Thursday, May 14, 2015

2955.8 to 2978.6 Miles: 5/13/15

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
Today's Weather

There is lots of flat and straight in these legs. I'm looking forward to Nebraska. The road is good and it should be fast traveling.
Buy On Amazon

It's the time of year for beautiful sunrises and sunsets. It's also the time when walking in the morning is cool and enjoyable.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

2937.9 to 2955.8 Miles: Start Segment 44: 5/10/15

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
Today's Weather

Rapid City is in the middle of these two segments. Route 44 has a good shoulder. Good time to travel fast and far.
Buy On Amazon

Segment 44 map

Long Walk on Bicycle Trail

Krister went to volunteer at the animal shelter today. While he was there, I walked 9 miles on the bicycle trail.

I probably should have taken more pictures, but for some reason, I was into walking without paying attention to my surroundings.

2923 to 2937.9 Miles: Complete Segment 43. New Metronome 5/8/15

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
Today's Weather

The route continues through the Black Hills National Forest. There is a gas station about a third of the way through the route and a campground where the route turns east.

If doing a real hike, call ahead to be certain the gas station is open.
Buy On Amazon


I bought a Shar Professional quartz metronome for about $24,95. So far, it has lasted about 20 hours on one nine-volt battery.

The only bad thing is the tempos are ...112, 116, 120, 126, 132... These are a little far apart for walking, but 116 or 120 works well for me. If I wanted to slowly increase my stride rate, I'd use the metronome on the Anadroid.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

2916 to 2923 Miles: 5/6/15: Metronome

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
Today's Weather

This part of the route goes through the Black Hills National Forest. Much of the land adjacent to the road appears privately owned, but there should be enough places to camp.

It's about 55 miles from Deadwood to the next water source near Rapid City. .
Buy On Amazon


I've been using a metronome off and on for some time how. 115 steps per minute is a good balance between speed and distance.

Lately, I've been starting to do pushups and the metronome is also working well for them. I still use 115 bpm and do one pushup every fourth beat. Shortly, I'll be adding situps and possibly other exercises.

I have no goal for numbers of each exercise except to see how many I can do without stopping.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

2906.2 to 2916 Miles: 5/5/15

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
Today's Weather

There are a few short stretches south of Deadwood where there is no shoulder in the direction of travel. There are many motorcycles on this road and some of them hug the fogline. It may be safer in places to cross the road and travel with traffic.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is the first or second week in August. If you want to visit Sturgis, you can plan a slightly different route.
Buy On Amazon

2901.1 Miles to 2906.2 Miles: 5/4/15

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
Today's Weather

The route quickly enters the Black Hills National Forest with plenty of places to camp. The road is four lane with a wide shoulder.

This segment ends in Deadwood. Deadwood is a small casino town with about 20 hotels and motels.

Deadwood was wild in the late 1800's and is the final resting place for Wild Bill Hickok and Calamaity Jane. 
Buy On Amazon

2887.5 to 2901.9 Miles: Spear Fish: 5/3/15

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
Today's Weather

The road south to Spear Fish is four lane. There is a bicycle trail for a few miles where the route turns east. There is a couple miles of frontage road with a narrow shoulder. When the route turns south, the road turns to four lanes with good shoulders. 
Buy On Amazon


Sunday, I was walking through Spear Fish on the virtual hike. In the afternoon, I went to Chipotle's in Pueblo, Co. The line was out the door as a couple busses arrived recently. They were members of the track team from Spear Fish. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Soap Bubbles in Fountain: 2879.2 to 2787.5: 5/1/15

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
Today's Weather

This is a good time to try for a long day. The shoulders are great for at least 40 miles. A 30-mile day will end up in the Black Hills National Forest. By this time, a 50-mile day shouldn't be out of reach although I'd avoid walking at night. There should be enough daylight hours to attempt a 50-mile day.
Buy On Amazon

Last Day of Finals at University

Today is the last day of finals, and for the second year in a row, the students put soap in the fountain. Nice to see kids still have some fun. 

Off to go backpacking later today.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Start Strong, Finish Strong: 2864.2 to 2879.2 Miles: Complete Segment 42

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
Today's Weather

I discovered a shorter route. On the last leg, go into Belle Fourche, and then west on 34 to Wyoming. You could do an out and back from Belle Fourche. If you stay in a motel, stay on the south side of town to save miles.

