During their cross country journey walking along U.S. 50 a father and daughter from Creston, West Virginia, didn’t know what to expect when they approached Nevada stateline.
“We have never been further west of Ohio until now,” said Sarah Boggs, 37. “I anticipated that it was going to be flat, but then I learned it’s the most mountainous state in the world.”
Carrying a survival guide to the Loneliest Road in America in their hands, Boggs and her father, Gary Buchanan, 66, arrived in Carson City Saturday afternoon after traveling 2,500 miles on foot for the last six months. They are making their way to Point Reyes, California.
But the duo isn’t doing this for fun. They’re on a mission to raise money for two causes that are, what they claim to be, dear to their hearts: The Humane Society in Parkersburg, WV and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
The funds are made through their GoFundMe foundation, Paws and Hope with a goal of $6,000. However, they only raised $2,200 and their journey is ending at the end of the month.
Boggs, a registered nurse, is still satisfied with the results.
“It’s not the people haven’t been generous,” she said. “But we’ve walked through so many remote areas. But weren’t going to need it because we know our efforts are making an impact. It’s about bringing awareness.”
Boggs and her father used some of the donation money to cover meals, shower and gas expenses for their 1984 Volkeswagen they’re camping in. Starting around 10 a.m. each morning, they walk 20 miles per day west of their van, and then hitchhike back. Then, they drive the van to the end point of their day’s walk and camp.
They have been in this routine since Slaughter Beach, Delaware, when they began April 1. The finish line is at Point Reyes, relying on hardcopy road maps and Google maps.
In Nevada, they stopped in Eureka and Sand Mountain. Buchanan, a Marine veteran, celebrated his 66th birthday in Fallon.
“When I noticed that we were close to completion, I got a little teary,” Boggs said.
Originally, Boggs and her father were set to finish Oct. 1. Along the way, they went through numerous pairs of shoes and worked with law enforcement across the country to help save stray and lost animals — including three kittens, three cows, and a dog.
In Missouri, they picked up a stuffed lion and named him Lego. He came about after Boggs and Buchanan read an article from Humans of New York, about a boy named Max. Before Max lost his battle to brain cancer, his mother took him to the Lego store.
Boggs writes childrens’ names on Lego the Lion; those who are battling illnesses and those who have lost.
“Lego is a reminder that I have nothing to complain about,” she said. “Kids would love to be traveling across the country. So we’re taking them with us by writing their names.”
Although Lego is one of their most memorable stories, Boggs and Buchanan said the biggest takeaway of the journey is the patience and bond that grew between them.
“I’m grateful for him to be with me on this journey,” she said. “When we were at Sand Mountain, I learned about my great-grandparents and I told him things that I wouldn’t have told him in the past. I wanted to get to know him more. Although we are alike, we have butted heads. It’s hard to stay focused when things are negative between us, but it’s also good practice for communication.” “Many people see us walking and tell us that it looks like we get along,” Buchanan said. “Sometimes, we’ll tell them the reason behind our travels and they are taken aback by it.”
Three days before they hit Point Reyes, Boggs’ 4-year-old son, Dakota, whom currently resides Sarasota, Florida with her older sister, will be joining to witness the journey’s end.
“Missing him has been one of most hardest things about this trip,” she said.
After they reach the finish line and take a dip in the Pacific Ocean, Buchanan will fly back to Creston to be with his wife, Linda. As for Boggs’, she will miss her mother, father and West Virginia; she will be moving to Florida to be closer to her son and sister.
“I have a wanderlust problem,” she said. “This was a dream come true for me and it’s going to be hard to settle in once it’s over. Going through these old, historic towns of U.S. 50 made me realize to appreciate living life. I love mountains and Nevada is definitely a favorite part of this journey.”