Day 14

When I left the hotel this morning I was not looking forward to the walking. There was a forecast of rain (indeed, it was raining a little) and I knew I still had a long eight miles to go on 464; the first four had been pretty boring. There was still a pretty stream off to the side from time to time:


However the rain didn’t last long and soon the sun was shining on the hills ahead:


and the road was looking enticing again:


Now I have to introduce you to Carl and Marien:


Last night at the hotel, Ginny, a cousin of Laura, the wife of my best friend Paul called me to say that Dave, the husband of Nina, a friend of hers, had parents close by that perhaps I could stay with. Whew! Carl and Marien are Dave’s parents. (Any of the people in that chain reading this should correct me if they detect an error). I talked to Marien last night and we decided that they were too close to me for it to work, but we did have a good chat about my next stop.

It became clear that after 15 miles I would be close to Iron Kettle Farm on Route 96 and Carl and Marien know the owners Skip and Jeannie quite well. At the very least, Skip and Jeannie might be able to give me advice about where to stay the night.

Well, I’m walking along 464 and who should pull up behind me but Carl and Marien! They had decided to come out on the highway to meet me! We had a delightful conversation right there on the shoulder. I really wish I had been able to stay with them, as they were warm, friendly, and full of stories. Marien promised to call ahead to the Iron Kettle Farm.

So off I went, with a definite goal in mind and the weather improving by the minute.


Before too long Owego was visible across the river:


and I arrived at Route 96, my companion for the rest of the day:


I could see the bridge I would soon be using to cross the Susquehanna for the last time:



Here’s my last view of the river:


and then it was eyes forward to the Owego courthouse:



I stopped beside some rail tracks for a spot of lunch and then continued on up this highway, taking note of some interesting things that caught my eye like this tiny Texaco station:


I mooed at these bovines to get them to smile for the camera, but only a few looked at me:


It must be difficult to see out the lower left window of this house in the summer:


I lovely shapely trees and took a picture of a few:



This is the old, abandoned Catatonk courthouse, built in 1920:


Two silos for my sister-in-law Subi; first the leaning silo of Catatonk:


and then one that must look magnificent in summer, draped with ivy:


OK, so what is this trailer for?


I noticed that the leaf lossage was further along here. I wonder if the Susquehanna has a moderating effect on the climate, leading to a later color peak. Here is a shot of the dreary hills I was seeing:


Well I finally arrived at the Iron Kettle Farm and met Skip and Jeannie:


What a lovely, generous couple. The Iron Kettle Farm is an amazing place. I have a bunch of pictures I would like to share but they are uploading very slowly through the tethered connection to my phone and my hands are freezing by now so I must sign off. Suffice it to say that I was very well treated here and given a cozy place to set up my tent next and fed with chili, hot dogs, hot cider and corn chips. I will share more about this family tomorrow when I hope to have access to a wireless connection.

All for now. Thanks to everyone who commented yesterday. Did I mention that reading comments is my second favorite thing each day, next to the walking itself?

53 thoughts on “Day 14

  1. Gus Wolf

    Lovely snaps, Allan. Here in East Texas there are almost no silos. I have seen a few but they are a rarity. I’m not sure if farmers actually feed their cows silage. Perhaps that is for dairy cows and the preponderance of cattle here seem to be destined for Big Mac’s rather than for Borden’s. Silo’s are then something else I miss seeing. I love the leaning wooden one. It still retains a fair amount of grandeur and must have been a sight to behold when plumb! How wonderful that you were provided yet another warm place to stay! I guess you are now past the half way mark. That means that in 15 days or so you’ll be in Toronto and we’ll be pining for yet one more tale of your splendid adventure. There will be a book forthcoming, won’t there?

    1. Allan Post author

      Halfway mark is almost now, at the end of Day 15. Others have asked about a book, but I doubt it would sell. The fun of this blog, I suspect, is following in real time. At least that what I would enjoy, if I were reading instead of writing.

