Day 12 – May 2, 2016

A Walk Across Iowa on the Old Lincoln Highway: Day #12

Mark Minear

Mark Minear

by Mark Minear

Greetings! I discovered this evening that one of the donations to the Center’s Counseling Assistance Fund was given by an uncle remembering his brilliant and gifted nephew. His nephew had a mental illness and took his life five years ago. I read and re-read the words about this young man who was only 30 when his life ended… and, just as he was dearly loved, he is now deeply missed. First of all, I am humbled that such a gift in memory would be given to my efforts with this Walk. But also, I was moved by the grief that this family has experienced over the recent years as I was introduced, in a small way, to an incredible soul whose life was tragically shortened. I am grateful for this donation… and to this uncle who misses his nephew and who wants to contribute to the lives of others who might be suffering from mental distress. This may be the highest act of love we can do amidst our own loss, grief, and pain… to be redemptive in our efforts to help someone else. Peace to this uncle and this family.

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Did you know that this blog is just packed with fun Lincoln Highway trivia? Here’s a good one: today, while making the trek west out of Westside, I had the privilege of walking for about three miles on the northernmost (you know, in terms of latitude) part of the entire transcontinental Lincoln Highway from New York to San Francisco.

Today I met P.J., manager at the Sparky’s mini-mart in Vail. Originally from Denison with great hometown pride, P.J. had lots of information and stories covering the LH, Denison’s celebrities—Donna Reed and Brandon Scherff (University of Iowa offensive guard who was drafted 5th overall in the NFL 2015 draft by the Washington Redskins), railroads, his grandfather (who kept Donna Reed’s brother’s pick-up from the 1930s going), etc. I had a second breakfast of a sausage, egg, and cheese croissant and a Gatorade along with a delightful conversation. I told P.J. that he was “spontaneously entertaining” as his second job is announcing the Crawford County dirt track races in Denison (if I remember correctly)!

Today I learned something about the strength of the aroma of an ethanol plant. This is the second one that I walked by over the past two weeks (they were both about a mile in length—Nevada and Denison) but the first one where I was downwind.

Today I am grateful for some of the simply pleasures in life: walking by someone mowing freshly cut grass; the croaking sounds of frogs in the flooded ditches and other wet areas; geese either taking off in flight or attending to their goslings; the quickly changing formations of clouds; and the beauty and song of the redwing blackbird (such a cool bird that seems to have their nests in the countryside ditches). In gratitude for the call of this particular passerine bird, today’s marble once again was tossed into another Iowa ditch!

Peace, Mark

P.S. There are a lot of good books on the history and updated status of the Lincoln Highway. A couple of my favorites are by Brian Butko: Greetings from the Lincoln Highway (2005) and Lincoln Highway Companion: A Guide to America’s First Coast-to-Coast Road (2009).

P.S.S. Due to the rain over the weekend (I walked in the light rain but the rain on Saturday was just too heavy), I got about a half day behind… so I hope to finish at the Missouri River (about 10 miles west of Missouri Valley) around noon on Wednesday, May 4th!

day 12 a

Mark: “Once again the Lincoln Highway and the Union Pacific railroad crisscross…and stay fairly close to each other!”

Day 12 b

Mark: “I was so excited to catch this picture of the train coming by that my finger got in the way.”

Day 12 c

Mark: “This Standard gas station in Vail was restored just last year.”

Day 12 d

Mark: “This stately home on the Lincoln Highway just north and wet of Arion has magnificent brickwork.”


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.