Progress Reports

OHT update from Atoka, Tennessee

The road and folks on it have been kind to me. Rediscovered (again) that people really can drive with their wrists, folks actually wave here, everyone says howdy and asks how I’m doing. I’ve beed called “hun” a lot. Mosquitoes could actually be state birds, everything is green here and I promise everything has some form of unknow pollen. Rediscovered fixin and y’all. Everything here only takes a minute. Love the SOUTH! Alabama is in my sights now. Not much longer and North Carolina is right over chonder. Having a great time. Miss family and home a lot. Prayers to all those deployed and a special prayer for all the Marines in 2/9.

Oh and the LORAX mustache is going strong.

From the road,
Forrest

OHT update: Mike arrives in Sims, Arkansas

Made it to Sims, AR, home of Diane and John Salyers. Proud to be here. The TREK is going well and all things are good. Miss home and family a lot but not much longer now. It’s been over a month! Wow, where does time fly? Next stop Hot Springs, AR then Memphis, TN. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. Pics to come later today.

Until then,
Forrest a.k.a. Lorax

This Ain’t Kansas anymore, Dorothy

Howdy from the road.  Sorry for the late posting.  It’s been a while.  Lack of internet access would be my main reason. Not an excuse, just a reason.   Kansas was fun.   Weather wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good either.  First encounter with wind, rain and a bit of snow mixed in.  Moved on to Dodge City, KS where the town was an historical and still is a REAL Cowboy town.  Nice place and loads of Western History, which I happen to really like.  Roamed in the same steps Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp and yes even Marshal Dillon.  There are a LOT of feed lots in Dodge City..just sayin!

Like to give a shout out to Ms. Roberta at the Wyatt Earp Inn in Dodge City.  She worked for 35 years at the local VA, retired and now runs the WE Inn.  She was gracious enough to provide me a  hotel stay and I really did appreciate it.  Spent Friday and Sat night there then moved to the Holiday Inn Express where they helped me out with a nice room for Easter.  Lonely Easter because it’s usually spent with family and friends, but after thinking how good I really have it and how all those deployed men and women are spending their Easter alone too…well, you get the picture.

Made it out of Kansas and into Oklahoma.  Spent a bit of time at the KOA in El Reno, OK.  They actually had a couple of bison in a corral there on the property.  Kind of cool to see them up close.  Made me think back to the old plains days and how much the buffalo meant to everyone back then.

The journey has been fullfilling thus far but last night I had the honor to have dinner with a Gold Star family, Mrs. Jenifer Allbaugh and her son, US Army Cpt Jason Allbaugh.  Her son and Jason’s brother, USMC Cpl Jeremy Allbaugh was KIA 07.05.2007 in Al Qi’am Iraq.  We had a great time and I thourghly enjoyed hearing all their stories.  I will post most of the whole experience with pics included in a separate posting when I can actually gather all my thoughts and do the Allbaugh’s justice.  They were such wonderful hosts and made me feel right at home.  Oh, and the dinner was FANTASTIC.  Grilled STEAK with all the trimmings!  Yum.

Being on the road with little or no interface with TV and internet (and sometimes cell phone) I never realized how “connected” to all those things I really was.  I miss the news, the updates and all the “Green Dots” too.  But life goes on and I can catch up.  Shout out to family in the Philippines, in Colorado, in Ohio and of course in NC!

Well, more to come later.  Just a short update.

Until then,

Forrest

Weather Delay!

Happy April everyone.  I hope April is finding everyone well and good.  Praying for those in Texas.  Weather is very unpredictable (except for Mr. Tony…he’s really, really good at predicting it) and the day before it was 78F and a bit windy but not too shabby all being said.  Yesterday afternoon the front came in and the temp dropped to low 30′s and rain all day long.  Little snow thrown in for good measure.  So I’m holed up in a hotel until at least tomorrow.  Hope the weather breaks!

Met some very nice young ladies at the Prowers County Public Health & Environment today.  Ms.

Jackie Brown was so kind to help me out with a room last night.  She invited me to her office this morning and I got to meet all these fine ladies.  They have a great big heart and it was so nice to meet them all.   The all promised to follow OHT via the web and send messages of encouragement my way in the coming months!  Meeting all these wonderful folks on my TREK is making this much easier.

