Dan and Hannah Hike Lookout Mountain in Tennessee

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.


On August 28, 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered these momentous words in what is now known as the I Have a Dream speech.  Click here to see MLK give this speech.


As a Jersey boy, I never really knew of the location of Stone Mountain or Lookout Mountain.  Fact is, I wasn’t curious enough to even find out, and for that I am not proud.  While Stone Mountain is just to the east of Atlanta, it turns out that Lookout Mountain is on the Tennessee/Georgia border just to the southwest of Chattanooga, TN.   Today we have come to King’s Lookout Mountain to hike.


More than two months ago, Delta Airlines moved up our Saturday morning flight from Boston to Atlanta from 825A to 715A.  You might be thinking, Dan, my boy, what’s the big deal!  It’s just an hour and change.  True, it doesn’t seem like much, but it does mean that Hannah and I must awake at 245A for the drive from our home in York, Maine to Logan Airport in Boston 60 miles to our south.   At this point the universe sweetly steps in –  we now have a golden opportunity to hike in Tennessee this afternoon.

Travel Tip #1 – Fly early Saturday morning when you can.  In addition to avoiding the weekday commuter traffic getting to the airport, you will have a full afternoon to enjoy yourself wherever you land.


Hannah above the Tennessee River at Chattanooga

Escaping the noontime Atlanta city traffic on this first Saturday in October, we drive north on I-75 for nearly 100 miles to our overnight stay at a Comfort Inn and Suites in Dalton, Georgia.


Pesky parking meters

After a quick change to shorts and tee-shirts on this mid-70s day, we drive further north to the Tennessee border for Lookout Mountain.  Driving first up the mountain on the Scenic Highway, then turning onto West Brow Road, we see cars here, there, and everywhere.  Quarter-eating parking meters line the streets.

Finally finding a parking spot near the Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Center where the trails begin, we find we have nary a quarter between us.   While Hannah stays with our rental Hyundai Elantra to protect and defend our parking space, I go in search of two bits.

Travel Tip #2 – Save your quarters at Lookout Mountain.   I learn from a local proprietor that 75% of the parking meters are broken and no one checks them anyway.  He smiles and says, Enjoy your afternoon in the park.


With total confidence in the young man, we put on our hiking boots, I my Cabela hiking hat, and head to the ranger station.  Our trust is later rewarded as we have no parking ticket upon our return.


Travel Tip #3 – Talk to the park ranger before hiking.  Though I researched the hikes at Lookout Mountain online, I never got the excellent local knowledge or detailed map of the trails that I did from the ranger here on site.


Lookout Mountain was the site of an important Union victory over the Confederacy in November of 1863.  (By the way, on the 19th of that month A. Lincoln delivered his 272-word Gettysburg Address.)  This success lifted the siege of Union forces trapped in Chattanooga and opened the South to eventual Union victory.  Click here for the full story of this battle.

Travel Tip #4 – If 62 or older and dig our national parks, be ye a hiker or not, get a lifetime Senior Pass for a sawbuck ($10) for admission to every national park, monument, or battlefield.

Walking through the battlefield park, we see the expansive views to Chattanooga and the meandering, oxbow Tennessee River.  On this sunny weekend Saturday, the park is happy with people but in no way mobbed.


Descending a lengthy set of metal stairs, we plan for two hours of hiking on our way to Sunset Rock and beyond.  The trails have just enough people so we can ask the occasional fellow hiker to take a trail picture of us.  (By the way, we never say Cheese.  Rich, a wedding photographer/former classmate of mine at Arizona State, has his couples say Money.)  In return, Hannah always asks if the other couple would like one of themselves.  Most couples are surprised, then pleased, and finally say, looking at each other, why not?

With the trails of Lookout Mountain on the opposite side of the views of Chattanooga itself, we hug the mountainside just below the stone walls above us and the steep drop-offs beside us.  Very rocky on this lush Tennessee hillside, the trail is just wide enough for one, but it never seems perilous with the rich vegetation to our right as a buffer.


Soon we come upon twenty-somethings with ropes, carbineers, and courage, climbing the mountainside.  Belayed and tethered to the hooks in the rock, one young woman in the picture to the right is carrying on a conversation as she works her way up the vertical cliff.  Clearly this is not her first rodeo.


With access to 30 miles of bluff trails here on Lookout Mountain, we have a final stone stairstep climb to our destination at Sunset Rock.  And what do you know, there we see the same young woman near the summit.  Standing in awe of her nimbleness, confidence, and mountain climbing skills, we are inspired by her courage and adventurousness; but not enough to even think about trying it.

