Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not that much...

People tell me what I am doing is such a good thing, I'm grateful for the enthusiasm. What I hope to do is get some to see that exercise of some kind can make difference in their well being. It might take awhile to see a difference. For some time it may hurt to pull your creaking bones out of the shed and shake off the cobwebs. I have walked, during this walk, from lake Michigan to the Mississippi, from Iowa to the twin Cities and am closing in on the headwaters of the "big muddy". I still ache when I get going some mornings. I am more stiff when I lay around and do nothing. I can't just go for a spin, buff the chrome on my hubcaps, pat my seat cushions of the dust and call it done Like a car kept in storage for later, when you have time, rusts into place, the tires get soft, you need to rock it back and forth to free the wheels from the place they have settle in. My wheels are still rusty, my chassis bent from head on collisions and running up on curbs while eating ice cream cones when I should have looked at the road ahead. I'm not waiting for the demolition man to come or the mechanic to offer to replace the bearings. Every day I walk the old tires roll a little better. I get accustomed to the flat spot on the tires as my old hulk thumps along to another day when I turn the key and break the old hulk out to start again. Compared to what you can do, my little stroll is... not that much.

The first rise.

Was it the song playing on White Earth radio as I arose from the high of dreamland.
Could it have been the beat of the winged as my razor removed the grey from between my temples.
Or the fresh eggs and coffee and the gift of plain conversation...
The grain of sand in my boot that caused me to pause at a drive allowing a woman to stop and smile and laugh with me.
Then perhaps the cloudy skies or the long hill I now stand atop.
No, it's the cold pizza delivered by a young couple on their way back from a day of biking for their health and pleasure just as I was about to press the "publish post" button.
What a rise!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Not far from the start and a chapters end.

Front, Main, Division and Peach. We have walked along numbered, lettered and famed. Monday we left from the avenue of No Name into a cloudless day walking the maximum I can in a day. Nice (the dog) did get break though. He was picked up and relaxed in a fine home by another of Minnesota's ten thousand lakes while I shouldered the World the last few miles thru the honeycomb of roads until I found myself at the edge of exhaustion. When I have walked this far in a day I usually pay with aching bones the next. We are a few days walk from the beginning of the Mississippi, headed into the wilds of the Northlands of Minnesota. My bones don't hurt from yesterdays eighteen miles and more but Nice is very comfortable on the couch where we are a guest and I might be hard pressed to leave. We are so close to the headwaters, the beginning of something great.
Walk and enjoy!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What a difference two hundred miles makes.

The night I got a ride back to the Purple van to Newport the man who gave me a ride asked if he could share a pizza with me so we were sitting behind the van with the 'Za on my cooler, my host on my water cooler and I on a bucket when a man rolled up and asked if we were having a tailgate party as the Vikings were practicing somewhere nearby. By the time we parted it was almost dark and I had an invitation to stay at the man's home if I happened to pass by his town. That evening when I returned to Saint Paul I found that someone had stuck the World with a knife. I had to make a repair in the dark at the edge of SP's getto in the parking lot adjoining Walmart. A fine neighborhood! Yesterday as I walked away from Pine LAKE a man stopped and walked over to me. After a moment I recognized his face but it took me awhile to remember where I had met him. True to his word by the end of the day we were at his home by the lake on his property and I was enjoying the playful back and forth between him and his lovely wife. Bickering, foreplay for a couple who have been married since the stone ages and will stay united forever. A Joy to watch, and instigate. Today I made my way to Hackensack, spent the afternoon repainting the World and then walked Nice(the dog) and left the van unlocked with the keys in the ignition, the World unattended and returned an hour later to find all I had undisturbed. Also, a fine neighborhood.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

the acorn...

I have a great amount of time to reflect as I wonder. With my son last year we walked hundreds of miles together. On occasion I would see something and realize a nugget of wisdom, an acorn of truth for me. I would share them with my boy. Like many children he seemed not to appeciate my sharing, he was too busy between his temples. A few months ago he made a mistake and came close to dying. While he healed in the hospital he apologized for his indifference and told me of some of the sights and things I had said that he now saw as true. Today as I walked along 371 outside of Pine Falls I saw an acorn by the shoulder of the road and was brought back to a kernel I shared with my boy . Like the seed, pines renew by fire. I found solace that in my sons personal fire, by his near destruction that acorn I had planted in him seasons before took root.
With luck a tree will grow.

Love yourself, say"I love myself.". Grow from your personal fires.
Back to the long road...

Bob, "The Bobber", and the Big Bunyon.

