By the time he gets to Phoenix, Jimmy Wayne will be very tired. Actually, he’s already worn himself out with his Meet Me Halfway Walk from Nashville to Arizona’s capital city — a 1,700-mile trek to draw attention to teen homelessness.
But the finish line is now in sight. Jimmy crossed from New Mexico into the Grand Canyon State June 30, and he’s now set a big celebration concert on July 31 in Mesa, Ariz., at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill. Jimmy plans to walk the final 13 miles to HomeBase Youth Services the next day. Fans are being encouraged to join him for the last mile and to stick around for a ceremony once he reaches his destination.
“My legs are good,” Jimmy says. “Surprisingly, my knees are holding up very well, and it’s because I use trekking poles. And I know it looks stupid when I’m goin’ through the desert with trekkin’ poles, ‘cause it looks like I’m skiin’. When I was goin’ through Memphis, I was goin’ through Hurt Village, where they did the little story on Blind Side. This guy was standin’ there and he said, ‘Where you skiin’ to?’ I said, ‘I’m skiin’ outta here!’”
When Jimmy began his adventure on Jan. 1 in Nashville, the windchill factor was 18 degrees. Once he reaches his destination, he’ll be at the other end of the spectrum. The Weather Channel was predicting a high for Phoenix on Wednesday of 109 degrees.
“It’s hot,” Jimmy says of the desert. “And granted, no one told me to do this walk. I decided to do it myself, and I’m not whining about it, but… I have to get into Phoenix, and that’s gonna be the roughest part. The rattlesnakes and the heat just kills you. I’ve run up on a couple of those rattlesnakes already.”
Jimmy’s also run up on some really nice people and earned a lot of support around the country — from numerous radio stations and even from a few celebrities, including Tom Cruise and Paris Hilton. He’s also taken his message to lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento.
Once it’s all done, one by-product of his experience is that Jimmy will also have plenty of material to draw from creatively. He’s excited about “getting back to Nashville and writing, ‘cause I’ve got a lot of stuff on my head. I’ve been able to start writin’ some songs, and I’m writin’ in my journal.”
He’ll get back permanently to Nashville with one quick plane ride, but only after he reaches that Arizona finish line… one step at a time.