Owen Johnson‚Äôs feet are hurting, blistered and torn up. The 23-year-old from Vermont has been walking barefoot along U.S. 40, part of the ‚ÄúOccupy the Highway‚ÄĚ trek between New York City‚Äôs Zuccotti Park and Washington.
(Click the audio player to hear more on this story from CNN Radio's Bob Costantini)
Johnson and traveling buddy Elliot Hartman-Russell pause to rest near Joppa, Maryland. Johnson lies in the grass, elevating his feet occasionally, while Hartman-Russell reclines on a guardrail.
‚ÄúNew York was getting ‚Ä¶ a little monotonous for me,‚ÄĚ Hartman-Russell tells CNN Radio. ‚ÄúAnd I‚Äôve never really been out on the road. It was very appealing.‚ÄĚ
The two are part of a contingent of three dozen or so who set out from New York on November 9, just before police temporarily cleared the park and made protesters get rid of their encampments.
Hartman-Russell says if he‚Äôd been there for the raids, he would have stayed to show solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protesters. A native of Northampton, Massachusetts, he decided that going to college this fall was not for him.
Ed Sands, owner of a big wine and liquor store in Washington, D.C., is wondering what the House of Representatives will do to the new estate tax provisions in the compromise deal worked out between the White House and Republicans.
Some House Democrats are howling for the wealthy to pay more, targeting the estate tax for changes.
"I've spent 45 years building a business; and I wouldn't like to give it away in taxes," Sands said.
Whittled down to nothing over the life of the Bush tax cuts, the estate tax would revive at a rate of 35%, but with the first $5 million of an individual's estate exempted. Liberals in the House will likely push to lower the exemption, while raising the tax rate. On the Senate side, Republicans vow to scrap the deal if the House makes those kinds of changes. The White House is pushing hard to keep the compromise intact.
But for people like Sands, the tax deal shouldn't be about the bickering, it should be about hardworking Americans "feel[ing] like we've accomplished a lot."
"And I would very much like to see it remain in the family," he said.
CNN's Bob Costantini reports on Sands story.
Listen to the complete story by clicking the audio button: