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“Rain, heat, books, … and you just cannot escape Donald Trump.”


Macedon NY August 15, 2023 (or, July 46th as we teachers used to call it when we were in denial about back-to-school-alarm-clocks.)



We are still picking our way across north central New York State. Sticking to the Erie Canal mostly. Once in a while we stray off, through a city (Syracuse) to cut some miles, though it adds some stress… walking busy city streets with the attendant traffic, danger, opportunities for wrong turns.



In Herkimer, we got a message from Duluth pal, Malcolm McCauley, who has a friend in town who is an artist—photographer and videographer. A video storyteller. We were deep in the throes of some high-mileage days, and heavy rain and honestly not in the mood for taking a metaphorical side street to meet up, and do some sort of possibly epic artistic project with someone we knew nothing about.

But, that’s just me being lazy and unwilling to be nudged off-course.

And it turned out to be awesome!



Corey Lehman is a former Duluthian who is traveling the world taking photos and telling stories. He got a spot in the historic Palmer House Hotel in Herkimer, where he is displaying his photos. He also helps restore the building, in the hopes of making it a place where artist and others can live and work.

Anyway, a short hour or two after meeting up, Corey had done a video and still photo story about our journey. He introduced us to his friend Pearson, who is also working on the hotel and is passionate about Harm Reduction. His enthusiasm is contagious and reminded us of why were dedicated this walk to help and remember people, like a few members of Pearson’s family who have struggled with addiction and overdose.

I’ll include Corey’s video story here.


Otherwise, it’s been the same old same old… walking, the constant eye out for places to stay.

We’ve been fortunate to land in some really cool spots (“really cool” defined as “not Walmart.”) like the Erie Canal Lock Parks. Some of them allow camping, even providing toilets and water. It’s kind of a turning a blind eye sort of thing these days.

If you’re on foot or a bike, no problem. But if you’re dragging around a little camper, it’s a bit harder to be discrete.

Last night we stayed in a parking lot across the street from the Lyons fire department. “Just try to be out before 9:00 am when the county employees show up for work.”

The positives? Free. Right across from a fun bar and pizza joint.

The negatives? The fun bar and pizza joint also had super loud karaoke until midnight. I slept about 3 hours.


And then there’s good old Donald. Even if you don’t look at the endless indictment headlines, there are still the yards and porches festooned with flags and signs. I mean, I just can’t imagine investing my entire life energy into a politician. Even someone as awesome as Trump!

I imagine some poor kid’s schoolbus pulling over in front of that shitty trailer with banners and flags proclaiming, “Fuck Biden!” “Don’t blame me, I voted for Trump!” “Let’s go Brandon!” “Don’t tread on me!” “2nd Amendment!” and, of course, the attendant confederate flag.

As if some (self-proclaimed) billionaire is going to lift them out of poverty, or even cares about them….

It’s sad when we find ourselves judging an entire community on a flag or two flying on main street.




The bodies are holding up for the most part. The pups are getting used to the 1000% increase in people and other dogs. Even Izzy seems to be thriving at times. Yesterday, when I went to grab her in a field in which we were walking, she looked at me and threw in one of her infamous evasive spurts, which in the past have evoked outbursts of violent swearing as I chased her around. Now, it’s easy to catch her, when I’m not laughing so hard that I can’t breath.




If you have ever been through upstate NY, you’ll have noticed that most of the towns are named after Greek/Roman/and other old world cities.

Ithaca, Utica, Rome, Syracuse, Macedon….




Two days later: August 18.

We are camping with the Macedonians now. It’s an awesome campground on a hill. Clean, quiet, over our budget, but after the last two nights (maybe a total of…6 hours of sleep?) we are happy to fork over our the big bucks. Last night we camped at Lock 30, supposedly okay for travelers of the canal. But, at 12:45 am the bright floodlight of a police cruiser swept over the camper. I grabbed my pajama pants and staggered outside without shirt or shoes.

The cop was friendly and understanding. He knew that the camping policy was in flux and that the online information was conflicting.

That was cold comfort for me, as I’m a fight or flight sleeper—easily awakened by the slightest creak, cry, bark, or change in wind direction.

Nietzsche wrote (and this is one the few quotes I can remember) “Blessed are the sleepy ones, for they shall soon nod off.” I listened as Julie soon lapsed back into gentle snoring, and watched as the light began to lift in the east.


We are 6 weeks and 700 miles in!

We've been meeting a lot of other folks on the trail, and it's great when they stop and chat. I love the curious part of human nature, and when someone rides past, and then maybe a block down the trail, does a u-turn to come back and ask about our journey. Yeah! Give in to curiosity! Here are a few...


(Hi, Bobbie!)

(I love these guys... retired, meet up every day to bullshit by the canal. Dick and Joe (I accused them of making up the names) Dick has never heard of Facebook.)


(Hi, Steve! Thanks for the watermelon... not!)

(Ran into this prospector. His? Her? They're? donkey had more personality.)

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