Road Trip Part One

Fran and I have arrived in Minneapolis after a few days of camping at Lost Valley in the Buffalo National River in Arkansas. The weather was beautiful save for a 2 a.m. cold front this morning that shook me awake and left me half frozen when the sun came up.

Now for the photos. I just sent a few, but I thought I would give you all a taste...

First is Fran hiking on the Lost Valley Trail. It was a great 3.5 miles with lots of elevation change and a ton of cool rock features. Natural bridges, caves, fallen boulders, etc.Next is a shot from inside the natural bridge looking out over a spring fed pond. My not-yet weary feet are in the foreground.

Since it was early in the morning, there were deer scattered along the trail and most of them had a bit of interest in what we were doing in their forest.After finishing that trail, we packed lunch and headed to the ridge to hike the 3 mile trail to Hawksbill Crag where we had lunch. That's Fran standing on the crag... and yes... it is just as amazing as you would imagine. The view is well worth the big elevation changes to get there and back. We finished the entire trial and had lunch and shot photos in under two hours.
This morning we headed out of town. Watch out for the Ozark Road Blocks. ;)The final photo attached is the only interesting photo ever made of Iowa and sums up most of what I remember of the last 12 hours (AR, MO, IA, MN) with the exception of the stop at the huge Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, MO.
Now we are in Minneapolis at Fran's grandfather's house where it is a balmy 18 degrees outside. And after a good scrubbing are ready to hit the road again. Tomorrow we are headed to Grand Rapids,MN where the temperature is supposed to be 4 degrees with a wind chill of -13 degrees. On top of that, they are predicting a foot of snow........... Oh Boy. ;)

Wish us luck...more later.

Chronically Hungry....

... Think about that term for a moment. Think about what it means to you. Try to apply it to yourself. When have you been "chronically hungry?"

How about that time you went camping and didn't take enough to eat. How about that week you worked so hard and didn't really have time to stop for lunch. Do any of them really apply? Do they really hold up to the reality?

Just outside my office, a few blocks down the road, but still in the deep shadow of the multi-million dollar downtown towers is a school... Ingersoll Elementary. At Ingersoll 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches. Let me state it another way. Think of your 10 best friends when you were 8 years old. Now imagine that you were the only one who could afford lunch.

Now imagine that several kids in that same group not only got free lunches at school, but that many times that was the ONLY meal they ate before they went to bed. Maybe even the only meal they ate all day long.

That is chronically hungry.

Unfortunately there are more than 100 students at Ingersoll that were identified by their teachers and school nurse as chronically hungry. There are lots of indicators. Maybe they can't concentrate at school until after lunch. Maybe they stuff themselves on Friday afternoons. Maybe they come to school with a stomach ache every day. Whatever the reasons, they have been identified as consistently not having enough to eat.

Fortunately for these 100 students there is a pilot program called the BackPack Program that sends them home every weekend with a special backpack, one filled with foods that are simple so they can prepare it for themselves.

On this Thanksgiving week, I hope you will take a second to read the story that Diane Haag and I just published. Then I hope maybe you will take some action. Volunteer for a food bank, hold a food drive, make a donation... do something.

I just got back from the scene of a shooting where 8-year-old Joann Bell's (above) uncle was shot by an 8-year-old's uncle after he broke up a fight between the two girls.

Think about that... Let it sink in... what does that say about us as a people? As a society?