Today at about noon I reached Burlington Iowa. It is a River town with a bridge that spans the Mississippi. I had lunch at a downtown establishment called ‘Big Muddy’s’. My waitress was interested in my walk and the cause that inspired it. She resided in Illinois and had much information on road conditions that awaited me. (terribly narrow shoulders) Afterwords she asked if I would mind a photo with her out front with the restaurant sign. I happily obliged. It went up on the restaurants Facebook site. This will all be important to the end of the day and this entry.
I enjoyed Iowa. The small towns had such history, and the landscape was unexpectedly beautiful. What can I say … I expected corn. As a bit of a introvert I don’t shout out the cause of this journey. I hope my walking creates some interest in the issue. When I see a group of 12 or so Iowa farmers gathered around their morning coffee table, and of ll things talking about wind power, and selling back solar to the utilities, I don’t look to ad anything… I just listen. By the time I finish this journey I will know less than when I started and change will have moved us all along. I don’t know if it will move us fast enough, but nonetheless we are beginning to move.
The Burlington Police department came through with an escort across the bridge for me and at about 1pm I walked the new bridge across the mighty Mississippi. Iowa behind me and a vast ﬂoodplain of Illinois in front of me. What struck me as I walked over that high span was this is as close to home as I had felt in 5 months. The river below seemed awfully familiar. You could sense the connective nature of the water. I was home in the middle of that suspension bridge. It was all I could do to keep moving. I just wanted to stop and gaze at that mighty force of nature moving south across our continent. Home was connected to its motion.
Illinois was a difﬁcult time for day one. The road turned narrow and shoulder nonexistent. I had to stop each time a truck passed and put one leg down the steep shoulder embankment to make some room. It was challenging. When I finally reached Biggsville it was after 6pm and I was tired. I noticed a white van stopped on the side of the road with kids and their parents watching me walk up the road. The father came out ﬁrst and said, “ Did you have your picture taken with a lady back in Burlington today? She’s a friend of ours. We saw you’re walking across country for a cause … What is it?” A short conversation followed and they asked for a photograph with their kids … and their little girl wanted my autograph! Nice ending don’t you think?