Travel Tip #5 – Hike the Lookout Mountain trails the first chance you get.

As best as I can tell, fifty-three years since the I Have a Dream speech, there is more freedom ringing out for Americans of color from Lookout and Stone Mountain than there once was.   As a Caucasian, born with opportunities many have not had, with good fortune beyond my dreams, I know that we still have a good ways to go for America to be a great nation with equal opportunity and justice for all.


High above the Tennessee River 

To let freedom ring, we must heed that Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dan and Hannah and their New Love – Pickleball


Just this past November, Hannah was leafing through the York Parks and Rec winter program guide and noticed “pickleball” among the activities.   She learned that York residents were eligible to play this paddle sport at the Kittery Community Center (the town to our south).  Knowing nothing of this game, we thought, What the hey, why not give it a shot?  Thinking that we, as modestly-skilled tennis and ping pong players, might take to the game, we showed up at the the indoor gym with three pickleball courts outlined in tape.

There we met the kind of teacher we’d like our grandsons, Owen and Max, to have.  Interested in us individuals, encouraging, knowledgeable, he gave us the time we needed to learn this paddle sport.  We had it all in Ted Welch, the pickleball ambassador.  Since then, we have met three other equally terrific and encouraging ambassadors, Roger Huppe and Bill Case here in Maine, and Laurie Lee in northern Georgia.


Pickleball court dimensions

Playing doubles, we quickly learned that the wiffle ball doesn’t bounce quite as high as a tennis ball; ergo we whiffed on a lot of shots getting our bearings.   The court is 2/3 the size of a tennis court with rules quite different from tennis or ping pong.  Click here for an overview of the new rules.

To begin, the game starts by one player serving underhand to the opposite quarter of the court.  The returner whacks the wiffle ball back and we as the serving team have to let it bounce before we can hit it.


The kitchen is that rectangular area on either side of the net.

Scoring points only when we serve, we learn we must stay out of the kitchen.  The kitchen (often referred to as the non-volley zone) is a rectangular area on either side of the net, seven feet wide from side to side of the court.  A player cannot step into the kitchen (the no volley zone) to hit a shot in the air.  She can step into the kitchen to play the ball off the bounce.


The red area is the kitchen on these outdoor courts.

Honing our game on the pickleball courts in Kittery, Hannah and I became regulars playing two to three times per week.  Learning among good folks made the process even more enjoyable.   When we brought our friends, Donna and George, and later our daughter Molly and her hubby Tip, for their introduction to pickleball, Ted and the Kittery pickleballers couldn’t have been more welcoming and encouraging.


Dan giving it the ole topspin as I approach the kitchen (the yellow line)

Lately, to step up our game, we drive 30 minutes to Saco, Maine to play with the morning pickleballers at XL Sports World, just off the Maine Turnpike.  As with Kittery, Saco is a venue where we have found a community of players, mostly card carrying AARP members, where everybody knows your name.

Not even a year into my pickleball education, I am learning the subtleties of the game – how to dink and how to hit the third shot better and better.   Dinking is hitting a shot just over the net into the kitchen so the opponents cannot volley and smash it.

As for the third shot, the serving team must let the return of serve bounce before playing on.  The third shot is similar to the dink as its purpose is to hit a shot just over the net into the kitchen so the opposing team cannot volley it.


Hannah ready to volley just behind the kitchen on the court in northern Georgia

I love the yin and the yang of pickleball.  I love the social as well as the competition.  I like hanging out with the good folks that seem to be the norm among pickleballers.  And too, I love developing my game to eventually becoming a solid 3.5 player (on a scale to 5.0).  I love having players better than I am to learn from – Pat in Georgia is such a person, Norm here in Maine is too.


Hannah above the indoor courts in Beaverton, Oregon

Another great thing about pickleball is that it travels so well.   This past May while Hannah was taking part in a voice rehabilitation clinic outside of Tampa, FL, I played pickleball in Hillsborough County four days in a row.  When recently traveling to Mount Rainier and the Columbia River Gorge, Hannah and I found a morning of pickleball in Beaverton, OR, within minutes of the Nike campus.  And just two weeks ago in northern Georgia, we were welcomed as family by the Yonah Mountain Pickleball Club.


(Click here to see the United States of American Pickleball Association (USAPA) site that helps anyone find games across America.  Select a state, then find a city, and voila you have the contact information for your next game of pickleball.)

