California Liberty March Journal- San Francisco (Day One)

There is just too much left to do here. I will be marching around San Francisco tomorrow again. I wandered around the civic center, the downtown district and out to Alamo and Haight-Ashbury.

When I was in the Haight-Ashbury area, there were a lot of people visiting, shopping, hanging out, and driving through. There were also some stern-looking cops walking around, or parked nearby. Hippies and tourists were everywhere.

On one street corner, a shop called, Ben Jammin was holding an outdoor music event. People were dressed in tie-dyed clothing; some wore rainbow wigs and headbands, and others were getting facial tattoos painted on. A really old lady was dancing around doing Flower Child gestures and moves as she listened to a young woman sing and play the guitar. Small children with tie-dyed clothes and face paint were getting their groove on. A very pregnant young woman with her belly exposed and painted was dancing with the children.

I took out my tablet to take pictures. A man who looked a lot like Bill Ayers was sitting under a portable canopy near the singer. He seemed disturbed by my presense with the flag. He got up and told a fat old man with a beard and a tye-dyed outfit to photograph me. I thought the fat man was Ben of Ben an Jerry’s. I just smiled and posed and asked if they wanted the message on my shirt to be visible.

The old fat hippie told me he was Bob, and he posed with me. I asked Bill Ayers to photograph me with Bob.

Bob then offered me a free hot dog, and told me he had attended over 5000 concerts. At least 350 of those concerts were by the Grateful Dead. Bob gave me another hot dog then wandered off to dance with some other hippies who arrived in Sixties-style outfits.

I wanted to proclaim the end of the Progressive Era, but no one else talked to me while I was on the corner of Haight-Ashbury. Thus, I couldn’t find anyone trustworthy to hand my tablet to so I could do it. I decided to walk on, passed the clouds of pot smoke, and along bus stops and grassy hillsides populated by homeless people, teenagers, and hacking drug addicts who were openly free-basing and snorting.

Later in the day, as I was walking from the Civic Center area to downtown, a homeless young woman yelled at me and told me to fly my flag upside-down. This irritated me at first. She then said it’s to signify that the nation is in trouble. She and several other homeless people were lounging on a park slope, complaining that the police rousted them, and kicked them out of the City Hall park. Apparently, there were two big events going on in neighboring buildings, and well-to-do were going to be in attendence.

l had seen several rich people drive by in the area. The men looked distinguished and moneyed, and the women were dripping with jewelry.

The young woman told me that she decided to become homeless after participating in a previous Occupy event. As she told me this, a man lying behind her would periodically grab her breast and gave it a squeeze. The young woman said she would rather live on the streets and do without frequent showers than be a part of what “feeds the system.” Apparently, she can’t do without Facebook. She told me to follow her. Her name is Anonymama.

After chatting with the homeless group, I walked downtown. It was 7 pm by this time.

There would a lot of interesting buildings to look at. As I photographed some of them, I was taunted or threatened by nafarious-looking men with sagging pants who spoke street vernacular. They congregated on the corners and in front of Cash/Western Union shops. One man was behind me, offering his friend $15 to “bitchslap this niggah (me).

I turned around, gave them a look that said, Well? Are you going to do it? I’m waiting. But they turned away and talked about something else.

I wandered for an hour, taking photos and wondering if anyone would ask me about my flag. No one had the entire day. And this is the most people I’ve been around at any given time during my marches. I went into a Starbucks to recharge the tablet and to upload photos to Facebook.

From there, I walked in an arc back toward the 24 Hour Fitness club where I had started from, on Van Ness and Post.

As I was just walking up to the gym to call it a night, a slightly inebriated man named, Larry saw me, my flag, and my shirt message (Protect the Constitution), and he said, “Yes!”

He shook my hand and told me he was once very liberal. Now, he identifies as a libertarian (though he qualified that by saying he’s actually more conservative). He once had long hair, piercings, and thought like a Progressive. Now, he has sort hair, dresses like an average working-class stiff. He is a teacher now, who works with “problem” kids (aka gangbangers and kids from poor, troubled homes).

Larry says he doesn’t like how intolerant the city and its liberal citizens have become. They are tolerant only of what they believe in. He supports gay marriage and is “Pro-Choice,” but he also believes in the Constitution and in the Second Amendment. He owns a gun, in part because of what he does for a living. But he was emphatic about his belief that citizens have the right to keep and bear arms. He has always thought of the Constitution as sacred.

Larry voted for Obama because he hated Bush. But, he soon saw what a disaster Obama is, and didn’t vote for him again. Now, he hates what Obama’s doing to our country and our Constitution. Larry supported the Occupy Movement but disagreed with its focus, and confrontational manner toward the police and others.

One thing Larry was amazed about was how the media has been protect Obama, and yet now have found out that the AP’s  information was secretly taken by the Administration.

Larry and I shook hands, agreed that we love American and are proud to be Americans. Then, I rolled up my flag and walked into the parking structure.

Tomorrow, I will video my proclamation and then march northward to the Presidio, and then across the Golden Gate Bridge.

California Liberty March Journal – Day Eight

This California Liberty March was on Saturday April 27th, from California State University Long Beach to Torrance Park in Torrance. Of all of the marches I had done to this point, this was the march during which I felt I actually made an impact on someone’s life.

That morning, I drove from Orange and parked on Bellflower, near one of the university entrances. I got ready, stretched, and headed off toward PCH.

It was a nice day, and I thought it was going to be a pretty boring one; considering the university was closed (and so, there wouldn’t be students around to engage me in conversation). Also, the route I had planned out passed through a very long stretch of industrial zones.

Various Encounters

While I was making my way through the college residential areas, a thin blonde college girl came jogging toward me. She was listening to something on her headset. She had a very serious expression. She looked at me and said, “God bless you,” and ran by.

During every march, I have to continually look up and adjust the tilt and angle of my flag pole so that the flag won’t get caught on tree branches or stop signs, and so that it won’t flutter into other people’s faces as I passed them. This makes my neck and shoulders sore. But, it has strengthened my hands and forearms.

As I marched on this day, a number of cars honked and people waved. It’s always nice when someone does that. It gives me a lift to see someone smile, and it makes walking on sore feet much less arduous.

As I was leaving the apartment building-heavy college area, I reached a commerical area with fast food places, office buildings, and older homes. I was on a corner, about to cross the street, when a man rode up behind me and asked about my “cause.” I told him the abbreviated version. He told he was a Viet Nam vet. I took out a card and held out to him. Instead of taking it, he smiled and held out his arm, his hand balled up into a face-down fist. Awkwardly, I gave him a fist bump and he rode off. I put my card back in my pocket and crossed the street when the signal indicated it was safe to walk.

After awhile, I entered an area with thrift stores, and shabby shops, and even older houses. This led to a low-income business district.

I passed a car wash business where eight Hispanic men were leaning against the gate, talking.  The first one I came to saw my flag and asked me something in Spanish that I didn’t understand. Interestingly, they were all smiling broadly at me and pointing at the flag. One thanked me for carrying the flag.

A block later, I heard someone across the street call out to me. “Excuse me, sir. Do you have a minute?”

I stopped and Ken, a thin, muscular thirty-something black guy with glasses, ran across the crosswalk. He wore a loose blue tank top and shorts. As he approached, he said, “I wanted to engage you and ask why you felt the need to do this…”

I was not sure what he meant by the question since his tone wasn’t aggressive. I handed him my card and told him my objective in Sacramento. Before I had a chance to ask him what his questions were, he saw that his bus was coming, and he ran off.

Dave K., a Tea Party activist who lives in Orange County, and who had called me the day before, called again. He was driving to where I was so he could march a bit with me. I gave him my general location and kept walking. The area I had been walking in was pretty blighted, and had started becoming industrial.

Omar

A young man, no older than eighteen, rode up on a bicycle and asked me what I was doing. He had a heavy Mexican accent and spoke in a lazy manner, so I had to ask him to repeat himself twice. He listened to my spiel and looked amazed. I asked him his name and he said it was, Omar. He pointed to a shop down the road and told me that it was his sister’s sewing shop.

I continued to tell him about what the Constitution was and about the concept of inalienable rights, and how no one, not a president, not a congressman, and not a bureaucrat has the constitutional power to take away our rights. He asked me who I was and I told him I was nobody, just a dad who has had enough of corruption and abuse of power by our politicians. He then told me that he had a son. For a moment, I was stunned. Omar was not much more than a boy. With a boy of his own.

Suddenly, I looked Omar in the eye and told him that he, as a father, had an obligation to teach his son about the Constitution and about his rights. Omar sat rapt, as if I were bestowing upon him a sacred obligation. Omar promised he would. I wished him luck and said good bye.

Dave K.

