Saturday, July 6th, 2013
Mid-Missouri Man’s Walk of a Lifetime
BOONVILLE – You’re probably familiar with the saying, You don’t know a man until you walk a mile in his shoes, but what about 4,500 miles. One man is trying to do just that and experiencing the journey of a lifetime along the way.
Tom Kline has experienced the extremes. From being in 60 below zero weather in Alaska to hot and muggy swamps in Florida. He has done all of this while walking across the United States. Kline earned his master’s degree in industrial engineering from Mizzou in 1968. He went on to have a career in medicine. Kline later retired and wanted to do something nobody had done before, walk from the northern most part of the United States to the southern most part.
Kline said he is doing it to raise awareness for malaria. “There are many technologies that we can deploy to eliminate malaria, so that’s the primary reason I’m doing it. If we eliminate malaria just think of all the mosquito-borne diseases that we can eliminate,” said Tom Kline.
Kline started his walk in 2006 at the northern most point of the United States in Stone Barrow, Alaska. Kline is walking all the way to the southern most point of the U.S. in Key West, Florida.
So far, Kline has walked about 4,500 miles and has about 900 to go. Kline is walking in stages and not just straight through. “You can do something like this and still have a life. You don’t have to drop out and carry a big backpack and disappear from the family or your work commitments or from your investments. You don’t have to do any of that. You can do it one step at a time I like to say,” said Kline.
But when he’s not with family, he is walking and averages about 20 miles a day. He says it can be tough at times but he knows he can do it. “I’ve always been a walker and you can do anything. This walk is a perfect example. I may not be fast but if I can be persistent, I’m sure I can complete it,” said Kline.
The best part about walking is so many different places, “Are the people that you meet. I’ve seen a lot of wildlife. I’ve encountered many bears, 20 or 30 of them in British Columbia and coming across the Yukon, grizzly bears, moose, alligators in Florida, rattlesnakes, pit vipers, the whole thing. But it’s really the people that you meet,”said Kline. For now, Kline will continue walking and be the first person to do a walk of this kind.
Kline says he has about 900 more miles to walk and plans to finish sometime next year.
by Drew Brackett
Friday, July 5th, 2013
At 5:30 AM I am on the road again. I know this will be my last day walking for this trip and am anxious to beat the heat and complete 20 miles. There is still a six mile segment of road west of Columbia to finish which gives me an opportunity to tour a new housing development along the route 40 service road. It seems like a good life living in Columbia. [Then I recall the very harsh Missouri winters and know in my heart I will never live here again. Then again, never say never!]
Thursday, July 4th, 2013
The University of Missouri is still a fun place. Meticulously manicured grounds create a peaceful and enjoyable environment. As I tour the campus memories of my graduate years here slowly slip back into my consciousness. At the fireworks display right on the edge of campus I feel part of the crowd and in a way wish I could be a student once again.
Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013
Well as of tonight I have walked 119.7 miles since I restarted this stage six days ago. My aim has been to reach Columbia, home of the University of Missouri, A very long time ago< I earned a Masters degree in Industrial Engineering right here at Mizzou. I am anxious to return to this town which I now begin to remember well. As I sip a chardonnay I recall that one of the greatest gifts I received here was the art of analyzing variables. It is a long story but during my pharmaceutical career I encountered hundreds of technical problems which needed to be resolved. While other, well qualified engineers, searched for the "root cause" of these problems I never forgot the lessons of my Mizzou course in Experimental Design which showed how to determining the impact of multiple variables on an outcome. Usually, in my business problems many variables were involved. You taught me well Mizzou!
Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
How do you find a good restaurant in a small town? All you need do is watch for packs of senior citizens. In the little towns across American when seniors go out to eat they line up, precisely at opening time, usually at 5 PM, in front of their favorite culinary stop. In Boonville, Missouri the crowd at The Palace is already savoring fine Greek cuisine when I arrive. “Our Gyro dinner was voted the best in the state”, the waitress proudly announces. “Each couple will want separate checks”, an elderly male diner announces for a group of eleven of his companions. “Now her”, pointing across the table to a woman in a red dress, “She’ll have to pay her own her husband passed away”.
While reflecting on this phenomenon of live I enjoy my Gyro.
Monday, July 1st, 2013
I have been tracking the early American Lewis and Clark who traipsed over these same trails in 1804, ever since I entered the great state of Washington. Their historic, heroic, nation changing, exploration is well known to all students of history of the “old west”. Missourians take a special pride in their Lewis and Clark heritage. “They stopped here on the banks of the Missouri river to collect timber to replace the oars for their rafts which had been worn down fighting rough currents and the rocky river bottom”, a commemorative river side plaque reports outside of Lexington.
Mile by mile I think of these intrepid early travelers wishing, even if silently, that I had been with them.
Sunday, June 30th, 2013
Restaurants are limited in Lexington but, they are generally nice. There I find Las Caritas, a Mexican delight. More importantly, I meet the staff. Speaking in my acceptable, but broken Spanish, the crew one by one comes by my table to offer their welcome. They are all young folks, new to the USA, struggling make a new life for themselves. Wow, this really is America!
I am having fun and ask for a final class of wine. “One for the road”, I say. “We do not allow alcohol to be taken out the Mexican manager replies. The excitement continues as I explain the real meaning of the expression “One for the road”
Sunday, June 30th, 2013
It is Sunday. The local Mc Donald’s doesn’t open until 6:30 AM. Precisely at that hour, desperate for a large cup of their freshly brewed coffee, I enter the restaurant just as the door is unlocked. But, there are two gents in front of me. One holds the door to allow me in first. Then the second says “Good Morning”. Obligated I insist that they order first. Instantly conversation erupts [I am still half asleep]. One of the god folks is Don who introduces me to his friend a retired town mortician. Newly motivated, I wobble on through the day completing another 20 miles.
Sunday, June 30th, 2013
Lewis and Clark, in 1809, had difficulty navigating the Missouri River right here in Lexington, Mo. drifting piles of timber, washed down river by seasonal rains clogged the otherwise picturesque, but desolate, waterway. The French called this floating debris Embarrass. And so we are
Saturday, June 29th, 2013
I went to bed too early last night. Alas, at 5AM I was out walking again, just before the sun raised its hot head. Fortunately, my hotel was right on the route, along highway 290. I finally, still not fully awake, headed east on Mo. Route 24 wobbling toward Lexington.