Posted by: Jim E | August 7, 2010

Imjustwalkin…To And From Rockaway Beach…

This is about the 3rd time I have posted on the subject of…as some of you know, a few months ago I came across something that caught my eye…but also my interest…and now it has become…well, I don’t want to call it an obsession…because it isn’t that exactly…I mean, how many people are interested, no obsessed, with a person walking across the country???…there are many who do that every year…so what is this about???…well, let me go on a bit…I can’t really explain it…but maybe help to understand…

Here is a guy, Matt Green…an engineer from New York…he is interested in walking because he has been doing it around New York for years…buildings, blocks, boroughs, etc…and now planned this walk for the last couple of years…pushing a cart across America…using back roads, as few major highways as possible, U.S. forest roads, etc…and for no particular reason…now that is an important reason for me to follow…traveling from Rockaway Beach, New York to Rockaway Beach, Oregon, why???…I don’t know!!!…I suppose it may make sense but who really knows but Matt…

He has become sort of a folk hero…a hobo…the king of the Hobo Nation/Planet…that is what many of the hangers-on call it…that’s us…we who follow this (as I have come to call him) “peripatetic engineer”…with his transformed (I use that lightly) baby stroller, “the Mattmobile”…in other words reinforced for the rough work on the roughest of roads…in what has become is his own “tikkum olam”…and without becoming too dramatic…to help repair this world…has this happened to some who have followed everyday and month of this trip???…or to those Matt has met on the way???…or to Matt???…oh, I’d have to say there have been changes…and I expect all for the better…I have met people all across America…and some in other countries around the world…every bit helps…it’s the “cup of cold water” of Matthew 10:42, if I can mix my great religions here…

So those of us who have become addicted to the pictures Matt has posted most everyday with very little narrative…and what makes a person come back for that???…Well, they’re original, beautiful, with a good dose of humor…and we are allowed to make up our own narrative…but it is also the comments section…I find in those comments the kindness that is missing from most of the comment sections of most blogs…and if that becomes addictive, that would be okay with me…most have become friends of a sort…

So with Matt almost to the end of his journey…what will he find in Rockaway Beach, Oregon…the 2000 census was a little over 1200 people…a bit different than Rockaway Beach, New York…and there is a beach, beautiful, I guess…and there is a strange likeness of the twin rocks off the beach that reminds me of the last scene of the 1985 movie, “The Goonies”…remember the pirate ship sailing away…I digress…Rockaway Beach, Oregon is also known for the invention of the “Pronto Pup”…(no, not the corn dog)…invented in the late 1930’s…dipped in pancake batter not corn flour batter…(it of course makes all the difference)…

This automatically makes me think of the Minnesota State Fair, “The Great Minnesota Get-Together”…everything on a stick…and also Pronto Pups…it is a great fair…one of the largest in America…and not for the rides but for “everything else” that they have…I will miss it again this year…and again I digress…

So here we are nearing the end of a great time…following someone we don’t even know personally…but someone who we got to know in ways we didn’t imagine could happen…I think all of us who followed Matt enjoyed the journey…and will enjoy the last few days with a bit of mystery…and also a bit of what next…most of the followers will miss the daily pictures and the people that Matt has introduced us to over this whole trip…

And until the end is declared and that may be awhile…all I can say right now is…thanks for the memories…it’s been great…


  1. I enjoyed your view point of the Matt Green trek. I think the reason I love the website is because with each picture I think of my experience’s in life. And each place he goes a part of my life has been there. My friend Karen has family in Glendive MT, my sister lives in St Maries Id and we put my Mothers ash’s in practically the same place Matt took the picture of the garages for boats, my Nephew lives in Vancouver WA…. so I follow Matt to get part of my past memories back.

    • Ruthie…what great thoughts…it has been personal for you as it has for lots of people…but it was for you…that is what is important…Judie and I loved what you wrote…good stuff…Jim…

  2. Thanks for a good article. I would have to say the reason that I have followed Matt is because I think it is a neat idea==one that I would like to have done in my younger days. Than there is all the good people that he has met along the way. It has restored my faith in America and mankind.
    Also the pictures are great. I lived in Mn. for 9 yrs. ( children still live there) and have been to Montana twice. I really love the mountains. Guess I along with a lot of other people have “adopted” Matt.