Moving ahead to Piquot we stayed outside the DQ next to the bait/gas/laundry. I piled out of the van as it got light in sight of the water tower/big bobber, the signature of the town. Right away I had a conversation with Bob over coffee. Just as we were ready to head out we were invited to breakfast just up the road where the statue of Minnesota's own Paul Bunyon. Walking out of Piquot I was greeted by Mayor Nancy as well as many others. At breakfast two miles up the highway I had a pleasant surprise seeing a sign with the saying "Love Yourself, go for a walk." And had an interview with the local newspaper. Nice (the dog) didn't like the twelve foot lumberjack and tried to bite his bunyons, Paul stood fast with no reaction until we walked away. The day was beautiful day as we walked to Pine Falls. The wind blew hard making it a slow stroll. When my World is pushing hard against me if I relax I make better progress. Fighting just beats me up. When the wind slows my roll I somehow appreciate those who I meet, thinking I may not have met those folks had I been farther up the road. As I prodded by a store a woman stopped us and insisted on getting us a snack. She lives by Lake Itasca and had some advice for our path. At an intersection we met a man and his daughter. Had we not been slowed by the winds we'd have passed and not enjoyed our meeting. We would have not met Mr.Love and his wife...
Getting to Pine Falls late in the day I was able to observe the bustle o the small town on a Friday evening. I had dinner at the Legion Hall and spoke with several who had seen us and followed our progress. Maybe someday I will have something interesting so write. Until then I will keep pecking on the Blackberry keyboard.
Love the ones in your world by walking with them and...have a nice day.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's not that important, or I draw the line at fresh tar.

Have I mentioned we (the Nice dog and me) have walked over three thousand miles together. We've rolled to the top of Pike's Peak in Colorado and been forced down by heavy winds from Mount Washington in New Hampshire. We have run across bridges in the wee hours of mornings and rolled along Wall Street in New York City. When I went on my first long journey I stubbornly wanted to walk every inch from louisville Kentucky to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. At one point on that journey I found myself on the top of a hill in Ohio with storm clouds blackening the sky and wind that lifted the World off the ground as I held on. No shelter for a quarter of a mile all I could do was keep the World from blowing away, I couldn't move. Just then a young man stopped with a pick-up truck and offered a ride. At first I refused out of pride but the wall cloud was rushing toward us and I finally took the ride. While we drove fast away from the storm I watched the clouds overtake us. The wind then tore the world off the back of the truck sideways ripping the fabric and the original laising straps off the World. I found out the next day that a tornado had touched down on that ridge where I stood. My stubbornheadedness, my pride was taken down a notch and I learned a lesson.
Today I walked for a few miles along the roadway where the DOT was resurfacing and had applied a swath of tar to bind the roads edge. The tar was dry and hard in the morning hours but as the sun grew high the fresh binding tar coated the soles of my new boots and though Nice(the dog) walked in the grass most of the time his feet also picked up tar and grains of sand and tiny pebbles. This will not do.
The road work is going on for another fifteen miles and the closest bike trail north is seven miles up and the tar goes on for another fifteen. I came into Minnesota at the border to Iowa almost a month ago and have walked more miles than many walk in a year during that time. For the dog's sake, for the love of dog, I will skip this stretch of road and start off in the morning on tar free shoulders.
Think what you will...I love my dog.

A delicate balance

This was one of those mornings when I just wanted to sleep in. I slept till four thirty. Slowly I prepared. I applied balm to my feet and other parts that get sore. Not wanting to search for a new razor in my highly organized clutter I endured the scratchy shave and took my time gathering the things for the day. I boned the baked chicken for our lunch and had some coffee when the store opened at six. Then with a slow pace I made my way to the overpass and 'trundled down the steep side in the waist high grass to the highways shoulder and rolled into the morning. I got a call from home and talked with one hand as nice (the dog) softly tugged the leash bounding playfully in the grass while I coaxed the World to the Mississippi River Bridge. A half of a mile of this distraction and I ended my phone-home call. Now at the bridge I had a choice of the bridge shoulder or the wide pedestrian/ATV walk which was separated by a concrete "jersey wall". Though I've walked many bridges over the great river I have never balanced the world upon the wall and rolled over the river balancing on top of a ten inch top. It's the littlest thing sometimes that can bring a smile to an otherwise grumpy mood and by the time I'd crossed the big muddy I was a happy camper again. My pains and excuses faded and before I knew it I had traveled miles. Now it is noonish' and we are relaxing for a few moments in the shade of some pines on a well groomed lawn with more than ten miles behind us. No GPS ride lined up to get the van moved forward but patience 'will-out.
Have a great day. Time to walk...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fort Ripley to Brainerd

It was dark when we rolled out on the highway. Nice (the dog) was enthusiastic and searched the tall grass for rodents. He had caught a rat when we emerged from the van. The poor thin didn't have a prayer. It held him off for a few seconds with its brave squeaks but as I pulled the dog back by his leash he did the deed in a single bite. The grass along the highway is getting tall and Nice spends half the day trolling for frogs or anything that scurries away. Entertaining for him,for me it means more black flies and mosquitoes. With a generous helping of bug repellent and Vermont's own Bag Balm around my forehead along with a dense coat of sunscreen on my face and ears keeps the bites to ba minimum. The sky favored me with a few shooting stars as I walked the long line. With the early start we beat the heat and the wind that was set to roll in late in the morning. After walking nearly a dozen miles we arrived at the edge of Brainerd as the winds picked up just after I got permission to stay at the gas station and a news station reporter had come to film an interview. Nice knew we were finished walking for the day and didn't give the reporter the shots she wanted but we did our best to get enough for her piece. I tried to glue a bad spot and paint a bit of the world but the wind blew thw world to and fro so much I gave it up. While the interviewer was still filming a woman came to me to thank me for what I was doing and explained she had beem diabetic for a decade and had several heart surgeries. The woman hugged me and I nearly teared up...I'm not doing anything more than bringing diabetes to mind, spreading a message to be active. The researchers who are working for cures do the real work to help the diabetics most in need. The wind blew hard all day making the large canvas ball bounce and rock back and forth as it was lashed to a solid spot. I wanted to touch up more but only had a short time at the end of the day when the wind subsided.
In the morning I will walk back to the highway and push on another ten or so miles as I work toward the head waters of the Mississippi River. I have crossed over the great river more than a dozen times in and out of more states than I remember. To be so close to it's beginning is a task I can't resist (thanks a lot Keith).
My enthusiasm is low but diabetics must keep it up everyday so I will press on.
Walk with the ones you love, or walk in their memory. Goodnight.


