Journal entry, 7-1-06
I have some great news. I now have a laptop computer donated by Dr. Judi Herring and her husband Dr. Bert
Herring, both from Florida. I will share a lot about Judi and her husband Bert in the very near future. They both
are dedicating their lives to helping Obese people to lose weight. Their website is: I am so
excited about what they are doing. I highly recommend visiting their website or call them at: 904-685-5117, or
The laptop is a wireless AMA Turion 64. I don't have an ISP yet, so I can only get on line from a Motel or anyone
offering free wireless access. I have a lot of Journal to catch up on and it will take me a few weeks. I can assure
you I have some very interesting stories to write about.
I am currently in Lancaster, Pa. It was very rough coming across the mountains. I am so happy to be out of bear
country; But then the rains came. I thought I would drown on more than one occasion. There was a lot of flooding
to say the least. But I am safe and dry now. I have carried about 60 lbs with me on this entire trip. I have decided
that I am carrying only what I need and will more than likely carry the same weight throughout this journey.
It may take me a few weeks to get my journal updated with all the pictures I have taken. I plan to be in NYC on or
about the 21st of July. I will keep everyone posted on when I will be on David Letterman.
I will be weighing very soon. I think I am down to 305 lbs.
I also want to thank all the wonderful people I have met along the way. I will soon get it all posted on my journal
about all these super nice folks.
Take care all, and remember to "Keep on Walking, one foot in front of the other." Gary
Journal update, 7-02-06
I will start making regular updates in my journal. I will update the previous months as I can get to them.
Cheryl works with a young lady named Amanda that has an Aunt and Uncle close to Lancaster, Pa. I called them
and they invited me to go to their church with them. It is a Menonite Church about 30 miles away from Lancaster.
They came and picked me up and after church they took me to lunch. We talked for about an hour and they had
to go. It was a very nice church and I met a lot of wonderful folks. After lunch I took their picture and they left. We
had a wonderful time and I am so happy that they took me to church with them. The experience going to a
Menonite Church was wonderful. I took their picture to post on my website but it didn't come out and I lost it.
After they left I met a couple of guys named Joey Hanna and Mike Goodman that were sitting at a nearby table.
They overheard some of our conversation so I spent another 30 minutes talking with them.
After lunch I started walking again. It was very hot, but slowly I am getting used to the heat. About 8 miles out of
Lancaster my back pack broke again. It had broke once before but this time it did not need to take it anywhere for
repairs. I was able to fix it myself. I think the heavy weight is almost too much. It was about 5:30 pm when a storm
started to come. I found a nice place to pitch my tent if I would need to. After about 1 hour the storm passed and I
didn't get a drop on me. It was raining to the south and barely missed me.
I am following hwy 30 east. The Amish are really present along this route. Many horse drawn wagons pass me.
As I continued to walk I found a nice motel that was pretty reasonable and I checked in. It gave me the opportunity
to get on line with my new computer. I am getting very used to this new laptop. It is only 4.5 lbs and real compact.
It is the smallest laptop I have ever seen.
Journal entry, 7-3-06
Today I started walking at around 9 am. I walked about 10 miles or so in the heat. It was in the mid 90's today. As
I neared Gap, Pa. I noticed a campsite on the left side of the road. I pondered if I should camp there or go on. I
decided that it was still early afternoon and I could get another 5 miles or so in. I didn't get 100 yards past the
campground and I noticed a family standing in their front yard. As I was walking by I told them that I was walking
across America. We started talking and right away I noticed how nice they were. Their names are Rick and
Richelle Petersheim. They invited me to stay in their downstairs area which was fixed up very nice.
They fed me dinner and we had a wonderful time. The next day I spent much of the time playing Hide and Seek
with their girls. Then we all went to the park in Lititz, Pa. to see the fireworks display that they put on every year.
It was a very wonderful experience and I got to meet some of their close friends. I regret that I did not get the
pictures of these nice friends. They are Rick and Linda Leboone and their daughter Deborah. Deborah and her
friend Don did all the food preparation. Later I was invited to come up on stage and share my journey with the
crowd of about 10 thousand. I shared with every one about some of my experiences and why I was walking. I had
a very warm welcome.
Later during just before the fireworks started I met another friend of Rick and Richelle's. His name is Tom
Reading. He is a pilot and invited me out to see his plane the next day.
About 10 minutes into the fireworks it started raining. Everyone started heading for their cars. I was afraid that my
cell phone would get wet again. But we all made it safe to the car and got to their home at around 11pm. I took a
shower and went to bed.
