Love in the slow lane |

Love in the slow lane

Cory Fisher

When Nina MacLeod says she’ll go to the ends of the earth for someone, she isn’t kidding.

In August, the South Lake Tahoe resident unexpectedly fell into the role of support person for Tore Vingo, a 62-year-old fitness enthusiast who is roller skiing his way across America. She also fell in love. Now, more than 3,000 miles later, the two are nearing their final destination – the Atlantic Ocean.

MacLeod first met Vingo of Paradise, Calif., in early May – only two weeks before he rolled out of San Francisco to see the country up close. When Vingo’s original support person dropped out in August, MacLeod quit her job at Kayak Tahoe and caught up with him in Denver.

“We have a lot in common – we’re both originally from Norway,” said MacLeod, 57. “We both grew up cross-country skiing.”

That’s why Vingo knew he’d found his mode of travel when he discovered an article last year in the San Francisco Chronicle about Nordic Roller, the company that produces the equipment he is now using. Three pairs of boots and rollers later, Vingo claims he hasn’t felt this good in 20 years.

“But I couldn’t have made this trip without Nina – no one else could have put up with me,” said Vingo. “She obviously has cross-country skiing in her genes.”

After three months of driving alongside Vingo in his Nissan truck, MacLeod said she knew it was love. The two were married in Norway, Kansas – population 50 – on Oct. 10.

“What better place to get married for us?” said MacLeod. “There was a beautiful little church there.”

From Kansas the couple traveled through Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama to Georgia. Occasionally, MacLeod said, she would drive several miles ahead of Vingo, park and roller ski back to meet him.

“But since we hit winter weather I’ve stayed in the truck,” she said. “In Nevada, Vingo was in heat over 100 – now he’s braved six major snow storms and 3-degree weather.”

Both Vingo and MacLeod spoke of the warm hospitality they have encountered throughout their travels. The pair spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in the homes of families they met along the way.

“The people have been fantastic,” said Vingo. “It’s been 3,000 miles of miracles.”

Now in Atlanta, the couple expect to finally reach the East Coast in less than three weeks. “We can practically smell the ocean,” said MacLeod. “We’re going to jump in, rain or shine.”

After recuperating for several weeks in Savannah, the two will then begin their long drive out West to MacLeod’s South Tahoe home, where the newlyweds will settle – until the next adventure.

“I’m thinking our next trip will involve water, boats, oars and sails,” chuckled Vingo. “But it’s pretty hard to beat Tahoe.”

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