Stats!

finish-at-coney-islandNew Jersey. I had dreaded walking through this state from the beginning, mainly due to what other people had said about the state. But, like so many times before, I was listening when I should have been just experiencing. The people I met there are just fantastic, from the Boy Scouts who walked with me to people we met on the streets. I was in a great deal of urban areas, but I was also in a great deal of beautiful country. I battled some inclement weather and an uncomfortable medical condition, but other than that, my experience in New Jersey was top notch. I especially liked the lower gasoline prices. New Jersey rocks!

Here are the stats on my walk through New Jersey:

  • Miles Walked: 80.75
  • Average Miles per Day: 14.75
  • Total Miles Walked: 3,183.75
  • % of Walk Completed: 99.3%
  • Days Walked: 5.5
  • Days Off: 2.5
  • Money Found: $13.54
  • Average Money Found per Day: $2.46
  • Average Money Found per Mile: $0.17
  • Counties Walked Through: 5 (Warren, Morris, Passaic, Bergen and Essex)
  • State Highways: 1
  • US Highways: 2
  • County Roads: 0
  • Major Bridges Crossed: .5 (Delaware River) .5 (Hudson River)
  • Most Unusual Find: Paint ball mask

Day 214: What Can I Say…I’m in NYC!

Welcome to NYYes, the Empire State is now where I am and as of right now, I have one day (about 9-10 miles by some accounts) left and then it is the splash in the Atlantic. Today was a long day of walking across the George Washington Bridge, finding Broadway and meeting up with my three brothers from Indianapolis, then walking down Broadway all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge, and finally taking about an hour to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, taking pictures every so often of the incredible skylines around me. What a day. 😀

Rick & Val Hammersley Arrive in New York via GW BridgeMy daughter Syndi and grandson Nic are here from Oklahoma, Valda’s sister Lyra is here from Atlanta, Chris’ roommate’S Charlie and Olivia are here from Seattle, and various friends of Chris from around NYC are popping up all over the place. I do appreciate all of the efforts these people have gone through to make this couple of days memorable for me. It is much appreciated.

Today was just delightful. It was a long day of walking through the city and the crowds were sometimes a bear to handle, but we managed not to get too lost and we got down to the Brooklyn Bridge okay, tired but eager for tomorrow to get here.Hammersley Brothers Walking Broadway in NYC

I’ve gotten a lot of inquires from a lot of people about my recent health issues. Right now, I’m not sure what is wrong. I went to the ER last Sunday and the doctor did some tests and then a CT scan. The doc told me the CT scan showed a mass in my lower intestine and they wanted to keep me for further tests. Now, it remains to be seen if I made the right decision or not, but I declined, telling him I needed to get to NY and as soon as the walk is over, Valda & I are headed for Oklahoma City to check into tRick Hammersley in front of Seinfeld Restauranthe VA complex there. Right now it could be anything from diverticulitis to scar tissue to a tumor. I promise I will continue blogging to you through all of this. Having had colon cancer once, I tend to get nervous about something in my colon that’s not right. I sure could use your thoughts and prayers right about now.

Tomorrow is it. I believe there will be a host of people walking tomorrow. CBS is coming out tomorrow morning for some sort of interview, and the president of the Borough of Brooklyn is scheduled to come out and meet me sometime in the afternoon. It’s all coming together it seems.Rick Hammersley on the Brooklyn Bridge

Thanks to Sue G. of Forest Park, GA for matching my ‘money found’. Sue, it is very appreciated and many thanks to you.

Thanks to Brooklyn Bridge Marriott for their hospitality and cheerful smiles. Thanks especially to Virrbai at the front desk for the bottle of wine and cheesecake tray. We certainly feel welcome and many thanks to everyone for making our stay memorable.




The pictures are pretty self explanatory. More tomorrow.

Miles Covered: 14.25
Total Miles: 3,196.25
Money Found: $0.30
Total Found: $100.77

Day 213: Start Spreading the News

Jersey Side GW BridgeToday I made it to the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River. I walked the final 12.5 land miles in NJ and have only half the bridge to go in NJ, then it is New York, New York. I got my first glimpse of the NY skyline today at 9:05 AM but it took me a while to get to the bridge. I had a lot of instances today where I had to take mini-detours because of the nature of the highway and it took me a bit longer than I thought it would. Then after leaving the highway with the bridge just around the curve, I had to get off on Main St. in Ft. Lee and walk another mile through town to the base of the bridge where the steps are located for me to get to the top tier. But, guess what – I made it.

