Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hammer Corner

As I walked closer to the town of Hammer some of the trees I noticed were beginning to turn to their fall color. I was told there was only one family still living there and that it was a ghost town. I met the nephew who asked my mission, he said he would let his relatives know I'd be around. When I was within sight of the intersection a one armed farmer on an ancient tractor rolled by and then began to cut the grass along the roadway on the opposite side of the highway heading to the "Hammer Corner". Then two other vehicles stopped on the road and people got out along with the man on the tractor who had stopped to walk over to me. A traffic jamb on the edge of a ghost town in South Dakota. (who'da thunk?) I had them all laughing when the school bus rolled to a stop and fielded the questions by the school kids. How long had I been walking? Forty eight years. And other questions like how did I loose the top knuckle of my finger? The dog bit it off. I asked the one armed farmer where I could stay that was as close to the corner and he said I could sleep by the line of trees bordering the cemetery and there I would get a brake from the North winds. After satisfying everyones curiosity asking them to all go for a walk I made my way to the graveyard and had a few minutes to relax before I got my ride back to Rosholt fifteen miles back. Since I was in a ghost town why not stay with the Hammer family at their place. Thrier final resting place. Later when I had returned with the van and the sun made the shadows long the pines were dancing with the strong winds and I saw someone walk onto the grounds from between the row of trees I had parked by. The person sort of pulled up as if surprised to see us, then vanished from the corner of my eye as I looked dierectly at him. I had said hello to the generations of Hammer's when I walked up, this one was obviously late for the party. This was not my first stay in a cemetery. Some just can not rest. As the night wore on the van rocked and bumped with the autumnal northerly. The pines danced a happy 'jig all night. When I returned for the van this evening it was surrounded by a deep bed of fresh brown leaves brought in by the 'hammering winds.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

respect the direction

This road goes west for another five miles before it turns south. Tomorrow the wind is said to be very strong so I am" puttin' the hammer down" to Hammer. I hear there is a place where car pool riders leave vehicles. It will get me within walking distance of Sisseton if the wind will let me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rosholt SD

After walking into South Dakota yesterday I stopped and was allowed to stay at the Hutterite Colony (I hope I spelled that correctly). The children there were fun to talk to and the leader was very kind to give me hospitality. Gracious thanks Joe!
Today I walked to Rosholt and spoke to the whole student body where I anwered questions for quite awhile. I then walked to the opposite corner of town and visited the elderly at both the facilities there. I then reurned to the schools parking area where I had spotted the van. I touched up the world with paint and a couple small patches. I would say more of the day but I am drained from talking to so many folks during the afternoon. Many thanks to the townspeople and the school for letting me have a place to rest for the evening. Tomorrow I am planning to get to Effington.
Goodnight South Dakota.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Elmer's Revenge.

In the time between my host dropping me at the van and the time it took me to then drive to town for staples (that's staples, not staples) my host took Nice (the dog) for a walk on his leash with his pugnacious little dog named Elmer following along. He told me he was walking along and Nice (the dog) stopped. By the time he turned to look back Nice had raised his leg and was doing what dogs do, but he was doing on Elmer who was standing underneath... Fast forward to this morning when I had gathered my things and had them on the driveway by the van. When I noticed Elmer raised his leg and had done what dogs do to my backpack. He got his revenge!

Ten Days in North Dakota or Liberty, Terrorists and Bikers...