I miss the family back home.  I guess, in a way, it’s like a deployment(a VERY small way).  It’s always good to text with the kids and they are all pretty good about that.  Text mind you, not actual speech!  You always miss the family, especially right at first, but meeting folks like these ladies along the way kind of makes it all better for a little while.

I can see (not really) the CO/KS border from here.  That will mark a HUGE milestone on my TREK.  I’ll finally be out of Colorado and well on my way.  Feet are holding up well, legs too.  Energy is still good.  Recharged both my mental state and my body by sleeping in a bed last night and actually having a toliet within 10 steps does wonders!

Small towns are the heart of America and the folks in them share all the same problems and worries we all do.  They all seem to hold a very special place in their hearts for our troops!  That’s been very evident from the people I’ve come across so far.

Got the “green dot” from Ryan last night again!  It’s always great to IM with him.  This time it was more than the normal 8 seconds.  We IM’d about so much and it was good to finally catch up!  The other one (as Matthew refers to himself) is in Indiana at an NCO Leadership course for the next two weeks.  Took the good ole C-130 and I thought I heard him fly over early this morning, I’m sure of it!  =)

Got all my dirty clothes together and went down to the laundry room, put the clothes in with no worry or thought to separating colors, put the laundry soap in and then the quarters and ….nothing.  Bummer.  Got my clothes out and went back to the room satisified with my laundry job…they at least smelled way better.  It’s the effort that counts, right?

Next stop KANSAS! 

Later,

Forrest a.k.a. Lorax

“Sunday” a day of joy!

I  don’t usually and probably will not in the near future post more than once a day, much less more than once in a week but since I need the practice and there are some very special folks that I need to give a shout out to I thought it would be OK this time.

KOA Kampgrounds has so far been a blessing to me.  I know they are all independently owned and run and each one is separate in their own right, but thus far, they all have been just simply amazing to me and they all support our military!  Starting with the Colorado Springs KOA just outside of Fort Carson, with my great friends Dan & Linda Scott and the Managers, Dennis and Y-Nette Shultz to the KOA in Pueblo with

Mike & Carolyn Stowe to the great folks here at the La Junta KOA, mother and daughter team, Penny and “Trouble!”, yep, that’s her real name!  All wonderful folks who never blinked an eye and went the extra mile to make sure my stays were confortable and easy!  Great folks all!

I know it’s going to be different down the road, with not knowing what’s really next up but open road but with great help from back home and actually all over the going seems like it going to be much easier.

Tony Hake, the webmaster and designer of the OHT web site, has helped in more ways that you can imagine.  Checking ahead, keeping everyone posted as to progress, answering posting to the web and other questions as they relate to OHT.  Amazing job Mr. T!

Tom Torres, F.O.B. Summit County, calling ahead and talking to relatives and securing me a place to lay my head!  Great Job Mr. Tom!  So much support from everyone all over.  I get so many emails and fb postings and they all lift my spirits and keep me so motivated.

John Cote, the main man who has done this before for Fisher House, has been my guide and mentor through all this.  Amazing is all I can say to you all.

Until next time,

Forrest a.k.a. Mike

Week “1″ down!

The road is way more lonely than I had originally thought.  Meeting great folks along the way, but their conversations and stories are all too short and all seem years ago.

Working my way EAST now so keeping the sunrise in my face and the sunset to my back.  I can only imagine how they did this kind of thing way back when, before airplanes, before cars and busses.  Slow, methodical progress.  Every day seems like the day before then you meet someone and all things change for the better.

Good words of encouragement from several folks, including Ryan over in Afghanistan.  That kind of stuff keeps the ole engine running and the gas tank full!  Had my first real breakfast the other day.  After hearing from Ryan (well, not actually “hearing” but IM’ing) and how they are all following my progress and they are all doing fine, I thought I’d treat myself to a nice couple of eggs, hash browns, bacon and a couple of pancakes.  Didn’t work out so well.  Most of it left on the plate.  Couldn’t eat…no special reason, just wasn’t hungry.  What I did eat tasted wonderful though.

