2 men regularly walk 2 miles of Old West Highway

Apache Junction Police Department Chief Thomas Kelly with Al Douvier, 89, and Steve Boggs, 68. (Submitted photo)

Each morning for the past two years, Al Douvier, 89, and Steve Boggs, 68, have been walking the same 2-mile route from their homes at Superstition Mobile Ranch down to Fry’s and back home via the Old West Highway.

They have become The Old West Highway’s unofficial ambassadors of goodwill and healthy living, according to a release.

The regularity of their route and the faithfulness of their exercise routine have caught the attention of motorists who pass by them each day. They caught the attention of Apache Junction Police Department Chief Thomas Kelly, who is also no stranger to daily long walks. Chief Kelly stopped along the highway to get the inside track on what drives the persistent pedestrians, according to the release.

Mr. Douvier, formerly of Minnesota, told Chief Kelly that he walks to keep active. He works out at the gym each day when he’s done with his walk. He was quick to point out that he exercises every day except Sunday, because that’s when he goes to church.

Mr. Boggs, a retired brick layer from Pennsylvania who now resides in Apache Junction year-round, told Chief Kelly that Mr. Douvier inspired him so he started walking with him and he also joined the gym. He has some exercise equipment at home which he uses on days that he doesn’t go to the gym.

This was not Chief Kelly’s first contact with the duo. Last fall he stopped to give them some reflectors to wear so they would be visible to traffic in the dark. This time Chief Kelly presented Mr. Douvier with a bright orange florescent vest, according to the release. 

While talking to the town along the highway, people driving several cars honked as they went by.  Mr. Boggs informed Chief Kelly that was a normal part of their walk.

“People honk just to say hi,” he said. “Last week a nurse stopped, got out of her car and told us that we inspired her and that she wished more people would follow our lead.” 

If local residents are inspired by the two and are considering a similar exercise routine, Chief Kelly offers the following safety tips:

  • Walk, run, or jog on the left side of the road against the flow of traffic. If walking or jogging at night or before dawn wear bright colors; maybe even florescent. Also, carry a flashlight of some sort. Many stores sell LED lamps that can be clipped to a hat or jacket. This allows drivers to see you as they approach. A good light will help you see also. There are many desert areas around town with some uneven surfaces (and the critters that we love), so being able to see your path is of the utmost importance. 
  • Ride your bike with the flow of traffic on the right side of the road. Make sure the bike is equipped with reflectors. It is also important to have a light mounted on the front of the bike if riding in the dark. It’s not just good common sense, but it’s also the law. Take some time to familiarize yourself with Arizona bicycle safety laws. Some may object to the unfashionable look of a bike helmet but there have been some stylistic advancements made in the bike helmet world. You now can express your individualism with a variety of colors and designs while protecting your brain. Nobody means to fall, but it happens. Broken bones mend but brain injuries can be downright deadly.  
  • Don’t forget to drink water. This is still a dry climate and it’s important to stay hydrated. The cooler weather can be deceptive, and the effects of dehydration may not be obvious at first. Add to all the activity the coffee and tea that we all love so much, and you have a recipe for dehydration.
  • Whether biking or walking, pay attention to your surroundings. If you must listen to music through headphones while you’re enjoying the outdoors, it’s recommended to only use one and leave the other ear open to listen for approaching traffic or potential warnings of danger.

AJPD wants everyone to enjoy the beautiful weather and all the amenities available in the Apache Junction area. The Apache Junction Police Department is passing out red reflectors in the lobby at the police department, 1001 N, Idaho Road.

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