Journal Entry, 2-3-06
Today I walked 10 miles over hilly roads. I had no trouble at all. I am feeling stronger every day. Yesterday I
received my new shoes from FOOT Efx. They are "Aetrex V656." They fit perfectly. I can really feel the difference.
I have been using new balance for about 3 years. They are great for everyday shoes, but I knew I would need the
best for my long walk across America. So, I walked in one of the new pair just to break them in before the big day.
No pain, no blisters, and no soreness. They seem to be doing Great. And they look great also. I am truly thankful
to FOOT Efx for coming through for me. They really are a great bunch of people.
If you would like, go to my photos page and look at the new hat I am wearing. I love it. On the side I have FOOT
Efx embroidered as a sponsor.
Today I found out that the St. Louis Post Dispatch wants to do a full story on me the day of my departure. I hope
they will use a picture of me waving as I am leaving under the Arch. That would be great. It is important to me that
my fellow St. Louisians know that I am from St. Louis. So far the local media is doing a great job spreading the
word. It will make me proud to know they are all cheering me on. I know one thing for sure, as my body shrinks, I
promise my head will not swell. It may sound a little like I am wanting a lot of attention. To be honest with you, I am
a little on the shy side. My wife and I talked and decided it would be best if I invited as much media attention as I
can to bring attention to the obese problem in America. I slowly began to realize over the past 6 months that if
obesity killed me, it would devastate everyone that loves and cares for me. So I had to crawl out of my shell and
look at the world and realize there is so much more to live for than what I thought.
I received an email from my niece Tiffany yesterday. She lives in Michigan and I don't get to see her very often. It
made me proud to read it. The thought she put into it made me smile. For her to write this, I know it took some
time and came from her heart. I thought I would share it with everyone.
Hello. My name is Tiffany. Currently, I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am 16 years old and am still without a
license. Bummer on my part! Anyway, I am not writing this to babble about myself. Gary Long is my uncle and I have
a few comments of my opinion about what he is doing.
I just wanted to let anyone who is looking at this website for the first time or someone who is following his lengthy
voyage, know that this man is a great man indeed. It takes a person with an immense deal of courage and strength
to embark on this sort of journey. Just imagine, leaving your home for who knows how long to walk; walk for hours
upon hours with yourself as your only entertainment. Honestly, I couldn’t do it. But ,this man with valor beyond belief
, has the guts to do it; the guts to travel across the United States in search for himself. And for this effort, I applaud
Uncle Gary I wish you the best on your expedition . You have my respect and my support. This will be a story that
my kids will one day hear…A Fat Man Walking….but, I want you to know that your weight was never an issue with
me. I’m glad that you want to better yourself in both your health and appearance, but your heart is what attracts
people. You’re laughter is contagious, your eyes are warm with passion, and your soul, that jolly ‘ol soul that makes
a person want to melt, those are the qualities that I will remember. I hope that you gain everything you are looking
for as you travel the United States by foot. And I also hope this experience is a pleasant one that will remain etched
in your mind for years to come. When you complete your journey, I want you to know that I will still be here, cheering
Journal entry, 2-14-06
Today was very eventful. Early this morning channel 5 news showed up at my home. We did about a 30 minute
tape. It will be aired between 5am - 7am on 2-15-06. Right after that I went to the Arch and met Darlene from Foot-
efx. She flew up from Florida with arch supports that she brought for me. My wife Cheryl and my 11 year old
nephew Zack were with me and we had a wonderful time with Darlene. She is such a wonderful person. She
brought many other things like hats and special shoe laces with her and gave me a personal fitting just below the
Arch. It was such a wonderful day today, temp was 60+. Then we drove the route that I will be taking tomorrow.
After that Darlene treated us to a wonderful dinner at the Spaghetti Factory in Downtown Saint Louis. To imagine
that she flew up to St. Louis and did all these wonderful things for us really humbles me.
After Dinner we drove home. We just got in and it is 8pm. Tomorrow will be a very early day for me. Cheryl and I
will pick Darlene up at her hotel at 7:30 and drive to the Fox 2 news room for a live interview at 8:15. At 9am we will
gather at the Arch where Channel 5 news will be there for a live interview. Also the St. Louis Post Dispatch will be
there for an interview. Then at 10am, I will be underway.
