Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 17, 2013

On Tuesday night Fox New (Ch 28) and KGAN News (Ch 2) aired a piece on the legacy walk across Iowa. I really liked how the piece opened and closed with one of our families and was not just focused on the walk itself, but about purpose of the walk. Thank you to all of you who sent emails and good wishes. As I said I have 286 more miles and I hope to post Saturday and Sunday this weekend 20 more miles.

Link to video:

CBS2 Walk Across Iowa

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I-80 in the Morning

January 5, 21013

I started early this morning at 6:30 so I could do 12 miles to make this first walk 30 miles in total or about 10% of the way across Iowa. I had intended to walk Sunday also but had last minutes travel to Atlanta for work. The flight leaves at 5:45 am on Sunday and I have to get organized. So I walked in the dark the first part as I walked out of the old river bed of the Missouri, which was flat, across I80 and back into the rolling hills out into the Iowa country side.

The grade was always up in it totality but up and down for 10 sets of hills before going around a series of curves on Magnolia Road. Down in the little valleys the wind was calm as I climbed to the top the wind picked up so at the end of the day I had the ruddy windblown look of an arctic explorer. 

I visited Council Bluffs a bit in the afternoon yesterday after the walk. I had gotten the book "Iowa Curiosities" at New Bo Books by where I live in Cedar Rapids. A wonderful place to sit and look at books and to watch some of the New Bo pedestrians walk to the New Bo Farmers Market or Legion Arts at the CSPS building. If you get to Cedar Rapids come see New Bo, it is across the river from Czech Village so lots to see in a small "walking" distance.

In Council Bluffs though there are lots of hidden treasures and in the book of Iowa curiosities was the Squirrel Cage Jail (only open April through October). It is downtown next to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum another gem in the city. There you can see how the Union Pacific transcontinental railroad was completed along with a replica of Lincoln's funeral train. I had no idea of the links Iowa had to all that history. I also visited the Kanesville Tabernacle where the first Mormon battalion left on their 2000+ walk to San Francisco. After 30 miles I cannot imagine walking to the west coast.  

I will try to walk again in two weeks. I will drive I80 to exit 34 and head south to where I left off at M16 and Mahogany Road. I see there is a sign for the "Nishna Heritage Museum" in Oakland. I am interested in the Native Americans that lived in Iowa and also had to be great walkers. March of Dimes has a special program called Coming of the Blessing for our Native American families.

Thank you for all the support and views of the blog. Also remember to follow me on Twitter @75MoDIA and the walk at #walkacrossiowa.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

On the Road Again

Sherwood Community Church Old Railway Road

January 4, 2013

I parked my car in the parking lot of this church as the dawn started on the second day of my walk.My stick "Elliot" and I began the second day of our walk to the scene above. The road was flat and the air crisp but calm as I started down the road. I had driven the route so knew that at two miles was Bronco Billy's Arena and Tack and then a farm at each mile until I made the 10 miles to Interstate 80. It took at little over 3 hours to complete. The sun added some warmth as it came up over the second set of bluffs to the east I will need to climb today. As the morning progressed the wind also started to increase just enough to counter the sun. By the time I got done I was cold and my legs were stiff. I think maybe I learned that in winter 10 miles is maybe the target walk distance, at least until I get a bit more stamina.

Bronco Billy's

Once again though I really enjoyed just being out in the open air. The walk was different than the walk in the city on sidewalks or trails. I had to walk on the side of the road and one becomes immediately aware of traffic. I was able to walk against traffic so could see the cars and trucks coming. I gained a greater appreciation for all that bicyclers must deal with as they travel on our rural roads. I will slow down now and move over whenever I can for them as a result of this walk.

The number of views is significantly increasing each day, so thank you very much for getting the word out. I have received several pledges for additional miles, including one from a mom who pledged a dollar a day for the 57 days her quads were in the NICU. Pledges like that make it worth the effort and it makes my walk seem effortless in comparison. There has also been a request to create a Facebook page as I understand a lot of March of Dimes families use that form of social media. I will work with our March of Dimes staff to get it setup next week and then will link the blog and twitter to that page. I am still a novice at social media but I am learning what each type can and cannot do. Guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

End of the Walk
I ended the walk at the driveway of Jeff Links Beef Jerky Underwood Distribution Center. Notice on the right hand side is my bag of "Original Style" Jeff Links Beef Jerky. I carry that along with me to give a bit of a boost during the walk. I was surprised when I turned the corner off Old Railway Road and saw this. It is a small world.