Thereafter, I walked along a heavily-traveled part of PCH where freight trucks passed and blared their horns for the flag I carried. There were refineries and train yards on either side of the road. As I was crossing I-103, Dave K. drove by, videotaping me as I limped along. By that time, my soles were burning and it felt like I had a large blister on the pad of my right foot.

Three motorcycle riders rode toward me. The one in the middle took his hands off the handlebars, sat up, put his left hand on his hip and extended his right hand straight out for a moment before bending it and extending it out again into a Hitler Salute. Then, he leaned forward and they rode past me. That was a surreal sight and I was mildly disturbed.

I walked down the side of the overpass and met up with Dave a half mile later. He called out my name and I turned to see him walking toward me with an armful of flags, banners and a sign. We introduced ourselves to each other, and then Dave started videotaping me for his own blog. When he was done asking me questions and adding his own comments, we started marching together.

Just then, a city bus pulled over and stopped on the corner, past the bus stop. The bus driver, a large black man with a big grin on his face leaned over and asked what we were doing. I rushed over, handed him my card, and loudly told him and his passengers that I was marching for the Constitution and for all of our civil rights. At this he said, “Right on, man!”

We waved good bye to each other and he drove off.

Then, Dave K. and I walked toward Torrance. As we did, a well-groomed Mexican barber walked out of a business establishment and gave us a look. He, too, asked what we were doing, and so we told him. I wasn’t sure what his reaction was, as he seemed perplexed and perhaps a little intimidated by our act of protest. Still, he nodded and walked to his car.

Dave K. walked about a mile with me, took some photos, then had to head back to his car in order to get to work.

More Encounters

After he left, an old Mexican man, who I shall henceforth call, El Borracho, walked toward me, gestured to the flag and said something in Spanish about “Residents…” and “…the flag…” before muttering in disgust and waving me away in a dismissive manner. That was the first time I actually felt angry about someone’s response to my march. Earlier, two people in cars had driven by and yelled, “Mexico!” as they did. Those were annoying. This man’s response was just plain confrontational and rude.

As I was about to walk over another canal bridge, someone on a bicycle came to an abrupt stop just behind me. I turned, startled and was about to apologize, when I saw that it was Omar from miles earlier. He beamed, as he breathlessly held out a cold bottle of water. I thanked him for his kindness and he smiled before riding back. I was amazed that he would ride all that way to do that.

He must have been following me for sometime, because I read on Facebook after the fact, that Omar had also given a bottle of water to Dave K. as he was walking back to his car.

Later on, as I was walking briskly despite foot pain, I was making good time. A garrulous fellow named Tim J. from Tampa Bay, saw me coming and he gave me the thumbs up. He was talking on his cellphone and when he finished, he ran up to me and said, “Mister Patriot man.”

“I’m making to demand that our politicians and all appointed officials uphold their oaths of office and protect our civil rights,” I told him. After hearing this, he walked along with me for several blocks, and told me about himself.

Apparently, Tim J. felt that his life would have taken a much different path had the Sheriff’s Deputies in Tampa not been #@*&!s. He told about his troubled youth and of persecution by local deputies who abused they authority. As a result of his rebellious behaviour, and, perhaps due to his crack addiction (and other foibles), Tim J. had ended up in prison. Twice. He hqad a boat in Tampa Bay, but is now a fisherman in Long Beach.

Despite his troubled past, Tim J. recited his life’s motto as a rap. I remember something about his future being his destination and that destination was going to be bright.

After Tim J. met up with a man on a bicycle who offered to sell me a cell phone for $10, I continued toward Torrance.

An hour later, a thin sinewy cyclist named, Jeff rode up and stopped next to me. Again, we repeated the cycle of Question and Answer. He told me that he was on mental disability, and he had lived in the area for decades. He told me that the majority of Hispanics in the area were very patriotic. As I told him that our rights are God-given and inalienable, he asked me if I was “Born-Again.”

I said, actually, yes. But I wasn’t sure what I had said to lead him to ask that particular question. He told me that he was no longer was religious, per se, but he felt that the problem with America started in the Sixties, when God was removed from schools.

We walked a long a bit until he finally hopped onto his bicycle. He was wearing cyclist garb, so, as he sped off, he looked as if he was trying to catch up with others in a race.

The Final Stretch

I headed north from PCH to Sepulveda. An hour or two later, after walking west again on Sepulveda,  I finally reached the turn from Sepulveda toward Torrance Park. My feet were absolutely burning with pain.

I limped toward my friend Dan’s car, relieved. He had driven to the park to pick me up. He patted my back as I sat in his car, and then he drove me back to where my car was parked by CSULB. After that, we drove back to his house in Orange.

I took a shower and examined my feet. On my right foot, I saw that my foot pad had a large oval blister with a bubbled blister on to of it. My right heel and Achilles tendon were enflamed. On my left foot, there were small blisters on the toe pads. Both feet have Plantar Faceitis (which makes the tendons in the arches feel tender and painfully stretched out.

I knew I couldn’t continue walking on my feet and risk getting an infection. Because of the Diabetes, it now takes my body much longer to heal when I get cuts, insect bites, etc. If I get an ulcerated infection on my feet, I risk amputation. I knew this going into this endeavor. I just hoped it wouldn’t happen.

It was only 8:30 pm on Saturday night, and Dan, his wife and I were all tired. So, we retired for the evening. I updated FB and Twitter, then went to sleep in the trailer (this time, with the door closed).

Next Stop: Bummersville

The next morning, when I went to blog, I couldn’t. I was so discouraged that I couldn’t walk. I didn’t want to quit and had thought about marching on crutches. But, I realized that that was not really a solution. I would just end up injuring my arm pits and hands. Then, I decided that I would push myself along on a wheel chair. I was determined not to quit until I was absolutely unable to continue.

I spent the day at my friend’s home in Orange, and relaxed. Dan and his friend, Stew (sic) brewed beer in the backyard. I finally started blogging about the march from Newport to Orange. I had received a phone call from Robert P. the day before, telling me he was going to donate money for a Liberty March banner. So, I was online trying to find a company in the area that could do one for me. But, it was Sunday, and almost nothing was open that day in Orange.

Dan and his wife Deb kept telling me not to attempt a 20-mile march on a wheelchair. They pointed out that I would only injure my back and hands, and, I wouldn’t be able to go that distance in a day. After we thought it over, Deb offered me the use of her Townie cruiser bicycle.

After thinking about it, I thought that that was the only practical solution. But, I said I would ride 40-miles per march day, to make up for not walking them. That would also solve the problem I had of not having rides lined up on most of my routes back to my car.

I decided to cancel the Pasadena to Burbank march so I could rest. I was exhausted from the pace I had been keeping over the previous two weeks. I would just add another march day sometime during the next four weeks.

That night, I spent the night in the trailer again, and wondered if I was wimping out.

Palos Verdes

For the past two days since leaving Orange, I have been staying with a high school friend and her husband in Palos Verdes. They live in a magnificent home in an exclusive estate community in the hills of Palos Verdes. It is a beautiful place. There are white picket fences around homes that have horses grazing on grass. And, wild peacock roam freely.

Both Greg and Tracy are Conservative, and have, in the past, invited me to visit with them. I figured that since I was in the area, that I would take them up on it. I had decided to cancel the Pasadena to Burbank march in order to rest my feet another day. I spent the night here and this morning, I tried finding a place to get my banner done.

Today, my feet felt a lot better and I was able to walk on them a bit more. Greg is a spinal surgeon and Tracy is a Pharmacist. Greg examined my right foot, said, “Yup those are blisters,” and then gave me some over the counter medication for pain and inflamation. Tracy gave me moleskin, which is supposed to prevent blistering.

Greg cooked tonight and served up a delicious roasted chicken, asparagus, small potatoes, artichoke, and baked cauliflower. Cooking is one of his passions. It was absolutely delicious.

Tomorrow, when I do the march in Los Angeles from Venice Beach to Hollywood and Vine, I will do so on foot. If it becomes too excruciating to walk after that, then I will have to do eight marches on the bicycle until my blisters dry up and my feet heal.

Tracy works in Little Armenia by Hollywood, so after I am finished marching, she will drive me to my car in Venice Beach.

Good night…

California Liberty March Journal – Day Seven

This California Liberty March was April 26th from from Newport Beach to Irvine, then to Tustin and ending in Orange.

After spending the previous day in San Diego for the last time before heading northward for a month, I drove up to the Old Towne Plaza in the city of Orange. At the center of the plaza is a small, circular park with a fountain, benches, and large trees rising up. Around this park, cars drive around in a circle, with streets leading into it from the north,west, south, and east. My longest friend, Dan Triple D (Diaz deLeon) met me at Two’s Company, a small cafe along the rim of the Old Towne Plaza circle.

