I just walked through the city of Peoria in Illinois and am approaching the 1,700 mile mark and within a week or two should hit 4 million footsteps.
Walking down the highway nearing Winfield, IA, I was flagged over by a family grilling out on their deck. I walked over, feeling like my feet were dragging as I went. It was hot that day and I was dreaming about some shade. They invited me up on the porch for a cold mountain dew and some shade from the afternoon sun. Before long I was enjoying a home cooked meal with the great family of Jeff, Diana, and Anna. After eating, the sun was going down and Jeff offered to drive me up the road to the campsite. We discovered the campsite was closed due to maintenance. He was kind enough to invite me to camp in their yard! It just felt like it was meant to be. It was the Wednesday before the 4th of July and I was able to join them for a bonfire on their driveway and watch fireworks in the distance.
As I lay in my tent slowly falling asleep, I thought how Christian that was of them to be so hospitable to me! Would I have done the same in their position? I know prior to this trip I most likely would not have.... hopefully now I would. This is just a clear example of people getting out of their "Christian comfort zone" and truly practicing their faith. During these past few days, I have seen how generous and nice people can be. I had a couple drop off some snacks like Gatorade, water, beef jerky, and candy. Also, a woman stopped and gave me a spray bottle of vanilla for the gnats. They had been bouncing off my head, flying into my eyes and into my mouth. As soon as I sprayed that on my hat they were gone! What a blessing after dealing with those gnats for days.
After asking God for the gift of humility the day prior, I woke up with a sore ankle. I ended up limping the last 8 miles of the day. It was made clear once again that I could not do this trip alone, and how much of a blessing it is to have good health! That night I could barely bend my ankle. The next morning... Nothing! No pain! It was pretty amazing in my eyes. This whole trip has been nothing short of miraculous. There have been very few rainy days, no bad experiences, and great people!
Saturday July 5th, I was looking forward to my cousins coming down for a visit. It is always weird to see people you actually know. I was able to join them for a night of camping which consisted of a sweet campground, swimming in a lake, fishing, conversation around a bonfire, and a breakfast and lunch the following day! Thank you Paul and Kathleen and cousins Bridgette, Gregory, and Alex! This was very generous of you with your time, money, and kindness!
The past few days have been brutally hot and muggy. I seem to sweat most of the day and don't get much sleep. Even waking up at 3am, I find myself sweating within minutes of walking. During these hot days there have been a few stretches that I would not have made without extra water. Once again it was always provided! I have had multiple people drop off water bottles and snacks. It still amazes me how kind people can be.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his mercy endures forever.
Visited by my Uncle Paul, Aunt Kathleen, and cousins Bridgette, Gregory, and Alex!
The Wayland, IA parade.
Eating dinner with Jeff, Diana, and Anna!
Brushing my teeth on the side of the road...
Enjoying lunch with my cousins... What a blessing!
Either I have aged a few years from this walk or it rained a lot today!
Also, here is the latest SPOT tracking beacon link of my location: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0RqaCWQXIjE7D4bXX0MBtk3Xsm7XdnCAL