Updates from southwest Iowa

I must warn you, what follows in this post may be considered to be too opinionated at times. Please understand that Tom and I respect your right to disagree. This is just our take.

But first’ a quick update. Tom and I are about 60 or 70 miles shy of making it to Nebraska. We have walked almost 500 miles on our journey. Despite achy feet, our spirits are high and we are just as convicted as ever. We have been blessed. That is not a term I ever use. Ask people who know me. For us to meet so many great people who share their stories and perspectives is a wonderful thing. Additionally, to have so many welcome us into their towns and homes has been touching. Tom and I are so grateful for the generosity we’ve experienced.

We spent the last week trekking from Marshall town to near Atlantic. We’ve done this on a few trails and along roads. Here is an experience demonstrating how unsexy this walk can be at times:

2 days ago, Tom and I found ourselves walking from Stuart, IA to Anita. We walked a country road for the duration. Temps were around the mid 80s. The road was loose, white, dusty gravel. Tom has a blister on his toe. I have a head cold resulting in total congestion and my head feels 100 pounds. Slight, occasional breeze. Semis driving down the road. Regularly dusting us. The semis were being filled with beans the farmers were chopping and making trips up and down the road- constantly- all day. For those Vets who served in units with tracked vehicles, the dust was like the ground of a tracked vehicle motor pool- rocks, ground to powder mixing with dirt. Tom can testify to the anger I unleash. Unheard by the drivers, my verbal tirades show no mercy and omit no vulgarity.

Now, you may be wondering why we just don’t choose another road. You may wonder why we don’t find paved roads. To answer this you have to understand the nature of Iowa. Iowa is a beautiful state. Where we are now looks a lot like Wisconsin. But, previous stretches of our walk here in Iowa were days where the ENTIRE day is sandwiched between corn and/or soybean fields. Nothing else. Many of the roads are farm roads. It seems many farm roads in Iowa are unpaved. Also, the land is sectioned in large squares of farm fields. There aren’t a lot of roads that run at angles. Simply moving to the next road may add many miles to the day as they are less direct or they’re illegal for us to walk on.

So, that whole day was spent walking through clouds of gravel dust. All day. Oh. One other thing. There was a stone quarry with semis going in and out of that place like a McDonalds drive through at the height of the lunch rush hour. Just uncomfortable. But we did it and we got a few more miles down the road.

Things really are going well right now.

Now, to the opinion portion. We know about the shutdown status of out government. We also heard about the Veterans who went to memorials in D.C. and they were shutdown. Yes, the Vets still went in. Some of those Vets were assisted by politicians on site who made certain the Vets would get their time at the memorials.
We’ve seen a few news articles in which the current shutdown is discussed in the scope of how it’s influencing Veterans or current military. We’ve even heard some politicians discussing how wrong it was for those Veterans trying to get in the memorials to even wonder if they could gain admittance and those questions were a direct result of the other side’s unwillingness to work out a compromise. Regardless, both sides are jumping at the opportunity to make sure Vets can go to the memorials. These leaders are resolute in their commitment to making sure we can get into memorials during the shut down.

Shut up. Shut the hell up.

Fix our VA system. That’s part of the job of our Congress. They have oversight and investigation committees. Our VA system is overseen by a Secretary who has a cabinet level position and could, presumably, request an audience with the President fairly easily. Our politicians are sure as shit concerned about getting their faces on TV to say how abhorrent it was that the Veterans almost didn’t get let on to the memorials, but they wilt like the weeds they are at the opportunity to actually stand up and demand the VA unfuck itself and then make sure they do. Our government should get going again not only so Veterans can get into memorials without issues, but to get started and really using the weight they carry to fix a bullshit system.
It will not happen. Even when they’re not working, they’re exploiting Veterans.The end of this shutdown does nothing more than bring us one day closer to the next one.

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9 comments on “Updates from southwest Iowa
  1. John g says:

    Right on!

  2. Jill Schwingle says:

    No one should be put off by anybody talking about this stuff. You didn’t write anything that went too far. In fact, I’m-a-thinkin’ you held back. It is abhorrent what happened at the WWII memorial. Why an outside plaza needed to be off limits in the first place to anyone during this time is beyond me. Michele Bachmann can kiss my ass! Really sickening! All show. Exploiting vets to advance their stance. Sickening!

    It is indeed quite disheartening. Lots of people are very angry. I’m in such a state of unbelievability about it all, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. And it’s not funny at all. I don’t know how the leaders of this country define leadership, but I know how I do. Leadership is not fuckin’ the people you represent for your own selfish gain. It’s just unreal!

    I’ll state what I think is the obvious by now to everyone. The Repubs simply can’t stand the thought of something as big as Obamacare working out. And I haven’t been presented with any clear evidence with what affordable healthcare has to do with workers losing jobs or gettin’ cut back. If that’s happening, it’s not Obama’s fault. Companies that employ 50 employees have to provide health insurance to their employees. Are they lettin’ people go so that they get under the 50 mark? Why can’t they afford to provide benefits for employees who are working 40+ hours a week? Maybe they can’t. But Obama’s efforts to provide affordable healthcare for all I would think includes small businesses. Hopefully, a small business owner has an opportunity to cover its employees at affordable rates outta this deal.

    I got off the subject a little bit, but it’s all intertwined.

    How about those big, big companies that employ thousands of employees? Can they or can they not afford to pay a living wage and provide benefits? With the astronomical differences in incomes between the top and the bottom, I wonder if something couldn’t be worked out here! My point here is that when the extremist Right tries to brainwash the general public with the idea that Obamacare is causing lost jobs or underemployment, it’s hogwash! It is absolutely disdainful.

    It’s time to clean up this gov’t. By the way, has anyone heard much about Syria lately? Me neither.


    P.S. Go to robertreich.org for more info on the above lecture….sorry. My brain and fingers are in a working relationship, unlike……you know who!

  3. victor romeo says:


  4. Deb t says:

    I’m tired of grossly over paid politicians acting worse than preschool kids not wanting to share in the sandbox, running @ the mouth climbing over the middle class for their own agendas. I didn’t see anyone of those politicians supporting ObamaCare, on the news being first in line signing up for “ObamaCare”. I think we should fire the bunch send them all back where they came from so they can see how we all live away from the Beltway! So glad you guys were able to make the side trip & visit the Freedom Rock!

  5. Brandon says:

    this shut down’s purpose was to make it as difficult and inconvenient for Americans as possible, it should be blatantly obvious how they’re hiring on extra forces to keep people out of places. But i feel your frustrations bro. anyways, I heard about you guys tho from a man i met on the road yesterday in NE. I just wanted to show you guys my support, it takes balls to take a trip so far from your comfort zone. I’m 26 and ridding my bike from minocqua WI, to Colorado then south to AZ and then California, and been traveling now for 2 months or so and its been a trip. Gotta admit tho i feel blessed, everything, no matter how bad things get seem to work for my benefit. im sure you guys gotta agree. much love guys, good luck and safe travels. when you make it thru Colorado feel free to get ahold of me, I’ll help out with a place to crash or some chow or whatever else you may need.

  6. Arthur Soto says:

    Anthony & Tom,   I heard about the tornadoes in Iowa and just checking, making sure you are both OK.   Art Soto 


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