Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Polly's Manchester to Portsmouth - Day 50

At last, Wallis Sands Beach and day 50 done! Although there was no police escort it felt pretty great to see Dennis, my friends from the ride, Deb and Bob, along with my long time friend Taffy and her grand daughter, Katherine holding a great Pacific to Atlantic sign, all waiting for me. My dear friend Penny, wife of my friend and riding companion of the last three days, Bruns, arrived a few minutes after us with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. Everyone was taking pictures and I felt as close to a celebrity as I ever will.

The day was a relatively easy ride so Dennis, Bruns and I had breakfast at the famous Red Arrow Diner in Manchester before heading off. Bruns sat in the very same seat that Ty Pennington! (Remind me, who is he?) Dennis and my seats were un-labeled, oh well.

After breakfast Dennis took our stuff and Bruns and I enjoyed the perfect weather and the last of the gorgeous deciduous forests, winding NH back roads and small ponds, before heading down Sea St. in Rye toward the Atlantic. We headed early to Ocean Ave. that follows the coast all the way to Wallis Sands State Park, which meant we got to enjoy the seashore from a bike for a little longer than my fellow ABB riders who detoured to the Rye High School.

Just seeing the ocean and having Bruns pull over and give me the lead, choked me up as the enormity of the whole adventure and the relief of reaching the coast washed over me - wow, the end of the road and my roughly 3,700 mile ride across the US was almost over.

The beach was crowded with people, but I took my bike and headed down for the ceremonial wheel dip wearing my ABB shirt in honor of all my ABB pals. As we approached the water a woman came running over saying, "What happened to you? You're three weeks late!" She had been there when everyone else came through and wondered why I was so slow - I told her I had a lot of flats and was really a slow rider!

I missed Mimi and being part of the ABB group arrival, but I am so happy I went to Triona's wedding and still got to finish. Plus, I had a great welcoming committee.

I think I will be processing this for a long time, but right off the bat I know
I will carry with me the friends I made, the variety and beauty of our country and that you can do pretty much anything you set your mind to. I will also remember always all the support and encouragement I got from so many family and friends and how blessed I am. Thanks everyone!

Photos - out of order, but...
1. Happy to have arrived
2 . With Taffy at the beach
3. With my main squeeze
4. With Mimi at the beach!
5. With Bob and Deb
6. With Bruns
7. Old friends - Penny and Polly
8. Arriving at Wallis Sands Beach
9. Celebrity photo op
10. Good friend and fans Taffy & Katherine waiting
11. Madeira girls: Penny, Polly, Taffy
12. Dipping my wheel - don't want Salt water on more than the rubber
13. A body dip in the Atlantic
14. I made it!
15. Bruns, Polly, Deb and Bob

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