From the moment I stepped foot over the bridge into North Dakota I had a vision of Liberty like none other in these United States...Fargo's own small scale Statue of liberty. Down the street from the veteran's memorial bridge spanning the Red River a man called me into the hub of activity for all the local geriatric activists... The Mcdonald's. The man bought me a cup of 'jo and told me of the fifty jobs he had in his life. Fourty nine of which he had been fired from. The other he kept for the forty odd years he had been sober. He then asked if I had been out of the U.S.A. and then informed me he could never leave because he was on the government's "no-fly" list because he had been labeled a terrorist for protesting in front of an abortion clinic..."Can't we all just get along?".
Throughout my stay in North Dakota I found the view broad. Not like I had been warned it would be by most Minnesotans. They told me I'd be run down by the people of the plains, that they'd have no time or patience for me. I found it quite the opposite. I had many long by the side of the highway conversations with all types of citizens and even the most hardened farm hands were more than polite as they barreled by with the beet harvest in tow. Bbrruummmping over the rumble strips to give the World it's room on the road. And the winds gave me my only two days of rest on this journey due to weather. A gift of the plains. Once again I saw how you can't judge your neighbors until you walk amongst them.
On my last day I left from the cozy little compound of a family of harley ridin' bikers. Not what you'd expect of a class notorious for loud exhaust and leather chaps. They were warm and filled with spirit... The Holy Spirit, they were members of The Christian Motorcyclists Association.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed North Dakota despite some of their neighbors' misconceptions.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A gentle nudge from the Four Winds.

When I received an e-mail a week ago from a teacher at The Circle Of Nations School in Wapeton last Friday inviting me to visit with the children (4th thru 8th grade) I replied saying I would probably be too far West when I got that far South but would come if the winds blew me that way. From that day on all my efforts to forge West were met with Mother Natures helping hand sending me toward the school or pinning me down until I was ready to see things her way. The way to the children at Wahpeton. Once I realized that resistance was futile the winds helped me along.
I arose early Friday to the first official chills of Autumn and began walking the last miles into Wahpeton in the dark under a beautiful star filled sky with just enough light from the moon to shade the fields. As the light of day brightened the morning was filled with visits from all types of good people. A woman brought her kids out to the road for a picture, a man brought tea, a teacher from the school came and we confirmed plans when I got to town. Others brought coffee and hot chocolate to keep me warm (and fuzzy) on my stroll to town. When I was speaking to a reporter from the newspaper in town on the phone a stunningly pretty woman stopped at the business I was standing in front of and waded across the clear water of the ditch to thank me for what I am doing, she and her husband were type-1 diabetics and we had a great talk as Nice (the dog) enjoyed her attention; then she hiked up her slacks and sloshed back across the ditch to her car. I hoped to myself that one day researchers can turn the corner for type-1 diabetes. This was one of those days where talking to people was the order of the day and not miles. A great day to begin the Fall season.
I eventually made my way to the Circle of Nations where I spent the rest of the day. We got the World into the gymnasium where I talked and answered questions. The school staff and the children could not have been more kind and warm to us. I am thankful for the opportunity to visit the children of the Circle of Nations and am humbled by the wisdom of the Wind...

Thursday, September 22, 2011


The sunny morning burned the dew from the world while I readied my things for the day. Nice (the dog) wasn't interested at all in getting out of bed, until one of the women came out from the back of the Fort Aber' Saloon. Then he was as enthusiastic as a puppy. We went inside and had breakfast. I had eggs, Nice munched on dog food out of his bucket whenever the ladies came out from their morning chores. It was getting late when I loaded my pack onto my back and walked out of town making time to slowly loosen my stiff old bones while rolling off the road for cars and trucks. The shoulders of 81 are too steep to roll along so would get off and wait until the road was clear. In the distance I could see the Church steeple.
About five miles later I was sitting in the front yard of the old white church. It's side and rear filled with headstones both old and recent. I always pause and take in the cemetery grounds; I have slept in a couple along my journeys; they are cool, even in the heat of summer. The day was clear and I was enjoying the quiet time and the beauty of the fields in harvest time when a man drove in beside us. We talked for a long while, I listened more than I spoke. He had farm and business interests both here and in Africa to help feed people in need. We exchanged stories, shared some positive thoughts about life. He was so impressed with my spirit he offered me work thru the harvest until December, along with lodging and good pay. I then respectfully declined and told him I was walking for diabetes awareness and of my journeys over the last few months. We got along so well I was tempted to accept the offer but instead I took in his visit as a gift; present. He told me of his friend that he had grown up with, of his honesty and goodness. He told me of the wave they shared when passing each other just there at the church a minute before he crashed and died at the bridge down the road. He pointed out his headstone a few yards away. Time passed as we talked, and stood still. We planned to meet again.
I walked on to Dwight and found a spot under a tree in the park that was as large as the town, relaxed and ate a cucumber as I talked to myself about how to get back to the van in 'Aber. Telling myself to be patient I snacked on a handful of sunflower seeds enjoying the quiet time. Just then A woman stopped and got out with her camera. I had watched her drive by along the road but she had missed me; I was hiding in plain sight. Within a few minute she had invited us to stay at her family property on the edge of town and would also ride us to the van. On my way there I was stopped by a couple outside their home and could not resist the offer of a bowl of homemade chicken soup and good conversation. The woman up the road had told me to take my time; that's what I did. It wasn't too long before we had the van safe in Dwight and were sleeping summer away. I awoke early in the morning and was on the road as Autumn began to a clear, crisp, star filled morning. Enjoying the long stretches of quiet time watching the headlights in the distance.
I've spent enough time on this rambling post.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Riding the tide.

