August 20th, 2009


28.9 Miles

My longest pull yet, but I think that I may have paid the price.  I felt the top part of my right leg calf getting oozy (that’s a medical term) by the end of the day and upon pulling up the pant leg it looks like the beginning stages of what the bottom part of the leg was doing when I went to the hospital in Scottsbluff, so I took a shower (which is a novelty for me) cleaning the area, re-dressed the leg with meds and we will see what it looks like in the morning.  I pray that this isn’t having a relapse.  That wouldn’t be good, and after a stellar day of putting on some serious miles.  So for medical safety sake, they pulled me and the cart in the last 11 miles into Glenrock so I could dress the wound area.  Once again, keep me in your prayers.


Other than that, Ryker and I were cruising today, even though I was having a difficult time even walking this morning because of being so tired… why so tired you say?  Well I didn’t get all of my business taken care of until around 11PM and then I got soaked by the irrigation sprinklers again at about 2AM.  My tent leaks like crazy and so my blanket got wet, then my socks that I was wearing got wet, and then I tried to go outside to see if I could stop the sprinklers and then my shirt got wet.  It was a miserable night, along with the antelope that were outside of my tent.  One of these nights I will get some sleep.  I am starting to lose my marbles.

August 19th, 2009


21 Miles

I spent my night in a city park and low and behold I got watered again with the 2AM sprinkler system.  As I have said before, my tent is no longer waterproof and all of the seams leak and so I just had to lay there and deal with getting wet.  I then woke up this morning after freezing all night and discovered that my bread ration for the day had been partially consumed by some ferrill cats that I had seen earlier in the evening and so it was starting out as a typical day.

Now I talked a little about the difficulty that I was having with my backside, well I had discovered that I have two very long and sore blisters back there and so walking today was difficult at best.  Ryker and I trade off every mile on pulling the cart and it seemed to work well other than we had to fight a 20 to 25 mile an hour head wind, all day long.  That, along with having to climb hills as a


steady daily diet adds to the grief of getting this 217 pounds down the road.

Other than that, I have my tent pitched on the LDS church grounds and this evening I had the honor of meeting and having a lengthy conversation with Martin Harris VII, the direct grandson of Martin Harris.  For those of you who may not be LDS, Martin Harris was instrumental in the formation and history of the Mormon faith, so it was a honor to meet him and all of the kids that were having a youth activity for the night.

Well, as usual, I haven’t eaten, I’m cold and there are antelope outside of my tent, the wind is blowing up a storm and it’s almost ten at night… I’m going to sleep.

August 18th, 2009


21 Miles

This was a tough day. It is the first day that I have done 20+ miles in the hills and dirt since I left Iowa and it kicked my behind, and to top things off, I believed that I would be able to follow the trail but was told that I needed special permission from a land owner that wasn’t available, so instead of walking the anticipated 20 miles, the total distance became 35 miles. Well by the time I had completed 21 miles, I had walked for 11 hours and had not powdered my behind and got… shall I say… chaffed? I couldn’t walk another step. To do so would have caused blisters and I didn’t need that in addition to the present pain, so I had to get in the supply wagon and ride the last 15 miles. Ryker couldn’t pull either because he has developed blisters. So if I could have walked and had to finish the day with the longer round about distance, I wouldn’t have arrived in Glendo until around 3 or 4AM. So now I have to figure out how to care for my behind.

Other than that drama, I had a good day. I had a companion walker who is LDS and walked with me for a couple of miles out in the countryside where his family


has been for over 100 years. He is 71 years old and pulled the cart like a champ. Speaking of countryside, the topography has changed dramatically in the last couple of days. We now have the Laramie Peak at 12,840 in front of me and everything has become very hilly again. The temperature dropped to 40 degrees last night and I am freezing with my two little blankets and I have over a month to go. Heaven help me.

I also found three pioneer graves today, and was also given permission by Kathy Murray (?) to visit Porters Rock (look it up). It was a great moment to stand there on this piece of ground that the trail passes right by and divides into two directions and you can see the original swales where they traveled. The land has never been cultivated and so it looks as it did 150 years ago. It was amazing to be there.

Well I have to cut this short and go powder my behind and try and find a way to stay warm tonight.

August 17th, 2009


13 Miles

As I spent another insane night next to the trains last night and it is getting cold at night now that I am at around 4500 feet in elevation. I have been able to see my breath each night as I crawl out of my tent to go tinkle. By the way, even sleeping in my clothes and with the one blanket under me and the other over me… I get c o l d… and I have another 4000 feet in elevation to go. I have no doubt that I will get dusted with some snow in the Rockies before I get home on Sept. 26th. So the lack of sleep will change in Casper from losing the train whistles to gaining the cold and uncomfortable nights. Welcome to being a pioneer.
As I was leaving Ft. Laramie this morning, a very large gentleman in his night clothes came running out to meet me and said that he had been following me and he wanted me to take some squash and a couple of small watermelons from his garden that he had been saving for me. Hallelujah Brother! The Lord keeps sending me more food and because I was still in the Ft. Laramie trading zone, I graciously accepted. I’m saving one of those little watermelons for my birthday, Sept. 13th. It will be quite a pioneer party, even though I will probably be by myself, I have been carrying an “add only water” cranberry muffin mix for the last 70 days and it will be the center of the meal on my birthday. So I will have the muffins, watermelon, and hard tack dipped in my choke cherry juice for flavor for breakfast. Remember the choke cherries that put me in the hospital, well it cooked down to three quarts and I earned each drop.


