Sunday, August 18, 2013

An article and news footage from CBN

Click on this link and it will bring you to the article and within the article you can click on the video.  CBN did a good job interviewing Daniel.  Thank you to CBN for capturing Dan's final steps into the ocean!

Monday, August 12, 2013

The End

On day 99 this amazing journey came to and end.  After 2,514 miles and 5,404,877 footsteps taken, I have reached the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach, VA.  I ran and JUMPED into the water around 12:30pm.  As I neared to ocean and the buildings began to fade and the horizen consisted of water, I could not help but simply smile and laugh.  There was so much going through my mind!  As I reached the beach the adrenaline was at full throttle.  I took the boots off, ran into the water, and dived in!   As I emerged there was a crew from CBN and The Catholic Virginian Newspaper as well as many random people taking pictures.

It felt weird after all this time to just be done.  It's been a day now, and I still haven't been able to process all that needs to be reflected on.  There have just been too many memories along the way and it feels surreal.  I have three days to relax and reflect on the trip.  I am fortunate enough to stay on the beach at First Landing State Park.  Last night as I watched the sun go down and the dolphins give me a show in the water I could not help but just think how much God has blessed me along the way.  Part of me is greatful to be done, but another part was thinking, "Great. I finished this pilgrimage but this is just a part of my life... just a step in growing closer to God.  Just because something has been accomplished does not mean life just stops."

Throughout this trip I have heard "There are a lot of crazies or bad people out there".  Now I would simply respond yes, but there are MORE good people.

This journey has been such a blessing!  Thank you to everyone who helped out along the way to make this trip possible, whether it was a donation, a meal, a place to sleep, a phone call or text (which sometimes got me through some of hard miles), a smile, a ride, a prayer, a song, and the list goes on.  I would like to give a special thanks to the people of my home parish of St. Peters in Forest lake, MN.  They have been very supportive along the way!  It was very powerful to see how much they helped me out and to hear stories from my mother.  It sometimes kept me going through some hard days.

There are so many thoughts running through my head I do not know where to start or finish.  So I am sorry for keeping this so short.  People have asked along the way if I will write a book, or asked what I am doing after this.  As of right now I have no idea and am trying to just have faith in God that he will show me what He wants me to do.


Daniel Reinke

The Finish Line

So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
-2 Corinthians 5:17


Just want to say a special THANKS to my brother Robert who helped out a lot with the website throughout the whole trip!  Without his much needed help this website would have been nothing. 

Also a special THANKS to the parishioners of my home parish of St. Peters in Forest Lake, MN.  Thank you for all the support and Prayers!


DAY 99
 2,514 miles and 5,404,877 footsteps from the Pacific Ocean in Seaside, Oregon to the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach, Virginia. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day 98!!!

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the firmament proclaims the works of his hands.
-Psalm 19:2

Well, I am literally on the final stretch!  I have so much on the mind I do not even know what to say.  This past week has actually been one of the toughest ones so far, but I have been filled with joy and adrenaline.  It is so close I can smell that salt in the air!

Man have I been blessed on this journey.  I just want to say thank you to everyone who has helped out along the way, in many different ways.  I wanted to get a few pictures up of the kindness these past few days before I have pictures of the 'finish line' (which just so happens to be the Atlantic Ocean).

During this trip I cannot remember how many times I have said "do not fear for Christ is with you".  It has gotten me through a lot of interesting parts of the journey.  I cannot stop smiling at this part in the journey!  I cannot believe it is almost over and oddly enough I think I will kind of miss it, but I cannot wait to see family and friends!  It has been too long.  I plan to hit the beach and ocean around 1pm on Sunday, August 11th.  I plan to hit Virginia Beach and then head north to First Landing State Park for some needed rest and reflection of all the blessings of the journey.  Please continue to pray and keep following until Monday when I should be able to get some of the final pictures and videos and last comments up as I will not be able to get to a library on Sunday.

Here is a quick story from the other day.  I woke up at 2am to try and cram some miles in so that beach would near quicker.  As I walked down Highway 58 there were very few vehicles passing.  I would walk segmants without the headlamp turned on to enjoy the night and the stars.  My eyes would adjust to the low light more than you would think, but this time they did not see an animal soon enough.  I saw movement off to my left in the grass.  As I looked over I instantly said "oh no"...  There was a skunk turning its butt towards me and lifting its tail.  As I paused ready to get sprayed nothing happened so I began to run!  I never did get sprayed but if I had it would not have been the best way to start the morning off.  Thank God for that blessing of the morning.