  2. Carl

    To the hopeless wanderer
    Love those texaco stations al. Keep them coming. Oh brother where art thou started a old timely revival including Mumford and sons who have great hits like:
    So when your hope’s on fire
    But you know your desire
    Don’t hold a glass over the flame
    Don’t let your heart grow cold
    I will call you by name
    I will share your road

    But hold me fast, Hold me fast
    ‘Cause I’m a hopeless wanderer
    And hold me fast, Hold me fast
    ‘Cause I’m a hopeless wanderer
    I will learn, I will learn to love the skies I’m under
    I will learn, I will learn to love the skies I’m under
    The skies I’m under

  3. Philip Cottrell

    Really enjoying your walk Allan. It is clear you are well into it now and must have a rhythm to your days. The photos are great too – allows us a glimpse of life on the road with you. I have driven much of that route several times, and it really is a beautiful part of the US of A.

    How are the feet now that you are two weeks in? Are they still getting sore each day or have they adjusted to the new reality?

    “I’ve got two legs from my hips to the ground, and when I move them they walk around…” (know the lyric?)


  4. Dan & Sue Matlack

    My comment for tonight is a fond OLD memory of your latent daredevil tendencies – jumping off the 2nd story balcony at a Wildwood Motel into the pool. Yes – a very young Dan Jr DOES still remember that. Going back to our first memory of you coming into our house after chapel, sitting crosslegged on our living room floor – glued to the tv and eating ice cream – teaching my sons to lick the bowl – which they still do and have now taught their children – always adding – “just like Uncle Allan”. I LOVE seeing your pics – actually reminding me also in the wayback machine to my years in those mountains at Houghton College – I remember hearing/seeing a train go through the valley from my dorm room – so yes, your scenery of late is very familiar to you because when I was making those rides, the “big” highways were not yet built. I’m SO glad you are meeting such awesome, friendly, accomodating people along the way – that makes me feel so much better about your journey. Your journey on this road has put us in a reflective mode, remembering all our fun times with Allan & Fi so very many years ago – the best times of our lives when we were having children together, playing and learning and growing up ourselves. Safe Journey Dear Friend – until tomorrow…

  5. jim lamason

    Well dear brother… Another one in the books… Another 100 miles under the old belt. 200+…. You are getting there… I find myself looking forward to your blog posts every night.. With such anticipation. I want to see what you are seeing.. And your blog posts are great!!! Thank you for taking all of us along for the journey… Hope you are ok.. And by now, I suspect, asleep..
    So with that, I headed to the same place.. Sleep well and rest easy…. Tomorrow could be another momentous day… Halfway! Yeaaaaa!!!!! Remember… Press on! JIM

  6. Zachary Wilks

    Ma certainly loves her silos. It’s been a joy to follow thus far. Can you guess what my favorite part of the blog is?

  7. Bethany Bull

    I just took little Sammy to Iron Kettle Farm a couple weeks ago! Very cute place for families. I did hear we are expecting some cold weather ahead so I hope you are able to find warm lodging as much as possible. We are praying for you!

    1. Allan Post author

      Way cool! He is too young to enjoy it but it’s a great tradition to start. Skip was telling me today that he has children now being brought parents who themselves were brought by their parents. I’m not looking forward to the cold nights, but I’m well prepared to walk during the cold days.

  8. Tom Turner

    Just want you to know you were prayed for during the coffee time at CMML this morning. It was nice to be there with the team although a much longer drive now from Lancaster. Nevertheless, an important member of our team is on a trek to Toronto…and he is missed by all the gang. Be Encouraged my dear friend! We will be glad for your safe return and to hear in person some of the amazing experiences you have had. The good news is you don’t have to walk back to Scotch Plains.

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks Tom — I miss you guys too. It’s funny you should say that about the return journey because a few people have seriously asked me if I was walking home after this!

  9. Julie

    More beautiful photos and friendly folks πŸ˜€ Let us know if you ever find out what that ENORMOUS red trailer is for – I’m so curious!


  10. Alison Sutherland

    I hope you have time to watch this link:

    It made me think of your adventure… you started out as one man and then as you advanced, others have joined in… there is a sense of joy as we all marvel and then slowly begin to participate… if you watch the video to the end you will see that things speed up… I know it sounds silly to say slow down a bit Al… but I think this will be over too soon !!!