Buy On Amazon

If anyone is planning to do a reality hike, I discovered a new route that heads east across South Dakota. This saves miles because later you won't have to go north to catch Minnesota. Send me a message if you'd like the GPS waypoints.

Completed Segment 42

Start Strong, Finish Strong

During my two-month break, I found I started to rapidly decline physically. Another couple months, and I would have been back where I started a year ago. Fortunately, recovery was fast. By decline, I mean I didn't feel as well, and I found walking a couple miles without stopping was difficult.

Start Strong, Finish Strong
In his book, Start Strong, Finish Strong: Prescriptions for a Lifetime of Great Health, Ken Cooper explained how to extend our healthy life, and possibly extend our years through a combination of diet, exercise and annual medical exams.

The curve above shows what happens to a person who is basically sedentary and has an average diet. They continue on a steady decline from age 20 until they die. They may not notice this decline without annual physical exams or a significant medical event. 

Start Strong, Finish Strong
Through exercise, diet, and annual medical exams to discover problems early, a person can raise their path of decline with age above the half-circle. 


Exercise will not reduce the effects of an unhealthy diet. I have my medical records from the 40 years ago to prove it. My cholesterol was high and so was my blood pressure. I was also gradually increasing my weight. All this, even though I was physically active. 

However, I'll address a simple exercise plan. In my opinion, Ken Cooper's best book on exercise was Aerobics, which he published in 1968. Just ignore the parts where he says it will cure everything. The plan itself is still valid. You can buy a used paperback on Amazon for a penny plus shipping.

It's based on a simple point table which you can see here. Get 30 points a week above your normal activity and you are doing good. Sixty a week is even better. Above that, the benefits haven't been measured. As you get older, add some strength training in the form of simple calisthenics or whatever you like to do.


I've seen amazing recoveries by people who pay attention to their diet. I'm not going to step in the middle of a diet controversy. What I will say is it's almost never too late to improve.

Saving Life for Retirement

It makes no sense to save for retirement if a person is going to blow it all on a medical problem. It doesn't take much with today's medical costs to lose a few hundred thousand dollars. If a person is planning for poor health by not taking care of themselves, they may as well be broke when it happens.

Time for Life

The body doesn't care if a person doesn't have time for proper exercise or if a person doesn't want to eat a proper diet. That's the reality and each person has to decide which curve they will be on for the rest of their life.

There really isn't any excuse for diet. The healthiest foods are also the cheapest foods per calorie. 

The good news is a person can get back to health at almost any point in their life until something catastrophic happens.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Introduction to Metabolic Equivalents (MET'S): 2842.2 to 2864.4 Miles: Entering Wyoming

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
(Note: Display will stop while on dirt road)
Today's Weather

You may want to skip the dirt road and go into Belle Fourche depending on your timing, Then do an out and back to Wyoming from Belle Fourche. The road to Wyoming has wide shoulders and looks to be in good condition.
Buy On Amazon

Entering Wyoming

Wyoming is the last of the Western states. The route just crosses the border and returns to South Dakota.

Metabolic Equivalents (METS)

Metabolic Equivalents are a way to compare the intensity of different exercises. If you'd like the long story, read this article.

One MET is the amount of energy in calories you use while at complete rest. You can calculate it using this calculator. The answer will be in calories used in 24 hours while at rest. If you are interested in losing weight, divide the answer by 1,440 which is the number of minutes in a day.

If you'd like to know how many calories you burned during exercise, you can use this table. For instance, standing is 1.3 METs.

Assume my base number of calories used is 1,650, I burn 1,650/1440 calories a minute or 1.15 calories a minute. While standing, I'd burn 1.49 calories a minute while standing. For those tracking calories recognize you are only burning 1.49 - 1.15 additional  calories a minute or .34 calories a minute. Most exercise equipment does not make this adjustment and overstates the number of additional calories used.

Higher Math

Those who are proficient in spreadsheets could easily design one for their normal activities. Fitbit calculates the METs for walking and other activities that mainly involve taking steps. You can enter other exercises besides walking. It will automatically calculate activity calories. Warning: These include the "at rest" calories, so it overstates the benefit.


METs are a difficult to use without a calculator. There are many online. It's not my favorite method for fitness purposes. I prefer the Aerobic Point System. For 65% of the cardio benefits possible, earn 30 points a week. 60 points a week gets about 85% of the benefits. Each Aerobic point is worth about 40 extra calories. For example, one mile in 20 minutes burns an additional 40 calories.

