Eric stopped, lowered his large backpack onto the surface of the road, and took a sip of water from his water bottle. His gaze followed the road that led across the valley toward the foothills in the distance. He looked at his Apple Watch to check his progress. It had clocked 28,321 steps for the day so far. At his stride, that equated to about 13.6 miles. His goal was 20 miles a day and he felt pretty damn good about his prospects for hitting today’s daily target. Less than six and a half miles to go. Piece of cake.
Five Days Earlier…
“You’re doing what?” his daughter, Shana, said when he first told her and her brother, Jesse, about his plans.
“Dad, you’re 67 years old,” Jesse said. “What are you trying to prove?”
“I’m trying to prove that I’m alive, son,” Eric said. “Ever since your mother passed last summer, I’ve been kind of lost, my life without purpose, without meaning. I’ve always been driven by a sense of accomplishment and if I don’t set a goal for myself and work toward achieving that goal, I might as well just roll over and die, too.”
“But Dad,” Shana said, “don’t you think this plan of yours is a bit extreme?”
“Walking 20 miles a day is not extreme,” Eric said. “I used to walk almost that much nearly every day when our dog was still alive.”
“Bandit died ten years ago, Dad,” Jesse pointed out.
“Listen, I’m going to do this and I’d appreciate your support, you two,” Eric said.
“You’re a stubborn old man,” Shana said, “but of course you have our support. Whatever you need, Dad.”
“Thank you, honey,” Eric said. “What about you, Jesse?”
Jesse rolled his eyes and nodded his head. “When are you planning to leave?” he asked.
“On Monday,” Eric said.
“And how long will it take?” Shana asked.
“If all goes according to plan, between five and six months,” Eric said. “That assumes I can consistently log around twenty miles a day.”
“Has anyone your age ever done anything like this before, Dad?” Shana asked.
“I don’t know, sweetheart,” Eric answered, “but I’m not trying to set or break any records. I’m doing it because I need to do something challenging and different.”
“Well, Dad,” Eric said, “I’d say that a 67 year old man walking from San Diego, California to Portland, Maine will satisfy both.”
Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.