Thursday, July 30, 2009


Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we will hit the road for a family vacation. Grandma and the Photographer are driving up today, with a rented 12-passenger van, and tomorrow we are off for the wilds of Ohio. While there, we will see various relatives and friends and friends of relatives and relatives of friends, many of whom we haven't seen in a long, long time. I expect it to be fun.

I am not bringing the laptop. The Photographer will have her little micro-miniature laptop, but my intention is to refrain from touching a computer for the whole ten days. It has probably been 15 years since I have gone that long without checking my e-mail. It should be a brave adventure.

Rest assured, I shall continue to run. I'll check back in here on August 10, and I expect to be well down the road towards Pierre.

Day 922 -- Philip

Today, we dip another toe into pjchmiel's Flikr stream, as he brings us the main drag of Philip, SD. He points out (you'll probably have to go to the large version on his page to see it) that the white sign on the third building says, "Bottle Liquor and Veterinary Supplies".

I ran a little over 10 miles today, in the rain. It seemed about to let up some time in the seventh mile, but then it just started coming down harder. It was fun, but I came home pretty soaked.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 921 -- Cottonwood

pjchmiel's Flikr page, from whence this photo comes, refers to Cottonwood as "almost a ghost town." They are pretty close. According to Wikipedia, the 2000 census population for Cottonwood was 6. Well, while I'm in town, 7.

I slept in this morning. My alarm went off, but I turned it off and rolled over. However, I didn't want to try the day without a run, so I went out for a quick 5K. And I mean quick. It was actually faster than my race on Saturday, by about two minutes. It felt good. I want to get in one more semi-long run before we leave on Friday.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 920 -- Quinn

Of course, I'm happy to visit the Badlands Observatory, in Quinn, SD. Like many a science geek, I have a soft spot in my heart for astronomy. Astronomy is arguably the oldest organized science, and one of the things that kids learn about really, really young. Of course, as some of you know, I have another reason for liking Quinn.

I ran five and a half miles today, after taking yesterday off. In spite of the fact that I was running over some decent hills, I still made good time. I feel much more energized today than I did yesterday, so the run did me good.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 919 -- Wall Drug

Of course, one cannot run across South Dakota without stopping at Wall Drug. If you click through, be sure to read the history of Wall Drug. It started as a regular small town drug store with a trickle of business. One day, they hit on the idea of offering free ice water for travelers. People started to stop, and the business grew, and branched out into one of the weirdest and wackiest tourist attractions anywhere.

I have a special affinity for Wall Drug. Before we were married, Mrs. Jogger spent a summer working there. They haul in boatloads of college students every summer to help run the place. In the summer of 1986, both of us applied and both of us were accepted. However, that was the summer before my first year in grad school. The university wanted me to start before Labor Day, and Wall Drug needed its workers through Labor Day, so I couldn't go. And Mrs. J went off and had a wild adventure without me. Fortunately, she didn't meet someone better (or if she did, she hasn't mentioned it) and we were eventually married anyway.

I have included this shot of the fudge shop, because that's one of the places that Mrs. J worked a lot. She came home having lost her taste for fudge (although she eventually got it back.) This photo is not Mrs. J, but I'm sure she was just as cute. This photo is from The location sign is from LBCurry's Moving Adventure. The jackalope is from The Odyssey Road blog.

Today was a tough run, for three major reasons.

One, I was tired. I only ran 5K yesterday, but I spent a lot of time on my feet. I walked to the race, stood and walked around before and after, and walked home. I walked the dog twice. All that is on top of a long week. My last day off was last Sunday. Counting today, I've run about 60 miles over the last seven days.

Two, it was humid. It wasn't too hot, at least not at first, but it was pretty humid, and I worked up quite a sweat pretty quickly. That really saps your energy, over the long haul.

Three, and most important, I let myself get psyched out by one and two. From the beginning, I'm thinking, "I'm tired and I'm sweaty and I have 19 miles left...I'm hot and I'm sweaty and I have 18 miles left...I'm hot and I'm sweaty and I have 17 miles left..." Not the way you want to start a long run. You want those early miles to fly by.