By the way, I am at the Guernsey Ruts. Go Google it on the net and read up on the area. The ruts and Ft. Laramie are a focal point on the trail. I took my handcart up to the ruts this afternoon and did an historical narration with the handcart actually in the ruts. I have no doubt that my handcart is the first handcart that has been in those ruts since 1860. What an honor to be in the exact same spot as my grandmother and every other pioneer. Let me just dropped a couple of names: Everyone in Brigham Young’s wagon train, every handcart that ever went to Salt Lake, John C. Fremont, Jim Bridger, and on and on. Do a little history lesson for yourself and Google the Guernsey Ruts.

Updates: the leg is doing well, or as well as can be expected. Hernias are still a concern. Feet are doing well. Rash on upper body is a concern. Mental outlook is better because of being in WY and getting additional food stuffs. The daily grind is more tolerable with Reiker to help pull.
In my mind’s eye, my motivator is I see myself entering the Salt Lake Valley and meeting a lot of wonderful people. It will be an honor for Grandmother Sarah Goode Marshall that has been 153 years in the making. I am also looking forward to meeting and walking that last mile or so with people of all religions. This is what drives me at the moment… plus a Godfathers Combo!

Time for bed… not sleep… just bed.

August 15th, 2009


20 Miles

My first full day’s trek in Wyoming and it was a bit of an adventure. I was confronted with a pretty intense storm of hail, lightning, winds over 35 miles per hour and of course rain as I came into Ft. Laramie. It is just tough doing the trek and all that it entails and then also having to be a video producer at the same time puts a lot of stress on the situation. You can do one or the other, but it is tough to get the shots that you want when you are trying to survive this storm. The wind was so strong that it ripped the cover off from my cart (and it is fastened on there pretty tight) and it proceeded to send it into the next county. So here I am trying to just make a few feet at a time and getting soaked to the bone and then lightning hit about ½ mile away and that sent me straight to my truck. I don’t mind dealing with the elements, but I don’t deal with the lightning. So as soon as the lightning and most of the rain passed, I got back out into it and walked in the rain to Ft. Laramie, found the local park and was about to pitch my tent there, but decided against it when the sign said that the auto sprinklers are on from midnight to 4AM. I am tired of getting soaked and so I opted for the local campground with a shower, since I hadn’t had one since I left the hospital. Which brings me to my next point, I have been itching ever since I left the hospital, not just a little itch, I mean an itch to where you want to scratch your eyes out kind of itch. Well I couldn’t really figure out what was going on until tonight when I showered… I have a rash all over my upper torso. Where it came from, or what medicine am I allergic to, I have no idea. I kept thinking that it would get better but it seems to be getting worse, so I suppose that I need to call the doctor to find out what is going on.

So staying at the campground, the owner knew of my situation and asked if I was doing my own cooking and I affirmed that I did and he then said that I could raid what was left in his garden to help with my supplies. Since this was my last trading area until Fort Bridger, I gladly accepted and dug up about 8 pounds of red potatoes, about 2 pounds of string beans and 6 partially ripe tomatoes. What a bounty! I then proceeded to make a soup with the red spuds, some onion, some string beans and just a hint of chicken bouillon. Man was it good! I had some for dinner, breakfast and for dinner again on Monday.

By the way… I am about to lose my mind because I haven’t slept in weeks. I think that we have had this discussion before because the trail is next to the trains


and I typically sleep within a block or two of the tracks because that is all the larger that these little towns are. So if you want to get just a glimpse of my night, get on the internet and download a train whistle blowing it’s series of warnings, and there are about 6 of them, and then start playing them as loud as your sound system will play them without blowing up the system or getting arrested by the police because your neighbors have turned you in for disturbing the peace. Ok, now put it on automatic to where it will play at this intensity about every 10 to 20 minutes and let it run for 24 hours! Do you get just a little slice of my night? If you think that I am kidding, you are totally wrong, I have been dealing with this insanity of weeks and weeks and my brain never gets into REM. So… let’s see how much you have been reading and paying attention to my blog and see how many of the following questions that you get right.
Why am I losing my mind?
Lack of sleep
I want to scratch my legs, and now my body till it bleeds
I have hemorrhoids
All of the above
What is the most miles that I have walked in a day?
What was I picking when I got my chigger bites?
My nose
Choke Cherries
The reason(s) that I am not sleeping is:
I have arthritis and it’s cold at night with only two small blankets
I have to get up and let the trains drive through my tent every 20 minutes
Air brakes are legal in every little small town in IA and NE
I’m hungry
All of the above
Name 4 kinds of beetles, spiders, ants, or cock roaches that I have killed on my face as I sleep in the middle of the night?
What berries, vegetables, and tubers have I been able to supplement my diet with?
Those that guess correctly and get 6 out of 6 get to come and help me pull this handcart over the Rocky Mts. because apparently you have way too much time on your hands and could use something to occupy your mind.

August 13th, 2009


I have to do a quick blog because I am about to lose power.

My leg is doing well and I am excited about that. It was 99 degrees today and was a big drain to try and get to my destination.

