It’s startling when you come across a human being who is authentic, demonstrating a congruence between thoughts, actions, and beliefs. Nimblewill is such a person. I’ve visited with him and heard two presentations, one after his Pony Express Historic Trail and the second time after he walked Historic Route 66 from Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, CA.
As he shared honestly and emotionally from the joy he experienced on Route 66, I pictured him walking mile after mile as little pieces of pretense and imitation fell to the ground. Finally, there was only the core person walking on, completely real, alive, and true. This is the person we see now, but he has been years and many miles in the making.
On long walks, I’ve sometimes felt little flakes of my inauthentic self fall away. There might be a tinge of pain or a gentle sense of loss, followed by a lightness of mind and spirit. Sometimes it’s a chunk of fakeness I’ve projected to others in seeking their approval. This dropping away can be a relief, even if I’m barely conscious of the change as it occurs.
It will take many miles before I experience even a small measure of the trueness that Nimblewill has accomplished and maintains within himself.
Regardless of the distance, it is good that we walk. Step by step, the trail will perform her sanding and buffing as we approach our more genuine selves.
Walk on Nimblewill, and we will follow you toward authenticity.
Happy 79th birthday, Nimblewill and safe travels!
Nimblewill Nomad (M. J. Eberhart) is somewhere on the western side of the United States completing Odyssey 2017: Historic Route 66 from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. His walk began in July and will end in late November, covering 2,300 miles.
Nimblewill is kindhearted, a gentleman, and a powerful long-distance backpacker! After retirement, he began walking, and he hasn’t stopped. A few years ago, he did the “Triple O” the Ouachita Trail, Ozark Highlands Trail, and Ozark Trail in Missouri. He walked from the end of one trail to the beginning of the next. His book, Ten Million Steps, tells the story of his walk from the Florida Keys to Quebec, Canada.
Nimblewill is tentatively scheduled to speak at the December 10 meeting of the Ozark Highlands Trail Association, beginning at 6 p.m. He’ll share his Route 66 Trek and probably throw a poem or two in for good measure. His book, Ten Million Steps, will be available for purchase and signing.
You’ll not want to miss this!
Ozark Highlands Trail Association December 10 meeting
Where? 2536 N. McConnell Rd! To get there from I-540 take Exit 66 south on AR 112 (Garland Ave), turn west at Drake Street stop light to reach McConnell Rd, turn south to Washington County Extension Service near the fair grounds. 36.098 latitude 94.180 longitude for gps users.
Early in my trip back to Arkansas after hiking the John Muir Trail, I couldn’t fight the temptation to sample a California section of Route 66. I’d driven short sections in Oklahoma and Texas but had never had the opportunity in California, so I exited I-40 in Newberry Springs and found myself transported to the past.
This motel sign caught my eye because it stood on an empty lot. I pulled to the side of the road and then noticed a cafe sitting just down the road in front of several dilapidated travel trailers.
I entered the small cafe and learned that it was called the Sidewinder Cafe until the movie Bagdad Cafe was filmed there in 1987. It has since been named Bagdad Cafe.
Some German tourists were selecting t-shirts when I entered. The jukebox caught my eye and the display of currencies from many countries that had been left on the wall by visitors over the years.
I was delighted by the texture of the blacktop on this section of Route 66. It was rough and stood in stark contrast to the fast highways I’m used to. The road noise and bumpiness could be felt in my Jeep so it would really give you a good rattling in a modern car.
There was no traffic, so I stopped and took a few photos of the road’s surface before driving several more miles and returning to I-40 and a quicker pace, pleased to have spent a few minutes in the past.