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Orange County Focus

WESTMINSTER : Enemies of Road Litter Took Steps

November 10, 1993|TERRY SPENCER

As Glen and Sue Hanket walked across parts of United States this summer picking up roadside trash, their most common finds were fast-food bags, cigarette butts, soda and beer cans and underwear.

That's right--undershorts, panties, bras, negligees, you name it, all strewn on the highway.

"Every two or three days we'd find some G-string, boxer short or bra lying on the side of the road," Glen Hanket said. "We never could figure out where it came from. We'd play a game with ourselves by asking, 'What do you think these people were doing when they threw this out the car window?' "

From April 1 to Oct. 8, Glen Hanket, 37, walked 1,765 miles from Maine to St. Charles, Mo., seeking to call attention to the nation's litter problem. He undertook the walk after becoming upset by Orange County's dirty freeways.

He was accompanied by his 36-year-old wife, except for seven weeks after she tripped on a porch in Maine and suffered a broken left leg.

Using litter sticks and trash bags, they collected two tons of garbage while crossing 15 states. They slept in parks, an occasional motel and homes of good Samaritans. They plan to finish their hike across the country next spring by going from Missouri to Washington state.

"There isn't a place in this country that isn't filthy," Sue Hanket said. "And we were just picking up the trash at our feet and not even getting into the gutters and gullies."

Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky were the dirtiest, they said. Indiana was the cleanest.

"When we crossed the state line between Kentucky and Indiana, you could tell the difference," said Sue Hanket, who quit her job as a teaching assistant to make the journey.

The best part of the trip was the people they met.

There was an Indiana minister who regaled them with tall tales about his dachshund whose bark could attract catfish and squirrels. And an Illinois elementary school that adopted them while they took a short respite.

"We didn't meet one evil person out there," Glen Hanket said, who will be returning to work soon as a Rockwell International computer software engineer.

They found several unusual items along the way. There were a broken laptop computer, pieces of a copy machine and a Bahamian dime, found on a Maine road. They also found three $1 bills and about a dollar's worth of change along the way.

"Money seems to be the only thing people don't throw out," Sue Hanket said.

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