Hannah and I bought two extra pickleball paddles for anyone who reads this blog and might want to join us for a game.  We’ll teach you the basics on the outdoor pickleball court just down the road from our house in Ogunquit.  Soon you just might be hooked on pickleball as we are.

PS  In the preview picture for this blog, Hannah and I are joined by our daughter Molly.

PSS  My favorite pickleball shirt to date says “Dink Responsibly.”

Dan and Hannah Nike, Pickle, then Hike the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon

NIke 1F  D and H at Nike entrance

Staying overnight with our niece Corrie and nephew Karl in Beaverton, a suburb of Portland, Oregon, we wonder what are our chances of seeing the Nike campus in town.  Thanks to Wayne who contacted Ron who arranged for Jane to give us a tour, we walk the college-like Nike campus on a 90F afternoon during the first week of June.

Nike 1DD  MJ on track

Hannah with Olympian Michael Johnson on the Nike campus 400 meter track

Athletic women and men in casual attire seem to be upbeat and happy to be enrolled at the 13,000 employee “Nike University.”   There is a full size 400-meter track here and employees have access to free bicycles to ride from place to place.  With five recreation halls with basketball courts, rooms for yoga, fitness centers, and the like, employees have a sweet place to work up a sweat.

NIke 1C  Tiger Woods in golf tees

In the Tiger Woods Center made entirely from golf tees

Learning that the campus is scrubbed clean of any mention of Lance Armstrong, we see the Tiger Woods Center standing proudly with this artistic rendering of Tiger, entirely created with golf tees.  It seems Mr. Armstrong lied face-to-face to one-time Nike CEO, billionaire Phil Knight while Tiger fessed up to his misdeeds.

Nike 1A  shoeboxes in back of van

When the business of selling shoes was run out of a Volkswagen van, graphic designer Claire Danielson designed the Nike Swoosh and was paid $35 for her creation.  At the time, Phil Knight said, I am not really sold on it, but maybe it will grow on me.  Upon arriving home, I read the New York Times bestseller, Shoe Dog (2016) by Phil Knight about the genesis of Nike.  Click here to learn more about the book, which speaks to us sports junkies of a certain age.  I loved it.

Nike pickleball

With an evening red-eye flight from Portland to Boston ahead of us this Tuesday, we have come to play pickleball at the indoor recreation center in Beaverton, not three miles from Corrie’s place.   Like I did recently in Tampa, I use the USA Pickleball site to find venues to play here in Oregon.  Click here to access this site to find pickleball venues.

NIke 2 Beaverton Pickleball

Pickleball courts in Beaverton, Oregon

Sometimes free, often for a nominal fee, pickleball sites are generally open to anyone traveling throughout the country.  Arriving at 930A, Hannah and I are welcomed immediately into a game of doubles.  Over the next two hours we play spirited games with a variety of skilled opponents.  Pickleball players for the last seven months, Hannah and I have a new love that is both a great workout and a place to meet active, friendly folks of our age.

Nike 3B  rainforesty trail with Hannah

On the trail to Elowah Falls

Showered and then fed by Corrie, we first nap, then pack up for a late afternoon waterfall hike on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge.

The Oregon (pronounced Or-a-Ginn) side of the Columbia River Gorge has waterfalls without end Amen.   We choose a pair of falls (Elowah Falls and Upper McCord Creek Falls) not far from Portland with 3.4 miles of hiking on the mountainside with just 600’ of elevation gain.

NIke 5B  Overlooking Columbia River

High above the Columbia River looking east on the Oregon side

Leaving the trailhead parking, we have 0.7-mile hike to Elowah Falls.   Climbing quickly into the forest on hard-packed dirt, we rise above I-84’s four lanes of commercial traffic and vacation seekers.   And then without warning, the smooth dirt trail turns mean, with sharply angled rocks.   But no matter, the slope of the trail is not steep, as we climb high above the mighty Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean.

Nike 3C  E Falls

289′ Elowah Falls in June

A series of switchbacks through the rainforest takes us down to an amphitheater canyon where the misty Elowah Falls drops gently off the mountainside, spraying the two of us.

NIke 5A  D at McM Falls

Dan with the Upper McCord Creek Falls in the distance

Hiking back a half mile or so, we turn up the mountain at the trail sign for the Upper McCord Creek Falls.   The steady climb on, again a rocky trail, is easy going without any huffing and puffing.