In the end, I stopped a little short of my goal. I had planned 22 miles, but I stopped just short of 20 (19.9, if you must know). I feel bad, but not too bad. Every year, I have a long run that I can't finish. Usually it's around 17 or 18 miles. This year, it was 22. And since I ran almost 20, it was probably one of my top 10 longest runs of all time, anyway.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day 918 -- Race Report: Strawberry Festival 5K

Two or three weeks ago, I was walking downtown, and I noticed in some store window a sign for a 5K on July 25. I paused for a moment to read the details. I wasn't sure if I wanted to run another 5K. It was the weekend after the Get the Lead Out run, which I was already committed to. So I was thinking probably not.

Then I heard someone calling my name. "Professor Jogger! Professor Jogger!" I turned and there was one of my calculus students from a few years ago. Nikki something. I thought a minute, and realized that she had been listed as a contact for the 5K. We chatted for a bit. It turns out that she has an internship at the local hospital, and she was helping to organize this race as part of that. She invited me to come. Well, an athlete of my caliber doesn't often get a personal invitation from the race director. So I went.

In fact, the oldest and newest Little Jogger came with me. The race started at the pool, about 3/4 of a mile walk from home, so we just walked over. The race was three laps of an approximately one-mile rectangle. She walked and ran, and I ran, so I passed her just as she finished her second lap. So after I was done, I walked back and walked and ran the rest of the race with her.

My time was nothing to write home about, but I wasn't really making an effort. I have a long run scheduled for tomorrow, and I didn't want to wear myself out. In any case, we had fun, and supported the hospital. And now I'm like an elite athlete, racing every weekend. Well, at least for two weekends in a row.


The storm came up quite suddenly. I was running to the store to get a few things for supper. When I went in, there was an interesting line of clouds in the distance. When I came out, there was an ugly mass of clouds right overhead. It was really windy, but it hadn't started raining, yet. Halfway home, it started with a vengeance. There was heavy rain and pea-sized hail. I managed to make it home. I dashed inside. The hail let up, and we settled in to eat and to watch the heavy rain.

After supper, there was a tornado warning. Our family room is downstairs, so we went downstairs and turned on the TV. The radar had caught something that might be a tornado, but it was moving away from us. We stayed downstairs, just in case, but we didn't see any reason to keep watching the weather. We turned on a video.

That's when the blackout hit. Our basement doesn't have a lot of windows, and of course it was dark outside, so this blackout was really black, at least at first. We joked a bit, and played a few rounds of "I'm thinking of a word that rhymes with..." After a while, that got boring. The storm had let up, so we wandered back upstairs. In the living room, there was enough light from the windows to play Catch Phrase, so we did that. There wasn't much else to do. No computer, no TV, no radio. It got to be close to bed time, so we brushed our teeth in the dark, and went to bed.

Around 10:30, Mrs. Jogger and I both woke up. The power was still out. We started to get a little worried. We wondered whether the power company even knew about the problem. Maybe no one was even trying to fix it. We found a couple of flashlights and stumbled upstairs. There were no streetlights. There were a few lights in some of the houses, but they might have been battery powered. We were just wondering what to do when the power came back on. "There," I said, "I fixed it."

The power was out for about four hours. I don't think anything in the freezer has spoiled (I checked the ice cream specifically) and the frogs and fish seem to have survived a few hours without their filters. There's a little water in the basement, like there always is after a heavy rain. So everything is OK.

And that was our adventure for the week.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 917 -- Wasta

From SKY*VU's Flikr stream, the Redwood Motel in Wasta. Looks like an old fashioned Mom & Pop place, of the type they don't make any more. Maybe that's why SKY*VU chose to render it in black and white.

As promised, I ran an easy five today. I was really quite sore, so I didn't go real fast. It was a nice enough morning, but a little humid. Just as well that I didn't push it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Days 915 and 916 -- Wicksville

This is apparently the road down which you would go if you wished to Titan Missile Silo 850-A, 3 miles northwest of Wicksville. I thought about placing myself behind the fence, but I don't have security clearance, and I was afraid I might get shot. This photo is from a very complete, but very confusing web page on Titan missiles. If only I had time to wade through it, I believe I could find out more than I ever wanted to know about Titan missiles. Perhaps I could find out how to get security clearance.

I did run yesterday, a nice 6 miles. I just never got around to blogging it. I ran again today, a swift 9 miles. It felt good, but it wore me out a little bit. I need to take it easy the next couple of days. I have another long run scheduled for Sunday.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 914 -- Ellsworth AFB

Just east of Rapid City is Ellsworth Air Force Base. This photo of the main gate was provided by Doug "Jethro" Bodine, who works there, when he's not racing his International Formula 1 plane, Yellow Peril, #92. Perhaps he can take me for a ride, while I'm in the neighborhood.

