Cross Country Trek


April 11

Easter Sunday, 1982. The start of our walk. We woke up to pouring rain after a night filled with the sounds of a frantic wind storm. The sun came out as we drove to our departure point at the New Windmill in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Several friends and relatives carpooled to the site and walked with us to the conservatory, where we had arranged for an Easter service. The weather was beautiful.

We gathered in a circle and talked about the journey we were about to embark on. Then each of us recited an inspirational saying or story we had picked to share. A woman who was walking by joined us and at the end she recited a beautiful prayer of blessing. We asked her to stay and held hands in silence. She then spontaneously sang a most beautiful hymn. Her presence was a special gift.

After a picnic lunch we said good-bye and began the 3,000 mile journey. I looked back at Cindy, looking young and vulnerable from the distance. She recently married, and discovered she was pregnant shortly before we were to embark on our walk. Now this walk would take me into her third trimester. I’m grateful that my parents are with her but the tightness in my chest is a reminder of the conflict that is pulling me in two directions.

We drove from Golden Gate Park to Berkeley to participate in a vigil. Then we returned to the freeway and walked through Berkeley. A young man named Jim joined us. He also came with us to the Friend’s Meeting House where we received hospitality and dinner. We had walked about 12 miles.

April 12

We started out from the Friend’s House at 8 a.m. We walked up and down hills, surrounded by beautiful scenery, until lunch at noon. An engineer named Carl Anderson walked with us and joined us for lunch. After lunch he accompanied us to Walnut Creek where he caught Bart to get back home. We walked a good 18 miles for the day. I’m not at all tired from the walking but my feet are sore and blistered from starting out from San Francisco in wet socks and shoes from the rain. We slept (with permission) in the parking lot of a church.

April 13

We walked five and a half miles in the morning to a shopping center and spent some time in a health food store. They wanted to give us money. We weren’t accepting money, only asking for others to join us in our prayer for peace, so they offered us trail mix which we gratefully accepted. They also gave Peace Dove badges to John and Jeff. We walked 8 miles in the afternoon to Pittsburgh and had dinner in the library parking lot, next door to the National Guard. We spent the evening in the library then slept at a park in a little building with a protective awning. AZ encountered three men in the park who demanded money and later punched him in the nose. He managed to get away – minus $20. Only AB and I know about it.

April 14

We walked 12 miles in the morning. All of us are tired and sore. We appreciate being able to talk to nice people along the way. It’s windy but otherwise the weather has been good. We walked five miles in the afternoon to a beautiful campground where we were able to get hot showers and wash our hair. We’re all sore and tired and grateful to be clean and warm. The night is cool and we’re sleeping on soft grass under the stars, warm in our sleeping bags with faces invigoratingly cold.

April 15

AZ’s nose and eye are unmistakably bruised by now. No one has mentioned it. We walked nine miles in the morning in the cold and wind. When we arrived at our lunch spot we laid around on mats in the sun. Then we walked another nine miles in the afternoon. The last four miles or so are the hardest – my legs and feet get tired. Noses are burnt from the sun. We slept in an old train yard at the end of Walnut Grove.

April 16

We walked nine and a half miles in the morning, passing mostly dogs and cows. We ate lunch in the parking lot of a shooting range. I’m feeling a little melancholy today. Some hecklers were shouting “Up with nuclear arms.” I’m feeling some distance from the world with no insight into my life purpose. Discomforting, but passing. We walked through a swarm of bees in the afternoon, putting in seventeen and a half miles for the day. The calves of my legs are knotted up and my feet are sore. We slept near a dead end next to the freeway.

April 17

As I sit on a big rock I can look all around at rolling hills and trees and a muddy, rolling brook in front of me. We walked eighteen and a half miles today on sunny, scenic roads. We haven’t been meeting many people, mostly experiencing thoughtful, prayerful days. My legs are better today, not so sore. It was a beautiful night under the stars but lots of mosquitos. I slept inside the pop-up trailer.

April 18

It has been a beautiful walk along dirt roads – crossed many streams at points along the morning route. Lunch was beside the road alongside bawling cattle. We talked to a couple in the afternoon who live in Lake Tahoe and might see us when we get there.

We parked off the road in a convenient little turnout on the road, poison oak growing abundantly around the back side of the trailer. John and Peter and AZ got into it before AB warned them. They all washed off in ice cold water with soap. I have developed a rash of little bumps on my hands but they are painful rather than itching. Could be from the sun. The scenery around me as I write is exquisite. The only sounds are birds, crickets and cars. There is no way to share this. It has to be experienced.

April 19

Today we walked along highways and stopped at a shopping center out of Placerville. The weather has been hot and I burned the back of my legs in the sun. I bought a tank top and so did AB, Jeff, Pete and John. We walked through Placerville and stopped in a book store and a surplus store. We handed out pamphlets to clerks. We met a man named Jim on the street who told us the local paper had printed out a news release, and that we’re not due to be here until tomorrow. We got a day ahead hoping to have an extra day in Tahoe.

We stopped at our first post office pick up. We received a letter from Teresa Unger’s mother. Teresa had left home to join us and then changed her mind and returned home. A day later she disappeared and her family was worried, and wanted us to contact them to let them know if Teresa had shown up on our walk. We called and found out she’d contacted her parents to say she was alright and in Nevada. That’s all we know. We also received a letter from Gail Weber in Half Moon Bay, including a post card from Coastsiders For a Nuclear Free Future. Gail said she will send us something – a little surprise – at each post office address.

We slept (with permission) in the parking lot of a Seventh Day Adventist Church in Camino, just outside of Placerville

April 20

We walked about nine miles in the morning and I talked to AB about an idea to have a mobile peace center – something we could travel in, live in, and carry literature, film projectors and slides. Just something to file away as a possibility. It was windy in the morning, a little cooler than the last really hot days. By the end of the day I’m tired and not feeling good. We walked 18 miles.

April 21

It’s all highway walking from here to Lake Tahoe. We’ve each been responsible for certain duties and we rotated today. John and I will be responsible for buying food and cooking, AB and Jeff are site selectors, AZ and Pete are spokesmen. I was able to call Cindy today at morning break – it was so good to hear her voice. We walked 18½ miles today. I enjoyed fixing dinner but I can’t bend over. Whatever I’ve done now, it seems to be focused on my back. I can’t figure out why I’m so out of condition.

April 22

We walked over Echo Summit before lunch and I fell asleep at the lunch stop. We walked into Tahoe in the early afternoon. Shortly after arriving I spoke with a lovely woman who has crippled feet and multiple sclerosis. She is such an inspiration.

We stopped at the DMV on the way to camp and renewed my driver’s license. Today is Randy’s birthday (Cindy’s husband) and I was able to call and talk to both of them. Then I took a most welcome hot shower and spent the evening at the laundromat. AB and I had a crazy night reading books in candlelight inside the trailer. AZ sleeps in the car all the time. Jeff, John and Pete usually sleep in the trailer but slept out last night. It got very cold.

April 23

I woke up freezing in the morning. I expected to have a quiet, lazy day and started out by stopping by the Tahoe Daily Tribune office to let them know we had arrived in town. Pete and I went in and had a lengthy interview with a reporter. Afterwards he took pictures of us walking outside. It should be in Monday’s paper. Friday’s paper (today) printed out a press release in the religious section. Then we had postcards printed up for people to send to Senator Matsunaga in support of his proposal for a Peace Academy.