I am including an email that I sent to a friend of mine because I feel that it is something that everyone should know that is following this trek….After having made great progress in the hospital, I have begun to pull the handcart again and I walked 18 of the 20 miles yesterday and then I pulled 16 miles today and feel as good as I did before I went into this tailspin. So if I am the only one that has walked the same footsteps, eaten as they did and suffered as they did, I truly believe that there is Divine Intervention during a lot of this trek so I can be the last living witness to what so many gave their lives for. All we have are the journals, stories and text books of those who suffered for us, and it’s not only Mormons, it was 600k people who traveled those trails in search of their dream, be it gold dust or religious freedom. Their lives are literally etched into the dust and rock that I walk. This trek is about America…it’s not about me or not really just about my grandmother, it’s about those whose “Faith was Greater Than their Pain” to find their dream. One of the most profound sentences that I think that I have ever read in the

hundreds of pioneer journals that I have absorbed over the years was a man newly baptized into the Mormon faith in the 1850′s. After having given up his home and everything that life’s comforts had to offer him in search of his newly found religion that took him half way around the world, he said that his proudest moment was when he stepped off from his clipper ship and a man at the bottom of the gangway called me an “American”! He felt that he was now part of the greatest nation on earth and they included him as one on the citizenry. What an amazing moment in his life…something that I feel too many that occupy our shores have lost…feeling proud to be considered an American.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to ramble but I have had over a couple of months to my thoughts and to be able to feel the impressions of those footsteps that I walk in on a daily basis and I’m afraid that those that gave so much on our behalf would be utterly disappointed at what has become of this nation, but at the same time I can give testimony as to the spirit of the people who live in small town America, they, like me, aren’t quite sure how we lost that spirit that built America but it is my resolve to change what I have the power to change, and that power may be to change only myself.


August 12th, 2009


20 miles

After being released from the hospital yesterday, I met the handcart at Chimney Rock.  What a great place to be able to be at with the handcart.  I appreciate all those that pulled the cart for the three days to get it down the road, especially Jeff Tapp and his brother, the Peters family and especially Ryker Green, Shirley’s grandson. Ryker and I both walked today and I took a two mile break for my leg this morning but was able to put in 18 miles today and it felt alright even though the temperature reached 97 before I got to my destination.

The leg is completing it’s miracle phase as we speak.   We don’t have time here to go into all of the details and prayers and answers that have placed me from a very serious unknown condition to being back on the trail within a week.  I can’t thank everyone enough for taking the time to include me in their prayers and I am eternally grateful to Joe Jeter Physicians Assistant at Regional West Hospital, for his great knowledge, tenacity, and comfort in a trying time, truly a friend forever.  So I am


following instructions on keeping it clean, healing, and watching for any abnormalities.  Who says that miracles don’t happen anymore?

So… Since I am only about 25 miles away from the WY border, I may try and surmount another milestone and catch up on one of the days that I have lost by being in the hospital.  Stay tuned.  Stepping foot in WY, in my mind, is a HUGE psychological advancement to getting towards home.  The hardest is yet to come, but it will be the most rewarding.

Well, I need to set up my tent, clean and evaluate the progress of my leg and eat something.  By the way, I was interviewed by the newspaper today and am on the Scottsbluff television this evening.

Time for some sleep....

August 10th, 2009


Regional West Medical Center

First of all, I want to thank everyone for their prayers and concern on my behalf as this serious situation has finally subsided into a recovery process.  I will be released from the hospital tomorrow after having finally dumped enough antibiotics and steroids into me to get an upper hand on this deteriorating leg.  The bottom line is that they don’t know what it is but treating it as a chemical burn has stopped the progression.  They were very concerned during the first 24 hours that I might have necrotizing fasciitis and if you look at photos on the internet of that disease and then compare it to my leg a couple of days ago, they look almost the same, so I can understand their concern. I am looking forward to getting back out on the trail and start walking again and making the last 650 miles or so.  The cart is approaching Chimney Rock tomorrow and I want to be there to pull through that segment since it was such a pivital landmark on the trail.  It was considered half way home if you were traveling from the Missouri River, but since I started 300 miles earlier, I am well beyond half way.  The most difficult part of the trek is yet to come upon leaving Casper, WY and heading towards Independence Rock, Martins Cove, South Pass, Fort Bridger and then the Salt Lake Valley.  That is what I am looking forward to because the great majority of the trek will be on original dirt two rut trails.  There will also


be sections where I won’t be able to have escorts follow me because of BLM restrictions and so I will be on my own for a period of time and will have to load about an additional 75-100# of gear onto my cart that will carry my tent, food, water, bedding, etc.  Someone said that it has already snowed in the tops of the Rockies a couple of days ago and I have no doubt that I will get dusted on, just as the first handcart company did, before I reach the valley.

So… I have gained a couple of pounds recouperating here in the hospital.  I have eaten almost everything that I could get my hands on and then I have the nurses bring me a cup of ice cream every time that they walk by my door because those wonderful tastes will soon be eliminated and I’ll be back to biscuits and jerky.  As each day goes by, I feel so privileged to be able to recreate this trek and to endure some of the trials that they did so many years ago.  You can be the worlds best historian and not truly understand on a personal basis how difficult it was emotionally and physically until you walk the walk.  Once again, I wouldn’t be able to complete this trek without the love and support of so many that have taken an interest in this epic adventure… thank you…

August 8th, 2009


Regional West Medical Center

I have been given a laptop while I heal in the hospital and so I have had time to try and bring everyone up to date.  I’m Alive and making progress

I first of all want to thank all of you who have been so kind and supportive on this trek, and especially for the prayers offered on my behalf.

On Thursday night, the urgency of getting control of this rapidly spreading (unknown infection / reaction) sent me back to the hospital in Oskosh.  Upon further examination by a different physician this time, a Dr. McCoy, it was in her opinion, and in our best interest to have me drive to the Scottsbluff hospital to where I would be admitted and administered to until we got an answer for this dilemma.  After having a wonderful conversation with Dr. McCoy and the nursing staff, they sent me 60 miles down the road with blood vials and swab cultures in hand.

