BETA

A goal to walk across America

OAKLEY, CALIF.

When Eve Fee of Oakley, Calif., was diagnosed with osteoporosis in 1989, doctors told her that walking was the best exercise for her condition. She obeyed doctor's orders and started walking with husband, Chris, regularly. They loved walking about the green Contra Costa hills and, by 1992, they were ready to set out on a quest of their own making from the shores of the San Francisco Bay. Their goal: to walk across America.

"This may be the slowest walk across America," said Brother Fee, 58. "When we started, we were both still working, (Brother Fee with the U.S. Attorney's office in San Francisco and Sister Fee as a computer specialist at Chevron), so during vacations, we walked the next segment of our route, California, Nevada, Idaho — it really started adding up."

They retired in 1996 with the express purpose of finishing their walk, but other callings took them away. They served for three years as missionaries in Madagascar and as English teachers at a university in Shanghai for a year. Illness and bad weather also slowed them down at times.

"I can't believe the end is in sight. I can almost smell the salt water of the Atlantic Ocean," laughed Sister Fee, 60, who, before her osteoporosis diagnosis, battled breast cancer and survived a near-fatal car accident that forced her to learn to walk again.

The Fees have learned to love the United States and Canada's diverse landscapes and communities. They walk 15 miles a day, six days a week (resting on Sunday). From Idaho they journeyed through Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan — and each place had its own personality. They laugh about the time a state highway patrolman checked in on them, worried over a report that "two elderly people were out wandering on the highway." They always seem to attract attention, especially from local media.

They expect to complete their journey on or about July 25.

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