It's twenty to five and I am hitting the road. The moon is fingernail shaped and the stars are great. I have ten miles to go and a possible ride early. All you early morning drivers don't get squirrely, it's just me.
Walk early and often.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

blue and grey

The rain began before four this morning. I slept and waited it out. Now clear skies are pushing out the dark clouds that have soaked the roads. The canvas world is also soaked. It is past seven and I have not even shaved. The rain has my feet aching more than usual but seeing a man across the road for his morning stroll gives me inspiration. I guess we will have a hot day of walking.
Enjoy yours.

Monday, August 22, 2011

And thanks again...

I rarely name names so just know I am uplifted by the encouraging words, help, and messages from those I have met and many I have not. Thanks for the heart warming moments that occur daily. Thanks to all those who are my support system; everyone I meet.

The reboot

It wasn't long after I posted the previous ramble when I looked up and a red pickup stopped along the shoulder. I waved at the occupant, he waved back. I saw he was talking on a radio and that he was law enforcement. When he got out with a smile and walked over, we laughed about the Sunday drivers slowing to "gauke" at the world. Soon after consulting with the State Police we stopped the traffic so I could cross to the opposite side. This was not to hard as the bumper to bumper highway was only going fifteen miles per hour. Once to the north west side the flow did not resume the sixty five MPH so I rolled to the ATV path some distance from the road. Still the opposing lane slowed to a crawl. Some honked and cheered me on while others had less complimentary epithets. Finally I was able to roll behind a line of pines on the far side of the power lines and after fifteen minutes the traffic reset and when I reappeared the cars, trucks and trailers stayed up to speed. When I got to town the Chief of police who had saved me from my situation rolled by and gave me "the sign" and a smile. We successfully re-booted the highway.
Today when I left Royalton I took a back road for several miles before getting back on 10 walking an extra mile to assure the morning commuters their "Minnesota nice" ride to work, orderly and normal. A trooper stopped and we talked about my days route and my goal of Little Falls today. He wished me luck and complimented the effort as we parted ways. Tomorrow is forecast to be hot and muggy so I hope to walk early to avoid some of the heat. I have the right side of the long white line, you have the left. How often do you stray of onto the shoulder, really?
Walk with me, start a movement in your town.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Minnesota, a state of firsts....

I have noticed each state has it's curiosities. Only here has an eighteen wheeler stopped to talk to me on a bridge, stopped in the road with no attempt at pulling aside, that was the first morning in Minnesota. As a matter of fact,I stepped into the state and thunder struck. Another guy drove along beside me backwards in the wrong lane while his buddy in the passenger seat asked me questions.
Frirst state I found a hummingbird dead on the road and I have seen a lot of road kill. At this moment I am sitting ing tall grass by the side of Highway 10, not that I want to, because the weekend traffic coming back from wherever they spent the weekend or the summer have slowed to a crawl. Every other truck has a motor home, boat,or trailer filled with golf carts and atvs. I turned on the road and instantly the traffic slowed. I just stopped walking when a suv stopped all traffic to stop and get a good picture. I have been as far as I can be away from the tracks and the road for fifteen minutes and the cars are now, a first in Minnesota, coming to a stop to look at the world. The police just drove by, noting. Oh well...Guess I'll take a nap.
We do have the World to protect us from the shade.
Love yourself. Walk.

Five from ten to one.

Had to take a break from the long straights of highway ten saturday. Walked thru St. Cloud onto county road one. Walked ten miles and took the invitation to a birthday party for two. After two of three days wearing new shoes my dogs whined all night. Good thing I didn't press on the three miles which turned into what seems more like five to the bridge,just past junction 2, I'd hit the wall before one today. As it is I'll take the short cut back to Ten today and have an evening in Royalton.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Trains and clouds.

It could be that I slept between the grain elevator and the busy train tracks last night that has me so bleary eyed, yet the speeding freight did rock the ground back anf forth like a mother rocking her baby to sleep. It may be the early-to-rise schedule that began my day away from Clear Lake. Surely the wind blowing strong in our faces for the better part of the day as we worked our way to downtown St. Cloud had no bearing. The hundreds of college students converging back from summer break on the bars on the next block and then stumbling by in large groups after the last call for alcohol. And there is no way the girl relieving her beer filled bladder behind the World, van and wall of the building where I was allowed to park while her friend asked to close the van door because Nice(the dog) made her nervous. Maybe it is the cool summer air and the moonlight...