Upon arriving at about midnight, the Regional Center staff was waiting in anticipation and ready to start finding answers to this rapidly spreading problem.  I had been taking photos of my leg for the last couple of days, not only to put on the web site but to see the rate of progression.  The photos that I have presently posted don’t do justice to the condition that it is presently in.  Earlier on that Thursday night I was trying to just gently wipe off some fuzz from a gauze pad that had been on there and the skin just easily wiped off from my leg, so I decided not to do that again.  So when I arrived in Scottsbluff, a most thorough and knowledgeable Joe Jeter (Physicians Asst) was expecting the worst and had been doing research on the latest methods of treatment for necrophilia fasciitis, which is the flesh dissolving bacteria.  A lot of the indicators at the beginning were pointing in that direction.  They immediately took blood work and started me on a potent cocktail of antibiotics and in addition since then, they have added silver sulfadiazine cream which is used to treat large skin burn surfaces, because that is what my leg looks like now.  It looks like it has been in a fire with the skin sloughing off, inflamed black and blue with water blister and blood oozing from the traumatized area.  The good news is that after multiple doses of all of the above, this morning showed the first signs of stabilization.  YAHOO!  With the wonderfully skilled staff and the tenacity of Joe Jeter and the answered prayers of so many, I am making progress, so on Sunday morning, Joe will have a better idea of when I might be able to walk out of the hospital.  There will still be recovery time after I leave, but at least we are going in the right direction.  I can’t thank Mr. Jeter and the staff enough for their diligence in helping me recover.  Joe is also a history enthusiast and is very interested in my trek.  We have had wonderful discussions.

So… back to 1856 (remember why I (we) are doing this, what would have happened to the handcart pioneers in my situation?  I have asked that question to Dr. McCoy, who has kindly phoned my room to see how my progress is, and I also asked Joe Jeter and they both agree that the pioneer would have / could have lost their life.  The progression of events: picked choke cherries, received massive chigger bites, received inflammation and staph infection (see, systemic infection and eventual / potential death. At the beginning, this was the comparative road that I was on, but blood work showed that my markers were all as close to normal as could be with the trauma that the leg had suffered, so that was very encouraging.

As for the handcart, well it’s stuck at my last stop in Lisco, at the Lisco State Bank.  I met a wonderful senior bank president, Tom Olson that allowed me to park it in


the back of the bank.  Tom also has gone out of his way to help me in this time of trial.  Well to get my cart down the road I have a couple of companions who have stepped up to the plate (or cart), because in 1856 if I had gotten sick or injured, I would have ridden in one of the two wagons that carried the supplies and the sick, then the cart would have then been pulled during my illness, by the remaining family that was assigned to the cart.  Well that is just what has happened.  Up to the time of my injury/illness, no one had expressed interest or was scheduled to walk with me, even though we had been anticipating Reiker (Shirley’s 16 year old grandson) to join me sometime soon, well when I got sick, we got a call that Reiker would be coming out to meet us on Friday the 7th and would be able to walk with me for two weeks.  A few hours later and I was being admitted to the hospital, now the weight of the trek is on Reiker’s shoulders as I continue to mend.  I then got a call from “Fat Jeff Tapp”.  Remember “Fat Jeff” from earlier in the week, well he found out that I was in the hospital and had been planning on walking with me but now he said that he’ll pull the handcart on his own from Lisco to Broadwater (14 miles) to help keep this epic trek moving down the road.  You’re a good man Jeff!  I wish that I could be there to walk the day with you.  It is those conversations that last for an entire day that bond me so close to my companion walkers, but I have a good idea about the personality and nature of Jeff anyway and the Midwest is full of wonderful people like “Fat Jeff”.

So… I am healing, and I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven and my friends for that.  At the moment, I will be able to keep all of my parts and pieces, including my life, and even though I am about 5 days behind schedule, I am determined to make the Salt Lake Valley on time.  Each trial… each trauma… each opportunity to have wonderful people enter my life and help me along the way, has given me a stronger daily resolve that my “Faith is Stronger than my Pain”.  It is the inspiration of my grandmother and the thousands of others, including all of these modern day pioneers that give me every ounce of strength to continue to follow in those hallowed footsteps.

Short of losing my life, this is the reason that I have embarked on this journey.  To know and live the hardships, trials and trauma of those who gave so much on my behalf, but it is in those moments that human spirit is at its best.  If you have been following me along, I have recounted to you over and over, the wonderful and caring people who have added to the ingredients of this trek.  Long before I ever stepped foot on this trail, I prayed over and over to be able to experience those trying moments, well I believe that this is again… one of those moments.  Just as I feared for my life in Colfax IA during my 70+ mph straight-line tornado, briefly I feared for my life a couple of days ago when this reaction was moving so quickly.  For me to empathize and chronicle those moments of desperation or despair, I needed to live those moments.  I can tell you that those moments of anxiety were short lived and gave way to a feeling of calmness and closeness of the Spirit.  As many around the nation began to offer prayers on my behalf, my spirit became more calm, and I had the thoughts that even if I were to lose my life in this present trial, that everything would be alright, not that losing my life was a desire, but if it were inevitable, my heart was at peace and I can testify to you that those handcart pioneers who faced similar moments of anxiety and uncertainty went through similar moments of desperation, but their desperation soon turned to peace because their “Faith was Greater than their Pain” and they too knew that “everything would be alright”.  I am grateful for the trials on this journey.  The things that are of great value in this life require great effort.  That is how faith works.

