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Monday, April 30, 2012


SPIA is parked under the distant McDonald sign...looking back south into the town of Morris, Minnesota as I walk north on Highway 9 toward the town of Tintah, Minnesota, our final destination for the day.

Walked two legs today: early morning: 20 miles; afternoon: 16 miles

Morning was overcast looking like about to rain and blow. It did neither.

Around 11:00 am, the sky opened up to puffy drifting cumulus with the Sun sweeping away all the low hanging stuff.

Turned out to be an enjoyable day for walking.

Large canal ditches line both sides of Highway 9.

Lots and lots of heavy farming equipment was up and about today...

This machine is spraying fertilizer in preparation for planting.

It has been quite wet until today...every farmer seems to be out in the fields rushing to get seeds into the ground before the predicted 48 hours or so of rain.

This equipment is planting twelve rows of seeds in one pass.

I learned today (from John, whom we meet below) that every field in this region is precisely controlled by GPS instrumentation...first from satellite and then from land based GPS towers.

As the driver is about to plant (or later in the year, harvest), the equipment is aligned by GPS to the ground towers...the field is identified and the driver pushes the GO button...then sits back and watches as the equipment (tractor) is driven precisely controlled by the GPS towers.

In the fall, harvesting is accomplished using the same GPS system.

This is a high speed sprayer. The long arms out front pivot to the sides, covering a wide swath of the field in one pass.

After completing our first walk from Morris, drove SPIA north on Highway 9. Did not intend to stop in Herman, but saw a tiny Cafe, so did a U turn and went inside.

I was treated to a steaming bowl of chili - on the house...thank you.

Please say HELLO to Nick.

Nick is owner of the local newspaper and interviewed me for nearly 1/2 hour.

Please say HELLO to Dan.

Dan and Nick are friends, living in/near Herman, Minnesota.

Dan and I were lunch customers when Nick came in to chat with me, apparently informed of my presence by other lunch customers.

After Nick's interview, we drove to the tiny village of Tintah, 36 miles north of Morris, where we have parked for the night on the street next to Tintah City Park.

I left SPIA parked as I walked south on Highway 9 for another 16 miles, before returning to Tintah, where I stopped in at John's Bar to visit and down a cold Coors Light.

John's Bar...where I was the only customer until visits by two local farmers.

At one time, Tintah sported a sidewalk along Highway hidden under overgrown grass.

Please say HELLO to John, owner of John's Bar.

John and I chatted for over an hour, during which John shared some videos documented by his Son, detailing the harvesting of Sugar Beets.

It was John who enlightened me regarding local crop rotation. Corn is by no means the only crop grown. Crop rotation is critical to keep the soil balanced year after year. The rotation is:

Wheat, followed by Corn, followed by Soy Beans, followed by Sugar Beets.

Sugar Beets is by far the most valuable crop...but also takes the most OUT of the soil.

Please say HELLO to Noel.

Noel, like many of John's customers, is a local farmer. We also chatted for quite some time before Noel excused himself...seems most local farmers are working through the night to complete planting before the expected rains come tomorrow.

In the morning, SPIA will remain parked as I walk north on Highway 9 toward the town of Breckenridge, Minnesota, 23 miles distant.

At Breckenridge, we will change to Highway 210 / 13 West, crossing the border into North Dakota. Our next large city will be Minot, North Dakota, where we pick up US 2, which will take us all the way to Washington State.

ETA at the Peace Arch, USA / CANADA crossing is still July 15, 2012.

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