Many of you have heard the saying “I would walk a mile for a Camel”. Well Jeff Rudisill walked 2,800 miles to get to Emerald Isle so Emerald Isle is certainly special to him.
Jeff is a 69 year old resident of Daleville VA, Just off Interstate 81 near Roanoke. Every since the mid 1970s when he saw an article in National Geographic about someone walking across the United States, he has thought about doing the same thing. Several years ago he retired after 34 years with Wachovia and a total of 40 years in the IT industry. He loves the outdoors (walks 8-10 miles a day) and figured it was time to do it.
On August 31, 2010, he left Dana Point CA for the 2,800 mile walk to Emerald Isle. He picked Emerald Isle as the ending point because he and his family have vacationed in Emerald Isle for many years. His original plan was to walk about 15 miles a day and take every 10th day off. That would put him in Emerald Isle about the end of March in time to do his income taxes. He found that he was able to walk as much as 30 miles per day, and arrived in Emerald Isle at the Bogue Inlet Fishing Pier on January 22, 2011 at 10 AM. Two months ahead of schedule. Family members, friends, and many locals met Jeff at the pier and Emerald Isle Realty put Jeff and family up for the weekend.
Jeff made a three wheeled cart to carry his tent and belongings. On most nights he camped out, and at other times rented a room. When camping out, he found that local businesses were very friendly in allowing him to charge his cell phone and computer and make daily postings to his blog at http://walkingman2011.blogspot.com/. He found people to be very generous, with the people having the least being the most generous. People offered him money, a lunch, or offered to share their lunch. On one occasion a young Mexican offered him half of his lunch which consisted of several tamales. He soon found out that you shouldn’t eat them without lots of water on hand to cool them down.
I met Jeff at the pier and presented him with a key to the city. It was very cold but there was still a good crowd with welcome signs, etc. Jeff had a bottle of Pacific Ocean water for each of his grandchildren to pour in the ocean off of the Bogue Inlet Pier. He was very appreciative and said he and his family have always enjoyed their time in Emerald Isle. This is only the third key to be presented. The first was to Kellie Pickler, and the second to the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women when the students visited Emerald Isle for their winter break.
Random comments from Jeff are: New Mexico was the most interesting state to walk across, Emerald Isle was the best town, but of course I was standing there; the hardest day of walking was from Georgetown SC to Murrell’s Inlet because it snowed, then rained, and cars were kicking up slush on him as he walked; he went through 5 pairs of New Balance 1226 shoes, he was pleased to find that there are lots of really good people everywhere; it took him 146 days; thought it was a great experience and is going to miss seeing new people and scenes every day.
We look forward to seeing Jeff and his family in Emerald Isle for many years to come.