Sunday, August 22, 2010

Packed up and Heading Home - Day 64

Tom and I are now off to Quebec to spend a week at Lac des Piles recovering and rejoining the real world.  This then completes what started out as a wish and a thought 2 years ago.  In summary I would highly recommend the experience we had to any and all.  Cycle America with Greg and his crew was well organized and presented a memorable experience for all of us.  The accommodations were typically in good locations and the food was local, tasty and plentiful.  The daily routes were well marked and the route sheets and daily route meetings provided all the information we needed to maximize our experience.  The baggage handling and luggage transportation went smoothly and were never a concern for us.  The weather cooperated nicely with only a few wet days and generally comfortable riding temperatures throughout the trip.  And of course we had good luck and plenty of it.  Even with all the preparation by Greg and the riders, a lot of things must go right for a successful trip and they did.  In closing thank you to all who helped and supported me in the preparation for the ride and throughout the experience.  Finally I wish to acknowledge all the riders, too many to name individually, whose pictures I have taken the liberty of including in my story. 


Saturday, August 21, 2010

The End of the Day and Closure for the Trip - Day 63

 After cleaning up and packing up back at Gloucester High School, Ingrid, Susan, Tom and I enjoyed a lobster dinner at The Gloucester House on the waterfront in Gloucester.  Of  course we ran into several riders during dinner.  That is Michael, Tony, Margaret and Deidra in the picture.  After dinner and a walk through town, we boarded the Seven Seas Whaler for a 2 hour harbor cruise.  It was our final chance to reminisce and say our goodbyes.

Celebration at the Atlantic Ocean

This is the completion of our journey as we dip our front tires into the Atlantic after having dipped our rear tires into the Pacific 64 days ago.  We opened a bottle of champagne and toasted the accomplishment.  Altogether I rode 4350 miles over 9 weeks with 55 riding days.  I met and shared the experience with 38 fantastic people from all over the world who rode the total nine weeks during which we became friends. 

Parade to the Ocean

Here we are all together on our final mile to the ocean with a police escort.  The draw bridge that we had to cross over on the way to the ocean was up so we had to wait about 10 minutes just outside the school before proceeding.  It gave us an opportunity to savor the moment and stretch out the wonderful time we were having.

Sharing the Bonds of Our Common Accomplishment

These are some pictures of us sharing the moments after arrival at the school and before the parade to the ocean.  Sandy-Mike-Tom, Tom-Tony-Sandy, Sandy-Philippe, Greg-Dan, Philippe-Scott-Martin, Dan-Steve-Glenn.

Arrival at Gloucester High School

Stats: We rode 62 miles on our last day under blue skies with perfect 75 degree temperatures.  Upon arrival at the high school we crossed the almost-there finish line.  It was "almost there" because we still had the 1 mile ride to the ocean and tire dip to complete the ride.  At the school we were given leis and all the riders already in, staff  and families cheered for each of us as we arrived.  It was exciting to arrive with Ingrid, Scott and Susan there and all the families and riders cheering for Tom and I as we pulled in.  After arriving we hugged and congratulated each other with feelings of relief and euphoria while we waited at the school for all the riders to arrive before parading to the ocean.  Seeing Scott there was very special and totally unexpected.

On the Road to Gloucester

After breakfast at the University of New Hampshire dining facility, we headed south towards Gloucester.  The day began cool but clear for a perfect start.  Since we knew each others riding habits, Tom and I decided to stay together and avoid large groups of riders to minimize the possibility of any last day accident.  Of course I ran over a pot hole about 10 miles into the ride and had my 6th and last flat of the trip.  Fortunately there was no other damage and we were shortly back on our way with a pump assist from Bill the router.  At mile 40 we missed the turnoff to lunch so we continued on until we found a McDonalds.  We were back into the fast-food burger and fries for lunch a day sooner than we thought we would be.  I took these self portraits while riding on the bike about 15 miles out from Gloucester as we were counting down the miles.