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Journey across America postponed

by: Vern Uyetake, Jordan, as Ben Franklin

Although Steve Jordan - aka Ben Franklin - was scheduled to embark on his yearlong walk across the United States this week, he is instead en route back to West Linn.

Jordan - who has built a mini-career portraying the famous 18th century inventor Franklin - was scheduled to walk from San Diego, Calif., starting Sept. 11, 2006, to New York City, ending Sept. 11, 2007. (See story, Aug. 3 Tidings.)

Jordan said the trip was a way for him to thank disabled veterans across the country and talk with children all along the way in his Franklin persona, while promoting wellness through walking.

But instead, he's heading home.

'You can't walk on the freeways in California. The local border patrol says they'll get me. I thought I had everything cleared,' said Jordan via cell phone from California on Tuesday. 'I'm still going to visit veterans all across (the United States) and visit with kids but the big picture looks overshadowed. I'm going to have to regroup.'

Jordan says he has studied Franklin's life for years. And he has public speaking experience from his stints as a live history interpreter at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and at the End of the Oregon Trail Exhibit in Oregon City.

Jordan said he weighs about 250 pounds, suffers from arthritis and has poor circulation. He said he was hoping that by the time he reached New York he would have lost 70 pounds and inspired youth to remain active.

Jordan was scheduled to talk about his walk live each Friday at 8:30 a.m. through Oregon Public Broadcasting's Golden Hours segment radio service, which is broadcast on the Internet and through the Sap channel on television.

Golden Hours is a reading and information service for those who are unable to read, the physically disabled and senior citizens.

He also wanted to raise funds for the Oregon Food Bank and was scheduled to appear in locations across the country to speak, he says.

'I'm still going to go to all the cities (I had planned),' said Jordan, 'but I just have to regroup, get more funding and maybe do some more local storytelling first.'

For more information about Steve Jordan and his walking across America plans, visit his Web site at www.walkwithben.com.