John and I did a big grocery shopping and spent $129. We all chip in $20 a week for food. We got back in the late afternoon and met our new pilgrim – Kris. She will be helping John and I with food, which seems appropriate. She loves to eat! I went to a casino in the evening with AB to make a phone call and we ran into his step brother, Rob, who was visiting from Colorado. We arranged to meet with him, his ex-wife Tess, step-mother and aunt a little later. Tess was great. We talked for an hour while AB talked with his brother. Tess knows a good friend of mine that I’ve long been out of touch with, Quay. They used to go out together. It was a fun day! I came back to camp so tired. Lots of unexpected happenings.

April 24

We slept outside and it was FREEZING all night. AB and I went for a nice, quiet walk and talked about Jonathon Livingston Seagull. I loved the book and related the story. We walked around the Kent Motel that my family used to own – it was run down but it didn’t look like anything major was wrong, just no upkeep or maintenance. Fences were down from the snow, the pool was dark green, the apartments looked good but needed paint. We got back to camp late and made brownies and did some laundry. Back on the road tomorrow!

April 25

Everyone seemed anxious and glad to be on the road again. We had a great morning – put in just over 12 miles before lunch. Kris kept up with us but rode with the vehicle in the afternoon. I talked with some nice people who stopped on their way past us, on their way to church. I got a signature for our “Support the Peace Academy” proposal list. I talked to Pete about setting up a permanent outreach group to go into towns ahead using the support vehicle to contact churches and possibly colleges. A beautiful day!

I think all of us have been going through a lot of adjustments. Except for the remnants of a cold I’m feeling great. I walked 20.2 miles today with no problem. We found out in the evening that an atom bomb was detonated underground in Nevada today. Such insanity.

April 26

Pete and I drove into Carson City in the morning with the support vehicle to try an approach at outreach. We visited several churches but got no further than receptionists who regarded us with forced politeness. How right Peace was. You’re in a much better position to talk to people when they approach you than when you approach them! We did talk to one young man (who approached us) and seemed to really appreciate our conversation. We also walked to the Carson City newspaper and talked briefly to the city editor. We stopped at a gas station and I took a refreshing sponge bath, then walked to our lunch site. After lunch we walked just past Dayton, where we had a mail pick-up. There was nothing for me and AB. AZ got a post card to all of us from Richard. After dinner AB and I drove back to Carson City to pick up the Lake Tahoe paper that was supposed to have an article on the pilgrimage but it wasn’t there. AB bought a pair of shoes then we stopped for a bowl of frozen yogurt. It was so good we went back and got some to bring back to the group. The days are beautiful – the landscapes, the sky, life itself.

April 27

A quiet, beautiful walk through desert terrain. We walked 20.5 miles today and I feel great. Only the last couple of miles get difficult but I recuperate in a few minutes. The weather is hot. I took a bucket of cold water into the pop-up toilet and sponged off. It felt great. AB got blisters from his new shoes.

April 28

The Nevada sun is hot. The terrain is a little desolate but beautiful. Our contact with people is mostly horn honking and waving now. Many people flash us the peace sign as they drive by. We found a reservoir for our lunch stop, the only place in Nevada probably that was so windy it was cold. I took a quick dip in the water anyway but it was like ice. In the afternoon it grew very cloudy and overcast with strong breezes. Fortunately it was blowing in our direction. We camped at an RV place with luxurious showers. A laundry room too! It was a good break. We’re all beginning to reach that burn-out point. We found a Raley’s supermarket and AB brought me back frozen yogurt and carob chips. That’s what I ate for dinner while everyone else had the meal I fixed. I made mom’s dessert (but unfrozen) and everyone loved it – whole cranberries, pineapple, walnuts and sour cream.

April 29

I started the day off with a nice hot shower. I still have bumps (sun rash?) all over my hands. They start out like painful little blisters and then turn into red spots which don’t seem to go away. We walked 20 miles under cooling cloud cover.

April 30

It was the hottest day yet under a clear sky. I made up a song today to the tune of ‘When Johnny comes marching home’ while I was walking – “We’re walking coast to coast for peace. Hurrah! Hurrah! By the time we reach the eastern shore people will shout ‘We want war no more!’ We’re walking now for peace evermore, peace forever more.”

We stopped by the side of the road for lunch today and the channel 2 news van happened by. The reporter talked to us for more than half an hour and took pictures of AB with his personally made pop-up outhouse, and of all of us walking. I was asked to answer a question on film, which I did. We found out by phone that the article for the Tahoe paper came out on the front page of the religious section. The headline was “Cheryl Brandi and Troops on Trek.” I was chided by AZ for speaking on tape today and not turning things over to our spokesperson, Pete

We parked off the road in the desert and watched air force planes dive and loop and do practice bombing.

May 1

Duties changed today. Now I’m site selector with Pete, AB and Kris are spokespersons and pot scrubbers and AZ, John and Jeff are cooks. A rather off-center day. It will take me some time to get “back” due to my sensitivity to criticism. No one in the group is experienced enough to talk the issues when we face the press and now I’m not supposed to do what I feel competent and useful at. What is more important? Speaking my piece on the issues publicly whenever I can because of the global crisis we face, or give others the experience of speaking publicly even if they don’t touch the issues or speak well? A little of both, I would think. Whatever energy or insight I had has popped for now so I’ll leave it in higher hands.

A real problem – Britain and Argentina are at war and the US is involving itself. Britain’s ships are carrying atomic weapons. The “planet of sorrows” is perpetuating its sorrow. So much immaturity and short-sighted reasoning.

May 2

Being site selector isn’t my favorite job but at least ten days isn’t forever! With Pete directing me today I pulled the car across a ditch. The car made it but the trailer didn’t. It took all of us, once the group arrived, to push us out. We’re in real desert terrain and get covered in dust and grit. Our clothes look dusty all the time. I take a bucket of water into the pop-up toilet to sponge off at the end of each day. It sure felt good tonight! The group went 20.5 miles today. As site selector I probably got in 15 miles at most. A real shower is 2 days away!

May 3

I drove today and found a nice cut-off for a camp site. We walked 20.5 miles. After dinner AB and I drove into town to get gas, water and to look for a grocery store. We bought a little eight page local paper that had a nice article printed from our press release.

May 4

Pete and I drove into Austin after lunch then walked back to meet the group and walk through town together. Austin is a tiny town of mostly bars and two small grocery stores. We all stopped at the post office and picked up our mail. I happily received mail from Mom and Dad, Cindy, Sister Carmeline, my pen pal in France, and Ann and John. Loved it!

We found a campsite high in the mountains, six miles out of town in a beautiful national forest. AB, Pete and I took the car into town after dinner to get water. We also located a place for showers at a small RV park owned by a church. The manager offered free showers for the group tomorrow. AB, Pete and I took ours tonight then went back to a nice fire. It’s cold out way up here!

May 5

I woke up to a vivid dream. In it I was talking to many people, including my family. Some listened and some didn’t. One man was crippled and another was being thoughtlessly cruel to animals. Then I turned into a white dove and touched each one with a wing. They looked up and listened and hearts overflowed with love as people joyously turned to the light. Nice dream metaphor.

