Rob Reynolds took four years off to walk across America

Many walk for exercise or simply to get somewhere. But few who walk find it to truly be an experience or transformation. That, however, is the story of Rob Reynolds’ walk around America. Reynolds, 86, told the story of his walking mission recently at Enumclaw’s High Point Village, where he is living.

Rob Reynolds today and Rob Reynolds in 1998

Many walk for exercise or simply to get somewhere. But few who walk find it to truly be an experience or transformation. That, however, is the story of Rob Reynolds’ walk around America.

Reynolds, 86, told the story of his walking mission recently at Enumclaw’s High Point Village, where he is living.

His walk began Jan. 8, 1995, and ended in 1999, spanning four years, seven months and 26 days. He was 68 when he began his walk around America.

The story originated in Idaho where Rob was born and raised. He heard about a group known as Mission Aviation Fellowship, a Christian organization that traces its history to 1943 when World War II pilots met for prayer. According to its website, the organization was launched after the war, using planes to provide services and spread Christianity to remote areas of the world.

Rob heard the group was training pilots in Idaho near where he was raised.

He was inspired by their mission and came up with the idea to help the fellowship by raising both money and awareness by a walk around America.

Rob met with Max Meyers, executive director of the fellowship, and was told, “If you are crazy enough to do it, we are crazy enough to back you.”

Living in Washington, Rob began his journey on state Route 101. He and his wife, Marge, who drove a pickup and pulled a trailer, planned on covering about 20 miles a day.

Planning to begin with a trip down the West Coast, Rob discovered 20 miles was too far and cut back to an average of 16 miles a day.

“That winter was a particular trial,” Reynolds said, because of storms. The couple finally arrived in San Diego at the end of May 1995.

He was advised against crossing the Southwest states during the summer months because of the extreme heat. Reynolds decided to drive to Maine and walk down the East Coast.

The daily routine had Marge driving ahead of her husband, then walking back to meet Rob and walk for a mile or more. She would then drive ahead once more, but keep close tabs on Rob in case a problem arose.

They kept this routine Tuesday through Saturday. The couple would find a local church on Sunday to attend, then move their fifth-wheel trailer to the next location Monday.

“I had a one-person support team – my wife,” Rob said.”She wanted to do it for the Lord and help my dream come true.”

Rob said they met many challenges along the way. One was in The Bronx, one of New York City’s five boroughs.

“She (Marge) followed me as I walked through Bronx and across the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey,” Rob said. “I walked into Fort Lee (New Jersey) and I lost her. The only way to contact her was to find a place to call the cell phone she had in the car.”

They finally found each other several hours later.

“She was very mad and ready to quit,” Rob said. “But we managed to keep going.”

Rob said the big eastern cities were the toughest, but the majority of the experience was, “wonderful… people were very helpful and thoughtful.”

The most difficult time came at Waveland State Park in Mississippi when Marge tripped on a curb and badly skinned her knee. Rob said she tried to treat it at the trailer, but had an allergic reaction to the medication. She was unconscious and not breathing and Rob preformed CPR until emergency medical help arrived. Later, Marge was diagnosed with pneumonia. They stayed put for a month while she recovered and gained back the strength needed to carry on the mission.

The final stretch of the trip was a span from eastern Montana to the Washington post town of Aberdeen, but Rob was slowed due to osteoarthritis in his knee. During the summer of 1998 it took seven steroid injections to get him across Montana.

“It was too painful to walk every day,” Rob said. “One day after one mile I sat on the guard rail and hoped Marge would come back for me.”

After Montana Rob got his knee replaced and a heart valve repair.

By May of 1999 he hit the road again to complete the mission, finally ending up in the Marine View Church in Tacoma where he and Marge began the journey Jan. 8, 1995.

Rob walked through 10 pairs of shoes, wearing each pair for about 11,000 miles until the soles wore through.

 

More in News

Former Plateau resident lands role with Marvel T.V. series

McKay Stewart, who spent much of his childhood in Enumclaw and Bonney Lake, will be joining the Marvel universe in a new episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airing Friday, Jan. 19.

Black Diamond hits the reset button

The new Black Diamond City Council wasted no time on settling in and testing the political waters. On their first meeting of the year, new Councilwomen Melissa Oglesbee and Erin Stout and returning Councilwomen Tamie Deady and Janie Edelman marched through a long list of agenda items, many of which reversed council policies and goals set over the last two years.

Citizen group urges council to start pool planning

With the Sumner High School pool closing at the end of the 2018-2019 swim season, residents are asking the City of Bonney Lake to build a city pool to house the Panther and Spartan swim teams. A presentation on why the council should start planning a pool as quickly as possible is being held Tuesday, Jan. 23.

Bonney Lake releases findings on water meter tests, ends internal audit

Dozens of residents complained to the council last October about what they called impossibly high water bills. After several months performing an internal audit of the water utility system, including testing 43 water meters from homes that received a high water bills, the city holds there is no bug in the system, and residents used the amount of water recorded on their bills. But some residents, and even councilmembers, remain unconvinced.

White River Valley Museum opens “Suffer for Beauty” exhibit

Corsets, bras, and bustles, oh my! The White River Valley Museum is hosting its new event, “Suffer for Beauty,” which is all about the changing ideals of female beauty through the ages. The exhibit runs through June 17.

Teacher, student reconnect at living center after 66 years

A person can change in 66 years. At the very least, they’re going to look pretty different. So when Robert Terrell, 96, and Margaret (Peggy) Burley, 75, ran into each other at Bonney Lake’s Cedar Ridge assisted living facility last August, neither of them realized they had met before — at an elementary school, where he was a fourth-grade teacher, and she was a part of his first ever class.

Library’s art and writing contest returns to Pierce County | Pierce County Library System

Pierce County teens are encouraged to express themselves through writing, painting, drawing and more for the annual Our Own Expressions competition, hosted by the Pierce County Library System.

Sumner School District seeks name ideas for new elementary school

Want to name your new local school? Just fill out a short form by Jan. 26

Judge reproaches Black Diamond mayor, former city council majority

In a summary judgement hearing, King County Superior Court Judge Janet Helson said she was troubled by both the actions of Black Diamond Mayor Carol Benson and former City Council majority Pat Pepper, Brian Weber, and Erika Morgan over the last two years concerning potential Open Public Meetings Act violations.

Most Read