Bud, Frank, Welton, Joe, and Bill invited me over for coffee and conversation over breakfast in Franklin, VA.  After eating they were kind enough to pay for the meal and coffee at the well known Fred's Restaurant in downtown Franklin.  This was one of the better breakfasts of the trip!

Also, here is the latest Google Earth maps and SPOT tracking beacon link of my location:

12 miles from where I sleep tonight to the edge of God's great U.S. of A! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 95

Your word is a lamp for my feet, 
a light for my path. -Psalm 199:105

I just came into the town of South Hill, VA and just hit 2,400 miles and 5,166,063 footsteps.  It was a blessing to have cooler weather for a week or so but it is starting to warm up again.  Campgrounds are few and far between on the route I am on.  It has been a few days since my last shower and I cannot wait to hit that ocean!

As I was going through a small town headed towards South Hill last night I was stopped by a friendly woman named Amanda.  I talked with her for a while before leaving town.  The sun was starting to go down and I decided to plunge into the night for a while to cover some ground and to make it closer to the finish line.  I was forced to picth my tent right off the highway.  After getting a few hours of sleep and putting on my sweat drenched clothes again I hit the road and stopped at the first gas station that I came upon.  As I walked in I saw Amanda again!  It's a small world I guess you could say!  She was kind enough to make me a breakfast and coffee for free!  I planned on doing this trip with what money I had saved and the items and food that I packed, but I am always blown away by people's generosity.  What an unexpected blessing.  Just ONE of the many stories of kindness and generousity along the way.   Also, as I walked into South Hill, I was dreaming of a shower to wash off the three days worth of grit and sweat.  I was randomly able to make daily Mass at a rather unusual time (noon).  Some nice women hooked me up with a guy named Doug who managed a place called Shepard's Inn who let me shower for free!  I walked down the road smiling thinking of what a blessing something as simple as a shower can be.  Thank you!

Throughout this trip I have also been stopped by maybe twenty, or so, police officers and park rangers.  They have been very kind and definatly living out the "serve" part of there job.  I have been given homemade cookies, fruit, directions, and even short rides to a grocery store or a place to camp when storms have been biting at my heels.  I just wanted to say thank you to all that have helped out along the way.

I have heard I am about 120 miles from Virginia Beach!  I figure it will take around 3-4 days and I will arrive either this Saturday or Sunday.  It is still tough going, even being this close, but I believe that as I get within a day or two of the ocean (when I can start to smell that salt) the adrenaline will start to kick in.  I dont know if I will be able to hold back from running!  I plan to spend two or three days on the coast and relax and enjoy the beauty while reflecting on the trip.

Also, here is the latest Google Earth maps and SPOT tracking beacon link of my location:

That yellow line reflects about 110 miles as a crow flies from my last location (looking East) to the coast (+/-).

Sunday, August 4, 2013

5 Million Step Challenge

Well the trip is winding down.  I have reached 5 million footsteps and am currently at about 2,350 miles in total walking distance.  I am in Rocky Mount, Virginia and figure I have about 200-250 miles to go (until Virginia Beach).  I will not reach 6 million steps so figured I would issue one last 'Challenge'. In this 'Year of Faith', this trip has turned out to really relate with that.  It has been a constant learning experience on how to have more faith in God.  The first 'Challenge' post was on faith and it seems fitting to end with one on faith.  Even after coming this far I find it hard to have a genuine fullness of trust and faith in God through hardships and challenges.  It can be so easy to forget about all the blessings that God has given me and all the times that He has delivered me from something difficult.  For some people TRUE faith may come easy, but for me it seems to be a constant battle.  Some people may have the faith of Moses, but I think for most it is a slow learning process.  Each step on this trip has been a step closer to God.  There are too many stories to tell and most have not been shared on the website but I would like to take you back in time for a quick summary of this trip.

