All journal entries are in reverse order, with the latest entry at the top. Clicking the "Location" link will take you to a map where you can see details of the area from where Wesley last posted. Thanks for all of your support!



Week 1: March 24th through March 30th
Week 2: March 31st through April 6th
Week 3: April 7th through April 13th
Week 4: April 14th through April 20th
Week 5: April 21st through April 27th
Week 6: April 28th through May 4th
Week 7: May 5th through May 11th
Week 8: May 12th through May 18th
Week 9-10: May 19th through June 1st
Week 11: June 2nd through June 8th
Week 12: June 9th through June 15th
Week 13: June 16th through June 22nd

Thanks to everyone who showed up for Wesley's homecoming. He'll be making a few more posts with post-trip reflections, so check back and see what happens now that the trip is over!
UPDATE   As of 7/17/03, there are new photos from Wesley's arrival available here.
Link to the SCAD Newspaper article here.

Last post?
Winona, MN

A while has gone by and I've stayed in the same spot. I haven't taken any big adventures. Too much of my walking is behind a lawnmower and too much of my painting is one color (on the house). I have had plenty of thinking going on about all that I learned on the trip. Just being able to see the contrast again. I'd gotten so used to walking that I kinda forgot the comfortable life that I left behind for a while. My faith did grow. It became more real which gives me more confidence in all things in life. One thing I'm really glad for is that the things that changed about me didn't all disappear when I quit walking. There are always things to be learned in specific situations that, when broken down to their elements, can be easily applied to a much broader section of life. That's awesome. I love how things connect. I especially love how everything eventually connects to God. That was a big lesson on the walk. God is big. Bigger than anything. But, He can also be small enough to be a part of everything. There's nothing or nowhere that He can't be found; and, if that doesn't give you confidence, I don't know what will.

I don't think I'm gonna sit here and write about all the little lessons I gathered. I have no desire to be another noisy gong or crashing cymbal. Learning is about application. Let's see how good I am at that.

Ooh, exciting news. I guess that my story got onto the Associated Press or something because I was getting reports from all over that I was on local stations. Then came the big shocker (yes, I was actually shocked.) Someone told me that they saw me on the Today Show. Yeah, THE Today Show. That's crazy. That means that Katie Couric said my name! (dreamy eyes) ...or Al Roker, maybe( not nearly as dreamy eyes).

That and I finally found some good ice cream. They don't have Moose Tracks here. They call it Cow Tracks. But, they still put a Moose on the box. What the heck? I'm in Minnesota. A heck of a lot closer to Moose than Georgia or Tennessee. Whatever, it still tastes good.

I think my brother's putting up some of my pictures today. Well, I guess it's time to take what I call "the pointless walk" of mowing the lawn. Have a great day.

WEEK 15   June 30th through the end of the adventure...
  Winona, MN - HOMECOMING!!

Well, I just found out that something went wrong and the last journal entry wasn't received and I didn't have a copy saved. So, it's lost. I wish I could remember all that I wrote. What a bad entry to lose. The freshness is now gone. Let's see if I can remember it.

I didn't get an early start because I didn't need to. The last day involved a lot of planning to make sure that I arrived at the right time. People were planning on meeting me and they have work schedules (what's that?) There was a huge storm the night before that I later found out had knocked over trees and caused quite a ruckus. Glad I was inside. My tent doesn't need ruckus.

Lots of people honked at me and waved. I got a few thumbs ups and all that. I could feel it coming to a close. Like I was approaching the end of a race...very slowly. Most of the day was uneventful as far as walking which was fine by me. One last day of quiet walking. I tried to have "times of reflection" while walking but the excitement was a little much for me to stay focused.

I stopped a couple miles before town and called my mom. She drove out and dropped my dad, brother and sister (David, Brett and Lana) off to walk with me the last bit. She went back to wait with the others. I figured she needed to so that they didn't get lonely (all two of them). Yeah, I was wrong.

