April 25, 2014

April 25, 2014 Today was the first day of the new walk for Alzheimer’s and for the Indiana Lincoln Highway.

Balirwalk 2  Day 1 001 Carol walked with me all day and needed a nice Jacuzzi and a good Italian meal this evening. She is going for it again tomorrow…15 miles! We started out around 8:20 and walked a whole 5 minutes to our first stop… to the Dyer, Indiana Historical Museum. A wonderful place with great people taking good care of the exhibits…Kathy Powers and Nancy Speicher. They are great people, great friends.

Balirwalk 2  Day 1 007 Dyer is the maiden name of the wife of the first settler here, Aaron Hart. The area was largely swamp land so there are a bunch of drainage ditches in the area. This whole day we are in an area that really is a suburb of Chicago these days but has a tremendous heritage in the 19th century.

From there we started heading west and were treated to an escort from the Dyer fire department…specifically, Ron Reichelt. Ron knows a ton of the local history as he has had relatives along the route, and has lived here a long, long time.

Balirwalk 2  Day 1 019The other treat was having Judy and Ross Wood from Mishawaka join us for a part of the walk. They have been wonderful friends and long standing LH supporters and Judy is currently on our Board of Directors. They are going to try and catch up with us near Ohio in May when we finish up too!

Balirwalk 2  Day 1 012

Here they are sitting at the Ostermann Bench near Meyer Castle in Dyer and the area known as the Ideal Mile (first 4 lane, lighted, well paved highway used as an example for other towns and states back in the early 20′s).

As we entered Shereville, we had the good fortune of being invited to visit the St. John Township School dating to 1853. It has been remodeled and today they had a full day of classes and many of the kids came in costume. What a great idea. Here are a couple of pictures showing the one room school and the kids and volunteers. I even got to provide some insights regarding the Lincoln Highway for them. Can you imagine me pontificating? Don’t answer that. Really a blast!

Balirwalk 2  Day 1 024 Balirwalk 2  Day 1 023

As we headed toward downtown, Schereville we crossed a major railroad tracks…looks like the road to infinity!

Balirwalk 2  Day 1 027

Further on is one of the great old bridges of the Lincoln Highway in Indiana.

Balirwalk 2  Day 1 028

Toward the end of the day we ended up in Merrillville which started out as Wiggins Point, a great old hotel for travelers. Later (after Wiggins passed on), they renamed it Centerville only to find out there already was a Centerville in Indiana so they couldn’t name it that! So two enterprising brothers named Merrill decided on the name…surprise, they called it Merrillville. Today we stopped at the Merrillville/Ross Township Museum and met with several local dignitaries, several museum volunteers, a local reporter, my good friend George Rogge (who bought us dinner last night!!!), and the manager Alice Smedsted. She even brought some snacks for us. Yum!

Balirwalk 2  Day 1 037 Balirwalk 2  Day 1 038

One more mile to the end of the line for today…at George’s insurance business and a home from 1876…on the Lincoln Highway nearly 40 years before the LH was named!

Balirwalk 2  Day 1 041

Great weather today and we seem to be doing ok. We are enjoying the walk so far, we feel your prayers and good thoughts, and we had several additional donations as we met folks! Tomorrow it’s 15 miles to Valparaiso.

 

 

 

April 14, 2011; Day 1 of the walk across Indiana.

Dan and Carol Miles of Warsaw and Tom Davis of North Webster joined me for the 11 mile walk from the OH/IN border to New Haven. We left the state line around 10:00 a.m. after some brief photo ops with good friend Jim Newcombe doing the honors. My wife Carol joined us for the last 5 miles after lunch, too.

We had not walked more than 1/2 mile when we were hailed by a woman from her window. So we walked back and met Beth Sorgen who had lived in the area for many years. Beth was such fun and shared a couple of stories about the rough and tumble good old days of the Lincoln Highway in eastern Indiana. She has my address so I hope to get a letter from her with even more stories.

A bit later we met the unofficial “mayors ” of both Townley and Zulu. Jerry Love of Townley told us about the tornados of the 1920′s that reduced the size of townley substantially. he recalls hearing stories of how the tornado knocked down the local school as if it was shuffling bricks!

Dick Wobbeking of Zulu was actually out of his jurisdicton, playing a little pinochle and having a touch of beer with the boys at the tavern over in Townley. Both of these men and several more we chatted up at the tavern were very friendly and helpful… real Hoosiers offering real Hoosier hospitality.

