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11th Annual 20 Mile Walk in San Francisco  and History of Walk

Sonoma County Historical Society is hosting its 11th Annual 20 Mile Walk in San Francisco on June 6, 2015, the first Saturday in June.  In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Panama Pacific International Exposition, the group will be exploring the sites of 100 years ago that make up the original exposition along with  other historical places.

In 2005 Jeff Tobes, the originator of the walk and now a retired teacher, put together the first 20-25 historical walk for the general public. Previously, he had walked with his 4th, 5th and 6th graders. Jeff Tobes said, "Taking walks in San Francisco was something I had done several times with my wonderful students from Forestville School. I'll never forget finally finishing the full 25 miles at Ghirardelli Square, ordering chocolate sundaes and looking over only to see my fourth grade friend, Aaron, asleep. If grade school students could do this, certainly adults could! That was our mindset back in 2004."

Jeff Tobes continues, "Instead of the walk being sponsored by a particular school, however, it would be run by the Sonoma County Historical Society of which I was a board member. We came up with three purposes: to share history, to promote Sonoma County and to stay healthy.  The initial walk in 2005 had 35 participants. My 12 year old students walked with adults who were in their 70's. It was claimed a success. It was such as success that I decided to do the San Francisco walk every other year. Alternate years we would walk in Sonoma County. Other than the five San Francisco walks we have gone from Wright's Beach to Occidental. Twice we've walked from Luther Burbank's Farm in Sebastopol to the Monte Rio Amphitheatre. Then there was the year we walked from the Petaluma Railroad Station to Tomales. To celebrate the 200 year anniversary of Fort Ross, in 2012 we walked from Fort Ross Elementary School to Plantation and, eventually, to Fort Ross.  

The last four walks have had more than 100 people walk and about a fourth of them are repeaters that come back every year. Most of the walkers are from Sonoma County but we've had walkers from Southern California, North Carolina, Michigan, Slovakia, my cousins from England and many other places. It's become an event people do not want to miss.

After 10 years of organizing the historical walk, I have passed the reins onto the magnificent seven plus one; Barbra Freidman, John and Sandy Grant, Ray and Cecilia Johnson, Vern Vale and Bridget Hayes of The Language Truck Tutoring and, of course, Sean Bressie. Sean Bressie was a former Forestville School student and has supported and helped me organized the walk ever since its inception.

It's not too late to register. The walk will be held on June 6th, rain or shine, but no crybabies or whiners allowed. Go to the Sonoma County Historical Society's website, sonomacountyhistory.org. The cost for adults is $60 and only $10 for walkers under 18 years of age. The fee includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, bus transportation to and from, and a year's membership into Sonoma County's Historical society.  Such a deal! "

Jeff Tobes, the faithful leader of past walks, will be present and walking, so go to the website and enroll today. Other information about the walk can be obtained on the website as well.