So, we all walked and my family got a little taste of what it's like walking on the highway in the heat of summer. Lots of fun. There was a police escort that met us just before town. Hoo-boy. Wasn't my idea. That way, we could safely (or so it was perceived) walk on the right side of the road, with traffic. That was the side of the road where people were waiting to meet us. It was funny watching a cop car try to drive 3 miles per hour. I bet he hadn't planned on that heart-pounding adventure when he started his shift. I was thinking about stopping to take a break and see what he would do. I would have tied my shoes, but they're Velcro.

As I approached Winona, I saw the group gathered on the grassy knoll by the road (actually, I guess it was a big grassy ditch). Holy biscuits! That was a lot of people. There were about 50 people waiting there for me. They had signs of congratulations and gifts and it was awesome. A local car dealership donated big balloons and LakeView Drive-In donated some root beer. There were local newspapers and TV stations (which were mostly nice enough to wait until I had greeted everybody). I shook so many hands, generally one per person, at most two. I felt bad that I couldn't talk to everyone. That's the problem with being the center of attention. It was certainly a party right there on the lawn. I got peanie-boo bars and sparkling grape juice (which I sprayed all over). A friend even gave me a beautiful blanket with pictures of historic places of Winona on it. People are gonna think that I have a real fondness for this place.

Ooh, and Miss Winona, Michelle Stark, was there! Yep, and my sweatiness didn't stop her from giving me a hug. Of course, I'm sure she was dying to smooch me but her dad was there and there is, you know, responsibility of the crown and all that. I understand. But, I guess the newspaper headline won't be what I imagined. "Wesley Home; Girls Form Line". Eventually, the crowd cleared and things settled down. My family took me home and that's when my memory for the day stops. I think I napped. I can't really say. I don't even remember what I ate. I guess that's a good thing. I finally let down.

It feels great to be done if for no other reason than to know that I actually completed what I set out to do. Honestly, I didn't ever doubt whether I would or not; but now, I don't have to rely on my confidence (or whatever). It's done. It was an amazing trip. That's the word for it. Amazing. I learned so much, saw so much, met so many, had so much fun. I'm definitely glad that I did it. People, of course, ask me if I would do it again. My answer now is that if I thought I could get as much out of doing something like this again, if I thought there was still a genuine experience there to be gained, then yes. Definitely. That's how I plan my life to be. Always seeking genuine experiences. Not just thrills. That stuff's weak. It doesn't take heart. I want what's genuine...always. That, and ice cream.


Journal Entry from Wesley
Location: Very Close to Winona

I had a liesurely start after some rice and juice for breakfast(a great breakfast!). I went with Cindy downtown where I met some news channel. They had called and asked to meet me there. They asked a few new questions. I don't know about all this publicity. People might get the wrong idea. That's not why I did it. Now, I get paranoid that people will think I'm trying to get attention. No, that's why I "act out" all the rest of the time. But, I did have a lady stop and talk to me today. She had been driving to drop her son off somewhere and was returning to Winona when she found me. She said that her son, Steven, and his friens have been hearing about me and I guess they're fans of mine. They were really hoping to find me on their way but I was on another road. So, she got a picture for her son. It was kind of surreal but fun.

So, the other road that I was on...there's a bike path from near LaCrescent that runs onto the main roads of Dresbach and Dakota. That's a section of Highway 61 that joins with interstate 90. Wow, interstate is a fun word to type with just your thumbs. Anyways, it was rad cus today was really hot and very sunny. The trail was covered in shade. It made a huge difference.

It's a few less miles than I thought to Winona so I didn't end up walking as far today. Right about 15(minus the extra mile when I got lost this evening). I was headed to some local friends from church that live right about halfway. I took the wrong street and knew for sure it was wrong when I was in the middle of a cow farm. Oops. I was thinking I'd be camping on my last night on the road but a bed is still a hard thing to resist. Ooh ooh, and we made root beer floats!

