Walking across the USA

Anyone ever thought of doing this? How long do you think it would take to walk from, say, DC to LA? Or what about smaller distances, like Maine to FL?

I’ve heard of people that do this, and do odd jobs along the way, as their way of life. I think that’d be the ultimate in adventure, maybe the only adventure left in our electronic world of lights.

What is the legality of it? You’d want to have a concealed weapons permit so you can protect yourself…but where can you sleep? Is it possible to pitch a tent by the roadside anymore?


There have been lots of books written by people who have walked across the country.

Well at least 10. The authors would likely say what they needed to make the treks.

A concealed weapons permit isn’t good in all 50 states. If you’re walking across the country and camping by the side of the road and your friendly state trooper finds you carrying a gun, he is not likely to look favorably upon that.

And you just can’t camp anywhere alongside the Interstate. Many private property owners will also look unkindly upon you sleeping on their land.

Check out:


A fellow did this maybe 10-15 years ago and wrote in up in National Geographic magazine, also wrote a book. The Geographic article should be pretty easy to find.

Well, a few hundred people hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine every year (and a smaller number hike from Maine to Georgia). Check out the Appalachian Trail Conference for all sorts of information.

Hmmm, maybe it’d be possible. :wink: Or at least a shorter trip. I thought about going from Virginia Beach, VA to Washington DC, a paltry 240 miles. Or maybe biking…that’d be even quicker. Things are just really commercialized, especially on the east coast. I’d be worried about the law when camping out in the woods.

Just last summer i completed walking from new york city to south dakota. it took 13 weeks.

It is legal to walk. No one can stop you from walking, as long as you are not on the interstate. however, it is invariable that somewhere along the line you will end up having to trespass briefly.

You can find places to camp on sides of roads. Most of the time, you can find a small patch of woods in-between houses which give you enough cover, so you are more or less undetected. It is offically trespassing, but I never got caught. You just have to get up really early sometimes, especially in farmland.

And as to protection, i carried a can of pepper spray, which is legal in, i believe, almost every state. it was mostly for unleashed dogs, but could have been used on some “locals” looking to “make an example out of me.” fortunately, i never had to use the spray.

One side note, I videotaped my walk for a local tv show, and if you would like to hear more stories, see picts of my walk, etc., you can go to http://www.playpants.com and click on the “walking fool” icon.

Just out of curiosity, Mr. Fool (for which I have the utmost respect! That’s AWESOME!), where did you get the funds to do something like this? Are you working? Independently wealthy?

Oh no, not independently wealthy. I just saved up a lot of money and friends and relatives donated some more.

I could have done the “work odd jobs along the way” route, but prefered doing the extra work before the trip.

And you can easily survive on 10 bucks a day. I spent about 100 bucks a week because I usually did a motel stay once a week.

I ended up a little bit in debt after i returned home, but it was pretty worth it.

I believe you’re thinking of Peter Jenkin’s “Walk Across America”

That would be nice to try if I could find another job, and take time off between the two. Tough to do these things nowadays, I guess.

I wonder if it’s possible to get someone to sponsor you…


the toughest part isn’t really the savings, it’s the time off from work that really kills you.

But I work in graphic design so it’s somewhat easy to take off a few months.

Sponsorship is actually pretty easy… I didn’t do it mainly because i was doing the walk for myself and my tv show, and I felt doing it for a sponsor (whether corporate or charitable) would have sort of been a misrepresentatation.

OK walking fool you hooked me into your site, its interesting. I’ve got to ask tho why did you stop?

Its geared toward and announces a Walk coast to coast ala the OP. So why did you stop? It just says you “needed a breather”?

When I was biking down Hwy 1 from SF to LA, I met a Buddhist monk in Malibu who was walking from Vancouver to San Diego to Florida to Quebec to Vancouver. I lost the URL, so I’m not sure how far he made it.