Friday, July 7th, 9:35 a.m. – Departed from The Edge O’ The Woods Motel in New Lisbon, Wisconsin.
The Atmosphere’s Mood
Morning Conditions – Temp – 73 with low humidity / Wind – NW at 5 mph / Skies – Clear with scattered clouds beginning to develop. Weak cold front passed in the night.
Afternoon/Evening Conditions – Temp – Reached a high of 84* / NW at 10 mph, gusting to 15 / Skies – Clear with fair weather cumulus.
2:00 p.m. – Arrived at Old Mill Park in Necedah, Wisconsin, 11.7 miles, 31,800 steps, 101 miles remaining.
- Reconnecting – The plan for the weekend was for Jill to pick me up in Necedah, Wisconsin, and then the two of us would continue down to Madison, Wisconsin to spend the weekend together. It was the anticipation of that reunion that kept my spirits up all through the day. Jill and I have been together now for almost six years. But the feeling I get inside when I see her walking toward me hasn’t changed at all. After a week of being apart, my heart nearly jumped out of my chest when I first saw her. Words aren’t going to do it here; you either know the feeling or you don’t. I hope you do…
- Cooler, Shorter Day – The storms that passed through last night were the result of a cold front working its way through the area. Considering the heat and humidity of the past few days, the relatively cool, dry air that came with it was a welcome change. Also, walking only 12 miles felt like getting off work at noon on a Friday. That, too, was a most welcome break in the routine.
- Old Mill Park – At the intersection of Highways 80 and 21 in Necedah, Wisconsin is Old Mill Park. It’s a small park on the shore of a tiny lake. It has a playground, a picnic shelter, a dock, and just off shore, a fountain that continually shoots water up into the air about 25 feet. It is not a spectacular place; it’s hardly noticeable when driving through town. When I arrived there, though, the wind was blowing across the lake and through the picnic shelter, bringing with it a cool mist from the fountain in the lake. After battling the heat for the past couple of days, it felt downright chilly! I remained there for several hours while waiting for Jill to arrive. I can’t remember any other time in my life when I’ve been so thankful for a picnic shelter…
Today’s Lows –
- Challenging, Busy Road – Wisconsin State Highway 80 is a busy road. I don’t think I saw more than 15 seconds go by without a vehicle whizzing past in one direction or the other. Normally, that’s not really a problem. But the paved portion of the shoulder is only about 30 inches wide. Beyond that, the roadside typically falls away quickly into the the ditch, or worse yet, into swampy areas. In many cases, my choice was to walk very close to traffic, attempt to move on the challenging slope of the shoulder, or simply stop. It made for an exhausting few hours of walking.
- Please Drink Responsibly!! – In nearly 500 miles of walking, I have never seen so many empty beer cans on the roadside as I did on the 8 mile stretch of Highway 80 just north of New Lisbon, Wisconsin. I’d like to think they blew off a recycling truck. If that was the case, though, you would think there might be at least a few soda cans in the mix. Unfortunately, the empties I saw were Bud Light, Busch Light, Keystone Light, and occasionally, Michelob Golden Light. Drinking and driving kills people. Does anything more really need to be said about this?!
Lessons Learned – The longer I’m out here, the more I appreciate my home. This walk was my idea, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world. But the longer I’m away from home, the lonelier it gets. I long for the simple things: pressed coffee, our annoying cat, falling asleep on the couch and peaceful evenings on the porch with Jill. In the future, it is far less likely that I will take any of these things for granted.