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JAY WALKING -- Retired Santa Monica Cop Gathers 570 Miles of Experiences
 

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

On May 9, retired Santa Monica police officer Jay Trisler embarked on a 3,100-mile walk across America. The Lookout is following the former traffic lieutenant's progress in a series called "Jay Walking."

By Jorge Casuso

June 18, 2019 -- Since he began walking from Santa Monica last month, former police Lt. Jay Trisler has slept behind small town gas stations, in the home of a stranger and in a hotel whose owner took him for a bum.

During those 38 days, he has grown a beard and two blisters, lost weight, eaten plenty of cans of mini raviolis and been treated to meals by people he didn't know.

"It has been a blessing," said Trisler, who is walking 3,100 miles to Virginia Beach as a tribute to "God and cops."
Jay Trisler in California

"Everybody is taking a risk" helping a stranger, Trisler said on Tuesday after reaching Holbrook, Arizona, the 570-mile mark along the route.

"The people have been giving," he said. "I've just met people who are giving and thoughtful, people who just want to help one another.

"I've had nothing but positive interactions."

Friends back home have been following Trisler's trek, charting it on a map and checking the blog and pictures he updates every day.

"Friends are charting the route," he said. "Where's Jay? They have pins" to follow the progress.

Since embarking on the journey May 9, Trisler has been receiving encouraging messages and calls from family and friends and picking up care packages they send to the post office in the next town he'll reach.

"I have friends who call me every day, some three times a day, It makes my heart feel really, really good."

But it has been the out of the way places and the strangers he has met along the road that have opened Trisler's eyes.

"Sleeping in the Mojave desert under the stars and hearing absolutely nothing is the most amazing experience I've ever had," he said.

It took Trisler six days to walk 140 miles across the desert. There was no place to shower, but he had planned his trip before the heat came.

One night, at 10:45 with the wind at 45 miles an hour, a woman stopped when she saw the man pulling a cart by the side of the desert highway.

It was the first car Trisler had seen in two hours.

"The women let me nap in her house," he said. "She didn't know I was an officer.

"She saw a man in need. She had a loving heart, a caring soul and she took me in."

After crossing the desert, Trisler stopped in a hotel in Needles on the Arizona border. He'd made reservations, but the owner didn't want to take him in.

"I was looking pretty disheveled," Trisler said. "The man at the front desk said, 'I don't want to rent to homeless.' He didn't want that kind of person."

Showing the man his IDs didn't help. "He wanted an extra hundred-dollar deposit."

Trisler paid it. "I understand," he said. "He wanted to protect his property."

When he reaches Albuquerque likely early next month, Trisler will have a place to stay.

A woman he met along the road invited him to pitch his tent in her back yard. She wants him to give her notice so she can invite friends and the two nuns who live across the street for a small welcoming party.

Then, Trisler plans to keep walking, accumulating more stickers he'll plaster on his cart to recall all the places he's been.

"I can't believe I have another six months of this," Trisler said.

It's hard to tell if he's in disbelief the journey doesn't seem to end or happy he still had such a long way to go.

Read the first installment "Retired Santa Monica Cop Hits the Road," May 6, 2019.


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