Today was typical for the day after a long run: slow. I dragged myself through a little over four miles at an embarrassingly slow pace. It differed from walking only in the amount of huffing and puffing involved. I don't plan to take a day off tomorrow. We'll see how I feel when the old alarm goes off.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 913 -- Rapid City

According to, Rapid City, South Dakota, is the City of Presidents. Or a City of Presidents, anyway. I happen to know that Cuba City, Wisconsin, is also a City of Presidents. They have a float in just about every parade in this part of the world. However, they do not have a bronze statue of Ronald Reagan, so Rapid City beats them, there. I knew that I couldn't resist posing with St. Ronnie, seeing as how he single-handedly won the Cold War, saved the American economy, defeated the scourge of communism, and cured the common cold. Or something like that. I get a little confused on my 80s history. When I was living it, it didn't seem to be quite the same as people remember it today.

I tore right through Rapid City today, with an 18 mile run. After a day off, it felt really good. The weather helped. It was another beautiful day for running. Cool and dry. If I could bottle this weather, and release it in Appleton on September 20, I surely would. With my luck, it will be 90 degrees and 100% humidity.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day Off

In spite of my intentions, I guess I didn't take it easy enough yesterday. I just didn't have what it takes for an 18 miler this morning. Thanks to the magic of summer, however, I can plan to run it tomorrow morning.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 912 -- Race Report: Get the Lead Out

I have been running for over ten years, but I've only been racing for a little over three. My first official race was July 4, 2006. In those three years, I've run 17 official races, and the only one that I've ever repeated* is the local Get The Lead Out run. Today was the fourth GTLO, and the I have run all four.

Sandwiched as it was between a hard, semi-long run yesterday and a planned 18 miles tomorrow, I never intended for this to be a fast race. I might have skipped it if it weren't for keeping the streak alive. As it was, it was my worst time in the four years, and that's OK. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. It was even cool enough for me to wear my polka-dot tights, which garnered a lot of comments. You'd think that nobody had ever seen polka-dot tights before.

* I have run the Dubuque Benefit Classic twice, but at two different distances: 5K in 2006, and 13.1 miles in 2009.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 911 -- Piedmont

In addition to the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, there is also a Black Hills UTV Rally in Piedmont. It has a lot less history. The second annual Rally was last year. I suppose that if I look, I can find out if there's going to be a third annual Rally this year.

It was gorgeous weather this morning. Sixty degrees and dry. I went out and ran another 8.4 miles, at a ten minute pace, which is just about the fastest I can run that distance at this point in my life. I'll pay for that tomorrow, but today it felt good.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Meet Maggie. Maggie is almost seven years old. She is a Golden Cocker Retriever Spaniel. Her old family has a baby who may or may not be allergic, and a new baby on the way, so they can't keep her. So she is coming to live with us.

Her old family lives in Waterloo, Iowa, and we are adopting her through the Waverly Humane Society in Waverly, Iowa. Waverly is a three hour drive, so this may seem a little strange, but in fact it's only 20 minutes from Grandma Walker's house. So we went down this morning, had lunch with Grandma, then went over to Waverly to meet Maggie. We weren't at all sure that we were ready to adopt a dog, but Maggie just stole our hearts.

She is very quiet and well behaved. Despite the chaos of four little Joggers, several other dogs, cats, and a few bunnies, she never barked at all. She knows "sit", and was happy to sit as long as she got attention. She's very cuddly and soft.

Waverly was the third shelter that we visited, and boy is there a difference. The Dubuque County Humane Society is a really big operation. They must have had 25 dogs ready for adoption. The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable, but the noise and the smell were pretty overwhelming. The Iowa County (WI) Humane Society has very nice facilities, but Mrs. Jogger was a little put-off by the staff. They didn't seem to want to listen to her questions and concerns. The Waverly Humane Society is a small operation, literally operating out of this woman's house. But they still placed 70 animals in 2008, and already about 50 in 2009.

In my 44 years, I have never lived with a dog of any kind. So I have some learning to do. Mrs. J grew up on a farm, and had farm dogs, but never a house dog. I thought we were going to make it happily through life without ever having a dog, but the first Little Jogger, who was born wheedling for a dog, has finally prevailed. I think it may be a sign of advancing senility on the part of her parents.

