I was so glad that Ward, my personal trainer, was able to join me for this last section of the trip. He had prepared me for the adventure by taking me on training rides including my first century. He made sure I had all the gear-- a carbon fiber bike, new lightweight wheels, spare tubes and tire, pump, flashing light, extra cleats, very padded shorts, real biking jerseys, energy drinks and gels, a Garmin for tracking my rides, a computer for doing the blog, a Nano for mantras and meditation. You name it; he had it covered. The big W on his cycling jersey must stand for "SUPER WARD".
As promised, we had a police escort from the junior high school to Wallis Sands Beach. Mike's leg was healed enough so he could lead us on the final ride. We slowly spun along the coast enjoying the ocean breeze and the smell of seaweed and beach roses. Everyone was mighty quiet as we reflected on the long journey we were about to complete. It was all I could do not to cry. It wasn't sadness because I was thrilled to have completed the entire ride. Maybe it was relief and the release of all the intensity it took day after day to "Get'er done". I still couldn't believe I left Astoria 50 days ago, rode 3662 miles across this beautiful country, and was now at the Atlantic.
Once we got to the beach, pandemonium hit. The beach was full of beach-goers, but there, right at the entrance to the beach, were Mom, Dad, Mary Cate and Cate to greet me. Cate had a wonderful welcome sign and leis. There were a million hugs and pictures even before I took off my shoes hoisted up my bike, and ran down to the water to dunk my wheels. Of course, I also had to go for a swim so I unloaded my pockets - Stingers, phone, camera, money, credit card, sunglasses,and watch into Mary Cate's arms and off I went. Ahh, that cold, salty water! When I got back, my sister Happy was there. She had driven up from Boston. What a great surprise! It was so heartwarming to have my family there to welcome me. My heart was singing. Lynn Parker, with whom I had taught for years in Aspen, was also there. She now lives and works in near Portsmouth and looks absolutely fabulous. The sea air must agree with her.
Melanie and Bob, being the oldest members of the group, ceremoniously dumped the bottles of Pacific water into the Atlantic. More hugs, meetings and greetings of other people's relatives, and continued disbelief that it was over. It wasn't a dream. I managed to get a picture of Phineas and me for Tom who broke his pelvis and sacrum on Teton Pass and was missed by Polly and me every day thereafter.Then I got my things from The Box for the last time. On my case was a white sheet of paper reading: O to O. Ocean to Ocean, yes it was true. I really did it. We piled everything in the cars and it was off to Maine and home.
It goes without saying that Polly was terribly missed as we finished the ride. Without Polly I never would have undertaken this adventure. It was her idea and her dream. I'm so thankful she included me and that she pulled me most of the way across the country. That girl is strong! We shared so many laughs, such sore bottoms, and experienced so many sights, smells and sounds as we pedaled along. We misplaced and found so many things as we lived from duffle-bags and hit a new motel every night. We slowly became proficient at blogging and putting up with slow internet connections. We made so many new friends and became even closer friends. We "Got 'er done!" and I'm still trying to absorb the immensity of the journey. Polly is such an amazing, wonderful, true friend.
Thanks Pol. I love you!
Total Miles: 3662
Elevation Gain: 1288
Elevation Loss: 1441
Next Stop: N/A ( bed?)
|Barb aka Mom- taking care of hotels, meals, and health|
|Stonewalls and tree shaded roads|
|The map that traced our route across the county was awarded to Marie. We all signed it at the last sag|
|Jeff at the last sag|
|Bakery stop in Exeter|
|Mike, our fearless leader|
|Ready to roll with the police escort|
|Beach goers beware. Here come the bikes.|
|Mary Cate and her antique Mom|
|Dipping my wheel with Polly in spirit|
|Melanie with the Pacific water|
|Mayhem at Wallis Sands Beach|
|Mimi dips herself|
|Mimi and her sisters Cate and Happy|
|Mimi and Ward, her personal trainer and domestic|
|Mimi's Dad and Mom - her biggest fans|
|The antique is welcomed to Maine!|