February, Page 3
I then met Warren Barty, Jack & Ruth Wise all from Lebanon. We talked for a while and they were great. Warren
Barty is a Realtor/Broker. Thank you guys for the warm talk we had. The picture I took of you guys got deleted, sorry
After I got my equipment I ran into David Long who is a 2nd cousin of mine and Melanie Jackson both of Fenton, Mo.
David gave me a water bladder that will come in handy. They wished me well and were very eager to follow my journal
to see how I progress losing weight. Here they are. They were very friendly and I appreciate them coming to see me.
Now the day is over I can't wait until in the morning to try out my new equipment. I am really enjoying walking and
meeting people I know I have a very long way to go but now I am looking forward to it. Everything I have done up to
this date has really helped me. I look so forward to seeing everyone and saying Hi. So anyone see me, just hollar
howdy. For the next couple of days I will be staying in the wilderness away from towns. Everyone take care, good
night, and may God Bless you. Gary Long, "Keep on Walking, one foot in front of the other."
Journal entry, 2-23-06
I get a lot of emails that ask me how much weight I have lost. The problem is I simply can not find a scales that will
weigh me. Nearly all scales go up to 280 lbs. A few go up to 330. In St. Louis last year I found a scale in a factory
that weighed material that they shipped. I weighed 380 lbs then. After walking over two months getting ready for this
walk I am guessing I have lost maybe 25-30 lbs. I figure I weigh around 350 now. As soon as I can find scales that will
weigh me, I will post my weight on my journal. My personal scale at my home only goes up to 338. They are digital.
When I try to weigh on it, it only reads error. So I will try to find a scale for you guys to know exactly what I do weigh.
I have changed my route. Yesterday I received a call from Terri Marcum in Salem who is a Gym Teacher. She asked
me if I could come through there and some of her students walk 5 miles with me. I thought that was a very nice thing
to do so I am still on Hwy 50 going east. Terri said it is much better road anyway. From Salem I will head northeast to
Effingham and pick up Hwy 40 from there.
I would like to say that so far I find the people of Illinois to be so friendly. Everyone is so supportive and it is a real
pleasure to meet them. I consider everyone that I write about in my journal a new friend, and I will have a lot to say
about that in the book I will write about my experiences walking across America.
The emails I receive from all over the world really wish me well from their hearts. It means a lot to me that there are so
many people that would love to walk but can't for one reason or the other. I feel their sorrow and I plan to talk alot
about this through out my walk. First I would like to say that I feel regardless of conditions, medications, exercise or
work, weight loss is primarily summed up in a simple mathematical equation. If you intake more calories then you
burn, you will gain weight. If you take in the same amount of calories that you burn you will stay about the same
weight. If you burn more calories then you intake, you will lose. It is that simple. I am not a Doctor or a philosopher,
only an Ex Drill Sergeant that had the responsibility to slim down and build up young people coming into the Army. I
am simply now doing what I know will work for me to lose weight. I am burning more calories than I intake. As I walk I
find myself not as hungry and I am eating less and burning more. I know there are a lot of folks that will say that the
medication they are on will not allow them to lose weight. Believe me, I was there. But if you really believe that you
are stuck in this mode, then I wish you a happy fat life. Your way of thinking will probably keep you in the condition
you are in. But I would recommend that you listen to a nutritionist. They are really good knowledgeable people that
will not stir you wrong. Enough about that for now.
I have posted a new map on my calender event page. It will show where I am and I will keep it updated when the
Journal gets updated. I also posted a list of contributors on my "contact me" page for everyone that gave me a bible
or tote bag, or actually contributed something regardless of how small the contribution. I will have a very special
chapter for them. All my thanks go out to those who have helped me, especially my sponsors.
Take care all, Gary, "Keep on Walking, one foot in front of the other."