Old Towne Orange

This is information about the plaza and the surrounding area, that I copied and pasted from the city web site: The Old Towne Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 and includes more than 1,300 homes and other buildings. It is approximately one square mile in size, making it the largest National Register district in California. The district provides a feeling for life in Orange from 1888 to 1940, showcasing over 50 different architectural styles. The complete stock of buildings which are a part of the Old Towne community is complemented by the churches, schools, old Santa Fe Depot, Post Office, packing houses, industrial buildings, clubhouses, and parks which still remain in active use since their establishment in the early part of the century.

Fifteen years ago, Chapman University was a small college. Now, it an accredited university with a sprawling campus that dominates the Old Towne District. It owns many of the commercial properties in Old Towne that display Classical Greek Revival architecture motifs, as well as other architectural styles.

The last time I visited my friend Dan was about four years ago, for twenty minutes. My daughter Willow had a modeling audition in Los Angeles, and so she and I stopped by for twenty minutes to visit with Dan. Because the visit was so brief, I didn’t get to see how beautiful Orange is (Now that I have been staying up here for three days, I am sad leaving it).

Old Towne Orange is the quintessential patch of Americana that one yearns for when thinking of a slow-paced place to move to, where neighbors know you and you know them, and where leafy trees along well-maintained sidewalks provide shade from the blaring light of a cynical modern world. It is the nostalgic Willoughby out of the Twilight Zone episode of the same name.

As soon as I arrived in Orange, I parked my mini-van on a side-street near the town center, and Dan gave me a ride to Newport. As he drove, he told me about his decision to embrace Humanism as a way of life. I was curious about Humanism really was, since I’ve seen the term for years, but had never read up on it. Dan seemed, for the first time in a long while, happy.

How I Got My Faith

Over a year ago, when I was utterly depressed and despairing because of chronic pain, unemployment, and spiritual crisis, I had started praying. I felt really awkward about it, as I would speak aloud and talk to someone I wasn’t really sure even existed. But, still, I prayed. And nothing happened. I kept praying, day after day. And still, nothing happened.

I lived with the symptoms of uncontrolled Diabetes for about ten years before I was finally diagnosed as diabetic. Those symptoms had caused me to become even more over-weight, sleepy, irritable, and miserable. “Irritable” was the medical term, but in truth, what I was was a raging bastard. My emotions fluctuated based on how much pain I was in at a given moment, how loud things were around me, how much sleep I had managed to get despite the insomnia, and how many cover letters and resumes I had managed to send out.

Consequently, I had become the very thing I always feared in life: a failure and bad father.

This led me to feel ashamed and then, despairing. Thus, in the depths of all of this, when all I wanted was for my painful existence to end, I decided to not give up. I loved Life and my children too much. I didn’t want to die and leave them with the memory of a father who gave up on himself and them. Besides, our family motto is: Never give up and never surrender. So, I started praying.

One day, my wife told me to go out a find a job, any job, as my unemployment insurance was about to run out. I had been on it for almost two years (the maximum allowable time period), and still had not found a job. Only three times during those two years had I finally had interviews. One of those interviews required me to fly (on our dime) to Iowa. It was for an Instructor position at a Community College 3D Animation program. Didn’t get it. Another interview was not too far away from home, at a social media game development company. But, the instant I got there, I doubted I was the “right fit.” Everyone there was twenty or more years younger than me. By the time I got home from the interview, I had already gotten the “Thank You for Application But…” e-mail. The third interview was for an Instructor position at an ITT Tech in Tucson, AZ. I drove seven hours only to learn that it was a temporary, part-time position for a program that was going to be phased out.

So, needing more income, I went out and got two jobs: one working mornings at a Barnes and Noble and the other working almost full-time at a digital print shop. I should have been happy about this, but really, I was miserable. And terrified. It had been so long by that point since I was on my feet, that I couldn’t imagine how I could stand for hours on end at a job. It literally made me nauseous thinking about it. So, I kept praying.

And nothing happened. Everyday, when I went into work, I plastered a smile on my face (when all I wanted to do was weep from physical pain and from the knowledge that I was earning minimum wage once again), and I performed mindless, repetitive tasks that only reinforced the deep sense of futility I already felt.

When I wasn’t working, I cocooned. I sought escape from my pain in the oblivion of sleep. None of my coping mechanisms worked for me. In fact, I actively rejected them all. I wanted to change. I wanted to leave behind those things I had up to that point relied upon to avoid reality and responsibility and pain. No more writing stories, or designing games, or animating, or daydreaming. Those were things to be eschewed in place of “adult” thoughts and responsibilities. I was determined to leave Old Roger behind and to become a Man.

But, no matter what I did at work, and how much I prayed, nothing changed. I was lost in a Sisyphean spiral.

Still, I prayed. Because the one thing I had always wanted, since I was a boy, was to be a man of faith; a true believer of God. I had always admired men of faith, and I wondered at the things they accomplished through self-denial and piousness; all in the name of a benevolent and loving God. To me, attaining faith was the pinnacle of human achievement, because it meant having the courage to trust.

Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was changing. One afternoon, when my wife asked me if one of my crummy little paychecks had come in, I excitedly reached for it and proudly held it out to her. I was contributing. I was proud – a feeling I hadn’t felt in years! It was at that moment that I realized that God had answered my prayers: by not answering them.

I realized then that I had finally become a Man of Faith. Because, even though I had been for so many years at my lowest, and all I had wanted to do for a while was to die, I still chose to believe in God. The true test of faith is not when things are good or even when they are bad; but, when they are truly horrible, and you still want to believe.

Since that moment, all self-doubt has vanished. The depression and spiritual anguish has disappeared. Since then, I have felt the capacity to feel something I have never been able to do: To trust.

I have since been trying to make amends to my family for being “irritable” and unemployed. It hasn’t been easy, as they no longer trust me. And, knowing that this breaks my heart.

But this is the New Roger, and I will never again go back to that dark, dark place. I am determined to improve and to use the gifts that God gave me (the ability to write, to design games, to motivate and entertain others, to teach and learn) to achieve my potential. I am going to achieve my purpose.

Sooooooo, all of THAT is what was running through my mind as Dan and I were driving to Newport. As a result, when he dropped me off at the Newport Pier, I didn’t realize I was actually miles away from the actual starting point of this day’s march.

Balboa Island

After Dan drove away, I walked over to the entrance of the Newport Beach Pier. It was a sunny, breezy morning, and I could see sail boats offshore. I lay down my backpack and walked up the pier to take a quick photo. As I walked back to my pack, a chubby, bearded man in a bathing suit, who was holding the hand of a toddler, saw me pick it up. Clutching at his breast bone in relief, he told me he thought it was an explosive backpack. I assured him that it wasn’t, and he waddled off.

I forgot about taking out my tablet in order to get my bearings. I had needed to determine how close I was to Pacific Coast Highway, and the start of my march. But, I was still shaking my head at the over-reaction by the father to whom I had just spoken. So, I just set off on my march, thinking I could get my bearings soon.

I walked and walked, thinking I was on PCH. In reality, I was heading south into Balboa Island. From the street, I could see a multitude of sails from boats just offshore, near the beach. I walked to the sand’s edge and took a photo of the regatta. I then uploaded the photo to Facebook. Then I kept walking.

I noticed that the name Balboa was all over the place, and I wondered if this was the name of a town, or something.

When I stopped to ask someone how close I was to PCH, the young man said, “Oh, you are way off. You have to take a ferry across to the mainland and walk up the hill, past those houses over there.”

Lost and Found

Once again, I told myself to use my digital tablet sooner. But, I was so happy to be walking in Orange County (especially after the dreary walk in Riverside County), that I just wanted to go with the flow. Even though the sole of my right foot felt like a flat tire and it burned, my pace was brisk. I walked toward a ferry port and waited for it to return to that side. As I stood there, I received a call on my cell phone from Dave K. in Orange County. He wanted to march with me a bit while I was in his area. He told me that he had called the Orange County Register and asked them if they would do an article about me. Consequently, he said, a woman named, Kim would be calling me.

I took the ferry across the small bay and walked through a seaside village with cottage-style houses, and then up a main street lined with eclectic beach shops, restaurants, boutiques, and a Starbucks.

I asked an older woman to hold my flag so I could enter the small Starbucks location to get something to drink. She gladly agreed and I went in and bought two Izze orange sparkling waters. When I went outside to retrieve my flag, I thanked the woman, who was clad in cycling clothing and helmet. Next to her, dressed the same way, was her husband. He was very distinguished-looking and reserved.

I sat on the bench next to them, and excitedly told them about my goal to reach Sacramento. The woman was very interested but I could tell that her husband was probably thinking to himself, “Why did you have to agree to hold this nut’s flag..!?”

I opened the first of the Izzes, took a drink, and said good bye. I walked up a hillside with residences until I finally reached PCH, and headed south.

After two minutes, I received a call from Kim at the newspaper. She interviewed me for a half hour as I walked. I had been trying to finish drinking my first Izze but had been talking and juggling my flag and the bottle. So I stopped and continued the interview for another half an hour. Cars drove by, honked, and I waved.

