Romano Scaturro of Cornville has taken on some ambitious journeys in recent years. He has bicycled more than 30,000 miles, including crossing the continent five times. But this one tops them all.
This time he will visit the capitals of all 50 states. This time he will paddle a sea kayak 65 miles through Alaska’s inner passage. But that’s just for starters. This time he will end his tour by rowing solo 2,400 miles across the Pacific Ocean to his 50th and final capital – Honolulu.
At age 50, Romano is calling this adventure the 50@50: A Human Powered Journey.
Romano and his wife, Patrice, have owned a small Italian restaurant in Cornville since 1987. They have four children.
In 1988, Romano began competing in Ironman distance triathlons, a passion he followed for 16 years.
In 2004, Romano started cycling with team members for an organization he founded and named FRAANK: Family Ride Across America to Nurture Kids. The non-profit is dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged and troubled children.
He hopes to raise $50,000 through sponsorships and donations with the 50@50 tour for Kids Against Hunger. Because Romano covers all the costs of his adventures out of his own pocket, all proceeds raised by the trip will go to FRAANK.
The 2004 trip was a bike tour of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, lasting eight weeks and covering 3,200 miles. As soon as that tour was over, Romano and his son Giuliano cycled tandem from Astoria, Ore. 800 miles along the Pacific Coast to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
The Continental Divide was the goal during FRAANK’s 2005–06 bike tour. In 2008, the team set out on its TransAmerica bike tour, covering nearly 4,000 miles from Cape Alava, Wash., to Quoddy Head Lighthouse at Lubec, Maine.
That tour was followed in 2009 by the Tour of the Colorado Rockies. Then came the 2010 Major League Baseball Stadium Tour. Romano, accompanied at times by members of the FRAANK team, cycled to all 30 Major League Baseball parks.
Beginning April 20, in Juneau, Alaska, the 50@50 tour will start with Romano paddling a sea kayak for three days over 65 miles through the Lynn Canal in Alaska’s inner passage to Skagway, Alaska.
“Hopefully, that will take no more than three days,” Romano said. “The direction I’m going is with the current. Maybe I can make it in three days.”
Romano said he will camp along the shoreline at night during the crossing of the inner passage. “I’ll be at maximum, 50 feet from shore,” he said. “The only crossing is about a mile of somewhat open water.”
From there, he will attempt to be the first man ever to travel to all 50 U.S. state capitals in a continuous sequence using only human power and without any outside support. The 50@50 tour will cover about 14,000 miles in six months as Romano cycles to the remaining 48 land-based accessible capitals.
After six months spent in winter quarters, Romano will attempt to row a specially designed ocean-rowing vessel 2,400 miles across the Pacific Ocean from Monterrey, Calif., to his final state capital in Honolulu.
During the cycling portion of the tour between the 50 state capitals, Romano said he hopes to camp every night, but likely there will be a few nights spent in motels or hotels.
“Camping is the way to go,” he said. “Not only because it costs less, but we enjoy it.”
He will be joined during parts of the tour by FRAANK team members, including his 10-year-old daughter, Angelina. Current plans call for Angelina to join her dad after school lets out in May. Her first ever bicycle tour will have her on the road for two months with her dad.
Romano explained that while on the road his biggest concern is always if everything is OK back home with his family. “Other than that, my biggest concern is a place to camp, and that is no problem,” he said.
“Basically, there’s no worries out there,” Romano said. “It’s not going through an ordeal. I’m enjoying it.”
He said that he stops every night about two hours before sunset and buys groceries. He carries a small grill on the tour. His favorite meal is steak. “But I do eat fruit and a balanced diet,” he said.
Romano admits that on this trip, he does have some new worries. “On this one it will be with the row,” he said.
Rowing solo, 2,400 miles across the Pacific, has a whole new set of worries and dangers compared with cycling thousands of miles.
His 20-plus-foot boat is specially designed and equipped with navigation and survival gear.
The boat has a solar-powered electric desalinization unit, with a hand-operated one for back up. Solar panels on board provide electric power for all of the boat’s navigation, GPS, meters and radio equipment. A life vest and “ditch” bag are always close at hand. Romano also will have a satellite phone on board as well as a radar-enhancing unit that makes his small craft appear larger than life on the radar of commercial ships.
Although there will be plenty of rowing time for Romano during his Pacific crossing, he explained that the shipping lanes he will be following should have the currents working with him most of the time.