Seeking to raise money for restaurant workers stuck at home during COVID, two bartending brothers decided to make like Bilbo Baggins and walk 3,200 miles across America to raise money.
Having just arrived on the sands of the Pacific Ocean, Aiden and Louis Ardine have now completed their five-month walkabout which started on the Asbury Park boardwalk in New Jersey.
They hoped to raise $30,000 for some charities that were helping restaurant workers waiting for restrictions to end, but ended up making $70,000—which they distributed to the COCO Fund and the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation.
Verizon heard about the endeavor and launched a donation drive in support of the Ardines, who passed through 11 states over the course of 162 days, 12,000 feet in various elevation changes, and about 80 degrees in temperature variation before the job was done.
“This would not have been possible without the help of a huge community of people, whether people were donating or helping us navigate our way across the United States.” Aiden Ardine told App. “This was definitely an adventure founded in a very hopeful notion about America, and it confirmed our suspicion that people are inherently good and want to help their neighbors.”
Typical of cross-country trips in this nation, their voyage was characterized by stunning scenery, long roads, and helpful strangers: like a man who passed them in the searing heat of summertime Iowa, before doubling back and giving them a cold Gatorade; or a Nevada campground manager who left them stay for free.
In Utah they had what the naturalist John Muir would have described as an “interview” with a black bear, when rounding a corner in the trail, they found themselves within a few feet of it.
When they reached San Francisco, their supporters were waiting for them on the beach. Afterwards they flew home along with their mom who had been there to meet them. After their adventurous sojourn, we can only imagine she was feeling proud of her sons indeed.