Starting out I did not know where I would even begin the trip.  I took a Greyhound bus to the coastAL tow of Seaside, OR.  From there I began walking East.  During the first week of walking toward and into Portland I relied on family for directing me on places to stay, roads to take, etc.  I also stayed at a few motels to help my body and mind get used to all the walking.  At this point in the trip my faith was pretty weak.  As the trip continued I slowly relied more and more on God and just the simple fact that He would provide.   During this trip I have walked through many 'bad' or troubled neighborhoods in different cities, and not always during daylight, but God always kept me safe.  Also, crossing long stretches of desolate and desertlike areas of up to 100 miles with limited water and food...  God provided.  Many people would offer short rides or water and food.  In crossing the Grand Tetons through winding roads with little to no shoulders...  God provided safety from cars cruising by and also from the many bears that I heard about that were coming out of hibernation and were hungry.  Walking hot roads where rattle snakes come out to warm up...  God provided safety from stepping on a few that I didn't see until the last second, and probably many that I didn't see.  On occasion I would take a ride from anybody who offered if I felt compelled to do so...  God provided safety and great conversations and stories from them.  In crossing a 1,000 mile stretches of corn fields...  God kept me from going insane with great down-to-earth kindness from passersby and friendly locals.  Walking through the night and walking during many hours of complete darkness...  God provided safety from vehicles and whatever else may have been lurking about...  Walking through rain, heat, hail, wind, humidity...  God provided amazing weather throughout the whole trip.  I was blessed with probably less than 10 rain days, and breaks from whatever weather was starting to get to me.  There were also many times while walking that I noticed drivers texting or simply being unaware of their surroundings...  God provided safety from them.  Also, in talking to anyone I came in contact with no matter the place or time...  God provided good conversations and kindness on their part.

These are just a few examples of how God has taken care of me, not to mention all the donations and help along the way.  I saved enough to do this trip but it was certainly a budget and without peoples' generosity in many different ways I would not have been able to do this trip.  It's so hard to think of all the blessings when walking in rain for 3 days straight, feeling the pain of blisters or strained muscles, sweating day and night through humidity for days on end... but when looking back we are always taken care of and blessed with God's loving surplus.  Without God this trip and I are nothing.  With God...  amazing things can and did happen.

I challenge you to try to strive for that true faith of Moses...  faith to expect the seas to part, in every moment of your day.

Some of you may remember an earlier post where I met some bikers back in the great plains who were also crossing the country.  I just got word that they made it to the coast!   Congratulations to Johnny and Audrey!

Also, here is the latest Google Earth maps and SPOT tracking beacon link of my location:

"Be my rock of refuge, my stronghold to give me safety; for you are my rock and fortress." and "You are my hope, Lord; my trust"
-Psalm 71:3, 5

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

West Virginia!

It's day 87 and I have covered about 2,200 miles walking and am nearing 5 million footsteps.  I am currently in the mountains of West Virginia.  I have just reached Rainelle along Highway 60, or Midland Trail, which is a National Scenic Byway that used to be an old buffalo trail.  Getting into this beautiful scenery has been awesome!  Also the weather has been cooler and drier.  Since Charleston the road has been paralleling the river with mountains rising quickly on either side of it (the river) with small towns scattered here and there.  This has made the miles more visually captivating.  Your mind is always excited to see what is around the next bend.  People have been great out here!  I had a woman give me a bag filled with a packed lunch (which was amazing),  a guy buy a pizza dinner for me, and a woman named Cheryl let me camp at her campground on the river for free where I was able to enjoy a much needed rest day after a long week of 259 miles since last rest day!  

In the past I have always enjoyed my weekends off from work and the day of rest (Sunday), but have come to truly understand the meaning of the day of rest now.  I do not just look forward to 'not walking', but rather, I NEED it.  By the time the body gets to rest the feet have started to blister, the muscles are fatigued and are ready to relax.  Thanks to Cheryl at the New River Campground in Gauley Bridge, I was able to truly rest.  I sat on the picnic table last night and watched the sunset and the water go by.  It was so peaceful!  I could have sat there all night.  Seems to me that most people can experience God in nature and I would even say it hard not to.  I think we need to help more people experience this gift we have of God's great outdoors.  

I have been counting down the days now.  The Atlantic Ocean is nearing so quickly, but I am fighting, still, to live in the moment and savor every step that remains as well.  Every moment is a precious gift from God.

"Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself."
-Matthew 6:34

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad."
-Psalm 118:24 

Below are some new maps, pictures, and videos to check out too.  Enjoy and thanks for checking in!  Check out how beautiful West Virginia is!!!

And now some videos...

Also, here is the latest Google Earth maps and SPOT tracking beacon link of my location:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day 80's Reflection

On day 80 I found myself walking in the rain all day long.  It was a nice change from the week prior that was so hot and humid.  Most of my gear was drenched and when walking into the town of Greenfield, OH,  I was not sure where I would spend the night.  I was planning on walking through the night but decided to get a meal beforehand.  I went into a local pizza joint and got to talking with a guy named Pete, and his mother, Beverly.   Before I knew it she had made a few calls and I was going to stay in a bed and breakfast!  I believe it was paid for by her parish.  Thank you!  Thank you! Thank you! What a blessing!  I have never stayed in one of these before and was not sure what to expect.  I ended up having the house to myself.  I was able to clean up and dry out some gear.  In the morning the innkeeper, Brenda, made me breakfast.  We had a good conversation, and I left smiling after enjoying such luxuries.  What a great example of Christian charity on their part!