After a day of waiting for the winds and rain in Walcott where the weather only got better as the day progressed which was good for my arm but hard on my mind, because I don't like sitting when there are miles to walk, I left this morning to a hard North west wind and cold cloud filled sky. They said it was fifty but the wind made it much cooler. I wore my cap instead of my usual sweat bleached hat so I could keep my ears warm and not have to chase my hat across a beet field. The road to Colfax went so fast I decided to go on to Abercrombie and now I am staying behind the Fort Abercrombie Saloon (great food!) I am tired, sore, and still livin' the dream!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reading the Signals

When I awoke at three fifteen this morning to a calm and partly clouded sky I had the thought to get up and walk to Colfax. Then my shoulder began to throb and my wrist popped and snapped when I flexed my hand. From the day I rolled over the edge of the Red River Valley whether I was walking West, South, or East the wind has blown in such a way that I have had to push against the world with the same arm, the same hand, the same shoulder. If I had started out in the dark I may have arrived in Colfax and dodged the thirty to fifty mile per hour winds due to blow in from the northwest. I went back to sleep. This morning I got my boots and clothes on and stepped out of the van. Just then it began to rain so I got back in. After awhile I thought I'd give it a try again, then a gust of wind blew the world around to the side of the van. It had been tied to the rear of the van and had not moved all night. I have no illusion that I will make my way down thru the Dakotas without the challenge of wind. If I can keep healthy I'll make it. Conditioning my muscles and letting them rest. Now the mist is rolling in the window while the owl calls from the tree a few feet away. I can take a hint...

Monday, September 19, 2011

To Kindred

After a day of rest due to high winds and an early morning of light rain we started out late from Horace into a ten mile per hour wind. When we turned the corner and headed west for several miles we had an easier time. Then, turning south again, the going slowed. But, we made our way to Kindred just before dark. I slept well and today I am heading to Walcott. My path is both determined by the towns within my range and which direction the winds allow.
Have a great week and find time for a walk.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A day off.

My stubborn ego wants me to push into this wind. No. I just have to be patient, wait for the weather to shift. Then go. Resting my bones, trimming the sails and throwing out the anchor while the wind buffets the van as the World is lashed to the spare tire rack. I will get over a bruised ego faster than a torn shoulder. "Welcome to the wind tunnel."

