After more than a week off in Chicago, it was time to hit the road again. Our progress was “paused” at the Hegewisch South Shore train station, to make the walk to Tim’s hometown of Griffith, Indiana a little shorter.
The walk brought back memories of the the one time we walked to Indiana, two years ago that weekend.
Saturday morning, Rebecca’s former coworker Christina joined us across the border and into Indiana. The trains were timed perfectly so the three of us could walk to the next train station, the Hammond South Shore, and Christina could catch a westbound train into downtown Chicago (so she wouldn’t have to walk 20 miles back!).
Just the two of us now, we picked up the bike trail in Tim’s mom’s hometown, Hammond. This was an old rails-to-trails project that was opened in the mid 90’s. It would take us through Hammond, Highland, and all the way into Griffith. The walk was made easier since we only had to carry day-packs. Tim’s parents visited him the previous Sunday for a day around Chicago, and he dropped off his and Rebecca’s large packs.
After a few hours on the bike trail, just as we could see across the street into Griffith, we looked down to a surprise written in chalk:
We didn’t know who wrote the mysterious messages, but they were a welcome sight, and gave us the energy to continue!
It felt incredible for Tim to finally make it to his hometown, having walked the whole distance from the Pacific Ocean. Over 2,300 miles, and nearly four months, he was home.
Coincidentally, this walk from Chicago to Griffith fell on the first Saturday in August, like the first long distance walk (40 miles!) we did together two years ago.
Tim had been imagining this day since he last left Griffith in early April when his parents drove him to the airport. We walked by his high school, the main park in town, numerous friends’ houses, his church, his elementary school, and finally, his home.
We knew Tim’s parents had planned a family get together, but we didn’t expdct so many people would be waiting in the front yard to greet us!
Tim’s nieces and nephews were responsible for the messages in chalk on the bike trail!
After a great cookout, and seeing that many familiar faces for the first time in months, we were exhausted. But by chance we were invited to one of Tim’s college friend’s (Alan) wedding. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it to the ceremony (since we were walking in from Chicago), but we were able to make it to the reception!
Sunday was a day of rest, and provided more time to spend with family. Chicago and Griffith allowed us to recover from the rigorous strain we’d been putting on our bodies. Sunday evening, Rebecca joined Tim for one of his favorite things to do when he visits his parents, walk around his hometown at sunset. The time had almost come, to begin the third and final leg of the walk across America: to New York City!
Today(s) we walked through:
Tim: 33,578 and n/a steps
Rebecca: 33,147 and n/a steps
2,378 miles finished