Walk Across Connecticut 2018 — Day 1

This morning I laced up my sneakers for my third annual Walk Across Connecticut. A few things are different this year — I’m heading North to South for the first time, for one — but the goal remains the same: to meet people where they are, to listen to their stories, and to hear directly from the folks who sent me to Washington about what they want me to be doing there.

I’ll be walking 70 miles over the next four days and I’m looking forward to hearing from people across the state about any and everything. I hope you’ll follow along for all of it.

Here’s a recap of my first day on the road:

Update: Want to see more from my walk across Connecticut? Check out my recaps from Day 2 and Day 3.

20 miles is a pretty average day in terms of distance— it may have been hot but luckily today’s route was mostly downhill.

I got started bright and early in Hartland on the Massachusetts border. It’s already 80 degrees when I set out from the town hall just after 8 am.

And we’re off!
The Merli family in Granby collects and displays antique Farmall tractors on their front lawn. I stopped by to chat this morning and learned all about it.
Stopped for a cheese bagel and a Snapple at Lite N Up in Granby. (Just realized this photo makes it look like I have glitter antlers).
I love it when people in Washington D.C. think Connecticut is just one big suburb of New York City. Maybe they should stop by Hartland, Granby, and Tarrifville.
Most people are incredibly nice. For instance, one couple found me in their car to drop of this bag of fresh, cold grapes as a walking snack. Other people are a little less excited to see me. I stopped in at a power equipment store in East Granby. The colorful older guy behind the counter asked where I was ending the walk. “Long Island Sound,” I replied. “Well, just keep walking. We’d be better off.” Ouch.
Thanks to the Chief and volunteers at Bloomfield Fire for showing me around this afternoon. We talked about the trucks, training and the issues that an all-volunteer department has to handle.

Despite the heat, the day is flying by. But I get a little sidetracked at a stop in at Bloomfield Bicycle. Did not know electric bikes are such hot sellers this summer!

All of a sudden I’m running 15 minutes late for my town hall at the University of Hartford. I hurry up and get there as fast as my weary legs can take me.

Hurrying to get to UHart is worth it — I’m rewarded with a room filled with people eager to ask questions and share their opinions and, after a long, hot day, some greatly appreciated air conditioning.

People ask me about the vacancy on the Supreme Court, immigration, the environment and the opioid crisis in Connecticut. They share their fears, their experiences with discrimination, and the things they worry about.

But as with every town hall, I left feeling incredibly energized and hopeful. Because even though the issues we’re facing may be heavy, people continue to show up, participate and make their voices heard.

Even on a hot day, even the day after the 4th of July, even when there are plenty of other things they could do with their time — people come because they care.

They’re the reason that (after a good night’s sleep tonight) I’m looking forward to getting back on the road tomorrow. Rain is in the forecast but I’ll be ready for my walk through Hartford and New Britain!