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Question and the heartfelt expression.

Often I have been asked of late what my mother would say, if she were here next me, about my walking for diabetes awareness, to encourage activity for control and prevention of the disease. I don't have an answer. Perhaps I never will.
I talk to many people about where I have been, how I got here and where I am heading. What I would give to take a stroll with my mother, put my arm in hers and have that conversation. But I have been given a gift to share across America in her absence...
Love yourself, go for a walk. Walk with the ones you love to prevent or help control diabetes.

The Rooster crows early.

I did get up early and began walking before the sunrise, and sure as you're born some young man thought he should turn around on the highway and stop in the medium to yell at me from a distance that it was five o'clock in the bleeping morning. I guess he thought I was being unsafe and thought he should tell me so as he pulled off in the middle of the road as cars and trucks bore down on him at seventy miles per hour. Sure as you're born a few minutes later I had a nice conversation with the Clear Lake police officer who confirmed that I was safely away from the white line as I walked the shoulder, shook my hand and let me go on my way. It became light within the hour and I am sure the angry young man had something to crow about when he was supposed to be working. I enjoyed my day at work as well and walked into downtown St. Cloud. The winds grew strong late in the morning and I was glad I started at the early farmer's hour. I apologize (lying) for ruffling the feathers of the rooster's run.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

From Water tower to water tower.

The road has opened up and this morning just as the tower at Becker faded the water tower in Clear Lake crept around the trees. It took hours to get to it but it did give me spot to concentrate on. I know this isn't flat like I will experience later in the year but, like I said, it is opening...
Today was a short day, we will walk to the outskirts of Saint Cloud tomorrow. When we had made our way to Clear Lake a woman and her son pulled up to talk. She offered for us to park by the silos where we have been moving our perch occasionally to stay in the shade. The Clear Lake Grain Elevator Co-op also sells pet supplies and I was able to get Nice (the dog) a flea and tick treatment. The Co-op gave us a huge bag of high protein food for active dogs, Nice loves it and I am glad to make room for the large bag in the supply van. This must be what they call "Minnesota Nice".
It's been a good day swatting at flies while the freight trains blast their horns forty feet from us. I can sleep right through the blasts. I hope the hens of route 10 aren't driving before dawn, I'd like to get an early start to Saint Cloud.
Have a great day everybody!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


On our way to Becker I stopped and talked to a man who had a family member who was hospitalized from diabetes. We were standing in a well groomed drive to a field when a state trooper pulled up, he quickly asked what I was doing. As I turned to answer him I let go of the Worlds string, it began to roll down into the ditch. The trooper told me to keep hold of it so I walked into the ditch, he didn't want it blowing out in the roadway. A gravitational impossibility. It seems that someone had called to report a distraction and if he continues to get calls, continue to be a distraction on his highway, "We will have to do something else.". Two minutes after he pulled off, the man who I was talking to drove away and I received a call from a woman who had a sister with type-1 diabetes; she had been diabetic for many decades. The woman had called to thank me for walking and told me I had caused their family to talk about diabetes. She thanked me for the "pleasant distraction... Tomatoes, tomatoes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

dawn to dusk

When I got up this morning I realized that the corner of the parking lot I thought was so nice and cozy when I pulled in looked so lush and sweet because it had a non-potable -irrigation-system that misted into the vans open windows. The carpet was already stale from the water cooler spilling. All the years of little spills and accidental "bump and drops"brought alive with a few gallons of water. The World had been irrigated also and at the end of our days walk I saw the effects of my inattention. I gathered my things and "gimped" over to throw some trash in the receptacle by the door of the YMCA, and also loosen the sore feet from the previous days walk, put some air into the world and mad my way to the corner store to wait for daylight. Once we got going we were up on the highway with the wide shoulder and the long lines. There wasn't much shade late in the morning so when the opportunity for shade comes we usually take it. We walked the miles to Big Lake in good time despite our breaks and were given a great spot for the night by the cafe. When I returned and rolled the world over I saw where the irrigation system had washed out a large portion of the huge patchwork I had from 'the catastrophic tear of Fond De Lac'. The layers of fabric were still damp even after a day in the sun. The sky was clouding, the air felt like rain was coming. I did the best I could to clean and fold back the large section of patch and brush out the tiny fragments of paint the irrigator had loosened. I had to cut the huge patch twice to relay it. The gap from the original tear was now several inches. The pressures on the world have stretched and pulled its fabric apart. No amount of glue and paint can put the world right, I did it anyway. If I don't know it can't be done, don't tell me and I find a way. I had just enough time to make the hasty repair and have it dry for and hour before the rain came. I had a small tarp I draped over the World but after the rain I saw it was too old too and leaked through to soak the fabric. The glue and patch held when I filled it lightly with air pressure. I have the ball propped so the patch remains up. I will try to be as prepared for heavy duty patch on the road tomorrow.
Walk if you like all your parts to remain glued together, fall apart from staying in one place. ( I'm groping with that one)
Love your self, go for a walk.

I can't take much more...

When will you get up, so relaxed.
Lying there basking in the morning sun.
My feet are sore, but do you care?
You are a Nice dog, and so cute sleeping across my leg.
I can't feel my foot!
Sorry, I have to wake you...

