© 2024 University of Missouri - KBIA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Day 225: One man's walk across the United States

Holden Minor Ringer poses in front of the Columbia Missourian on Friday, Nov. 3. Moments later, he left on foot to continue his journey across the United States.
Holden Minor Ringer poses in front of the Columbia Missourian on Friday, Nov. 3. Moments later, he left on foot to continue his journey across the United States.

Since March, Holden Minor Ringer has been walking from Washington state to Washington D.C. He sold his car, packed his bags and set off on a journey to advocate for pedestrian friendly city planning.

Ringer’s journey included a stop by Columbia, where he spoke with KBIA’s Tadeo Ruiz about walkability in America’s cities and how this trip has impacted him. This is an excerpt of their conversation.

Holden Minor Ringer: I am currently walking across the country. Today is day 25 and yeah, I started up in La Push, Washington and the plan is to walk to Washington, DC. Then, up on the east coast to hit New York City, which is where I'll touch the Atlantic. Then finally finish in New Haven, Connecticut.

Tadeo Ruiz: Did I lose track of time? You said this was day 25?

Holden Minor Ringer: No, day 225.

Tadeo Ruiz: I was like: “You're a speedy Walker.”

Holden Minor Ringer: I try my best. I mean, since starting back up from Denver, it's usually been about like 25 to 32 miles a day or something like that. Most I've done in a day is 44. But, you know, also try and take rest days. Like, just yesterday, and it was like a rest day, was incredible. It's like you get to see Columbia, or a place like Columbia and just like meet the folk and people have just been so kind to me. I mean, like people were offering me free food and restaurants got to go to Addison's and Broadway brewery and then yeah, even got to see a show at Mizzou. Something Rotten.

Tadeo Ruiz: So, you now became a Mizzou student.

Holden Minor Ringer: I guess so, yeah, no, it was. It's a fun time. I mean, funny enough, Columbia is the first college town that I walked through the entire walk. There's not too many college towns and rural Idaho, if you can believe that.

Tadeo Ruiz: Wow, did you grow up in the city? Or did you grow up somewhere completely out in nature? Where, you sort of have perspective and the shock of going from here to here.

Holden Minor Ringer poses inside of a KBIA audio booth on Friday, Nov. 3 after walking from Rocheport, Mo. "I have just met so many nice and friendly people," Ringer said.
Holden Minor Ringer poses inside of a KBIA audio booth on Friday, Nov. 3.

Holden Minor Ringer: I think the actual perspective was the variations of cities. Because I grew up at a place called Highland Park in University Park. They are like cities in the inside of Dallas. And you know, they're very, I don't know, a typical white, affluent suburb within a major metropolitan area. But yeah, once again, Dallas and Atlanta were very car dependent cities. I don't think I really thought too much about it.

I would always be a big walker and biker just like getting around. But there was always some apprehension towards owning a car. And then, when I was in Atlanta, kind of over the pandemic, I bought a car. Just so I could work a job and get to that job. It really wasn't until I moved up to Western Washington that you see, within American cities, there's a difference.

I think there's levels to the degree of what people are willing to sport in terms of everything outside of a car; in terms of public transit, walking, and biking. The biggest thing is just infrastructure.

For the most part, it's just incredibly unsafe. I think a lot of cities, their idea of safety is well, “we put down a painted bike lane,” or” we put out a shared road to tell bikers that they're safe,” but it's just not practical. I mean, they're just having to deal with these huge mass of cars. And not this isn't to say, you know, all drivers are evil.

Tadeo Ruiz: I'm just curious about if your journey has been this sort of, epic tale of highs and lows. Some of those being lower than the highs.

Holden Minor Ringer: Yeah, but instead of the ogre, it's just the Ford F 150 with a driver on their phone. I think that's kind of a big thing of the walk. I think some people have asked me, especially here in Colombia, like, “what's the craziest wild thing that's happened to you?” And it's like, the vast majority of my day is just walking on the side of a highway where I just wave to 18-Wheeler drivers. Then I get to a town and people are like, “how far do you walk?” And “how many shoes have you gone through?” I have just met so many nice and friendly people.

Tadeo Ruiz: I'm wondering if you have any final reflections. I was looking at your Instagram picture, and the very first photo you posted way back in January. What does it feel like looking back at those photos without knowing what it was going to be like to actually walk across everything?

Holden Minor Ringer: It's funny, people ask me “oh, how do you think it changed you?” Yeah, I don't know. I just feel like I'm still the same guy. I think it's been a reaffirming experience that this is a great country. I'm very happy and fortunate to live here. I really hope to make it a better place, especially for the people who exist outside of a car. I think going forward and among plenty of other people on the walk and whatever comes afterwards.

Tadeo Ruiz: Right, well thank you so much for your time and stay safe!

Tadeo Ruiz is a Freshman in the Missouri School of Journalism from Mexico City. He's a reporter and producer for KBIA.
Related Content