30A local walked to celebrate birthday

Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 03:34 PM.

When Dale Westberry laced up his sneakers late Sunday, he had a long night ahead of him — 37-miles long to be exact.

“I wanted to mark something for my 65th birthday,” said Westberry, a Santa Rosa Beach resident and owner of Bike Path Realty. “I’ve been walking 10 miles everyday for more than 20 years — and was walking 30A long before there was any bike paths.”

So to celebrate the big day (BIRHTDAY), Westberry chose to walk the length of his “beloved” County Road 30A, all 37-miles of it, alone. And, although it’s a bit unconventional, Westberry couldn’t think of a better way to kick-off his 65th year.

“Walking really helps me settle down and view what’s important to me,” Westberry said. “It not only helps me physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. And I walk alone — it’s something I save for myself.”

When Westberry tragically lost his wife years ago, leaving him a widower with a house full of children, he found walking therapeutic. He said he started to “keep from going crazy” after his life was turned upside-down, and soon the 10-miles-a-day became part of his daily routine. And as his birthday approached this year, he wanted to do something memorable, and what better place than his “beloved” 30A?

“I have a love affair with 30A,” Westberry said. “It has a culture of its own. I came to Santa Rosa Beach on a day trip 40 years ago and never left. It’s hard to explain — I just really love the area.”

So on the evening of July 6, around 7 p.m., Westberry took off on foot from the west end of 30A. Keeping good pace, he was able to reach the halfway point at midnight, meeting his “NASCAR pit crew,” girlfriend Amanda Smith, at Shades for a wardrobe change and quick snack. Then, he turned back around to walk the 18.5-miles he just crossed.

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