I'm really excited about my final day but, as usual, it's a strange kind of excitement. I have no idea what to expect for tomorrow. I'll see when tomorrow comes. I hope I don't throw up or anything.


Journal Entry from Wesley
Location: LaCrosse, WI

This has been some intense relaxing. I've lounged and napped and all that. That was seriously most of the day. This house is fun. It's right next door to the church and the basement has a music room and a game room. John and I sleep in the game room. I didn't get a chance to play air-hockey. Too bad.

I found out that Wade is a juice-guy. He has a juicer and so, John, Wade and I went fruit and vegetable shopping and had juice for dinner. It was great. I also watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets last night. Some church-people make way too much fuss 'bout those movies.

So, I spent my extra day. I'm right on schedule. Tomorrow, I'll be home. Now is definitely a heavy-thinking big emotions extravaganza day.


Journal Entry from Wesley
Location: LaCrosse, WI

It was nice sleeping up on the bluff last night. I had another nightmare, though. It was one of those where you really can't tell if you're asleep or awake. Like I dreamed that I had just woken up and was still really groggy. It was interesting. It was a cool(as in temperature) walk to Stoddard this morning. Well, cool compared to what it has been. I had breakfast at Mamie's Cafe and talked with everybody there. It was a good time. It's only 11 miles from Stoddard to LaCrosse and I've come almost 6 so far. I'm taking my time. Especially since I haven't been able to get in touch with my contact there. I know something will work out. I have my research team (mom) seeing if she can find another number to try. I hope she doesn't have to bribe anyone. So, the TV station in LaCrosse came and found me. I don't know how they found out about me. Jake, the camera guy, was a cool guy. He interviewed me and wished me the best. I kept walking into town and eventually got a number of a contact in town. Our friend, Sharon Thompson, had gotten in touch with the youth pastor of her church, Bethany Evangelical Free. I tried calling a few times and it was busy. So, I kept walking until the sidewalk ended. That was a great book. Well, I assume it still is. I haven't read it recently. Then, I called one more time and got in touch with Wade Moses. John, the number one helper dude with the ministry came and met me somewhere. I came on the right night. We cooked out and I got cleaned up. I was pretty dirty today. My white t-shirt isn't white anymore. Oh, so I met the whole family. Wife Cindy, daughter Amber, son Cody and brand new addition (a little older than my walk) Austin. And John lives here too. They're a cool group. I'm having fun just relaxing. I can't believe how close I am. I guess I'll be killing my day(gee, so violent) tomorrow with this crew. It'll be cool. Then, two more days and I'll be done. The emotions are starting to really get going. I have a feeling it's gonna be crazy. But, that's for later. Right now, I'm off like a dirty shirt. Oh man!

WEEK 14   June 23rd through June 29th
  Journal Entry from Wesley
Location: Stoddard, WI

I slept next to a slumber party last night. They were quiet (or elsewhere) when I went to sleep. It was kind of weird hearing them talk about me every once in a while. I guess they forgot we were in tents. I slept all the way until 7:40. Wow. The sun was actually starting to make my tent warm. That hasn't had the chance to happen.

It was a pretty nice walk today. I was getting some good thinking going. I stopped in Genoa by the river and took a break. I read for a while and drew some. I watched trains go by and admired graffiti. I also watched a barge prepare for the lock and dam. Fun break. I got lunch at the gas station and kept on.

At this point, when I look across the river, I can see Minnesota. It's very exciting. I was getting really deep and tranced out in thought after Genoa when a car stopped ahead of me. The people inside waved and I waved back as I approached. Then Adam Neil and Blake Darst (two friends from Winona) got out. I hadn't recognized them through the windshield. I was totally floored. I had to back up and take a breath. It was really cool.

