Day 11 – May 1, 2016

A Walk Across Iowa on the Old Lincoln Highway: Day #11

Mark Minear

Mark Minear

by Mark Minear


Today was a day of incredible diversity; and I stayed busy “noticing” my reactions (automatic stuff) and my responses (more intentionally thoughtful). From the time my brother dropped me off on the boundary between Greene County and Carroll County to the time I finished approximately 27 miles later just over the boundary between Carroll County and Crawford County, I experienced a variety of weather, sights and sounds, and togetherness and aloneness as I trekked east-west across the entire Carroll County!

I walked miles on gravel roads without encountering a single car… this provided a wonderful opportunity for a more mindful walking meditation. The skies provided a light cool rain (45 degrees) well into the afternoon… but, after a change into dry clothes and shoes and some calories and a break with napping in my brother’s car for a while, I was energized to keep a 4 mph pace for the last 12 miles; and, by the time I reached the hilly town of Westside (not certain about the origin of the name because this town is on the east side of Crawford County… just feet into Crawford), the sun was out and people were mowing their yards and kids were playing football. I noticed how my moods changed over the course of the day as well… People talk about the Iowa weather changing quickly – you’ve heard the jokes. But there is something about taking another step that changes our view of the world… or pausing for a moment… or engaging a person… or enjoying the beauty of nature… or reflecting on the magnitude of the universe… or expressing a sense of gratitude… or listening to the “still small voice” within our hearts… there are so many ways that our lives can be transformed! Paying attention with intention is the key!

Did you know that Iowa had over 100,000 miles of roads by 1912 but few were graveled or paved? By the early 1920s not much had changed; Iowa dirt turned to mud with rain was called gumbo, “a particularly vicious and viscous and generally impassable brand of mud peculiar to the state.” In light of the significant amounts of rain in western Iowa over the past two days, I wanted to share a warning to motorists from the 1924 Lincoln Highway Association guidebook: “It is folly to drive on Iowa dirt roads, during or immediately after a rain… When it rains in Iowa or Nebraska, the tourist should stop if he wishes to save his car, his time, his tires, and his temper.”

Today I met Brenda at the Casey’s in Glidden; she fixed me an egg, cheese, and sausage breakfast sandwich, and we realized that we knew a common person. Today three gifts to the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center’s Counseling Assistance Fund were given primarily because of the WHO-TV news segment. An anonymous couple just getting out of church, a woman named Sue who had her reasons to affirm such efforts for men and mental health, and Kevin a farmer whose dog Sidney followed alongside of me for about a half mile (he was my co-walker for the day) were all generous and encouraging.

Today I learned more about the way that rain makes its way to the ocean… filling the fields, down the waterways, into the ditches, to the creeks, the streams, and the rivers… WOW! I could see it, hear it, smell it… and, today, I had the privilege of walking across the divide between the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers drainage basins—it is noted just off of U.S. 30. (Into the fast moving creek empowered by the drainage from a field plopped my gratitude marble for today!)

Today I had an extra sense of grateful simply about being alive. It is such a privilege to participate in this adventure with the entire experience… with its joys and its sorrows, its mysteries and its meanings, its beauty and its chaos, etc. And I think that hope is such a central part of this journey I am taking. Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” I think that the sacredness of love is the transformational hope moving in all of our hearts… attending to this intimation will give our lives a sense of purpose and peace and power!

Peace, Mark

Day 11 a

Mark: “Merle Hay was from Glidden, Iowa. He enlisted in the army with eight others from this small town on May 3, 1917.”

Day 11 b

Mark: “He was the first iowa serviceman and perhaps the first American serviceman to die World War I on November 3, 2917.”

Day 11 c

Mark: “The city of Carroll is graciously trying to guide me through their community on the Old Lincoln Highway.”

Day 11 d

Mark: “Today I walked long stretches of gravel roads. . .remnants of the original Lincoln Highway.”



Everyone is invited to “Walk with Mark” by helping him reach his goal to support quality mental health services for boys and men. Supporting his 331-mile trek is easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Walk with Mark via his blog on the Center’s website or Facebook page.
  2. Walk with Mark by joining him for part of his itinerary.
  3. Walk with Mark with a donation to the Center for the counseling assistance fund.


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