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Friday, April 27, 2012


Sunrise this morning in Hutchinson, Minnesota. Curious the three or four reflective images of the Sun...have not seen this phenomenon before.

Turning around, WAL-MART was aglow with the Sun's rays.

It is 18 miles from Hutchinson to Lichtfield. Last evening, walked 4 of those miles. The wind was blowing out of the South East, so decided to drive to Lichtfield...where we parked SPIA while I walked BACK 4 + hours (16 miles) toward Hutchinson.

Returning to Lichtfield, had the wind at my back, giving me a rest after having to fight into the rising - very cold - wind.

Used my new NIKE walking shoes today. No time to break them in. They did quite well for the morning walk...afternoon walk was something again ... more below.

Main street of Lichtfield - also Highway 22.

We have entered the main belt of Minnesota Lake Country. Lakes of all sizes can be continuously seen as we walk along. For a few days, we have been seeing marsh grass, much like the above image...but now, we are also seeing the water that lies within.

The land has also changed since entering the lake region. Whereas the land has been flat flat flat for hundreds of miles, we now have rolling hills. The marsh grass and visible water is everywhere there is a depression...for the economist-minded, this "depression" is a low spot in the ground, not the man-made one which is tearing this Country asunder.

The lakes around today's walk appear to be quite shallow...note the islands of grass out in the middle of the lake.

Lichtfield has a well manicured city park on their Lake Ripley.

...containing Anderson Gardens...nicely cared for, but too early in this cold clime for any blooms.

Must be a big job, that "Wetland Management", what with Minnesota having 10,000 lakes and who knows how many wee marshes.

This is a Naval Aircraft Carrier Anchor with a noteworthy past. Click click to read the inscription attesting to the anchor being on loan from the US Navy from the USS SHANGRI-LA, CVA 38.

Historical Note: In the early days of 1942, only a few weeks after the Japanese attack of December 07, 1941 against Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, US Army Air Force General Jimmy Doolittle attacked TOKYO with a squadron of B-25 bombers, causing little damage, but creating hysteria amongst the Japanese.

The B-25s took off from the deck of the Aircraft Carrier HORNET, which then disappeared into the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, effectively hiding from sight.

The Japanese demanded to know where the B-25s had come from, to which President Roosevelt replied...FROM SHANGRI-LA (which, at that time was a magical place in FDR's imagination).

Years later - in 1944 - a new Aircraft Carrier ...named for that historic moment - made famous by the movie "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" - was commissioned SHANGRI-LA.

SHANGRI-LA Anchor rests in Lichtfield Park, imaged above.

In World War II, when a soldier died, his rifle was thrust barrel first into the ground; his helmet resting on the butt of the gun. The above memorial in Lichtfield Park is in honor of their fallen soldiers.

The vehicle in the background is an APC = Armored Personnel Carrier.

Historical Fact: In the Korean War, my Brother, Jay, drove a similar armored vehicle (his was amphibious - it could drive across rivers without sinking).

I include this photograph because of it's uniqueness of having a large boulder (rock) sitting in the front yard. There is another such boulder out behind the home as well.

I am quite certain these two boulders were deposited in this spot by the retreating glaciers of 10,000 years ago as they retreated north. I have not seen other similar boulders anywhere near here.

Aahhh, my Bovine Friends...always good for a friendly chat.

From Lichtfield, I walked West on US 12 for another 4 + hours this afternoon. The wind had reached at least 35 mph directly out of the East...and was colder than the proverbial Monkey.

As I walked West in my new shoes, with the wind at my back, I was having a dandy time; then, came the moment to walk BACK to Lichtfield - and SPIA -, that cold wind hit me in the face, nearly blowing me down. For 2.5 hours, I struggled against the elements...made much worse by passing 18-wheelers setting up whirling tornado's . There was not a thing I could do to relieve the tension in my leg muscles - which themselves were frigid from the penetrating cold.

Then, too, two pinch-points developed in my new left shoe, causing my ankle to fail. Many times, I nearly fell to the ground.

I had violated my own guideline...not to walk too far from SPIA to safely return in the event of injury or emergency. Being gone 4 hours is much too long under the near-storm conditions.

Must get lots smarter if I intend to survive the crossing of North Dakota, Montana, and Idaho in the coming weeks.

After returning to SPIA in Lichtfield, we drove to Wilmar, 25 miles distant, where we have found a nice overnight spot in a corner of the local U-Haul dealer.

Since I still had 9 miles to walk to reach Wilmar, I walked BACK toward Lichtfield for an hour. The wind was simply too fierce and my feet were in pain in my new shoes, so I returned after 4 miles, and strolled around the "shopping district" of Wilmar (a town of 20,000 residents).

What I found were empty and/or closed stores on all streets. Friday afternoon at 4:30 pm and NO activity at all. There were a few young folks chatting in the streets - speaking Spanish, but no business activity.

Learned from our Host for the night that a Mall opened up a few years ago, taking ALL businesses out of down town with it.

Old town Wilmar is as so many other small American towns...slowly dying.

The churches have remained...

Tomorrow promises to be a VERY cold day. I may stay inside SPIA with her Propane Furnace running - as it has since returning a couple hours ago -.

If I do venture out, I must retrieve the 5 missing miles from Lichtfield...then, it will be West on US 12 toward the town of Benson, some 31 miles distant.

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