Day 13

It was a different sort of walk today. I went a good deal of the way from Binghamton to Owego — 8 miles left to do first thing tomorrow. Most of it was flat, on sidewalks and urban. There were a few suburban bits and a longish highway stretch at the end, which was quite tedious, but mostly it was sidewalks and no hills — quite interesting and different.

I continued to interact with the Susquehanna River. Soon after I started this morning, I crossed from the south side to the north side:




This was google maps’ idea, in order to get me on a northwest diagonal to Ithaca. But when I talked to a guy in the auto parts store (while trying to buy some highly reflective tape to make my bin more visible) he suggested that going west to Owego and then north was longer but had far gentler hills. OK, sounds good to me.

So I re-oriented google maps to point to Owego and later in the day crossed to the south side of the river again, as is evident later in this post.

While walking through Binghamton I saw some interesting architecture (thinking of you, Joe M.):



One of the fun things about living in Binghamton must be how you turn down a side street and see gently rolling hills — constant little surprises:


I crossed the Chenago River, which comes in from the north and dumps into the Susquehanna:



The fact the funeral homes are almost always immaculate and sometimes beautiful says something about the exploitation of grief:


Here’s a bit of architectural excess:


No ordinary sign when you enter Johnson City:


I interacted with two sweet old-timers today. The first was Tom, with his closest friend Donny:


Every time I told him a detail of my trip he said “Oh my God! Oh my God!” I guess he was impressed. I won’t repeat everything he said because some of was sufficiently fanciful that my mental polygraph needle was getting some exercise. He did say that the houses on this street were 80% unoccupied because of the 2012 flooding of the Susquehanna, in which the water was five feet off the ground in this part of town:


This is the first animal stuffer that I’ve passed (to my knowledge):


When I came to this little green spot I decided it was time for a wee nap:


This is the last thing I saw before I fell asleep, lying in the leaves:


In Endicott I passed an elaborate monument to the fallen in war; it was hard to capture the whole thing:



Shortly after that I met the second of the two sweet old-timers. This is Mel (no kidding!):


He is a Vietnam vet and lives on his veterans pension and welfare. He was a gentle, soft-spoken man who seemed fairly alone; his brother and sister are in Louisiana and Texas, but he can’t move out of state (he says) without losing his welfare check. I sat with him for a bit and tried to encourage him.

Eventually I crossed the Susquehanna a second time, from north to south:



and then had to endure five miles of this, westward into the sun, until reaching a hotel for the night:


I have to do another eight miles of it tomorrow in order to reach Owego and finally turn north towards Ithaca. I might be able to reach Ithaca by Wednesday night.

53 thoughts on “Day 13

  1. Meg

    Most interesting and enjoyable spending time with you this past weekend. Thanks for sharing stories you must have told many time before and some new ones! I have really enjoyed the outdoor pictures! Especially the ones looking up into the trees. Amazing. Don’t worry about not talking very much…scott says, “If you’re talking, you’re not learning.” You are a learner! We will continue to follow your journey, looking forward to your time in Ithaca, having lived there for a bit!

    1. Allan Post author

      Good advice about talking, or not. Thanks, Meg. I’ll try to capture some good pix in Ithaca; hopefully they will bring back some memories.

  2. Chris

    Allan, I met you at the auto part store today and spoke to you briefly about your journey and was one of the guys helping you orient your trek to Ithaca. I hope you complete this journey because it is inspirational just as my friend who I mentioned drove around North America. Chase the dream and wake up daily knowing you’re doing what you want on your own accord and what a great thing that is. Whenever you make Ithaca you should treat yourself to lunch or dinner at the Boat Yard Grill. You won’t forget it! Good luck and God speed!

    1. Allan Post author

      Chris! Thanks for commenting. I will definitely look up the Boat Yard Grill. And thanks for the good advice today; I think it will work out well. I have a possibility for where I will stay tomorrow night. Thanks for the encouragements!

  3. Tiffani Williamson

    It was such a pleasure to have met you today! I checked you in here at the Comfort Inn in Apalachin, and am so glad that you had the courtesy to invite my to read your blog! This is a truly fascinating project and journey you have begun and I wish you the absolute best in the remainder of your travels. If it is not too much to ask, I would like to continue reading your daily posts and eventually write a piece on your travels for my Academic Writing course!
    Safe travels, and my most sincere wishes,
    Tiffani Williamson- Guest Service Agent
    Comfort Inn, Apalachin New York.