Going Big

I am heading for Big Lake this morning. After pushing close to fifteen miles yesterday my heal is protesting, I have limped to the Holiday gas station and am awaiting the sunrise. I don't want to upset anyone on their way to work to the "cities. Sorry I have not written more lately. Yesterday I was sore at the end and didn't want to walk in the beginning. Some days are better than others as far as my attitude. I am glad I walked the extra (cough) mile to the YMCA in Elk River where they allowed me to shower. My water cooler spilled on the floor of the van. On the way from Anoka when I nearly was sandwiched by a speeding bus on the ramp up to the highway. It's a new thing for me to look out for them on the shoulder. I will be reminded of it for a while by the smell of old stale carpet. At least it didn't spill where I lay down at night.
A girl stopped me yesterday who told me she was just diagnosed with type-1 diabetes two weeks ago. She was excited I was walking for the cause. After we parted I was sad such a beautiful young woman now had her world turned on its head.
My walking won't help as does the research for cures. Find a worthy research organization and spend your lotto dollars!
Win BIG.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Red Wing to Elk River

It feels good to have a shower.

Midnight at Anoka

What better time to note that it took and act of congress to give Anoka the distinction of Halloween Capitol of the World. It's not so scary as Saint Paul on a Friday night outside of Walmart. Not as frightening as the fact that the first person I spoke to this morning lost his father to a diabetic coma brought on by alcohol abuse, or the pain on the sons' face from loosing his parent decades earlier.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


All we are saying is give walking a chance...
Walk with those you love, and be enhanced.
By walking you may keep diabetes away,
With a good brisk walk you can keep it at bay.

" And that's all I have to say about that."

Rain, rest, the egg and I.

At two in the morning I heard the rain and got up to fill the world with air. I'd taken off most of the air so the patch would hold. Before it rained too hard I glued a small cloth patch over the cross shaped hole I had folded back to patch the knife hole. All was good with the World after the rains stopped late this morning and after walking up university ave for a bit I am in a great restaurant, The egg and I. The omelet was on the table in two minutes.
Walk for your health.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Not upset.......

When I returned with the van to the restaurant where the World was tied in front of the large windows the ball seemed a little flatter than the cool evening air should have made it. I rolled it over to the van and put some air in it. I noticed a few minutes later it was getting soft. I put more air into it till it was hard and then I heard air leaking. I found a hole, a knife hole. Rather than letting all the air out and pull the bladder out I opened the fabric with my shears and got out the waterbed repair kit and applied glue to the hole and a rectangle of patch. I will have to wait and see if it holds. It could have been worse.
Sleep well you mischievous "ne'er do well". Goodnight Saint Paul.

Bridge running and Sprinkles

At this time yesterday I had been up for two hours, crossed over the busy bridge across the Mississippi in the dark to avoid traffic, walked up a hill to The Point (a restaurant) for a cup of coffee. With the socializing and the sunshine we made our way thru Newport after twelve hours. When we got the supply van to the Newport Center mall where I has permission to sleep for the night I found a shaded spot next to some trees. Nice (the dog) fell asleep in the weeds and didn't move for hours. I too drifted off despite the heat. When I woke up just before dark Nice was laying next to me in the van. I moved my things from his chair/bed so he could be comfortable and flipped my pillow, sprayed on some bug spray and lay my head on the dry side. I slept late getting up at three thirty. It just began to sprinkle. I'm sure I won't be rained out and have to stay here all day but it is enough excuse to wait until it gets light before getting closer to St.Paul. I know I'm close because when I walked over a pedestrian bridge over from Newport's Old Main Street I could see the tall buildings in the distance.
Thanks to my GPS,good people support,who gave me direction thru this maze of highways.
Keep walking and have a great day!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

from dusk 'till Dawn

I am going to keep this post open on the phone until the sun rises. What follow might not make sense. Let's see where it goes,an experiment in gibberish. ... will mean a pause.

When the sun goes down and the world becomes quiet and soft. No Cricket go fling, no butterflies sail. Just a far off owl clearing its throat...

There's a catchy tune, under the moon in the sielnces of night . Night walkers study and avoid us for more sensible dreams...
3:22 , flagged up! And now over the Mississippi...
3:52 , looking back at the bridge and the approaches I see the green light at the other side. Only one hairy moment when Nice(the dog) decided it was time for a round of tug-of-war in a space two feet too narrow for the World to not be over the plane of the White line. Voice command ineffective to get him to heal at this critical moment. A car was bearing down on us. Had he gealed we would have cleared the narrows. My heal healed. Sole idarity...
Then came the little hill which led us to The Point. No, not that I am walking across a bridge over the Mississippi in the dark(again) for a point; a restaurant at the top of the hill out of Hastings.
Only twelve cars passed over the bridge when we went over. It brought back so many memories of other bridges and even mountains. When the whole world is in your hands -don't look down.
The point opens at five...

Meisville to the Mississippi Bridge, Hastings.