I rested today and wrote letters.

May 6

We started a new experiment today – everyone is entitled to one day a week off, rotating in alphabetical order so AB was first. Since only AB, AZ or I drive the car, when one of us takes a day off we become the site selector. AB walked the morning but took the afternoon off so I got to walk. It’s so much nicer to be free to walk. I had left an hour earlier than the others at lunch and reached camp early. AB had warmed some water for me in a plastic bag so I took a nice, warm sponge bath and washed some clothes. This morning at 7am another nuclear bomb was exploded underground in Nevada. We finished breakfast early and sat in silence together. Just before dinner a man named Woody drove up and stopped to find out what we were doing. He was 33, had a beautiful German Shepard rescue dog and worked around Lake Tahoe. He stayed for dinner, spent the night and had breakfast with us in the morning. It was a beautiful visit for us and for him. He left us with several magazines for reading material and will look for us again after visiting his folks in Colorado.

May 7

An ominous sort of day. It was very cold in the morning, cloud-covered and windy. We drove to a small side road for our lunch site and Pete walked back to meet the group. It was my day off so I decided to walk down the side road. There were several cows in the distance that seemed very still. As I got closer I realized they were all dead. I walked back to the main road and found dead cattle in various stages of decay – from bones to newly dead – in both directions. In the distance three men on horses were herding a small group of half-starved cattle out of a rickety corral. AB had heard of a protest by ranchers who say meat prices are down and they are deliberately starving animals and withholding water. This following a morning reading about American foreign policy – billions of dollars in armaments to junta governments that heap brutalities on men, women and children – all to protect business interests. I am sick to my heart, feeling helpless but knowing I am not. I want to turn my back and wash my hands of any responsibility but I know I can’t. When I got back to the car to put lunch out while waiting for the group I discovered no one had bought food. There was nothing to eat. A man saw the sign on the car and pulled over to ask what we were doing. When I told him he offered me money. I thanked him and said we don’t accept money, we only ask for peaceful action and prayers. He looked thoughtful then asked if he could give us a bag full of cheese and apples. So despite the ominous morning lunch came to us from the kindness of a stranger.

May 8

I enjoyed a quiet walk this morning. The elevation is high so the weather is cool for walking. There are a lot of responsive people driving by the last two days, waving and honking horns. One woman stopped today to try and give us money and after hearing our response happily signed our petition. She was a free-lance author whose first novel just came out. It’s called Frontier Dynasty – an historical fiction. We stopped for the day 1.5 miles out of Eureka and I walked into town with AB. We met some nice people in the store. The woman behind the meat counter was so excited to see us. Her 15 year old daughter read about us in the paper and wanted to talk with us. We walked to the only church in town, a Catholic church, to find out when mass was in the morning so Kris and Jeff could attend. The priest was ice cold and very reluctant to open the door.

May 9

We woke up to snow. A freezing day! I drove to the lunch site and walked back to meet the group with small balls of hail blowing against me. While setting up the tent at our night site a farmer and his family drove up and talked with me for quite a while. When the group arrived they brought a woman named Sarah with them. She was in her sixties and had been traveling alone in a van for about 1½ years. She burst into tears when she heard what we were doing. We had a beautiful visit sharing experiences. She stayed for dinner, which is becoming a real gourmet feast each night. John made quiche and steamed vegetables in a cheese sauce. Sarah left us a couple of books and various food offerings. She took our schedule and will try to meet us again along our route.

The farmer came back in the evening with his sixteen year old son and AB and I talked to them outside in the cold until well after dark. Everyone else had bedded down. It took me half the night to thaw out. I slept in all my clothes: 3 pairs of socks, full thermals, sweat suit, shirt and jacket. AB wrapped his bag around me too!

May 10

We woke up to a cold, cloudy day that intermittently snowed and hailed. As site selector I stayed near camp and hardly walked at all. In the afternoon I helped Pete set up the trailer and then I set up the tent for me and AB. Afterwards I walked towards the group thinking to myself what a quiet, uneventful day it seemed. Then along came a truck and the driver threw a full beer can at me. A few minutes later a truck pulled up almost hitting me. The driver was drunker than I’ve ever seen anyone and extremely foul. After leaving me he went off up the road and almost hit Jeff – who smiled and waved at him.

May 11

Duties changed again today and I’m now spokesperson/pot scrubber with AB. AZ is site-selector with Kris, Jeff and John are cooks and Pete has a new job – digging a hole and emptying the toilet waste. We walked over 20 miles, then shuttled into Ely another 20 miles by car to a campground. The reason – we were on top of a summit in snow and wanted to get somewhere warmer. In town AB and I walked to the post office. There was a letter from Ann with one of our petitions all filled out and a newsletter from Coastsiders for a Nuclear Free Future in Half Moon Bay with a note about our pilgrimage. I bought a new pair of shoes at Sprouse Ritz for $9 and walked about 25 miles for the day. I got “home” in time for dinner and afterwards a wonderful hot shower.

May 12

We slept six in the trailer last night and stayed nice and warm. The temperature was below 27 degrees. We got up to a warm bathroom and a hot shower. Heavenly! It was supposed to be a full 20 mile walking day to make up for yesterday’s shuttle, but I don’t suppose anyone walked near that. The weather is cold! AB and I walked a couple of hours in the morning and then came back to the trailer so he could do some repair work. Then we walked into town and did some browsing at a book store, picked up mail – nothing from home yet – and spent the rest of the day at the library. I wrote six letters and am getting caught up on correspondence.

Richard sent us a copy of the Shakertown Pledge from the book, No More Plastic Jesus. It says:

“Recognizing that the earth and the fullness thereof is a gift to cherish, nurture and provide loving stewardship for the earth’s resources, and recognizing that life itself is a gift and a call to responsibility, joy and celebration, I make the following declarations:

  1. I declare myself to be a world citizen.

  2. I commit myself to lead an ecologically sound life. I commit myself to lead a life of creative simplicity and to share my personal wealth with the world’s poor.

  3. I commit myself to join with others in the reshaping of institutions in order to bring about a more just global society in which all people have full access to the needed resources for their physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth.

  4. I commit myself to occupational accountability, and so doing, I will avoid the creation of products which cause harm to others.

  5. I affirm the gift of my body and commit myself to its proper nourishment and physical wellbeing.

  6. I commit myself to examine continually my relations with others and to attempt to relate honestly, morally and lovingly to those around me.