August 7th, 2009


Doc is in the hospital

For those of you who haven’t heard, Doc was admitted to the hospital (Regional West Medical Center) last night in Scottsbluff NE. His bout with Chiggers has mutated into something much worse and doctors are now trying


to figure out what is wrong.  It was thought that he had a staph  infection in his legs but now doctors think that maybe its worse than that.

We all know that God answers prayers, please take time to ask God to help Doc (Lynn).  He really needs our help!

August 6th, 2009


I am presently stuck in Lisco because of the chigger infection(s) and bites that I got a few days ago.  Two days after I was infested, hundreds of these bites manifested themselves and had the beginnings of looking out of control.  The next morning my leg was a little swollen and the bites had spread over the lower half of my body and especially the right leg.  Chiggers will continue to burrow, lay larve’ and then do this over and over.  By the end of walking 14 miles to Oskosh for the day, I was in need of medical attention.  I went to the hospital and saw the doctor and got a cream that is supposed to kill the larve’.  The leg was oozing through my pants all day and it was not a pretty site.  It looked like I had blisters all up and down my leg.  So being hopeful that this would get a hold of the problem, I applied the cream as instructed and the next morning my entire leg was red, swollen and was starting to turn black and blue, but I assumed that this was maybe part of the healing process and walked 16 miles to my next location, but my pants were soaked from these hundreds of blisters bleeding.  I got to my destination and went back to the hospital (16 miles back), and the doctor wasn’t there but the very senior PA looked at it and said that she has never seen anything this bad in her entire career, and she had to be almost 70.  She said that I had an allergic reaction to the medication and now I have a staff infection that is spreading and they are

concerned about being able to stop it.  They gave me a steriod shot and some anti-biotics and said not to go anywhere for at least the next 48 hours and if it gets worse to come back immediately.  Well from the time that I got the medication and when I got to the motel to take a shower to put my leg up (because it was so swollen), put some ice on it and baking soda packs on it, the oozing and black and blue was spreading rapidly.  Well I am writing this the next day and it was just a mess all night long last night but the leg looks like it hasn’t spread, but hasn’t gotten any better either and so I think that I am making some progress.

So…. If you are a praying person, I would ask that you include me in those prayers.  I want to be able to finish this trek, but at the moment, I want to make sure that I remain on this earth to do so.  Staph can be, and is a very serious infection and can become fatal, so I am focusing for the moment on my health and taking it day by day to see if I can finish the trek.  I am having my brother put on one of the earlier photos of the infection but when I get the opportunity, I will put on the advanced photo so you can get an understanding of what you are praying to help heal.  I know that prayer works.  I know that my Father in Heaven is very aware of my situation and I will hope that all will be well.

August 3rd, 2009


19 Miles

I didn’t leave until noon today because of trying to get my computer sent into HP and so it became a very hot trek today.  It was in the 90′s and the heat, my hernia’s and my chigger bites, I am about ready to lose my mind.  I finally arrived 8 hours later at my destination but because it is on the far eastern edge of the Mountain time zone, it was dark by the time that I arrived.  My double hernia’s literally stopped me in my tracks, no less than a dozen times today and I am in pain.  That usually subsides as I rest for the evening and so I hope that I will feel better in the morning.

I am in the middle of rattlesnake country and saw 3 dead rattlers on the road today.  It was right here that Brigham Young said that he saw the largest rattlesnake that he had ever seen, and a journal entry from my gggg grandmothers company talks about an older woman who got bit by a rattler right here and her leg swelled up to 4 times it regular size.  I ran a relay race in 1978 through this area that was commerating the Mormon Trail as an historic landmark and I remember even back then how many rattlers that there were on the road.

Remember me talking about Robert Blessin?  I met him and his family in Gothenburg at the camp and they were the most wonderful people.  One of the guys that you feel comfortable with immediately, well I saw him again in Southerland, where he lives, and he took my escorts to his home so they could stay with him.  He also brought me a dish of his homemade ice cream that evening.  Well I am a long way from where he lives but low and behold, Robert shows up out in the middle of nowhere again… this time with four ears of corn, some cherries and four plums.  He made some excuse on how I could have found these all along the road and handed me this awesome gift.  I think that his last name is his for a reason, but it is missing the G.  It will be good to have him as a new friend.


Also, today I met ”Fat Jeff Tapp”.  I know, I know, it’s not nice to call people fat, but that is what he is called and he said that a couple of times.  First impression of Fat Jeff is that he would make a great actor in a biker movie.  He is over 300# (I think), his beard is braided and he has what he calls a “no-hawk”, not a mohawk, but a nohawk because he has the cut for the mohawk but his hair is so thin that there isn’t much there for the hawk part, but what a great guy!  We took photo’s and talked and I found out that he is a wealth of historical info on the area and that he used to work at Ash Hollow, a state historical site on the Oregon Trail.  He then invited me (us) to dinner at his home with his parents in Lewellen and said that he would fix things that were of the time and indigenous, so when I got on the edge of town, I heard this bell ringing, it was Jeff ringing the bell in his backyard because it was dark out when I got here.  We came into his parents wonderful home which was built by Jeff’s great grandfather and he and his mom served buffalo burgers (and they were enormous), baked potato, sweet corn and cherry and mulberry pie from their trees.  It was a treat beyond belief.  My body really needed the calories.  PS.  I also discovered that Jeff played for Univ of WY football.  It’s wonderful just meeting all of these great people along the trail.

