Sunday, November 9, 2014

Photoblog


I only walked a mile from Cody WY when I got my first ride offer.
I turned that one down, but accepted one from Joe Cruz
who drove me many miles through the Wind River Canyon
en route to a date at a casino in Riverton.


Railroaders from Burlington Northern
kept an eye on me during my walk through eastern Wyoming.
Three of them stopped to visit for a moment
and offer me bottles of water. I accepted thankfully.
I ran into Anthony Grubbs (above) twice. 
The second time he pulled my leg 
telling me he was Anthony's twin brother.
It worked only for a few moments, 
but it gave me one of the best laughs of the Walk.


I met two young, hip police officers in Douglas.
They gave me suggestions on navigating the town.
Don't you love Officer Coates's sunglasses?


Gypsy appeared as I passed through Douglas.
He said he had been on the road for five (5) years,
but was getting ready to return to Los Angeles
and go back to school.
Law School. Good luck, Gypsy.


I ran into Jack in a convenience mart in Glenrock.
We visited for a few moments.
Later we passed by each other,
he in his car on the way to work and
I walking the other direction with my flag.
He said something like,
"I look for something positive every day.
Yesterday when I saw you on the highway,
that did it for me.
You made my day.
Thanks."
Thank you, Jack.


Randy Lund is a contractor who drives a big mail truck 
between Denver and Billings.
He saw me walking the highway south of Glenrock
and stopped to visit and share a sandwich with me.
We chatted for a while intending to meet again on his return trip.
My route avoiding the Interstate prevented that from occurring.
I sent him a postcard miles later as a thankyou.


I made a great find in the El Rancho Restaurant, south of Glendo.
Early in the day, I got a ride through road construction and
rested for a few hours under trees in front of the restaurant.
Rain began to pour just before opening time.
I settled under the awning until 5:00.
Then, I treated myself to dinner and
visited with bartender Tiffany, waitress Kim (above),
and beer man Geno who avoided pictures.
Geno had been the area's milk man for many years.
But, beer was obviously he drink of choice.
I emailed this photo to Tiffany the other day.


After a day's rest at Guernsey,
I spent some time at the library and then at the visitor center.
I had a long conversation with Kathy Troupe (right).
We covered quite a bit of territory in our talk.
When the Andersons came in, 
I decided it was time to head out.
But not before taking a photo of the three.


Matt and Brandon run the Saloon at Fort Laramie.
It was a Sunday morning when I walked into their establishment.
They couldn't sell me anything because of the day and hour,
but sent me down the road with a couple sodas
and some bottles of water.
Thanks, gentlemen.


Toni Genua works at a grocery store in Gering, Nebraska.
She saw me buying chocolate milk for the next leg of the trip.
Later, she noticed me drinking my purchase on outside the store
even before I started back walking.
Before long I had an invitation to camp
on the living room floor of her apartment for the night.
Next day, we drove out to Scottsbluff National Monument.
Then, she dropped me off when she returned to work.
I proceeded east on the Old Oregon Trail.


When I took two days off in Oshkosh, Nebraska,
I found Jenny Bean's Bakery and Emporium.
I felt like I had arrived in Oz
because Dorothy and her friends were everywhere.
Tom Nelson's mother was a great fan of the Wizard.
Tom's huge cinnamon rolls were yummy and inexpensive.


Making Gothenburg, I stepped into the first convenience mart.
I went over to the soda dispenser.
Sidney, the cashier, followed behind me and said,
"A customer gave me a dollar
to pay for a soda or water for you if you should come in."
When I went back to the counter,
Sidney had small change to make up the shortfall on
 the $1.07 purchase. 


When I eventually made it to Kansas,
I stayed with the real Dorothy at apartment in Atchison.
Dorothy Barnett is getting close to 90,
but still walks 10 blocks twice a day and
does reflexology - on a donation basis -
for anybody who is interested.