    1. Allan Post author

      By all means, Tiffany. And I would love to read whatever you write. I hope I’m done the trip by the time your assignment is due!

  4. Joe Abdy

    I was reading the Matt Green blog mentioned in your first post.
    Very interesting, he provides a great summary of his walk across the US. The theme I got from it was how nice and hospitable all of the people he encountered along the way. I did not matter whether he was in the country or a city. Great to see you are experiencing the same so far.

    1. Allan Post author

      I’m so glad you looked at that, Joe. Matt Green is inspirational for me in this walking business. I love the simple, humorous way that he blogs about his adventures and yes, I’m finding out just that same main lesson that he learned. And I love his pictures around NYC — such an incredible variety.

  5. Russell Sutherland


    Based on your data tab, two more walks and you should be close to 1/2 way! Fantastic! Have you made up your deficit yet by stretching out the 15 miles into 17 or 18? The story of Mel is very sad. Thanks for including it. These guys deserve better.

    Becky and I had a great walking tour ourselves today of MTL. We walked from Mont Royal, via several cafés down to Isle St-Hélene, one of the Expo 67 Islands in which stands the spherical Buckminster Fuller ex USA Pavilion geodesic dome. We also passed Habitat 67. All in all that was about 10km. So you’re one tough rhino, going 15 miles (aka 24 kms) every day.

    Carry on!


    1. Allan Post author

      Yes, pretty close to halfway now. I’ve actually been dreading the halfway point, thinking that I’ve done all that work and now I have to do it all again. It was an interesting juxtaposition that I passed that war memorial just before meeting Mel.

      I love that you visited several cafes. Is Becky conversant with all of them or were you just sampling what you stumbled upon? Those Expo 67 buildings are still very clear in my mind.

  6. Cheryl Biswurm

    I love that you tell your story to each person you meet and pass along your blog site and many of them are writing back! You’re making a lot of new friends!

    So Kevin and I watch Dancing with the Stars on Monday nights (well…okay…”I” watch it and Kevin graciously sits next to me). And tonight at the elimination no one was eliminated due to a “technical glitch in the call-in system” – something about wrong numbers and counts being incorrect so out of fairness they decided not to send anyone home. So as I’m thinking it, Kevin says to me, “you know why they had the technical glitch right” and I answer “yup…because Allan is walking to Toronto”!

    1. Allan Post author

      Ha ha!! This is the better adventure, for sure. Anyway, I don’t think AT&T is involved with the vote counting. That’s a better explanation of the glitch.

  7. Maria

    Hi Allan!
    We heard about your expedition from Mr. Sutherland (Our physics teacher) and we’re rooting for you and can’t wait for you to get to Toronto!

  8. Fiona More

    Allan so glad you are you are meeting so many good people. The autumn colours are just wonderful. Keep the pics coming.

    1. Allan Post author

      Yes, the colors have been beautiful. I keep wondering when I will be far enough north that all the leaves will have fallen and the scenery will get much less vibrant. But so far it’s been great. Greetings to Robert!

  9. melissa

    Hey Allan, I met you on day 6 of your travels at the bar on route 6. My husband and I are very excited that you made it to NY already. We have been looking at the map and thinking there was no way you were going to make it in 30 days. I am glad you are doing so well in your travels. Stay safe and keep up the pictures.

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks for checking in, Melissa! Yes, it seems amazing to me that I have covered such a large distance. In fact, if all goes well today and tomorrow I should be passing the half-way point sometime during tomorrow’s walk. I will stay safe — my wife keeps saying the same thing.

      1. Jon Bentley

        The halfway point?!?! Looks to me like you are coming up on the quarter-way point of your journey. You *are* planning on coming back home along with your cart, aren’t you?

        Anxiously, Jon

        1. Allan Post author


          Yes, I’m coming back walking and then continuing on to visit friends in North Carolina. Seriously, though, the guys I mention in my very first post do walk crazy distances. Matt Green calculates he will have walked 8000 miles by the time he finishes all the streets of New York City. I will, in fact, lay down my shoes once my grandchildren are in my arms.