The harsh truth: It takes about 90 miles of walking to lose one pound a week if a person eats the number of calories equal to their base calories. This includes random steps during the day. Aside from the physical aspect, it takes lots of walking to lose weight. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Back after a Break: 2826 to 2848.2 Miles: 4/28/15

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

It's still flat, but at least there are two curves in only 28 miles. It doesn't look like there is any water available. Stealth camping is sketchy.
Buy On Amazon

Took a Break

I started a new proofreading business on 12/30/14 and ended up taking a three-month break from walking. Yuck. It seemed like I lost all my fitness, but it came back quickly during April. Now I'm back to walking enough each day to continue the virtual journey.

It was too easy to lose motivation one day at a time. Glad it didn't end up lasting for a few years. I've rededicated myself to making the long morning walk a priority in my life. 

Weather Success!

Except for possibly being stuck in northern Texas for a week in February, the plan to leave in the middle of March was perfect! The beginning of April would probably work. Each year is different, so this won't be the case every year.

Training Charts

After trying several different cyclical training methods, I found none of them were any better than walking based on how I felt each day. What seems to work best is tracking my trailing seven-day miles and hitting the range for my fitness level. Now I'm in the mid-60's and working my way back to the mid-80's. It shouldn't take long.


I'm "out of shape" for blogging, too. During the break, I learned some useless training theory to write about. Not because it's better, but because other people think it's better and you will run across it in your reading. I'll start reviewing some of that tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Is Everything a Lie? 2805.1 to 2826 Miles: 12/30/14

Buy on Amazon

Virtual Hike

This southbound leg in North Western South Dakota may be the straightest 30 miles or so on the entire route. Each frame in the animated street view looks almost like the frame before. For some reason, I enjoy stretches of road like this.


Today's post may seem unrelated to road walking. However, what a person thinks while road walking is a major part of the experience. 

Note to self: wear long underwear and mittens when
it's below 10 degrees

Is Everything a Lie?

Someone I know shared a post on Facebook that said Monsanto lost $156 million last quarter. The truth is they made about $2.74 billion. The person who posted said, "Come on Ben, you know lying is the new truth in America!" 

How will people react if this is true? I'm beginning to think it is true that people on both sides of the political spectrum lie. Often it is not intentional. They pass on a lie from someone they thought was telling the truth. Eventually it becomes what people believe.

The Kedushat Levi has an answer: "For whoever is false, nobody will desire to do anything with them, even business or speaking with them." I've been noticing I'm withdrawing from contact with others as there isn't much truth out there. For all the feel good posts on Facebook, I see others withdrawing. 

The Kedushat Levi goes on to say: "If it was possible for the world to be established without truth, a person would not arouse themselves to come to truth."

This is hard to grasp without knowing the whole book. I'll restate it. If the relationships between causes and effects disintegrate, then people will stop seeking these relationships. 

College is an example of this. It used to be going to college and getting good grades in a reasonable major had the effect of a good job. This relationship has disappeared. The truth of college has disappeared, so kids aren't going. The new truth is no matter how hard someone works, they will likely get a minimum wage job. There are exceptions, but not enough to make going to college a truth.

There is a hidden meaning in the word established. Established in this context means to bring into permanent existence. Without truth, our society cannot exist permanently. Even without education, people used to be able to find truth by observing causes and effects.  This is no longer the case as the relationship between causes and effects has been severed.

It gets worse. Our deepest need is survival. When people find they can no longer survive by telling the truth, the truth becomes they can only survive by telling lies. The Kedushat Levi also discusses this when explaining the meaning of the name Jacob. Jacob means to act towards others as they act towards you. This includes telling lies. The result is that in order to fight evil, a person must use the same type of evil.

Let's use coaching as an example. I read a post today by a person who obliquely stated that if you used them as a coach, you could make a bundle writing eBooks. All you have to do is write a great book the first time. 

The truth is, this doesn't happen often. Even if it does, the truth is it might be worth a couple hundred dollars a month for a couple years. The truth is, a person has to be in about the top 0.1% of eBook authors to make a living. That's one in a thousand. The truth is, a writer doesn't get there without writing many great books. The truth is, the number of eBooks has almost doubled in the last two years and is increasing by about 78,000 books a month.

I'd be more impressed if the coach had said they could help a writer publish a book they could be proud of. That is reasonably attainable.

