Feat diluted by attempts


— They come on bikes, they wear tennis shoes and a few even drive lawnmowers.

Since I moved to Steamboat Springs more than 10 years ago, I've seen people use just about every mode of transportation known to man to travel across the United States. That's because there is an unwritten rule that anyone wanting to travel across the country is required to pass through Steamboat en route to his or her destination.

I keep expecting to see Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise ripping down U.S. 40 in the latest version of "Cannon Ball Run." Hey, I might even spend $5.25 to see another "Cannon Ball Run" if it had a scene with those two guys riding a tandem mountain bike down the other side of Rabbit Ears Pass. If I remember the first two movies, something like that would fit right into the script.

But that's about the only thing that's going to peak my interest in a story about somebody crossing the country.

If you want to see a newspaper reporter dive under a desk, just stop by the office shortly before noon on a weekday and tell the front desk person you are on a transcontinental journey and would like to speak to a reporter.

Just sit back and watch the papers fly above the cubicles and listen to the sound of silence fill the air as reporters scramble out of the building.

It's not that traveling across the country on a bike isn't interesting. I thought it was very interesting the first four or five times I wrote about it. But like any good thing that is overdone, the excitement can go only so far.

You see, these days biking or running across the country is more common than grasshoppers in Steamboat. Every biker has a story. They are doing it to raise money for cancer research, they are trying to set a new record or they just want to spread the "Just Say No" message.

They are all good causes, but by this time of the year I just want to say no to any more stories about guys riding bikes across the country. That same feeling goes for skateboards, roller skis and lawnmowers especially lawnmowers.

I mean what kind of guy has the whole summer to drive a riding lawnmower across the country? My best guess would be an unemployed one.

But don't take this the wrong way. I admire most of the people who travel across the country on the top of a bike or in worn-out tennis shoes. I guess there is even a little respect for that guy on the riding lawnmower after all he has to sit on the hot vinyl seat for 12 to 15 hours a day. That has to be worth something right?

But the fact is in today's shrinking world the value of trekking across the United States has been diluted by the increasing number of people who attempt and complete the trip each year.

But after writing about these people for the past 12 years, I've learned a couple of things.

The first is that I can guarantee there will be more people making the trip this summer, next summer and even the summer after that. The other thing I know is that I will not be one of them.


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