Magicians Walking Across United States Finally Make it to New York City

Categories: SF Oddities
Courtesy of the Great American Walkabout
An easy stroll through Pennsylvania
SF Weekly readers might recall the offbeat story about a few magicians on a random quest to walk the nation. When we caught up with them as they started their journey in San Francisco in March, they told us that nobody believed they could or would actually do it.

But they did it. They walked the nation -- clocking in more than 3,400 miles.

Eight months and 18 pairs of shoes later, the trio are back home after their arduous journey, which ended on Oct. 27 when they arrived in New York City's Times Square, sadly with little fanfare.

"We called all the news people and did everything we could, but when we arrived, it was cold and raining and nobody there -- no news, no family, just the three of us," said Edwin Bond, who is now living with family in Maryland. "It was disappointing, but we made it all the way to New York on our own -- so I felt excitement punctuated with anger and disappointment."

But Bond shook it off quickly, remembering the entire purpose of the trip was not to become famous, but rather to prove he could do something as utterly crazy as walk the nation. He and his buddies, including Michael Nelsen of Napa, and Bulla Lepen, decided to make this journey to inspire people to take extreme risks.

And extreme is was. Initially, they had planned to try to make money performing magic shows on the road, but they were too tired and drained. So halfway through the trip, they ran out of cash. They began bartering food and other necessities for free advertising space on their website. But because that didn't always pan out, there were plenty of days they went without food. Needless to say, stomachs growled, tempers flared, and relations became very tense, Bond said.

"Just three guys hanging out together for eight months with no break --  you get a little frustrated and fed up with one another," Bond admitted. The situation was at its worse when they trekked through Yellowstone -- they were out of money and toward the end, they ran out of food; what's more, they couldn't find a spot to camp legally.

"The national parks were the most difficult, because we were not allowed to legally hunt and there are no private businesses we could do trades with," Bond said. "We were there [in Yellowstone]  for 11 days and we had only four meals -- we lost 10 pounds while we were in Yellowstone."

But they carried on, traversing Wyoming, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and the eastern states, averaging 15 to 20 miles daily, Bond said. After finally arriving in New York City, the trio took some photos together before going their own separate ways. Readjusting to life has been hard, Bond said. There are days where he feels nothing but restlessness -- understandably so.

"It's a little surreal and difficult," Bond told us. "We feel like champions, we are accomplished, but now we are done and it's over and readjusting to our lives is more difficult than walking every day."

"Now we have to go back home, get jobs, and support ourselves, which seems more difficult to do."

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