Monday, July 28, 2014

St. Joes' Callin'

After a long nights' walk into Berrien Springs I was able to find a place, in the city park by the river, to rest during the hot daylight under tall shade trees. I had reached the goals of this walk, first Bloomington, then stepping into the state of Michigan. If there were time for me to walk to the Upper Peninsula before my obligations back at home called I would love to keep going without a pause. Walking to St. Joseph was my goal for the last stop before I started driving back toward Kentucky.
I figured if I could get some rest and an early, early start I could make my way the fourteen miles to Silver Beach in St. Joseph before noon the next day without attracting very much attention.
A photographer called from the newspaper in St. Joseph, as I was about to fall asleep in the shade at the park, wanting to know when I would be in St. Joseph. He had heard I was in the area and wanted to catch up with me. I told him if everything went according to plan I would be in town around noon. The days had been hot, I told him my intention was to get most of the miles before the day warmed and if all went according to plan I would call him when I was close to the city. I didn't know that a front of wind and rain was about to blow in from Lake Michigan delaying my planned arrival to the town named after the patron Saint of the Universal Church.
In my universe plans are subject to change.
I awoke and readied to leave early for Saint Joseph, before the sunrise but kept seeing lightening in the distance while I shaved and packed my gear for the days walk. I was about to get out of the van to leave when it began to rain. This was the first time during the whole trip I was delayed because of rain and I jumped at the chance to sleep in. The thunder and lightening with waves of rain put me quickly into a deep sleep. When I opened my eyes to see the puddle outside my window was dancing with rings from raindrops, I closed my eyes guilt-free and settled in for another dream. When I finally awoke the sun had begun to rise, the streets had dried from a strong wind bringing in a cold front. The cool wind and bright skies made for a beautiful morning.
St. Joe was not going to let me go quickly and quietly away in the dark of night.
The day I had thought would bring me from Berrien to St. Joseph fell short in miles but was filled with fun times and good people. Getting out of Berrien Springs took some doing with the wind blowing in the opposite direction I was walking. People, young and old stopped for pictures and conversation. I was called by a radio station and talked on-air while the man who had called from St. Joe, who had found me at the edge of Berrien Springs, stood by. He photographed us and interviewed a few people who stopped while he was there. We all joked and cut-up while also talking about the far reach of diabetes and what we all can do to help. Later the lead writer from his newspaper came to get his own notes on the story saying we would make a good feature story. The photographer had taken notes and heard my story several times but I was happy reviewing it one more time
At the end of the day, the first this trip I had to labor all day against a hard wind, I had to stop in Scottdale on the outskirts of St.Joseph I still had six miles to go.
The timing was right somehow. I was stopped for a picture outside if a restaurant when a man I had met earlier pulled in who gave me a ride to get the van after the women at the restaurant agreed to watch over the World for a few minutes.
When I returned to Scottdale a television-reporter, who had been searching for hours, found me in the restaurant as I was about order, excitedly asked for an interview. I obliged.
St. Joe was calling, but would have wait another day.

Friday, July 25, 2014


In Berrien Springs, a diverse community with people's from fifty (some say eighty) countries around the World, I was impressed by the courtesy at the corner gas-mart. Everyone held the door open for the next person. After passing through the doorway, having the door held open for them, they would then take hold to allow the next person through. I had the opportunity to go into the store four times within an eighteen hour period. Each time I had the same experience. Young or old, well dressed or sagged panted, the good practice of civility held true for my every visit.
There was no one to hold the door for as I left the last time. No reason to exchange the baton with the young man holding the door in one hand, his belt loop in the other.
I would if I could.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I love the night...

No words can describe the quiet moments where no drone of engines can be heard. The Cheshire moon smiling an orange hello rising over the black horizon... Or the shooting star passing beneath it's Crestent.
"I love the night.
The day is okay,
the sun can be fun,..
I live to see those rays slip away...
If only you had been here my dear,
we could have shared this together..."
Blue Oyster Cult