I recently passed the 2,000 mile marker!  It feels good to have gotten over that hump.  Once I get over the Appalachians it will truly be all down hill from there.  The terrain is slowly starting to change from the crop land that I have seen over the past few states.  The change of scenery is fresh and new and is greatly welcomed!

Something I was reflecting on in light of being happy for this change of scenery is how some days aren't necessarily extraordinary, but rather just a normal, long, strenuous day of walking.  What comes to mind is how this can mirror all of our lives.  Sometimes life is just a day of trying to get by, whether it's going to your job day after day after day.  It can be a grind sometimes.  Sometimes we aren't going to have a promotion, a vacation, an emotional high, a party,  or entertainment...  sometimes life can just be a grind.  But in the midst of these day-to-day trials we must have hope because Christ gave us that (hope).  It is very easy to love God and be thankful when everything is perfect, but when the cornfields grow dull and the feet sore, that is when we must truly hope and be thankful.  And then God brings forth a change of scenery like the Appalachian Mountains.  We must have faith and hope and our Lord will provide.

Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
-Luke 9:23


Also, here is the latest SPOT tracking beacon link of my location:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 79: A few pictures and videos

This picture is from way back in Nebraska (if I recall correctly).  These two nice women were kind enough to pick up my breakfast that morning!

I met this gal and another on the side of the road.  They are part of group of 15 biking across the country to raise money for refugees in Southeast Asia. 

Ashley and Peggy, her mom, drove by on a hot day as I was headed into Lebanon, Ohio.  They were kind enough to go buy lunch and come back and drop it off!

Riding the wave...  the heat wave, that is!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 77

Welcome back, Everyone.

Here are some random ponderings of the day and an updated map of the progress.

This heat wave appears to be nearing its end in western Ohio (at least per the weather reports), where I am currently.  Today I am headed for Lebanon, OH.

I have recently started to look back at all that has happened during this journey.  It's easy to forget everything that has happened behind you and only think about the next town, the next meal, the next campsite, etc.  Everything that has happened begins to blend together.  As I started to ponder all the individual stories I found myself laughing out loud for many of them.  I have been blessed to have met so many amazing people! There are so many stories of kindness, generosity, and fellowship.  This still amazes me everyday. 

I cannot count how many times I have pondered buying a bike at a garage sale and just riding for a day or two!  Ha!  That would cover some serious miles...  even if it was red tricycle.  Also the thought of wearing jeans and a clean cotton shirt sounds so good that I cannot wait!  I plan to throw away these dirty, worn out clothes when I hit the Atlantic and get some new ones. 

Even after all these miles and days, I have found that I still struggle with having true genuine faith some days, especially near the end of the day.  Or when walking into a city as the sun is going down it is sometimes hard to think how God is going to provide, but He always does and it always amazes me how He does.  At this point I am still hoping to finish around the 100 day mark, but this is just an estimate.  I am literally counting down every day and every mile now, as the trip is becoming strenuous.  Keep me in your thoughts and prayers and I will for you in mine.  Don't forget to share/email this web site to anyone you think would find it interesting.  Below is the latest SPOT tracking beacon location and some Google Maps to illustrate the progress.

God bless,

Also, here is the latest SPOT tracking beacon link of my location:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

4 Million Step Challenge

Hello All,

As I have recently mentioned I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel...  and it is GREAT!!!  I have just passed over the 4 million footstep mark and about 1,900 miles walked!

I have been issuing little challenges along the way for every million steps walked to anyone who is up to them (the challenge, that is).  These are challenges that I have had during this pilgrimage and encourage others to work in these areas if they also struggle with similar things.  If you have not already read the past ones I encourage you to do so.  Looking back on the trip I have met many amazing people (I would estimate it has been in the thousands) that have gone out of there way to help me out, people being generous with their time, money, and energy.  Each day I am suprised by their kindness.  I have also met many people that have a bad taste in their mouth for Christianity.  Whether it is someone in their family or just an acquaintance.  This really saddens me because they have not had the priveledge to meet a true practicing Christian.  Meeting someone who is truly practicing their faith will change your life in one way or another.  I know because my family and friends were part of the reason I was moved to truly start practicing my Catholic faith.