Well I am using Jeff’s computer to write this blog tonight and it’s already 10PM and I have to go put up my tent.  We are supposed to have severe thunderstorms tonight and so I’m not looking forward to the excitement… and I have to go find a way to deal with this pain that isn’t going away.

August 1st, 2009


16 Miles

I am writing this from a computer at the library because my laptop crashed yesterday and I am scrambling to try and find a way to get it repaired and not lose the valuable info that is on there.  I will be calling and talking with my brother as often as I can get a cell signal and he will be keeping everyone updated as to my progress and the great and trying experiences that I am having.

First of all, I appreciate with all of my heart, those that have had the ability to make a donation to help get me into the valley.  It is a tough thing to do to have to accept charity from people, but I appreciate all that you have done for me.  The chase vehicles use a lot more gas that we thought, even though they are traveling at 3 miles per hour, they are idling for 12 hours a day and so we end up filling up the tank about every 100 miles or less.  Now I also have the added expense of repairing or replacing my laptop.  At the moment, my whole world is on that computer.  I have tons of notes that tell me where and when to do history narrations, distance I need to travel,etc., that is all in limbo at the moment.  HP says that it is a mother board problem but it will take almost 3 weeks before I can get it back into my hands, so the Lord would have me get a taste of the “pioneer method” of taking notes… long hand..

Also, the problem is not being able to download or share photos with everyone, but be patient and I will do my best to continue to make you a part of my (our) historic trek.  It may sound clieche’, but I couldn’t do this without you.  It is reading your comments and knowing that you pray for my success that truly helps me get down the road.

Let me quickly give you an overview of the last couple of days that have added to my adventure.  When I was


picking the choke cherries for a couple of hours the other day, I discovered that I got infested with chiggers.  If you are not from the Midwest and don’t have a clue as to chiggers, go Google it and you can find out the situation that I am in.  I have been scratching my legs until they bleed.  Next… was my computer… we have already discussed that, but I will be in WY by the time that I get this thing back, if at all.  Next… upon arriving last Saturday in Lemoyne NE (pop. real small), I couldn’t get anyone to open up their lawn or a piece of grass for me to put my tent on, so I ended up sleeping sitting up in the front of my truck.  That was painful.  Then last night, I knew that I had to get my computer sent out asap, so I went to the nearest town of any size (Ogallala) and camped there.  I found a field on the edge of town that had a couple of broken down sheds on it, pitched my tent behind some trees, and for the first time in weeks slept comfortably until… 2:30 AM when the police decided to tell me that I needed to move along.  I suppose that they may think that I might steal some of the corn that was in the field, so I got up and torn down my tent  and slept in the front seat of my truck (again) for the next couple of hours and got up with the sun.  So much for having a night of rest.  So now I have mailed off my computer, finished my blog email, and I now will drive 20 miles back to my handcart and walk 19 miles today in temperatures in the mid 90s.

Once again, I sometimes couldn’t get my legs to move down the road without knowing that I have the encouragement and support of all of you.

I will stay in touch… one way or the other.

July 31st, 2009


19.2 Miles

I have walked over 87 miles in the last 5 days and my body is showing signs of wear.  The weather today was in the mid 90’s until the late afternoon when multiple rain storms blew through but I survived unscathed…thankfully, but being on a high plateau above the North Platte River Valley where you can probably see for 40 miles in any direction and having these storms all around you made for an impressive backdrop for some photo’s.  Some of these scenes have the ability to take your thoughts back 153 years ago when Sarah Goode Marshall was watching the same horizon that I was seeing and had the same thoughts in her mind of… if the storm(s) hits, where will I be, where will my children be… I pray that it passes by… and it did.

Because I have just entered mountain-time zone yesterday afternoon, I kept waiting for my cell phone to adjust to the new time, and then I forgot about it.  Well my cell phone alarm is set for 5:30 AM and the phone never did switch over, so technically, I got up at 4:30 this morning without thinking about the whole transition thing.  That stinks, since I was very cold last night (in the mid 40’s), I got little sleep.  It feels more like the beginning of May instead of the beginning of August, but I was fortunate to have the extra time because I had a flat tire, my second, and Shirley has had two also because we drive on the shoulder all of the time and that’s where the nails are.  Well, I got another flat tonight, so I have to fix that first thing in the morning.

I had a number of wonderful surprising experiences today.  First of all, I walked with my oldest companion walker to date.  Faye Christenson is a Luthern and are you ready for this… she is 93 years old!  What an awesome lady!  She has been teaching aerobics to the local ladies in Paxton for the last 30 years and so she had no problem in pulling the cart.  That’s right, she said “here, let me pull this for you for awhile so you can have a rest”, and we had a great talk.  This lovely lady also brought me some turkey burger and some blueberries… how could I resist such kindness, so they will be consumed with enjoyment.


Then Matt, a great guy in met in Paxton, told me about some choke cherries on my way down the road, so when I got to the spot, sure enough, there was this huge (multiple) bush full of dark blue choke cherries and so I ate, and I picked, and I ate… well you get the idea.  I picked for 2 hours and got almost a gallon of cherries, so tomorrow I am going to cook them down, add some sugar (which I have been allotted) and make some choke cherry syrup so I can have something to dip my plain dry bread into.  My taste buds are looking forward to the moment.  It’s better on pancakes, but do I have pancake batter?  Well?  That’s right… no pancake batter, no butter, no nothing.

