Journal entry, 11-2-06
Today I walked through Elk City, Ok. On the way out of town I noticed several motels and I got the idea to stop
and see if one of them would allow me to use my laptop from their lobby. I chose the Motel 6 because they were
the closest to me. I walked in and the receptionist was nice and friendly and allowed me to use their lobby.
Before my laptop had a chance to finish booting up, the owner came up to me and asked me if I had a room. I told
her who I was and explained that the receptionist allowed me to use their lobby. To my surprise the owner stated
in a very rude way that the receptionist was new and that I had to leave their property. I asked her if I could pay
her for using her lobby and she said no and insisted that I leave.
I left and walked over to the Ambassador Motel and they were gracious and allowed me to use my laptop and sit in
their cafe and have coffee while doing so. I didn't even have to explain who I was or what I was doing. It is so nice
to meet friendly folks along the way, especially after running into rude people.
I guess what makes me sad about the Motel 6 situation is that while I was in the Army for 21 years, I used Motel 6
exclusively. Sometimes I would spend up to 3 weeks at a time in them. I know the lady at this particular Motel 6
had no way of knowing that. But she could have been a little nicer while throwing me out.
My reason for writing about this experience is to let folks following my journey know about the good and the bad I
experience while out here on the road. I also like bringing attention to those nice folks that go out of their way to
help others. Gary, "Keep on Walking, one foot in front of the other."
Journal entry, 11-6-06
Today I start walking alone again. Dr. Judi and Mary will join me at the Arch when I arrive in St. Louis. I am
planning on being there by Christmas at the earliest or Feb. 14th at the latest. It will depend on the weather.
I still do not have a verizon signal yet, so I can't upload the pictures I have taken over the last week or so. I will get
them uploaded when I can. I have a signal but it is extended area. It must be a verizon signal for the photo
sending capability to work.
I will be alone again throughout the remainder of this trip. I will be walking much the way I did out east. I will be
staying in my tent most nights and I will not be able to walk some days depending on the weather.
I am very sad to not be with Mary and Judi anymore. They have become a part of me over the last 3 months. I
shall miss them dearly. But I must go on. I have to walk under the arch and doing so without losing all the weight I
need to lose is not an option. I am not worried about that. I will lose rest of the weight. I don't have much to lose.
I have 500 miles left to walk, I am sure that is plenty of distance to lose the rest of the weight.
I am so used to staying in my tent and living out here on the road, my hardest task will be adjusting to being home
again. How does one go back to a normal life after living out here for nearly a year. How do I adapt to being
skinny and healthy again. Cheryl said she gave all my cloths to good will. It feels like I am living the life of a fairy
tale. Because of my health problems, I did not think I would survive out here, let alone losing the weight. You
might say that I came out here to die. When I left St. Louis, I told Cheryl that the chances were very high that I
would die out here of heart failure. She knew the risk, but we both felt I had to try. We knew that if I did not do
something about this weight, I would not have lived much longer. So the choice to do this walk, even though
extremely risky, we both agreed it was perhaps the best choice to try and prolong my life and lose the weight.
Now I am healthy, lost a ton of weight and have so many things to live for. It makes me cry thinking about
everything I have been through. When I am walking along the road, most folks think I am a bum and wonder why I
don't get a job or something. When I tell most folks what I am doing, they think I am crazy or something. But there
are so many folks out there that really understand and give me emotional support that helps me from day to day. I
really rely on these people. They have become such an important part of my life. That is why I will go over this
journal and fill in all the missing stories. It may take me a few months when I am done walking, but I want to get the
story out. There will be no book or movie. I want to give the whole story for free through this journal. I owe that to
everyone I have met out here. This walk was about losing weight, improving my health and bringing National
Attention to the obesity problem in our country or perhaps the whole world. I have almost completed that mission.
I never had any intention of doing this as a ploy to make a name for myself, or to have any financial gain from it.
When you think you are about to die from obesity, those things really don't enter your mind. You only want to do
something good for society before you die. My reward is not fame, financial gain or recognition as a hero, but it is
an extended life. This is of more value than any of the other things. To be around for my family and watching all
the little one grow up and get married is reward enough for me.
I will try and update this journal as often as I can and tell all the stories about my day to day activities. So take
care all, Gary, "Keep on Walking, one foot in front of the other."
Journal entry, 11-10-06
Today I am in Chandler, Ok. Three nights ago I stayed at a Bed and Breakfast called the "Hillbilly Inn." It was
located in Arcadia, Ok. I was intrigued by the original buildings that were built back in the days of the wild west. I
stayed in the Doc Holiday room that was even furnished with a dentist chair that was in great shape to be so old.
The decor of the room really took me back to what the room could have looked like a hundred years ago.
The owners were so nice, we sat and talked for about an hour. They invited me into their home for a home
cooked meal, which I hated to turn down, but I had to. My experience there was very energizing after walking all
Night before last I camped about 14 miles east of Arcadia in a small remote section of woods. I am grateful for the
cooler weather because of a less chance of getting ticks or chiggers. It was about 2 am when I was suddenly
awaken by a lot of loud shrieking. I knew instantly that there were several coyotes around my tent. It sounded like
there were maybe 10 or 20 of them. I reflected back on my Army days and remembered that coyotes normally
don't bother humans. Kinda like when I had the bear encounter, all training and logical thinking goes out the
window when you are actually confronted with something like this. So fear kinda took over and I lay motionless in
my tent for what seemed to be hours. Finally they wondered off into the distance and I felt safe again. Not once
did any of them attempt to get into the tent. I thanked God for keeping me safe once again.
Journal entry, 10-11-06
Today I met a guy named Romeyn Ninness. He owns Flex-Ablility Concepts out of Oklahoma City. He gave me a
ride over to the Motel where I spent the night.
Before we went to the Motel, Romeyn took me to his house and I met his wife Patsy. We had a wonderful time and
I told them all about my journey. I have added them to my new friend list as someone that I will visit again with
Cheryl when we come back through.
Today I plan on downsizing my load to about 40 lbs. I am currently carrying 65 lbs. I am going to the local post
office and send my heater, long johns, coat and extra underwear home to Cheryl. The weight is costing me
distance and I really would like to be home by Christmas. I figure if I just made 12 miles a day I can make it by then
I have some wonderful pictures to post, but once again, I don't have a verizon signal. I may have to wait until
Missouri before I can post the pictures. The Pictures I posted above were not taken with my cell phone. I have a
different camera that I can now download to my computer without going through verizon. All future pictures will be
taken with my new camera.
I am so excited about being on the final stretch of this journey. I am quietly walking home. No one has recognized
me for some time. It is kinda nice not stopping for interviews all the time. I know that it's very important that folks
hear about my journey because there are so many obese and sick folks that may be inspired by my story,
therefore I will continue doing interviews when the opportunity arises. I still introduce the fast-5 life style to all
obese people I come into contact with. I know it will save many lives. Take care all, Gary, "Keep on Walking, one
foot in front of the other."
Journal entry, 11-12-06
Hi folks. I am trying something new here. I am going to attempt to add video clips to my journal. This is the first
one I've made. I hope you have no problem downloading and watching it. Let me know if you are having any
problems with it, it will determine how long and how many videos I will make. Just click on to play.
Romeyn & Patsy Ninness,
of Davenport, Ok
with Daughter Kristel
Me in front of the Historic
Davenport Cobblestone street