Global walker makes Baldwin stop
Polly Letofsky wasn't in Baldwin City long last week, but the world traveler's experience here left a lasting impression.
Letofsky embarked on her "Global Walk" on Aug. 1, 1999, from Vail, Colo., in an effort to raise awareness of breast cancer. Since then, she has covered almost 14,000 miles on four continents -- America, Australia, Asia and Europe -- and has gone through 26 pairs of tennis shoes doing it. She has been accompanied by a specially made 3-wheel trolley called "Bob," which she uses to carry her gear.
When Letofsky headed into Baldwin Thursday, she and "Bob" turned quite a few heads. But before she left Friday morning on the way to Ottawa, she had a wonderful impression of Baldwin, she said.
"Baldwin City was terrific," said Letofsky. "I was pushing the buggy into town while going on (Douglas County Road) 1055 and I caught a lot of attention. People thought I was pushing a baby stroller. They called the police.
"The police came looking for that 'crazy woman pushing the baby' and they were really nice," she said. "They ended up buying me lunch."
She had left Lawrence earlier in the day Thursday. She came into Baldwin around 5 p.m. All along the way, she had people offering help.
"It was a real special treat coming into town," said Letofsky. "Everything went well that day. People were stopping and helping and wishing me well."
She was treated with meals at the Black Jack Diner, including several people who wanted to buy her breakfast Friday morning. The Lodge provided a room for her to stay in Thursday night.
"The people at Black Jack were great. Three people offered to buy me breakfast and lunch was packed up for me," she said. "The Lodge put me up for the night and the people there were so wonderful. It was just a wonderful stay.
"Gosh, the people were so good in Baldwin City," said Letofsky.
The 42-year-old has seen plenty during her five-year journey aimed at breast cancer awareness and education. She walked from Colorado to the Pacific Coast, then the length of New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Turkey and in continental Europe from Greece to Belgium, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
She then picked back up her journey on the East Coast. When she makes it through Kansas, the last stop on her journey, she will become the first American woman to walk around the world.
Her trek, which covers about 16 miles each day, through Kansas is following the Santa Fe Trail as much as possible. On Monday, she was between Ottawa and Emporia continuing the path which will take her to McPherson and then Dodge City before winding back up in her home state of Colorado. She has enjoyed Kansas.
"It's very picturesque. I feel safe," she said. "I'm really enjoying Kansas. It's my last state in my last country."
For more information on her journey, check out her Web site at www.globalwalk.org.