Day 18 – Highway 14 and the Diesel Breeze

Wednesday, June 21st, 6:45 a.m. –  Departed from the city park in Dover, Minnesota.

The Atmosphere’s Mood

Morning Conditions – Temp – 54* with low humidity / Wind – Calm / Skies – Clear. High cirrus clouds to the north and east, band of rain approaching from the west.

Afternoon/Evening Conditions – Temp – Reached a high of 73* / Wind – SSW at 10 mph / Skies – Clear to the north and east, storm clouds moving to the south, weather system approaching from the west.

4:30 p.m. – Arrived at the Clark gas station in Stockton, Minnesota, 20.0 miles, 51,200 steps, 225 miles remaining.

The Day’s Highs – 

  • Honkers and Wavers – After doing the interview with KTTC that aired on their evening news, a lot of people recognized me. Drivers honked and waved as they passed (I made sure to verify which finger they were waving with…) and generally supported and cheered me along. Some people even pulled up in their vehicles to shake my hand. What a difference that made in my mood! I also met a lady named Marsha who was out running with her 5-month old black lab. Although camera shy because of her early morning appearance, he told me her very motivational story about being a lymphoma survivor. Very cool.
  • Midday Break at Paul and Sharon’s House – Taking a good break in the middle of the day is really important. Doing so at someone’s house is like the best of all worlds. There’s easy access to fresh water, food, shelter from the sun, and even a bed! Even though it was kind of hard to get going again, it was COMPLETELY worth it!
  • Early Start, Early Finish – The early morning hours are by far the best time to move. Getting an early start also offers the added bonus of finishing the day early. On this particular day, I was in an air conditioned vehicle heading back to Paul and Sharon’s house by 5:00!

The Day’s Lows – 

  • Dangerous Walk on Highway 14 – Walking on State Highway 14 wasn’t a whole lot of fun. While it was a nice direct route on a road with wide shoulders, the sheer volume of traffic just wore me down. Lots of vehicles drifted onto the shoulder as they approached me, only to cut back out into he lane as they passed. I’m glad this part of the walk is behind me…
  • Too Much Diesel Breeze – As semi trucks go past on the highway, they sort of make their own breeze. Even though that breeze smells of diesel, grease and hot rubber from the tires, on a hot day with no wind, it can actually be welcome. On the stretch of Highway 14 that I walked, I was met by hundreds if not thousands of grain trucks through the course of the day. Each time one came towards me, I was required to hold my hat on to prevent it from blowing off my head. By the time I reached Stockton, I was good and ready to be done with Highway 14 and its heavy truck traffic.

Lessons Learned – A little support goes a long way. Having people actually recognize me and applaud my efforts makes a big difference. It can help me sustain a positive attitude, a task that can sometimes be quite challenging.


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