We went to Stoddard, from which I was about 3 more miles, and got something to drink at the Kwik Trip. Blake bought me a Klondike bar and some grapefruit juice. What a sweetheart. Then, we went back to about a mile south of where they picked me up to a scenic overlook that I had passed. It was a tall climb so I hadn't bothered. It was scenic alright. After seeing Stoddard and seeing this area, I decided to camp here. Today, I had the advantage of making a comparison. I saw some places that might have worked in town but this is great up here. Next, we went to LaCrosse and ate at the Chinese Buffet. It was good and I'm very full. It should last until I get to Minnesota (or until breakfast).

We all came back to the overlook and hung out for a while. Adam built me a fire. I had been thinking about finding a post office in Stoddard to mail home all the things I wouldn't need for the next few days. I was even looking for one when we drove there. Then, two thoughts dawned on me at the same time. One, I'm a dummy. Two, because I can just give the stuff to Blake! So, I got rid of this much weight (if I could hand you a bunch of weight right now, I would. Trust me, it's enough to make a difference). So, I got taken back a mile and put up a hill but I'm a lot lighter because of it.

I hope it doesn't rain tonight. I'm tired of rain. Oh, and it was fun seeing some friends and all but now that the anticipaton is ruined, I have to start the walk all over again. At least I'll know more what to do this time. Oh well.


Photo Taken in Maquoketa by Kevin Schmidt.

Journal Entry from Wesley
Location: DeSoto, WI

I can't believe how well I slept last night. I even slept all the way until my alarm clock went off at 7:30. It was still raining this mornin when I woke up early so it was easy to fall back asleep. I prayed that it would stop raining so I could get packed up and not be soaked. I waited until, finally, I really had to go. I prayed some more while putting on my socks and, by the time I got my shoes on and the tent open, it stopped. It was a nice cool and cloudy morning. The sun didn't come out until after 12. Made for a great morning.

I didn't bother going back to any bar in Lynxville this morning. I don't much care for the town. I walked 8 miles to Ferryville., a much nicer place. I stopped at a tavern there for lunch and also found a bank and got some cash. That's only 3 times in 3 months that I've had to get money. Pretty cool.

After Ferryville, I continued on to DeSoto. I was kind of in a hurry because I wanted to get to a campground 3 miles north of DeSoto and a mile off the road. I was trying to make sure that I could get a spot and maybe dry out my tent before the sun went down. I had a quick dinner at the gas station on the highway and got on my way. But, after about a mile and a half, I came to another campground right by the road. I checked to see if they offered as much as the other place. They did and for less. So, I'm here. Now, I also won't have too short of a day tomorrow and have to make myself "scarce" when I get to the next town. The last sign I saw said LaCrosse 28 miles. Wow! I'm still waiting for the words to come. I think I might have to wait until the end.

Oh, I just remembered something! Thank God I was finally able to forget for a while. Someone else threw something at me from a car and actually hit me! Oh, that made me so mad. I wished I had a five foot long middle finger.(no, I didn't give them the bird or moon them or anything). Yeah, I just turned and shook my head in disbelief. People always warned me about the rednecks down south. They all forgot about the friggin ingrate chew-suckers with nothing better to do than sniff glue, hoot at girls and throw trash at kids walking along. Grrrr!! I hope they get a flat tire and a car of cute girls laugh at their shloopuses (plumber cracks) while they're changing it. Ok, now I feel better.

Time to set out my tent to dry.


Journal Entry from Wesley
Location: Lynxville, WI

What a great time. I ended up talking with Colin(the oldest kid) until almost 1am. We had some great conversation. So, I made some more new friends.

