Mickey Straub said he realized during the first week of his "50 Capitols in 50 Days" trip across the country that the journey isn't just about patriotism and Abraham Lincoln.
"It’s really about the people," Straub said over the phone while driving between Tallahassee and Montgomery Wednesday afternoon, "the people that you meet along the way that are unbelievable."
Straub, , calls the strangers that he's developed bonds with along his journey his "capitol angels."
He's been shown around state capitols along the east coast by political staffers, recited the Gettysburg Address alongside state politicians, and even had a chance meeting with the governor of North Carolina.
He spent a rainy day with a Navy sailor and even spent the night with a man who was in the background of the famous Time Magazine photograph of the sailor kissing a nurse on V-J Day in 1945.
"Call it divine intervention, call it serendipity, call them amazing coincidences," Straub said. "It's the chance meetings with people and these relationships that I’ve struck up that are pretty cool."
Straub says it hasn't been an easy trip. He's experienced problems including a bum windshield wiper during a rainy night ("I almost killed myself the first night"), the anti-glamour of living out of motels ("I feel like a vagabond"), and the homesickness that comes with more than a week on the road.
Through it all, though, Straub says he keeps everything in perspective and thinks of the military veterans that his trip is meant in part to honor.
"There’s a lot of times when I’m questioning what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and if it’s worth it," Straub said. "Whenever I get down and start to feel sorry for myself, I think of what soldiers went through and what current soldiers are going through."
As of Friday morning, Straub had knocked out 19 capitols in 11 days, according to his website. He's been traveling with a partner, family friend and journalist Chris Faron, during recent days and he's flying home this weekend to attend a wedding, where he'll get to see his family before getting back to the road.
Thursday, Straub was featured in a TV report by NBC 33 Baton Rouge in Louisiana.
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