Afer a brief lunch we headed into Besancon, a community dating back 200+ years. We visited the St Louis Catholic Church with its foundation in the 1840′s and the next door Academy that dates to 1915. The principal of the Academy is Cheryl Whitaker and what a great find she was. She came to the door and let me in then took all of us on a tour introducing us to faculty and students everywhere! They have 69 students today but have educated up to 200 at times. Cheryl shared a story about old head stones in the cemetary falling down and some of the parishoners tossing them into a lake behind the church for years and years. Now the lake is filled in so there are likely dozens of headstones buried out in back forever!

We arrived at our hotel in New Haven around 3:30 p.m. and after a little clean up and rest, joined the Mayor, Terry McDonald for dinner. We had a great time hearing about his community service, his new race for re-election, some of the history of this portion of the state (The Black Swamp era), and more. We will meet Terry in the morning and walk through New Haven together.

Here are a couple of more candid shots of the day:

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Daily Blog

April 25, 2014  Today was the first day of the new walk for Alzheimer’s and for the Indiana Lincoln Highway. Balirwalk 2  Day 1 001 Carol walked with me all day and needed a nice Jacuzzi and a good Italian meal this evening.  She is going for it again tomorrow…15 miles!  We started out around 8:20 and walked a whole 5 minutes to our first stop… to the Dyer, Indiana Historical Museum.  A wonderful place with great people taking good care of the exhibits…Kathy Powers and Nancy Speicher.   They are great people, great friends.                                                   Balirwalk 2  Day 1 007      Dyer is the maiden name of the wife of the first settler here, Aaron Hart.  The area was largely swamp land so there are a bunch of  drainage ditches in the area.  This whole day we are in an area that really is a suburb of Chicago these days but has a tremendous heritage in the 19th century.

From there we started heading west and were treated to an escort from the Dyer fire department…specifically, Ron Reichelt.  Ron knows a ton of the local history as he has had relatives along the route, and has lived here a long, long time.

Balirwalk 2  Day 1 019

The other treat was having Judy and Ross Wood from Mishawaka join us for a part of the walk.  They have been wonderful friends and long standing LH supporters and Judy is currently on our Board of Directors.  They are going to try and catch up with us near Ohio in May when we finish up too!

Balirwalk 2  Day 1 012

Here they are sitting at the Ostermann Bench near Meyer Castle in Dyer and the area known as the Ideal Mile (first 4 lane, lighted, well paved highway used as an example for other towns and states back in the early 20′s).

As we entered Shereville, we had the good fortune of being invited to visit the St. John Township School dating to 1853.  It has been remodeled and today they had a full day of classes and many of the kids came in costume.  What a great idea.  Here are a couple of pictures showing the one room school and the kids and volunteers.  I even got to provide some insights regarding the Lincoln Highway for them. Can you imagine me pontificating?  Don’t answer that.   Really a blast!

Balirwalk 2  Day 1 024                      Balirwalk 2  Day 1 023

As we headed toward downtown, Schereville we crossed a major railroad tracks…looks like

the road to infinity!    Balirwalk 2  Day 1 027

Further on is one of the great old bridges of the Lincoln Highway in Indiana.

Balirwalk 2  Day 1 028

 

Toward the end of the day we ended up in Merrillville which started out as Wiggins Point, a great old hotel for travelers.  Later (after Wiggins passed on), they renamed it Centerville only to find out there already was a Centerville in Indiana so they couldn’t name it that!  So two enterprising brothers named Merrill decided on the name…surprise, they called it Merrillville.  Today we stopped at the Merrillville/Ross Township Museum and met with several local dignitaries, several museum volunteers, a local reporter,  my good friend  George Rogge (who bought us dinner last night!!!), and the manager Alice Smedsted.  She even brought some snacks for us.  Yum!

Balirwalk 2  Day 1 037      Balirwalk 2  Day 1 038

One more mile to the end of the line for today…at George’s insurance business and a home from 1876…on the Lincoln Highway nearly 40 years before the LH was named!

Balirwalk 2  Day 1 041

Great weather today and we seem to be doing ok.  We are enjoying the walk so far,  we feel your prayers and good thoughts, and we had several additional donations as we met folks!  Tomorrow it’s 15 miles to Valparaiso.

 

 

 

April 14, 2011; Day 1 of the walk across Indiana.

