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Coast-to-coast trekkers make a point

The Great March for Climate Action is not the first time cross-country travelers for a cause traversed our region. The method demonstrates commitment and captures the imagination. We wish them safe travels.

Published: Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

When about 35 people walked through our area last weekend on the Great March for Climate Action, they became the latest coast-to-coast travelers to pay the Sauk Valley a visit.

Their cause is to raise money, recruit members, and raise awareness about the impact that carbon emissions have on the globe.

Walking 15 to 17 miles a day, they hope to inspire action in the communities they visit.

The group started its trip March 1 in Los Angeles. The marchers’ destination, which they hope to reach Nov. 1, is Washington, D.C.

We certainly give them credit for their endurance and determination.

Sauk Valley Media archives tell of previous cross-country trips through our region whose travelers hit the road for other reasons.

In 1903, Horatio Nelson came through Dixon on a cross-country automobile odyssey in the days of dirt roads and no gas stations. His motivation? A $20 bet.

Future President Dwight Eisenhower, as an Army lieutenant colonel, came through Dixon and Sterling as part of a 1919 Army convoy traveling from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco.

Ike, then 28, was doubtful that the convoy would make it. But it did, proving the worth of a motorized military and the need for better roads.

Perhaps that trek was in the back of President Eisenhower’s mind when he launched construction of the interstate highway system in 1956.

More recently, a retired Pennsylvania farmer drove his 1948 John Deere tractor through the Sauk Valley in June. C. Ivan Stolzfus was en route from Manasquan, New Jersey, to Crescent City, California, to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

In 2013, Patricia Jo Kearney, 55, of Carlsbad, New Mexico, pedaled her recumbent tricycle through during a winding, 10,000-mile cross-country trip she had pledged to take when she was a teen.

In 2010, Rock Falls native Mike Ehredt, 49, ran through the Sauk Valley during a coast-to-coast journey from Astoria, Oregon, to Rockland, Maine. His reason? Pay tribute to the 4,500 troops who died defending their country in the first decade of the 21st century.

Whether to raise awareness, raise money, or just satisfy an itch to travel, such coast-to-coast trips help their participants to make a point.

The technique is tried and true. It demonstrates commitment and captures the imaginations of local spectators.

Bon voyage, climate marchers, and all who pass this way on similar journeys.

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