Day 16

[I have left the text I wrote from last night here, but have added the missing pictures below — please scroll down.]

Dearest gentle readers — I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint today. I had a wonderful, albeit chilly, 15-mile walk with essentially no human interactions but lots of beautiful scenery, so my story today must be told largely in pictures.

Unfortunately I’m in the “town” (read highway intersection) of Alpine, NY in a minuscule motel without internet. I have difficulty even convincing google maps to find it — it keeps trying to pick Alpine, NJ. Anyway under these circumstances I rely on a good cellular connection to tether my iPhone to my iPad. To compound the situation, cellular service is weak here — one bar in my room and two in the Subway across the street where I’m seated now. Apparently this is not enough to upload my pictures reliably, so after trying now for a couple of hours I am going to give up.

I thought this would happen sometime and I’m glad it hasn’t up to now. I’m thankful I have enough bandwidth at least to answer your comments from yesterday and to post this brief apology. Hopefully the situation will improve tomorrow, at which time I will fill in today’s blog post with all my pictures, including a caption contest for best caption for a funny sign I saw today.


Excellent — so it’s tomorrow (Day 17) and I have a good internet connection and now I can publish my pictures from Day 16, including the caption contest I promised.

There had been rain overnight and then a hard frost but the morning was brilliant and sunny. Stirling made me a fabulous breakfast — coffee, pastries, omelette, bacon, potates — and then saw me off:


Here are a couple of shots as I walked out to the highway on that sunny, crisp morning:



As usual, I will show some pictures I took along the way, some without comment:


This fir-lined driveway must look magical after a snowfall:


I bet this building is clearly visible in the satellite view of google maps — can anyone find it?



Here’s an idea of what the sky was like:


When I saw this sign I started thinking about units. The units here are miles but for me, I would like hours. So I would read this sign as “Watkins Glen 8, Waverly 5”:



I guess it’s colder on the left side of the road:


Double silo!


OK, here’s the funny sign that needs a caption. I thought of a bunch after seeing it, but I thought it would be fun to see what my readers came up with:


The sky was starting to darken, but it didn’t rain — it just got a little chillier. By the way, the solar charger that I keep on top of my bin works even with skies like this, albeit not as well:


I read this as “leaping deer, next 4 hours”:




I loved the color variety here:



Eventually the road swung around and descended to the right into a lovely glen (Scot-speak for valley):


It’s really impossible to capture these long ridges of vibrant color; here is a weak attempt:



Eventually I came out of the glen and passed through Cayuta (biggest feature was a saw mill) and thence to Alpine. Here a few snaps in that last little bit:

First, a seemingly neglected horse with burrs on its head:


Then a few stream pictures:




I finally arrived at this tired motel — the Redwood Inn:


As I said last night, it was very discouraging that I couldn’t get internet. I walked across the road to Subway, freezing and shivering, and it still didn’t work. I didn’t sleep well, I had another flat which I fixed at 5 AM, it was raining in the night, I was fretting about all the days left to try and find accommodation; as my wife would say, I was just being my usual Eeyore.

57 thoughts on “Day 16

  1. Julie

    Glad to hear you found lodging. No surprise to hear the internet connection is weak, as at one point this afternoon you appeared (under your “Sightings” tab) to be in the Atlantic, south of Ghana! And there I go, revealing myself as a bit obsessed, perhaps 😀

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s update,

    Julie G

    1. Allan Post author

      A very famous location — 0 degrees latitude and 0 degrees longitude. If it were true, it would make me a diamond shellback. My daughter, son-in-law and child all became diamond shellbacks recently.

    1. Allan Post author

      Dale — blast from the past! I don’t remember the context of that; i guess your brain is aging better than mine.

  2. Dan & Sue Matlack

    Miss the pictures. Has become part of our evening news report. We’ll check up with you tomorrow – sleep well…

  3. jim lamsaon

    Thanks for the update brother…
    Well one milestone down, two go.. Tomorrow is the breaking of the 200 miles left to the journey milestone. After that 100 milestone.. Its hard to believe that in essence you have about 16 days left maybe less.. I might go quicker once you get on your east to west straight line before your final turn north towards Toronto.. Hope you are warm.. Sleep well tonight.. Dont fret about just pictures. They are a key part of the story… Praying for you, and Press on!

  4. Stacey Wilks

    Hi Uncle Allan:
    I don’t know about your other loyal followers, but I don’t consider your Day 16 post a disappointment! Like many others, I have been following your journey since day one, looking forward to your updates each evening. Growing up in rural Ontario, I particularly enjoy your photos of the countryside and the stories of all the interesting and curious people you have been meeting along the way. Keep at it! I hope that the second half of your walk goes smoothly. I anticipate you will continue to have interesting stories to share!

