Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 50: Manchester, NH to Portsmouth, NH - 61.5 miles with 2,500' of climbing

Today was a great day! We rode an easy 48 miles before heading out to meet a couple policemen for a final escort to the Atlantic Ocean. After a celebration on the beach we rode down the road for another 10 miles or so to reach the hotel in Portsmouth, NH after a short detour across a bridge to briefly enter the state of Maine.

For most the end of the trip brings mixed emotions. While everyone is thrilled to have successfully completed the ride and are relieved that most of the thousands of passing cars and trucks eluded us, many are overcome with emotions. Some cry because a lifetime dream has been achieved, some miss a deceased love one and rode to raise money on their behalf and some are just so happy to be done with a ride that perhaps even they themselves didn't seem possible. They say "Man's reach should exceed his grasp or what is heaven for?" I know we didn't find a cure for cancer or work to create world peace but we can say that in the summer of 2010 we set out to ride our bicycles across these United States and we succeeded and in so doing met a lot of great people along the way and possibly some lifelong friends.

Final roadkill count: 430 (Racoons were by far the most frequent roadkills)
Flats: 4
Wheels: Replaced the rear due to a cracked rim.
Tires: Front one lasted the whole trip with no flats, the rear was replaced twice.
Hurts: Very fortunate to have nothing more than sore quads at times.

P.S. Several of the trip photo comments on Facebook came from an old friend of mine Paula Walton, who I met when we were part of a group that spent a few summers backpacking in the Tetons and kayaking around south central Alaska in the early 80's as well as hiking a part of the Pacific Crest Trail a few years ago. Paula was an emergency room physician in Kentucky, in good health and had just gotten her first article published in Kayaker magazine. One night after riding across South Dakota a few weeks a go I got a voicemail telling me that Paula had passed away in her sleep while heading out to Colorado for another of her many adventures. I guess I bring this up just to remind myself that none of us know how much time we have on this planet. So I will try each day to let people know how much I love them, try to work on my "bucket list" sooner rather than later and try not to sweat the small stuff in life as almost all of it is small stuff.

Thanks for helping me achieve a dream and helping to raise some money for World Vision.

(Anyone interested in donating to World Vision can still do so by following the link at the top of this page.)

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