I rose at three A.M. to clear skies and had a treat of a shooting star. The winds of yesterday had passed so when I left before dawn I had no troubles. I took the advice of my GPS (good people support) who suggested I take the short cut that shaved two miles off of the distance to Hastings. The road was very straight and after a bit of walking in starlight and the glow of the city on my left the sun slowly began to color the sky to my right. For a few moments the bright city and nature shown equally on either side of the long road. It was the sun that won out and soon painted the sky with the full spectrum of shadings. Awe inspiring.
Turning onto the main road to hastings the shoulder allowed us to walk without diving into the tall grass, not that the two dozen cars that passed in the early morning hours caused much turmoil. We were quickly in Hastings where I met a man who offered his help and space to park for the night. This new "farmer" schedule is working well and getting settled early in the afternoon keeps us from walking from shade to shade; good for both me and the dog.
We are just blocks from the bridge and an early start will keep us safe when we cross.
If you are making the excuse that it is too hot to walk I suggest the early stroll for your health.
Love yourself and go for a walk.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Goodhue County to Dakota

When I got out of the van I saw it had rained. I didn't think much of it until we were on the road. I had a direct head wind and the canvas ball seemed more wobbly than usual. The patches I had put on and painted over yesterday had me thinking I had thrown the World off balance. I finally realized that the odd wobble was from the rain. I had the ball wedged against a fence for the patch work. When the rain had stopped the water drained to the bottom fabric while the up-side dried. The wind had me working hard, Nice (the dog) was having his ritual morning tug-of-war as we walked, the road rose to a long gradual hill, the wind forced me behind to push for my progress and the wobbling World added to the dance. Once at the top of the hill the wind bore down, I preferred the long hill but the cold front from Canada didn't care. The remainder of the day I would shoulder the World against the wind until I made it to Meisville and eventually to the church where I am staying in the parking lot. The man who offered to give me a ride to get the van was a character, his car was loaded with radiators and old tires. He made room by putting some things in his empty trunk while I asked the people at the gas station if they could watch over the World. On the ride back to Red Wing he told me all about his life as a mechanic and a carnival worker. I could go on in my discription but to say I asked the women at the gas station why they didn't warn me to be ready for a bent ear and giggled when I returned should suffice; he was a character. Home of the Muddhens and Kings famous hamburgers and many nice people who I talked with through the day. The last person I saw tonight was a woman who knocked on my window,her son is diabetic. A reminder of why I am walking. Diabetes should not be so prevalent in the world.
We are off to Hastings tomorrow.

Monday, August 8, 2011

My weekend "under the wing".

Saturday morning I slept until the sun was almost up. I knew I was worn a little thin and Nice (the dog) didn't mind the extra sleep. We were on the upper level of a parking area behind Red Wing Corp. offices. The manager at the museum had given me a pass to stay overnight. I was glad of that because the walk into town and the work it then took to get the World to fit through the doors of the museum for a picture next to Red Wing's World's Largest Boot had spent any reserves I had. But how often can you get a once in a lifetime picture?... Once? I put on the new style of boot with new support pad, and stood up. My body creaked, both knees popped, one ankle protested the change and my balance was off. The good thing was that when I walked I stepped more squarely on my heal with less impact on them as the sales clerk had said the inserts would. I intended to walk a few miles to the Wal-mart and call it a day. New shoes or not, after a month of walking with only one full day of rest and the almost eighteen miles we had just walked, I (we) needed an easy day. I readied my gear for a full days walk just in case and, half hearted, we started off. A woman stopped me after a few blocks and gave me a gift for Nice(the dog), I asked her where a good place to sit and have breakfast would be and she directed me back and over one block. I decided to go over one block and back through an alley. I stopped for a moment to take a picture when a man stopped to ask what the World was up to, or what I was doing with the World, or why was the World there, or words to that effect. This chance turn of a corner changed the coarse of the weekend, for the better. After I explained the World's coarse, the events of the previous days and my desire to have an easy day the man invites me to take the day off. He suggested I walk to his home where I could have breakfast, relax and possibly stay until Sunday for the Red Wing River City Days Parade; an annual celebration. It took very little convincing, plus he said his house was along the same route as the short cut to Wally-world. With an hand written map and his phone number I continued up the road I had meant only to walk half of one block. I walked past the town green and amphitheater surrounded by beautiful churches, then a half mile later after walking uphill I came to the steepest grade I had walked since I began this journey from Sheboygan Wisconsin over a month ago...I told myself I was taking the day off. As we were in a city Nice (the dog) was stopping at every tree, bush and clump of grass to read the news of the dogs in Red Wing so I was pushing the World and pulling my eighty pound companion as I became wet with sweat and my new boots were covered with wet morning dew and grass clippings. When I finally got to the top of the hill I still could not see the first of the two stop signs my directions had me pass thru before I needed to start looking for the street I had to turn onto. I was taking the day off and told myself that even off days require some sweat. The demon on my shoulder was whining like a baby... The few people I talked with while I walked had me forget my childishness and the short workout was over. I arrived at the man's home and had some coffee while I told him my life story over a donut. He later took me to get the van and led me to a paint store where the good man working on the beautiful Saturday had time to try and add some color to my purple hued paint I had purchased in Lake City and had repainted a two foot wide stripe around the World (the area that gets all the wear from the road). I had seen the picture in the newspaper which was taken on Friday on my way from Lake City to Red Wing and the World looked purple. Something had to be done. I had a piece of fabric that was painted the correct hue from an old repair so we had a palate to test with. The first try went gray, the second black, the third looked like it was headed toward green so we found a color from a sample and made up a can that I used later in the day to repaint the repaint. It was still my day off...the new color was a good hue and I really didn't mind maintaining the World while it's watchdog slept in the grass. Then a man and hiis wife pulled up an invited me to stay until Sunday and they would see to it that I walked in the parade if I liked. Funny how things worked out. I enjoyed rest of the day with the man and his family as well as some friends who came for dinner off the grill. They set up the table buffet style in the house and we all talked as we ate on the outside patio as their old dog remained inside and scarfed down all but one of the extra steaks. The next morning the old girl wasno worse for wear after being banished to the basement for her deed. She probably didn't move from the spot she was laying all night as visions of t-bones and rib eye staeks danced in her head. Our day off was much needed and well appreciated.
The parade was fun, as we'll as the Pie and ice cream social at the amphitheater. I had my first Sunday afternoon nap in quite a while when m hosts went and napped. At the movie theater. We had a relaxed evening of conversation and went to sleep early after dinner. To complete this restful time under the "wing" of Red Wing we walked this morning to the Anderson center, a beautiful artist's retreat, at the outer edge of Red Wing so quickly I arrived as the man and his family delivered the van to it's parking lot and the Center manager was pulling in for work. As I explained what was going on and asked for use of a parking spot for the day as he was nodding yes and holding the Eagle newspaper with my picture on the front page. I spent hours on more World maintenance and had another nap in the moderate temperature of the day. The weather has become beautiful so I may eben sleep a little longer and head out at sunrise instead of four in the morning to beat the heat.
My thumbs are tired...
Go wall with the ones you Love. Love yourself and walk.

