Friday, September 30, 2005

Katrina evacuees bike to Maine

Kurt and Betty Jo Norton are walking and biking their way to Bangor Maine with Xena the dog and Sam the cat. Hanging off the side of one of their bicycle-drawn carts is a large wooden sign that reads, "VIETNAM VET STRANDED, BROKE, WITH DOG AND CAT."

Kurt said they evacuated their hometown, Pascagoula, near Biloxi, Mississippi. They set out on foot for Maine about 30 days ago on their two bikes, carrying the few things they were able to salvage from their home.

The two started biking in Mississippi, and in Kentucky, met someone who gave them an old car. They packed their bikes and pets in the car, and made it all the way to Ohio, where the gift car broke down. They then got back on their bikes, packing Xena and Sam aboard, strapped in all their belongings, and headed northeastward. They've been pedaling or walking their bikes since, save for the occasional ride from a passing motorist.

They said they've been carefully saving the money they get from handouts and are occasionally able to stay at a hotel, so long as it accepts pets, but otherwise they're content to camp alongside the road.

They intend to save their money as much as they can and bunk down in a cheap hotel once they get to Maine. After that ....

"Work. Life," Kurt said. "We'll head back down when the time's right."

Kurt said he has learned one thing for sure from the journey. "Nothing like a hurricane to bring you closer to God," he said. "That's a very true statement."

"Man himself probably brought on with all the pollution and stuff," Betty Jo added. "You can tell we're in our last days with all these hurricanes and all these storms."

Read and see more here and here.


vj said...

Fritz - the Caledonian Record article (the first "here") is gone. I wonder if there's a cached version?

Fritz said...

Hi VJ, it seems to be there now -- I wonder if it was a temporary thing.

bikefridaywalter said...

all this talk of god makes me miss my "jesus was carfree" sticker. :)

and that kinda seems like a long way to go for a jeep, but rock on. to think of all the people that can't imagine going one mile by bike/boots.

lastly, in the latter article, i must point out that they finally explain the nature of that mysterious bag so many cyclists wear on their backs: it's full of camels.