Walking Coast to Coast for spiritual reasons
Pastor Walter "Chick" McGill generated quite the attention as he walked along U.S. 64 and in Rutherfordton on U.S. 221 Friday morning.
Attired in a bright orange vest with a white poster on his back, "Walking Coast 2 Coast.com" McGill, 68, spent a few minutes visiting people.
His TransAmerican Crosswalk began on April 23 and he doesn't plan to discontinue the walk until he arrives at Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California.
He began the 3,200 mile walk at Kills Devil Hills on the North Carolina coast. Ddriving the support vehicle is his wife Barbara.
McGill said his commitment to Walk from Coast to Coast is in response to a call from Gdd on his life.
"God told me to walk across America and promote a new birth, freedom and integrity in America," McGill said.
He said Christians in America must defend and reclaim civil liberties, human rights, exercise integrity, restore self-respect, promote family values and defend the constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights. He is also promoting the Golden Rule.
McGill is a former pastor, missionary in Uganda, educator and counselor. He is also reminding people that freedom comes only from having a personal connection to God that happens when people are born again.
"People must walk the walk and talk the talk," McGill said. "That's what I am trying to do," he said. "Walk the walk."
Serving as missionaries in Uganda for the past five years, the couple completed a few projects and came back to the United States to plan the walk.
Plans were to begin the walk on March 1 but an unusually cold winter in North Carolina pushed the trip up.
"Now it is right in the middle of the heat but I am trying to avoid the mountains," he said.
After a few days walk is completed, the couple gets in the support car together and drives to the site where their recreation vehicle is parked. The RV tows the car to the next camping site several miles away.
"I am only walking 14 to 15 miles a day," McGill said. He said at his age, although in excellent health according to the Veterans Administration, he is not a young man.
"I take two to three days off each week," McGill said."I'm as good an old man can be with aches and pains and most old people have them. I am not a tough guy."
Friday began 4:30 a.m. as Barbara drove McGill to the intersection of Hudlow Road and U.S. 64. The couple spent the night in the RV that is parked at a church parking lot in Morganton. He was planning to walk all day Friday.
They are taking the weekend off staying in the RV in Morganton before driving on Sunday afternoon to Tryon to park the camper where it will remain for the next few days' walk.
While McGill is walking, Barbara spends her day making arrangements for the next RV parking site, finding resetaurants and about every 30 minutes she catches up with McGill to make sure he has plenty of water and offers a him a change of shoes if necessary.
Since they take Saturdays and Sundays off, they attend Sabbath worship on Saturday and another worship service on Sunday.
"We are trying to steer away from denominations, but are trying to connect with as many Christians as possible along the way," McGill said.
The couple may arrive on the West Coast by December, but they can't be sure.
"I'm committed to doing this, coast to coast, no matter how long it takes," he said.
They aren't sure if they will go back to Uganda or stay in the United States when the walk is over.
"This walk could turn into something else," McGill said.
"We are just trusting God," Barbara said.