Tuesday, December 14
With mixed emotions I approached Atlantic City and the end of a very long journey. At one moment I would be emotionally overwhelmed thinking back to that beautiful beginning in Oregon surrounded by students and well wishers. The next moment, with temperatures in the 20’s - all sentimentality would be swept away by the biting wind causing me only to hunker down and quicken my pace.
Nearing the city, I received a call from Tim McShea, my new friend from Philadelphia. Tim had not wanted me to end my journey alone and was on his way with another fireman, Dave, to show their support. In short time I was gratefully warming myself inside Tim’s car for today was truly the coldest day of the entire trip. Then, for me, it was back to the road one last time as they drove ahead to wait at the Boardwalk.
Not long after, I was met by a television newsman who interviewed me briefly and filmed my cart from various angles and then filmed me walking down the road. It was so cold that I felt sorry for him having to get out of his warm car but I was glad for the publicity nevertheless.
As I entered Atlantic City, Tim called and gave some last minute directions and a few minutes later I was pushing my cart onto the Boardwalk. There waiting were Tim and Dave - along with a couple of policemen who, braced against the cold wind, found it unbelievable that I had walked here from Oregon. It made me feel good that they were there.
As planned, I proceeded to the beach’s edge and collected some Atlantic Ocean water and New Jersey sand. Wow - you can only imagine my feelings. I stood there a moment savoring a wash of emotional warmth and then began making phone calls - beginning with my wife, Cynthia. Without her love and support - this trip would not have been possible.