    1. Allan Post author

      I LOVE IT!! I have actually seen this one before and to me the best part of these “flash mob” videos is the looks of unexpected joy on the faces of the spectators. Regarding more people following each day, I do enjoy this — in fact, each time I take a picture I’m thinking how I will describe it to the people that are along for the journey, and that helps reduce the loneliness. It doesn’t feel like it will be over soon — only halfway so far.

  11. Heather & Jon

    So proud of you Allan! Jon and I love reading about your adventures at the end of our day. Praying for your safety & so glad to see and read that you are enjoying yourself. On a selfish note, I have to say I’ve been missing my Friday night, Big Al hug! When you get back, they’ll be much more of me to hug. (only 10 weeks to go!)

    Keep on pressing forward! Lots of luck and love, Heather & Jon

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks for your prayers Heather and Gergs. I’m glad I’ll be back before the big day!

  12. Russell Sutherland


    Thanks once again for your summary comments of a whole day of walking. I really appreciated the snaps from Owego. Perhaps that long red trailer was for motorcycles? I have seen large ones in Canada (Alberta) which house snow mobiles, or as they call them out west: sleds. Regardless, it is a huge sucker! Thanks very much for your details on eating. Keep that it. If the meals are particularly tasty.. take a photo (before of course). Last night I was whipping along the CN/VIA corridor from MTL -> TOR in luxury travelling at 95 mph. The sunset was amazing, but was short lived and most of my trip was in darkness. As I was click/clacking along I was more able to appreciate your “take your time” approach. Enjoy the day my friend. One step at a time.

    I am off to work in the pitch dark.



  13. Marnie

    You will have to send these shots into google or google earth as I notice that google truck has not yet provided views of the 96. That being said your pic crossing the Susquehanna are better than theirs. Have a great day Allan.

  14. Joe Abdy

    With all the terrific pictures, I am probably one of the few who loves the data tab as well. Each day it gives your average mph, which is around 2.2 to 2.4 each day. But that includes all your stops for pictures, lunch, naps and ect. Question, how many mph do you think you are doing once you get a good rhythm going? Plus I noticed the data give a max pace. The other day you hit 14.3 mph!! That’s pretty fast, was a dog chasing you at that point? : )

    1. Allan Post author

      A man after my own heart — someone who loves the DATA! I think those max stats are bogus and come from the sampling error, coupled with my slow speed. You should take a look at the data itself; at least one of the two data files each day is ASCII and you can easily write a script to process it. I would certainly do this if I was at home in an environment more congenial to programming. It’s easy to detect stops, so you could segment the data for a day into moving portions and then compute a simple average for each segment. My gut feeling is that I start out fairly slowly, perhaps about 2.5 mph, and that I increase to 3.0 later in the day, perhaps slowing down again as I reach the end. It would make a great chart!

  15. Susan Wilks

    Thanks for the silos shots, bro-in-law. You should write a short story titled “The Leaning Silo of Catatonk” – it has quite a ring to it! And as for that trailer…maybe the guy takes his own village with him wherever he goes!
    Your people connections are starting to hurt my brain…

    1. Allan Post author

      Regarding that trailer — I just couldn’t imaging that truck being able to pull it if it was full of stuff — it’s massive. Short story — hmmmm.

  16. Andrew Haggan

    Good Morning Allan! I really enjoy walking with you through your blog! So, the dreary leafless trees will become more and more the norm for you but I have found (sometimes) that the shapes and branches and things can still be beautiful in the winter. I suppose most of the time I am looking at the trees with hopes of the future, seeing their potential in the spring to come. I hope you still see lovely things on your walk even though the peak of fall colors is probably ending.
    Love ya lots!

    1. Allan Post author

      I am still seeing lovely things, Andrew, though just not on the same large scale. I do like that idea of potential, though.

  17. Elena

    Allan, I love that you mooed at the cows! I wonder if they are used to hearing lots of noise and that is why only a few looked up. I have been wearing my “freedom to roam” shirt in honor of you. Thanks for all the great updates! Joey and I read them faithfully. We love you!