Friday, September 16, 2011


This morning was chilly with a strong breeze from the southwest. From the Fargo walmart I was starting out toward the west. My little ball/sail with the leash to the lasing can spin along relatively well tacking to the southwest wind. Wanting to go with the flow I passed the road to Horace but was quickly redirected by "the original Don Johnson". The advice I was given last night, to follow the road west and I would get to a town, would have me heading north so I turned around. Funny that my short meeting with mr.j was worth the walk. Then when I had turned toward Horace the now stronger wind was almost directly against my path south. The bottom of the swail along the side of the roadway was the only way to make southern progress. The shoulders have been cut so I was lucky to be able to roll over just six inches of grass. Most of the Minnesota highway was overgrown because of it's government shutdown this summer and the roads there have large shoulders. Each state has it standards of road design, some older roads, some modern designs with future growth built in like this road out of Fargo. The walk along the ditch line was broken up by the intersecting roads, drives & a bridge. Over these it was all pushing against the hard wind. I was less than two miles to Horace, against the wind I would take hours to get to town.
Then a man pulled up and told me that over two hundred school children where waiting for me at the Horace Elementary School I pushed against the wind for awhile but soon the town sent a man with a pickup truck to assist my struggle and shuttled me to the waiting crowd of kids. There I spoke to them for awhile and answered questions just before the school day ended. I would never have gotten there in time. The wind kept blowing all day and since I was worn out from the past days against the wind tunnel the. School parking lot is where I stayed for the day, my shoulder throbbing but my heart full from the happy kids. Thanks for the break Horace.

North Dakota cool.

Our first day in the state was good. The first person I spoke to offered to give me a ride at the end of the day and after walking along another long University street I worked my way to my home away from home, walmart. The newspaper had published a good picture which was shown on a couple of the national news morning shows on Wednesday. The Fargo Tv news had also stopped for an interview early in the week so I had a lot of waving to do at the cars who honked as I strolled along. The wind had shifted and was coming from the south. I had hoped to use the wind to my favor compared to the previous days. No luck in that but I did make the best of the day. It is in the thirties this morning and I am slow in getting prepared today. I am generally working south and west. Where the small towns and gas stations have a big factor in determining my path. The recommendations of the people I meet weighs in also.
I have stopped by a nursing home,a recovery center, a dialysis center and waved to the children at a child care in the past two days. I have received many messages from people who are inspired to activity lately. I am thankful what I am doing is making some think about their health. Until we bring a cure that helps all forms of diabetes we all need to better ourselves by being active and keep our circulation moving. I met a diabetic physician who was walking with his family yesterday, he said his job would be much easier if everyone would just walk.
Maybe I'm onto something...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Facing the Wind

Since walking into Minnesota at the Iowa border in July I was sheltered by the hills and bluffs along the Mississippi for most of the time. It's not that there was no breeze or hard winds but the afternoons of the past three days have been challenging. When I walked across the midwest farm country in southern Indiana, Illinois and Missouri I pushed against the prevailing winds for weeks on end. The breezes off the coastlines from Florida to North Carolina were tough at times, at times brutal. West Virginia was nothing but hill. Most cities and towns have a claim to fame. This morning I will walk into Fargo in the "Flattest place on Earth". Then I will turn south and hope the winds of the past three days will give me a break on the flats. The cool frost this morning has all my hurts and pains standing on the "drive" button. Maybe this starting fluid will help. Coffee, good for what ails ya'.
No inspiring final words.
Goodbye Minnesota.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Smile and wave

In the White Earth Indian Nation the road was narrow and when cars approached I would patiently get off the roadway and stand in the ditch as the vehicles passed. Often whole families would stop and get out to talk or wave. Up on the busy commuter highway ten the trend seems to be the drive by picture and the stop click and drive away without a word as we get close. There are also those who stop in the driving lane so they can get a picture with traffic speeding toward them. Tisk, tisk! I would think their safety would be more important and a snapshot without the glare of a closed car window is not worth a high speed incident. We won't bite, well, I won't. Pull off and say hello or at least Smile and wave.
Love yourself, go for a walk!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hawley wind batman!