When the interview was concluded, Kim told me that she would try to meet up with me somewhere along my route. I was happy that someone in the American media had finally responded to my march. So, I walked. And walked.

Eventually, I came upon a SUV parked along the curb. Inside of the car was a good-looking, smiling man who lowered the passenger-side window and leaned over to give me a cheer. Behind him was a large dog in the back, that was resting.  I stopped and handed the man my card.

He came out of his car, and asked if he could take a photo of me and of my card for his blog. As I told him what I was doing, he said, “Then you’ll like my bumper stickers…” He lead me to the back and I saw that there were a lot of surfer stickers, Christian stickers, and two stickers about Ronald Reagan. Steve told me he is from Michigan. He has a place in Newport, as well.

Very tanned and relaxed, he was wearing a tee-shirt and shorts. I instantly liked his demeanor and manner of speech. As I explained how I was going to be away from my family for a month, I also told him told him about the effects of my Diabetes on my health, on my attitude, and on my behavior toward my family. I got choked up and suddenly cried for a moment from guilt and shame (fatigue makes me emotional, I guess). Steve gave me an understanding look and walked up, placing a hand on my arm. May I pray for you?” he asked.

I nodded and he said a very beautiful impromptu prayer about there being no coincidences in life, and about how people meet for a reason. He asked that I be blessed and I have a safe journey. After we said, Amen, I thanked him for making me feel a lot better. We parted ways and, once again feeling very happy, I walked.

After a mile, I saw a Verizon Wireless across the street. I crossed the street, escorting a very elderly couple who had praised the flag. Inside, I used my tablet and realized I had walked too far south.

I back-tracked and headed Northeast. I then wandered through the Newport / Harbor Island mall area. I passed by some restaurants and there was a sign outside of one that said, “Employee of the Month: MIA. For a moment, I was confused. Missing in Action..?  I started laughing at myself, and at the absurdity of someone rewarding an employee for being missing in action for a month. I laughed so hard, people who passed me must have thought I was a kook.

I walked until I saw a 24 Hour Fitness that was part of a green-glassed business complex. I went in, used the bathroom and then sat outside, in the business building plaza, where there was a complementary wi-fi area. I updated my progress and relaxed for ten minutes.

Now knowing exactly where I was headed, I walked into Irvine. I received honks and thumbs up and waves all morning. It was about 3 pm by this time.

As I was nearing UCI, a blonde twenty-something year old woman walked around the bend before me, coming from a shopping strip mall, and she called out my name. Kim had found me and wanted to walk for a while with me. As she did, she asked more questions and took photos. I waved at cars and they honked back. After ten minutes, she said good bye and returned back to where she had parked.

I then reached the medical center on the outskirts of UCI. I met a man in scrubs who walked two blocks with me toward the main campus.

University of California at Irvine

I passed some residence apartments, looking for some place to stop at for food. I came across the bronze statue of the school’s mascot, the Anteater, and so I took a photo of it and of the Theater Department nearby. I found a cybercafe and went in. I spoke with an Asian college student behind the counter. He asked me about my flag and tee-shirt (it said: Liberty-March DotCom). I ordered some food and started to tell him about the march, but the discussion was brief. Another customer had came into the line.

When I sat down on a sectional corner couch, there were three college girls near me talking about Grey’s Anatomy. One of them said something about no longer watching the show because of the ridiculous plots. As I was updating FB with my tablet, I smiled at what they were saying. She saw my smile and told the other girls. I told them that my wife used to watch that show, as well, and that I had stopped watching it several years ago, after a non-recurring character was turned into pink mist when the bomb he was carrying away blew up.

When I was finished eating my sandwich, I left to reach the Irvine residential area I needed to cross in order to get to the outskirts of Tustin.

As I walked into Irvine, I noticed how well-maintained the area still looked since the late Seventies. Big houses, broad streets, parks and open spaces. Very nice.

I got to the Irvine Civic Center, took a photo, uploaded it, then and walked until I got to Star Bucks on Barranca and Von Karmen. There, I updated my progress and rested my burning feet. By that time, the flat tire and burning feeling on my foot sole turned into excruciating pain. So, I had been limping along for a while. My right heel and Achilles tendon were very sore.

Since night was falling, I hurried up and finished my danish from Starbucks. I was concerned that I wouldn’t get to Orange until Midnight Outside in the parking lot, a tall handsome young man named, Will was getting out of his car, accompoanied by his very pretty girlfriend, Audrey. Will stopped me and politely asked what my goal was in marching with the flag. I told him about my mission. Both he and Audrey seemed really amazed by this. I gave them my card, and, as I turned away from them, I saw a police officer had driven up and parked nearby. He was scrutinizing me, and probably thought I had accosted the kids to ask for money. I smiled at the police officer but he just gave me the once over.

My Own Paparrazi

I walking for an hour more toward Santa Ana, and has just reached the intersection of Red Hill and Barranca. I was almost to Tustin. By this time, it was 8:30 pm. I was four hours away from my destination. As I was turned to head east, I heard some voices behind me. As I turned to look, I saw Will and Audrey bum-rushing me. Each had a camera with large lenses. Breathlessly, they smiled and told me they had driven home to retrieve their cameras. They wanted to take some photos of me. So, I agreed.

I jokingly scolded Will about chasing down some crazy middle-aged man with a large flag on a Friday night. “This is a terrible date, for Audrey, Will!”

As they took photos, I spoke to each of them about rights and the Constitution and about current events. They asked me what the hardest part of what I am doing this was and I said, “Stopping. Because then the foot pain and muscle aches make it hard to start, again.”

Will and Audrey apologized for stopping me, but I told them I felt refreshed from stopping just an hour before at the Starbucks. They thanked me for my time, and I walked.

My friend Dan called, and said he was coming to walk with me the rest of the way into Orange.  I was bummed because I had wanted to walk down Red Hill in the daylight to revisit my old middle school, AG Currie, and my elementary school, Beswick. I had also wanted to see Frontier Park, where I spent may a summer day playing with friends.

As a side note: As I was planning out this route n Google Maps two months ago, the Review for Currie said, “You’ll get shanked here.” How sad, I thought. Times have changed a lot since 1977.

As I continued down Red Hill, away from the outskirts of Santa Ana, I was walking in the bicycle lane in order for cars to see my shirt and to avoid trees with my flag pole. Suddenly, I saw one, two, then five roaches in gutter. They were about two inches long and they skittered around quickly. In fact, they kept scrambling toward my feet. I wondered if my shoes were roachnip, or something, and if I were  the unsuspecting lead actor in a new Mimic movie.

After another hour, I was almost to the I-5. Dan and Deb drove up, and Dan convinced me to stop marching. I had already march 20-miles worth of distance because of my starting point, and from walking too far south after that. My feet were burning, and they felt blistered. So, I agreed and climbed in.

As we drove the remaining distance to Orange, I was very glad that I did. It would have taken me another four hours to reach the park in Orange.

I showered, iced my feet for an hour, and then spent the night in Dan and Deb’s old Shasta (canned ham) trailer on their property. Unfortunately, it was late by that time and dark and so, I didn’t realize that the outside door was latched to the side of the trailer. So I slept with only the screen door closed. Thus, it was very cold all night. I got up to put on another blanket and finally fell asleep.

I woke up with runny nose and cough. Dan cooked me breakfast (ham steak, eggs), and I then left for the next march from California State University Long Beach.

California Liberty March Journal – Day Six

Today’s march in Riverside County began and ended the same: with my feeling crummy.

I was disoriented when I woke up in my car at 6:30 am. I didn’t know where I was or what I was doing there. Then, I saw the boxes of medicine, supplements, and water bottles, and my heart sank. Another march. I have only done five, but I had twenty more to do. Already, I felt like I had been walking forever.

I got out of the car, gathered my towel and clothes, then went to take a shower in the gym. I shaved part of my face, leaving the mustache and goatee that have started to grow. I looked at the multitude of white whiskers, as well as the gray in my hair, and thought that I am far too old to be trudging around in different cities, wearing hand-written messages on my chest while carrying a super-long flag pole and over-sized flag.

I felt angry. Angry that I felt the need to undertake this endeavor. Angry that our politicians think us so weak and stupid that they can feel free to act against our best interests with impunity. I was angry that my muscles ached and my feet felt flat, and my toes burned, and that my elbow was even more inflamed. Each time I march, I have to continually wrestle with the flag pole for hours on end. It tries to escape from my grasp as high winds make the flag flutter wildly.

I tried to contain my anger but that only made me feel sad. I looked at myself for a minute, lost in thought. Then I took a deep breath and headed back to my car.

I drove to Rancho Cucamonga Central Park, and parked in a Ralph’s grocery store parking lot nearby. I loaded up my backpack and put it on, then pulled out the nine and a half foot long flag pole. Though I really was unmotivated to walk again, I said a prayer and went to stand on the corner where I thought my ride would come.

