Thursday, December 4, 2014

Theory of Constraints: 2554.1 to 2562.2 Miles: 12/4/15

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
Animated Street View
Today's Weather
Completed Segment 38

The route follows Route 12 in eastern Montana. The first few miles have a narrow shoulder, but then it gets wide.

The route is a little hilly with a few trees.
Buy On Amazon

There aren't any apparent places to stealth camp, but there shouldn't be a need as Forsyth isn't far from the end of this leg.

Current Planning Status

Now that I've walked 2,566 miles while pondering the challenges of a 48 state reality hike or virtual hike, I'm close to a solution. I have to resolve minor issues for a reality hike, but they are truly minor.

My solution isn't the best anymore than Henry Ford invented the best assembly line possible. It works. I will improve the method, but there is no need as the one I have works better than it needs to.

The route planning is complete. Today marks the last waypoint on the route that should be difficult. It appears that from now on, towns will be closer together and there shouldn't be any long stretches between services. Even if there are, the solution is a repeat of solutions to earlier long stretches.

Although I haven't finalized the gear list, I know that has an easy solution which will take a couple of days.

I'm working on food planning, but I have a good idea how to do it.

Electronic Device Power: One solar panel and a storage battery weighing a few pounds ought to do it. Since technology is changing so fast, I'm not in a hurry to finalize the choice.

Internet Connectivity: The obvious answer is a Smart Phone that can act as a hot spot. Although I'll explore other options, this is what I'd likely use.

What's left? Find out in the next section.

Theory of Constraints


After searching the sports world for a solution to the 48 State Hike riddle, I found the current final solution in the business world. The solution is in "The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement" by Eliyahu Goldratt. The book is a novel about a production line. For the purposes of this post, I'll say it's a straight production line where events have to happen in order. The events are all the things a person does during their walking day. The product is the miles walked each day.

How to find the constraint

If you are driving on the interstate and the traffic suddenly slows, what do you expect to see ahead? That's easy. An accident, a lane closing or a phantom cause. The phantom cause could have been a near accident. That can cause a backup through an entire city. If you want to explore "traffic waves," check out this website. 

If I ask a person why they can't exercise, they may say "I don't have time!" Aha! That must be the constraint!

Then I ask, "Can you change time? Aren't there 24 hours in everyday no matter how hard I try to change it?"

Well, no, you can't change time. It must be something else! The constraint must be what the person does with their time! Many will make a log of all their activities during the day and see where they can get the time. Sounds good, but that takes a week or so of effort. 

Here is the shortcut:

Since you are reading a blog, I'll assume you are wasting time on a computer. There is a free app called "Manictime" that will give an embarrassingly accurate report on where you spend your time. Click Download on the page to get the free version.

When you find the constraint which takes the time you could use for walking devote your full attention to that constraint. Don't step on pissants. You need to find the elephants. Do you watch TV for three hours a day? Perhaps it is work. 

If there truly is no way to get resolve the constraints that use all your time, then give up on a long virtual hike idea. Same thing if you don't feel like resolving them! We all have different goals in life and walking is not for everyone. I don't play darts, bowl, go out drinking or do other things people like to do.

But if you want to reality hike the 48 State Hike or hike it virtually in 2 years or some other time, then you must resolve the constraint that is gobbling the time needed to train.


Without spending any money or taking time away from family, find 15 minutes in each day you can walk. Consider this exercise complete when you are using this time for walking.

Remember the title of the book:" The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement." This will be an iterative process until you find all the time you need. It's probably there if you look hard enough.


This was an introduction to the theory of constraints. Actually, the whole theory is here if you practice applying "look for and unplug the clogs." It sounds so simple, but it can take months of pondering and application. 


  1. I have finally decided that my plan to hike the Continental Divide or the Appalachian Trail is not going to happen with the ease I foresaw. Mainly because I just can't be away from my dog that long. Therefore. Virtual hiking is the option of choice. Watch this space.

    1. Jenny,

      Watch for the solidification of the training process. It's working better than I thought, but I still have to figure out how to put it into words. I can't do that until I've walked it another 2 or 3 weeks.

      I know it's possible to average more than a marathon a day after two years of training if the person is healthy.