We had an uneventful night of camping, which are the best kind. I slept great and was the first one up. I did my usual waking up routine that I did on my last walk and it was like I never stopped. It all came right back to me, like riding a bike.
We all got ready and headed down to the southernmost point in the continental United States. This would be our starting point. We were met by the Lieutenant and the Sergeant of Key West Police Department who were there for support. My Dad and stepmom were there as well as other friends. A woman who I’ve been speaking to from Facebook was able to be there also. She lost her sweet daughter Elizabeth to a substance related passing and I was so glad that she made it. It really made the moment special to me to know that my sister and her daughter were there watching us.
We all took some photos and took our first steps! We had a crowd that was going to join us for the first 3 miles. We started off slowly because of the chaos. Our support vehicle was parked in a pay by the hour spot and when we walked a couple of blocks ahead I saw a free spot and asked Allison to see if she could go get the car and bring it to that spot.
I knew this would be a challenge for her but I wanted to express confidence in her so that it may rub off to help her out. I knew something was wrong right away.
It wasn’t but a few minutes later when she called and frantically was saying that she had an accident with the car. She was ok and no one else was involved. She said the car was damaged in the back and the wheel on the trailer was bent. I knew exactly what happened. Backing up with a trailer is hard. Especially with a stick shift. I wanted to see the damage before reacting any further.
My dad volunteered to go handle that situation while I tried to keep everyone moving forward and ensuring them all that we will go on. My dad brought the car up and there is some damage to the back that will require a car insurance claim to be able to fix. The trailer was ok but the wheel is bent and needs a new axle. He had taken it to a shop and the guy said that we can continue to use it until we get into the mainland and then we need to get it fixed.
Ok so, the car and trailer are damaged. Definitely not my favorite way to start mile 1 but it’s all cosmetic damage nonetheless. The show will go on….. but how?
I simply can’t let Allison drive anymore. It has become a safety issue and that is our top priority. I didn’t want her to feel any worse than she already did and I didn’t want her to go home but I’m in a serious dilemma. I assessed everything and our best option is more me to ride the bicycle that we have back to the car at the end of each day and then drive back to pick everyone up. This isn’t ideal and hopefully isn’t a permanent fix but it is a solution that will help right now.
My dad parked the car at mile 11 and left it so that we could walk to it today and have a short walking day. We continued on. It took a few miles but we started getting into a groove. Allison walking with us. Not going to lie, once I was walking all of the worries went away for the moment.
It was like a never stopped. I felt like I’d been on the road for months. I was so happy everytime I looked around and saw a team of awesome people all happy as could be.
We made it to the car after a few hours and even though we were tired and our feet hurt we all decided that it would be good for the team to push on to our 15 mile goal for the day. I called Shea, our film director, and she said that she could drive me back to my car from there. So we pushed on.
It hurt but in the best way. We pushed and pushed and finally saw the mile marker 15 up ahead. We all dashed towards it and finished in celebration. We defeated obstacles and conquered our goal. Welcome to walking across America.
We headed back to the camp site where we all hung around, grabbed dinner, and did some interviews on camera. Then we all headed to our tents for some well-earned sleep.