Day 2 – April 22, 2016

A Walk Across Iowa on the Old Lincoln Highway: Day #2

by Mark Minear 

Mark Minear

Mark Minear

Greetings! I could tell that I needed to write out my theology of waving to strangers for last night’s entry… the theology of the small gesture to smile at the “divine spark” within everyone. Anyway, though I haven’t completely gotten that out of my system (as will be waving to thousands of motorists, people in their yards, etc.), but it was important for me to process some of that last evening.

So, tonight as promised, let me say a few words about my companion on the road. This past Christmas, with my family‘s awareness that I would be taking this journey, I was given many gifts to support my adventure: books, muscle massager, pepper stray, safety vests, etc.… and a walking stick from my wife Karla. Now, I would admit that I did not Google “How to most effectively utilize a walking stick”, but I did practice some before the trek… and continue to experiment with it.

One of the last things that Karla said to me, before dropping me off in Wellsburg to meet my brother Hal, was how this pilgrimage across the state will be an important metaphor in a number of ways for my life journey. And, the companionship of the walking stick has been an interesting experience. It makes a rather noticeable “tap” on the pavement (gravel, dirt, and grass becoming increasing more quiet); and it has become a familiar, consistent sound amidst the quiet times away from the main U.S. Hwy 30. My brother was waiting for me on the other side of a hill the first evening and probably could hear me from about one-sixth of a mile away on a calm night.

I haven’t named my walking stick (perhaps I should); and we have already had a few brief quarrels… sort of getting use to each other. But I have found several good reasons to have the assistance:

(1) climbing up a hill – it takes a little pressure off of the legs;

(2) against the wind or to balance out a crosswind—and I am learning to utilize both the right and left arms effectively;

(3) on uneven ground – especially as I walk on the shoulder of the road as close to the grass as I can, it is sort of on a slight tilt, and the stick keeps me upright fairly well and takes some pressure off of my ankles; and

(4) it has a tendency to help with my overall posture.

That’s what we need in life from companions, right? – Support, balance, uprightness, dependability, and general overall assistance… what are friends for? Today my walking stick helped me with a 29-mile day!

Did you know that on 9/1/1928 the Boy Scouts of America installed 2,436 Lincoln Highway markers from coast to coast? More about this toward the end of the journey… but there are only a few still in Iowa; and I have been told that there is only one in its original placement. Today I walked through Clarence in which one such marker was recently placed and dedicated in their little downtown park along the LH. See the picture! (below)

Today I met a young man in the Lowden cemetery. He had driven his car past me, entered the cemetery, and was driving around to visit some graves; and I was walking around the cemetery onto a back gravel portion of the original LH. He came up to me just as I was moving past the cemetery; and he wanted me to know that, at the age of 21, he was the youngest member of the Lowden Lions Club. He had been driving around to stop at some of the graves of former Lions Club members; it was his way to show appreciation and honor to those who had kept his local club strong. We had a pleasant chat… and he invited me to become a Lion!

Today I learned that I need to keep drinking my water well in advance to stay ahead of any dehydration. (Of course, there is more to this story – but this is sufficient for tonight!)

Today I am grateful for my two children: Emily and her husband Ryan along with their 3-year-old daughter Adeline live in Johnston; and Andrew and his wife Hilliary along with their two sons, Treyton is 4 and Beckett is 1, live in Polk City. I am grateful to Andrew for being my fitness coach. He is the most physically fit person I know, and he works as a wellness coordinator in the fitness Center at Camp Dodge. He helped me with preparation, counseled me about nutrition (daily protein shakes, calories, etc.), and instructed me about running shorts, shoes (Brooks Addiction running shoes from Fitness Sports), and socks (I didn’t even know what compression socks were and, can you believe it, I am wearing ironman socks!).

Emily has been full of encouragement – about this adventure but also my efforts with men and mental health. Emily is the director of the Y’s Supportive Housing Program… and she works with many coming out of homelessness and some of these with mental health problems. SO… a big THANKS to both of my kids for all of their support in so many ways!

Peace, Mark

P.S. Today’s marble went into the Wapsipinicon River, which starts in Minnesota and runs right alongside of the Syracuse Wildlife Management Area… what a beautiful quiet portion of the Old Lincoln Highway! It was a moment of gratitude!

One of the original Lincoln Highway markers...recently placed at a park in Clarence.

One of the original Lincoln Highway markers…recently placed at a park in Clarence.


The Lincoln Hotel in Lowden was built in 1915.


I walk on the shoulder when the original Lincoln Highway and U.S. are the same.



For more information and more posts, please see Mark’s homepage:

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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