For you movie buffs'...

I was walking in Ohio back in '07. I had walked out of a small town and came upon a small motel that been converted to efficiency apartments. There were no other structures in sight, two miles from the town I had just passed thru and miles from any store in the direction I was heading. Ahead of me appeared a woman pulling a two wheeled basket cart with a few bags in it. She stopped me to talk in front of the tiny strip of apartments, she lived there, and after talking for a few minutes she invited me in for a soda. Once in the small apartment she served me a drink. Every time I had the glass almost empty the woman filled it again. She asked if I would stay for dinner but I had just eaten in town and politely declined her repeated offers. As I looked around the apartment I saw piles of clothes, books and video tapes cluttering the room. That didn't bother me, I have a lot of clutter myself. What had me get up and head for the door was when I noticed her television with a VCR on top and on of it was just one movie as if it were a shrine ornament, a precious possession in a dust free place of honor. As I said I hurried for the door (the locked, bolted and latched door) with a quickness after I read the title of the movie, "Misery". When I finally got the door unlocked and was outside I walked with added 'pep", like a turkey in tall corn. All the lonely woman could she was tail feathers...

Red Wing

When I began walking in Minnesota I didn't know I'd be passing thru the city of Red Wing, the home of Red Wing Shoes and the Worlds largest work boot. The shoe company has supplied me with shoes for my recent walks, but when I showed up at the Museum and store I had every intention of buying a pair, or two, of my favorite walking gear, Vasque. I tried on a new style at the recommendation of the sales clerk who was very attentive to my needs and she knew her product well. I then reserved two pairs and was getting ready to finish my days walk. Before I left, the helpful staff contacted JoAnn Winger, she is the Red Wing executive who had arranged to send boots to me from New England to Florida. JoAnn had been out of the office for the weekend for hours but took the time to allow the staff at the museum/store to give me the boots at no cost. Once again the helpful folks at Red Wing went above and beyond to help. Words can not express my thanks. Without Red Wing Shoes I would not be where I am today.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Friday afternoon I came into the city of Red Wing a little tired after walking more than I should. I have walked more in a day and I knew that I would be fatigued on Saturday. I was getting close to downtown and stopped under the shade of some trees by Highway 61 to change my socks. Keeping my feet in good shape is a high priority. A man appeared from his home with a bottle of cold water and after talking to him of the best route into town he let me cross to the street in front of his house lined with sidewalks and homes that led into the downtown area. I soon met a woman and two of her friends. I was headed for the Red Wing Boots store and museum. I wear Vasque hiking boots, a division of Red Wing, on these walks and thanks to a woman I met while walking in Maryland who contacted Red Wing, have supplied me several pairs of my favorite style. Since I was walking in Red Wing I wanted to see the worlds largest boot and buy an extra pair. The woman and her two friends told me about her recently deceased husband. He had worked for decades for the company. Red wing, in appreciation of his dedicated service, honored him at his funeral and paid his wife's medical insurance premium for five years. She was the recipient of the caring gift and still she said to me, " Who does that?, really, these days who does that?" Who?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Kellogg to Lake City

