Bill Smith, in corduroy jeans, shaggy hair and a San Diego Padres baseball cap, sauntered into Silver Spring yesterday -- six months after setting out from California to walk his way across America.
"I'm for women's rights and against abortion," the 31-year-old, construction worker said, explaining the purpose of his 4,000 mile trek.
"Walking across the country is not my idea of an enjoyable thing to do," he said, peeling off the muddy work boots that had carried him across the country's deserts, cities and farms.
But walk he did, averaging 25 miles a day through 300 U.S. towns and cities, including Salt Lake City, Denver, Kansas City, St. Louis and Philadelphia.
"I've had plenty of blisters," he said laughing, "and I'm in worse physical condition than I was when I left San Diego."
Last June 16, Smith set out on his "long march for life," as he called it, to focus attention on the anti-abortion movement.
As if all those blisters weren't enough, Smith is now looking forward to getting arrested later this week by carrying a protest sign to the Supreme Court building, an action prohibited by law.
He intends to walk, the 10 miles into Washington.
"I don't enjoy walking," he said, recalling the long, lonely miles between San Diego and Silver Spring.
Smith said yesterday he had sold his 1961 Corvair and borowed $1,500 to finance his cross-country walk. As for the return trip, he said, "I've got $700 left."
That's enough for a plane ticket.