As the cool morning temperatures of autumn drifted into Ennis this week, so did another visitor passing through town on his way from one place to another.
But unlike most people passing through this time of year, Dr. Robert “Bob” McNary did so using nothing more than his own two feet to move down the road.
The 63-year-old McNary set out from Harlowton on Sept. 1 to begin an epic 900-mile journey from Montana to Reno, Nevada. Carrying only his backpack and a customized version of the American flag on the end of a stick, he’s averaging 20 miles a day so far in an effort to inspire what he sees as a necessary spiritual revolution in America.
The flag, adorned with a golden heart and 13 gold stars atop the blue section, serves as a reminder of three simple mottos that keep McNary going down the road, one step at a time: One Nation Under God, God is Love and Love One Another.
“The message is that America needs to be a more kind and gentle place to live,” he said. “We need more heart, I think, so that we care for each other and follow the Golden Rule.”
“There is so much division in the country, we need to heal some of that,” he continued. “So this is my little effort.”
McNary had previously trekked across the country from Lavina to New York City, an experience he wrote about in a book titled “Montana Made Me Do It: Walk and Paint American Red, White and Blue.”
Coming in to Ennis after a long haul over the hill from Norris, McNary graciously accepted a room at the Fan Mountain Inn. Previously, he had slept along a fence line near Ted Turner’s bison herd on the Norris road. With the look of a man who has spent some time on the road, McNary laughs at the fatigue from hiking down the highway from Norris, noting the overwhelming displays of hospitality he’s received so far.
Once he gets to Reno, McNary plans to rest up and help a friend paint their house before turning around and starting back to Montana. But this time, it won’t be on foot.