Monday, July 1, 2013
POST 1147; JULY 01, 2013; AUSTIN, MINNESOTA
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A restful night...after gorging on Atlantic Cod Fish last night, was met by a steady downpour lasting most of the day. Long steep hills rise from DECORAH, leaving me soaking inside my rain gear (from sweating), and my shoes FILLED with water.
The newly maintained roadway Berm (Parking Strip), filled with a mix of fine sand and soil, turned into a gooey sticky mess...impossible for SAM to roll over. We were forced to remain on the edge of the pavement...in turn, causing oncoming traffic to slow. Actually, the roadway is very wide...wide enough for easy safe passing even with SAM and ME on the pavement...but, in the pouring rain, few vehicles dared pass without slowing to a crawl.
Within the first hour, our policeman friend of last night passed SAM & ME by, made a "U" turn, stopping in front of us. Stepping out, donning his long black rain coat, he walked up to us..."I had a feeling it would be you..."
Seems a driver called 911 complaining of some idiot was pushing a cart up the MIDDLE of the highway.
..."...try to get off the pavement when cars approach..." "Yes, sir!" ..."...and I know you can't; so, just be extra careful ..." to the squishing of my feet in my shoes.
Seems safely walking over 18,000 on all roadways in every weather has it's tributes...but also has it's limitations. In actual fact, I wanted to be back in the motel tucked down in that warm dry bed.
Took the above photograph of the Police Cruiser...but did not ask to include the officer.
Our initial destination this morning was the town of CRESCO, some 20 miles distant. Along the way, SAM & ME passed through the tiny village of RIDGEWAY, which contained a single open business...lucky for us, a Convenience Store, where we filled our drinking cup with ice.
Ridgeway Village is a couple blocks off the main roadway of IOWA Highway 9.
At Ridgeway, SAM & ME joined the "trail" which is a excellent Walking / Bicycle Path paralleling Route 9...all the way to CRESCO. This paved "Path" is the finest such path we have encountered in the entire country...complete with proper road signs and here and there, covered rest stops.
SAM contemplating the Path STOP Sign where it crosses one of the many vehicle roadways leading off into the farms.
The "Y" provided a Rest Stop and signs guiding "thru traffic" to take the path to the right...now some 4 miles from or destination, CRESCO.
Part of Cresco Park is the above 1853 Log Cabin display...behind which stands a complete freight train also on display.
Tail end of the train, including a vintage CABOOSE where the freight train "Conductor" rode. The caboose has been eliminated from use nearly 50 years ago, providing many of these complete apartment-like cars for private living quarters and public display.
Both Motels of Cresco were filled...due to the County Fair in progress. SAM and ME were about to find a place to set up camp, when my phone rang...SUSAN calling that she, her Son Michael and his girlfriend were in DECORAH looking for us. Seems they have driven all the way from GUTTENBURG, bringing our folding chair that I forgot when Susan gave SAM and ME a ride to Route 51 yesterday.
I decided to have lunch while waiting for them to drive to Cresco. Arriving at the KFC, Michael handed me the chair - and bungies -, saying they had to immediately drive back to Guttenburg so he could go to work...something like 200 miles round trip...to deliver a $7.00 chair. Thank you, Susan.
So again...and perhaps for the final time...watched Susan drive off...no one even getting out of the car. So is life!
Not pleased to set up camp in Cresco, asked SAM if she was up to a marathon roll to DAVIS CORNERS, a intersection where Route 9 meets US 63. Having been at this intersection last year, I knew there was NO facility there....I simply had this immediate and strong message that something important was at Davis Corners.
We set off.
Two hours and one minute later, we arrived at Davis Corners, having walked and rolled eleven (11) miles at an average speed of over 5 miles per hour...by far our fastest walk and roll ever.
One Pickup Truck was loading something as SAM and ME stopped in front of the building marked DAVIS CORNERS AUCTION CENTER. I walked into the building which was a center of activity...people, young and old...bustling about...a meeting going on at a table. "How can we help you?"
I stood before the table, introduced myself, telling of our 37 mile walk today to reach Davis Corners, where we planned to spend the night. Long discussion made short...
SAM and ME had entered into the world of MENNONITE families...just concluding a day-long auction of Estate items. "Yes, of course you can sleep under the roof overhang for the night. An hour later, as many of those cleaning up had gone from the building, Dan, the owner of Davis Corner Auction Center, asked me if I would like to bring SAM inside and spend the night on the carpeted floor.
Until well after dark...near 10:00 pm... Dan and his family, wife, two Sons and one Daughter, after making it clear that the cold drinks...the sandwich...the bowl of cubed watermelon...and anything else I might wish, were mine for the asking. The large freezer unit already held my 4 water bottles and two ice packs.
Son SAMUEL and Daughter TAMMI, sat with me most of the evening, chatting not stopping until the last moment. I asked permission to photograph them, but was denied...we don't take photographs...we also have no telephone, no TV, no radio...and (Samuel) no dating...girls and boys meet at official functions.
