Mis-Adventures in Waterloo

Warning: This blog is coming from a place of exhaustion, dejection, and frustration.
Where do I begin? Walking through Waterloo, IA is strange. Let’s just say it’s a much different experience than walking out in the rolling cornfields of NE Iowa. There is a noticeable difference in walking through cities than the country. Out in the country, we have miles of straight roads, sometimes with no cars passing for hours. A few days back, Tom and I walked 27 miles through the country taking old CTY highways. We saw like 8 cars. Today was a straight up cluster. We walked through the whole damn city of Waterloo crossing back over ways we had come sometimes a few hours earlier. We walked over and under the same flippin bridge twice. At one point, our GPS took us 2 blocks down a road to have us cross the street and walk back down the road we had just passed through. The laughs we shared today we more laughs of frustration and wonder than they were of merriment. It was a shit show. We ended up walking more miles in the city than it took us to walk to it from Elk Ridge Run this morning. Sorry to those from or with a special affection for Waterloo. It’s not you that this blog is aimed at. It’s aimed at: lack of sidewalks, idiots swerving at us,  almost soiling one’s pants, AT&T, Samsung, Google maps, iPhones, the founding city planner of Waterloo, the shittily made manhole I almost fell through, pitbulls, and logistics in general. So, we’re gonna change our route just a smidge to avoid 20 extra miles scheduled in a few days. Essentially, we’re going to take a hard SW swing and head directly for Marshalltown.
On a brighter side, we have friends from WI coming to meet us tonight! This is grand. Even more grand, they’re paying for us to stay at a hotel. Hells to the yes. The few times we’ve been at hotels have allowed us to do 2 things: use copious amounts of ice to numb our sore and swollen feet and watch TV. I’ve never been much for reality TV, but I do enjoy COPS. We watched  gratuitous amounts of COPS and laughed. It was awesome. Criminals have the stupidest stories and their rationalizations are hilarious.
Tom’s girlfriend hooked me up with a TENS unit which has been put to good use. I use it to promote blood flow to my feet and reduce the cramps I’ve been getting in my calf muscles. It brings relief, so whatever it’s doing is working.
Also working for us, has been taking it a bit easier this week. Fewer miles than the previous 2 has allowed us to address some of the blistering and swelling. Although, I did get a new blister yesterday and 2 today. I can’t believe this nonsense. What did I do in a previous life to have my feet resemble that of a leper? What is next? Will the next river we cross turn to blood? Will it rain frogs? Maybe, I could luck out and just walk to Omaha and make friends with Warren Buffet.

So, Tom and I met a very generous pastor in Independence named Marty who offered up a bit of wisdom over a buffet lunch. He said life demands a response. This is something I have been thinking about, almost obsessively since I heard it. I don’t want to be passive or apathetic in life. I also, despite the tenor of my prior paragraphs, don’t want to be angry all the time. I’m not especially religious, but I do believe in treating others the way you want to be treated. I also believe in things like kindness, compassion, love, and peace.  I’m trying to determine: a: what type of life I want and b: how do I respond so I am able to meet the needs of that life. I greatly appreciate Marty’s statement as its given me food for more thought and reflection. I just wish I could get the answer from Google. No I don’t. That would be too easy. The best things in life require work and sacrifice. I wish my pack was a bit lighter, though. Yeah, I would be OK with that.
Tom and I will start walking again soon. When we start again, we are going to crush miles so hard miles will have to end in z. That’s how hard we’re going to push.
Until then, enjoy the rest of your weekend and thanks for the mountains of support you all have shown us. You’re champs.
A$ and Lil T

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13 comments on “Mis-Adventures in Waterloo
  1. Sue Schuelke says:

    Somebody mentioned to me that they met someone who basically spent his retirement years walking around the country. He used one of those jogging strollers to push his stuff in instead of a pack. It would lighten the load at least until your feet heal.

  2. Nancy says:

    Hi guys,

    Looks like you met your Waterloo in Waterloo. It’s got to get better!! Glad you get to stay in a hotel and rest your tired, swollen, blistered tootsies. Jogging strollers, Sue? Never heard of them, but it sounds like a good idea. Good look you wonderful walkers. I admire you.

  3. Jennie Riemer says:

    Do you think you will be staying overnight when you get to Atlantic, Iowa?

  4. You survived waterloo on foot! great job guys. By comparison the rest of Iowa is a cake walk. Waterloo scares me from the inside of a full sized four wheel drive. I wish i could find the words to express how proud you make those of us following your journey. Blessings, brother wally

  5. Natalie says:

    Guys, I find myself telling everyone, including complete strangers about your trek and your mission! You are such an incredible inspiration — I can’t believe how far you’ve come already! This story deserves NATIONAL coverage! 😀

  6. Shannon Reed says:

    I am very proud of you guys. Rest when you need to and I mean rest…

  7. Jill Schwingle says:

    I think about you two every day! I miss you on Military Ridge when I bike now. Weird! I wish I had known ahead what was goin’ on…I would’ve walked, talked, and helped out on your venture any way I could have. This whole thing is so awesome.

  8. Hey there guys, have you ever been front page news? if not, you are now. Our Manchester newspaper only comes out once a week, so it took awhile to see. Our cover has two handsome vets walking across the country. I will post the pic on facebook so when you get a chance you can see it.

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