He never showed. I waited fifteen minutes and realized, when he didn’t call, that he wasn’t going to. I was trying to figure out what to do. Cars drove by and honked, and my arm absently waved back at them. My resolve to walk again was rapidly draining away.

I decided to drive to a Starbucks further down the road in order to be able to use my tablet to plan out another route.

When I got there, there were people studying, reading newspapers, and ordering drinks. I started up the tablet, checked my gmail, looked at Facebook, and then at Google Maps. I felt a deep sense of futility and uncertainty. So much so that I turned off the tablet, went back to my car and crawled back into the back. I went back to sleep for an hour.

When I awoke, I felt a little better. I got out, put on the backpack, unfurled the flag, and set out.

I decided to walk in a loop from Rancho Cucamonga to Fontana and back again. I headed south two miles, then east, toward Fontana.

Rancho Cucamonga is a very nice place. At least, the portion I drove through and walked. It is like a series of upscale,  master-planned communities that have uniform signage and architectural motifs. The overall feel is that of a vineyard community. It would be what Temecula would look like if Temecula had sprung up much faster, and was master-planned.

After having marched through some desolate and economically-depressed areas in Palm Springs, walking along Foothill toward Fontana from Rochester on down was pretty enjoyable. Even as I entered the outskirts of Fontana, the buildings and residences were very nice. I started to feel a little better about marching, though I was convinced it would be a pointless exercise.

I decided to make myself cheer up, so I plastered on a smile and did the waving-at-cars bit. No response. I gave up right away, as my heart wasn’t really into it.

Suddenly, a tall, muscular young black man with eyeglasses and a crucifix ran up and extended his hand. He respectfully say that he wanted to thank me. Despite his size, he was very soft-spoken, and had a look in his eye that made me a little teary. I thanked him, and told him he had just made me feel a lot better. Then we parted ways.

An hour later, after I had entered Fontana, another good-looking young black man with mini-dreadlocks (the clean, well-kept kind) and a Marvel Comics tee-shirt passed by me, looked at my shirt and said, “Right on!” I asked him where the nearest Star Bucks was so I could get my bearings. He pointed down Foothill and said I needed to go down to Citrus and then head North. “Only four or five lights.”

So, I walked and held the flag high. Then, the landscape started to get dreary. There were numerous empty, weed-filled lots of multiple acreage everywhere I passed. And Spanish soon was on every sign. There were dilapidated residences with unkempt yards, cars on blocks, etc.

My spidey senses started tingling. Perhaps this is not the direction I should be taking…

After an hour or two, and many lights later, I still hadn’t reached this Citrus Promise Land I was told about. I was hungry and needed to rest my feet. So I went into a NY Pizza place on the north-side of the road. I was greeted warmly by the manager, Jose, who asked me about my shirt. I told him the story, and he was impressed. He offered to by me a giant slice of pizza and a drink. I asked for water and sat down. I was so tired, I nodded off even after the pizza was served. And it was giant. Flat crust with Parmesan cheese drizzled across the top.

Ten minutes later, I got up, said thank you and continued on. The next intersection I came to was called, Hemlock. Even knowing what hemlock is, I decided to take it, and headed south from Foothill. My excursion into the unknown was now about to become more interesting…

Years ago, I wrote, sometimes, taking the road less traveled only gets you lost. I was right. Though I knew what direction I needed to go, I went off the beaten path and ended up lost in an area I evidently didn’t belong.

Plus, there wasn’t a Starbucks anywhere along my route. I needed to find wi-fi so I could use my tablet to see how far I was from wherever downtown Fontana was. I used my Android cellphone to post a brief message on Facebook; a message that would later result in criticism from two women who read it. I had intended to upload the pictures I took that would add context to the message, but I couldn’t get the photos to upload to FB. So, I continued on, thinking nothing more of it.

Empty lots with foot-high amber weeds were everywhere. Then, I hit Arrow and proceeded further south to Whittram. I then traveled east again. That area was zoned for car repair shops, junkyards, salvage yards, and car lots. Graffiti was everywhere. On signs, on walls, on utility units, on trucks. Men in hauling vehicles were busy doing their thing. Those who noticed me had undecipherable expressions.

I hit Beech and turned north to return to Arrow. From there, I continued east, into residential areas.

As I was crossing a major intersection, I heard a woman screaming something at me:

“What about Mexicans? What about Mexico?”

I turned to see a heavy-set young lady sitting at a bus stop bench across the street from me. Next to her were two other women. All three looked very poor.

Cars were driving by, so it was hard to heard what else he was trying to say. She motioned for me to turn to her so she could read my shirt.

She then yelled,” What about the Mexican Constitution?”

I yelled back, “Mexico has its own constitution, and I am not marching for that.” She waved me toward her, saying she wanted to know more about why I was marching.

I made my way across the lanes to meet her. I wasn’t sure what to expect, from her or from the two other women; as now of them really appeared to be interested in anything I had to say.

“Tell me why you’re marching,” said Gloria, “and I might march with you. Are you marching for Immigration?”

No, I replied. I pointed to the message on my shirt, Defend the Bill of Rights.

“I’m marching to demand that our politicians uphold their oaths of office and protect the Constitution and our Bill of Rights.”

Gloria said she was married to a man whose parents brought him to America when he was seven. “He graduated from high school. That’s got to count for something,” she said. “When are they going to pass Amnesty?”

“The Immigration Reform bill is being talked about again,” I said. “But, I’ve been marching for a week and I haven’t been keeping up on the latest news.”

“Why can’t people just come into America when they like,” chimed in Lidia. She was a black woman with a southern accent, who was sitting on Gloria’s right. She did not look too happy. “Human rights. Why we have to respect that flag if we get no respect?”

“Ma’am, it’s a matter of law and order, and protecting the sovereignty of our nation.”

“It’s not right to keep people out. We should be able to come and go like we want.”

I told her that all countries have immigration laws that they actively uphold; even Mexico. I asked her if she knew what happens to Guatemalans and South Americans who try to sneak into Mexico and get caught. She didn’t care. She was agitated and focused only on “human rights.”

I again returned to rule of law. “If people sneak into a country, with no respect for that country’s laws, then why should they be deserving of special consideration and respect themselves?”

The third lady said something I didn’t quite hear. She was a curly-hair blonde with a wide, gap-toothed smile. She was off to the side, enjoying the exchange.

Gloria loudly asked me how long the papers would take to be processed for her husband. I, of course, had no idea, and I told her. Her eyes traveled around as she continued to ask questions and to tell me things about the unfairness of America. She asked me what I thought of Obama as President. I knew that the conversation was about to take a possibly unpleasant direction.

Lidia chimed in and shook her head. “He’s terrible. He promised things to black people and never kept his promises.”

Sandra said, “I stand by Obama. He’s my man. But, you’re right he shouldn’t promise things.”

I told them that Obama doesn’t have the authority to do any of the things he promised. “It isn’t his job to give people things for free. There is no such thing as free. In order for him to give you something, he would have to first take it away from someone else. He isn’t a king.”

“He’s my king,” said Gloria, still wild-eyed and excited. Two other people who had been standing at the corner had meandered over to listen in. One was a homeless man, and the other was a black man on a bicycle. Both looked as if I might be accosting the women.

“How long do you think America would remain the same if Obama and the Democrats gave everything away?” I asked. “Not long at all. It wouldn’t be America.”

“Clinton! That son of a bitch,” yelled Lidia. “He was president, and he was supposed to set an example, and there was, in the White House, at a motel, having relations with some woman. That’s just wrong. They need to set examples, these folks. Obama, too. And Bush! That man was bad…”

I smiled and thanked the ladies for their comments. I told Gloria that I hope things end well for her and her husband. Then, I walked onward.

I was walking through a barrio-type area, when several home boys in a parked car heckled me. “What about Mexico? What about Mexico? And Columbia??” They laughed, and I just walked on. I didn’t want to tempt fate by engaging them. Earlier in the day, other kids had laughingly sung the Star-Spangled Banner as I walked by.

As I was finally nearing downtown Fontana, a car drove by and circled me. The two men in it wanted to read what my shirt said. Once they did, they drove off. By this time, I realized that my excursion was getting rather dicey. To reinforce this, a man walking by looked furiously at me and asked me if I wanted to die. He walked on.

Territoriality in such areas is a serious thing. And here I was, essentially challenging their seething senses of grievance and entitlement. But, I had come this far, and I wasn’t going to let distance or menace deter me. Thankfully, I saw Sierra up ahead. I had reached my destination.

I took a picture of the Fontana Civic Center, and looked southward. It was the Old Fontana part of town, with nice-looking shops. By this time, it was 5 pm. I now had to walk ten miles to get back to where I was parked. And I was already tired out.