  7. I commit myself to personal renewal through prayer, meditation and study.

  8. I commit myself to responsible participation in a community of faith.

May 13

I got up at 4:30 and went into the bathroom to write letters and take a shower. There was a nice big table and a heater. I felt guilty all the while because the owners of the RV Park come into the bathrooms every night and tell us to hurry up our showers and leave. They seem disturbed by our presence. A funny day. I went to the laundromat in town this morning and a lady on the dry cleaning side cleaned asphalt off of my jacket for free, telling me to re-wash it to get the chemicals off. I didn’t want to spend the extra money so I washed it in water in a sink and attempted to dry it. The chemicals ate holes in my sleeves! Then to add insult to injury, I left my jeans, which I especially wanted to wash, back at camp! I accepted it all cheerfully and walked back to camp to put my other clothes away. Shortly after arriving, the owner of the RV Camp cornered AZ outside at a table and using the word B..S… over and over, conveyed his frustration with our presence. AB went out and suggested we made him uncomfortable and it would be best for us to leave – to which the owner readily agreed. I had written to Ann and John yesterday that our reception in this town was as chilly as the outdoor temperature – nearly freezing in daylight hours! What was humorous was the man’s excessive profanity in talking to AZ – despite a multitude of signs forbidding profanity in the bathrooms. In the men’s room one says: “The walls here are thin – profanity will not be tolerated!” After packing up to leave I spent the afternoon in the library and wrote the following letter:

Editor, The Daily Times

An open letter to the people of Ely: “A group of seven individuals, walking from the west coast to the east coast, entered Ely on the afternoon of May 11. We arrived off the icy peaks of a summit, relieved to spend two days and three nights in the midst of town, particularly looking forward to showers and the opportunity to mingle with town folks.

“The support vehicle which precedes us allows us to meet our needs. Food and camping gear wait for us at the end of a twenty mile trek each day. We have a pop-up trailer tent as well as a pop-up portable toilet. It suffices for days at a time, but warm showers and warm bathrooms sooth our souls as well as our tired bodies when we reach a resting place.

“We arrived with peace in our hearts and on our tongues – we bid farewell in peace. But as we leave, we feel we owe an apology to some town folk whom we must have inadvertently offended.

“We stayed in an RV park on the east end of town. We practiced, as is our custom, five peaceful purposes. The first is peace with the environment, and we cleaned many aluminum cans off the streets of Ely. We cashed them in and used the money for fuel for the support vehicle. The second is peace among individuals and we look forward to good, wholesome conversations with our fellow human beings. The third is peace among groups, which we talk about, as well as the fourth – peace among nations. As a nation spending billions of dollars on instruments of mass destruction - first strike offensive weapons – we certainly can’t hide behind a façade of good will. That leads to our fifth peaceful purpose – inner peace. We encourage people and nations to stand in faith behind God’s laws. Our pilgrimage motto is: Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth and hatred with love.

“Sometimes our message is misunderstood. Even harder to understand, sometimes the ideal we symbolize is feared. We apologize to the owner of the RV park in town whom we somehow frustrated to the point that he broke his own rule – no profanity – and in a conversation with us left no doubt that our presence made him uncomfortable. Three of us at a time in the restroom, taking turns for showers and lingering in the warmth seemed threatening. I confess I lingered over the comfortable table in the ladies room myself, to write notes in my journal in the warmth the room afforded. I didn’t realize that it offended anyone. It all seemed friendly and kind. Our purpose is the promotion of peace and if we over-stayed our welcome, we are sincerely sorry.

“Somehow the attitude of distrust prevailed in other encounters with townspeople who avoided eye contact or looked upon us disdainfully. We do not wish to offend but must have failed in our intention, which is captured in words on the tunic we wear: ANOTHER PILGRIM FOR PEACE. We walk with and for peace and good will among all our brothers and sisters in all nations.

“Others went out of their way to be gracious and kind. From our hearts we thank them. One woman, at a dry cleaners in town, removed spots of dried asphalt from my jacket – and charged me nothing. Another woman in a grocery store personally welcomed us and invited us to walk in her neighborhood. Many waved and offered good cheer – the best gift of all. We leave behind something we hope everyone will join us in – our prayer for peace.”

We moved to a KOA camp a couple of miles out of town and were warmly received and extended a discount. We were invited to spread our bags out on a cozy grass area and given a discount card to use at all KOA campgrounds. Another day, another lesson.

May 14

I got up early to shower and wash my hair for the last time for a while. I met and talked to women in the bathroom last night and this morning – good conversations on meaningful issues. I walked more slowly today and enjoyed it more. AB and I stopped to talk with a highway patrolman. The weather was cold at times, raining when we reached our evening site at the top of a 7,700 foot summit. It was nice and cozy inside the pop-up trailer. I bundled up in my sleeping bag and stared reading “A Miracle to Believe in.” It is an excellent book on a technique using love to deal with autistic children.

May 15

The weather, added to my physical exhaustion, made this a most difficult day. The morning was fairly nice. Just before our lunch stop (after 12 miles of walking) we all stopped by the road to talk with two young women who were on their way home to San Francisco after traveling with a car caravan on its way to D.C. for the UN Special 2nd Session on Disarmament.

We had about three miles to go when the icy wind came up, followed by rain. I dragged myself into the car and didn’t move until it was time to leave. I headed out against a cold, strong wind that drained all of my energy. Eventually the weather cleared but my legs felt like lead. I was in near tears by the afternoon.

May 16

From the valley to the mountain top – a beautiful day. It started out with a humorous incident. While John was in the outhouse someone removed the blocks from under the wheels of the trailer and everything started rolling. I had started out walking and looked back as the outhouse fell off, saw the door fling open and John, pants half on, come flying out running.

The weather was hot and gorgeous again. My energy came back with the sun. Sarah, our roadside guest of a few days back, wrote ahead to her friends in a little community out of Bake that we were coming through. A man named John, a psychologist who gives workshops around the country, stopped us three days ago on the road and invited us to stay at the community. We arrived today. It’s called the School of Natural Order. There are about 29 people living here. It is a beautiful oasis in the middle of a desert. Flowering orchards, hundreds of birds, green grass, chickens and cows. AB and I spent the evening visiting with Sarah’s special friend and a couple who work on an Indian reservation. AZ and Kris went to a community meditation. The boys stayed in the library browsing and reading, something AB and I would have loved to do but we got ‘home’ too late. We slept on soft, green grass under a clear sky. Coyotes howled all night and roosters crowed all morning. A man from the community named Bob decided to join us for five days as a trial. He may stay longer.

May 17

Another beautiful day. It started with fresh milk, strained and chilled. Delicious! It was very sweet with no milky aftertaste. We left with hugs and farewells from Jim, the head of the community, and John and JoAnn. We walked most of the morning with, Bob, who is 32.

Along the road we had a nice chat with a biker who was riding from Indiana to California to raise money for the Heart Association. We also had a fun conversation with a trucker named Nelson Gonzales from Chile.

May 18

My heart is heavy, is the only way I can describe how I feel. Tonight two people, a man and a woman, stayed for dinner. They dress in robes like in biblical days when Jesus walked, go barefoot and ask for whatever they want as they go about preaching. This pair drove a truck. They are vegans, celibate and non-materialistic. They told us their family of brother and sister members who number in the thousands. They smoke, do drugs and eat all manner of junk foods, justifying it all. Except for me, everyone was charmed. While our guests were present all of my warning signals were flashing. My chest felt squeezed tight when Kris decided to leave with them.

May 19

After our two guests left with Kris last night the sky turned blacker than I’ve ever seen it. Lightening flashed and thunder cracked in ear splitting roars. It was quite a storm. I laid awake and fell asleep asking for understanding. In the morning I got dropped off 5 miles ahead, not feeling I had the energy for a full day. I walked only a few minutes before my mind was flooded with impressions from the previous night. Deep grief welled up. I made it off the road to a little gully where it all let loose. Flashbacks replayed over and over in my mind. These people were controlled by a powerful influence, masterfully manipulated in a subtle way. I watched the mesmerizing, heard the lies woven between the truth. Divine truth lured the lost in and then consumed them with lies. There is only one shield – God – and God’s unchanging Truth. Kris left flushed and under their spell. Her weaknesses were played on. The falseness that gives them away is uttered quietly and cunningly. They operate on ego. They are not strangers. I know them. They avoided looking at me or making eye contact while plainly engaging the others.