Then to top off my great experiences today, I am pulling in the hot sun and there really wasn’t anyone on the road and so this pickup pulls up next to me and drives at my walking pace and we have a conversation while I am walking, but out of the corner of my eye, coming towards me is a Schwan’s truck and he is pulling over.  I think that he may want a photo or wants to talk, so I make a comment to the guy in the pickup (as a joke) that I am having the Schwan’s guy delivering to me, and low and behold, the Schwan’s guy gets out of his truck, runs to the side door, pulls out something and runs across the highway and hands me a…………… are you ready for this……. A Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich!  Oh my Lord… my prayers have been answered.  He said that he lives next door to Matt (remember him, the great guy I met in Paxton), and Matt overheard a conversation that I was having with Matt’s little daughter about Dairy Queen ice cream and told his neighbor that if he saw me on the road to help me out with an ice cream donation.  People…. You have no idea what a wonderful taste and moment that was for me and my stomach.  If you have never had the Schwan’s “Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich”, you are missing one of the most pleasing tastes to the palate.  By the way, it is really… really… tough to eat just one and then watch him drive away.  I could have eaten the entire container that they came in.

Well… as usual, it’s past my bedtime and I am beat.

July 30th, 2009


12 Miles

Once again, I got drenched last night… not by the rain, but by the sprinkler system.  This time I just dealt with it and laid in a wet tent.

For some reason, I just have had an extra difficult time getting my feet to walk down the road.  It just seems like the further west that I get, the slower I walk.  It couldn’t be because of the lack of food or sleep or having walked 650 miles… could it?  Hmmmm….

I would usually give an update as to my physical condition, but everything still is the same and everything still hurts, so instead of beating a dead horse… I hurt.


I was just given a surprise gift(s) from two wonderful people here in Paxton.  Phyllis Peak gave me some wonderful jerky that I will be consuming in the days ahead and also Matt Bergen gave me a package of dry cured bacon, the kind that I lost a number of weeks ago because of the multiple rain storms that have plagued me.  Both will be consumed with pleasure, but I still have a craving for more ice cream… DQ…  Also, Shirley made me a 10 oz loaf of sour dough that I will get to eat tomorrow.

I also went through a grasshopper infestation this afternoon.  There were thousands upon thousands of them.  I’ll post the photo asap.

July 29th, 2009


23 Miles

I have once again doubled up on my walking and put two days into one.  I am willing to accept some additional pain and suffering so I can have that extra day off, so today is just tough.  It started in North Platte at 2AM when the park that I was staying in had the sprinklers go off.  Now these aren’t just any sprinklers, these things could be used to water crops with and when the two that were aimed at my tent went off, I didn’t stand a chance.  I dealt with it until 3:15 with water pooling up at my feet and every seam was leaking so I escaped to my truck and slept the remaining 2 hours, sitting up.  All I want is one… just one, good nights rest.

So then at 7AM I had KNOP, the local TV station come out and do a story on me.  I then had to walk in a driving rain storm today and with the temperature only in the low 60s, it was cold, but I haven’t any option, so I keep walking and eventually in a few hours I am dry again.


 Also, if you go to: , I was the front page news for the newspaper.  Fun stuff.

Also, I had a chance to catch up on the comments section of the blog today, and it was the lift that I needed to get through today.  I really appreciate all of the great comments that I receive and like today when everything hurts so bad that you don’t know how to keep going, that little burst of enthusiasm from the comments is all that it took to get me 23 miles down the road.  It’s amazing what a little support will do.

Well it’s 10PM and I am beat and I am sleeping next to the trains A G A I N, which means that it will be a sleepless night.  I am excited about being half way home this coming Sunday! Good night folks…


July 28th, 2009


23 Miles

Had 4 oz of Dutch oven bread for breakfast (cooked two days ago) and about an ounce of buffalo jerky. Since this is the area where there were a number of buffalo shot for the company, I thought it appropriate to finally crack open my cherished 16 oz of home grown buffalo jerky.  It was good stuff, so I am only eating a little at a time to be able to savor the taste.

I then folded up my soaking wet tent, which will be wet when I open it and try and sleep in it this evening and walked two days into one.  I was originally supposed to only walk to Maxwell, 9 miles, but decided to add 14 more and go all the way to North Platte so I could have a day off this week, which I wasn’t scheduled for one.  I left at 7:25AM and arrived at about 4:30PM.  I got rained on twice today but no lightning so I just dealt with it and kept walking.  I was also interviewed on the road by the local newspaper and the television is coming tomorrow morning at 7AM to do their piece.  I’ll let you know what the link is when I find out.

Body-wise, everything is the same.  Feet are doing as well as can be expected.  I have 3 blisters now, but they


are small ones and are not debilitating.  I’m walking flat pavement at the moment, so my back spasms have subsided, and I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but I am just mentioning these things so that you may get just a touch of what the pioneers may have had to deal with in some small way, and my hernia’s are what stops me multiple times a day.  As for the carpal tunnel, both hands are still the same and I just seem to be getting used to the condition.  What other options do I have?

You know, I ask everyone that I meet and I also have the media mention it, but it seems like I haven’t had a companion walker from another faith in a long time, over a week or more.  That’s too bad, because I really would like to start some kind of a movement that would help build more tolerance and unity amongst all religions, but it is slow going at best.