We have several problems to overcome. First of all, we aren't sure how the cats are going to take it. Our plan is to keep Maggie on the main level, leaving the downstairs family room and bedroom as a cats-only zone. Since Maggie is a grown dog, and seems fairly obedient, this may just work. Not that there won't be some recriminations, especially from the chubby white cat. When our really old cat died last year, the chubby white cat immediately took up the mantel of Cat Curmudgeon.

The other issue is that we are going to go on a family vacation at the beginning of August. We had planned to wait to adopt a dog until after we got back, but Maggie had other plans. I doubt that we can leave her alone in what will be a new house, so it looks like a week in the kennel (or, as the Photographer would call it, Doggie Camp.) That's not ideal, but we just didn't feel like we could let Maggie go.

So, we are off on a brand new adventure, starting tomorrow. Since we weren't planning to adopt a dog at all, we just weren't ready to bring her home today. So we have to drive three more hours back to Waverly tomorrow to get her, and three hours back. She just better be worth it!

Day 910 -- Tilford

If you are ever in the area of Tilford, SD, I recommend a stay at Lake Park Campground and Cottages. My recommendation is based on the fact that they have a lovely sign.

I ran about four and a half miles today, at a stately pace. It was nice and cool, so it felt good.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 909 -- Sturgis

Sturgis, South Dakota, has a huge motorcycle rally every summer. This year, the 69th Anniversary rally starts on July 31. I could hang around, but it's going to get pretty crowded. There may be close to half a million people in this town, which, at other times, has only 6500. [Photo from wikimedia commons.]

I did take yesterday off, and paid for it all day, wandering around in a kind of fog. But I needed it. I felt much better today, and I went out and tore off eight and a half miles with no problem. That felt really good.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day 908 -- Black Hills State University

Behold, the Mathematics Center at Black Hills State University.

I actually ran right through Spearfish, the home of BHSU, already yesterday. However, I have a special reason to drop in on the math department here. I have a friend and colleague whose brother, "Sam", is also a mathematician. Sam just finished his degree, and has taken a job here at BHSU. I just found that out a couple of weeks ago, and here I am in Spearfish. Of course, Sam is too new to even be on their website, but he'll be here. Sam has visited his brother several times in the last few years, and I like him a lot. It's a shame that he'll be way out here in the boonies.

I really, really didn't feel running this morning. After 20 miles yesterday, my legs wanted a day off. But I pushed myself out and ran a slow four miles. It was one of the few days that I didn't feel much better when I finished than I did when I started. Arguably, I should have taken the day off. But I didn't. Perhaps tomorrow.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 907 -- Welcome to South Dakota

Thomas Autry uploaded this image to his pBase gallery. It was apparently taken during his honeymoon, in 2003. Not a whole lot of people go to South Dakota for their honeymoon, I bet. In any case, I ran well into South Dakota this morning.

I admit that I faced today's 20 miler with some trepidation. It's 10 weeks to the marathon, and it's time for a 20 miler, but there's some psychological baggage there. Thank goodness the weather was cooperative. If it had been hot and humid, I'd be dead now. In fact, it was relatively cool and dry, and I just barely made it. But made it I did. I'm sore this afternoon, of course. But also happy.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 906 -- More Beulah

From the scrapbook at, an entry from a 2004 parade. No information on what kind of parade it was. Today is the day that I actually reached Beulah, and tomorrow, I should run into South Dakota.

As promised, I took yesterday off. In the afternoon, we drove back home from Grandma Jogger's town. Having skipped my workout, I wasn't at my most patient in the afternoon, but we made it home.

This morning, I got up and ran about six and half miles, at a decent pace. It was a little less humid than it has been, so it wasn't so bad.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Day 905 -- Beulah

Again from Webshots, a sign for Beulah. I'm not sure that I'm quite to Beulah, yet. I ran less than four miles today. I needed an easy day. In fact, I need a day off, which I shall take tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Day 904 -- Aladdin

From Webshots Travel, a picture of the General Store in Aladdin. You probably won't be able to read it in this photo, but the sign says, "Population 15". That seems to be an exaggeration. The 2000 Census lists the population of Aladdin as 0. Unless I'm reading that wrong.

Aladdin isn't actually on I-90, but I think I'm close to the exit for it. In any case, here it is.