AB was astonished when I related back to him the things they were saying. He remembered and knew but let it pass by unregistered in their presence. The others are joking and laughing about Kris. She is young, defenseless and without discernment. My grief and prayers are not only for Kris, but for all of them.

May 20

A quiet day of walking. AB talked to Bob about our guests, ‘the brothers and sisters.’ Bob said he was aware of the inconsistencies in their speech and their lack of certain qualities like compassion and humility, and the abundance of ego and intimidation.

May 21

Duties changed today. I’m still spokesperson and Pete is my partner. AB is site selector with John, Jeff empties the toilet and AZ and Bob are cooks. Today was my day off so I rode with AB. Our lunch site was in the town of Delta. I called home and talked to Dad and Cindy. AB and I walked to the newspaper office and got a great reception. A woman, the owner of the paper, came and took pictures of us at a shopping center. While she took photos we had a really good talk with a Mormon man. Afterwards a young reporter named Guy interviewed AB and I for nearly an hour. Along with Lake Tahoe, one of our best talks. They are sending the story to Salt Lake City. Afterwards Guy invited us to his apartment to clean up and I got to wash my hair! Guy had to leave so I washed all his dishes. He had been embarrassed by the mess.

The food shoppers have begun buying preservatives and highly processed junk foods. Tonight AB and I offered to walk about 30 miles ahead of the group, making contacts and carrying our own simple foods and meeting with the group at mail stops. The guidelines for joining the walk were clear and based on the principles Peace had included in the two inspirational and educational retreats she had led: the importance of our example in healthy living habits and peaceful demonstration of our principles. On both trips she placed me in charge of monitoring food purchases. On our walk now we often invite unexpected guests to join us for a meal. We spoke to the group again about the reasons for honoring our commitment to those guidelines. Everyone agreed to be more careful.

I looked all over town for a hat with a wide brim to shield my eyes, which are generally swollen and red and itchy or burning. On the way out of town I stopped at a garage sale and found the perfect hat – just what I needed, for 25 cents.

May 22,

The three ‘boys’ left us at lunch today for a little adventure. They are taking a short cut across the mountains to Salina, while the rest of us go north to Scipio and then south to Salina. From our night site AB, Bob and I borrowed AZ’s car (he stayed ‘home’ for some solitude) and drove 140 miles into Salt Lake City to eat at RJ Wheatfields. We all had cheese enchiladas and carob brownies. Two!

May 23

Bob started walking early as usual, before six. I stayed around for breakfast. On this walk I always wake up hungry! I got out by myself around seven and when AB drove by later I jumped in for a lift of three miles. Twenty miles every day sometimes feels like a little too much. The scenery has gotten beautiful again. We’re getting out of the monotony of the desert. It’s more green now with trees and grass and picturesque valleys and mountains. We camped tonight at a grassy site next to a running stream with mountains as a backdrop. The sky is partly cloudy so as I sit here I’m alternately baked by the warm sun then cooled by the shade and a soft breeze.

May 24

It’s cold this morning – there is frost on our sleeping bags. I stopped twice today to talk to workmen along the way. AB found the boys on the road this morning. They had a real adventure on the mountain, coming down cliffs and throwing their packs ahead of them. We saw Woody, one of our guests some time back, on the road this afternoon. He gave us another magazine. We got into the town of Salina in the early afternoon. We stopped by the newspaper office and they had already run our press release so we weren’t interviewed at all. But then a reporter followed us to the post office to take our picture picking up our mail. There was no mail for AB and I again! Everyone else had tons of mail but ours was sent back by the postman because it wasn’t dated. Kris showed up at dinner time. She had hitch-hiked from Colorado with a German tourist. I was relieved to see her.

May 25

After breakfast AB and I climbed a hill overlooking the town. It was quiet and beautiful. We came back to camp to drive into a larger city, Richfield, with AZ and Bob. In Richfield both AB and I got a new pair of shorts and a top. AZ got frozen yogurt so we came back and had a special treat for John’s 22nd birthday – banana splits. Everyone’s attitudes have changed tremendously. The ‘boys’ rarely participate in anything to do with the pilgrimage. They are polite with other group members yet rarely interact. Bob is celibate and Kris talks constantly about sex. Both seem to have the same focus. Food problems have not resolved. Bob brought back junk food and laughed with the boys when I talked to him about it. It may have been from embarrassment.

I spent the afternoon in the library and got caught up on lots of correspondence. AB and I went on a quiet walk after dinner.

May 26

I left early today, around seven. Our route starting today is on I-70, somewhat busier than our usual Hwy 50. There were lots of friendly truckers honking and waving. I reached our evening site by 1 0’clock in the afternoon. AZ and AB did a lot of canning, over 1400 cans, so AZ decided to drive back to town and cash them in. AB and I rode along. In town we stopped by the trailer park we had stayed in and went in to shower and wash our hair. A real treat – showers 3 days in a row.

After dinner I picked up a magazine and started reading an article called “I Never Wanted to be a Soldier.” It was written by a young man from El Salvador who was forced to join his army. While there, American Green Berets came to teach torture. He watched Americans torture a 15 or 16 year old suspected guerilla. The details were horrendous. Horrified is not enough to describe the agony I feel. I am still retching inside. How long will people support such madness? How many are aware of what the military – in any country – are doing? How many patriotic, young, impressionable, naïve young people are being brain-washed into becoming monsters of the most horrific sort?

May 27

Instead of taking off one day a week I’ve decided to ride three miles a day with the support vehicle. That gives me a daily walk of 17 miles which suits me better. I talked with a very nice, gentle trucker today. There were some enthusiastic honkers and wavers. Some people look shocked when I wave to them. I enjoy watching the reactions. The weather was chilly this morning, periodically windy with cloud cover during the day. No more trouble with my eyes since I stopped putting on lotions and creams.

May 28

The night was cold and extremely windy. I got up this morning and brought my sleeping bag into the trailer to wrap up and get warm. It stayed cold longer than usual. After breakfast the boys made an announcement that I had been anticipating – they decided to leave the pilgrimage, saying they are going to the U.N. 2nd Session on disarmament. Kris will soon leave to go back to school. Things change rapidly and by then, who knows.

May 29

Bob walked with me all morning, then I walked with AZ most of the afternoon. After dinner AB and I walked into the desert to some cliffs underneath a spectacular pinnacle to spend some time alone. A rat came out of a rock to sit and watch us.

May 30

Kris walked with me all day. We left early, about 6am. AB drove us three miles and except for a 15 minute break we went the whole 17 miles before noon. The last few miles were miserable. The wind was blasting against us, the sky was black and it was exhausting. We drove into the Little town of Green River and set up our trailer in a trailer park. AZ, AB, Kris and I drove 100 miles into Grand Junction, CO to turn in our aluminum cans ($37) and buy groceries. AB and I had carob ice cream. We came back to camp and washed clothes, took showers and washed our hair. I have really missed long solitary walks. I’m frazzled with so much company.

