Wednesday, August 09, 2006

 

Day 50 Manchester to PORTSMOUTH,NH







SIRENS AT THE SHORE

We rode in no particular formation. Fifty cyclists, all in team jerseys, were side by side on bikes in groups of 2 or 3 behind the police cruiser, its lights flashing. We could see and smell the Atlantic Ocean over the dunes along Rt 1 A. When he turned on the police siren to announce our arrival at Wallis Sands State Park we experienced all the combined emotions that accompany the end of a long journey, the rewarding completion of a goal, and reuniting with family and friends. We had successfully and safely met the challenge of crossing North America on a bicycle. The joy and pride we felt as we saw the crowd awaiting our arrival was one of life’s great moments. Fifty days across America –with all its adventures, challenges and memories–was over; we had reached the final “summit”: the beach at Portsmouth, NH.

We immediately walked or carried our bikes through the sand to the water’s edge and dunked the front tire in the surf, completing the ocean to ocean trek. Cameras worked overtime.

The 54 mile ride to the beach began in the rain on some narrow and heavily traveled roads, but it didn’t matter. It was our last day and final ride together. We stopped for coffee in Rye before forming up at a junior high school for a group photo and the ride to the beach.

Most of the group and our guests got together in the evening at Warren’s Lobster House in Kittery, ME for a cocktail party on the deck and a great lobster feast. My fraternity brother, Jim and his wife Carolyn, joined me as they had in 2004 at the completion of the Cross Country Challenge ride, along with a special guest from Florida.

Rails to Trails Conservancy, for whom I dedicated this ride, was well represented by Jennifer from the Washington, DC headquarters. She met “Team RTC” at the beach, joined us for dinner and the telling of “war stories” from the trip. In thanking the team for its efforts to raise funds, awareness, and membership in the Rails to Trails Conservancy she presented us all with new 2006 biking jerseys. Thanks to RTC. ( see www.railtrails.org)

We said our good-byes to our biking friends, hoping and even expecting that some of us will undoubtedly meet again.

It was a great group of individuals, a beautiful and challenging ride, a wonderful summer on the roads of America!

Proudly,

Bill

Comments:
CONGRATULATIONS
How fantastic! May you remember every day that you rode for the rest of your life.
See you back in Naples.
Bernice & Andrew
 
CONGRATULATIONS!!!

xoxo w
 
great job wild bill. loved keeping track of your ride. are you still gonna come to jax in sept for just a 2-day ms ride?? b-rad
 
Congratulations, Bill. I just returned home and was able to see the final two days of your ride. I've really enjoyed your ride diary especially knowing how tired you are after the long rides. You still had to do bike maint.,laundry, etc. A lot of dedication on your part. Best wishes and maybe our paths will cross again someday. Jerry Meenk
 
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