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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 50 Part II: Manchester to the Atlantic








Gray morning
for the
final
bike ride...






Biking up hills...

(aren't we done with hills yet?)





...past houses of fellow bikers...







Remember when my Al had a bike like that?






Look at her now!




I see a flag on a mailbox...

Faded and frayed.


Maybe that's me.

I'm feeling frayed after 3500 miles of biking across America.










Or maybe that's America.

Certainly I've seen some fraying the last 49 days...











....and some beauty.





I love the proud churches....





...and the well tended gardens.






I'm off road getting another purple loosestrife picture when the other bikers start to pass...







...all in their ABB blue to celebrate our last day biking together.





I'd catch up, but this old cemetery catches my eye.





Could this be Robert Frost, my favorite poet?






Howard wonders about me as he spins by.





On to the last SAG...







....the last sign up sheet.





Good-byes to our MCs from the banquet...

Sandy and Toronto Mark.




And back to biking through New England forest.

I've loved seeing the landscape of America.

Beaches

Rivers

Mountains

Deserts







There is absolutely no better way to see this country than on the seat of a bicycle.






I'd just prefer to go a little slower...


In fact, I plan to do just that.





I want to continue to bike and blog about the land...

Maybe one state a year.

That will just take me
40 more years.


And I'll go at my own pace...





...so I have more time
to talk to people...


soak in the beauty of the wayside...




















...and take lots of pictures!





I'll call
my new blog
The Flight Continues






But for today
I'm
following
Al's
little yellow ribbon...





...to the Bakery.

And look who's here!

Everybody!

It's a festive time together...





...but some of us are pensive.






What will life be like once the bike ride is over?




You know, we haven't made it yet.

There are still 10 miles to go and anything can happen!




I head out into the green walled roads.

How will I remember this incredible experience?

Will the pictures be enough?

Will my memories fade?



Wait!

I slam on the brakes!

There it is!





My souvenir for this trip!

Something that will always remind me of biking across America...

...of my last few miles before the beach.










I will plant this acorn at our Land in Indiana.

Over the years I will watch this tree grow...


Just like I watched Alex grow...

from the little girl with training wheels

to a cross country cyclist.





We're all together now.

Pedaling to our rendezvous.

Followed by our trusty sheep-dog van.





We gather at the school...

all of us...






The thoroughbreds...












Rod with wife Sue...





We're taking pictures





Waiting...








Thinking about the roads ahead of us....





I'm surprised to see my husband show up!

He's here to see his two girls.






But Alex's Aunt Cally has trouble with the camera!















It's time to line up for our final ride.

Three miles to the beach...

Mike Bike Leader calls the slow riders to the front - Ian, Ellen, Dereka and me.

We get to lead the group on those last three miles.





Police escort out in front.




And Mike in the white van clicking photos.





Wallis Sands Beach.

People are enjoying a peaceful day on the sand as the summer nears its end.





What do they think when they hear cowbells ringing
and a phalanx of red,white and blue bikers
charges into the parking lot?





We hoist our bikes up onto our shoulders.

To the ocean!







3,630 miles we've biked.



Hail

Wind

Rain

Grasshoppers


We've survived it all.




We dip our tires in the water...

And raise our bikes to the sky!






A grand cycling toast to the trip of a lifetime!









(I only think for a moment about tossing the bike in and walking away)








Alex throws her arms around me...

Tears in her eyes...

She says - Mom, besides life and maybe my education this is the best gift you've ever given me.





The End....









...but not really.



Life goes on...





...packing the bikes to mail home.






One last time on the top of the van for Ripley.






Farewell hugs...







Al will continue to bike back at Occidental.







I will
continue
to
bike
and blog.











The Flight will continue....







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