    With you in spirit,
    Stacey Wilks

    1. Allan Post author

      So great to hear from you Stacey! The only thing I’m a little worried about the second half of the trip is snow — more about that in today’s post. I love the rural pictures too. It slows me down because I keep stopping to take snaps.

  5. Dave

    Looks like you’re heading west of Seneca Lake instead of going through Ithaca? Glad you have a warm space for the night – it’s supposed to be in the 20s in northern NJ.

    Peace be with you and your journey!

    1. Allan Post author

      Yes, Dave, the west side of Seneca has many more opportunities for lodging than the east side; that was what drove the decision as I would have loved to see Ithaca — never been there. It’s been chilly here too, but I have kept warm so far.

  6. Dave Sutherland

    I’m not disappointed. I’m proud! You’ve walked out of range of the interweb! Keep going!

  7. Marnie

    Glad to know Allan you are resting. I loved the picture yesterday of that sober halloween scene. For some reason today it reminded me of a halloween party your parents hosted one year. The Marshalls provided me with a costume to wear.. which I believe I left at home. Someone came as peter pan I think. But for me the treat was your mother cooked an amazing lasagna or chilli. I still remember it..

    1. Allan Post author

      Wow — what terrific memories you and Dale have (Dale also sent me a youthful memory)! I have a very vague recollection of this but I didn’t know about the costume bit. I don’t think my mother ever cooked chili but she did like to do lasagna. Thanks for the memory!

  8. Matt

    I think the simple post leads us to greater flights of imagination. Without pictures we rely on our minds eye to see what you’ve seen. We’ve been walking with you for 16 days and seeing pictures so we have an idea of the scenery. Yet without the photos today we can still see the scene. I’m not missing the photos…

    Subway, there’s a franchise that’s got a plan. A one intersection town with a hotel that doesn’t have internet and there you find Subway. Watch out they may hear of this and put you on an ad…

    Following from France.

    ps David and Rachel arrived in Grenoble yesterday evening…

  9. George Bristow

    Hey Allan,
    I’m struck by the contrast between the solitude you are experiencing the the incredibly crowded transportation system I experience here. It took me nearly two hours to get from my office to a seminar in another part of Istanbul, riding the metro, tramway and bus in turn, often stalled in traffic. Overhear a man talking this morning: cars , cars, buses, buses, people, people, people…
    Of course one could walk for days in many parts of Turkey and have a similar experience (no donuts) to yours, running into villagers occasionally.
    Keep up the good walk! May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Rom 15:13)

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks for that, George. Another way to put the contrast is that my days have been filled with an alternation of loneliness (or aloneness, anyway) and meaningful interactions with new people. In my normal life I live somewhere between these two extremes, as I suppose do most people.

  10. Russell Sutherland

    Ah… Back to the days of text only. May the “command line interpreter” continue to rule when all other “graphical user interfaces” fail. Glad you are safe and sound and charging forward like a juggernaut.


  11. Andrew Haggan

    Hey Allan,
    No need to apologize, limited cell service is a necessary risk of walking “where no cell phone has walked before” : )


    1. Allan Post author

      Hopefully it won’t happen again, but that stretch from Canandaigua to the Rainbow Bridge (96 miles) looks pretty barren.

  12. Linda Kramer

    It was bound to happen sooner or later! I’ve been wanting to write anyway just to let you know how much we are enjoying your trip along with you. Ruthie really enjoyed seeing the “pumpkin people” pictures from Day 15. Looking forward to seeing your other pictures when you finally get somewhere with stronger cell/internet service…


  13. Eva Barkalow

    We have gotten so dependent on our 21st century communication devices we feel somewhat helpless when they don’t work properly for whatever reason. Mark and I are so grateful to live in this incredible technology so we can communicate so easily with people no matter where they are…… And also know and pray for your everyday walking events 🙂

  14. Carol Henry

    I live so close to the Iron kettle Farm,yet, I have never been there. But, through your pictures, now I have.
    We are always busy when they are open. It is on my list though.
    Thank-You for sharing,
    Carol Henry
    Golden Knight Inn & Suites

    1. Allan Post author

      Wow — that was fast, Carol — I just gave you my card! It’s so funny that you say the Iron Kettle Farm is so close to you here, as it feels like a LONG way off to me at this point. Walking gives a different perspective.