Dan and Carol Miles of Warsaw and Tom Davis of North Webster joined me for the 11 mile walk from the OH/IN border to New Haven.  We left the state line around 10:00 a.m.  after some brief photo ops with good friend Jim Newcombe doing the honors.  My wife Carol joined us for the last 5 miles after lunch, too.

We had not walked more than 1/2 mile when we were hailed by a woman from her window.  So we walked back and met Beth Sorgen who had lived in the area for many years.  Beth was such fun and shared a couple of stories about the rough and tumble good old days of the Lincoln Highway in eastern Indiana.  She has my address so I hope to get a letter from her with even more stories.

A bit later we met the unofficial “mayors ” of both Townley and Zulu.  Jerry Love of Townley told us about the tornados of the 1920′s that reduced the size of townley substantially.  he recalls hearing stories of how the tornado knocked down the local school as if it was shuffling bricks! 

Dick Wobbeking of Zulu was actually out of his jurisdicton, playing a little pinochle and having a touch of beer with the boys at the tavern over in Townley.  Both of these men and several more we chatted up at the tavern were very friendly and helpful… real Hoosiers offering real Hoosier hospitality.

Afer a brief lunch we headed into Besancon, a community dating back 200+ years.  We visited the St Louis Catholic Church with its foundation in the 1840′s  and the  next door Academy that dates to 1915.  The principal of the Academy is Cheryl Whitaker and what a great find she was.  She came to the door and let me in then took all of us on a tour introducing us to faculty and students everywhere!  They have 69 students today but have educated up to 200 at times.  Cheryl shared a story about old head stones in the cemetary falling down and some of the parishoners tossing them into a lake behind the church for years and years.  Now the lake is filled in so there are likely dozens of headstones buried out in back forever!

We arrived at our hotel in New Haven around 3:30 p.m.  and after a little clean up and rest, joined the Mayor, Terry McDonald for dinner.  We had a great time hearing about his community service, his new race for re-election, some of the history of this portion of the state (The Black Swamp era),  and more.  We will meet Terry in the morning and walk through New Haven together.

Here are a couple of more candid shots of the day:

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Walk With Me

I am interested in having people walk with me when they like and several friends have already stepped up.   Some may wish to walk all day (10-15 miles most days), others for just a morning or afternoon (usually 6-8 miles each).  It will take me around 2 1/2 to 3  hours to walk 7 miles along the road, maybe longer in towns due to traffic signals.  Another alternative is you might wish to just walk through your home town or along a country road with me.  Any of these options will work and I urge you to come along .  We will stop and take some pictures of interesting sites along the way, you might have to tolerate some of my singing (yikes), but we won’t be standing around too much (these old bones will start to creak!!).  I will stop at several landmarks along the route, will visit the historical museums and Mayors/city officials along the route, and will find interesting places to eat most days as well.  However, there are three caveats to walking with me that I need to mention:

*    I never want more than 7-8 additional walkers with me at one time so first come, first serve.  I just don’t want to feel responsible for keeping an eye on too many people.

*    All walkers must be at least 18 years old.

*    All walkers must bring a minimum of $100 in pledges with them from friends or neighbors or wherever as their “entry fee” in this fun but important fund raiser walk.

If the Lincoln Highway is important to you, then pledge some money, follow my daily blog, or see me out on the road.  If the Alzheimer’s Association has a place in your heart and you feel they need research support,  pledge some dollars, and follow the adventure.   Or,  if you just think exercise is important,  pledge some dollars and come on along.  I will follow up on the pledges when the walk is complete.

Click here to download the pledge form (PDF).

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Schedule and Map

2014– on April 25, 2014 I will be leaving Dyer , Indiana on the Indiana/Illinois border and head east along the 1928 version of the first transcontinental highway…THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY.  Check out the schedule on my blog page when you can. I will end my journey this year walking from New Haven to the Indiana/Ohio border on May 5.  Hope to see you out there!