    • Barb C….thanks for your comments…I understand what you are saying…have adopted Matt too…he is younger than our youngest…it has been a great time…and reading comments along the way, the pictures and knowing some of the places he passed by…all those things…and the “real people” he has met…I’m sure many more than we were introduced to…a great country…thanks again…

  3. Ruthie makes some great points. A similar thing happened to me back in April:
    a group of peace walkers came through our town (overnighted at my church)

    I just happened to meet up with them as they set out early on a Sunday morning, I decided to tag along for the day, then met up at the tail end of the week, as they met other groups for the start of the UN NPT treaty talks in Manhattan the following weekend.

    While getting acquainted with one of the walkers, Art, he was very keen on knowing where I grew up, lived, worked, etc. Turns out their journey that week through central NJ (and an earlier leg thru s/e PA) took them precisely along all those touchpoints/places of my life. Incredible experience. and it wasn’t even 100 miles.

    Hope to see Art again in 2011.


  4. I appreciated your comments regarding the kindness that has been shown on the blog for Matt’s walking adventure. I hadn’t really zeroed in on that as yet, and so I find your thought enlightening and helpful in explaining the attraction I have found in following Hobo Matt through these last months.

    I had noted only one person who had negative comments and he seems to have disappeared. Isn’t it interesting that the majority of the followers on the Hobo Planet are all upbeat and appreciative of all of Matt’s adventures. I do believe that we all are witnessing something very special…one of those life events that doesn’t happen often and when it does we need to stop and savor the moment!

    This record of the “regular” folk who have touched Matt by providing food, shelter and friendship has been so inspiring. I feel blessed to have had this opportunity to read Matt’s recording of these great people and to see the wonderful sights he has walked by!

    Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you…I don’t post often on the blog, but I’m a “quiet” follower on a daily basis (-; Love the pictures of you and your beautiful wife, congrats on 47 years! My sweetie and I just celebrated 27 years. See you on the blog….Kier from Oregon

  5. I follow Matt for the same reasons you, Ruthie, and Barb gave. I enjoy the humor Matt uses in the titles of most of his pictures. I have really enjoyed all the pictures from the northern part of the country — several places I lived in or near or have visited in the western half of his trip. And in the eastern half of his trip, he has passed through or near places where my ancestors lived as the family made its way west over the course of three centuries. I’ve enjoyed his photos of and comments about the many people who gave him food or a place to stay or just simply took time for a chat as Matt has made his way west. But mostly, I’ve just enjoyed the idea and the fact that he set out to do something and that I’ve been able to watch his progress as he has moved along. I’ve particularly liked the fact that he is just doing it for the joy of it. I hope, in the end, that maybe he’ll write a book with more details than he has posted but even if he doesn’t, it has been a great pleasure to watch his journey. I’m not sure what I’ll do first thing in the morning once he reaches his destination. I guess I’ll go back to what I was doing before but it certainly won’t be as much fun.

  6. I’ve been along for Matt’s walk since early May and, like all the other followers from Hobo Planet, have discovered so much about America’s out-of-the-way-places and friendly, welcoming citizens. As an observer from Canada’s capital Ottawa, I found myself comparing our two countries’ similar topography of coast, forests, plains and mountains as Matt traveled from east to west (although we’re about 200 miles north of Matt’s trek). I think the reason for the positive vibe that everyone is feeling is that Matt touches our souls in so many ways through the intimate perspective of his photos and accompanying witty captions every day. At the end of his spirited voyage, I think the emotional connection to Matt’s dream that we have all felt will be its lasting legacy.

    And on a more personal note Jim, a belated Happy Anniversary to you and Judie…congrats on 47 years together!

  7. Thank you for following up on Matt’s journey. I started following him in July and have loved every picture and update. Congratulations on your anniversary. My husband and I will celebrate 49 years together on Friday. My Mom and Dad will have their 70th in November. I am putting you on my blog roll.

  8. Jim:
    How fun to discover that we have both been tracking the same guy! And to come to find you by a random google search??? I’m grateful to read your observations and musings. We miss you here at Meadow Creek and in MN. Come back and visit us again sometime…soon! blessings, Randy

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