Tuesday, December 13, 2011

day 74, December 5, 2011, 3551 miles later

We slept in for probably the second time ever in the last two and a half months, but everything else was business as usual....almost. We stayed in a hotel, we painted our faces (to celebrate, of course!), and while we casually packed up our bikes, the familiar rush of the waves against the rocky Atlantic coast whispered words of welcome and accomplishment to us. My heart sang! The sweet humid smell of Maine filled my soul. We made it! Today was our victory lap into Portland, and it felt sooooo good!!!

We crossed the Casco Bay Bridge wriggling with delight! The ocean! The high rises! The cargo ships! The islands! Oh my! As we turned onto Commercial Street, a local rolled down his window to wish us,“Welcome to Maine!” Indeed, I thought. Biking down Commercial Street, we smiled, exclaimed and basked in the unreal glory of being in Portland, Maine. We found the bike trail taking us to the Eastern Promenade, where we directed our families to meet us. Finally, we could bike side by side again. Together we biked here, and together we would finish. I had to stop to pee near the rail yard, I was so excited! We turned the corner and a mass of people standing in the bike path began cheering. The rest is a blur of clapping, cheering, bodies to dodge, and loved faces mingled with familiar faces from each other’s family stories and photos coming alive. Mobbed by hugs, kisses, jokes, and cameras flashing, we stopped just before reaching the boat ramp down to the water. In another blur, we dipped our tires, popped the champagne, cheered, chugged, and mobbed over for a series of more photos. Suddenly, everyone had left, but before we hopped into Tori’s car to meet them for drinks and dinner, Carolyn and I walked over under a rosy sunset to greet our long time cross country dream. The waves soaked our feet, but what did we care, I was NOT putting these cycling shoes on tomorrow. We squatted and touched the cold salty Atlantic, kissed it, tasted it and washed off our face paint in victory.

We can hardly describe the deep, heart-welling gratitude and love we feel for our families and friends that met us that day—cousins, aunts, and uncles left work and school early, and my parents even flew out from Utah to meet us. Even more so, when thinking about all the well wishes from friends, family, and strangers we met along the way, we are speechless, overflowing with thankfulness to each of you for sharing your energy, inspiration, and kindness throughout our journey. We met so many wonderful people in this country, and this is a shout-out for you.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Thanks William and Lucy for our wonderful signs!

Crossing over the NH/VT border

We were really really REALLY excited to cross over into Maine. Pardon our following photo shoot:

Go ahead, laugh. This photo is so awkward!

Last day loading the bikes
The view from our hotel the night before in Wells Beach, ME

Already celebrating the morning of our arrival in Portland

Last one there gets sun burned today!

It's true: the more time you spend with someone, the more you start to look like them.

The Hricko clan

The Kern clan

Yay!!! so much love!

No comments:

Post a Comment