The map below shows both early routes.  The route in all blue is the original or 1913 route and the route we walked in 2011.  This time we are walking west to east leaving Dyer on April 25, following the blue line to Valparaiso where will pick up the red line and follow it all the way to Ft. Wayne, where we will once again join the blue line on over to the Ohio border. This alignment is known as the 1928 alignment as the founding fathers of the Lincoln Highway sought shorter routes over the years.

inlh-map-2014

Here are the daily stops in case you want to walk along…

April 25        Dyer to Merrillville                  11 miles

April 26         Merrillville to Valparaiso       15 miles

April 27         Valparaiso to Hanna                12 miles

April 28         Hanna to Hamlet                      13 miles

April 29         Hamlet to Plymouth                15 miles

April 30         Plymouth to Etna Green         15 miles

May 1             Etna Green to Warsaw            15 miles

May 2             Warsaw to Columbia City        17 miles

May 3             Columbia City to Ft Wayne     14 miles

May 4             Ft Wayne to New Haven          13 miles

May 5            New Haven to IN/OH border   14 miles

 

 

                                            2011 Information                                                                                                                                                                        On Thursday, April 14th, 2011 I’ll start my journey on the Indiana Lincoln Highway at the Ohio/Indiana border and continue on for about 12-14 miles each day for 14 days.  My journey will take me across Indiana through many small towns and provide the opportunity to see many terrific landmarks.

Follow me or walk with me along the way to help raise money and awareness for both the Indiana Lincoln Highway and the Alzheimer’s Association.

I’ll finish up my journey on Wednesday, April 27th at the Indiana/Illinois border.  Here is a brief day-by-day schedule of the trip:

April 14 – OH/IN border to New Haven (11.3 miles)
April 15 – New Haven to Ft Wayne (11.4 miles)
April 16 – Ft Wayne to Churubusco (12 miles)
April 17 – Churubusco to Kimmel (14 miles)
April 18 – Kimmel to W. of Ligonier (13.1 miles)
April 19 – W. of Ligonier to Goshen (13 miles)
April 20 – Goshen to Mishawaka (14.4 miles)
April 21 – Mishawaka to South Bend (12.4 miles)
April 22 – South Bend to New Carlisle (11.9 miles)
April 23 – New Carlisle to La Porte (13.4 miles)
April 24 – La Porte to Westville (10.5 miles)
April 25 – Westville to Valparaiso (10.6 miles)
April 26 – Valparaiso to Schereville (12.8 miles)
April 27 – Schereville to IN/IL border (9.7 miles)

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Walk With Me

I am interested in having people walk with me when they like and several friends have already stepped up.  Some may wish to walk all day (10-15 miles most days), others for just a morning or afternoon (usually 6-8 miles each).  It will take me around 2 – 2 1/2 hours to walk 6 miles along the road, maybe longer in towns due to traffic signals.  Another alternative is you might wish to just walk through your home town with me.  Any of these options will work and I urge you to come along .  We will stop and take some pictures of interesting sites along the way, you might have to tolerate some of my singing (yikes), but we won’t be standing around too much (these old bones will start to creak!!).  I will stop at several landmarks, museums, and historical society offices  along the route, try to meet Mayors and city officials,  and will find interesting places to eat most days as well.  However, there are three caveats to walking with me that I need to mention:

*    I never want more than 7 additional walkers with me at one time so first come, first serve.  I just don’t want to feel responsible for keeping an eye on too many people.     *  All walkers must be at least 18 years old.*

All walkers must bring a minimum of $100 in pledges with them from friends or neighbors or wherever as their “entry fee” in this fun but important fund raiser walk.

If the Lincoln Highway is important to you, then pledge some money, follow my daily blog, or see me out on the road.  If the Alzheimer’s Association has a place in your heart and you see the need for more research, pledge some dollars, and follow the adventure.   Or,  if you just think exercise is important, pledge some dollars and come on along.  I will follow up on the pledges when the walk is complete.

Click here to download the pledge form (PDF).

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Make a Pledge

I urge you to assist both the Indiana Lincoln Highway Association and the Alzheimer’s Association.  All donations received will be split equally between the two organizations.  I am paying for all of my own expenses so that more dollars can be directed to these two important organizations.

The front and back of my pledge card are below.  Perhaps the easiest way to participate is to just send me an email at jeffblair87@gmail.com with your pledge.  I will follow up with you later to collect the amount and direct where it should be mailed.  Of course, you may print the card and send it to our offices in South Bend (address on the card itself).  All dollars sent to our INLHA office in South Bend will ultimately be split in two on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association and Lincoln Highway Assocaition.

If you wish to join the Indiana Lincoln Highway Association as well, please send an additional $15 for the first year.    Both organizations are charitable and educational bodies per Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code so your entire donation will be tax deductible.

Click either image below to download and print the pledge PDF:

Walk-Card-front-2014

 

Walk-Card-back2014

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