I hung out for a while this morning and didn't get on the road until around 10. On the way out of town, I stopped at the huge Cabela's store. I guess it's the main store of the "world's leading outfitter". It was cool looking through all the camping gear. They have a really big display of all sorts of animals (taxidermied) in a set-up environment. It was neat seeing a musk ox and a polar bear so close. It would have been even cooler if they were alive. I'm headed to Lynxville for today. I have less than a hundred miles to go before I'm home. I'm trying to figure out the right words on how that makes me feel. Stay tuned, I'll see if they come. The wind is a very light breeze today so it feels a lot warmer. Still a dream compared to a few days ago. I'm walking right along side the river and the train tracks. I often stop to watch trains go past and look for cool graffiti. Today, I saw the best stuff yet. It was awesome. Not just well done but well thought out. It made my afternoon and is a runner-up for making my day. Just before Lynxville, I stopped at a neat bar and had some dinner and root beer. Those were some nice people. I got introduced to the whole bar. After dinner, I went on to Lynxville where there is very very little. There was a campground but tent sites cost $11. I might have stayed there but I'm really low on cash and there aren't any ATMs for a while. I went to the local bar and asked some questions. I could hear everybody talking about me when I stepped outside and then I went back in with one last question and the yacky lady shut-up real quick. I liked the other bar better. Anyways, I went down to the boat landing on the river. This is a difficult stretch to find places to camp because there's river then railroad then highway then steep river bluffs(none of these things are easy to camp on). So, I followed the train track from the boat landing until I found a little clearing far enough away from the trains. It was really rocky and the area was filled with big chunks of broken rock. I got my tent set up and held the stakes in place with big rocks because the ground was too rocky to stake. Just as I was laying down for the night, I noticed some big dark clouds. it had rained really lightly for a few minutes earlier in the evening and produced a beautiful full rainbow between two bluffs. Anyways, I thought,"I bet it won't really rain. If it starts, I'll just put on the rainfly real fast." Then God said to me,"You saw the clouds, don't ignore them". So, I got out and got my rainfly on. Very difficult. I was stacking big rocks to hold everything in place. Just after I got all finished, the lightning started and quickly moved in from across the river. That was a huge storm. My tent was shaking and I was praying. The lightning was so bright that I was in my tent mith my eyes closed and it would still hurt my eyes. The thunder was so loud, it sounded like a train falling down the stairs. I prayed for a while and prayed that God would let me fall asleep. I did. I slept really well despite the terrible storm. I didn't even wake up for any trains and they were like 20 feet away. So, like I said, it'll be an adventure until the end.

  Journal Entry from Wesley
Location: Prairie du Chien, WI

Wow, I had a great time with Ben and Paula. What a neat couple. We had a time of telling stories this morning over breakfast. I caused Paula's "mother instinct" to kick in and that's always fun. She even packed me a lunch for my walk today.

It's just awesome how total God's provision is for me every day. He takes care of me in everything and every way.

The storm yesterday was an answer to prayer because it got rid of all that humidity. God even kept me out of the rain and stalled me enough to have a wonderful night and make new friends. Today is a beautiul day. I'd use words like "super" or "marvelous," but I'm afraid there'd be a re-enactment of Salad Days and I'd have a row of prop piano keys stuck through my midsection. It's a perfect summer day. Warm in the sun, cool in the shade, and a breeze that would be called windy. Just amazing. I'm about 10 miles or so from Prarie DuChien where I actually have a choice of two numbers to call for places to stay. It gives a different feel to the walk (one that I don't mind). Also, the only thing that Paula made me promise (moms like making me promise things) was that I really would call them if I needed a place to stay. They said they'd come get me anywhere between here and LaCrosse. It was an easy promise to make.

It's actually so nice today that I'm taking my break in the sun. It's that cool and clouds provide occasional shade. What a great day.

Whew! It got windier. Still nice though. It makes it feel more dramatic when I walk. I pretend that I have to deliver the code to stop the Soviets. But, first, I have to walk against their powerful wind machine.

Today, I actually looked at a map of Minnesota. Yeah, that's how close I am. Very exciting. Lots to think about. Like fragment sentences.

Oh my gosh! I'm at a Kwik Trip! I've been waiting for this. For those of you who aren't from around here, Kwik Trip is a gas station chain. There are like 11 of them in Winona. It's a huge sign that I'm close to home. I thought seeing the river made me feel like I was in Winona. When I was in the Kwik Trip, I was fooled. I expected to be able to walk out and be to my house in a couple miles. Ok, enough about the gas station.