Monday, July 21, 2014

Michigan and Milestones

When I straddled the center line painted on State Line Road I had hoped to have a moment to reflect on my journey through Indiana from my old Kentucky home far away and perhaps begin a profound sounding blog-post.
I hardly had time for a few pictures on the line before the previously empty road had several cars coming from both directions.. As with every milestone I had little choice other than to step past. The sun was high and the pavement was heating up. Thirty nine steps into Michigan we stopped under some shade by a row of trees and brush. I took the bag of Dog food out, filled Nice's water bowl and sat down so he would comfortably eat. We had already waked ten miles but the WallyWorld was two miles ahead. As soon as he had eaten his fill I hurried us along. Taking time to ponder a post would have left uswalking in the hottest time of the day. With just under a mile to go we were scurrying from shaded spot to shade tree. Two miles walked in the dark takes less time than one in the hot afternoon sun because each area of shade is necessary to cool off and offer Nice (the dog) water before pushing to the next dark shadow. At one such stop a woman pulled in with her daughter. She had heard of our walk and was very glad to find us. After a few pictures and conversation about our journey she offered to give us a ride back into South Bend to the van when we had made it the last mile. We were concerned about the heat so while I walked she and her daughter kept Nice (the dog) with them in the air conditioned comfort of her car.
Not long after we had returned to the Walmart in Niles, the first town in Michigan, I began to repair the leak around the plug that holds the air in the World. The inner core of the World is as old as the tattered fabric that covers it. The plug, made of hard plastic, has tiny cracks and the female sleeve of the inner tube is ripping away after thousands and thousands of pulls and tugs at its vulcanized seams. I have found a glue that works well for several months before it gives way to the pressure. It was past due, I have been using the battery power air pumping more often for two weeks to keep the world taught. The leak was getting larger and larger. Even on the hot sun when I usually must release air so the Seams of the outer skin will not split apart I have been adding more.
By the time I had patched and glued, fed myself and the dog, updated photos and did what I could thru Facebook with photo and friend updates I still had no energy or time for writing before I had to sleep. When I awakened at four thirty, got dressed and then inflated the World I found a seam line I had missed. I had to apply more glue and let the World go soft on a pile of blue and green beside the van. Still tired, I could not force myself to write, even with the prospect of a few hours time to let the glue set up hard. I slept then until the sun was high , I slept to eight forty five, late.
It was already hot when I finally inflated the World Nd stepped off through the parking lot. We had gone only a few hundred yards when Nice flopped down by a shade tree. I was glad I was only going a few miles into town where I planned to find a place where I touch up the World and prepare for ten miles to the next dot on the map (milestone). I was very happy when half of the way to the downtown Niles riverside park the local animal resue advocate stopped for a picture and soon relieved Nice (the dog) from his ball and chain and took him with her while she ran some errands taking two puppies into South Bend. Timing worked out perfectly as she was a few blocks away when I called to tell her I had arrived by the park and had someone to watch over the World in my absence.
I should be trying to sleep now but after recording the surface of the World and all else I need to do, a milestone is a milestone.
Love yourself , walk to another state. A state of better health.
Because it is late and I am in a lowland area I will not recheck or post pictures until another re so this will post at all....

Friday, July 18, 2014

Inquiring Minds...

Bob trotted over across the parking lot to ask, he quickly thanked me for the effort because he was diabetic. He looked slim and fit. I asked his story. He told me after warnings from his doctor that he was on the borderline of diabetes. He was told to loose the weight he had recently gained. When he suddenly, without effort, lost too much and became too thin he realized a problem. With the doctors help, after a year he has his life under control. He was glad he made the changes and felt great. He was the first person of the day I spoke to. I had stayed in the rear of the shopping center beside the hardware store that night. The hardware store's manager had found me when I was washing my clothes at the laundry in the same complex. He said his father was struggling with diabetes, "he loves his tortias." He was happy to to allow me to park by the broken down leaf-truck.
It was the most restful night's sleep I have had on this little journey from Louisville, around the far side of 'Indy wandering Indiana toward parts unknown in Michigan.
All day, as I walked to and thru Plymouth, I was thinking of my first three visitors that morning.
A man who walked from his home to check his mail and pick up a few pieces of wind blown trash before he saw me. Hearing my story he shared he was diabetic, was an active farmer 'getting-on in years but checked his levels every morning and if his numbers were high he did something about it.
As we spoke a woman stopped to take a photograph. She had done so the previous day but had not saved it to her phone's memory. She was a nurse and congratulated me on my effort. As a nurse she knew first hand what diabetes and the effects of our sedentary habits has on our culture. "People need to get the message."
The next was a woman who stopped to ask what I was doing. She said her husband was diabetic and disregarded the heart troubles, the circulation problems, the occasional trip to the hospital as a sign to take care to monitor himself. He did what he pleased. We agreed, some people you just can't reach.
While I am on this roller-coaster of examples here is one more.
A young man, seemed in his mid-twenties, had heard I was walking for diabetes. When he saw me on the road and made a special trip to bring me some food and drink. He was diabetic, was on his way back from Dialysis which he had been on for five years and felt he had to show his appreciation.
Two breaded chicken patties on white bread. Each with one slice of lettuce and mayonnaise.
He made another stop to get a 32-ounce Mountain Dew fountain drink.
How could I turn down his kindness?
How could I not question his choice as if he were my stepchild?
After five years on dialysis I guessed he assumed he was getting flushed out regularly that a healthy diet was immaterial .
I ate and sipped while we visited...

