Day 5 – A Major Milestone

Friday, June 2nd, 8:00 a.m. – Departed from the Field of Dreams Airport in Hinckley, MN.

Conditions: Temp – 54* / Wind – Calm, but picking up out of the SSE to 10-20 mph, becoming gusty later in the day. / Sky Conditions – Blue skies with high cirrus cloud to the east and west. By evening, cirrus clouds were thickening to the west, signaling the approach of another system. Temperature exceeded 85* in the late afternoon.
5:50 p.m. – Arrived Pine City, MN. 18.2 miles, 45,650 steps, 485 miles remaining.

Day 5 was a big day on the walk. I reached the 100 mile mark when arriving in Pine City, Minnesota! It wasn’t a particularly hard day, but the temperature really shot up in the late afternoon; there was a bank clock in downtown Pine City that showed 87 degrees. That combined with walking directly into the sun for most of the afternoon made things really uncomfortable, and yielded a pretty good sunburn. Getting off the road and into an air conditioned building couldn’t come soon enough.

The day started out nice. It was only a short three mile walk from the Field of Dreams Airport to Cassidy’s Restaurant in Hinckley, Minnesota. I had some breakfast there, charged up my phone and was back out on the road by about 10:15 a.m. As I stepped out of the restaurant, I could feel that the day was really heating up. I hooked up the trailer and headed west to meet up with Highway 61. Once there, I turned south and started the 9 mile journey to Beroun Crossing. Not so much a town as it is a freeway exit, the plan was to meet Kim McKeller there so that she could walk the last part of the day with me to Pine City, Minnesota. Kim is my partner Jill’s mom, and we’d been planning it since the walk started.

The first four miles went quickly. My spirits were high, and it was comfortable walking with the southeast wind blowing on my face. I took a break where Highway 61 crosses Interstate 35 to the east, finding a nice place in the shade to enjoy some water and a snack. While resting there, I noticed a fenced in area just off to the side of the road. it turned out to be a cemetery for the original settlers of a town called Mission Creek. No longer in existence, the small village was completely destroyed in 1894 by the Great Hinckley Fire. Had I not stopped where I did, there is no way I ever would have seen the cemetery. For those passing by in vehicles, it’s just too well hidden. I also found out later that, in the process of exploring the historic site, I walked right through poison ivy. I’m not particularly susceptible to it, but still was affected by it. Note to self: Pay attention where you walk!!

The plan was to meet Kim at the Marathon Gas Station at Beroun Crossing at 2:30 p.m. The growing heat of the early afternoon was really slowing me down, so we decided that 3:30 would be a more appropriate time. I wanted a break in the shade before finishing up the last 7 miles of the day. Arriving at Beround Crossing at 2:05 p.m., I found Kim’s husband Tom McKellar waiting for me there. He bought me a Gatorade and and some salty munchies, and we sat in the shade and talked about “things.” It was good to see a familiar face, and I really appreciated the company. At around 2:45 p.m., Tom had to leave. We said our farewells, and I happily waited in the shade for Kim to arrive. 

Arriving at 3:30 p.m., Kim looked like she was ready to go walking. We wasted no time getting started. I knew it was still going to be hot, but there were only 7 miles left! We walked and talked, and the time passed quickly. In no time at all were looking at the city limit sign for Pine City. At that point, we still had a mile or two to go, but seeing the sign raised our spirits and quickened our pace. I could feel the sun burning my arms and legs, and I wanted out of it as soon as possible. 

We walked the sidewalk through town until reaching Chubby’s Sports Bar and Grill. The air conditioning combined with ice water and cold beer was a truly divine combination. My skin felt as if it was on fire, and it took some time for my body to cool down. Kim bought dinner in addition to making a generous donation to the walk, and we celebrated my reaching the 100 mile mark. It felt great! The best part, though, was yet to come. My partner Jill was on her way there to meet us as well, and when she walked through the door, my world felt right again. Does absence truly make the heart grow fonder? It did for me…

Thanks to all who followed along with me through the first week of this interesting challenge. Because of all of you, I never feel as if I am alone. I’ve already been asked several times if I get lonely out here. The answer is, “Yes, I do.” But it’s not nearly as bad with the encouragement of those who care. Red Green said it best: “We’re all in this together.” Thanks everyone, for a great week!

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