Halloween In PAYesterday was a day saddened by the loss of one of my most ardent supporters, and it was all because of a stupid act by me. I was walking down the side of Hwy 46 about 20 miles from the bridge and my son Chris was following me, filming the whole way. Now I’m not too sure what is so exciting about filming your old man from the back as he walks down the highway, but Chris was into it pretty intently. So, I thought I’d give him a shot of my athletic prowess. There was a storm sewer grate coming up and in one of the long holes was stuck a small rubber ball. I thought I would hit the ball with my walking stick and knock it on down the hole – all in one fell swoop. Except I missed and the end of the stick went into another hole and right out of my grasp. It is gone forever. My trusty friend who was about five inches shorter than when I started and had enough glue in it to start a horse, was gone. And, it is all on film. Talk about athletic prowess. I’ve done 3,182 miles and it did 3,162 of them and won’t be around for the finish.Hammersley Brothers in Jersey

Thanks to S. Fitzgerald of Hackettstown, NJ for his contribution to Gateway. It is much appreciated. I also want to thank my three brothers, Don, Scott & Ron for stopping by and seeing us on their way to NYC. It was nice seeing them and I’ll actually walk with them tomorrow and Sunday as we wind it down. We are back at Tom & Kathryn L’s home in western NJ and will leave the RV here while we traipse around the Big Apple and vicinity. Thanks again to them for their amazing hospitality.

GraveyardI also want to thank Angela Ganote of Fox 59 in Indianapolis for her phone interview this morning. She is also going to have another phone interview with me on Monday morning at 8:30 AM, Indy time. If you live there, tune in. Fox 59 has been just great in their support of me. Many thanks to them.

Today is Halloween and here are some pictures we’ve taken over the last couple of weeks. Just a little fun as the night comes alive.

Miles Covered: 12.5
Total Miles: 3,182
Money Found: $2.56
Total Found: $100.47

Day 212: Only 13 Miles to NYC!

dscf4536I guess I’m getting excited! I had a real good day all around, and for the first time in a week or so, I actually felt my heart beat. To be honest, I’ve felt lousy all week and today I got some new medicine from my doctor in Chattanooga and boy did it help. Valda got to see the peaks of NYC twice today, but I’ve yet to see them. I keep looking but to no avail. I remember seeing the peaks of the Rockies after I got out of them for several miles, but this is different. Today I told Chris that the Soldier Summit Canyon in Utah, the Indian Canyon in Utah and Poudre River Canyon in Colorado (all 79 miles) were 3 very memorable canyons that I walked through. The beauty was outstanding. But, I do believe the prettiest canyon I’ve yet to see and walk down is the canyon in Manhattan known as the Broadway Canyon. I feel my heartbeat again. 😀

dscf4577Valda & I didn’t take any pictures today. We both were too busy negotiating this crazy traffic and trying not to take the wrong turn on this twisty highway. It was a challenge today and tomorrow doesn’t look much different. As you can see by the title, I think we have about 13 miles to go. This is based on what I did today and signs I’ve seen along the way. Valda thinks it is closer to 11 but we’ll see tomorrow. I’m planning on walking to the George Washington Bridge, but I’m not sure which side. On Saturday morning we will step off at 11:00 AM and do 11 miles to the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Then it is a good night’s rest at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott and on Sunday morning we will step off again at the Brooklyn Bridge and fight our way through the stragglers from the NYC Marathon. I think I could tell them a thing or two about a marathon.dscf4588

I’m chattering a little too much. I guess I’m getting excited, and I feel a whole lot better. I hope you all have enjoyed this walk as much as I have and I certainly do appreciate your comments, emails, prayers, thoughts, and anything else you threw my way. Stay turned for some great pictures taken on Saturday and Sunday. Valda found the bottle of Pacific Ocean water and it is now just a matter of hours till it joins its Atlantic cousin. It’s about over. Did I mention I’m getting excited?