I got a nap when I got settled by the city park at Kellogg. The towns manager let me plug in my fan from the socket at the pavilion and the slight breeze was all it took for me to fall asleep. I was still getting used to my new early schedule and my brain hadn't caught up. The people at "Stubs" were more than helpful giving Nice (the dog) a dinner of leftover meat scraps and a take home bag of cooked hot dogs. (Most of them he carried back to the van in his belly. It was Two days walk to Lake City so I quickly made it to the camping "resort" and relaxed for awhile awaiting my helpful ride from "T" at Stubs. Between her and the town manager they knew everyone and most everything worth knowing. "Small town America" run by the women as it should be whether the men like it or know it. After enduring the heat of the day in some shade I repainted some worn areas of the World late in the day and got to sleep as soon as it was cool enough to tolerate. The next morning I made my way to Lake City just in time to meet the man who arranged for us to stay behind the VFW post, he took me to get the van and I was able to spend the aftErnoon getting a large necessary patch to the World and get a can of paint to keep the canvas world from wearing away. Though the hue of the paint match is several shades off color (and purple) it will do for now.
Fully acclimated to my early walking schedule I was off and rolling at four A.M.. I have been keeping the distance below fifteen mile per day so I don't distress the dog. My achilles tendon and old bones don't hold up well shouldering the weight of my backpack, dog, and World much farther so I keep it at ten to twelve miles per day. The problem is that on my new schedule to beat the heat and sun of summer I feel fresh when I get to the next good place to rest for the day. After I left Lake City it was either a very short day to the next whisper of a town or a very long walk into Red Wing. I chose to go on to Red Wing, which leads us up to the next post...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chicken, up against it.

When you find yourself "on the line", don't be scared. If you bear the weight of your world and all the sprains and bumps of a lifetime conspire to keep you on the couch and rage against motion. Be calm and breath, step or peddle forward. The monster will give way, will yield to your advance. Keep moving and win the game of chicken with your clod of excuses.

After a morning of pushing through my aches and pains to the other side where my ailments were forgotten a cyclist rode toward me. I won the game of chicken. We talked of how exercise is a great elixir to health. He said of exercise, "It's the Fountain of Youth!". Wisdom from a grey bearded man on the road.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Today was the second day we rose early and walked in the predawn to keep from the summer sun. It worked out well. We made the twelve miles to Kellogg but I am not used to the farmers' schedule of getting much of the the days work in before noon. I hear after tomorrow we will come to miles of narrow two lane highway with rails to one side and steep hills to the other. A stark contrast to the divided highway with a wide emergency lane all to myself. Progress will slow and walking in the dark may be much harder. But I "will endeavor to persevere".
Have a great night, and see you in the morning.

Monday, August 1, 2011

It takes just one...

There are days when I speak to hundreds, sometimes I am asked to share with school children or visit with a nursing home. This morning I began at four o'clock in order to beat the heat of the day. Yesterday we began after eight when the sun was already high. We walked the length of the city of Winona, then to the edge of Goodview. It was only about seven miles, because of the sun and heat we had to stop for shade often for temporary relief. Nice (the dog) is constantly scouting for shade and puddles or streams, he has his way most of the time. I share the shade, not the rain puddles. This morning just after the sun rose over the Wisconsin shore across the wide Mississippi River we had traveled more miles than the day before. It was hot and muggy' but with the morning mists and light cloud cover we made our daily walk with little need for water. Gallons yesterday, one bottle today. We stopped just a few times and never were we baked by the sun.
It was twelve miles to Minneiska (min-e-s-ca) and I almost felt guilty for not pressing on another dozen to the next town. (I'd pay dearly in pain if I had). All morning only one person stopped to talk, though many honked or waved as they passed. When I told him my quest message for diabetes prevention and control he shared with me he had been diagnosed one year ago with diabetes, had lost eighty pounds and was now healthy and free of diabetes. He said, in a way it was the best thing that had ever happened, it was a wake up call to change. This man looked great, was living the dream. He was fit and had his bike he rode "all the time" in the back seat of his convertible, was no longer miserable. My one stop, my inspiration.
In town I rolled toward Buck's where the morning locals stop for coffee. There I hoped to get a ride back to the Quik-Trip and my van but a woman next door came out and before I knew it I was inside for coffee and a shower. We later had breakfast at Buck's, but the morning folk had left and as the woman's car was being serviced I was without a ride until I remembered the one man who gave me his number yesterday. When I called him he and his friend where there in minutes. When I returned with the van I was able to get a power cord to the van and get a nap with a fan blowing the sweat away. The night before I was wet from the heat and humidity all night and the mosquitoes were my alarm clock even coated with bug repellent. After my nap I spent some time getting to know some of the people at the grill before now settling in for the evening. A cloudy and sometimes raining day has made for a cool van, fan included.
While I sat and talked I received my first and only message via email on my "smart" phone. It was a message from a woman. She had seen a picture of the World on her friends' profile, looked up my story and sent me a message. Her mother had been type1 diabetic since ten and outlived her doctors guesses and fights the disease still, after amputations and transplants. One kidney was from the daughter who sent me the message. She was writing to than me but what I am doing is nothing compared to what she, and other who give one of their kidneys for a life of another. She said I spurred her to action, yet she and her mother are my inspiration.
At the end of the day it may be some researcher,or group of dedicated doctors will re animate failed organs and help cure type 1 diabetics as well as those with adult onset diabetes. If you do some research you may find, and give to the one that can make this happen. Your steps may be the one. The one that changes our world.
Love yourself. Take a step.