What a week we’ve had. We have traversed the state of Wisconsin and tomorrow we will cross the Mississippi River into Iowa.
Since our last post, we finished the Military Ridge trail and have been staying at my grandparents’ home in Darlington. It has been an excellent time and a great opportunity to get several miles in, but have family near by if we need help. Every day since we left we’ve been recognized, whether we were in a large city, small farm community, or on the trails in between. People have been so supportive and enthusiastic. Here in Darlington, the American Legion organized a small ceremony for us and made a donation t us for Dryhootch. Channel 12 from Milwaukee made their way here today to interview us and catch up on the developments of our trip.
We have met some great people who walk with us or slowly ride their bikes and talk with us as we walk. We met people biking across the country, out for hikes while camping, or walking on trails or roads during their everyday routines. Each of these people have left their mark on us and we hope we’ve reciprocated. When people hear what we’re doing, they thank us and we’ve seen many of them have started to follow us on Facebook or here on our blog. It’s encouraging to have so many people interested in our progress. To me, Tom and I are walking. One person said our journey reminds her of missionary work. Another said we remind him of himself when he came home from Vietnam. It is touching when so many people share their stories with us and it is inspiring when people walk with us.
Yesterday, Tom and I walked 23 miles and had over 52,000 steps for the day. 5 miles out of Darlington, I decided I couldn’t walk anymore that day. My feet were swollen, it was 95 degrees or something, and I was just spent. Within an hour, several of my aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and supporters showed up and walked the last leg. How can you give up when you get such amazing support? We even met an awesome guy who brought Pedialyte and shared his story of military service. Today, he brought Tom and I cold water and lunch when we were taking a short break from walking.
Last weekend, Tom’s girlfriend came and they spent a night at a hotel. The hotel, the Riverview Annex, gave them the room for free. My wife and daughter came, too. It was such a relaxing time when we took our day off. To give you some perspective, Tom and I take, on average, about 40,000 steps a day. This past Sunday, I took 800. I swam and played with my daughter and she even began to warm up to Tom. He would put his boonie cap on her Curious George stuffed monkey and play peek-a-boo with it. She’d laugh and giggle. I’ve known Tom for a couple years and he’s been around Madeline several times. But, now, she was used to him. It was difficult to say goodbye again, especially knowing that we really wouldn’t see each other again. But, it was worth the heartache to see my little girl and wife again.
Ok, we’ll be back on the blog train again. More to follow tomorrow! And to Community High school of Milwaukee, 4th hour geography, Mrs. Lawrence’s class….DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!!!
See you on the trail.