Friday, January 4, 2013

The First Steps

In the middle of Missouri River with my walking stick ""Elliot"

January 3, 2013

I started my walk at noon to the mournful sound of a riverboat steam whistle announcing lunch time. I started today to commemorate 75 years ago FDR signing into existence the March of Dimes. The first leg of the walk will be for all the victims of polio in Iowa. Over a 100 years the first reported cases of polio were registered. ( Polio in Iowa ). I grew up with friends who contracted polio and I remember iron lungs in the county hospital. Every spring brought worry of who else might catch the disease. In second grade I remember going to the lunchroom and getting the first of the Salk vaccine; hated the needle. Then several years later getting the new oral vaccine created by Dr. Sabin and soon you just didn't hear anymore about polio. 

Today I made 8 miles, a few miles less than the ten I had set as a goal. The last 3 miles were up and down the bluff getting out of Council Bluffs and there was ice on the sidewalk. But today I am starting out on the flat as I head out into the countryside on Old Railroad Road. I have now at least gained the confidence this thing is doable, but may have to adjust the 23 walking days to 30 since I walk a little slower than what Google used for an average. But I really enjoy being outdoors and having time to think without too much interference. Though I was probably quite comical as I tried to get my cell phone out from under my coat standing on the bridge, but thankfully that was the only call I got from work. I also moved the phone to a more convenient pocket on my coat verses under it so I could tweet and keep up with emails from work. 

I really appreciate all the retweeting ( @75MoDIA #walkacrossiowa ) everyone is doing and the emails going out to all our volunteers and friends. I hope this inspires others to participate in our 75th Anniversary.


Alone with your thoughts as you place one foot in front of the other your senses catch things that just go by too fast in a car. As I walked I became aware of all the impressions in the concrete. Some of plants in the form of leaves or sticks and also animals. One particular block of concrete had a set of bicycle tire marks and a set of paw prints from a dog. I wonder if sometime in the future some intelligence will find that block and wonder at it. Concrete seems to be our modern analog to limestone. Then later in the walk I came across a toddler's footprint in an old section of side walk and smiled at the thought of all the feet that have been able to walk on this sidewalk because polio is no longer with us.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day Before

January 2, 2013

I have ventured into the world of social media and now have a twitter account. It is Ron Lower@75MoDIA and I will be using it to tweet status on the walk along with pictures. It looks like it will be a nice day to start the walk and I am looking forward to beginning. If you wish to email me you can use 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Beginning

January 1, 2013

2012 Des Moines' March for Babies
(Greg Wilcox, Ron Lower and Governor Terry Branstad)

This all started one day in 2012 at the March for Babies in Des Moines, Iowa. 2013 is the 75th anniversary of the founding of the March of Dimes. A few weeks ago I stepped down from being the Iowa Chapter Chair for the March of Dimes and handed the post over to Chad D. Simmons. I wanted to leave a legacy with the chapter and also celebrate the anniversary of our organization. From that was born the idea to walk across Iowa and raise awareness and funding for the 2013 March for Babies campaign. My goal is to raise $100 per mile of the walk. Greg Wilcox, who has been a member of the Iowa Chapter board for 20 years, pledged the first mile and I have pledged the next 10, so the first 11 miles of the 316 are funded. I hope by posting to the blog and twittering I can keep people aware of progress of the walk and generate interest in supporting the March of Dimes.

I have bought my walking stick and yellow reflective vest. I also have googled the route from Council Bluffs to Dubuque and discovered the ability to get walking directions from their map site. It is roughly 316 miles and according to Goggle about 106 hours of walking. As a project manager by trade I have broken the route down into milestones and planned accordingly. I will start on January 3, 2013, the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the March of Dimes by Franklin D. Roosevelt and end on September 19, 2013 in Dubuque. I intend to dip the walking stick into both great rivers bounding our great state of Iowa; the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.

Below is the link to my Team page where additional information and links to other March of Dimes’ sites, including locations of events held across Iowa by our Iowa Chapter can be found. The page also has the ability to accept online donations for my walk goal. As people pledge I will include their names on the blog site as recognition of their support. Any amount large or small is important to our babies and children.

I will post again on the 3rd as I begin four days of the walk with the first leg being between Council Bluffs and Atlantic, Iowa. I hope to have twitter account set up before the walk and if I do I will update the blog with the twitter information.