Adventurer from St. Louis ends 2,500-mile walk in Del Mar
By Claire Harlin
On Aug. 8, Anthony Lambing set off walking in Charleston, S.C., and he had no intention of stopping until he reached Del Mar. At three miles an hour, the 26-year-old from St. Louis made his way across America, and on Jan. 20 around 2 p.m., he arrived on the beach at Powerhouse Park — rugged and sunburned — to meet his anxiously waiting family.
“I’m so relieved and I wasn’t even the one walking,” said his mom, Sherry, as he strolled in. “I knew this was something he really wanted to do, and it went so much better than I could have imagined.”
So why did Lambing make the 2,500-mile, five-month trek across the states? Simply put, he wanted to quench his thirst for adventure.
“The idea of traveling across America crossed my mind, and I just couldn’t get it out of my head,” said Lambing. “I decided to walk because I hadn’t been on a bike in forever and running seemed like a lot of work.”
Lambing carried a bicycle trailer with him along the way. On it, he fixed a sign with his blog address, www.anthonywalksamerica.com. He mainly camped and stayed with acquaintances along the way, but some cities he passed through were kind enough to make accommodations for him.
“The morning I’d be going into a town, I would call the City Hall and tell them my website and tell them what I was doing and ask if I could put up a tent overnight,” he said. “A lot of times they would pick the fire department as a place to stay … One Town Hall directed me to a local who loved travelers, and a couple hooked me up with a free hotel room.”
Lambing has amassed quite a following and befriended many throughout his travels. He has well over 1,000 followers on his Facebook page, “Anthony Walks America,” and his blog has a total of about 28,000 views. But those aren’t all unique views, he said.
“I can probably tell you that my mom checks it three times a day,” he said.
And Sherry confirmed that.
“I checked it obsessively,” she said.
Sherry and Lambing’s father, Patrick, were very much a part of their son’s travels throughout the entire trek. Lambing talked to his mother on the phone several times a day, and both Sherry and Patrick tuned in on speaker phone at night.
Sherry said she followed him on Google Earth, examine the terrain and surroundings of all his locations, and Patrick said he would often go back and look through all the photos on his son’s blog, start to finish.
Lambing said the experience never got old, however, he did at one point feel fed up with walking.
“Halfway through New Mexico, I decided I was tired of walking. I wasn’t tired of traveling, but I was tired of walking,” he said. “It became completely normal and it was what I was doing for so long that the fact that there would be an end didn’t really register.”
Lambing said he strategically plotted his course in order to see areas he was interested in — namely the South — and he ended his travels in Del Mar because he has a great aunt, whom he had never met, who lives in the area.
It’s hard to say what place along the way was his favorite, he said, but he found Georgia to be surprisingly interesting because there were so many small towns where movies and TV shows had been filmed.
“If you were to drive across America, you would just get off the highway for gas. But I got to see the places that you would only see if you lived there. Places that nobody would go except the locals,” he said.
One striking feature of the small towns, he said, was the fact that people congregated and made a hangout of the local gas stations.
“I also couldn’t believe it when I saw people in the South buy a 20-ounce soda and pour a bag of peanuts in it,” he said. “I’m from Missouri and you just don’t see those kinds of things there.”
The biggest challenge Lambing said he ran into was running out of money, but his followers, acquaintances and family helped sustain him financially during the last half of his trip. He said he spent about $5,000 over the course of his travels.
Not only did his supporters help him along the way, but he said he’s made lifelong friends. He said a number of people checked in frequently to support him on his blog and Facebook page, and some acquaintances even called to check in on him occasionally.
“I can probably take a vacation to every state I went through for sure and have places to stay for free,” said Lambing, who now plans to return to his job at Target.
To read more about Lambing’s voyage, visit www.anthonywalksamerica.com.
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