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Robert "The Rolling Dutchman" Van Branken pulls his electric wheelchair and travel trailer into camp at Itasca State Park Monday. Van Branken started Tuesday on his 2,000-plus mile journey south following secondary routes and byways to his destination at the Gulf of Mexico, a trip to thank veterans for their service. Pioneer Photo/Molly Miron

Wheelchair road trip to honor veterans

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On Memorial Day morning Robert "The Rolling Dutchman" Van Branken dipped the back tires of his electric wheelchair in the Headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park.

In six or seven months he intends to undertake a similar ritual with his front tires in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Wheels to pavement, rain or shine, June 1. This whole journey is to say thanks to any veteran I see," Van Branken said.

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