Hawkins County

Man walking across the country passing through Tennessee

MOUNT CARMEL, Tenn. - A man on a 3,000 mile walk across the country is passing through the Tri-cities. Ryan Ray started walking in Los Angeles in February, headed for New York City. Sunday he was on day 143 of his ocean to ocean walk, and walked from Mount Carmel, Tennessee through Bristol, Tennessee.

Ray spends about eight hours walking 23 miles each day. He said his backpack ranges from 30 pounds to 60 pounds.

His Facebook page has been growing in popularity and in the past two months more than 500 people have offered to host him along his journey.  He spent Saturday resting and staying with host Evan Dirube of Kingsport.

Ray said he's doing this because he wanted to do himself what he encourages people to do everyday.

"This is me taking an opportunity to do what I love most," Ray said. "I believe that if it's in your heart, you have to do it. Doesn't matter if you have the resources, or the knowledge, or the tools, if you just put one foot in front of the other you'll find a way."

Evan Dirube said he really enjoyed being able to pick Ray's mind. He said Ray even got him considering his own life.

"He will challenge you to say, you know, are you really happy with what you're doing," Dirube said. "He gets down into it immediately and says if you're not 100-percent happy, maybe it's time to do something."

Ryan said people in Tennessee have been some of the most hospitable.

The first thing he plans to do in new york? Shave his beard.

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