Yahoo! We did it! After Kingston, we had a beautiful ride through New England with sunny weather and bike trails through forest and pastoral landscapes. Nathaniel and I had our grand finale at Cape Cod, MA. We stayed with Rick and Julie for two nights in Orleans. They came down to the beach with us to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean while we had our ceremonial tire dipping. Then Rick, a professional calligrapher, wrote our names in the sand. It was really magical. The four of us then rode our (unloaded) bikes up to the tip at Provincetown to make it supper official. The next day, I took the bus to Boston and then a 60 hour train ride back to Montana, where I now write. It was very satisfying to watch the landscape of the previous two and a half months rewind outside the train window. It cemented the reality and immensity of this journey into my heart. What an adventure!
Here are some numbers to sum up the trip:
oceans touched: 2
continents crossed: 1
states entered: 16 (OR, WA, ID, MT, WY, SD, IA, WI, IL, IN, OH, PA, NY, CT, RI, MA)
total miles by bike: 3603
assisted miles: ~200 (a train ride into Chicago due to killer head winds and a car ride into Kingston, NY on a day of 35degrees and pouring rain.)
total days for the journey: 86
riding days: 68
rest days (including 2 weeks with Nathaniel's family): 18
nights in motels: 9
nights camping: 29
nights in the homes of warm showers hosts, friends, family, and kindly strangers (again, including our two weeks of rest with Nathaniel's family): 48
muscle increase to my butt and thighs: 1.5 inches
nutty bars eaten: ~73
flat tires: 3
hills climbed: one at a time!
I have had time to digest some of what this trip meant for me. The most outstanding thing is the unbelievable generosity that other people showed us on the road. Do not fear your fellow man. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and open and always, always offer help to strangers. They are just friends you haven't met yet.
This trip challenged me on every level: physically, mentally, and emotionally. There were many times I didn't think that I would reach the Atlantic Ocean. Now that it's done, I think that finishing the trip means as much to me as the whole rest of the adventure. Someone along the way told me a Lance Armstrong quote, "Pain is temporary, quitting is forever." It's not the sort of sentiment that I usually resonate with, but in this case it is true. I have seen all aspects of my personality - good and bad, strong and weak - on full display over these past months, and I just want to say THANK YOU to Nathaniel, Carolyn, and Emily who were my supportive travel companions along the way.
Life is richer when shared with others.
Thanks for reading our blog. Now go do something that seems impossible to you!