I very much wanted to spend more time with Dan and his family. Realizing that SAM and ME were only 1/2 way across America...with over 1,500 miles yet to walk and roll, it was necessary to pack up and leave Davis Corner and the Mennonite friends we now have...SAM and ME turned North on US 63 at 6:45 am...taking lasting memories of our few hours together.
The Auction Room...where SAM and ME set up "camp" for the night.
No interest in the emotions and longing to stay a while, US 63 awaits SAM and ME as we begin our long journey to the town of ADAMS, some 35 miles distant in the State of MINNESOTA.
Raccoon, fishing ...
Water Tower in the tiny village of CHESTER, IOWA...our final stop for lunch before crossing into the State of Minnesota.
Please say HELLO to RENEE.
Renee and her two young daughters, SARAH and KATHRYN, stopped their car after once before passing by SAM and ME. We chatted for more than one hour...me mostly with Sarah and Kathryn - absolutely delightful young ladies; Renee and I chatting longer than we probably should have...promising to keep in touch...and hoping to meet once again down life's road.
RENEE and Me.
CHESTER, Iowa, as Renee, Sarah and Kathryn drive out of our lives.
MAN, but I do hate to say "Good Bye" !
There being no place to stay in Chester, I bought a fish basket lunch - gifted to me by Renee -; then, pushed SAM across the border into the State of Minnesota...next stop: LE ROY, MN.
Rather impressive Farm House as SAM and ME travel Route 56 past the Whistle Stop village of TAOPI - where two teenage girls were sliding down a small grassy slope covered with a plastic sheet...water hose in hand...their very own Water Slide.
Route 56 passing through the village of LE ROY, MN.
Wind Mills continue to dot the countryside.
...and, we finally reach ADAMS, Minnesota.
Being Sunday, only one business was open...the SHELL STATION Convenience Store. I bought "dinner"...a quite good made-to-order Pizza, and after more than one hour pumping the employees for local information as to where I might stay the night, decided to set up camp in the town Park, which had a covered Picnic area.
Beyond the far trees, SAM and ME settled down for the night...we thought !
Darkness was falling. Mosquitoes were attacking en-mass...when a vehicle drives across the park grass, stopping just short of us. A tall man walks through the darkness...approaches me..."so you must be Bruce, our Cross Country Walker..."
I invite Chief of Police, MIKE, to sit...share our mosquito spray (which Mike demonstrates the PROPER way to apply it to keep away the critters - thank you, Chief).
After 1/2 hour or so of getting acquainted, Mike invites me to his home...ostensibly to take a shower..."...if you had arrived before we set up camp, I would like nothing better...however, in the dark...etc...etc.
Chief Mike and I continued to chat in the mosquito free darkness for another hour or so before Mike took a couple photographs of us two together...and another of SAM...before he drove off into the night.
Sometime during the night, the repellent wore off enough to allow the mosquitoes to attack my exposed left hand...to night, 24 hours later, a mass of welts and itching like crazy...I forgot my itch medicine.
This morning, SAM and ME were on our way by 6:30 am...walking on the State Trail to the town of Rose Creek, where we turned onto Highway 4 leading West to US 218...then North to the City of AUSTIN, MINNESOTA.
Along the way, a TV reporter from ABC Channel 6 arrived in his camera equipped vehicle..."..Chief Mike sent me an e-mail...I rushed out to track you down...are you available to give me a short interview?"
The next hour, I chatted for the Camera.
Residential area (under road construction) of the town of ROSE CREEK.
A branch of the IOWA River.
Please say HELLO to NICOLE and her Father RICHARD ANDERSON.
Walking North on US 218, Richard hailed me from his riding lawn mower...you need something cold to drink? Never refuse a cold drink.
I was invited into Richard's home...don't mind my daughter running around the house in her shorts...If she can handle it, I'm OK, too.
The next 45 minutes, Richard kept my ice water glass full as he, Nicole, and I chatted.
Nicole had changed into her "work clothes" for her job at the Swimming Pool Concession...I must get to work... - but 30 minutes later, she was still chatting.
Without saying so, it was obvious that Richard did not want me to leave...wait 'till I tell my MISSUS (wife) who I met today...
Plied with three bottle of POWER DRINK...and offer of something to eat...and to keep in touch...and will follow your travels...Richard and I said Good Bye.
Arriving in AUSTIN, SAM and ME checked into a motel...that was many hours ago...the Manager gave me a ride to a local restaurant...then returned to pick me up.
Since 3:00 pm, I have been at my Mini-Computer...now about to post this update to GOOGLE and FACEBOOK. It is now 12:00 MIDNIGHT.
Tomorrow morning, SAM and ME will once again take US 218 North and West from AUSTIN, with our destination being the town of OWATONNA, MN, some 26 miles distant.
We have a very long way to go...about 1,500 miles. The weather is going to be HOT...the empty miles reaching across North Dakota and Montana. I have decided we will go to MINOT, North Dakota...complete with it's dangers and lack of facilities. This decision I may come to regret - police have asked me to stay away from the immense OIL FIELDS being opened along US Highway 2.
Last year, I avoided that area. This year, we will not.