I thought it would be wise to make it to a more affluent area before nightfall. I didn’t want to risk walking in an area where someone, under cover of night, would decide to attack me while anonymous.

Just a bit up the road, I crossed a supermarket parking lot. I saw a short man and his wife come out of their car. They wore matching turquoise shirts that had impossible to decipher designs. I veered a little to see if I could make out what they were and the man looked at me. He walked up, pointed at my shirt, and said, “What’s this about?”

I gave him the spiel. “Things are bad,” he said. He offered his hand and warmly shook mine. He wished me luck, and walked off. Parked next to the front of the supermarket was a black teenager. He asked me the same thing about my shirt, so I explained what the Bill of Rights are, and that he was born with unalienable rights that could not be taken away. He looked intrigued, as if I had told him something he had never heard before. Even as I waved and walked away, he was pondering.

For the next hour, I headed north. It was slow going. My soles were tender and my right knee was acting up. As I was crossing a side road intersection, an older Mexican man in a truck stopped at the Stop sign and called out. I approached and he seemed astonished.

“Aren’t you the same man I saw walking in Rancho Cucamonga this morning?”

I told him I was and that I was heading back there at the moment. Another car drove up behind him, so I gave the man my card and asked him to visit my web site. Then I walked on.

I was really hungry and there were no longer places to eat. Just vast tracts of empty land, covered by foot-high amber weeds. Every once in a while, I passed old houses from various time periods. I tried to imagine what this place has once been. The streets had names of fruits and trees, and the city itself was named, Fontana (Fountain). The vast tracts of land led me to think that it had once had groves and farm land. But all I saw as I walked was desolation and arid land. It was as if the flotsam and jetsam of the Forties, Fifties, and Sixties had given way to much more recent development. There were fairly new commercial strip malls here and there, but largely empty.

Once I reached Baseline, and walked another two hours toward Rancho Cucamonga, that I found a Panda Express. I rolled up my flag, went in and stood it up in a corner, used the bathroom and ordered. As I ate, the sun was going down. The shopping center I was at was modern, but still didn’t have a Starbucks.

After I ate, I walked by a Carl’s Jr. Out walked the short man I had spoken with earlier. He smiled and said, “You made good time!”

I then looked more closely at what he was wearing. Around his neck was a Native American choker, and I realized that his shirt was similar to shirts worn by people who work at casinos. I gave him my card and told him it would tell him more about me and what I am doing.”

I was anxious to get to my car. My son had been crying when he last spoke to me, and seemed inconsolable. I told him I would drive him after this march, and he immediately brightened up. I wanted to see him, and my daughters, as well. But, I was afraid it would be after Midnight before I could get back down to San Diego. So I picked up my pace.

After a while, I saw the I-15 in the distance. After another hour, I was almost to the overpass. To my right, I saw a Starbucks! And, a 24 hour gamer business called, NetFragz.

I first went into the gamer business and was fascinated by the number of computer stations in it. Each had top-of-the-line monitors, mice, and computers. The young man sitting behind the displaycase took my flag and offered me a seat to rest. I watch someone play a Zombie Survival game for a while, as I rested my feet. It was getting very cold outside, and I wanted to warm up. Out of curiosity, I asked the young man who had greeted me how long the establishment had been in business.

“Since ’02.” he replied. Wow. “and has it always been 24 hours per day?”

“Yes.”

I seriously considered trying to open up one of these businesses in San Diego. I then asked for my flag, thanked the polite young man, and went to Starbucks.

I logged onto to Facebook to let people know where I was. I was still about two hours away from my care. After I posted, I was very surprised to read a comment on my CA Liberty March FB Like page from a woman who was offended by my earlier post about Fontana.

That left me feeling bad again. I didn’t mean to offend anyone; much less someone who was giving me moral support. I had written, “Fontana: The most economically- depressed and depressing place l’ve been to on this journey. Not a single Starbucks or place with Wifi in the entire route l took! l still have 5 miles until l reach my car. About to walk under 1-15 freeway and will continue on Baseline into Rancho Cucamonga.”

Why did I say this? Because on every street corner where there was a covered bus stop, there was a giant photo of an elderly white woman looking depressed, or a middle-aged black man looking worried. The photos were part of a Home Foreclosure campaign.

Looking at those miserable faces everywhere WAS depressing. And, seeing that there was a home foreclosure problem throughout the city led me to logically conclude that Fontana wasn’t doing too well. Sadly, I just took a break from writing this and saw that both ladies who took umbrage to my post have blocked me. Ah well…

Back to my story: I got back to walking, and was soon back in Rancho Cucamonga. The difference between the two cities, based on the areas I walked, was stark. So, I stand by my posts on FB.

After two hours, I reached the parking lot where I had thought I had parked my car. I looked around and saw it wasn’t there. I really needed to use a restroom, so my panic was contained. I figured I needed to relieve myself and look around again. I asked the Ralph’s manager if it was their practice to tow cars that were parked in the lot for extended periods. He said, no. That’s when I felt a bit queasy.

I left my backpack with him and went to the bathroom. I wondered what my wife would say, how my son would feel about my not coming home that night, and where I was going to sleep. I also realized that my march was over if, in fact, the car was stolen.

I went back outside, looked around, and thought back to the events of that morning. I suddenly realized I had parked in the other Ralph’s parking lot, instead; the one with the Starbucks. It was another three miles away, but I didn’t mind. As tired as I was, I was relieved.

I retrieved my things, told the manager it was a false alarm, and I walked on. When I got to my car, I loaded the backpack and flag, went into Starbucks to update my FB page, and I drove toward the I-15 to go home.

Now, I am getting ready to have dinner with the family before I drive up to Orange County for tomorrow’s march.

California Liberty March Journal – Day Five

Yesterday, I marched from the Civic Center Park in Palm Desert to a small park called, Victoria Park near the north-end of Palm Springs. This was the most eventful march so far.

For a month, I had been trying to find someone in Palm Springs to give me a ride from Victoria Park to the starting point in Palm Desert, but no one came forward. I was searching for bus route information for the 111 Sun Bus in P.S. when a man named Robert P. called me up. He had read that I was in need, and so he called to volunteer. I was so relieved.

On Monday morning, he met me at Victoria Park as I was getting organized and preparing. I was rubbing anti-blister ointment on the soles of my feet and then loading up the backpack. I had spent the night at my in-laws’ home in Temecula, and had just arrived myself.

Robert is an older man with a magnificent handle bar mustache. Dressed in a light blue corduroy long-sleeve shirt, jeans and boots, he spoke in a soft, country-style accent. He had driven in from the east. I felt bad because I thought he was a resident of P.S.

Once I was ready, I took out my flag pole and Robert’s eyes got big. He had arrived in a very small car, and was worried that the pole wouldn’t fit. I put it flag-end in, diagonally across the car, sticking out of the passenger side window. He programmed his Garmin to lead us to the starting point, and away we went.

Robert and I didn’t speak much as we traveled, but those will be the most cherished 40 minutes I have ever spent with a man. From now on, he and I will be going on annual weekend trips together. I cain’t quit choo…

Okay. I’m kidding. But, he was nice, and gave me a generous donation once we reached the destination. Thank you very much, Robert!

I wandered around the Civic Center Park, looking at the statuary and man-made lagoon. Then I stretched out, checked in on Twitter, unfurled my flag, and set off.

Already, it was 95 degrees in Palm Desert. The night before, my father-in-law had let me pick from his collection of hats, and I was wearing a Nabisco Golf Tournament fedora-style hat. I decided to wear sun glasses that day because of the brightness all around me. It’s a good thing I had the hat and sunglasses. Later on, they saved my ass.

Palm Desert is a nice area. I traveled north until I reached Bob Hope Drive and then veered north-east, and then north. An older man with a gray brillo pad of chest hair rode past me on a bicycle. He snidely said, “Happy Earth Day!”

Though I had a CamelBak backpack, I haven’t had the time to fill it with ice and water to sip from. Instead, I decided to carry water bottles, and to stop at Starbucks along the way.

I figured Starbucks, like Syphilis, could be found on every corner. I was wrong. There were some parts of the town without one, and so, I didn’t have wi-fi connectivity to check my travel route as I went.

On this day, I did an experiment. I plastered a broad smile on my face and waved at people as the drove in my direction. Usually only 3 out of 100 honk, wave, give a thumbs-up, or wave a finger from the steering wheel.

But, by smiling at them and waving, that jumped to 50-90% of passersby.

Because of this response, it wasn’t so tiring to walk, hold the flag pole and wave. So, the miles just passed fairly easily. Twice, I was flipped off, when I entered the south-eastern part of Palm Springs from Rancho Mirage. It was a low-income residential area; predominantly Hispanic.

I ended up distracted from waving and nodding to people who responded enthusiastically, because I found myself on the northern-edge of town before I knew it. Before me was nothing but dunes and desert, and a casino way in the distance. Beyond that, I found out, was I-10.