Getting my supplemental nutrition form Max Muscle liquid vitamins and liquid Omega 3.  I feel good and not tired.  Feet are working great legs are holding up just fine.  I was warned that the first week is the most difficult.  Not physically but mentally.

I’m reading a lot more now, like in the old days.  Seeing sights I most likely would never see and that’s a good thing.  This country is the greatest country and it’s because of the people.  I firmly believe that!

I did visit Bent’s Old Fort and the history is amazing there.  What a place.  Met some great folks there.  Bob, who is the historian and tells all the good stories and facts about Bent’s Fort and Ms. Jody who runs the Book store.  Two great folks.  Bob even talked about his nephew who is a Marine!

Next spot down the road is Lamar!  Getting closer and closer to getting out of Colorado!  That will be a huge milestone!

Until then!

Forrest a.k.a. Mike

OHT Day 4 – “One step closer today than I was yesterday!”

Howdy folks:  Where do I really start.  I’m thinking I had better get some of this down before it slowly, or in some cases quickly, starts to fade from memory.  That sometimes happens, not often, but sometimes.

Day 04 and the TREK is going great.  Rhythm is slowly becoming routine.

Food is not an issue.  Daily intake for early morning rise for coffee (first), banana and instant oatmeal and Max Muscle provided vitamins.  Mid-morning break of 1/2 Zone bar or Larabar, lunch the same the I try and find a place to chow down with rice or pasta and chicken.  Lots of water too!

I sleep well at nights and awake ready to go.  I know that probably won’t last too very long but for now I’m going to go with it!

I have seem some amazing sites here in Colorado and met some wonderful folks!  I must give HUGE kudos to KOA Kampgrounds, especially Mr. Dennis and Mrs. Y-Nette Shultz of Legacy Colorado Springs KOA and Mr. Dan and Linda Scott of the same.  Great people all and big supporters of our military!  If you’re ever in the area, I stongly recommend stopping in, if only to say hello!

Air Force Academy was awesome as expected.  Such an impressive and beautiful campus setting.  Lots of good folks coming out of that place every year.

Made it to Pueblo, CO this afternnoon an thanks to Dennis and Y-Nette I have a room for a few nights here.  Can’t say enough about how generous KOA has been.

Next stop on the calendar is La Junta.  Hope to be there by 03 April.  Stay tuned.

Just a mention about my last night in North Colorado Springs.  That particular KOA is located just across I-25 from gate 20 at Fort Carson.  Seems as though they are preparing for an upcoming deployment so for most of the day yesterday, all night last night and again this morning the distant thunder of 155 Howitzers, hell fires from Apaches and or 120′s from the M1A2 tanks echoed in my ears.  You’d think it would be bothersome, but not for me.  It was actually very comforting, know that our young men and women about to deploy were preparing the best they could!  It was pretty awesome to me!

Until next post,

Forrest a.k.a. Mike

OHT Day 2 – Mike arrives at Fort Carson

Mike’s second day on the trail was a bit difficult thanks not only to the hilly Colorado terrain but 50+ mph wind gusts.  As he said, “I was either walking uphill or into the wind or both!”

While it wasn’t easy, Mike did indeed arrive just outside the gates of Fort Carson on Monday.  The owners of the Colorado Springs KOA have generously donated two nights of lodging for Mike.  Please be sure to thank them by visiting their facility if you are traveling through the area.

This is just one small example of the outpouring of support Mike has received along the way and he is very grateful for it all.  Mike reported, “I feel homeless but not helpless!  There are SO many great people out there and I have met so many on the walk.”

Mike will spend two nights in the Springs before moving on to Pueblo on Wednesday.  He is in need to lodging so please let us know if you can help.

Remember – Mike is making this walk to raise money for some extraordinary organizations.  Click here to learn more.

OHT Day 1 – Castle Rock, Colorado

Mike’s first official day on the road went well and he was aided by overcast skies helping to hold the temperature down.  He did however comment he would be anxious to reach the plains and flatter terrain.  ;-)   Total distance covered today was 16.78 miles as he arrived in Castle Rock, Colorado.  Tomorrow he starts heading toward the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.