This is why I wax loquacious about ghost towns, marbles found by forgotten railroad stations or moonlit walks instead of the daily waves of emotions both good and tragic.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Still Beating Heart

The new 25 , The Hoosier Heartland Highway, from Lafayette to Logansport, cuts a path around all the Heartland towns like a serpent. A wide swath across the heartland that cuts the Main arteries of the hamlets as it detours with a wide four lane divided highway and broad emergency lanes ( Great for me. In the long run not so good for the economy of the heartland's small town.) lined by fence to keep the wildlife from crossing.
The old 25, now chopped in pieces. It's villages like fillets that time may soon digest to memory. Buck,Creek, Rockfield, Burrows. Even Delphi may soon have less population than the cemetery has headstones.
This is only opinion, progress has a deeper cost long into the future.
I started my day from Fulton with breakfast. I ate at the Liar's table at the eatery where the local men gather to contemplate the World's issues. The topic was the rain of the previous evening and where the honey bees had gone. One said the population was forty percent of what it had been. Another reminisced of being chased as a child from a honey tree by a swarm when he was coaxed to get a handful of honey by his adult uncles. I have never seen a honey bee tree and I am only twenty years the man's junior. He had a few stories of great swarms of bees but lamented they swarm no more.
On my way out of Fulton a man stepped from his yard to talk he recommended I look for an Historic Marker ahead that showed the beginning of the forced migration of the indigenous people by our government to the Kansas territory long ago. The marker was behind a guardrail next to a creek now obscured by GMO agriculture and irrigation system pipes.
Old farmers ask where the bees have gone. Gone the way of the Potawatomi people, a stone marker with a metal plaque. Or the old 25, a dead end road fenced with barbed wire.
Enough of the soapbox. Michigan! He we come!

Friday, July 11, 2014

The life at Riley

I arrived in Delphi as it became light. The day of patching the World together in Buck Creek, then getting a shower and dinner before leaving Nice to be cared for overnight had left me no time for sleep.
I walked through the night and
was giddy from lack of sleep when I made my way to the center of Delphi.
When I am tired I sometimes ramble. This worked well when I received the call from the Country radio station's morning Rj team. The facts on their own were humorous. I had spent the previous day at BuckCreek saving the world patching the west coast. The day before the World rested at the nursing home for BINGO and lunch. My ramblings had the DJs laughing, while I was also mindful of the message. Love yourself, go for a walk.
I tuned in with my Walkman radio and was able to hear the segment repeat a few minutes later. Maybe it was because I was tired but it was, I thought, entertaining and informative.
The Delphi Street Superintendent told me Riley Park would be a good place to spend the day. I tied the World by the town Armory door and after I shuttled the van back from Buck Creek we walked the World down to the park.
I napped off and on throughout the day. I picnicked with watermelon, sharing it with a group of young girls who couldn't stop watching me enjoy. I napped again, awoke to a woman sitting in her car eating lunch I her car, under the shade of the tree in the landscaped parking lot island a few feet away.
Unable to resist she asked what I was doing. Two hours later we knew each others life story and she had agreed to pick us up in the morning when we were finished walking.
A group of people who were training their dogs watched over the World when I went to the grocery to get dinner. Several young men came to talk and my shade tree friend before I slept.
It was a good stay in Riley Park in Delphi.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Keeping the World whole in Buck Creek

