A journey only sports nuts would dare

Michael Walsh and Casey Johnson are more than 3,000 miles into an adventure of a lifetime

They have traveled 3,335 miles through 13 states in 13 days. The itinerary reads like a sports fan’s dream come true.

On Monday, Casey Johnson of Washougal and Michael Walsh of Vancouver were in Pittsburgh taking a tour of PNC Park before watching the Pirates play baseball.

“PNC Park is pretty much where this whole thing started. We really wanted to get to this ballpark,” Walsh said. “When we got our first look at the Major League Baseball schedule, it was very favorable for us. We are able to get to 12 games in 12 different ballparks in three weeks.”

On Sunday, they saw Rory McIlroy capture the U.S. Open golf championship in Bethesda, Md.

“The number-one thing I’ve seen has to be the U.S. Open,” Johnson said. “I’m a golfer, and I have watched these guys play on television my whole life. To actually be there, and take in the atmosphere of a U.S. Open, is something I’m never going to forget.”

Today, Johnson and Walsh arrive in Cincinnati to see the Reds host the New York Yankees, at the Great American Ballpark.

After stops in St. Louis and Kansas City to see the Cardinals and the Royals, they plan to be in Omaha, Neb., this weekend for the finals of the College World Series.

“To this point, the trip has been the adventure we hoped it would be,” Walsh said. “We’ve been to a lot of ballparks and had a lot of neat opportunities. It just keeps rolling into something that’s bigger and better, and that’s what we hoped for.”

“Every day is something new,” Johnson said. “There’s never a dull moment when you’re going from city to city.”

Tops on the list of the two friends was the U.S. Open, and visiting the Wrigley Field in Chicago.

“Few things generate more excitement for a sports fan than watching somebody win a national championship,” Walsh said. “Wrigley Field is also one of the relics of sports history. I walked in that place, and my jaw just dropped.”

“You come out of that tunnel, and it’s like you are there when it was just built,” Johnson said. “They don’t have many ballparks like that anymore.”

Johnson and Walsh have also been to the brand new Target Field in Minneapolis, Miller Park in Milwaukee, U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Comerica Park in Detroit and Progressive Field in Cleveland.

In 10 days since leaving Boise, Idaho, on June 8, they reached Nationals Park in Washington D.C. They celebrated reaching the halfway point of their trip by walking through the National Mall.

Walsh, 23, and Johnson, 22, are both working on graduate degrees at Boise State University. They met in the communications courses at Washington State University, in Pullman.

“We realized this was one of our last summers to lack responsibility, and we both enjoy driving, traveling and sports,” Walsh said. “Time and cost were the initial factors, but when the pieces fell together, we decided to make this our summer internship. It took about 10 months of planning, and it all came together better than we ever dreamed.”

They designed a website called “Sport Road Trip” for the project, which can be viewed at www.sportroadtrip.com. The site has an itinerary for each day of the trip, and a blog where they post memories and pictures.

“I’ve always been into communication, like blogging, Facebook, Twitter and writing, so this just reaffirms what I want to do,” Johnson said. “For me personally, it’s great to be able to get out and see all of these different cities. It makes me realize that I can work anywhere. The whole world is right in front of me, and I can do what I want.”

Johnson and Walsh plan to be back in Boise on July 1, and home in Washougal and Vancouver for Fourth of July weekend.

They cannot wait to show their pictures and share their stories with friends and family. The memories will link these two sports fans forever, and hopefully inspire others to create their own journey.

“Getting started is the hardest part,” Johnson said. “Talk to people, get started and see what happens. It could turn into something great like this.”

“If you don’t ask, the answer will always be ‘no,'” Walsh said. “What makes this so rewarding is that we made it ourselves. It’s an experience we will never forget, and we hope to be able to put it on our resume.”

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