We woke up and all had breakfast with our hosts. Rachael, Gabrielle’s sister, geared up to walk with us today. We all got in the car and drove to the spot that we finished at yesterday. We said goodbye to Allison, who would be driving back and hitting the phones and emails to get our message out to others and to work on places for our team to stay so that we can work efficiently. Then we hit the trail.
It was a beautiful morning and we we had 10 miles worth of bike path to look forward to. No need to worry about traffic, which is always a treat. We also had some shade over the trail from the subway line that ran overhead. We stayed close to each other and enjoyed the company of Rachael as she pounded the pavement alongside us.
We were waiting at a crosswalk and a gentleman came over to talk to us after having seen the signs on my cart. He was asking if we were really walking from Key West. We talked to him for a few minutes. He was very interested in the idea of a cross-country walk. He was also very supportive of what we were doing it for, as he is homeless and sees the devastation that addiction causes up close and personal. He was homeless but well-kept and with sound mind. He wasn’t suffering with addiction and was thankful because he has seen what it does to people. This man pulls out his wallet and gives us $2 and a $10 subway card. He left himself with only a few dollars but really wanted to show that he supported our efforts. If that doesn’t bring a happy tear to your heart then something is wrong with ya. We all gave him a hug and he wished us well. If you ever get to meet a man named Marcos who was wearing a blue sports jersey and a University of Miami ballcap please go and show him some love.
I had two interviews over the phone while I was walking. The first one was with the Gwinnett Daily Post, which is a local newspaper for my area back home. They will be running a piece on our story next Sunday on the front page of the Community section. The second interview was for a website called wagingnonviolence.org. They are an international news source about activism of world issues. I talked for about 2 hours between the two of them.
During one of the interviews, I walked up to a used needle laying right in the middle of the bike path. It wasn’t my first one that I have seen on this trip and it’s only been two weeks. I disposed of it properly and kept moving as I always do. Always a reminder that it is important to continue my efforts.
There were a few firemen in training who were running the path in full fire gear in 80 something degree Miami heat. I gave a high five to each of them as they passed by. Future lifesavers.
As we got around the 10 mile mark we passed a snowcone stand and Stick offered to buy one for me. Now I worked in a shaved ice truck all summer so I’m basically an expert now. I was skeptical that this would be as good as Kona Ice. I was proven wrong. Sorry Richard but this place has Kona beat. The ice was soo soft and good. Yum.
We pushed on and walked through downtown Miami. When we reached 12 miles, we all stopped and Rachael said goodbye as she had to get back to real life. I was so thankful that she joined us and she did an awesome j0b!
From there, Stick and I kept walking. We crossed over the Biscayne Bay to Miami Beach. Then we walked down Lincoln Rd to the Atlantic Ocean and followed the boardwalk north. There were a ton of people and Stick and I were talking to so many of them about our walk and the cause. We had a blast doing it and Domino was loving all of the attention too. We met some very nice people from all walks of life and from all parts of the country who are all affected in some way by addiction. I even got to educate this one couple who weren’t affected and thought they were better than everyone else because of that. “No crackheads in my genepool.” Yeah. That didn’t work well with me. I was proud of myself for remaining polite while telling him that that attitude is exactly why we are walking and then explained that my sister died from heroin but was far from a ‘junkie’. He was actually humbled and looked remorseful for saying those things. I could tell that he would put some thought into this and that felt like a huge success to me.
We kept walking on the Miami boardwalk going north checking out all of the beautiful scenery. The beach looked nice too lol. We met up with a guy who walked and talked with us all the way until we made it to our destination for the day. He wanted to keep us company and hear about what we were doing. His efforts made the last couple of miles seem like a breeze. I walked 22 miles today and felt great when I was done.
I gratefully settled into the Kamlet’s home for the 2nd night in a row and got some work done on the computer. Now I am going to go and crash hard. Another big day of walking tomorrow.