Steve Made The News

Yes, contrary to what this website appears to believe, Steve has made it through Nebraska and Iowa. He is now on his way through Illinois to Mendota for the night and will be riding into town (with me and others) Saturday. We’ll get the map and all the fun stuff updated this weekend as well.

For now, click the link that shows up below to expand this and see the recent article from the Norfolk Daily News

Man reconnects with family on journey

By TRISHA SCHULZ
News City Editor

The speed of sanity is 12 mph.

That’s exactly how Steve Felt is taking in America this summer.

The Chicago man is biking across the United States, stopping along the way to visit friends and family.

Which is what brought him to Norfolk on Thursday, to visit his aunt and uncle, Evonne and Jeff Burkink of Norfolk.

“I’ve always wanted to ride coast to coast,” he said. “It’s always been an idea. And then what it became was just a chance to see the country at a different pace and really enjoy it.”

Felt visited relatives in Wakefield on Friday, the Al Hitz family and Lavonne Felt.

He works for a computer software company and it took some work to get the time off needed for the bike trip, Felt said.

“I started talking to work about five years ago. It took them about three years before they even thought I was serious. And it took another year to work out the details,” he said.

His journey started on the West Coast on May 29 in Bandon, Ore. Steve and his wife, Diane, celebrated their 29th anniversary with some friends who lived nearby in Roseburg.

Diane would be taking her own journey, separate from Steve. They both have the same mission to visit as many friends and family as possible and to see some specific areas.

However, Diane chose a different way to travel: by car and plane.

They have met up several times along their routes to the East Coast and will continue to do so.

The places Steve most wanted to visit were Yellowstone, Trail Ridge Road in Colorado, the Sandhills of Nebraska and Skyline Drive in Virginia.

For the most part, he rides alone.

“It’s lonely, but it’s been fine,” Felt said. “That’s the biggest problem. I miss everybody, but it’s not enough to stop the trip.”

He’s been pleased to have been joined with 11 other riders for different segments of his journey.

“Which has made the trip very enjoyable, knowing that I didn’t have to do the whole three months by myself,” Felt said.

He’s a little over halfway done with his trip — the rest of the journey to the East Coast will be more straight on, less than 2,000 more miles. He rides anywhere from 40 miles per day up to 118, but averages about 70 per day, he said.

Along the way, he’s camped, stayed in hotels or with friends and family— even in a one-room schoolhouse along his route.

Felt said he’s met a lot of interesting people and experienced some beautiful country so far.

WHEN HE was traveling through Wyoming, he stopped at Jeffrey City.

“It turns out it’s an old uranium mining operation that had just been abandoned. I stayed in a picnic shelter and all the buildings were boarded up and shut down. It was just spooky,” Felt said.

When he woke up the next morning, there was an antelope grazing about 15 yards from his tent.

He also traveled through the high desert of Oregon.

“One day, I rode 75 miles to get to a town and all it was, was an archery store,” Felt said. “I had to ride 50 miles more to get to the next town. It was just hundreds of miles between people. You’d think that it’d be boring, but it’s not.”

Felt said that if he was traveling across the United States in a car he would not be enjoying and seeing things like he is.

“There’s just so much going on that you miss when you’re in a car,” he said.

All of the natural wildlife, for example,.

Butterflies seemed to be flying northwest, he said.

“You’d see them coming across and they would run into me and they needed to continue their journey. They’d always turn right and always come around me. So, if I have some speed, sometimes they’d get in front of me and continue on, sometimes I’d get in front of them and they’d continue on. It was just so strange,” Felt said.

On his trip so far, he’s seen deer, antelope, jackrabbits, lizards, snakes, turtles, bears, moose, buffalo, bald eagles and pelicans.

One particular segment of his ride stands out in Felt’s mind, he said.

He was biking through Idaho — in the rain — toward Swan Falls.

“The clouds were hanging over the shoulders of the mountains. You really feel cut off from the rest of the world,” Felt said. “There’s people out, waders in the river fishing, people out in rowboats fishing. It’s one of those idyllic scenes — just perfect. We keep going on the highway. Two guys stopped their car for a rest break on the highway. They give us the thumbs-up sign. Everything’s just like in this little kind of contained, perfect world. As we keep going, four pelicans fly in from up river, all in formation. Great white pelicans, huge birds. You couldn’t have painted the scene any more perfect. It was just the moment. It was almost like the whole rainy day had to lead up to it, too.”

So far, his trip has exceeded his expectations, Felt said.

Besides taking in the “inspiring” and “breathtaking” scenery, Felt has contemplated three basic principles: Life is good. Keep it simple. Be different.

Some of his inspiration comes from Scripture about how God created the world and took care of everything in it. Also, how God said not to be “transformed by this world.”

“I know how much work it has been to make the bike trip happen. . . . I just tried to simplify the worries and say, ‘I’m not going to worry about this. I’m going to let this take care of itself.’ When I get up each day, I have a town that I sort of want to get to, but it depends how the day goes,” Felt said. “I kind of just take each day as it comes.”

* * *

Want to learn more?

For updates on Felt’s journey across the United States, visit www.12mph.com.

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