Looking at the expanse of sand, cactus, and asphalt before me, I paused. I took a photo of the daunting sight, wondering if Dean Martin Rd really the next road in the distance as Google Maps had shown.

Just then, some young guy drove by and yelled, “F***ing f***ot!” As I was the only pedestrian around for miles, I surmised he was addressing me. This really bummed me out. But, I said a prayer, forgiving the guy and asking God to bless him. When you are tired and you extend yourself freely to others, it is a kick in the gut when an anonymous person treats you so disrespectfully.

I went into a CVS that was to my left, on one end of a strip mall. There was nothing else around for miles. I purchased a giant can of an energy drink, and drank it as I marched into the sandy expanse of the desert.

Many people honked and waved, from both directions. And, despite the heat and occasional sandy breezy that filled my mouth with the taste of Palm Springs, I smiled broadly.

When I reached the next intersecting road, I saw that it wasn’t Dean Martin. I was by the Moranga Casino, I think, and saw that the I-10 lead east to west before me. I knew I needed to follow the road I came to back to Palm Springs. But, I didn’t want to carry the industrial-sized can of Monster.

I tried waving down some cars, but they drove by. Finally a twenty-three year old guy with black wavy hair and a grin asked me if I needed a ride. I asked him if it would be alright to give him the can. He agreed and I asked him his name. He said, “My name’s Brandon. Tell people, I’m the guy who’s going to save the world!” With that, he drove off.

I headed west, waving at oncoming cars, and saluting those who saluted the flag. By that time, I was pretty drained. I had run out of bottled war, and started feeling dizzy. The hat and sunglasses enabled me to endure what would otherwise have been a very dangerous situation. For the temperature even hotter by this time, and my blood sugar had dropped.

When I was back in the neighborhoods of P.S., I headed south to make up for having missed the southern portion of the 111 Hwy route. For another four miles, I walked, waved, and saluted.

Finally, I decided to head west to get to S. Indian Canyon, so I could head back north to Victoria Park. It was 4:40 pm, and I was staggering.

I was about to throw up when a pretty Mexican soccer mom walked up to me from a park I was walking through. She asked me if I spoke Spanish. “Un pocito, Senora,” I replied. She spoke in awkward English, telling me that she had seen me earlier in the day, waving and carrying the flag on the other side of town.

She asked me if I wanted some water, and I gratefully said, yes! She went to get a cold water bottle from a bag. She said her son was playing soccer but that he had plenty.

I drank the entire bottle in ten seconds. I thanked her and walked toward the community center that was on the west-end of the park, just south of Mesquite Road. There, I rested, and bought Gatorade and a candy bar. After fifteen minutes, I started toward S. Indian Canyon Road.

Somewhere along the line, I came to a commercial district, and saw a Carl’s Jr and Starbucks. I went into the Carl’s Jr and ate a Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger. I was famished. I would just say, starved, but in this case, famished was the absolute perfect word to describe how hungry I was.

A woman named, Kim was being tutored in math. She was in the booth in front of me. She asked my why I was carrying the flag and wearing a shirt that said, “Uphold Your Oaths.”

I told her about the march and that I demand that our politicians uphold their oaths of office, and protect the Constitution; and by extension, our civil rights. She was very interested in my march, so I gave her my card.

After I finished, I went to Starbucks to check on via the wi-fi. There, a liberal woman named Laurie asked me the same thing as Kim. Only Laurie wanted to know if I supported gay rights, and the right to choose abortion. I didn’t get to respond, as she spoke rapidly and jumped from subject to subject. She said the Republicans want to control women’s uteruses.

I told her that the War on Women meme was a Democrat Party construct and was absolutely false. Laurie then told me that her husband was a gun owner, and was concerned about control laws. I wondered if he, too, shared his wife’s views on the subjects she raised.

I left and from that point on, it grew dark. Very few, if any people saw me as they drove by. Hardly anyone was on the streets. P.S. seems to have seen better times. There were many empty shops and economically-depressed commercial complexes.

I reached a trendy zone, though, where hipsters were out having dinner, or looking at galleries. As I passed on such gallery, a man came out, looked at me and said, “Hey, Bro. Peace.” The way he said it sounded more like a statement than a greeting.

From there, I saw businesses with rainbow flags flying outside their door. I figured they were advertising that they were gay-friendly clubs or perhaps something the city has established.

It was 8:30 pm by then, and I stopped in from of a small restaurant that had a “Free Wi-Fi” sign in the window. I was unpacking my tablet when a young woman named, Ericka leaned out the door and asked me if there was a parade.

Again, I told her who I was and what I was doing. She offered me ice water in a large styrofoam cups. I gave her my card and walked the last mile to where my car was parked.

I was so glad to be finished. I had walked well over twenty miles, and I was sandy and tired. I sat in the car, next to a firestation, using their wi-fi to locate the 24 Hour Fitness Center I wanted to go to in order to bathe and rest. When I found two listed in P.S., I drove to the first one, when was in Cathedral City.

I couldn’t find it. I drove around several time, but didn’t see the sign or building. I asked several locals, but they barely spoke English. The fourth one was at a Taco Bell drive-thru window. He told me there weren’t any 24 Hour Fitnesses there anymore. I did a Search for Gym location using my Android, and it said that the nearest club was almost 15 miles east.

I decided to drive to Riverside, instead of wasting even more gas. I knew there was a club there.The drive was sketchy, as there was a powerful windstorm. Sand obscured visibility for seconds at a time. It was harrowing, as my car veered left and right. I had to drive less than 45 miles per hour.

When I got to downtown Riverside, I learned that that particular 24 Hour Fitness club was closed on Mondays. I was bummed. And feeling gross.

I tapped into a nearby Starbuck’s wi-fi again and saw that there was a club in Redlands. So, I drove even further to it.

Thankfully, it was open, and bustling with exercisers, even though it was 11 pm. I took a very hot shower, got dressed, and went to sleep in the back of my mini-van after I stretched out.

Despite the noise of freight trains passing by, I slept well.

This morning, I drove to Rancho Cucamonga City Library to update my blog, and to park at the end point of tomorrow’s march.

Until tomorrow…

California Liberty March Journal – Day Four

On Day Four of the march, I walked from Old Town Temecula across the freeway to Temecula proper, back across the freeway to Murrietta, into Wildomar, and finally, Lake Elsinore.

O and Brad A. met me at the starting point by an Arco station, under a huge American Flag atop a giant flag pole. Once we got organized and stretched out a bit, we started northbound on Old Town Front Street.

The men and I were greeted by JR, a patriot from Orange County. He was standing by his truck, holding water bottles. JR then drove ahead to meet up further down the route.

Someone on the other side of the road drove north in a pickup drove and stuck his arm out of the driver’s side window to give us the thumbs-down signal. He did this twice, to make sure we saw. I was the only one who noticed.

As we entered Old Town, residents and tourists had already started filling the area. There are restored buildings, as well as new development; all in the old town motif. It is a very cool place to shop and eat. One place, Texas Lil’s, has very pretty waitresses with country-style clothes that accentuate their assets. It is my father-in-law’s favorite place to eat in Old Town.

We got a few honks and thumbs-up from people, especially from motorcycle riders. There are a lot of riders that hang out there.

After a continuing discussion about the health benefits of staring at breasts, we had left Old Town and walked east, over the freeway,  into Temecula proper. The route went past the Duck Pond, almost to where my in-laws live, then north to Winchester Road, where there are a lot of large shopping centers.

We were tired and hungry by then, so we stopped at a Carl’s Jr. After twenty minutes, we ventured on, back over the freeway, into Murrietta.

For the most part, we passed long stretches of business parks, empty tracts of land, undeveloped lots, and rural areas. This type of zone is what I call the “Paying Dues and Wracking Up the Mileage” zone. When I walk through such areas, I am not being seen by as many people, but it is the only way to reach the areas I want to go to on foot later in the routes.

Once again, JR met us along the way and gave us water. I received a cell call from Mike D. with the CA Sons of Liberty motorcycle club.  He and a friend were riding down to meet us for lunch. They had left three hours earlier, and had just gotten into Murrietta. Mike told me they were going to get food, and would then ride down to find us.

O, Brad and I continued talking about bewbage, then about hunting, shooting, politics, and how hot it was. Mike and his friend rode down the road and greeted us. After introductions, we continued on.

When we finally reached Murrietta Town Center Park, it was 3 pm. We all went to Bob’s Pizza for lunch. Mike and his pal paid for food, which was very generous of them. The pizza was very very good! It’s in a strip mall just to the north of the park. It has PowerAde, which I drank, to replenish my electrolytes.

