Tommy Dellinger's body may look better from the exercise, but he said it's gotten worse from the wear.

That's what 1,000 miles can do to someone, the former North Carolina state trooper and Gaston County resident can now say from experience as he set off on Oklahoma's Highway 1 from Calvin earlier this month.

He planned to walk 30 miles that day, the longest daily trek since he set out to walk across the country for Parkinson's disease research.

"My feet are in good shape," he said. "The biggest pain is my joints, my back and my knees ... There's just pain from the day to day of walking. I just motor on through it."

Dellinger has motored through about two-thirds of Oklahoma. And he hasn't been forced to rely on a vehicle for any part of the state, unlike portions of California and the Arizona desert.

He's lost about 20 pounds as result from the constant moving. But he said the journey has improved him on the inside at least as much as it has on the outside.

"I've learned to appreciate things that I took for granted," he said. "Some things irritated me before. I won't think about them when I get back home at all. You don't know what you miss in your life until you don't have it for a while. It kind of puts everything in perspective."

The progress has also allowed the trooper to better zero in on his destination. What was once expected to be a six-month trip and last him until March now could be finished by Jan. 13.

He's slated to make his way into Arkansas in the next couple of days. That'll be the last time he has to walk across the complete diameter of a state. Once he makes it out of there, he says he'll feel like he's home already.

"Tennessee, that's going to feel like a victory lap up there," he said.

Dellinger started his walk in an effort to raise awareness and money for a disease he is battling. Parkinson's forced him to cut short a 17-year career as a state trooper, and the illness effects left him depressed and homebound.

He later received a surgical procedure to the brain that he says immediately relieved him of most of the symptoms. Realizing not everyone stricken with Parkinson's would be as fortunate, he decided he needed a way to help those who couldn't help themselves.

The idea for a cross-country trip came when he saw someone on television who had done something similar for a different cause. Dellinger decided he'd do the same thing.

He's raising money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, and thus far has collected nearly $5,400 of the $25,000 he set out to.

"For me personally this has changed my life about everything," he said.

You can reach Adam Lawson at 704-869-1842 or on Twitter @GazetteLawson.