Nike 5 W and L with W and BE

Around the last turn the voluminous Upper McCord Creek Falls cascades higher up the mountain, above our previously viewed Elowah Falls.   With the trail ending above the falls a short while later, we spot a most appropriate landing spot on this horizantal branch to photograph our grandsons Owen’s Woodstock and Max’s Blue Elephant.  We love the W+L (our son Will and his wife Laurel) in our lives.

PS I emailed Volkswagen to confirm that the van with all the boxes of Nike running shoes was indeed a Volkswagen.  Here’s the response I got.

Reference # 160987898

Dear Mr. Rothermel,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us in regard to your recent visit at the Nike Campus in Oregon.

After researching further into this, I did stumble upon the story of Geoff Hollister traveling to track meets and selling Nike shoes from his van in the 1970s. Regretfully, we don’t have details here at Volkswagen of America to confirm whether Geoff’s van was indeed manufactured by Volkswagen.

I’ve never visited the Nike Museum so it was very cool to see the picture you shared. Additionally, I noticed links to your blog(s) included in your signature and after taking a closer look it seems as though you and your wife Hannah have enjoyed many wonderful travel adventures.

I apologize I didn’t have more information to share with you in regard to the van Geoff Hollister owned. However, you’re welcome to let me know if you have any other questions or need further assistance – I’m happy to help in any way that I can. 

Have a great weekend and I wish safe travels on the road ahead for you and your wife!

Kind regards,

Brittany A.
Customer CARE Advocate 


Dan and Hannah Hike the Fort to Sea Trail near Astoria, Oregon

FS John Wayne quote

John Wayne!  Got to love him!   Today John Wayne came to our rescue as we hiked on the Fort to Sea Trail to the Pacific Ocean.  Though THE John Wayne died, can you believe it, 37 years ago, a latter day incarnation saved our hike today.  Let me explain.

FS map of Astoria

Hannah and I have come to as far north and west in Oregon as you can to hike with Hannah’s college amiga Patty and her hubby Kent near Astoria.   On this first Sunday in June, we will hike from Fort Clatsop National Monument to the Pacific; the original fort was built by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark, .

FS lewis and clark

Commissioned by Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark were to search out a land route to the Pacific, to strengthen American claims to the Oregon territory, and to gather information about the indigenous inhabitants and the country of the Far West.  They built Fort Clatsop in three weeks to survive the winter of 1805-1806.    As a parting gift, Lewis gave Fort Clatsop to Coboway, the chief of the Clatsops

FS  Astoria with bridge

Astoria with the bridge over to Washington in the distance

More than a century and a half later, we have come to Astoria, a funky little town where it seems if you want to get away, you can get away.  It seems like a place where it would be easy to have the freedom to be yourself, tattoos, dyed and/or long hair, living in a van, and part-time work to give you enough time to feed your artistic or athletic passions.

FS 2D  four of us

Kent, Patty, and the Mainers

At the Fort Clatsop National Monument Visitor Center, our Senior Pass (a $10 lifetime pass for those 62 and older to all National Parks and Monuments) is good enough for us four to get our admissions waived.

The Fort to Sea Trail is a classic two-car hiking trail.   Initially, we drive our two cars to the “Sea” part of the trail at Sunset Beach and leave one car there.   Piling into our rented Kia Sportage, we four return to the trailhead at the visitor center.

FS 2B  more of trail

The trail begins in the Oregon forest of towering cedars and trail hugging ferns.  Pairing up, Hannah and Patty lead the way while Kent and I catch up on life, kids, challenges, and journeys.

FS 2CCC  H w blindfold

The trail is well-marked with signs to Sunset Beach at regular intervals.  Hilly without being mountainous, this 6.5-mile trail has us loving the cool coastal weather.   While we hike in the mid-70s, Portland, Oregon, 95 miles inland to the southeast, suffers through 102F weekend temps.   For the first week of June, the normal high for Portland is 72F.

FS 3  more of trail

On this hazy day, the humidity is not an issue, but our views to the forest below and to the ocean are, well, hazy.  The trail of hard-packed dirt and boardwalks is easy on the feet and the four of us pair off in a variety of ways to vary our conversations.

Two miles into our six plus mile hike, a lean half-marathoner runs by on his way to the Pacific.  As runners for 30 years, Hannah and I smile at a time gone by in our lives.  Running for us is no longer an option.  Paraphrasing Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, “we are gracefully surrendering the things of youth.”  Click here for the full text of the Desiderata.