May 31

It was a nice, lazy day in Green River. We all took the day off. Most of us went canning. AB and I collected about 550 cans, AZ collected 750 and Bob collected over 900. In the afternoon the guys drove to the dump and picked up about 1500 more. The cans are now paying for all of our gas and any campgrounds.

June 1

I didn’t get much sleep last night, there was so much noise coming from a group of partyers at the campgrounds. At 1:30 I woke up AB to go someplace quieter. We slept the rest of the night behind the pool. Duties changed today so now I’m site selector, AB cleans the toilet, Bob clears the pots and AZ and Kris cook. We went to the post office today and finally got some mail. An envelope from Mom and Dad with our regular $200 allowance from savings, and letters from Cindy, the Zwickels, Teresa and Matthew Turley.

Kris and I were stopped by a highway patrolman and talked for nearly an hour. Recent communications with the people around me are leading me to the conclusion that I would be most comfortable as a hermit! Tonight Kris talked to a couple at the rest stop where we are staying that have several little children. They have been traveling in a camper for 10 years, living very much like members of the Christ Family.

The wind is incredible tonight. The trailer is lifting off the ground on one side.

June 2

I’m sitting on top of a little mountain of dried, caked sand in the middle of the desert, a little side trip I took instead of walking back on the highway to meet the others. Our friend the highway patrolman stopped by our lunch site to chat again today. We’re going to drive into Grand Junction again tonight to unload our growing mass of aluminum cans. We found a home for a pigeon friend that John picked up in Ely with a bullet hole in one wing and then left it with us when he departed. He can fly about 4 feet up into the air now. We left him on the lush grounds of a mortuary in Grand Junction where he was greedily eating mulberries at last sight. A woman who takes care of the grounds will be looking after him.

We had some delicious, cold banana ice cream from the health food store.

June 3

I’m enjoying being site selector this time and taking afternoons to explore the desert instead of highway walking, although I did walk 12 highway miles in the morning. There are hundreds of little biting gnats in this area that are not repelled by insect repellent. They are all over me right now.

I talked AB into walking about a mile into the desert with our sleeping gear and we slept on a hill overlooking a gorge and mountain ranges. There was an almost full moon and it was beautiful!

June 4

I walked my usual 12 miles in the morning which included crossing the border into Colorado. The terrain has changed dramatically from desert to mountains and rocks. A definite improvement in my mind! I climbed up into the mountains in the afternoon despite a very strong wind and found a beautiful little nest in a clearing near a small peak. It overlooked a city on one side and mountains on the other. I was excited to bring AB up to our bed under the stars.

After dinner Kris blew up at AZ and Bob and ended up in tears. Then she wanted to talk to all of us about our shortcomings. It’s amazing how much we all make judgements on the appearance of things, so often far from the reality. AB and I headed up the mountain for the night but I never fully recovered the zest I had earlier from the beauty.

Since being on the interstate people aren’t stopping to talk but we do get many honks and waves and certainly some people are inspired to reflect on what we are doing. It’s easy to get discouraged when the focus shifts to the pettiness of our personalities.

June 5

After the drought comes the rain and today was a day of minor miracles, enough for me to catch my breath and set my sights ahead. I left early this morning on foot and let AB drive to our six mile site (an early stop so AZ could do a little canning). AB has blisters from new shoes and besides wanting time alone, I wanted to walk some distance before going into town with AZ to pick up mail, cash in cans and find a campground. Tomorrow is a day off. I walked 12 miles before AZ picked me up. We entered town and by chance turned right. As we drove by a little park three figures jumped up waving at us – our 3 boys are back. They had been staying for two nights in a Catholic church where at mass this morning the priest called them forward and blessed them and the pilgrimage. They came with us to the post office where we met a crowd of friendly people.

As we were leaving a well-dressed, middle-aged woman came out after us. She said, “’He’ told me you needed something.” Then she asked how we supported ourselves. We explained our personal savings for food and aluminum cans for gas and occasional campgrounds. “Bless your hearts,” she said. “I must give you something from my rainy day fund.” When both AZ and I began to explain that we didn’t accept money tears started welling in her eyes and she said, “I don’t know what it is but something is coming up that you’ll need extra for. Please, this is from ‘him.’ Don’t tell me I can’t give it to you.” Then she handed me $100. We kissed and hugged, then I brought her to the car and gave her our literature and Peace’s little Steps Toward Inner Peace booklet. She left quickly with tears running.

We were greeted with enthusiasm at the campgrounds. While at the pool I had fun with several kids and had good conversations with the care taker and a woman who was sun bathing. On some days everything clicks and people are not only receptive, they want to talk about peace.

We took our extra canning money ($16.50) and AB, AZ, Kris, Bob and I went to see Star Trek II. It was a blood and guts movie – a real switch from an orientation of peace, but the popcorn was good and I enjoyed it.

AB wanted to invite the boys who have run short on personal money since their excursion but AZ is clearly not ready to make it too easy for them. They have not done much canning in the past which counts heavily with AZ. John now only has enough money to contribute half of what the rest of us pay for food. This is more a lesson for the rest of us than John, I think, accepting John as he is with gratitude for his energy for peace and relying on our faith for necessities. AB and I hiked across the highway and slept in a farmer’s field. There was no place to set out our bags in the trailer park. It was nice in the field, with a beautiful full moon.

June 6

I got up at 5:30 and wrote letters in the ladies room. Then AB and I walked to the store and split a quart of yogurt for breakfast. We walked back, did our laundry and laid in the sun for a while. Then we walked six miles into town to a shopping center and six miles back. For some reason, it seemed very tiring. My feet feel especially sore. AB and I will sleep in the field across the street again.

June 7

I drove to the post office this morning and Pete, Kris and Bob came with me, while Jeff, John, AB and AZ started walking. We were standing in line when Sarah came in causing much excitement among us. About five minutes later Pete walked in and told me there were two people sitting in our car. I walked over to see and it was Ann and John Rush! All of us caravanned down the highway about 20 miles and set up the trailer to share lunch and talk. In the early afternoon all of us in our group, except for AZ, decided to go to New York for the U.N. Peace March. Ann and John had already planned on going but directly, without stopping. Sarah, who was on her way to Illinois to help work on the ERA decided she might meet us there on Saturday for the big rally. She gave us $60 plus several blue ribbons, being worn to symbolize disarmament, and several of our own petitions which she had printed up. Ann and John took Jeff and John with them and AZ dropped the rest of us off on I-70 out of Grand Junction at 4:30 pm. First we got a short ride in the back of a pickup, then a trucker stopped and offered to take three of us. AB and I stayed behind, kissing them all goodbye, then the truck stopped and motioned us again to come – and took us all in. We got as far as Denver, then took turns standing with a sign while the others slept on the side of the road. We started at 9:30. Around midnight AB was hassled by a group of Indians who pulled a knife on him, but decided he wasn’t prepared to die yet. Pete was with him at the time. The group of men left and around 1am we got a ride across town and went back to sleep by the roadside until early morning.

