Rickshaw man’s trek is a walk of faith

Allie Stevens pulled his rickshaw to Patterson Police Chief Patrick LaSalle’s home where he parked it for five days. He now is parked and camped out at the Cherry Street Park until Monday when he looks to resume his trek to Miami with his dog, Roxie. The 60-year-old Vietnam Marine left Oceanside, Calif., on Sept. 13, 2009, and said he had pulled his rickshaw 3,600 miles by the time he arrived in Patterson Thursday. (Photo by Preston Gill)

This is all a walk of faith. I go where God tells me to go.
By PRESTON GILL pgill@daily-review.com

 If you see a 6-foot-2-inch, 235-pound man pulling a 400-pound rickshaw plastered with decals, license plates, flags and banners this week, you have likely stumbled upon Allie Stevens, who will give you a free ride in the contraption he has been pulling from California the past four years.
Stevens said two previous excursions ended after unexpected highway injuries. The first trip in 2007 was cut short after 147 miles when teenagers injured him with a bottle thrown from a car and then he ended his next trek near Tombstone, Ariz., in 2008 after 642 miles when he was hit by a car driven by an off-duty policeman, he said.
When he left Oceanside, Calif., on Sept. 13, 2009, bound for Miami, Fla., the 60-year-old Vietnam Marine veteran hit the road with nothing in his pockets but a spirit filled with faith in God and fellow men.
Ask him about the attack of five wild pigs in Texas, one of which he said he killed with his knife and another killed by Roxie, his half pit bull, half dingo dog; ask him about the beauty of a northern lights display in the desert; ask him about the two rattlesnakes he killed and ate. All of these are bound to elicit wonderful tales of adventure.
But ask him of the people he encountered and you will hear tales to warm your heart and soul. He said he has drawn strength from his faith in God and remained convinced of the goodness of people through everything he has experienced.
 “I don’t believe in religion but I believe in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit,” Stevens said. “This is all a walk of faith. I go where God tells me to go.”
His said open hands and generosity have contributed to him never missing a meal. He sees people through rose-colored glasses that reinforce his optimistic appraisal of their innate goodness and generosity.
“I haven’t run across one bad person or if they have been bad they haven’t shown it to me,” Stevens said. “In every front page you see something negative. I want to bring something positive and let people see there is more good than bad in our communities.”
Stevens describes his experiences, the sights he has seen and the people he has encountered with a smile and an occasional laugh. He said people often fail to appreciate the beauty around them and the simple things in life.
“You would be surprised at all the wonderful you can see,” Stevens said of his travels.
He stayed at the Plantation Inn in Bayou Vista Thursday until moving to the Cherry Street Park in Patterson on Monday where he anticipates staying a week. While at the motel, his rickshaw and Roxie were left in Police Chief Patrick LaSalle’s back yard.
Stevens said he does not have an itinerary or predetermined route. It is 1,700 miles to Oceanside from here, but he said his zigzagged route has covered 3,600 miles so far and he expects to walk 5,000 miles by the end of his journey.
He will ship the rickshaw back to California once he reaches Miami and drive back to Oceanside on a motorcycle stored at a friend’s house, he said.
In addition to offering a testimony to God’s power and goodness along with man’s kindness and generosity, Stevens said he wants to raise public awareness of cancer and the fight against the deadly disease. He lost his wife, Mary, in 2007 at the age of 53, to pancreatic cancer, and his 37-year-old daughter, Leandra, succumbed Oct. 5, 2011, to cervical cancer, he said. Before his daughter passed away in his arms, she urged him to continue his walk of faith.
Follow the Rickshaw Man at rickshawroadtrip.com.

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