We did it! Over 3,750 miles and we arrived at the Atlantic Ocean safely with enough memories to fill volumes and a bunch of new friends.
We got up at 5:15 AM and already some of our fellow cyclists had their luggage “in line” outside theluggage truck! Breakfast was at 6:00 AM – hotel breakfast room. Even though I knew we were only biking 50 miles I was starving for my oatmeal – added a box of raisins and a sausage patty. Loaded luggage @ 6:30 AM – ours went on the truck last as we were leaving from the beach. Last breakfast … last luggage load and sign out … and off we went …
We had to do a bit of climbing to get out of Manchester but we had energy to burn. Our minds were so filled with “things to do” that until we biked by the street, we did not realize we stayed overnight in Manchester right down the road from Bob’s cousin Bruce.Once we got into the countryside, the roads quieted down. They were tree-lined and peaceful. I was feeling psyched to finish and ready to cry at the same time. When Bob started singing “This Land is Your Land … ” (my travel song) I knew he was feeling the same. Still finding it hard to believe we were actually completing this dream trip.
We meandered through back roads and small towns – stopping at Mile 29 for our last SAG stop – a bit of food and many good-bye’s. We then biked another 10 miles to Exeter where there was a large coffee shop and more stories, memories and hugs. Back on the bikes for the last 10 miles to the Rye Junior High School where we had group photos and met our police escort.
Our ride leader Mike, complete with his cast, followed the police car on his bike to lead us to the ocean. He is retiring as ride leader for America North ride after 17 years. A difficult day for him as well. It was an awesome sight looking at the line of 55 plus riders in our “colors” winding our way to the beach … “slowing” “stopping” … and then we were there ..into the parking lot with many people cheering, calling out names and clapping.
We knew to look for Dave and cousin Val and Beth and we were so excited to spot them among other family and friends. But, the biggest surprise of all was seeing my friend and neighbor Kim with her sister Trish. Wow!! Did we feel special … wanted to hug them all … get our rear wheels dipped in the Atlantic and say our final good-byes. But we also wished our new friends could meet our old ones – controlled chaos! Bob was given the honor of pouring Pacific Ocean water we transported into the Atlantic Ocean with Melanie, the oldest female in our group. The entire last day was really perfect. And then … we all dispersed and each of us is left with good memories and stories and “new reality.” I know it will take some time to process the accomplishment … in many ways it seems so unreal … ABB will be sending a CD of photos to supplement ours and we will need to refresh our memories of the places we have been …
Again I am tired … have more to say .. so maybe tomorrow … sitting by the Atlantic Ocean ….