March, Page 3
JOURNAL ENTRY 3-20-06
This morning I woke up at 5:00 a.m. I could not believe that I slept so comfortable on my new air mat. My legs didnt
hurt or anything.
I walked the short distance to McDonalds and went in to charge my cell phone. I ordered a sausage bisquit and a cup
of Decaf coffee. A very nice man named Willard D. Gray noticed my backpack and asked where I was going. After
explaining to him about my journey, He asked if he could join me at my table so we could talk. He told me he was
retired from the Army as a Sergeant Major. Because of us both being retired from the Army I was very happy to talk
with him. Willard is a big man at 6' 2". He told me he had not gained or lost more than 10 lbs since he got out of the
Army in 1964. What makes that even more interesting is that he is 83 years old. I thought he was only about 70. As
we talked I found his Military experience very interesting. After talking for about an hour and getting to know one
another, he gave me a hard back copy of a book he had written. The name of the book is "End of a Silence." He
signed the book for me and I will look forward to reading it. He has just finished his second book called "Home Front:
Viet Nam and Families at War". It is currently being published.
As we talked Willard informed me that Olney is the home of the White Squirrel. I did not see one while passing
through, but I did take a picture of a postcard that had one on it. Willard has a deep stern voice that makes you think
that maybe he was or is in Television or Radio as an anchor person.
After a while one of Willard's friends came in. His name is Stan Novak. I found Stan equally interesting. He is an artist
and designer. It was great talking with them and they are now on my new friend's list.
Willard then called a reporter that soon arrived to interview me. His name is Kevin Ryden with the Daily Mail in Olney.
I also met and talked with Lonnie Perryman and Ester Jones. They were from Olney and it was great talking with them.
Then I met John and Linda Stoll also of Olney. They are bikers and have traveled the whole country. Then I met
Steven O'Brien from Newton, Illinois. He over heard me talking and came over and invited me to visit his Church if I
ever get up there. Dan Grove, the manager of McDonalds came over and gave me $20.00 worth of gift certificates
good at any McDonalds. I really enjoyed talking with these folks.
At 11A.M. I walked a couple blocks to the local Hospital and had a physical done. I wanted to know how I was doing
after walking this far. The Doctor said I was doing just fine. It was 7 pm when I got out of the hospital.
As I left the Hospital I walked to the edge of town and found a nice grassy wooded area to camp. After putting my tent
up I crawled inside and blew up the new air mattress. It was about 8 pm when I got inside my sleeping bag. I checked
my cell phone and I had a very weak signal, but I was able to call my wife Cheryl. She informed me that a film crew
from 60 minutes from Australia was wanting to come over and interview her and then come out to where I will be and
interview me. They are coming over next Friday. I will be well into Indiana by then. I look at it as one more way to
bring Obesity to the Attention of Everyone, so I welcome their interview.
Soon after talking with Cheryl it started raining. I am so grateful for the tent and sleeping bag that REI donated to me.
I am snug and dry. The thought of what I am doing and losing weight dominated my thoughts until I got sleepy. So,
Good night everyone, Take care, Gary Long, "Keep on Walking, one foot in front of the other."
Journal entry, 3-21-06
Today I woke up with about 2 inches of snow on my tent. I slept very warm and comfortable even with the snow. I got
up at about daylight. I left the tent and walked into town. I noticed the roads were very Icy. I decided to not walk today
because of the danger of walking on ice. So I went to the library and spent the day.
At 7 pm I left the library and headed back toward my tent. I stopped at a motel at the edge of town and asked if they
could give me a discount. They agreed and only charged me half of the regular price. I was needing a shower and
the thought of a nice dry bed to sleep in was enticing. After checking into my room I went to retrieve my tent and gear.
There was ice on my tent liner and it was frozen. I could not shake it off. I carried it back to my room and hung it over
the shower to let it melt. Then I went to a Pizza Hut next door because they had a nice salad bar. I met two very nice
waitresses and they were awestruck that I was walking across the country. They are Fran Fore and Dana Cooper.
Fran did not want her picture taken. I think she was a little shy.
After that I went across the street to Caseys store and met three nice guys. They really wanted to know a lot about
my journey. They are best friends.
Then I went back to my room and took a hot shower. It took about 15 minutes to jot this journal entry down. Now I am
finished and will sign off. Good night all, take care, Gary, "Keep on Walking, one foot in front of the other."
Journal entry, 3-22-06
This morning at 6 am I received a call from Willard Gray, the guy that gave me his book. He was surprised to find out
that I was still in town. He invited me to breakfast and picked me up at around 6:30. We went to McDonalds and I had
my usual decaf coffee and sausage and egg sandwich. Willard dropped me off at the Motel at around 9 am and I was
on the road by 10 am.
As I left town many people stopped to say hello and talk about my journey. I will place their pictures in the order that I
met them. They are all really great people and I appreciate the time they took to stop.
I walked about 13 miles to Sumner, Illinois and it was just after dark when I got there. I found a nice grassy area and
set up camp. Soon I realized that a house nearby had a dog that wanted to bark all night. So I had a pretty rough
night. But in spite of his bark, soon I was sound asleep. Take care all, Gary Long, "Keep on walking, one foot in front
of the other."
Journal entry, 3-23-06
When I woke it was starting to get daylight. I tore down my tent and walked into Sumner and stopped at the Daisey
Diner. I had eggs and sausage and decaf to warm me up. I started writing my journal when a very nice couple asked
me about my journey. Their names are Toby and Marie Thomas of Ingraham, Illinois. Toby told me how he had
always wanted to take a pack and just walk for several days at a time camping out. I hope you can find the time to do
On left, Willard D Gray, A
Retired Sergeant Major, and on
the right is Stan Ryden, an artist
Kevin Ryden with the
Daily Mail in Olney
Steven O'Brien from
Lonnie Perryman and
Ester Jones of Olney
Dan Grove, Asst. Mgr,
McDonalds, Olney, Illinois.
Olney, Illinois, Home
of the white squirrel
Dana Cooper, waitress
and her husband John
On left, Joe A Maxey, Jr
and Thomas Williams
both of Olney
Sorry, I lost your
name, email it to me
David Weiler of Olney
and Brooke Stanley
Sue Ginder and
both of Olney, Il.
Shawn R Ginder, Sr of Olney
Toby and Marie Thomas of