I've made it six miles out of LAKE Park and the west wind has decided I should lash of the World to a sign post and take a break. It's a good thing I don't get freaked out by snakes, one just slithered by. I can see the water tower in Hawley and have all day to get the two or three miles into town. Like good concerned citizens I have been reported to the state and county police who just welcomed me to "the wind tunnel" and for those of you who are concerned the World may blow into the road and cause you to wreck I say stay on your side of the line! Have a very nice rest of the day.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The White Earth

On Labor Day I Walked into the Nation. From the Store at Zerkel to the bridge I must have talked to a dozen people. The first was a couple whose daughter was obese and the father was struggling to find a way to get through to his daughter. I hope my encouragement helped them. At the Mississippi river bridge
I was met by two men of the tribe on their way to work. They, and most of the natives told me how prevalent diabetes is among their people. Then I met a member of the Tribal Council, he told me of a program, a way of thinking , Wisdom Steps to prevent and control diabetes with each wise step. Each day I was on reservation lands I was welcomed and helped by the people with warm conversation and healthy snack foods like fruits and nuts. Walking for awareness I am pushing to promote exercise but healthy eating does make a difference. I will take any gift and loosing weight has leveled off because of the Nice people bringing me every type of food you could imagine. I am fluffy and fit! With a good wind and help from members of the council my time in the nation was a pleasant memory I'll hold close. Thank you to the Ojibwa nation.


On this tenth anniversary of the day that has changed our World I troubled whether to walk. Should I have a day in silence and reference for those who were lost. Having a long distance to the next town I opted to leave before the sunrise. As I walked west along a lightly travel road I came to a stand of trees that surrounded a farm home. Clearing the trees the first thing I saw in the yard was a flag, Old Glory flapping in the breeze, and my World stopped turning. A sad feeling came over me as I checked my clock. It was the minute the first tower was struck ten years past. A sad day that has changed our World. I spent most of the day in relative quiet and walking, we must go on.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Cricket King

Here on top of the World
I bask in the late afternoon sun.
Round and round I turn,
Master of all I survey.
Sitting upon this green America.
I am cricket!
King of the World.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gizmo Glitchs

For all I know this phone may give out again soon so I better catch up from my walk out of Itasca's Mississippi Headwaters into the White Earth Indian Nation. The keys are freezing on this device. It has been slow and stalls. The message post is involved in the whole phone-road-trip to Fargo today. It is interesting that I was just checking my posts to see what I wrote and it said the post had no message and after I rewrote "-take two-" then going back to check the original post reappeared. Here is what has happened so far...
The tribe is treating me well. I can see the difference in the land left whole. Here the dragonflies are at ease. Somehow slower, with more spirit.

the message-take two-...

Though she is a thousand away the note said only, "Walk with me.". My sister.
Arm across my shoulder, "walk with me.". My Brother.
Years have passed since she left this World. My Mother.
I walk with her Spirit.
A lifetime spent searching for message. My teacher, the dance,the wind.

The freeze

If anyone is wondering where I have been, I'm on 59. I am south of Mahnomen in the White Earth reservation. The phone had frozen and when I did a soft reboot the flood of facebook requests and other info cooked it. Though I lost all my pictures and had to drive to fargo, for now I am back on the ball. When I return to the far reaches above Detroit Lakes I my have a poor signal. I willk upodate before morning, maybe.
Walk and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Message

Though a thousand miles were between us,
"Walk with me." Was all she wrote, my Sister.
He put his arm across my shoulder,
"Walk with me." Was all he said, my Brother.
With years since she left this World, my Mother,
"Walk with me." I step with her spirit.
A lifetime of searching for message,
"Walk with me.", my teacher, the dance, my Wind.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

All my relations.