FS 4 cow field

At the four mile mark we leave the forest for farmland and pasture hiking.  Crossing under Alternate US 101, we have a grassy 8′ wide right-of-way skirting the hay and cow fields of coastal Oregon.  Crossing Neacoxie Creek on a footbridge, we follow the fence lines across open pastures of grazing cattle.

As we are within a mile of the ocean, the aforementioned runner returns and says that he can’t get through to the ocean.  It seems there is one large ass cow protecting her calf smack dab in the middle of the trail.  The runner tells us that he tried to wait them out, but Bessie and Little Bessie were not moving.

FS 5 at loggerheads with cow

Bessie walking through the opening between the wooden pasture gates on her way to the barn

If Cupcake and her calf don’t move, we have a dilemma on our hands as our path through the farms is protected on either side by rusted barbed wire.  That is not good news as it would mean we have to hike a mile back to Alternate US 101 and take a two-mile detour along the highway to the beach.  This is where John Wayne (Kent) steps in.

FS  Cows

With all of us wondering what lies ahead, John Wayne, without blinking, strides purposefully towards the wooden gate where the mama cow checks him out.   He waves his hand and yells out, Get along.  We’re coming through.  The mother cow looks up, as if to wonder, Who made you the boss of the apple sauce?  and stays put.  As an experienced farm hand, Kent is not dismayed in the least.

Striding John Wayne-like, he never wavers as he moves forward with me in tow, a latter day Gabby Hayes.  As Kent approaches the opening between the wooden gates, what do you know?  Elsie and kid just start to leave towards the barn in the distance.  Kent just walks up to the belly of the beast (figuratively) and the beast backs down.  While Hannah dubs him John Wayne, the aforementioned runner is equally impressed and now scampers by on his way to the beach.

FS 6B P and H at beach

Winding through swampy terrain over the last half mile, we arrive after a little over two and a half hours of hiking at the parking area trailhead at Sunset Beach.   Retrieving the cooler from Patty and Kent’s car, we toast our John Wayne with a cold Dos Equis and feel we are in the presence of a modern day hero.

Dan Walks the Boston Marathon course for the Jimmy Fund 2016

Waking predawn to 42F on the kitchen window thermometer, I stretch, have my daily bowl of oatmeal with raisins and sunflower seeds, and think this is going to be a one helluva day.  More than the weather, which is predicted to be bright and sunny this early fall Sunday, I get to walk the final six miles of the Boston Marathon course to celebrate my fundraising for the Jimmy Fund of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Nearly five months ago, my weekly ping pong buddy, George Derby, asked me to join Team Barry as a fundraiser/walker.  As a great friend to George, Barry made it a party wherever he went.  I only met Barry late in his life when we played doubles ping pong together.  Though with great humor he fought cancer, Barry passed on more than a year ago.  We walk in his honor and to celebrate George’s life of being cancer-free.


Speaking of George, what do you think of this?   George has a button he will wear today that doesn’t say he is a cancer survivor; it says I’m living proof.   How cool is that!  Living proof that cancer can be beaten.

As of this morning I have raised 94% of my fundraising goal of $2500 by collecting $2360 from friends and family.   I am pleased that our in-laws, Paula and Bob and also Sandy, supported my walk.  Classmates from a hundred years ago at the College of Wooster and Arizona State University donated to the cause.  Our kids stepped up.  It’s all very cool.


George with our grandsons Owen to the left and Max

Today we walkers can choose to walk the full 26.2-mile marathon course, a 13.1-mile half marathon, a 10K of six miles or a 5K of three miles.   Our Team Barry led by Captain George chose to walk the 10K.  As such, I’ve been a slacker in my prep.   I figure I can walk six miles in my sleep since I hike, play pickleball, and work out at the gym.  I shall soon see if I am right.


Dan with Owen and Max at Boston College

Arriving at the Newton campus of Boston College, we five of Team Barry have stepped up and raised over $8865 as a team.   Then a great morning turned even better.  You see, our son-in-law Tip has brought our grandsons, Owen (4) and Max (2) for support.  While our daughter Molly and my wife Hannah are at a bridal shower, the three Rawding men take part in the pre-Walk festivities supporting their Poppa.


Our son-in-law Tip with Owen and Max supporting their Poppa

While the other four of Team Barry head out, I stay back with Owen and Max at the festive starting line as they drink the Gatorade, nosh on a banana, and save a small bag of natural vegetable sticks for later.