The man who gave us a ride to the van from one side of Lafayette to the other later called to ask if I could come by in the morning to speak to the residents at St.Anthony, a retirement home. We agreed he would pick me up again in the morning after I had walked to Buck Creek. That way I could get my day of walking, give the elders my attention and avoid walking in the summer afternoon heat .
A hard rain set in as we walked into Buck Creek. With no shelter in sight a downpour ensued when we were in front of the fire station. After lashing the World to the old alarm bell by the flagpole we huddled against a garage door of the station, I covered Nice (the dog) with a plastic garbage bag, got my rain jacket from the backpack that I used as a wall against the storm. The small overhang of the building left us with a few inches of dryness. I crouched over the dog to keep him warm between me, the pack and the metal door until the driving rain subsided and daylight crept over the landscape. When it was late enough I called the man from St.Anthony. He arrived to take is back to the facility in Lafayette after his morning administrative duties. I had deflated the World while it was wet and heavy from the rain. We put the bundled World on a rolling cart to get it into the building, inflated the World in the main hall, towel dried it as well as possible them waited for the residents to assemble before the morning games of BINGO. I told my story to the elderly assembly doing my best to entertain them while encouraging those who are able to keep moving for their loved ones sake, if nothing else. While the residents played BINGO I was able to shower. The staff washed all my blankets and clothes. Then it was lunchtime, the World was too large to roll out of the large room while they were all being fed so the World loomed large by their side while they ate. The staff gave me lunch also. I ate with the administrator and received a tour of the facility. He also got Nice (the dog) a bag of food, he was more than generous an accommodating. He showed us a well shreds spot to rest for the day and even offered a room for the night with a bed and a big screen television. I declined the opportunity to retire for the night inside but was very comfortable parked under the shade tree where I was able to let the World dry out some before I had to transport it back to Buck Creek.
I had to repair the World at BC. I found a space in the gravel behind the fire station and used the day to save the west coast from ripping apart.
Joy happned to be passing back as she was on her way home from a holiday cookout up north. She took Nice again for a night in a hotel while I walked to Delphi
All night I walked and now I must try to rest so I may do it again in couple of hours.
I would like to do better on the blogging but with saving the world and being open to all who come to talk and also maintaining myself makes it a challenge.

