Winter chills walk around the world |

Winter chills walk around the world

Polly Letofsky/Special to the Daily
Photo by Polly Letofsky/Special to the Daily

x From Vail she first walked to the West Coast, then crossed to the two islands of New Zealand, up the eastern coast of Australia and on to Malaysia and Southeast Asia, India, Turkey, Greece, Great Britain and Ireland. She’s now back in the United States, having arrived in New York City and crossed New York State to the Canadian Border at Niagra Falls and made her way to her home state of Minnesota. She’s expected to reach Vail in August. This is a recent installment from her journal, written earlier this month. You can follow along with Polly’s journey on her Web site,

MUSCATINE, Iowa – Swear to God, the weatherman’s name here is Joe Winter. Is that gorgeous?-That rates right up there with the dentist in Michigan named Dr. Hurty and the veterinarian named Dr. Ruff.

This morning Mr. Winter said that winds will be blowing up to 40 mph with sleet expected and highs near 23 degrees. But I’m not falling for that. I know 23 degrees means nada.

I want to say listen, Mr. Winter, don’t try to pull one over on me, just give me the wind-chill. If the wind-chill is -7 degrees, THEN IT’S -7 DEGREES!

Sorry, had a little outburst, but I’m stressed out. Mr. Winter is catching up to me, and I don’t mean Joe.

Luck has really been on my side these past couple months. The moment I arrive safely into a town, the skies open up and pour. Or I’ll walk for four sunny days in a row and on my fifth day of rest it’ll hail and sleet and winds will blow at 70- mph while I’m inside the Mud and Moose Cafe with my hands where they belong around a cafe mocha decaf.

But my luck has run out.

Five-layer day

The Lions Club members in town, Helen and Richard, called this morning to ask if I’m sure that I want to do this. I said no, I’m not sure, I want to go home – wherever the heck that is – and make a hot cocoa to sip in front of the fire. But I tell them it shouldn’t be that bad, Joe Winter says it’s going to be as warm as 23 degrees.

They marveled at my decision and agreed to pick up Bob so I don’t have to walk with him on the icy roads.

Then I piled into every piece of clothing I have – five layers in all – wrapped the scarf around my neck, over my ears, around my head and then topped it off with a hat, sunglasses and two layers of mittens and I was ready to face the December Iowa that I knew would catch up to me.

Frozen eyeballs

While growing up in Minnesota, there were always a few days each winter when the weatherman would warn us not to go outside. The weatherman would scare the bejeezuz out of us little tykes by saying things like, “At this temperature it only takes 30 seconds for your eyeballs to freeze.”

My brother and sisters and I would stand around the radio in the kitchen on those mornings and listen to WCCO catalogue all the schools that were canceled. When our school was announced, we’d let out a shriek of joy, then race to stuff ourselves into five layers of clothes, grab a sled and bolt out the door.

When you have a day off of school, you don’t care if your eyeballs freeze in 30 seconds inside your head.

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