In 1999, Joe Hurley walked across the continental United States on Route 6 – the same Route 6 that goes through Brewster, Mahopac, Peekskill and other areas in Putnam and northern Westchester.
He made the trip with a photographer, Travis Lindhorst, and from their adventure, they turned out a book, Ten Million Steps on Route 6.
Well, next month, Hurley will revisit a few communities along the way to tell people about his experiences.
He plans to make the following stops:
July 10, 7 p.m., Field Library, 4 Nelson Ave., Peekskill.
July 13, 3 p.m., Brewster Public Library, 79 Main St., Brewster.
July 15, 7 p.m., Mahopac Public Library, 668 Route 6, Mahopac.
The way Hurley describes it, his presentation is more than just a talk. Here. I’ll let him explain with this notice he sent to announce the tour:
Joe Hurley is a retired newspaper reporter who spent most of his career at The News-Times in Danbury, where, among other things, he wrote the consumer-humor column called Shallow Pockets.
He lives in New Milford, with his wife Pat. Same house, same wife, same out-of-control forsythia bushes for more than 30 years. They have a grown daughter and a new grand daughter.
In 1999, Joe came to the startling realization that he knew almost nothing about the other side of the state, even though Connecticut is small enough to fit in the back pocket of Colorado or Nebraska. That year, photographer David Harple and Joe walked across Connecticut on Route 6 to give News-Times readers, and themselves, a better picture of their home state.
Later, Joe noticed that Route 6 stretched all the way to California – it was the nation’s first coast-to-coast highway and remains the longest continuous highway in the country. After retiring, Joe walked that 3,600-mile road while photographer Travis Lindhorst traveled along in the comfort of a car.
Their stories and pictures ran weekly in a dozen newspapers across the country. Now Joe and Travis have published a book about the adventure: “Ten Million Steps on Route 6: A Fresh Look at America and Americans From Cape Cod to California.”
Joe gives an inside look at the the walk and the book in a program called “Behind the Scenes of Ten Million Steps.” It’s virtual trip across Route 6, with Joe leading the way and visitors following along with copies of the book in their hands. (Joe loans them for the journey.)
“Seeing the stories and pictures gives people a real sense of being there,” Joe said. But he added that the best part is taking the trip with a group of people. “It’s different every time because the people determine where we go by their questions and comments. I have an agenda, but it almost never goes the way I planned – and that’s what makes it fun.”
When he’s not doing the program Joe is pretty much a homebody, writing occasional magazine stories, attempting to play basketball with other old guys, and promising Pat he’ll get after those forsythia bushes tomorrow.