Nature has truth. If I go in the wilderness, the wilderness will do what it does. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it's cold, sometimes it's beautiful. Sometimes it sends avalanches, etc. But it never lies. Mostly it's benign if a person knows the causes and effects and avoids obvious dangers.

Since falsehood cannot survive, those who live by it cannot survive. Neither can those who try to stay in the false system. The path to survival is to withdraw into those parts of society that are truthful, and they are becoming harder to find. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Welcome to White Blaze Viewers

Since I made a post on White Blaze I'm getting some backpackers checking out this website. I thought I'd tell you a little about it.

The 48 State Hike started as a 10 day motorcycle trip. I didn't have the time or the money to take the trip and I also didn't like the idea of riding on the east coast. I quit riding when I started backpacking frequently in 2010. I'd backpacked many times before, but in 2010 my son and I got into it.

I decided to convert the trip into a 48 State Hike. I'm one of those strange people who like to hike on the roads. Sure, I enjoy backpacking in the Colorado Mountains. Road walking is a different experience I also enjoy.

The route for the 48 State Hike is realistic for a real hike. It's not as impossible as it sounds on the surface. Now that I have the route planned, I'm micro-planning it and starting to write a comprehensive trail guide.

The route is about 8,600 miles long. It starts and stops in Pueblo, Colorado. I chose Pueblo because that's where I live.

The timing of the route is important. The earliest start date is March 15th. The latest is about April 1st. This is based on weather patterns around the country. In order to make it work, the route has to be hiked clockwise.

Road Walking is different than backpacking. For overnight trips, a walker should have a pushcart. With a pushcart, weight and bulk isn't as important, but the walker should be careful not to take too much.

The Road Walker can wear whatever clothes they like. There is no sense in debating what is best, because people walk long distances in all kinds of clothes.

As long as a walker walks most days of the year, clothes are irrelevant. They figure out what to wear and they acclimate to the weather. Even hot weather is not an issue. I take long walks many times during the summer when it's around 110 and I seldom carry water with me.

Resupply on the 48 State Hike is easy. It passes right by a supermarket every two or three days. Water takes some thought. The longest distance between water stops is 78 miles. They are on HWY 50 in Nevada. Most people do these stretches in two days.

If anyone is interested in hiking the route, I'll give them my complete plan in GPS format or as a Streets and Trips file. I don't mind if someone hikes it before me as I doubt I'll get the chance. I'm hiking it virtually now, meaning I hike the miles for real and log progress on the map.

Road Walker

Replanning:2788.6 to 2805.1 Miles: 12/27/14

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
Segment 42 Map
Animated Street View
Animated Street View

Segment 42 is FLAT. It starts near Buffalo, SD and end near Belle Fourche, SD. It's about 70 miles between water sources. There are few places to stealth camp easily. 

Buy On Amazon


After my walk this morning, I discovered a change to the route that reduces the distance by about 100 miles. It means walking across South Dakota, but that may be better than walking diagonally across Nebraska. I won't include the change in the virtual walk as it would take too much time to replan the street views.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Few Days of Rest: 2764.2 to 2785.9: 12/26/14

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
Animated Street View
Today's Weather
Completed Segment 41

The route follows 85 south in north west South Dakota. The shoulder is wide the whole way.

There are few spots to stealth camp. It crosses a bridge over a creek about 2/3 of the way. This appears to be the only place that gives privacy. There may be some spots on some side roads, but they might lead to private property.

A Few Days of Rest

I knew it would happen eventually. I've been pushing hard for a few weeks and developed a minor pain on the top of my right foot. I decided to take a rest day, but it took three days of rest before it was completely better. The fourth day of rest was laziness.

This is an example of taking a rest day as soon as a minor pain develops. If I'd done that, I probably would have only missed one day of walking instead of four.

On the last day of rest, my calf muscles started to get sore. I expected something like this based on a book I read by Joe Henderson. He said these new pains during rest periods are the body repairing itself. They didn't give any problems during my walk this morning.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Find your "Want to's!" 2,758.8 to 2,764.7 Miles: 12/20/15

Buy on Amazon
Virtual Hike
Animated Street View
Today's weather

The route follows 85 south from the border between North and South Dakota. There are few places to stealth camp and I don't think there is a single tree to rest under. 

This leg is part of a 48 mile stretch from Bowman, North Dakota to Buffalo, South Dakota. If felt up to it, I'd walk the 48 miles in one day and take a day off in the motel in Buffalo. 

