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Couple walk from California to Jerusalem

Mike Metras, a 66-year-old graduate of Marian Central High School, sold his house in Paso Robles, Calif., and is walking to Jerusalem.

He will get there in about 18 months, he figures.

He said he was trying to find himself.

He and his wife, Petra Wolf, a native of Germany, are traveling together. They’re taking a southern route until the weather warms. Come springtime, he and his wife will veer north and visit a couple of his sisters who live in Kansas.

He will be passing through Woodstock sometime in July.

He doesn’t expect to stay long in Woodstock. He’s going to walk to the East Coast and catch a freighter to Spain, or maybe Portugal.

“We’ve walked 13 days and traveled about 148 miles,” Metras said Monday afternoon. “I’ve got one change of clothes, a 2-pound tent. My laptop computer is light.

“The heaviest thing we carry is water, which is 8 pounds per gallon. When we get to the desert, we’re going to pick up a two-wheel granny cart, probably in Barstow [Calif.], to help us carry the water we’ll need.”

Marty Metras, a resident of Woodstock, likes to joke with his older brother. But he also marvels at his brother’s stamina.

“I visited him when he was living in Germany in 2007,” Marty Metras said,  “Before that, the most I ever walked was from the car to the garage when I got home from work. I walked hundreds of miles with him in Germany, but he was always way out ahead of me. I couldn’t keep up with him.”

Despite the praise from his brother, Mike Metras said walking took a toll on him physically.

“By the end of the day, I’m pretty warn, and my feet hurt,” Mike Metras said. He said he was wearing running shoes on the Jerusalem jaunt.

Mike Metras said he was a technical writer and retired in 2000 when he was 57. He uses his walking adventures as grist for his writing. His book titles include “Germany to Rome in 64 Days, Our Pilgrimage” and “Walking Life, Meditations on the Pilgrimage of Life.” They are for sale on his Web site, along with a log of his day-to-day adventures.

On the road, he gets comfort where he can find it.

“When there’s a motel available, we’ll stay there,” Mike Metras said.

Mike Metras provides more details about his travels on his online journal:

“We will walk from our home to the Pacific and on forward through the Mojave and Arizona-New Mexico Deserts to Albuquerque by mid-March for a gathering of the American Pilgrims of the Camino.

“Then we’ll cross Kansas on the Santa Fe Trail. The Katy Trail across Missouri is next. We’ll then head north along the Mississippi and cross Illinois to Woodstock where I grew up. Current estimates put us in northern Illinois in early- or mid-July [around 160 days] depending on how long and where we stop along the way.”

Tom Trausch, a Woodstock resident, said he was following the adventure on his former classmate’s Web site and blog: www.walking withawareness.com.

“I think it’s incredible what he’s doing,”  Trausch said. “He’s an inward-looking man on an adventure.”

Keeping in mind where civilization is going, Mike Metras is walking back to where it started.

“Our destination is Jerusalem, the most holy Christian destination,” Mike Metras said Monday. “We’re actually walking back in history. Starting out in California and walking east, visiting the older states later on in the year.

“Once we get to Europe, we’re walking to Rome, Greece, Turkey, going farther back in time. At the same time, where we are standing is the destination. We have learned to live in the now.”

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