* * * * * * * * * *
OWATONNA is a rather large town...and we chose to stay in the small motel on the far Eastern side of town...leaving a long walk cross-town in the morning before US 14 heads West to the town of MANKATO, some 31 miles distant...our destination for the day.
We did not make it !
US 14 as it passes through Owatoona.
... past the Power Plant...
...until we encounter the above man, dressed in high-visibility orange.
Please say HELLO to GARY, who had been standing beside US 14, waiting for SAM and ME to appear. Seems that Gary, from the city of AUSTIN, was one of three gentlemen sitting at the next Breakfast table from me yesterday morning, participating in our conversation. After we parted, Gary checked up on my "story" by calling up my blog on GOOGLE...and checked further on GOOGLE about the LYMPHATIC SYSTEM I mentioned to them.
"After spending much of yesterday researching the LYMPHATIC SYSTEM, I started walking," said Gary..."and I knew I wanted to meet with you again.."
So, early this morning, Gary drove into Owatoona to stand along our announced walking route...waiting for SAM and ME to appear.
Gary and I chatted for a few minutes...Gary thanking me for our first meeting in Austin...and handed me $40.00...contribution to help SAM and ME continue our walk across America.
Thank you, again, Gary.
Today was exceptionally hot. The 13 miles to the beautiful town of WASECA, MINNESOTA, seemed more like 23 miles by the time the lake came into view.
...even so, we took a moment to admire the tiny road side "weeds"...only an inch or so wide and grouped hugging the ground.
SAM enjoys stopping now and then to contemplate the road ahead. Encountering this enchanting lake caused SAM to stop and admire.
One of many unique charming homes of Waseca.
One of the many busy streets of downtown Waseca.
Please say HELLO to JOHN.
Standing at the street corner in mid-town, John had stepped from his office as he saw SAM and ME approach.
"Hi", says John, as SAM and ME stop next to him. "I was in the town of BLOOMING PRAIRIE when you passed through a couple days ago. NIKKI told me about meeting you...and now, here you are..."
While John and I chatted, two of his colleagues walked up...pretty effectively blocking the sidewalk as we chatted.
NIKKI and I from another moment...as Daughter MILAYANA snapped our picture standing on the sidewalk in front of the Blooming Prairie Library.
US 14 as it passes through the town of Waseca.
It was already scorching hot as SAM and ME were about to walk and roll out of town. Conveniently, we passed the local VFW -VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS -, of which I have been a member since joining the VFW in KEY WEST, FLORIDA during our very first walk across America (from the Peace Arch standing astride the CANADA / USA Border at BLAINE, WASHINGTON State.
SAM, parked in the shade of the building, I popped in for a beer and an excellent lunch...toasted BLT (Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato) sandwich...before continuing the final 18 miles to MANKATO.
Impressive Church sending SAM and ME West on US 14.
...only to be interrupted by the above freight train heading East into Waseca.
There is a NEW US 14, opened recently about one mile to the South of OLD HIGHWAY 14. We were told Old Highway 14 was the better roadway for SAM and ME to walk. True, there was little traffic. True, the passing farms provided more scenery. True, last year I had already walked NEW US 14.
So, we chose to walk and roll OLD HIGHWAY 14.
Although SAM and ME had travelled only 22 miles, I decided to call it a day.
Janesville has no Motel / Hotel facilities. Upon arriving at the local BP (British Petroleum) Convenience Store, we were informed that a Band (music) visiting Janesville, was overnighting inside the High school. We went immediately to the school, finding it locked up tight - I thought. Walking away, a car pulled into the parking lot...a young lady getting out...and entered through a door I had not seen.
Inside, the lady was picking up her daughter from a Summer School Class. I introduced myself...explained my need to contact a school official (the teacher begged off). My new lady acquaintance took the bull by the horns, telephoned a school official she knew was Brother of the Superintendent of Schools.
A few minutes later, Superintendent BILL ADAMS reached me on my cell phone...yes, of course you may stay overnight in my school...meet me in 10 minutes...etc. etc.
...which, I did...meeting Bill, one of the most down to Earth folks one could wish for.
Following Bill, SAM and ME were led into the Library Room..."...this is where you may stay tonight..."; after which I was guided to the downstairs "BOYS SHOWERS" and "BOYS RESTROOM".
..."If you leave the building, phone me when you are ready to get back in...my home is next to the Football Field...only a minute or two walk, so I can unlock the door for you"
...all this discussion, following the passing of a youngster driving a lawnmower up the street pulling a work trailer. I was surprised that such a thing could happen these days...with all the "stupid" laws limiting / prohibiting young folks from doing such a thing...especially since my brothers and I were hard at work earning $$ at the ripe old ages of 4, 6, and 9 years old back in 1940.
Janesville K through 12 School. (K = Kindergarten)
The PURPLE GOOSE, Bar and Restaurant, where I enjoyed my evening dinner.
Janesville City Park, decorated for tomorrow's July 4th festivities.
On the road at 6:30 in the morning...long before the Summer staff arrived for school, SAM is once again contemplating our coming walk and roll down the long empty OLD HIGHWAY 14 leading ever-West from Janesville, Minnesota.
...and I have learned to take those precious moments to stop to photograph the elegant tiny "weeds" of the roadside berm.
Please say HELLO to PAUL resident of the small village of EAGLE LAKE, through which US 14 passed. Paul waited for SAM and ME to roll up to his vehicle, where he had been waiting in the local Convenience Store parking lot.
Paul is a "walker"...had read the sign on the side of SAM as he drove past a few moments before...and was eager to pick my brain...i.e., compare notes and trade "war stories" about walking.
Please say HELLO to JOHN...John, who pulled up behind Paul's car...patiently waiting until Paul said Good Bye to me. Seems John and his Son are in the midst of planning a walk together to the city of NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA...and wanted to find out what SAM and ME were about.
John and I chatted for at least 1/2 hour, before John said Good Bye, pleased to discover that SAM and ME were making our journey with only our SOCIAL SECURITY $$...but with considerable support and $$ donation from the many folks meet.
As SAM and ME approach the city of MANKATO, we cross a rather large river. No identification sign was available to read, but I am wondering if it might be the MIGHTY MISSOURI River.
As it was still before noon-time, I decided to push on to the next large town of SAINT PETER, some 15 miles North on our new roadway, Route 22. First, however, we stopped at the local restaurant, where I very much enjoyed my second-ever BROILED WALLEYE...superb !
Walking past the City Park, July 4th festivities were in full swing with Carnival Rides and music flowing out to SAM and ME on Route 22.
Route 22, SAINT PETER, MINNESOTA.
Down town...empty on this July 4th afternoon.
SAM and ME took a room at the AMERICAN ....(?) Motel and Suits, where I am, at this late / early hour of 2:30 am, spending the quiet hours at my HP Mini creating this blog update...no need to keep referring to the many hours to complete each update..., but the time of day / night to do so is sometimes kinda interesting.
Today was blistering hot...with some humidity thrown in for good measure...causing me to drink over 1.5 gallons of water. With prior lessons from being shut down from Anemia, I have learned, at last, that food and water intake must find a balance each day.
So, I enjoyed a second scrumptious meal of the day...Scampi Shrimp on a bed of Pasta...preceded and followed by (a single glass) of fantastic Vodka/tomato...chased by a few sips of beer...the perfect remedy - or so I am informed - for the morning after the night before hangover...an event I have at my tender age, yet to experience; i.e., I have not yet experienced being drunk. MARC, my host, insisted I must sample his special drink.
Wonder what other marvels I have missed ???