  15. jim lamsaon

    Hey Allan,
    Hope this finds you ok… The last two days have looked to be a lot of up and down.. A variation of about 800 feet. Thats a lot of climbing and then descent. But considering that you have done very well… Press on my friend.. Hope you are ok… again.. Sorry to repeat myself. Here is one for you to think on… At your average rate of 15 miles a day… you will be under 100… In just under 6 days. … Cool… Press on my friend press on!

    1. Allan Post author

      I am pressing! Perhaps I will try 20 miles soon, but it will have to be carefully staged. It’s hard to keep the physical stamina in sync with the mental stamina.

  16. Tomi

    Found your webpage on Ali’s blog and just finished reading all your entries! It’s very inspiring! I’ll continue to read until you reach Toronto! All the very best. I hope you find many more great people along your route. Blessings!

    1. Allan Post author

      Glad to have you along for the ride, Tomi. Ali’s adventures are a pretty hard act to follow, though!

  17. Julie

    I agree – no apologies needed! Today’s post is as much a part of your story as the others full of pictures and details. This one poignantly illustrates the extent of your ‘isolation’ from the interweb. Btw, Henry Nouwen contrasts loneliness, aloneness, and solitude, calling the latter a gift we can convert the former two into. Just a thought for those long stretches of road…

    Also, it is interesting to see how walking is also redefining your perspective of distance in a day and age when so much landmass seems so accessible, so quickly.

    1. Allan Post author

      Yes, I realized today that I shouldn’t be referring to my experience as lonely — I’m just alone. I hadn’t considered the distinction between aloneness and solitude — thanks for that. And it IS changing my perspective on distance. When I asked Carol at the hotel I’m at now about food she said there was a restaurant just a half mile up the road — yikes!

  18. The Dening's

    Sorry to hear about the lousy or lack there of internet. The images continue to be extraordinary! Stay the course. Ben is going to “create” your tricked out stroller with the various mediums he has around the house… Look for that soon! Praying daily for you, Eeyore :)!

  19. jim lamsaon

    Oh Lordie, We who pray with you on weekly basis and even meet with you for breakfast, know the eeyore.. But you never stay there for long… Ok.. Waiting for the day 17 update.. Cant wait !

  20. Alison Sutherland

    I remember that All Hallow’s Eve party on Alvarado Place, Marnie…Lawrence Krauss was there and I had to pass an orange from under my chin to under his!!! Some one I went with (maybe Tom Burke) was dressed the Jolly Green Giant…and I was the Little Green Sprout!!!

  21. Dave Sutherland

    Well, there are pics now, but when there weren’t, people certainly got a lot more colourful with their philosophical words!

  22. Dan & Sue Matlack

    the colors are breathtaking even from here – except for the hint of snow – the best time to travel. Chin up Old Friend – you’re doing exceptionally well and you are never alone – so many people watching, but not wanting to distract you.

    1. Allan Post author

      It has been a great encouragement to me to know that I’m not alone on this journey, Dan.

  23. Jorge Ormaza

    Hi Allan,

    Thanks very much for sharing your daily adventures. We are very happy you’re doing fine. Liz and I love the stories and photos you post everyday.

    That picture regarding the cementery really got me thinking, what if I don’t have the phone number of the Town Clerk? Was it listed on another sign?

    Praying for you my friend,

    1. Allan Post author

      No phone number was listed. If you don’t already know the number I guess you have to keep the body in the car.

  24. di

    I’m glad you got the pictures up because I think this has been my favourite day of photos yet! you got some amazing shots of the foliage and I love the one of the trees completely bare on one side of the road and colourful on the other, so crazy!! my favourite though, is the second picture of the sun casting shadows from the willow tree, beaut! keep ’em coming dad, loving it!

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks, Didi — so nice to hear from you. There are so many beautiful things to see. Sometimes I wish I could just video the whole thing. But then that would be largely boring, I guess. Each day’s snaps are condensed from 5-8 hours of scenery.

  25. jean - luc tabailloux

    Sorry 4 your dispointment on lack of WIFI… I empathize .
    It is still a luxury 4 many and we tendcto forget how we everr did it before. Someone said on Fcbk if you want to call in a general meeting for the family pull the plug on the wifi box and wait in the room were it is located…LOL

  26. bernd & karin flock

    Well, that does look like a funny sign. Isn’t that the Town Clerk’s headstone in the foreground? Likely why there are no more after that! 🙂

    1. Allan Post author

      LOL! There were actually lots more headstones — it was hard to get the right camera angle.

  27. John Marshall

    Found the red roofed barn. The tree you were across the road from is bare, must be late autumn or early spring. What’s the large parking lot and business at you back?

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