I want to thank Rick and Richelle for their warm hospitality. I was thinking that it would be a lonely 4th of July for me
but they changed that. I had the most wonderful time and they are truly like family now. I can never forget them
and their family and friends. I will be so happy to visit them again when my journey is all over.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I will be updating my journal as often as I can. I have lost a total of 75
lbs and am feeling stronger every day. Take care all, "Keep on Walking, One foot in front of the other." Gary
Journal entry, 7-5-06
Today I woke up at 6:15 am to say good-bye to Rick, as he had to go to work. Tom Reading showed up to take me
to see his plane at about 7 am. We had a wonderful time and afterword he took me to breakfast. We agreed that
next time I come he would take me up in the plane he built.
I talked with Cheryl this morning and she said the family had a wonderful 4th of July. My wifes brother Kenny shot
off all the fireworks this year. I have assumed that task for the last few years. Next year I will be glad to do it
again. I really missed my family on the 4th, but thanks to Rick and his family and friends, I felt welcome and like
family. Today it is still raining and I am hoping that it will stop soon so WI can get on the road again. I want to
thank everyone again for making my holiday so great.
It rained all morning so I decided to use the morning to make these journal updates. It was about 1 pm when I got
started on the road. I walked into Gap, Pa and went to Wal Mart to buy some new socks. After that I continued on
to Parkesburg, Pa. I stopped at the Keystone Motel/Bar/Resturaunt and had a sandwich. I was invited by a couple
that lived there to set up my tent in their yard for the night. I didn't really want to do that because I still had a
couple of hours before dark. But because of their insistence, I decided to stay. As I was sitting up my tent the
owner named Linda saw me and came over and said I could not pitch my tent there because it would be
dangerous. She allowed me to pitch it behind her house where it was more safe.
When I finally got into my tent I found a couple of ticks on me. I am noticing that Eastern Pa has a lot of ticks. I
removed them and called Cheryl. It was so nice to hear her voice. I am missing her more and more each day. We
talked for a while and said good night.
It started raining so I had to close the flaps on my tent. It gets very hot inside the tent with no air when the flaps
are closed. In spite of the discomfort, I was able to go to sleep. Good night all, Gary, "Keep on Walking, one foot
in front of the other."
Journal entry, 7-6-06
I woke up at 5 am and it was still raining. I dozed back off and when I woke up at 6 am it stopped. I decided to stay
in the tent and see if the sun would come out so the tent would dry out. At about 7 am my friend Rick Petersheim
showed up. I had told him the evening before on the phone where I was. I got up and went into the resturaunt with
Rick and met the owner Rodger Wenk. It was his wife Linda that had me set the tent up behind the house.
Rodger was excited to meet me and I liked him right away. He owns the house that Jim Crocie owned before he
died. He shared with me some interesting history about the house. Rodger and Linda bought the Keystone Motel
and made it into a nice respectful place. Rodger bought me breakfast and really surprised me by giving me 60
dollars. I didn't want to take it but he insisted on helping me out. I don't like accepting money from folks unless I
really need it. There has been a few times when I needed a little help and it seems that God always sends
someone in my path to help me out. Rodger said they were Menonites and they were glad to help me. I will look
forward to seeing them again. After breakfast I went out and took my tent down and hit the road.
The rain stayed away but the sun came out and got fairly warm. I made it to Coatsville, Pa. It seemed to take
forever to get through that town. It was late evening and I found a real nice secluded area and pitched my tent
right at dusk. Once again, I had a couple of ticks. I hope I don't get lime decease. It was a little cooler because I
was able to keep my flaps open on the tent. Once again I called Cheryl and we talked about her day. She had
worked late and was very tired. After I talked with her I reflected on how much I love her. She works so hard and
tries her very best to keep me motivated. In the beginning the walk was the hardest thing I had to do. Now it is
being away from her that is far harder than the walk. As I lay in my tent growing sleepy, I ponder the notion of
speeding up my journey so I can get home sooner. But that day seems so far away. I will pray that it goes by fast.
Good night all, Gary. "Keep on Walking, one foot in front of the other."
Tyler Gerz, Rick
Petersheim, C.J. Gerz
From left, Kaitlyn,
Richelle, Savanna &
Tom Reading in
the cockpit of the
plane he built.
Rodger Wenk, owner
of the Keystone Motel
in Parkesburg, Pa.