Well I’m going to eat one of my cold deer steaks and have a roll from a couple of days ago and compliment it with a cold bottle of water, and I’m thankful for each bite…  Bon Appetite 


July 26th, 2009


13.2 Miles

I enjoyed the hospitality and donated deer steaks from Jim and Karen Smith from Gothenburg, and so after the walk today, I cooked all of the steaks to keep them from spoiling.  Now everyone from NE says that they deer meat here is exceptional because the deer feed on corn, well I’m here to testify to you that the steak that I just ate was a culinary delight.  I swear that you would never know that it was deer meat, so I gave a bite to Shirley, who wouldn’t touch wild deer meat with a 10’ Barbeque and she liked it so much that she had to have her husband taste it.  Point is, that it was a wonderful addition to my meals.  It was given as charity and it was found wild in the area.


Evening came and I was sleeping 1 block away from the 190 trains (truly) that pass Brady each day and because the town is less than 300 people, there is no escaping the 190db horn that literally blows all night long.  Then at 2AM, I was treated to another NE lightning and rain storm.  My tent always gathers a pool of water at the door and so I have to sleep on the opposite end of the door so I can stay reasonably dry, but when lying next to the upper wall of the tent, you get wet by osmosis.

July 24th, 2009


24.7 Miles

Pioneer Day!  This is the day that Brigham Young entered the Great Salt Lake Valley in 1847.  My day was marked by combining two walking days into one and skipping Cozad so I could have an extra day off, so I have Saturday and Sunday off for my body to recover.  It was 97 degrees today and 87% humidity and with the asphalt melting under my cross-trainers, I was looking forward to finally getting into Gothenburg.  I was going to stay in the city park but there is a lake and campground at the edge of town that the managers let me stay for free, and the best part is that I get to take my weekly shower.

I am camping next to the Robert Blessin family reunion and have met some great down to earth people.  They have been very interested in this guy that they saw pulling the handcart down the highway.  After explaining my food situation to them, I have been able to barter my last two pieces of sweet corn for two dishes of homemade ice cream, made with all local items.  I know it’s a stretch, but can you blame me when you next door neighbor is whipping up some ice cream?  Also from the bread department, I have been having a tough time getting the 12oz of self-rising flour to bake into something that I could eat, well Shirley made a sour dough starter and she made a loaf of sour dough today that was just right, so it looks like I am back to baking my bread in camp instead buying 12oz of rolls at the store.  And remember my new rule about shooting wild game for the camp, well I shot 6 Canadian Geese and 4 ducks today (with my camera) and so I substituted by having one small piece of chicken (honestly it was one small piece) and then I took the carcass after Shirley and Galin consumed the rest of the chicken, and boiled it with two of my potatoes and part of an onion.  It looked and smelled wonderful but it needed a little salt and so upon adding some salt from one of those small cardboard shakers, it was having a tough time coming out because it had been rained on so many times that it was just in


lumps.  So upon giving it the needed force to get some salt out of this thing….. that’s right…. the top came off and the entire contents went into my two quarts of chicken soup!  Man… I can never win, so I tried to hurriedly scoop it out but to no avail, so I tasted it and thought… I can deal with that.  There is no way that I am going to give up my pot of soup for a container of salt, I’ll just have to keep on putting more water with it to thin it down.  Believe me, if you were in my shoes, you would have to think about it also.  Maybe it’s the Lord telling me that I r e a l l y shouldn’t have been eating that chicken.

Friday night had another one of those IA/NE storms with lightning, driving rain and wind.  We had a lightning strike just across the road from the park where I am at.  It is really tough on Bessie (my pup).  She has been spooked about the lightning ever since the straight line tornado in IA.

As for the body, 3 blisters, feet are painful from the 24 miles today and hernia’s will need medical attention as soon as I get back to SLC.  The Carpal Tunnel never has corrected itself and I’m just learning to live with it.  Do I have any other choice?  My foot rot seems to be better just because I haven’t been walking in the rain as much lately.  My back continues to cramp up all during the walk, but I don’t have any option there either.

As for history, I am in the area where William Clayton with Brigham Young’s wagon train came up with the idea for a road odometer.  He voiced his frustration at having to count the wheel rotations on the wagon to compute the daily distance and came up with the first odometer which was accurate within 1/10 of a mile.  Also, this is where buffalo were first spotted for the first time on the trail.

July 23rd, 2009


11.6 Miles

I had another shorter day today and so it was good to get to my destination by noon, as if pulling that handcart almost 12 miles is an easy thing.  When I arrived, I was taking a break on some grass and had a couple of people come over to me to find out what I was doing.  We had a great conversation and the 20 year old young man has accepted my invitation to walk with me tomorrow.  His name is TJ Kappes and said that he has walked between Lexington and Gothenburg many times before and said that he wanted to walk the entire distance, so instead of just walking a couple of short days, I am, once again, putting two days into one and walking a little over 20 miles tomorrow because TJ is up for the trek.  Spending the entire day with someone that you don’t know has it’s mystery about it, but having talked to him already, he seems like a great young man.  It will be a good walk.

I was interviewed by the Lexington Clipper Herald this afternoon and the article should be in the newspaper on Friday.


As for the condition of my body, the feet seem to be holding their own, the hernia’s have moments of intensity and calmness, and I’m learning to live with my back spasms for most of the time.  Mentally, I have a more difficult time staying motivated to keep my feet moving down the road.  For most of the time, the trek is just drudgery and without anyone to converse with, my focus ends up being centered around my pain(s), but I find enthusiasm from thinking about completing my journey.  I have to always tell myself to keep up my pace because my body wants to rest and without having the necessary calories to provide the energy, it becomes a struggle sometimes.

All in all, this section of the trek is going well.  I can’t complain, because Nebraska is flat (at the moment) and that makes all of the difference in the world.