Taking a break from the elements of road I stopped just outside Itasca State Park to have bit to eat and a cup of coffee. The lunch crowd was beginning to file in as I ordered. Soon the cafe' of empty tables were occupied and an older gentleman stepped through the door bent from a life of hard work like a boomerang. I wondered if I survived to his age how straight my posture might be. Without any tables open he asked If he could sit with me and we made small talk about the weather and the hunting seasons. It was obvious neither of us cared about hunting but what do you do when having conversation with a stranger in Minnesota when the tables dressed with DNR rulebooks for hunting and fishing alongside the cream and sugar tray. He was in from Arizona and asked me several questions obout how much rain had fallen in recent days. I shaared what I knew as I'd spent most of the previous four days walking in rain and mist, clouds and sun. Having a knowledge of the names I'd walked thru for the fifty or so miles in those days he asked if I was a "local" or there visiting. Up until then I had managed to keep my story out of the discourse but soon the whole room had heard my tale and had heard the list of possible breeds my lovely companion may or may not have mixed in him. He IS a brown dog. I finished my meal and paid the bill quickly and had to pose for only a few photographs before I made my way to the edge of the parking area and the roadway. There I met the hosts and hostesses of the Itasca State Park Camprounds. They were pulling in for lunch but since I had just eaten offered me their hospitality and their knowledge of the park along with a map. Being party planners my day and evening was arranged in a few minutes and my uncertain plan to the headwaters of the Mississippi became almost as clear as the waters at the great rivers' beginning. I made my way into the parks' south entrance, found a large feather, and eventually to the camping area where I met some of the park staff, was shuttled to get my supply van and had a nice dinner of campfire cooked wieners and fresh corn on the cob while getting to know my hosts and hostess' "with the most-ess'". They had made up fliers and had posted them around the camopground to invite the holiday weekend families to listen to my story after dinner so I spent the evening sharing free-style my tales and the message, Love yourself and those you care for, go for a walk. I then spent the remainder of the night in my hosts' motor home with them and a local family until it was time to get some quiet and sleep in the van parked by the host camper. In the morning I had a much needed shower, took Nice (the dog) for a ' mark every tree ' walk around the campground before having breakfast with the host and hostess "with the most-es". Prepared with a towel, rubber slippers and the company of my host we walked the scenic path to the headwaters. I was more tired than Nice (the dog), he pulled ahead all day which made it a challenge to keep the World at bay. Him pulling, me pushing; I felt like an abstract Dr.Doolittle's Push-me-pull-you chartacter. The holiday weekend brought scores of cyclists to the path and when we arrived at the head of the Mississippi the sunny morning had brought hundreds to experience what I had walked hundreds of miles to experience, walk accross the "big muddy" without a bridge. Though it seemed obvious to me why I was there I still had to field the question of what we were doing. I did my best, with my low energy, to be gracious and make the symbolic crossing. Thankfully, with the help of the campground hosts, Nice and I waded the Mississippi as I rolled the World across a split log that bridged the twelve foot head of the river I had crossed so many times over countless spans
During my travels. We then walked out of the fray to the welcome center for a pleasant lunch, walked out of the park to the north entrance completing my task of the headwaters at Itasca. (I know, groan). Again, assisted by the host and hostess with the most-ess I was able to get the supply van to the store just beyond the park border. Feather in hand, a chapter closed...

Friday, September 2, 2011

I think I'll go hiking!

Tomorrow I will have been on the road for two months since I began from Sheboygan Wisconsin from the shores of Lake Michigan and I think I could enjoy a break. A nice relaxing hike is in order. I hear there is a beautiful state park just seven mile up the road.
Have a fun holiday weekend and don't let the World pass you by! Be safe.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

By George!

I have rolled the World to Lake George and thanks to the neighborhood peoples, this neighborhood spans across counties I have gotten from Hackensack to here with good stops every day where otherwise city dwellers would think it the middle of nowhere. I met dozens of great people and with a good wind may be to the headwaters of the gret Mississippi and beyond by the end of the holiday weekend. Here in Lake George I am pealing a few layers of patch from South America so I can apply a firm new piece to hold the World together. It is hot and humid, for northern Minnesota, today but tomorrow the weather is forecast to be wonderful for my journey to Lake Itasca.
More later after I fix the World!