Doris Haddock, fondly known as "Granny D," hopes that her long-distance walk will convince politicians to abolish the use of so-called "soft money."
"My purpose is to create a groundswell for campaign finance reform to eliminate the cancer," she said. "My goal is to convince Congress that we, the people, do care about campaign finance reform."
Soft money mostly is raised by political action committees, or PACs. Such money is supposed to be for promoting party policies or messages, not the election of any particular candidate.
Haddock plans to start her journey with California's Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1. She hopes to reach Washington in October.
She has been practicing for her haul across 11 states for months near her home in the small southern New Hampshire town of Dublin.
Haddock said she expects to carry all she needs on her back and will find places to lay her sleeping bag along the way.
"I'll just walk 10 miles a day," she said.
Her son, James Haddock, has set up a website for his plucky mother, www.grannyd.com, showing towns on her route and a copy of a petition she will hand out calling for Congress to enact campaign reforms.
So far Haddock, shown in a website photograph in her straw hat and knapsack, has met with former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley, the only Democrat to formally announce his intention to run for president in 2000.
Bradley has made campaign finance reform a key issue.