Anyhow, looking back I think of the way I used to live and how people viewed me as being a Christian.  I would imagine that it did not inspire any of them to want to learn more about Christianity.  In fact, I probably pushed people away from it.  When talking to people that do not see Christ within these Christians, it makes me wonder if people see Christ in me?  Am I bringing people to Christ or farther away from Him.  There are even times in this trip that I wish I could go back and be a better example of what it means to be a Christian.

My simple challenge to you is to think of the way people view your life and how it makes them view Christianity.  Are your a Christ-like light to the world?

You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.  Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.
-Matthew 5:14-16

God bless.

Here are a couple little videos to keep you up to date:

Indiana Heat

 Indiana Humidity

Indiana Fruit

Monday, July 15, 2013

Day 72

So this past weekend I decided to take my rest day on Saturday.  I woke up from Kickapoo State Park which is West of Danville, IL (where I was headed to).  I try to keep my rest days under 10 miles of walking, but on this rest day I needed to make it to town and run a few errands.  As I left the park I accidentally took a wrong turn (my state highway map that I was using to navigate doesn't have a lot of detail).  I haven't taken many wrong turns on this trip, but this wasn't looking like it would be the much needed day of rest that I was anticipating.

Well, as you may have seen in previous stories, God provided once again.  I met a nice couple who was on a daily walk who were generous enough to give me a ride to a cafe near town, so I only had to walk 4 miles and not 8!

In Danville I ran a few errands and met some really kind people along the way.  There were no campgrounds near Danville unless I backtracked so I planned to walk through the night after attending Saturday night Mass.  After Mass I was offered a dinner with a bunch of parishioners and even a place to stay!  Let me tell you how much of a treat it was to sleep on a bed and in air-conditioning as the summer heat wave has been persistant.  This is just one example of what most days are like:  I describe it as "the stars aligning".  Well, with faith in the Lord, the stars simply will align.  Trust.

Some rely on chariots, others on horses, but we on the name of the LORD our God. 
-Psalm 20:8

Also, here is the latest SPOT tracking beacon link of my location:

So it's day 72 today and I am around 1,800 miles walked and nearing 4 million footsteps.  I am estimating that I should reach the East coast around day 100.  I have been traveling North of Indianapolis in Indiana and am settling down in Lebanon tonight.  It has been super hot and humid lately.  It is the humidity that really gets to you and seems to slow down my miles traveled.  I tend to really drag during these days, and find it really hard to wake up and get going when it is already 80 degrees and humid at 3am.  At this point in the trip really I look forward to getting to the destination so much I tend to only take 2-3 sit down breaks during 30 mile stretches.  I really enjoy the semis driving by and delivering a big gust of wind that I tend to hardly step off the shoulder just to receive a little of the unnatural breeze.

Some other observations:  I am starting to miss the Nebraska friendliness of waves from passersby.  It seemed like 90 percent of the cars driving by would offer a wave and I would almost got sick of it but now I am missing that gesture as I find it diminishing the further East I get.  There are different kinds of waves out there too...  Who would have thought it...  Ha!  Lately I have been amused by the "family wave" which would be a car or van full of people and when you wave, everyone in the vehicle simultaneously lifts their hands and wave.  You cannot help but smile or laugh.  Another one is when someone seems to be overly excited to provide a wave.  I call this the Jeremiah Johnson wave.  If you have ever seen the last scene in this movie you can see Jeremiah grin as he offers a wave of peace.

I am at the point in the trip where I have started to count down the days, miles, and states.  I cannot wait to get back home.  That reoccurring thought of jumping in the Atlantic sounds amazing.  Whenever thoughts creep into my mind of self-pity for how hard this journey has been and will be, I just try to think how good I have it in comparison to other people around the world and even in our own country.  If I have a safe place to camp, even if it is boiling hot and humid, is not that bad.  How blessed we are!  Praise the Lord.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


I just wanted to say welcome to any new visitors to this site.  I have been on my journey since the beginning of May and have been updating this blog every two or three days.  I want to invite you to read through the many posts.  I recommend especially the posts entitled "A Short Story of Faith", "Portland", and "Unity".

A very kind woman I met at Mass in Peoria, IL.  She even bought me lunch and enjoyed some nice conversation with her.

Brothers in faith.

Also, here is the latest SPOT tracking beacon link of my location:

Slowly but surely closing in on the East Coast!