Hey, I'm at the Stiemke's house. They're another couple from the Faith EFC. I'm having a great time. They have three high school aged kids. There are also various friends here. I'm not even sure how many people have been here. It's fun. They have two big dogs too. So, there's plenty of energy here. They're a musical family and we've found lots of fun topics of conversation. I can't believe I have one week left. But, I definitely can believe it. I mean, I've been here for every step. I know just where I am. Right now, Im gonna get back to enjoying all of this company.

  Journal Entry from Wesley
Location: Patch Grove , WI

I've been thinking so much about the trip ending that I easily forget about the days I have left. I'm still taking things a day at a time. I just think that sometimes I think the walk will take care of itself. I just need to be there. Well, that's not true. This will be an adventure 'til the end. I went to the tavern this morning for breakfast after having a dream that I'd already been up for a few hours (I don't think that helped me feel rested) and had breakfast. There were more people there this morning. Most of them were starting off the day with a root beer. In this area of the country, the taverns serve food and are community meeting places.

It wasn't nearly as hot when I started but was still plenty humid. I'd given up on the bandana around my head. I was sweating too much for that. Now, I'm periodically mopping my face like Boss Hog or somebody. It was cloudy and kinda looked like rain for a little while. I made it to Bloomington in good time and decided to take a break at the community park before finding some lunch. I sat there for about ten minutes when a really dark horizon to horizon cloud swept in. The wind got strong and before I even realized, it was pouring. That was some really hard rain. I was under a pavilion but the rain blew right under and my pack got soaked before I could cover it. I just wrapped myself up in my poncho like a blanket and laid on the picnic table. I stayed warm and mostly dry while the rain and wind whipped all over me. I thanked God for making me stop there instead of continuing into town. I ended up staying under that pavilion for four hours waiting for the rain to stop. The last hour, it was really light so I decided to go. That was a good chunk of the day spent. And a good chunk of the sky fallen.

I got to the One Stop Market on the other side of town and got some late lunch. I called home and my mom said that she'd gotten in touch with an Evangelical Free church in Prarie DuChien and the pastor had the name of a couple in the congregation that lived in Bloomington. I was planning on walking past Bloomington to Patch Grove so I would be sure to make it to Prarie DuChien tomorrow. It was another one of those tough decision times. I had no idea what the weather would do and no idea about the town ahead. I prayed about it and decided to call these people in town. If they answered and were receptive, I'd stay here. If they didn't or weren't, I'd keep walking.

Well, they did and they were. So, I met Ben and Paula Jarvis. They're really cool folks. I'm having a great time. Paula was telling me that just this morning they had been listening to the Christian radio station and the program was talking about how Christians used to show hospitality to travelers by inviting them into their homes. She and Ben have never done anything like that and wished that they would be able to. Then, I call that afternoon. Pretty sweet. I'd call it coincidence but I know it's what I pray for.

We had dinner together and fun conversation. We also went to church. So, there still hasn't been a single week that I haven't made it to church. I met more people and should have no problem with a place to stay tomorrow. Actually, I know I won't because Ben and Paula made sure that I knew they were serious about picking me up if I needed and giving me a place to stay and a ride back to where I was. Things feel different when you know someone nearby. Like home.

Ben and I had some more conversation tonight. He's a tea-drinker. Yay! So, we both had some. He also loves art. He's got lots of ideas and we have a lot in common. It was cool talking with him. It still amazes me how much God provides. I get to sleep outside when the weather is nice and I'm brought inside when it gets bad. I'm hoping that it will be nice tomorrow because I have a lot of miles to cover. Maybe this big storm took care of some humidity. If it stays as humid as it has been, I'll need to find a cowboy hat to hit Rufus with and throw on the ground.

Journal Entry from Wesley