First posing with my grandsons and Tip at the starting balloons, we walk as a family to the course itself on Commonwealth Avenue.  With Max in a backpack, Owen skips along the stone wall to our right, which borders the Boston College campus.


In no time, we spot a sign for Owen’s Army, take pictures, and hug good-bye; they return to the starting line a mile away and I begin my 6.2 miles in earnest, hoping to catch the other four of Team Barry.

But truth be told, I am in no hurry.  In shorts and my Dana Farber Pacesetter tee shirt (I am a Pacesetter because I raised over $1500), I am loving life on a blue sky early fall morning.  With walkers to my front and back, I look for someone to talk with, just knowing that they will show up today; I don’t have to stress to find them. Very Zen!

Spotting three seniors who look older than the senior that I am, I soon learn they started in Wellesley, MA, where the half-marathoners began.  Impressed that they have walked this day 22 times, I feel rookie proud to be in their company.


Hair Cuttery spinning wheel

Soon we cross Commonwealth Avenue for the aid station at the 21-mile mark, meaning I have walked my first mile.  Fifteen port-a-potties greet the runners, but also the Hair Cuttery spinning wheel.  Always up for free stuff, I spin their dial, land on the lip balm, and then boldly ask for the sunglasses instead.   Like everyone at the Jimmy Fund Walk, they are agreeable, pleasant, and accommodating and give me the classy orange sunglasses without making me beg.


Grabbing a small bag of dried vegetable sticks, I head out for Boston, five miles away.  With college kids everywhere, supporting a friend or family member, they like me had to raise at least $300 to walk.


With 9400 other walkers who have raised over $8.3 million, I am always in the midst of energetic, good-hearted souls; it’s never crowded and once I come upon someone, I strike up a conversation.

I meet up with Barb (pseudonym), a nurse practitioner (pseudo-profession) and learn about her life and she about my family, where I’ve lived, and my career in education.  It’s all very pleasant, she’s cool, but then there’s the awkwardness.  You know…

…maybe you have been at a barbecue or cocktail party, and you just want to move on.  How does one disengage gracefully with a slower walker?  For me, I skip the BS of excuse making and just say, Good talking to you, nod and smile in appreciation, and motor on.


Break stops occur every mile with bananas, Gatorade, peanuts, peanut butter crackers, and bottled water; the ever present port-a-potties are to the back.  Easily distractible, I still have no idea where Team Barry is, but just amble on.


Fenway Park

Approaching Fenway Park, we walkers have agreeable Brookline officers, then smiling Boston police ushering us across the busy city streets at lunchtime on this first Sunday in fall.


Turning down Hereford Street to Boylston Street we are on the home stretch to Copley Square.  No is one nudging or sprinting as one might do in a road race.  As we walkers approach the colored balloons marking the end of our trek, I hear over the loud speaker at the finish line, “There’s Dan Rothermel of Team Barry.  He’s come down from Maine.  He is a Pacesetter and we thank him.”  Immediately, I wonder, How does he even know my name?  I smile at the unexpected attention.  And then it hits me.

I remember at road races in York, Maine where we live that the finish line announcer has a computer that he can punch in the bib number of any participant to get all the basic info that he wants.  It’s all very cool.  It’s one of the many nice touches done at the Walk.


Another nice touch is the Weathervane clam chowder waiting for all walkers at Copley Square; then there are the Domino’s Pizza slices, the Au Bon Pain apple Danishes, and the Stonyfield Organic vanilla yogurt that we five of Team Barry feast on.  It’s a day where each walker is treated like royalty.


Dan, Gerry, Gail, George, and Neila of Team Barry

Riding school busses 15 minutes back to Boston College, we all are a little mellower after three hours walking the streets of Newton, Brighton, Brookline, and Boston, Massachusetts.  In the bus I post a picture on my Instagram and Facebook accounts and am already thinking about writing this blog.

Fact is, hours after coming home, I order 45 Jimmy Fund Walk pictures from Snapfish to send with my thank you card to the many folks who have donated in my name.  Still pumped, I sit down before I head to bed and type out a first draft of the blog you are reading.

Reliving my day on the keyboard is just so much fun; it’s as if my face just swallowed a smile.  This is a Sunday like no other.


Captain George and First Mate Dan

If you haven’t and still would like to donate, click on this link to go to my fundraising page directly.   The Jimmy Fund is accepting donations for the next two weeks.  http://www.jimmyfundwalk.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1145126&lis=0&kntae1145126=60CDEA50E9FB48F28CAD9BC54338B563&supid=436593997