Some pictures we took this week.

Miles Covered: 17
Total Miles: 3,169.5
Money Found: $1.67
Total Found: $97.91

Day 211: No NYC Mountains Yet

Getting Closer to NYCEvery time I turn a corner or top a hill I look to see the snow covered peaks of NYC. I’m still about 30 miles out, so really don’t expect to see them until Friday. But it’s fun looking. Today straightened up weather wise. It was sunny off and on and cold, but no snow, thank goodness. Yesterday reminded me why I live in the south. I’ve been toying around with my walking schedule some more and think I have hit on a good combination. I walk three segments of two hours each and take about an hour and a half off in between. If it all goes as planned, I usually end up walking around 6:00PM, just as it is getting dark. I haven’t hit it perfect yet, but I keep trying. Just four more walking days left.

The terrain has been relatively flat with a occasional hill or two thrown in. It seems I’ve been in constant commercial areas for the last couple of days. On my map, I’ve hit the dark orange area denoting city, and it is constant until I get to Coney Island.

Not too much happened today, walk wise. We just keep plugging along and hoping the next mile marker is just up ahead. It has been somewhat of a challenge to get up and go out and walk especially in the cold. But, it’s almost over and a good week’s sleep might just take care of what ails me. Once more it is time to hit the hay and once more I can hardly wait.

As you can see (in the picture yesterday), Valda & I were visited by my grandson’s friend, Flat Stanley.  He came and spent an afternoon with us.  Has he visited you yet?

Miles Covered: 14
Total Miles: 3,152.5
Money Found: $2.99
Total Found: $96.24

Day 210: Snowed Out!

Snowed Out in NJThere isn’t a whole lot I can say about today except I’m glad it’s finally about over. I woke up this morning after listening to it rain off and on all night (between dozes). I had resigned myself to have a day in the rain but when we pulled the cover from the front window, were we surprised to see snow. We couldn’t believe it. We didn’t get too good of TV reception last night but what we did hear did not say a word about snow. Now, I can generally take the snow, but the rain, the cold, and the 20-30 miles per hour winds that accompanied it today was a bit too much. So, we stopped after 5 miles and checked into a motel room – just to take advantage of a hot shower and the heat from a reliable furnace. Our RV has a good furnace, but we are running a bit low on propane and frankly I just wanted to be in a motel during all this snow.

RV Covered in SnowLike I said, I did 5 miles and for the first three quarters of a mile, I had to walk in yards and where ever I could just to stay off the road (absolutely no shoulder). Then I hit a stretch of road that had 4-6′ of shoulder and then all I had to do was try to stay out of the water that was going into the storm sewers (not too successfully I might add). After a couple of hours, I finally had had enough and called Valda to save the day. I was thoroughly drenched despite having bought a ‘water proof’ rain coat and rain pants. So, that was my day in a nutshell. :/

The TV says more of the same for tomorrow, but I’ve now ran out of extra days and I have to walk. I’m not too sure where we are, but it is 5 miles east of where we were last night on US 46. Chris drove over yesterday from NYC on 46 and said it was about 57 miles to the bridge. Since then, I’ve walked about 13 of those, so I have a ways to go to get there. No luxury of a motel room tomorrow.

Thanks to Joe L. who owns the Allstate Insurance Agency. Joe let us stay all night in his parking lot.  The pictures show what we faced today. Notice how light the snow was when I started.

Miles Covered: 5
Total Miles: 3,138.5
Money Found: $0.30
Total Found: $93.25

Day 209: Walking Alone Again

Flat StanleyToday I resumed walking alone. I got in 17 miles and just passed the Budd Lake on US 46 near Mt. Olive, NJ. Chris showed up today and resumed filming his documentary. His mom was glad of that. He’s in NYC for a few days for the end of the walk and then it is back to Seattle. He’s going to march in the annual Halloween Parade in Manhattan as a deranged Uncle Sam. Not much of a stretch for him on the deranged part.

Valda & I are gearing up for the final few days. We are both excited about the end being in sight and can’t wait for those Nathan’s Hot Dogs.

Miles Covered: 17
Total Miles: 3,133.5
Money Found: $2.18
Total Found: $92.95