Friday, August 10, 2012

A Final Farewell (Day 67)

Mac and I are now back in Missoula but we still need to catch up on the final few days of riding, all leading up to the 67th and final day. First, I should describe the days leading up from Gettysburg to the final day. That morning in Gettysburg, we awoke at 5:45 am sharp to begin the day early. We worked fast and efficient that morning as we were on the road by 8:00. The ride was once again beautiful as we rode over many rolling hills to the town on Ephrata, PA. This day, unexpectedly, turned out to be our longest day at 78 miles (it was only supposed to be 67 mi.). Those days, I have found out, are the worst days because you keep waiting and waiting for the ride to end; only to find out you still have 10 miles until your destination. All in all, it turned out well as I was rewarded with a shared chocolate frosty at the end of the day. Also, that day we got to eat with an Amish family and use their showers. A new experience for both Mac and I! The next day, we hopped on our bikes for our ride from Ephrata to Doylestown. At about 25 miles in, I met with my Grandfather and my Uncle, who were riding a tandem, for a ride with them for at least part of the day. It went awesome, as we rode along the Schuylkill River Trail all the way to Valley Forge. We stopped there for the day and were shuttled into Doylestown for the remainder of the day. The next day, we went to a lake near Doylestown and kayaked and canoed on the lake. For the remainder of the day, we were once again shuttled to Evesboro, NJ in preparation for the final day. On the final day we were pumped to ride the 55 remaining miles to the Atlantic ocean. We woke up early at 4:15 to quickly pack for the final leg of our journey. The final day felt like a piece of cake because of how cool it was, how flat it was, and how much adrenaline we had. We rode 50 of those miles in no time, as we ended up at a Dunkin' Donuts at 10:45, about 45 minutes earlier than we were supposed to arrive. We stopped for coffee there before meeting our final police escort into Point Pleasant, NJ. The police met us on bicycles at the Dunkin' Donuts and we proceeded into Point Pleasant and into a parking lot for our final preparations. At this point, we were emotionally charged, almost to the point of tears welling up in our eyes. We met the fire trucks and many other people there who decorated us in streamers. Then came Mac's Mom, Ginny, who surprised Mac in the parking lot and they enjoyed a long embrace. Then to top it off, the boy who we had been riding for came, Cory. That was one of the most memorable parts of the entire experience for me - to see the kid we had endured the freezing 40 degree rain in Idaho and Montana, the kid we had made up to 3,000 ft. at 8% grade for, the kid we had persevered through the 110 degree heat (with high humidity) in Wisconsin and Michigan for - that moment was special. The Jett Ride then proceeded to bike with great Pomp and Circumstance onto the board walk and onto the beach, where Mac and I made our final dip into the ocean with our front tires. From there, we took our pictures and immediately ripped off everything but our bike shorts and jumped into the warm Atlantic Ocean, much different from its colder cousin the Pacific. The finish is a special moment that I will never forget for the rest of my life.