  18. Donna Bristow

    Told George that it was getting colder there and you were sleeping in a tent last night (last night for us)… all he could say was “Wow!” Way to go, hang in there, we’re cheering you on. You’ve come so far, you’re making amazing progress, you’re making new friends! Do you find that you do certain things at certain times of the day… pray, check the news, talk to Fi? Just curious πŸ™‚

    1. Donna Bristow

      Wouldn’t it be fun to go back by car with Fi sometime and revisit all the places you tramped through on foot? Maybe on your return to NJ…

      1. Allan Post author

        Exactly! Fiona and I have been talking about that. Not for the return trip, but when we go to Toronto again soon. I can’t wait to introduce her to all my new friends!

    2. Allan Post author

      I’ll blog about the temperature last night shortly. As to routines during the day (other than blogging at the end of the day) — not really. I actually find it hard to pray while I’m walking because of the need to concentrate on the road. Communication with Fi happens when it happens, often when we discuss my options for lodging later in the day. She is a doing a great job back home at command central, except that she is worrying too much. I don’t really check the news; I find that walking, blogging and sleeping pretty well takes the whole day, especially since the blogging part is hampered by slow connections and the touch-screen interface of the iPad. I should have gotten myself a MacBook Air, or something, before starting.

  19. Dave Sutherland

    Oh to be strolling along the Catatonk Creek on my way to Ithaca *sigh*

  20. The Dening's

    So Ben got a chuckle out of your response the other day- to the point that he made me reread a couple of the sections that kept making him laugh. πŸ™‚
    He also had me take a picture to send to you. I presume I can just send that to your regular email as this does not seem to have an upload feature.
    Stay warm!

  21. Gus

    I’m very glad to know that I’m not the only human who “moos” at bovines. They must think we’re looney (and they’re right). πŸ™‚

    1. Allan Post author

      I’ve more success in the past getting them all to look. These ones must have been jaded.

  22. jonathan wilks

    Hi Allan,
    A big Congrats on making it to the halfway point! Like Philip C. I’ve been wondering how your feet are doing. Are your ‘dogs’ barking? Make those little leggies go!

    1. Allan Post author

      I think I failed to answer Phil’s question because I got messed up on my iPad — I’m so looking forward to a proper mouse interface when I get home! My feet are holding up well. I’m learning to take better care of them, putting bandaids with lambs wool on the tender parts, vaseline on the rest, sock liners under my socks, and alternating my shoes. But they do hurt at the end of the day and it really helps to get them up off the floor. Each morning, though, I’m fully recovered and ready to make my little leggies go.

  23. Chuck Haupt

    Allan…You met my son as you checked -in or out at the motel in Apalachin, he told me about your trip and blog. I wish I had the time to come out and welcome you our section of upstate. I am enjoying your postings, and a bit jealous. Great adventure! Good luck with the rest of the walk.

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks for checking in Chuck. I’m not sure I remember your son at that motel. I remember the general manager and two desk managers, all women. Anyway, I’m glad you can join me in the trip, even if it’s only virtually.

  24. Kate and John Dening


    I enjoy reading your entries everyday and seeing the pictures you post. I can remember reading Walk Across America, the book not the NG articles, and the follow up book The Walk West. I always thought it would make a fascinating adventure, I am glad you are getting to do this. We are praying for you.


    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks John. It really does feel like a dream come true, even though there is lots of hard work in it.

  25. JL Tabailloux

    Hey Alan
    I wish I could ride along. That would be a change. The colors ars so wonderful and enticing. Hope you don’t get tired of the scenery.
    The Family Here is doing well. Amanda my daughter in law is due in a couple weeks. Fun expectation of a new Tabailloux baby grandchild.
    PTL God is good
    have a good walk tomorrow

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks, Jean-Luc. I haven’t tired of the scenery in the least — it is always fresh. How many grandchildren will that be when Amanda delivers?

  26. John Haggan

    Uncle Allan,

    not sure if you go back to re-read old posts but i am a few days behind. the long red trailer is probably used to haul race cars. no windows for horses. from the looks of it, 3 small or 2 large. hopefully they have legend cars in there. we race at a few tracks in that area.

    1. Allan Post author

      Legend cars — brilliant — you need that much space but it’s not so heavy that the pickup couldn’t pull it.

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