June 8

Around 5:30am we were picked up by an Indian man and his two year old daughter. We all climbed into the back of his pickup and drove to North Platt, Nebraska. At North Platt we were picked up by a wonderful character in a van who drove us about 25 miles. Then we were picked up by Tom in a Scout. We crowded in with all our gear. At Lincoln Nebraska we toured the state capital, luxuriously decked out in marble floors and columns, mosaics and a leather in-laid door. We all had dinner in a grocery store parking lot, then drove on until after midnight. We pulled over under a bridge and slept on top of the cement siding. We were all exhausted.

June 9

We got up this morning and piled into Tom’s car again. We pitched in $20 ($4 each) and he drove us to a point just south of Chicago before letting us out. A highway patrolman stopped and told us we had to leave the freeway. We walked about three or four miles and went into a library when it started sprinkling. Later we walked about four miles to a tollway on-ramp. We finally got a ride to a rest area about four miles in. We took turns with one person hitching while the others slept. Around midnight a state trooper came by and was very intimidating. We moved back but ten minutes later he came again and approached us angrily. We ended up walking about three miles and hitching a ride with two young black men in an old truck. We walked about another half mile to a nice grassy area and went to sleep, dead to the world.

June 10

We got up this morning to a cold wind and walked a mile or so until we saw a bus. AB ran over and asked the driver where we could find a bus going to Chicago. He let us all on board (he wasn’t working yet), drove us about five miles to our bus stop and gave us transfers, so it only cost us half-price - $1.25 each, to get to the city. Bob went to a car drive-away place and we got a diesel Rabbit to drive the remaining 800 miles to New York. People all over the streets in Chicago were terrific. Half of the people we met are going to the rally in N.Y. We crammed into the Rabbit and listened to blaring rock music most of the way. We stopped to sleep in Ohio, at Bob’s sister’s house.

June 11

I got up after six hours of sleep and had a hot shower and washed my hair, then we jammed back into the Rabbit and the loud music continued. We talked to people at rest areas all along the way and waved to people on the highway. When we got into New York we found Jeff and John on a corner. John was doubled up in pain and waiting for an ambulance. We all went to the hospital where John decided to leave because the pain wasn’t so severe any longer.

We walked over to an all-night rally and talked to some very nice people. Then AB and I walked to Central Park, where a section has been rented and set aside for free camping. We met a nice woman named Ann on the way over who was out walking her dog on Park Ave. We arrived at Central Park around midnight to loud pounding music and walked away from the crowds to find a dark, relatively quiet corner behind some bushes.

June 12

We were wakened in the morning by loud, vulgar language from someone who arrived near us selling drugs to someone. We quietly crept away when we could. We had managed to get four or five hours of sleep. We walked three miles to the rally gathering point. The crowd was minimal at first and grew to an estimated three quarter million. We were able to spend some time with Ann and John, saw Bob, walked for a while with Kris and her parents and Sid. We met and talked with lots of people and some took our picture. There were people as far as you could see in any direction. Five thousand policemen were there and violent episodes were expected. Yet the entire day remained peaceful and cheerful. Police and walkers had good rapport. One Franciscan Monk hugged AB and I several times. It got windy and cold at the end of the day. I got frustrated with no escape from the elements. We finally crawled into our bags under some tree boughs and slept tensely. It rained lightly through the night.

June 13

We got up this morning when the rain became heavier. We walked three or four miles to where the car was parked, hoping Bob would be there to let us in but he wasn’t. I was frozen to the bone and on edge. We found a coffee shop and I had the special – pancakes for $1.30, an extravagance with only $27 in our pockets. We walked back to the car and Bob showed up. We drove to Central Park but we couldn’t find the boys. We stopped at an art museum but there was a mandatory donation of $4 required. We sat down for a while and when someone dropped their ticket stub AB picked it up and pinned it on me. He followed closely behind me without getting stopped as we walked in.

After the museum the rain was really coming down and we drove around until we finally found the boys. All six of us with our packs and bags crammed into the Rabbit and started going from church to church. We were told things like, “We only take in people who are referred by the city.” We were called foolish at one church. We finally found a Quaker Meeting House where Peace Pilgrim was well known. About 40 others were staying there also, getting ready for civil disobedience tomorrow. They gave us some food – salad and rice and lentils. The boys were especially hungry because they hadn’t brought any money. Pete was feeling ill with a fever.

June 14

We got up early to drive to the hospital where we had arranged to meet Kris. The car had been damaged – someone had smashed out the wing window but was apparently scared off so there was little damage and nothing stolen. Kris’ parents donated $80 to the group to get back to the pilgrimage vehicle so AB and I suggested the other five try for another drive away car and we would hitch. The group seemed enthusiastic about it, as relieved as us to part ways. We dampen the enthusiasm for loud music etc.

AB and I left New York by train – 30 cents each – and arrived in Newark, N.J. As we walked through town, looking for the freeway entrance we passed a group of young black men at a gas station. They began staring at us and our “Another Pilgrim for Peace” tunics and then one of them demanded, in a rough voice, “What’re you doin?” I felt shaky and apprehensive but we began to tell them about our walk and the side trip to New York. They stared at us a moment and then one of them said, “Oughta be more people like you.” And then they directed us to the freeway. As we walked into the next block a group of black men were working behind a chain link fence and called out to us, curious about what we were doing. They talked to us in length and thanked us. We were stopped several more times by people who were interested and offered kind words.

We got to the freeway entrance and started hitching around 1:30 in the afternoon. Before long a white man pulled up and said, “Get in here. This is a dangerous place!” He drove us a short distance before letting us out. We got several rides during the day, mostly with truckers, and all through the night. One trucker would radio ahead that he had two peace walkers needing a ride, and then another trucker would be waiting at a truck or gas stop.

June 15

We were in trucks until 2pm today, when we were dropped off on the west side of St. Louis. We walked to a shopping center and had carob chip ice cream and graham crackers for lunch. We went to the road to hitch and heard some sirens going off. Shortly after a car picked us up for a short ride, telling us the sirens were a tornado warning and we had been standing in an area which was routinely hit. The man dropped us off and the rain started. Another car picked us up just before the sky turned black and the rain let loose. He dropped us off at a gas station where we could stay dry. After about an hour we headed back for the freeway and were picked up by a couple in a pick-up. We hopped into the back and they took us 250 miles into Kansas City, Kansas. He was an alcoholic and stopped for drinks frequently. I didn’t feel any danger because he never appeared to be under the influence. Both were very kind and I felt sorry for them. They dropped us off at a truck stop and we spent the night sleeping in nearby grass.

June 16

We got up and had our usual traveling breakfast – raw oats, powdered milk mixed in water and honey. It was good and cheap. I washed my hair at a truck stop last night so felt fairly clean, except for my outer clothes which I hope to wash soon! It took us all day to get only about 60 miles into Topeka. We were dropped off at a truck stop but couldn’t find a ride out. After a good dinner, our usual road meal of bread and cream cheese plus some yogurt and cole slaw, we decided to take another route off the interstate by going south to Highway 54. We immediately got a ride about six miles to the 75 South exit. We started to walk and were picked up by a black cab driver who gave us a free ride as far as he was going. We started walking again and a doctor and his wife picked us up in a luxuriously plush car. The said their kids did a lot of hitching and they picked us up thinking we were fairly young. They were so kind and friendly that we didn’t want to surprise them, so we didn’t mention that we were parents, much less soon-to-be grandparents. (Albeit young ones!) They drove us all the way to Highway 54. We walked two or three miles and then slept in a beautiful field of tall grass lit up with fireflies.

