Well we did it!! I'm sitting on my parents front porch drinking iced tea with Barry Manilow's song 'Looks Like We Made It' stuck in my head. It's one of my favorite places in the world but could someone please change the music! We rolled into Belmar, NJ August 9th at about 2:30 pm after an 80 mile ride thru some great NJ terrain. No, that is not an oxymoron. It is the garden state and despite it's bad rap we had some of the best riding of our trip. Thanks to my brother Bob, and his able body assistant Lara, we had a great last day of the tour. They did a fantastic job route researching and putting the cue sheets together. The notes were clear and only a yellow brick road would have made it easier.
It started in the early misty fog with the beautiful orange sun coming up thru the corn fields. Although there was some congestion in the Princeton area most of the day was spent connecting small, rural roads. Coming occasionally to a busy, high trafficked intersection we would either cross it or ride the road briefly and then disappear back into the quiet streets again. Just long enough to remind you that you are traveling thru one of the most densely populated states. We had a great receiving party at the beach feeling like celebrities with our friends clapping for us and their cameras going off. I guess there is going to be a small article/picture in The Coast Star, the town's local paper. What next a guest appearance on a reality TV show? Jerseylicious takes to the road on bikes!
One of the highlight of our last week was meeting my sister Peg and brother-in-law Mike at Watkins Glen NY for a little camp. Thankfully it was the week before NASCAR racing in the area! I'm sure the roads in the Finger Lakes of NY get a little scarier for a bike during race week. We also learned that in wine country it's a little hard to find cold water but that wine slushies also rehydrate nicely on a hot day.
I'm sure a degree of depression will set in, but right now doing nothing feels so right it's hard to be sad. It's great to tell the stories to my family and relive the best, the worst or the oddest moments. I never would have thought in the beginning that we would have camped next to a casino, a bar were you could bring your beers to the tent, a sewer treatment plant or next to a clown named Skeeter ( yes in full costume ). Never did I think that we would eat hundreds of French fries, countless burgers, eat a pastie or that a cold Miller Lite could taste soooo good after a hot ride. Never did I think that when you are standing in front of a market, watching the bikes while John shopped for dinner, that a Native American would name me Freckles, that numerous tatooed, pierced scary looking teens would politely ask me about our trip and wish us well, that people would cheer from cars, or that 2 -200 lb Irish Wolf Hounds would chase after us hoping to catch us for dinner. Thankfully they were too fat and we had a slight downhill advantage. Never did I think that out of all the planning and projects that John accomplished before the trip my favorite would be a simple pillow case that my puff jacket packed into so it doubled as a pillow. And never did I think (it took 2000 miles for me to realize I was doing it) that I would bike close to 4500 miles across this country and despite wanting a break from riding and camping I still like touring and look forward to future cycling adventures.
John and I learned a lot this trip like 4 months might be a titch long for a cycling vacation, that we both love to eat and drink too much to lose significant weight on vacation, but mostly that we compliment each other nicely and under stress each of us can step up to the plate to make things work! It's nice to have that reinforced after 20 years together and especially after the last few weeks when we were both more then a little road weary, we were down right crusty!!
What else is on the bucket list? Who knows! But hopefully it be will something that challenges me both mentally and physically. Something that reassures my belief that people are good, this country is beautiful and our future is hopeful. But mostly something with John that we can enjoy together.
Thank you to everyone that helped us pull this endeavor off by welcoming us into your homes or neighborhoods, by caring for our lives that we left behind in Utah and by all your well wishes, thoughts and prayers. Your efforts and interest made this an experience of a lifetime. It has reinforced our knowledge that we live in a wonderful place. That we have wonderful family and friends scattered all over this country who have impacted our lives in many terrific ways.
Bottom line We did it! The bikes have seen better days, the tent looks like a battlefield where the mosquitos were victorious and our tan lines I'm sure will look great on the beach. What was the best part, the simplicity of the day--ride, eat, sleep. What was you hardest part, the simplicity-- you have to make all those things and all the day to day routines happen yourself ( or hope your husband does it ). We did it! Did I say that yet? Kate