We got a gully washer yesterday evening, and it was still threatening rain when I went out this morning, but it cleared up, rather than raining. I think I wish it had rained. The rain didn't do anything to clear out the humidity. So 7 miles flew by like miles. But I made it.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Day 903 -- More Sundance

No, I'm afraid that these kids aren't calling me a hero. They are participating in the Milken Festival for Youth in Sundance, and they are preparing to award the "Hometown Hero" award to Les Hooper, for his work in cleaning up the local creek.

I did an easy five miles today. I'm not sure it was any less humid than yesterday. I just wasn't working as hard.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Day 902 -- Sundance

As I approach Sundance, I'm temporarily crossing paths with Del, who seems to have made his cross country journey the old fashioned way: he actually traveled across the country. He uploaded this photo of Sundance, with the note, "Back in the late 1800s, Harry Longabaugh spent several months in the Sundance, Wyoming jail (for rustling cattle, I believe). Of course, that's how he got his nickname, 'The Sundance Kid.'"

I took yesterday off, and I don't apologize for it at all. With almost 34 miles in the first four days of July, I earned it. In fact, I was still fairly stiff when I started out today, even after the day off.

We drove down yesterday to Grandma Jogger's house for a visit. My aunt and uncle are visiting from Japan. We don't get to see them very often, so we thought we would come down. So today's run was in Grandma Jogger's town. It was good, if a bit humid.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Day 901 -- Keyhole State Park

If you go north of Interstate 90, instead of south, you'll find Keyhole State Park. (If you stay on I-90, you'll find a whole lot of nothin'.) According the Wyoming Department of Tourism, the park "offers excellent fishing for walleye, catfish, small mouth bass and northern pike." So pack up that rod and reel and come visit.

When I hit the door this morning, I was surprised to find a steady rain. I briefly thought about rescheduling my run, but I didn't. It was only rain, no lightning, so the major effect that it had was to keep me cool. I had a nice long run -- 15 miles, as scheduled. I won't say that it was easy, but I did finish it, and I've been feeling OK.

The rain continued through the Independence Day parade that I took the Little Joggers to this morning. We found a spot under a tree, so we didn't get too wet. However, we were set back from the street, and a couple of families sat on the curb ahead of us, so we didn't get much candy. Oh, well. The girls are definitely too old, and the medium Little Jogger should be. In any case, it was a nice parade. We hadn't been to this particular parade before, so we didn't know what to expect.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Day 900 -- Thunder Basin National Grassland

Lying south of where I am currently running is Thunder Basin National Grassland. It's a big old thing. It covers 570,000 acres, in two bits. Of course, it's just a tiny bit of leftover grassland from what used to stretch from here to the Mississippi.

Having run a hard 9 miles yesterday, and planning to run 15 tomorrow, my choices today were to take the day off entirely, or to take a short, easy run. After some debate, the latter won. I wanted the exercise, and I wanted the endorphins, and I wanted to chalk up a day toward the 25 I'm shooting for in July. Short and slow as it was, it was still a tough run.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Political Surprise -- with Update

Thanks to Jesse at Pandagon, I have found something that I have in common with the governor of Alaska. Up until now, it's pretty much been that we are both human. But it turns out she's a runner. And, politics aside, I like some of the stuff that she says about running. Perhaps she and I will go running together some day....

Update: Another thing that we have in common. By the end of the month, neither one of us will be governor of Alaska. I guess that means she'll have more time to run with me.

Day 899 -- Devils Tower

According to, this is the exit I should take for Devils Tower National Monument. The tower itself is a piece down the road, so this is as good an excuse to pose in front of it as anything. I didn't want to miss it, having seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind all those years ago. (The International Movie Database says it was released in 1977. Can that be right? 32 years ago?) As you can see, this photo of Devils Tower is from National Geographic. Oh, and the name of the monument seems to be spelled without an apostrophe. Apparently, those are plural devils, not a single devil that owns the tower.

I didn't feel much like running this morning, but once I got going I was OK. I ran 9 miles, in three 3 mile loops. It seem less when you run 3 mile loops than if you run only one or two bigger loops. I kept up a good pace, and I was pleased with my run. If it never warms up again, this could be a good summer.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Day 898 -- Rozet

Via, we have these wicked bikes from Cobra's Custom Cycles, in Rozet, Wyoming.

The cool weather that we have been experiencing all week continued this morning. It was bordering on cold when I set out. Of course, after I got out and got moving, I was plenty warm enough. I ran almost six miles, at a sedate pace.