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Bill Fagan walking from Woonsocket, R.I. to Woonsocket, S.D.

September 22, 2012

Bill Fagan holds a picture of himself taken during his 1,700-mile, multi-year walk between sister cities Woonsocket, Rhode Island and Woonsocket, South Dakota, which he will complete early next month. Photo/Ernest A. Brown

WOONSOCKET – Though Bill Fagan has pretty much lived his whole life within a few blocks of his home on Gaskill Street, sometimes he wanders.
Very far.
It’s no big deal for the reedy fellow with a gentle manner to walk to Mendon, Mass., where the locals know him so well they toot their horns when they see him.
But Fagan’s fairly certain that’s not going to happen when he finishes his longest walk ever, one that will lead him to a place he’s never been. Located halfway across the country, with a population of fewer than 700 people, it’s a place with a familiar ring to it, which may be the main reason it caught his attention in the first place.
If all goes according to plan, on Oct. 6 he’ll reach the outskirts of Woonsocket – the one in South Dakota, that is – ending a journey he’s been chipping away at for nearly four years.
“I’m excited,” says Fagan. “It’s going to be the end. It’s going to feel pretty weird not having to plan the next route.”
Why Woonsocket, S.D.?
Fagan says he wanted his trip to be unique. He toyed with the idea of going cross country, but there was something, well, pedestrian about it.
“Lots of people have done east-west,” he says. “I thought about the Appalachian Trail, but I didn’t really want to sleep outside every night.”

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