Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Where's My Rock?

A worried Ted retreives his WOA Rock

Jim Cornelius with Ted in Sisters
At the start of Day 11 we got to do something very unusual. We got to sleep in! The reason, you ask? Ted had an interview in Sisters with Jim Cornelius of The Nugget at 10:00 AM. Also, it was in Sisters where we found out that The Oregonian, Portland’s daily had picked up Jennifer Moody’s story of Ted’s Walk Across Oregon. Nothing like a little publicity to put spring in your step!

After the interview we headed to the intersection of Hwys 20 and 126 where we had placed the WOA rock the evening before. But it wasn’t there. “Those kids”, Ted stormed, “Why couldn’t they just leave my rock alone?” He looked up and down the road and into the woods, but all to no avail. This went on for 10 minutes or so and then I happened to glance across the street, and there was the rock! It hadn’t been taken, only moved!

The "official" WAO Rock marks the spot

It’s just a rock, spray painted orange, with the letters W.A.O. written in with a felt tip pen. But to Ted it is far more than a rock. The rock marks the end of each day’s journey and I know it has symbolic meaning to him as well. Painting the rock kept him busy all spring as he lovingly put on coat after coat of bright orange paint. If I ever needed him out of the house, all I’d have to say is, “Don’t you need to go put another coat of paint on that rock?” And off he’d go, dutifully, to paint the rock.

Ted takes a break during our first "lunch drop"
Day 11 was also the day we came up with the “lunch drop” idea. We’d hoped this would be a time saver for me. Here’s how the “lunch drop” works......I would drop Ted off at the day’s starting point, we would then calculate how far he would be by lunch time, I would drop off a cooler with his lunch and a lawn chair at that point. Simple, yes, timesaving, we hoped.

The horse heads for the barn, Ted enroute to Redmond

This was the day that I personallly felt like “a horse headed for the barn”. You see, we were now in central Oregon, we were home! For the next six nights I would sleep in my on bed. It would be wonderful. So after our first “lunch drop” I was gone. Just like that horse headed for the barn.

At 3:00 P.M. I picked Ted up. He was almost to Redmond. This had been a difficult day. He was tired, his feet were swollen. No mountain passes to climb, but nothing had been easy. I’m sure the effort that it took to climb the passes earlier this week had caught up with him. So when I picked Ted up that afternoon, he too was like a “horse headed for the barn”. Take me home was his urgent request. That night he slept over 10 hours. But the next day he was up, ready to go again for Day 12 of the Walk Across Oregon.

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