Find your “Want-to’s”


“Road Walking, why do you want to walk the 48 State Virtual Hike?”

“Coach, because I want to.”

“That’s what I asked, Road Walking. Why do you want to walk the 48 State Virtual Hike?”

“Because I want to! Aren’t you listening?”

“This is starting to sound like a bad imitation of ‘Who’s on First.’”


“Maybe you should explain more!”

“Ok, Coach. I’ll give some examples.”

Application to the Air Force Academy

“Coach, remember when we applied to the Air Force Academy?”

“Yes. We had to get an appointment from a state senator or congressmen. Our family didn’t have any political connections, but we tried anyway.”

“Remember how long one of the applications was? The last page was blank except for one question. ‘Why do you want to go to the Air Force Academy?’”

“Road Walking, I recall. It was a legal-sized piece of paper and they said to use single spacing when we typed. Yes – typed with Mom’s old Royal typewriter.”

“Coach, at first I thought about making up reasons, and together we decided to tell the complete truth.”

“Road Walking, I remember. You typed four words: ‘I want to fly.’
“Yes Coach. And that was the COMPLETE reason. That vision helped us see all the challenges as irrelevant obstacles while we were at the Air Force Academy. They were trivial things we had to step around, over or on to fly. We hardly saw most of them as our vision was pinning those silver wings on our chest.”

“We made it, Road Walking. Now we fondly recall the more difficult times.”

“Coach, why do I want to complete the 48 State Virtual Hike?”

“That’s easy Road Walking. Because you WANT to!”

Jennifer Pharr Davis

Jennifer Pharr Davis holds the record for hiking the 2,187 mile Appalachian Trail. She hiked it in 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes averaging 47 miles a day. But this is not about her record-setting hike. It’s about her first hike on the Appalachian Trail.

Warren Doyle runs the Appalachian Trail Institute about 10 miles from Damascus, TN. He has hiked the entire trail 16 times, more than anyone else. Only about 20% of those who start the trail complete the entire route. Those who attend his Institute have virtually a 100% completion rate.

When Jennifer Pharr Davis attended the institute before her first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, she had never been backpacking before. She had done some camping.

On the first day, Warren Doyle asked everyone why they wanted to hike the trail. Here is what she said:

I feel like I’m meant to… I mean like I was made to. I guess what I’m trying to say is I think I’m supposed to hike the Appalachian Trail.”

“It’s not like I chose to hike the trail, but more like it chose me.”

Jennifer made the normal backpacking rookie mistakes. She had the normal dose of difficulties. She made it because she wanted to!

Bert Nemcik (Trail Name Shadow)

Shadow wrote “See you Down the Trail.” Unlike Jennifer, Shadow was a veteran hiker. He almost made it sound too easy, as if 2,187 miles in the rain, mud, snow, wind, hail, and some sunny days could ever be easy.

Shadow quoted from “The Thru-Hiker’s Handbook” by Dan “Wingfoot” Bruce.

“A thru-hike is one long continuous journey from one end of the trail to the other end. If thru-hiking the AT is not the most important thing in your life, then don’t even consider it. Anything less than total commitment to completing your hike will certainly result in failure.”

Shadow said, “Many months later, after slogging through the rain for 24 days in a row in central Virginia, those words would come back to me over and over again as I wondered what I was doing walking between the raindrops.”

I contacted Shadow through the email address in his book. We’ve become good friends and he lives most of the year in Westcliffe, Colorado which is about 50 miles from me. Once I asked him how he completed so many projects. He said, “My father told me once you start a project, keep going until it is done.”

The Secret of Success

I’ve read many books about long-distance hiking and I’ve been on many backpacking trips. People complete hikes with all sorts of handicaps. Even blind people have hiked the long trails. There is only one difference I can find. Those who finish the long trails keep hiking and those who don’t finish stop hiking. Those who finish the hike “want to” and those who don’t finish “don’t want to.” Some take more than one year because of injuries.

If a person gets a good case of the “want to’s” they will be successful.


Goal-setting is a TOOL. I use it in all projects I “want to” complete. My style is detailed written action plans, but it’s not the only style that works.


“Coach, do you see why “want to” is enough?”

“Yes, Road Walking. If a person “wants to” they will somehow find the ‘How to.’”

Exercise for readers
1. Pinpoint your “want to’s.” Then start “hiking.” Along the way, continually improve the “How to.”