Monday, July 7, 2014

While I Slept

In Parkersburg I napped late in the afternoon after we settled down . Before I fell into sleep I remember looking at the tall rows of corn in the field opposite me. The deep green stalks, full and thick. The outside rows stepped down terrace-like.
While I was sleeping, no more than an hour, the entire field grew noticeably taller, sprung their tassels and the bases of the plants had turned brown.
That night while everyone slept we walked halfway to Crawfordsburg and avoided the heat. Later, at the edge of the city, by the Walmart entrance I decided I would press on thru town. Just then a woman came to talk. Her family had seen us earlier as they were on their way to a nearby July the Forth, Independence Day Parade. She asked how I sleep and get support. Telling her my story, she offered to shuttle us back to Parkersburg. They asked, and I answered questions all along the way. Then I returned to the parking lot at the Fitness center where the clientele had watched over the World. We had a short break and lunch before pushing on thru town.
I wanted to get to the north side of the city before the end of the day because I was expecting a visitor. The Veterinarian who had helped us in Nashville had some business nearby and wanted to walk with us for an evening. There was a campground at the north end of town which was my goal. It worked out perfectly fine. I was less than a mile away when she arrived. At the time I was speaking with some folks who where staying at the camp, they led us to it. The Vet and I had a shaded spot where she could set up her tent and I could shower. Much better than the steamy hot parking lot at WallyWorld. We arose early, after I slept through any fireworks the holiday may have had, to a lovely night to walk. When we turned onto the road at the entrance to the campground we both saw a shooting star spiraling to Earth which is rare for two people to see at the same time. Usually one is looking away. They rarely spiral into the atmosphere, they usually fall with a slight arc and disappear.
I enjoyed sharing the night and having someone to talk to, especially someone who was caring for Nice(the dog) who understood "dog". The miles went by almost seamlessly, the road opened with a pull off lane for much of our walk making it easier as I didn't have to spend so much time standing in wet grass along a ditch line. We made it to the edge of Linden before the sun rose high. A woman I had met in the city the previous day had invited me to come for a family get-together drove us back to camp. It was a great outing where everything seemed to fall into place.
After saying our goodbyes from the KOA I returned to the Family reunion about to begin. The long day and night had left me exhausted my understanding host let me park in her drive. Out of the way, ran a power cord to the van and with a fan I rested until most of the family was lining up for food. The smell of grilling onions roused met to take my place with plate in hand.after filling my belly and meeting the kin' I soon retired for another nap while they played Cornhole and caught up after years between their last family gathering. I awoke again to find the competition picking up at the Cornhole lines and the rest reclining in the shade of the yard.
Another snack and a ride on the old refurbished glider on the porch I was soon back for my third nap of the lazy day. Late in the day, my next trip to the back yard I laughed because the competitors who all had been relatively light skinned were pink like lobsters and those who were still there were in the only two shaded areas of the yard. I had a great day meeting the family between naps.
At the end of the day my sister called to wish me a happy birthday, my mother was born on the fifth of July. I could sleep no more after the reminder... My mother dying from the effects of diabetes is a large part of how I found myself in this journey.
With a good day of rest behind us and fourteen miles to walk into Lafayette, I began at the stroke of midnight. I turned onto Main and a lite rain began to fall. It rained this way all night making it a very pleasant walk, except for one period before daybreak, while we sheltered under a tree, when the road was soaked and every passing auto left a cloud of spray in their wake. I nodded-off for only a moment. While I slept the darkness retired to a shadowy outline of the surroundings. Walking on, I realized ants had taken up residence in my hat when we rested. In the shadow between dark and light I kept seeing something walk across the brim. Only when I turned on my flashlight and looked closely did I find my hat was occupied with the tiny ants.
When I arrived in Lafayette I stopped after finding a parking lot behind 'Mac-Donald's in the strip-mall by the dollar store. While awaiting my ride from my host of the previous day I was interviewed by the Lafayette tv-news. Upon returning with the van I let the World dry so I could revalue the patches that had separated from the rains and wet ditch-ways. Before the end of the day I had patched Nd declared the World with fresh paint
I had thought I would get going early but I suppose I needed sleep. Waking up before it was light I lay my head back down and dreamed of meeting a large group of modern native people. We were all sitting down for some sort of meeting when I seemed to loose consciousness, spun around a few times, flopped into my chair in the circle and (in the dream) dreamt through the gathering. As dreams go, remembering a dream in a dream is a stretch but when I awoke in the dream it continued. I remember two of the natives remained to guide me on the rest of this dreams adventure where we covered much and ,as dreams go,most is indescribable.
I awoke this morning late. I was about to be upset but rain began to fall. Sleep delayed me enough to keep from being soaked. Walking thru downtown I could see puddles all around showing I surely would have been miserable and damp for he day.
Enough! Off to the other edge of Lafayette.

Friday, July 4, 2014


I began walking after it became light from the crossroad of US-26 & US-231. The day, like many others lately was spent standing static in tall grass as autos passed. No major freak-outs from someone who thinks the ball will suddenly roll up out of the ditch. Only one visit from the local police. A lite rain in the morning and a stiff headwind after the system cleared through.
I met "The weed lady of Fincastle". She had let her land grow wild decades ago to save a place for wildlife. She told me of the decline of wooded lands in the area due to big farming and the sins she erected in protest. I took a picture of her and her weeded yard.

I met a big farmer while resting at the edge of a field of corn next to a well groomed yard around an old brick home. The man walked up to us, the house was not his but the corn was. He wanted a picture of us by the corn and asked if he could move his Decalb sign to get it in also. He offered a ride later if I needed and a place to stop if I wanted at the grain silos before Parkersburg.
I walked past the silos on up to the Parkersburg sign. Across from the sign is a small body shop,Sheets, with an old car I wanted to get a picture of. My phone had drained dead so I stopped to charge it with my auxiliary battery-pack I carry for just an occasion. It wasn't long before mister Sheets himself came over from the house with his grandchildren. He offered for me to stay there for the night and gave me a ride to get the van.
Mr. Sheets had become diabetic a year ago and has lost over a hundred pounds with a good diet program. Nothing out of a can, white grains,etc.
it turns out that I stayed at his wife's cousin's home last year outside of Cincinnati. Small World.
Tomorrow is the forth of July. Boom-pow!