Sunday, July 7, 2013
POST 1152; JULY 07, 2013; LITCHFIELD, MINNESOTA
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Today started out looking to be a relaxing walk in the park...only 21 map-miles from HUTCHINSON to our destination, LITCHFIELD, MINNESOTA.
We soon discovered that our motel was on the very Southeastern corner of the rather large (by area) town of HUTCHINSON. Leaving the motel at 7:30 am, we first stopped off at the local Convenience Store /; Gas Station to check map details to find our way out of town.
What we find is that it will take up to one hour to reach the city limits on Route 22. We also discover that "map miles" do not necessarily include the sometimes many miles to cross town...such as this morning in Hutchinson. The 21 miles we expected to walk did not begin until after LEAVING the city limits of Hutchinson...adding 4 miles to our journey...(that brings up the question of how much further we must walk upon reaching the city limits of our destination, Litchfield, Minnesota - it turned out to be at least another 3 miles, making our total for today: 28 miles !
SHAMROCK INN and SUITES...our motel last night.
Please say HELLO to LEN. Len stopped me as SAM and ME began to walk away from the Convenience Store. Len, of course, wanted to know about SAM and ME...telling me that he has been fighting cancer for three years. Every morning, Len rides his bicycle five miles...then later in the day, takes a 3-mile walk.
Len was interested in what I had to say about exercise and the LYMPHATIC SYSTEM...thanking me for filling in information he needed.
City street of Hutchinson, leading SAM and ME out of town.
...past homes seemingly lifted out of the South of Georgia...
...thru the empty Sunday Morning business district...
...past the Girl Scout Park...one of many along our route...
...and over the bridge of this impressive man-made amphitheatre of cascading waters...
Common in this part of Mid-America are well maintained bicycle / walking trails paralleling many roadways. The trail leading out of Hutchinson is carried over the above waterway by an impressive bridge.
Please say HELLO to JOHN, NANCY, and Daughter KATIE DE ANGELO. Nancy, driving a new(er) VW Bug, made 180, coming to a stop in front of SAM as we walked West on Route 22.
...you look to be walking for a cause...yes (fully explained)...we would like to make a donation to help...as John hands me a twenty (dollar bill).
John and family are off to see Katie's Grandparents...wishing SAM and ME a safe walk...we wish John, Nancy and Katie a pleasant visit...as Nancy does a repeat 180...all of us waving as she drives off.
We are close to reaching the Grand Prairie...where distances are measured in tens of miles...horizon to horizon.
...after a rather disappointing dearth of those 10,000 lakes of Minnesota, we are finally entering an area where the 10,000 quickly appear.
Route 7 and Route 22 have been sharing the same roadway since leaving Hutchinson some 15 miles ago. The above "Y" sends Route 7 on to the West...as Route 22 hangs a right, heading for Litchfield, some 13 miles (plus the in-town miles to reach a motel) distant.
A rancher has taken pains to arrange his rolled bales of hay into a rather artistic pattern.
Each of the massive rolls weigh somewhat in excess of 2,000 pounds.
...another of the 10,000 lakes...nearly hidden from view by the surrounding Prairie Grasses.
At the "whistle stop" village of GREEN LEAF, we come upon the isolated Bar and Grill "BON FIRE", where I take a few minutes out to sit in air-conditioned comfort while drinking a cold beer (COORS LIGHT).
...and who taps me on the shoulder, but our early morning friend, LEN - of the Convenience Store meeting. We continue our previous conversation...Len adding that SAM and ME have made a quick walk in the oppressive heat (mid 90 degrees) and very high humidity ( ??? ).
Always to meet "old" friends while walking...as Len and I once again said Good Bye.
Please say HELLO to JIM PETERSON. Jim hailed SAM and ME as we walked and rolled past his small farm.
...much too hot and humid for you to be out walking, says he; ...no problem for me, says I...just practicing being the masochist I am...actually, I am constantly pushing and driving my nearly 80 year old body, reaching for the near-limit of endurance and performance (which I have not nearly reached)...gutsy words I may, one day, pay dearly for.
...you like strawberries??? come over here, says Jim, and pick a few - pointing to the small patch of "baby" strawberry plants bearing massive red berries.
I pick strawberries...juicy...sweet...yes, I'll have another !
Without comment, Jim appears with a tall red glass filled with water...miniature ice bergs floating on top.
We sit on a 20 foot long 3 foot diameter log and chat for the next half hour.
Bachelor Jim, a construction worker by trade, admits to taking small jobs to tide him over.
Lake RIPLEY greets Route 22 travelers at the city limits of LITCHFIELD.
Elegant Homes...with a Southern flair also grace the town of Litchfield.
Crossing town, we finally reach the KNIGHTS INN Motel ... right next door to MAC DONALDS, where SAM and ME take a room for $50.00 ...a special price for Cross Country Walkers.
Please say HELLO to JIM...the motel Maintenance Manager. Jim helped me move furniture in our room to make room for SAM for the night.
Please say HELLO to RICHARD "Dick" HOLTZ.
Before claiming my Large Chocolate Shake from MAC DONALDS, I venture to the cafe on the other side of our motel...and gain yet another new friend, Dick, who sits on the counter stool next to me as I devour an excellent Roast Beef Dinner ($9.50).
Richard and I touched on so many subjects...to the delight of nearby diners and servers...that his Business Card Motto probably says it best:
"SO THERE I WAS"
SAILORS HAVE MORE FUN !
Walking to pick up my Large Chocolate Shake, the BNSF train rolled through town.
Tomorrow morning, SAM and ME will take US Highway 12 to the town of WILLMAR, MINNESOTA, some 30 miles distant.
Hope the humidity becomes lower...and that it DOES NOT RAIN.
From the efforts of the past few days, I have become quite tired...and would welcome a nice easy stroll.