Journal entry, 1-19-06
I spent the day going over plans and getting ready to go. I am getting more and more excited as I
prepare. I talked with my family about my plans and everything seems to be going as smooth. My
departure day is still set for 2-15-05. I am going to leave for sure on that day regardless of weather. I
simply want to get started. I will update my journal as often as I can.
I want to assure everyone that I am really going to do this and I have never been more serious about
anything in my life. I really don't know what awaits me out there, but I have to do this. When I think of
the long hours, sore feet, aches and cramps and all the other ailments that are associated with this type
of ordeal, I am still steadfast in my resolve. I really look forward to meeting all the people out there. I
also expect to do some soul searching and hopefully learn how to stay healthy and thin.
I do not want to mock other people in my condition. I know weight loss and control can be very hard to
deal with, and every heavy person has their own demons to fight. I feel that I am at the bottom of my
rope and I just can't go on anymore without losing weight.
Journal entry, 1-2406
I will be leaving at 10 am on the 15th from the front of the Arch in St. Louis, Mo. There are several
media people that will be there to see me off. All my friends and family will be there as well. I am
continuing to walk everyday building up to the day of departure. I will be posting several pictures of the
event shortly after the 15th. I can imagine how Steve felt when he was getting ready to go. I will be
updating my journal more often now as the departure day gets nearer.
I want to thank everyone that has taken the time to email me and give me moral support. I am humbled
by the kindness that most of you have for me and my wife.
Journal entry, 1-30-06
I have been in contact with Foot-efx and they have agreed to supply me with walking shoes and arch
supports throughout my entire walk. Darlene, a representative will fly to St. Louis from Florida to fit me
with my shoes and arch supports in a few days. They will be re-supplying me with shoes and inserts as I
need them. I would like to thank Ed, Darlene and Steve (CEO) of Foot-efx for their kindness,
generosity and graciousness. With out their support my walk across America would be extremely
difficult because of my weight, I simply must have good shoes and inserts. I will keep everyone updated
on my walking shoes and how my feet will endure them.
I am doing several local radio interviews and a local television interview in the upcoming week. I have
been in contact with a national news agency as well. I I want to help focus attention on obesity in
America. I have a lot to say about that subject and you will receive bits and pieces of it throughout my
I talked with my Father yesterday about my walk. He is 84 years old and is a resident at a nursing home
only 5 minutes from where I live. He has only been there since November last year. I see him almost
everyday and I thought it would be hard on him to tell him I would not be seeing him everyday for a
while. He simply smiled and said he was proud of me and he understood that I must lose weight. This
means a lot to me and eases my mind a lot.
On the other side, My mother thinks that I have gone over the deep end. She jokingly made that
statement when I told her what I was going to do. The rest of my family are very supportive and most of
them have expressed interest in walking some of the journey with me. I must ad, none of my siblings are
heavy like me. I told them all it would be great.
I would also like to invite anyone in the entire country to come walk with me if they would like. It would be
nice having company.
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 "Aertrix j686." 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 him.
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 you on.
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
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 on Walking!"
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Tiffany on right,
with a friend