Journal entry, 2-24-06
Today I walked from Lebanon to Trenton Illinois. About 1/2 way Terri Marcum and her son Bradley from Salem, Ill.
stopped to talk. They were returning from a trip to the St. Louis hospital. Her son Bradley had a broken leg and had
an appointment in St. Louis. Terri is a real go getter. She is putting together the walk I will be doing in Salem with her
Gym Class. I am really looking forward to this because of the opportunity to speak with everyone about obesity in
Just before dark I found a spot in a field just outside of Summerfield. I pitched my tent and got all snug inside. The new
tent is very light weight and very effective. The weather remained nice until around 3 am. The temperature dropped
and the wind started blowing. I stayed awake until 7:30 am because of the wind. I did get enough sleep and stayed
warm though. I listened to the radio and thought of my long journey. I thought about my wife Cheryl and the sacrifice
she is making. When my journey is done I will make it up to her.
As I lay in my sleeping bag I think another day gone with miles behind me and a smile appears on my face as I realize I
have also lost a little weight. Good night all.
Take care all, Gary, "Keep on Walking, one foot in front of the other."
Journal entry, 2-25-06
I stayed in my tent this morning until 8am hoping the wind would calm down. It didn't so I got up and took the tent
down and packed things away in the freezing wind. Once I got going it took no time at all to warm up.
I stopped in Trenton at the Trenton House, which is a very nice restaurant. The owner Todd Rutz offered me a hot
meal. I was very grateful to eat something hot.
A few people there recognized me and came over to talk. Here are some of their pictures.
I will be looking forward to visiting there again. The biggest thing I have noticed is that Illinois has some very nice all
American towns. I always thought of Illinois as being Chicago with a lot of open space. But when you get into that
open space, you meet some of the nicest people and beautiful towns.
The waitress's name is Liz Marsh. She was very nice and gave me her phone number saying that if I needed blankets
or something to help stay warm she and her church would be more than happy to help. Her father is the Pastor of
Grace Community Church in Trenton. Thank you Liz!
I continued on and set up camp a couple of miles before entering Aviston. I set my tent up on a slight slope. That
ended up being a mistake. I kept sliding down my sleeping pad and constantly had to push myself back up. I won't
make this mistake again. There was also a small mound of dirt under my tent which ended up in the middle of my
back all night long. I will certainly scout out a better place next time to pitch my tent.
Sleeping on the ground is a very hard thing to do. You toss and turn all night and are lucky to sleep more than 1 hour
at a time. It really takes a toll on your back and legs. At around midnight I tried to push myself back up the hill that I
kept sliding down and got a leg cramp in each leg. So picture this, I was crunched into the bottom of my tent, already
aching all over, then my legs get this bad cramp. I could do nothing but lay there in total agony. If there had been
anyone around for about a mile, they would have thought they heard Bigfoot scream. In case anyone did hear
something in the middle of the night, don't worry. It was only me. Take care all, Gary, "Keep on Walking, one foot in
front of the other."
Journal entry, 2-26-06
I started walking today around 9 am. It was cold at first but the sun came out and I ended up removing my jacket at
around 10 am. When you weigh 350 lbs and carry 55 lbs on your back, you warm up fast.
When I walked into Aviston, a lady named Angie Reilmann came out of her house and asked me if I was Gary Long,
the guy walking to New York. She was very excited when I told her I was.
She wanted to take my picture and then we talked for a while. As I continued walking, She called some friends and
they drove down to find me and invite me to a chicken dinner given by the Knights of Columbus in Breese. I told them
I would be glad to come but it would take a couple of hours before I could get there.
David Long & Melanie Jackson
Of Fenton, Mo.
Terri Marcum and her
son Bradley. They are
from Salem, Illinois
Todd Rutz, owner of
the Trenton House.
Jason Hesman, Capri Higgins,
& Jasons's Mother Ellie. They
just returned from taking the
"Polar Plunge" at Carlyle lake.
(An annual event)
Sisters, Kayla &
Kim Emig from
Sisters, Kassie &
Corrie Huff, New
Liz Marsh (Waitress)
and Alex Burns