June 17

We got rides today with a variety of the nicest and crudest people. My head is spinning. Early on we rode with a nice old farmer. Then an older man who ran a furniture store picked us up in a beautiful van. He was also nice and discussed the incredible number of cults around. Then we rode with a real nut who had severe burn scars covering his arms and hands. He drank one beer after another and then wanted to get high on dope but I talked him out of it by calling attention to his driving. He was in his thirties and called himself a pacifist. He chain smoked until my lungs were so congested I just wanted to get out on the interstate and run! We finally reached his destination but he liked us so much he decided to drive us another 13 miles to a good hitching spot. From there we were picked up by a man who was more vulgar than anyone I’d ever heard. Every sentence was peppered with swearing. He talked about spoiled kids and his own theory of using the belt on his kids. He told us he once broke his wife’s jaw for interfering when he was disciplining his then two year old. We couldn’t wait to get out but he decided we’d never get a ride to the next town, 30 miles away, so he took us to his house to pick up his wife so she could go along for the ride. We met his kids and nephews and nieces who were all delightful. Incredible! His wife was so nice. After being left off at the town we were picked up by a sweet young man whose wife was expecting a baby in October – just like Cindy. He was driving a truck full of dead cows and the stench was indescribable. We even went with him to pick up more of these poor, dead cows. They were being used for dog food. When he left us off we got picked up by a young man who looked very gentle and very much like my brother Jim. He had just gotten out of a penitentiary and we didn’t ask him what he had been in for. He drove us a couple of miles out of his way and then we were picked up by a young man just cruising around who drove us a few miles. He worked in a slaughter house and had a broken arm, gotten when he started to cut up a cow he thought was dead but the poor thing had life enough to kick him.

I lost track of how many times we had been offered drugs today. Near nightfall we were standing by the side of the road, trying to absorb all of the day’s experiences. Nearly every unbalanced individual we were with had gone out of their way to be kind to us – much kinder and willing to go out of their way to help a stranger than most “civilized” folks. The sky was black and rain was eminent – no shelter or even a tree around. A state trooper zoomed in on us to check us out and drain a little more of our energy. Shortly afterwards we were picked up by Dale, who drove us all the way to Pueblo, several hours of driving and out of his way. He was heading north to Denver but took us west. He had been 27 years in the army. He told us how he loved to rough up recruits, for their own good, of course. He recounted numerous stories of the hundreds of Vietnamese he had participated in killing. He finally got us to Pueblo close to midnight. In utter exhaustion we half walked, half slid, down the hill off the highway. Without energy to look for another place to sleep we threw out our bags and had some cottage cheese. We pulled a light poncho over our bags and slept a little, as it rained all night.

June 18

We got up around five to a light sprinkle. We packed our gear and walked about three miles to a Denny’s restaurant. We went in to use the bathroom and clean up a little, feeling quite grubby from sleeping and living in the same clothes for many days, only being able to wash out underclothes. We walked to Motel 6 to check their rates - $20 a night. It was really cold out. We walked to McDonalds and sat way in the back so we could mix up our own breakfast of raw oats with powdered milk and honey. We could hike out and meet AZ and the group but neither AB or I are prepared yet to be with the crew. We want time to sort out our experiences and get rested.

We decided to call home and ask Mom and Dad to send us $100 out of our savings. That won’t leave us much to spare, but part of faith is living in the present. We walked to K-Mart to make a call out of the cold but no one was home. We finally got through and we were so relieved! For one week (or at least six days) we can be alone! Hallelujah! I bought a pair of shorts so I’d have something to put on while I washed my other clothes, then took a bus to the Western Union Office. The rain was pouring down with thunder and lightning. So thankful to know we’ll have shelter. We waited two hours for the money to come in. The rain let up long enough for us to walk a little more than ½ mile to the bank. It poured again and we took a bus to the motel. We got to choose from three little rooms. We took the one with an old couch and a kitchen counter. It was after 3:30 already so we had more raw oats (which was a mistake!), washed our clothes in the sink and hung them up all over. We went to bed early but were up all night with the runs – both of us! AB felt so grubby that he went all the way in cleaning up, even shaved off his beard. He looks so nice but too young. It must have been catchy – I even shaved my legs, though the hair is bleached so blond it hasn’t bothered me.

June 19

We spent all day walking around town. We checked out all the thrift stores trying to find a shirt for AB but finally ended up buying one from Sears. I called Cindy but almost didn’t get through because lines were down from the storm. I’m so looking forward to being home at the end of this journey. I can’t think of anything more fun than rocking my soon-to-be grandbaby! And here I’m just feeling old enough to be a mother! We got back to the motel just about two minutes before the rain, thunder and lightning.

June 20

AB and I got up early and walked all over Pueblo. City Park was beautiful but the zoo at the park was one of those sad affairs. Unhealthy looking animals and birds in small enclosures. We went to a twilight movie for only $1.75. The popcorn was good but I didn’t care for the movie. We walked back to the motel and had barely sat down when our neighbor came to the door and asked if we’d just moved in. He was also wanting to know if we wanted to get high. The amount of drug use around makes me cringe. It seems to infiltrate all the generations. It doesn’t seem to bode well for society or humankind in general.

I called our friend Barbara today and found out she joined the pilgrimage last Friday. I suppose we’ll have to cut short out luxurious rest. I called Richard and he’s supposed to drop by for a visit tomorrow on his way to Colorado Springs, then he and his daughter will join the pilgrimage Thursday.

June 21

We took a bus this morning to the mall, then walked to the health food store this afternoon. On the way we ran across a baby bird out of its nest too early. While talking to a nice woman we helped the bird back into a tree. The woman’s husband has M.S. and she said all they get high on is life. She said they’d lost a lot of friends by not participating in using drugs. She was probably in her late thirties. She said her kids didn’t participate either and for that reason were isolated from their peers.

It’s been great fun having a refrigerator these last few days. We had cottage cheese with Ice cold milk on it for breakfast and pita bread stuffed with nut butter. Then we had rye bread with real butter for dessert. We spent the afternoon doing laundry and mending clothes and back packs. Richard and Tamsin arrived at our door at 10:30pm, after we were sound asleep. We visited for a while then he and Tamsin slept in their camper outside of our door.

June 22

We spent the morning visiting with Richard, mostly discussing the Peace Pilgrim book. He brought the galleys of the first six and a half chapters to be proofed. We drove out with Richard and Tamsin to see the group for the first time since the 7th. It was especially nice to see AZ and Barbara. The two of them had struck up an immediate close friendship. It is really fun to be with everyone again. After lunch AB and I drove back with Richard to our room. He and Tamsin went to Colorado Springs for a couple of days and will be back on Friday. The group was in and out all afternoon to use the shower. AZ, Barbara, Kris and Bob came in the evening and stayed late. Everyone sat around reading a chapter of the PP book. We walked to the library later and found a beautiful article in today’s paper, about our pilgrimage carrying on Peace Pilgrim’s work.

It is our last night before rejoining the group tomorrow.

Cheryl and AB
Cheryl and AB

Cheryl Canfield, CCHT, 2023