While on a Saturday morning drive to deposit his recyclables, Charlie Maxwell of Canton came up on a man in a covered wagon on Highway 20.
Charlie went home to tell his wife what he had seen. Filled with excitement, Betty Maxwell jumped in the car with her husband and headed back to Highway 20 to see the interesting gentleman and his wagon.
The couple helped the stranger navigate across Knox Bridge over Lake Allatoona. Betty talked with the man, then invited him to her home for a hot shower and a hot meal—homemade spaghetti dinner with all the fixings.
Betty and Charlie opened their home up to several dear friends who would be immensely interested in the man's travels. The room stirred with questions. James Newton of Corpus Christi, TX, was more than enthusiastic to answer them.
He started out on his adventure in February 2009. He said it took him nine months just to get through Texas.
He travels with Buster Brown, his adorable dachshund miniature, and Friday, his amazing draft horse. He carries the bare essentials and covers no more than 15 to 25 miles a day.
James said that his trusty horse will turn back and give him a look. He knows exactly what she is saying: It's time to end the day. James looks for grassy areas first so Friday can graze all night.
He has slept under the stars and visited historical sites that some of us only get to read about.
People have opened up their homes to him. Stores have let him rest overnight. Restaurants have given him warm meals on the house. He never expects anything from anyone, but has been blessed by humanity's kindness. He has received plaques. One restaurant hung up his picture. And mayors of towns have held huge cookouts in his honor.
James had us all mesmerized with the tales of his journey across the country and the outpouring of kindness from every state he passed through. Some brought tears to our eyes.
After Texas, he went through Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina. Georgia was James' ninth stop. James next stop will be Alabama, where he has some land. He wants to build a small cabin there for himself, Buster Brown and Friday.
"I am just taking it nice and slow," James said. "Want to see as much as possible living the dream."