“It’s a movement-movement,” said the man pushing a 7-foot-tall globe down U.S. Highway 101 on Monday morning.
Erik Bendl rolls his globe and leads his dog down U.S. Highway 101 on Monday morning during his trek to encourage exercise to prevent diabetes. Del Norte Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
Erik Bendl’s campaign to promote exercise to prevent diabetes has brought him to 37 states, logging more than 5,000 miles in the last five years.
His seventh and most recent cross-country trek started in Seattle in mid-June. He passed through Crescent City on Monday on his way to San Francisco.
Bendl lost his mother, Gerta Bendl (a former Louisville, Ky. alderman and state representative) to diabetes in 1987. The planet-pushing Bendl also hails from Louisville.
Why did he wait almost 20 years after losing his mother to start his diabetes awareness cause?
“Because I hadn’t saved the world yet,” Bendl said, referring to his mighty ball of canvas representing the Earth.
Bendl “saved the world” from going to a landfill when a friend who had the globe in her basement was trying to get rid of it.
Accompanied by his dog named Nice, Bendl’s walking trips usually last a few months (last year’s trip took seven months), and are spent encouraging people to exercise.
“Everybody needs to take it upon themselves to go for a walk,” he said. “I haven’t met anyone who has significantly changed their lives without exercise.”
Michael Penney of Del Norte, who also has diabetes, pulled over to greet Bendl and express his support for his journey
“We’ll be following you,
Penney told him.
Bendl maintains a blog of his travels at worldguy.org. His Sunday post tells of a man who stopped Bendl before crossing the Dr. Fine Bridge over the Smith River, offering to use his truck to carry the canvassed Earth safely across.
“Since he simply appeared at the right moment, I accepted,” Bendl wrote.
Hel got some extra exercise on Monday when the California Highway Patrol made him turn around two miles south of the junction with U.S. Highway 199 to take Parkway Drive instead, telling him that the stretch of Highway 101 wasn’t open for pedestrians.