Day 145: Walking Along

Walking in the HazeToday I crossed over the Illinois River at Havana on a bridge I was apparently not supposed to walk over. I did not see any signs telling me not to, and I would not have been any wiser if it hadn’t been for some guy in a truck stopping and informing me. I thanked him and kept walking. No problem. We got through Havana and stopped for the night at a really nice roadside park with a lot of trees. We are about 8 miles east of Havana and are 90 miles exactly into Illinois. What a week.

Valda bought a watermelon from a guy in a pickup truck today and we’ve been eating on it all day. She’s spied a roadside market with cantaloupe and will probably end up with one of those tomorrow. It’s hard to pass up all this home-grown produce.

Miles Covered: 20
Total Miles: 2,214
Money Found: $0.27
Total Found: $63.15

Day 144: Golden Hour

Walking in IllinoisToday I resumed my ‘shortcut’ and came back to US 136 at Table Grove. We then hooked up with Carol & Leonard S. who are Southern Cross techs working in Peoria. We met them over the Internet and on Saturday we met them for real. They came to walk with me and spent the whole day doing so. Valda & I want to thank them for their company, and for a couple of meals they bought but shouldn’t have. Personal to Snuffy & Illene – wish you’d been here with us. It was a fun day and we covered some 12 miles walking together.

Personal to Penny B: Good job getting people to sponsor you for your laps around the Circle. Penny has gotten pledges totaling $50.00 so far. Thanks Penny, it is much appreciated. Also thanks to Martha Ellen T. of Indianapolis for matching our ‘money found’ fund. It too is much appreciated.

Miles Covered: 17
Total Miles: 2,194
Money Found: $0.34
Total Found: $62.88

Day 143: Route Change, No Shortcut

Today we left Carthage and took a route change south of town and out in the country. I found an alternate way to go that let me bypass Macomb, kept me out of some road construction, and put me on a seldom traveled country road. It wasn’t a shortcut, but it was pretty good. We spent the night at the farm of Rosie & Duane S. somewhere off that country road and we want to thank them for their hospitality. When you get done walking and you stop at a random farmhouse that looks like they have a lot of room, you never know what to expect when you knock on the door and ask them if you can borrow part of their driveway for the night. So far, everyone we’ve asked have been more than gracious, and the Rosie & Duane were no exception. Thanks to them for a good night’s rest. Check out the barn I passed on this ‘shortcut’. Took some doing to get that looking right.

Miles Covered: 20
Total Miles: 2,177
Money Found: $0.00
Total Found: $62.54

Day 142: Like a Walk in the Rain

John Denver said it pretty good in his Annie’s Song about filling up your senses. On this walk, I’ve spent a night in a forest, I’ve seen the mountains in Springtime, and today I took a walk in the rain. I’ve also seen a storm in the desert and in Bodega Bay, I saw a sleepy blue ocean.

This morning we woke again to the sound of rain and I got started a little late because of it. I started walking through Carthage and when I got out of town, the shoulders were wide enough that traffic didn’t bother me. I then hit a four-lane portion of US 136 and then I got my wish from yesterday – I got smack dab in the middle of new road construction and paving of the old road. Now normally this would have created a problem that I would just have to deal with, but today, no one was working because of the rain and I walked the new portion all by my lonesome. In some places I had a forty-foot wide ribbon of asphalt to myself and all the traffic could do was pass me and look. It was pretty nice. Now, I’m past that I think, and I am in Colchester, IL. Tomorrow we set out for a small town called Table Grove and are actually taking a route change to bypass Macomb and to alleviate some of the traffic. Should be fun.

It finally stopped raining this afternoon and turned quite nice. On the cool side for August and a bit humid, but we managed. So far, other than some of the roads, I’m real impressed with Illinois. The picture below is another friend of Valda’s taking a bath and a sign at the Mississippi River telling about the eagles.  Speaking of eagles, I must have seen about 40 or 50 as I crossed Nebraska and Iowa.  They liked to set on top of phone poles and flew from one to another as I approached.  They would not let me get too close before they would fly off to the next pole.  Some of the eagles would do this eight or nine times before flying off.

Miles Covered: 20
Total Miles: 2,157
Money Found: $0.46
Total Found: $62.54

Day 141: Land of Lincoln

Crossing into Illinois - Rick Walks AmericaIllinois at last. I crossed the Mississippi River at 10:05 this morning and have put 13 miles between the river and my stopping point this evening. We are in Carthage, Illinois and tomorrow we keep on truckin’. The road, US 136, is in pretty bad shape compared to all the other roads I’ve been on the last four and a half months. The shoulders are crumbling and there are large chunks of asphalt I have to walk around and through. I almost turned my ankle a couple of times today and you’d think a US highway might rate a little priority when it comes to resurfacing. Oh well, such is life.

I want to thank Barb C. of Bowen, IL.  Barb saw my interview this morning in the Burlington Hawkeye and got on my website. She then tracked me down and gave me a donation for Gateway. I like her tenacity. Thanks Barb, it is much appreciated!

The TV is talking rain tomorrow and who knows. We have seventeen days to get to Indy with two days off. We have no room for rain!

It was a real treat crossing the Mississippi today. I’ve divided the walk up in several milestones and crossing the Mississippi was one of them. The next one coming up is walking through my old hometown of Indianapolis. Of course, the last one is splashing in the Atlantic. I can’t wait!😀

Miles Covered: 19.75
Total Miles: 2,137
Money Found: $1.34
Total Found: $62.08

Day 140: Close to Illinois

Currently, I am sitting 6 miles from the Mississippi River Bridge at Keokuk, IA. Valda & I took today off and got caught up with things and this morning we drove down to the bridge. Tomorrow, at about 9:30 AM or so, I should be walking across that bridge and enter Illinois. By all of our figuring, we should have 220 miles to walk across Illinois and then it’s into Indiana. But first, we have to cover that 6 miles in Iowa.

Today I had an interview with the Burlington Hawkeye. The article should be in the paper tomorrow and will be on our ‘media page’ in a few days. Thanks to Nick Bergin for coming out and talking with us.

So tomorrow we hit another state, our seventh. It’s always exciting to cross state lines and I believe the last of the big states is behind us. Hopefully the next eight states will go smoothly and we’ll be in NYC before you know it. If you are going to be in the NYC area sometime around the end of October, why not come out and walk the last mile with me. It promises to be an interesting time – probably fun too.😀

Day 139: Four-Wheeling

Yesterday was a typical day I suppose. The cornfields were all around me and the gravel shoulders were always present. I was on three highways though, and that was a bit unusual. Also, Valda stopped and got some produce from a lady and her two daughters at their farm and I got a free ride on a 4-wheeler. It seems the lady, Karen of Alley Greenhouse on US 218 wanted to buy one of my books and wanted me to sign it. So, there I was, be-bopping along and these two pretty young girls offer me a ride. They said it was okay with my wife. Anyway, I want to thank Karen, Toni (the driver) & Molly for the produce, ride and for buying the book.

Miles Covered: 20
Total Miles: 2,117.25
Money Found: $0.46
Total Found: $60.74