  10. Jerry and Marilyn Risden

    We were thinking of you Sunday morning as we sang “How Great Thou Art”, especially the second verse:

    “When through the woods and forest glades I wander, and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
    When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, and hear the brook, and feel the gentle stream.
    Then sings my soul, my Savior, God, to Thee, How Great Thou art, How Great Thou Art.
    Then sings my soul, my Savior, God, to Thee, How Great Thou art, How Great Thou Art!

    Praying you’ll have a song in your heart today!

  11. Donna Bristow

    quick question Allen. If we write you and you reply, do we need to just remember which day we wrote and check back for your answer, or is there a quicker way to check? Haha, I’ll check back on day 13 for this reply. We’re having beautiful weather here in Istanbul these days as well. Today its in the high 60’s. George is down south in Antalya giving seminars. Its even warmer there. No real fall colors here though.

    1. Allan Post author

      I don’t know the answer Donna; I will ask Matthew. Your weather sounds wonderful. Expecting show flurries by the end of the week here! I shall be sure to capture it on camera, if so!

  12. Jon Bentley

    You mentioned that you are trying to make yourself and your buggy more visible. This is one of my passions, especially when I am working as a Fire Police Officer, trying to keep emergency responders from being hit by cars on roadways.
    The retroreflective (or conspicuity) tape that you got at the auto parts store will help a great deal in the dark to make you visible to cars with their headlights on. Please do recall that especially at the gloaming, some cars do not have their lights on, and for those cars this tape will have little value.
    It appears that you are wearing an orange Class 1 vest (it covers your front and back, but not your sides), with yellow stripes. These are great throughout most of the year, but are least effective in the presence of autumn leaves. If you pass by any kind of large store, I would encourage you to purchase a yellow Class 2 vest (it goes all the way around your sides), or perhaps even a Class 3 garment (a full jacket would probably be too hot for walking, but they make mesh vests with upper arms, and they have 2″ retroreflective tape around both the torso and the arms). These go for $15 to $20 in stores like Wal-Mart or Tractor Supply Company. If the leaves are predominantly orange, then use the yellow vest alone with your orange vest over your buggy. If the leaves tend to yellow, then put the orange vest on over the yellow. (On the highway, we face a similar issue with yellow construction vehicles.)
    Walking is in fact great fun, and I don’t mean to detract. I hope that this advice helps you to walk a bit more safely!

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks for this expert advice, Jon. I shall definitely look for a Class 2 or 3 garment as soon as I can. My reflective tape probably does not help much as I do all my walking in full daylight. I guess when it’s overcast or raining it helps. I’m hoping once I get north of the finger lakes and “hang a left” I will be in flatter country where the roads are grid-like and one can make good headway on back roads. The geography of the first half of my trip mitigates against that sort of road system.

      1. Jon Bentley

        Since you are walking only in full daylight, you can safely skip all the retroreflective tape. This time of year, many stores such as Wal-Mart and Tractor Supply Company will sell bright yellow *synthetic* t-shirts designed for people who work on roads for around $5. That should make you much more visible on many stretches of road.
        Thanks for your great reports about your great trip!

        1. Allan Post author

          Thanks, Jon. I’m still keeping my eyes peeled for one of those stores. I think the next opportunity will be Watkins Glen.

  13. jim lamason

    Hey Doc,
    A thought for you… break your day down into segments.. make a goal of each segment x amount of miles. When accomplish that goal, next segment… its a mind game which u love to do anyway… before you know you are that much closer to the end….

  14. carl

    Al’s trip is in the spirit of great odyssey’s. Oh, Brother Where art thou was based on the Homer’s Odyssey, and started a great comeback of old timey music. Here’s an inspirational one by the girls, like Al they’re working for my Lord:

    In the Highways, in the hedges
    I’ll be somewhere working for my Lord.

    If he calls me, I will answer
    I’ll be somewhere working for my Lord.

  15. Gus Wolf

    Allan, your photography is just stunning. Virtually every picture is a keeper – they are just beautiful. I feel like I should download them all and scroll them on the desktop. The fall colors are something that I do miss in East Texas. We go from green fading to brown and then no leaves. There is color but you have to look for it. You are having a daily treat for your eyes.

    1. Allan Post author

      That’s quite a compliment for an amateur like me. The colors are even better in person, but I missed the peak by a week or so in the Susquehanna valley and by two or more weeks elsewhere, it appears. Thanks, Gus.