After a week in Atchison,
Dorothy drove me to Lawrence,
the occasional home
of JFK - Jim Kinerk.
I stayed in his travel trailer for six weeks,
waiting for him to exit the hospital - nursing home.
No luck. 
While waiting for Jim,
I got to know Jack Corrigan 
who takes care of the 40 acre-property
which surrounds Kinerk's trailer.
Jack comes four days a week to manage the property,
take care of the livestock - Yellow (above) and Blackie,
and keep an eye on JFK when in residence.

Send comments to theportableschool@gmail.com

Friday, October 10, 2014

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_content_width/hash/ba/52/1353137396_5259_Planes%20Trains%20and%20Automobiles.jpg?itok=lAMrGsaW



Walking highways from Wyoming to Kansas this summer, I got to experience other forms of transportation. Not like Steve Martin and John Candy, but still in some unusual ways.

* Planes - I didn't get any airplane rides, even though I passed by a number of airports. I found a few extraordinary airstrips in Nebraska. The one outside North Platte seemed to go on for miles and miles. 



I walked past its air terminal after dark and thought to "camp" by an outlying trailer, but decided against the idea. Security might not have liked that.

Instead, I walked on and rested a mile up the road on an abandoned strip of highway which led to nowhere. One of my rest-on-concrete nights. If mosquitoes might be in the area, I prefer concrete under my pad to grass.

By morning, executive jets were coming and going. But, I continued to wonder how North Platte managed to develop an airport which looked like it could accommodate a B52 bomber.
  
There was another big airstrip outside of Kearney, NE, but I was more interested in nearby Cabelas and Morris Publishing Company on that day.
The final airport I encountered was the Vinland Aerodrome, just a few miles north of the town of Baldwin, Kansas, where I am residing for the time being.

The Aerodrome - sounds impressive and nostalgic - is now just a small airstrip used mostly be McFarlane Aviation Products. http://www.mcfarlaneaviation.com/vinland/

But, it may have been a Big Deal years past for Vinland which is just a small residential area with some historic buildings now. Nonetheless, Vinland is picturesque spot. Drive or walk by some day.

* Trains - Well, there seemed to be trains most everywhere on this trip. Cargo trains. Wyoming was the host for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe - BNSF. Warren Buffett's Railroad was busy day and night carrying cargo east and west. Much of it coal wagons.

I owe Buffett a thankyou card for the interest and bottled water offered me by three different employees along the route.

BNSF eventually veered to the north of my route in Nebraska and I then had the company of the Union Pacific Railroad. The UP was generally just as busy as the BNSF. 

Eventually, I decided that I was having enough of Railroad company especially at night. Trains passed by as often as every 20 minutes and tended to make sleeping difficult in the vicinity - even in well-maintained Union Pacific Parks in several towns. 

So, I turned south at Kearney Nebraska. But, even at Minden NE - the next town to the south - there was train traffic - quite modest in comparison, however.

Midland Railway

And now in Baldwin KS, the Midland Railway has a bit of traffic. It even has passenger service - of sorts. Two or three times a week, a locomotive with a few cars, owned by the Santa Fe Trail Association, takes a short journey north or south to give passenger a sight-seeing adventure. On the weekend, the Kansas Belle offers dinner service.

Kansas Belle Dinner Train 

* Automobiles - There are always automobiles and trucks and pickups. Most roads, generally Blue Highways, I traveled had plenty of traffic.  

I had to walk some Interstate miles in Wyoming for lack of alternate routes. Not my favorite choice, but Interstates always have wide shoulders suitable for a walker like me. Fortunately, there were good shoulders on most roads except the last miles into Baldwin, Kansas.  

I also ran into some ATVs along the way. Mrs Nichols in Nebraska who sent out a hamburger dinner for me miles down the road. And, the Lundys (father and son) who bent my ear for a few minutes on the highway shoulder, again in Nebraska.