It is hard to explain how I feel at this point. I am feeling anxious and homesick at the same time. Cheryl has been so
supportive of me for the last 4 months and I will truly miss being close to her, holding hands, talking together and all
the little things that make her so special to me. But just like going to basic training or boot camp, I get a certain kind
of pumped up feeling knowing full well that I am about to endure some very rough times. I guess at this point I can
say the hardest part of leaving is saying goodbye. I know Cheryl will be feeling the same as me and if she gets wet
eyes, well.....I can only say I hope the cameras won't be on me. I am trying to put to words how I feel right now. I
guess there are no words, only an unexplainable sensation that starts in my stomach and trembles silently up my
body and escapes through my tear glands. No one can see me. No one is laughing at my sensitivity. No one is
sitting here at my computer but me. Cheryl is in the other room on the phone with family. In a few moments I will be
completely reserved to my wife, this valentines day. I will spend the rest of the evening showing her how I love and
appreciate her so much. Even though my missing her has already began, I know that being apart is only going to
add to the years we will be together. The end result is what I shall stay focused on. I have just shared with you
some very private feelings. I will always try to let you know how I am doing physically and emotionally.
I will be posting more pictures of the departure and update my journal again tomorrow. I want to share as many
pictures and as much information with everyone that I can. So until tomorrow, good night everyone. Gary, "Keep
Journal entry, 2-15-06
This is a video from Channel 4 of my departure.
I arrived at the Fox 2 news station at 7:55am. At 8:05am they took me into the news room. I did a live interview for
about 15 minutes. Then I left and went to the Arch. Channel 4, Channel 5, Fox 2 news and the St. Louis Post
Dispatch reporters were waiting for me. I did interviews for about 45 minutes, then shortly after 10am I hugged and
kissed my wife, walked under the Arch, turned around and waved and started my walk that will take me about 1 year
to complete. As I walked toward the Eads bridge, the reporters walked along with me for a while. Then as i got on
the bridge I looked back and everyone was still there waving me on. I walked for two hours in my new arch supports
then took them out. I have to get used to them before I can walk with them on all the time.
Along the route many people started waving as they passed. One store owner saw me walk by and came driving
after me and offered me cold water or ice. I had plenty of water so I thanked him and said I didn't need any right
then. About two hours later his wife drove up to me and offered again. This time I took the water and thanked her.
It seemed that everyone knew about what I was doing and they wanted to help or just give me moral support. I am
truly honored to meet such nice people in East St. Louis, Illinois.
I walked about 10 miles today. I will start again in the morning and will try and make Troy, Illinois. So far I am doing
just fine. I know the walking I have done to warm up is paying off. Because of all the media attention today, My wife
told me my website drew in the access of 10k hits by 5 this afternoon. I received 100's of emails. I will answer them
as I can. I want to thank every one that wrote such nice emails.
I will have to take it day by day as to how much distance I am going to walk. For the first few weeks I will probably
keep it at around 10 miles per day. I can say now the first day is over, I am so happy to finally get started. Keep
looking for my updates. Take care all, Gary, "Keep on Walking!"
Journal entry, 2-16-06
Today started out great. I went into a Speedy Mart to get a flashlight. Their names are Ron Porter and Rochell.
They recognized me from the Newspaper article. They gave me bottled water and the flashlight just to help me
out. It really is great to meet such nice people. I will visit them again when this walk is over.
I also met Romeo Davis and Kiwan Guyton, two great guys that worked as Detectives for the Centreville, Illinois
Police Department. They recognized me and just wanted to find out more about my quest. They were really two
nice guys and it was great that they took the time to come out and talk with me.
Also today the St. Louis Post Dispatch did an outstanding article about my walk. I want to thank Tim the reporter
and Robert the photographer for taking the time to do such a great job.
St Louis Channel 4 called today and asked if they could do a live update Saturday over the phone. I told them no
problem. At about 11 am today some radio guy named "The Bull" called and ask if he could do a live telephone
interview. I told him it would be okay. He told me to stand by the phone and he would call back in 10 minutes, but
he never did. I don't know what happened. Maybe a lost signal or something. Anyway, that is about it for the
press. You can check out this for a live video clip: (must type this into your search engine)
About my walk, I started at 10 am and walked about 10 miles today. I am on Hwy 50 going east. I will pick up Hwy
40 tomorrow and stay on it for some time. I stopped by a country church at 12:30 because it had a picnic table
under an overhang. I thought it was a great place to stop and rest, drink and eat something. I laid back and used
my sleeping bag as a pillow and dozed off for an hour. It was great. I haven't done anything like that in years. It
was so peaceful and quiet. It was not cold at all. I even took my shoes off and boy did that feel good. At about 1:
45 I continued on.
At 3:30 I noticed a big thunderstorm brewing from the west. I wondered if I should pitch my tent or keep walking until
I found cover. I did find cover in Caseyville, Ill. I went into a Taco Bell and waited out the storm. It hailed pretty
good so I am glad I got inside.
I am feeling strong and am having little trouble. When I first start walking my back pack feels like it is 100 lbs. But it
is only 50 lbs. After about an hour it feels lighter. Go figure, it seems it should be the other way around. Well, it is
getting late and I am going to go to bed. Take care everyone, Gary, "Keep on Walking, one foot in front of the
Rochell, me and Ron Porter,
Tiffany on right,
Christy on left,
Both are sisters
and my neices