Man traverses country on foot

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 11, 2009

NATCHEZ — Robért Guesnard says he had walked 11,260 miles by the time his legs hit the pavement in Natchez Thursday afternoon.

Four years and four months ago, Guesnard, 60, set off from Pecos, Texas, traveling north up the west coast into Washington, back south to Texas, east into Georgia, southwest back to Texas, and he is now headed back east. He is loaded with only a bicycle and enough gear to get him through all four seasons.

“I’m self-contained,” Guesnard said.

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He has to push the bike along the side of the road because with all his gear it weighs 220 pounds, making it too difficult to ride.

The weight of the bike isn’t the only thing that makes his travels difficult.

“I’ve been run off the road five times,” Guesnard said.

He covers 18-20 miles a day and camps in spots hidden from the road or occasionally splurges on a cheap motel room.

He makes a living doing art in the towns he passes through. He’ll paint signs for businesses, and if he stays in one town long enough he will paint murals or even start up painting classes for children.

Guesnard plans to be in Selma, Ala., by Oct. 1 where he will wait out the winter months working and writing a book about the people he has met along his journey.

“I feel like I need to (write the book), so that I can tell their stories,” Guesnard said.

After wintering in Alabama he will set off on his journey again covering ground in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia before he will head back south.

“I risk my life every day, but it’s the price I pay for the liberties I have,” Guesnard said. “I get to wake up in a new place every day.”

Guesnard can be reached at