During lunch, Mike’s friend, Darrell (whom I will call, The Wise One) gave me very encouraging words. He helped me realize that what I am doing is SOMETHING; even if I don’t know what it may or may not result in. He rode down, he said, because he regrets not doing things in his past, and that he now worries for his grand-daughter’s future.

By helping me out, he felt he was contributing to the fight against the theft of our civil rights. Darrell is but one man, like me, but collectively, we can make a difference.

I expressed my frustration at not receiving a single reply from any of the Conservative media folks I spent two months trying to contact. I said I should march through San Francisco wearing just a tee-shirt, chaps, and shoes. I said that that’s one place I could wear “ass-less chaps” and not get arrested. “You’ll lead a parade then, he joked.” The Wise One offered to “cover the rear,” and defend me from any “boys” who followed along.

Once we finished lunch, we said our good byes. Brad had gone home with his wife Mary, who, once again, had been waiting and waiting on us to reach the march mid-way point. JR and the Sons of Liberty also left.

O and I then set off toward Lake Elsinore, refreshed and cheered by the company. It was after a bit of walking, on the edge of Wildomar, where an SUV full of people honked and stopped. Out piled the Jonson Family, Holly and Mark and their kids: Derek, Sierra, Ashley, Aaron, and family friend, Francesca. “We’re here to march with you,” they announced.

They held out water bottles, and I was so glad.

For the next five miles, the kids took turns carrying our flags. We chatted as we walked, and waved to people who honked at us. It was exactly what I envisioned when I came up with the idea for the Liberty March: small to large groups of citizens, banding together with flags, marching in public in the name of the Constitution and our civil rights.

As the sun started to set, the Johnsons took their leave, and O and I thanked them for walking so far with us. They are a great, patriotic family! I will be posting their family business link the next time I blog.

O and I trudged on. By the time night had fallen, our feet and shoulders ached.  We passed through Wildomar and into Lake Elsinore area.

Many dogs barked at us from every homestead along the rural community road. A lot of dogs! We passed a cluster of old houses where a Mariachi band was playing. Past that, a bear of a man named John called out to us from the far side of the road.

John asked why we were carrying the flags, so I explained. He asked how I reconciled what I was doing with Scripture and my faith. I wasn’t sure what he meant, so I asked for clarification.

John mentioned End of Times and Revelations, etc. and how, despite our efforts, what will happen, will happen. I told John that as an American and a Christian, I am not going to give up on America. I will continue to try no matter what. Because that is what we must do.

I don’t know if this is, as others have been telling me as I march, God’s Plan for me. I certainly have been praying, and asking God for guidance. I ask Him to join me as I walk, and to let me know, if possible, that I am doing His will.

But, since God doesn’t speak to me directly, I am taking it on faith that what I am doing is what he wants me to do. So, I am going for it, without hesitation.

Interestingly, John quoted Jesus, who said something about not seeing and still believing (in Him and God).

Toward the very end of the march, as we were just a mile away from the end point, O noticed a foreign-looking man in his thirties circle around from across the street, and then up behind us. As O undid his flag pole to use as a club, I was taken by surprise when the man asked what we were doing.

I handed him my card and gave him the ten second presentation. He had what sounded to be a Middle Eastern accent, possibly Israeli.

Off the stranger went to a Stater Bros nearby. O and I walked just a bit more, to reach an Arco station where his wife was waiting to pick us up.

Overall, this was one of the best marches I’ve had so far.

California Liberty March Journal – Day Two

The route I took today was from Balboa Park to Old Town to Mission Bay to Pacific Beach to La Jolla to Torrey Pines, just past UCSD. It was a beautiful march. But, an excruciating one, as well.

I was dropped off at Balboa Park this morning by Lori A (thank you!). I walked up to the water fountain by the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and started stretching out. A young man walked up and asked if I was with the Liberty March. Since no one else was around, I said, “I AM the Liberty March.”

I introduced myself and he told me he was with Fox 5 News. They have sent me an e-mail last week asking for particulars in order to plan out this week and determine whether they would cover the march, or not. Thankfully, they did.

The young man videotaped me answering several questions. They were great questions that let me say what I wanted to say, rather than being loaded questions about gun control. He told me that my footage would be aired live on the program, so that means it won’t be posted on the Internet.

After that, I set off across the park. I videotaped different areas that I love. After and hour or more, I was in Old Town. I videotaped parts of that, as well, and then had lunch at a Mexican restaurant. After a half hour break, I set off for Mission Bay.

While I walk on sidewalks for the most part, I did have to walk in a bicycle lane on a highway overpass. From there, I got off the road and went down a dirt trail to reach another road underneath. I was able to keep walking from there until I reached Fiesta Island about a mile away. Then, I reached Mission Bay proper. It was a very sunny and windy day. Unfortunately, I discovered that my video camera battery had died. My flag was fluttering wildly, and I needed to hold it ahead of me with two hands to control it.

As I walked today, I got a number of honks and waves and thumbs ups. Even one “whoo hoo!” I had written, “My Rights Are Inalienable” on the front of my walking shirt. So, many people coming home from work leaned forward to try and read the message.

There were several notable encounters today.

In Old Town, the bus boy at the Mexican restaurant I ate in seemed really excited by what I am doing. In Pacific Beach, I got some, “Rock on, Patriot!” comments from obviously pot-addled college students driving by. There are a lot of tattoo parlors and head shops in Pacific Beach. In front of one of them, a man walked up, looked at my shirt and flag, and derisively, asked, “So your rights are in danger, huh?” I smiled at the lummox and walked on.

In La Jolla, the affluent town just north of PB, I saw a number of tattoo removal clinics and New Age health shops and clubs. I passed by a restaurant across the road for “foodies” called, the Promiscuous Fork.” I like that. The waiter and waitress outside were looking at me. They waved when they saw me look at them. A tall black man with a speech impediment ran out of a restaurant and asked me why I was carrying the flag. He read my shirt as I handed him a Liberty March card. He was extremely nice.

Just down the street from there, another man, Kurt M. asked me if I was marching for gun rights. He was sitting on an elevated patio in front of his small shop/home. I clarified that I want

our elected and appointed officials to uphold their oaths of office, and to protect our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Thus, by extension, our rights to keep and bear arms would be protected. He saw that I was tired and he invited me to sit with him to rest. We talked for a while, and he gave me three bottles of water. We said good bye, and I headed into the tourist part of La Jolla, where the moneyed folk dominate.

I walked down to the scenic view and looked out at the beautiful La Jolla beach. The sun was coming down, and there were people playing on the shore.

I went back up to Prospect Street and I took photos of the shops and streets in the heart of the La Jolla financial zone and restaurant row. I noticed that people looked nervously at me as I took photos. As I was leaving Prospect Street to do the final four miles of my march, an ACE Parking attendant called out to me and ran up. He asked if I had a few minutes to take pictures with a South American model.

By that time, I have walked over 15 miles and the toes of my feet were burning. I agreed, as I figured it might help me get exposure for my cause.  Nope.

The young woman, vivacious and high on life (and herself) grabs my flag and pulls it in front of me so she can pose with it. She gleefully did her modeling thing and then, without so much as a thank you,  was off to the next thing that caught her eye. I just walked away and headed toward UCSD.

By this time, it was 5:30 pm. There was a lot of home-bound traffic, and I walked on the left side of traffic so cars could see my tee-shirt message. There were many cars that drove by, some waved, others hons, while others yelled out unintelligible comments.

Halfway up N. Torrey Pines Road, while is a long steady incline, my feet burned so badly, that I needed to compensate. This caused my right Achilles tendon to start hurting, and later, to feel tender. By the time I reached the top and was on the Southern edge of UCSD, tears of pain were streaming down my cheeks. I was hobbling, and had to stop at the crosswalk.

I imagine I looked like a depressed wino with a flag, or a homeless vet, or something. The last two miles were in darkness. To be honest, as I was hobbling toward my car from UCSD, I seriously questioned my commitment to this endeavor. I started wondering what the hell it is that I hope to achieve. When I started this, I thought there would be far more participation and involvement by others.

By the time I reached the car, I was so glad the march was done. I could barely walk, and my neck and right shoulder was stiff and clenched from holding up the flag. As I drove home, I was feeling foolish and naive.

But this morning, after rest and more thinking, what I hope, more than anything else, is that others are inspired to do their own liberty marches (whatever they may be). We have to do something. We have to show ourselves. We have to fight. We are at war. The Progressives will not stop until they get what they want.

And what they want is a diminished America. They want a single party State where individual rights and freedoms no longer exist to interfere with the establishment of Liberal Utopia.

To recover from the past three marches, I went to Lake Medical and Chiropractic in Lake San Marcos. They have been taking care of me each week since I started training for this. I want to thank Jill-Ellen and her staff for helping me get this far. And, I want to thank everyone one who has sent me words or encouragement and prayers and donations.

I am definitely going to continue on to Sacramento, no matter what.

Here is a video1 I took while on my excursion.