  16. Steve Adams

    So interesting! Love all your pictures and hearing of your encounters with people.
    Continued Blessings!

  17. Awni

    It’s so good and encouraging that so many people follow along side of you in this journey Allan! I am enjoying it and love the comments, and the photos and those who you are meeting along the way. Although you are walking by yourself (not really as The Lord is with you & before you – Duet. 31:8) we are all following behind and praying for you as you come to the half way point of your journey, and than complete the journey which is set before you.

    No luck with GoogleMap scale for iPhone yet! Apparently Android has it. I think!
    There is a MapScale app for iPhone, it costs $0.99 but not sure how good it is!

    With the Lords protection,


    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks Awni — very comforting words. Scales for google maps for iOS are a lost cause for now. I shall suffer on and use other clues to figure out distances. I’m convince this is a google evil empire thing — one more way to advance android over iOS.

  18. joanne wolf

    Allan, I have concluded that I must live a boring life, since the high point each day is the ceremonial reading of your blog. Gus and I are trying to figure out how we could do a trip like this, but alas we are procrastinators and besides, the guinea hens would miss us . Btw, an owl (we think) got one last night while they were roosting on our chimney , and another was wounded. Down to 15 from the original 20. Better come down and visit us before there aren’t any left. JW

    1. Allan Post author

      I’m sure you could do it; if I can you can. Wait til you hear about my animals today!

  19. Julie

    I have to thank you for sharing this walking tour of a beautiful part of the country I’ve never seen. I find myself wondering how you’re doing each day, who you’ll meet, and what you’ll see. LOVE the pictures. In fact, I’ve “borrowed” the picture looking up into the big maple (?) and am using it for my background/wallpaper.

    God be with you,

    Julie G

    1. Allan Post author

      I love that you are using my picture that way, Julie. I often begin the day wondering if it will be boring, compared to all the previous ones. Inevitably something interesting happens. Wait til you hear about today!

  20. Marnie

    I’ve been checking the sightings today for when you would cross the river again. I was chatting with a friend And learned that Owego is much older than Binghamton, settled in the 1700s by people coming up the Susquehanna.. So I’m keen to see your pictures today. From the sightings it looks like you made a lot of progress today.

    1. Allan Post author

      Actually, just a little less than 16 miles; good, but not the best. Yes, I saw a sign for the founding of Owego and was surprised at its age. It is still the Village of Owego, though — one would have thought it had at least graduated to a Town!

  21. Trixi

    Allan,enjoying your stories and the pictures! Cien por ciento amigo!

  22. kathleen VanNatta

    I thought of two questions: one is how many pairs of shoes did you pack and was that enough or too many.
    and two is will you drive back the same way on your way back to New Jersey?
    I am praying for your every step that you will stay very strong.

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks for your prayers Kathy, very much. I have two pairs of shoes and that is the right number. I try to alternate them to reduce chafing. I also have a pair of cheap flip flops that have come in handy a few times. I probably didn’t need to bring them, though. Fiona and I will drive home the fast way but have plans at some point to drive to Toronto slowly on the route I’m taking and let her meet many of my new friends. That will be a sweet trip.

  23. Juli

    As an RN that always wanted to do a Mercy Ships cruise, but never made it work – I follow your daughter’s blog from time to time. She mentioned your trek and included a link to your blog. I read back through all your prior entries yesterday and plan to read along as you make it halfway and to the finish. Your writing is inspirational and your pictures are wonderful. Thanks for sharing! Be safe and continue to enjoy your trip,
    Juli (Indianapolis, IN)

    1. Allan Post author

      Juli, I’m glad to have you along for the ride (walk). I’m also happy that you read Ali’s blog. It is my unbiased (ahem) view that it the best blog on the internet of its kind.

      1. Lisa Beth W.

        I have been reading Ali’s blog for a long time, and I love it! She is a wonderful godly person with a great talent for writing. I am so grateful that she shares her experiences and her family with us. 🙂

  24. Karen Javois

    Hi Allan,
    Love what are doing, great adventure, pictures are stunning, must be nice to meet so many people. Praying that The Lord will keep you safe and well, while allowing you to enjoy every moment. Praying for Fiona too that He will give her peace through this journey.

    1. Allan Post author

      I’m glad you are along for the ride, Karen! And thanks for your prayers, and especially for Fiona!

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