July 13th, 2009


23.3 miles

I had Shannon Vavra from Columbus NE walk with me on Saturday for the entire distance.  I was only scheduled to walk 16 miles but since the next leg was only 8 miles, we put the two days together and walked the full 23.3 miles and Shannon pulled the cart the entire distance except for the first 1/2 mile before he met me.  It was great to be able to talk to someone for the entire day.  It takes your focus off from the drudgery of the walk and just your own thoughts for mile after mile.  Shannon is a young man that has been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for just a few years and so we had a lot in common to be able to share and discuss.  I was really impressed with his attitude and his desire to always be learning.  He pulled the entire distance because he wanted to have a one day experience of what it was like for those pioneers.  He plays soccer and is in great shape but said that he was plenty sore the next day.  It’s nice making new lifelong friends.

I gave a talk last night to a group of youth and adults from the Columbus Mormon church at my campsite.  It was good to be able to share some of the history with the local kids.  From this group, I might even get Kelly Haas and her mother to walk with me tomorrow.  It would be good to have the company.

I have to get used to sleeping within earshot of the local train tracks until I get to WY because the train and trail follow each other fairly close and there are as many as 60 trains per night and they blow their whistle all through town.  Genoa wasn’t too bad, but Columbus was all night long.  I would love to have just one peaceful nights rest.

As for the food, I lost the remainder of the bacon that I was allotted to have. I had already lost about half of it from before because it had gotten wet sitting in the cooler and now the remaining amount also got wet.  Since that was my only real treat and food that had any taste to it, I am disappointed at the loss, but as in pioneer fashion, I’m not able to replenish it now that it is destroyed.  That stinks, but I still have a small amount of venison hamburger that I was given by the Williams family and I have appreciated every bite of it.  I also had someone who had caught some catfish in the local river and brought me a few small pieces and I ate it with enjoyment.  Just plain old friend catfish was awesome!

Everyone here in the Genoa and Columbus area has just been great to be around.  Jerry and Nancy Carlson who are the local historians in Genoa, gave me personal tours of the Mormon Trails museum and the Indian School Museum.  Genoa in the 1800s was the center of the Pawnee Nation and had as many as 10,000 Pawnee in this area where I am at; in fact, I am camped at one of the ancient tribal grounds.  Brigham Young in 1857 brought in 100 families to help settle this area and use it as a replenish post for the pioneers going West but the government took it over and made it the Pawnee capitol.  The Pawnee had as many as 1700 acres of corn growing in the area and Jerry, who is also a local farmer, brought me some of the same strains of original blue corn, red stripe flour corn and small ears of red popcorn that were all grown by the Pawnee.  What a gift!  They are all dried and each kernel can be planted for a new plant, but this is very rare and from the same strains as 150 years ago!  That was great!

I am also sitting in the Genoa City Hall right now, as they have let me use their conference room and internet to try and update some of my web site info.  Nice folks.


I did the KSL (Salt Lake City) television interview this morning via web cam.  The piece is supposed to show on the morning of July 24th in Salt Lake just before or during their very large Pioneer Day Parade on television.  It might be accessible to people via the internet also, but I’m not sure.  You could probably request that they post it to the net.

As for the body… my hand has some feeling back but it is still very much dead and tingling.  I still don’t have an answer for that.  I have tried some different exercises but so far no luck.  My hernias are what are the most painful and problems.  My only answer there is to deal with it or get an operation, right now I am dealing with it.  Feet are pretty good, my mind is always questionable, but it’s the craving for real food that is my biggest temptation.  When I’m out in the country and walking gravel and there is nothing around then I do better, but like today when I am camping across from the local ice cream store….man it is tough!  I love ice cream…

I don’t know if I have mentioned it before or not but as I have hour after hour to think, I torture myself with different meals that I would love to eat.  At the moment, the top meal is the best fried chicken in the U.S. from Patty’s on Beale Street in Memphis.  They marinate it overnight in a hot sauce and their breading is out of this world.  I could eat an entire plate of just the breading if they sold it that way.  Then I need to have my wife’s chilled macaroni salad.  If you have never tasted it, then you just don’t understand.  Next is my mother’s awesome potato salad and for dessert would be cold watermelon that had been chilling in Lower Seymour Creek, then my grandmothers German Chocolate cake (none in the world better) and finish it with my grandfather’s root beer float.  You can see that I have too much time to think, but you don’t understand, I don’t just think of this meal, I am like the dog in Pavlov’s experiment.  I think of this meal and I start to salivate…. seriously….  The problem is that three of chefs of the above desired items have passed on to the “other side”.  The other thing that I am coveting is to sleep at the Marriott Hotel on the first couple of nights when I return.  My daughter Autumn is a Supervisor for Marriott and so I stay there at a discount  whenever I can and I L O V E their beds and after laying on the hard ground with just a couple of wool blankets for 4 months, I will be ready for a stay at the Marriott.  There… now that’s not asking too much is it?

Also… if you live in the Salt Lake City area or have friends in the area, we are putting together a welcoming trek from “This is the Place” monument to a park downtown Salt Lake on the day that I return on Saturday, Sept. 26th.  Because the handcarters were taken to this park in Salt Lake as their temporary resting spot, that is where we will end up at and everyone will join me (us) when I come out of Emigration Canyon into the valley.  We hope to have people of every faith walk with us and we hope to have hundreds participate.  It will be great!  So come join us, come be part of history and help me to make this a great last couple of miles.  I will keep you updated as we get closer.  In case anyone has any connections to any officials or notables in the SLC area, or would like to help us put this all together, please let me know.  We could sure use the help.  Email me at grizzlydoctor@gmail.com.  If an old guy at 60 years old can pull 217# over 1400 miles, you need to put on your tennis shoes and come walk the last couple of miles with me.  You’ll enjoy the walk… really….