I should throw in especial thanks to the auto and pickup drivers (whom I can recall - I have forgotten a few) for offering me rides down the road: Joe Cruz, Travis Marshall, the Fitzgeralds, John at BNSF, police officers in southern Nebraska, the Krauses, Dorothy Barnett, and Charlotte McDevitt.

Charlotte got me started on the road from Gardiner MT to Cody WY and almost finished my journey from Minden NE to Atchison KS.

Note: This blog is not quite complete, but I will post it just the same and touch it up as time permits.

Send comments to theportableschool@gmail.com  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rules of the Road

I have walked the highway, but like life: It often walked me.

Still there are things worth remembering.

* You can never carry enough water. Certainly cold water and better yet ice cold water. Friends tell me, "Carry a refrigerator." I wish I could.

Even carrying plenty of water is not always possible. My pack runs 20+ pounds without H2O. Every liter of H2O adds two pounds. Dehydrated water would be good addition, but not yet perfected. I may have work on that invention.

My pack began overweight. Andy Horujko, world champion walker whom I met on my first walk as we ferried across Lake Michigan, told me, "You're carrying too much in your pack. Seventeen pounds." Oy. He was probably right, but ....

* Water and trees are favorite commodities on the road. Water to drink, rinse in and to cool my feet. I relish the running water of a rivulet, ditch or canal. I took more than a few "baths" next to the highway in one or the other watery element. 

How grand when the water is cool to cold. But, I will take water almost any way I can get it.

* Trees provide shelter from the heat and comfort on rest breaks. When I am out on the road for the night, I most often try to find a tree - preferably evergreen - to park my gear and flag and body for sleep. 

I know that when I walk I absorb energy - chi - from the sky and earth and sun. But, I do believe trees and grasses have their own particular modifications of vital force to share with those in the outdoors.

Interestingly while staying with my friend Dorothy in Atchison KS, I found and read a copy of the book called Earthing. A worthwhile effort which reminds us that we have separated ourselves from nature and the Earth in specific.

Simply taking the time and energy to ground oneself can be not only refreshing but also healing. Read the book or just take a gander at http://www.earthing.com/ Healing and improved health can be as near as some fresh air, sunshine, and contact with the living Earth. Walking may add benefits, but just getting in contact with Mother Earth can have grand effects.

* Eating on the run can be a challenge. But, many evenings ago in Wyoming ... I had stopped on the side of the road to rest and get into the shade made by some huge alfalfa bales. After some minutes, Tammie Nichols saw me and drove over in her ATV to visit. 

We talked for a time about all kinds of things: family, ranching, football, walking, water. She tried to suggest that I could camp nearby on her property. I said, "I am walking another 10 miles."

We parted after she told me about the next irrigation watering hole where I could cool my feet. I found the spot and enjoyed the brief respite. 

A few miles later, a man in a pickup appeared. He said, "I'm the husband of the woman, Tammie, you met a few miles back. These are for you."

THESE were a hamburger and an apple presented to me by Mr. Nichols. I knew little more than to ask for Mr. Nichols's name - Dale - and say "Thank you very much."

I am generally vegetarianesque, but have made several exceptions on this Walk and others. I have had hamburgers, fishwiches, turkey sandwiches so far. No elk or bear meat, yet.

I have learned or attempted to live like the Romans, "when in Rome."

* Weather changes quickly. Like in Montana, people are told, "If you don't like the weather, wait 20 minutes."

Patience is a great virtue. Patience with nature an equally valuable one.  

* Nature is not only changeable. It is also magical. 

I have run into a whole range of weather variables on the trip. Fortunately, I was able to wait expectantly on rain, wind, and penetrating sun until the Shift came. Voila!

* People do nice things without asking. See blog on the Kindness of Strangers.

Just as Nature can be giving, nurturing and comforting. 

Human beings do wonderful things, sometimes tiny ones and sometimes bigger ones to help neighbors and strangers.

The Sun pours its light equally on friends and adversaries. We need to learn to do the same.

Send comments to theportableschool@gmail.com.

Be Well - In Amity, Unity and Imagination.

Roberto