Last Night in the U.S.A.
For the past two days we have been riding along Lake Erie and it could not have looked more beautiful. Yesterday after cycling through Ashtabula, we had our first look at the Lake, and with Southwest breezes and sunny skies - what a picture. ( And on that very same lake, the very same day, 80 miles to the west, team Milano/Fagnilli crossed the finish line first to set in motion the Wet Hens sailing season. Congrats!!) Of course we were all excited having made our way from the Gulf of Mexico and now touching the shores of Lake Erie. Most of the women on the ride had never seen any of the Great Lakes; they were pleasantly surprised. They had no idea that Lake Erie was so big and that you couldn't see across it! We have ridden 150 miles of its' shoreline and tomorrow will cross over the Niagara River (which Lake Erie funnels into) at the Peace Bridge entering Canada. We will reach our final destination after two more days of riding.
The next two days will be spent reflecting on what I have accomplished. Closing in on 2000 miles, I can now savor what the hard work has produced. Once again, I have been fortunate to be able to see a large part of our country in slow motion, riding three feet off the ground. Engulfed in the heat, rain, cold, humidity, sounds and scents of my surroundings, I felt as if I was part of the landscape. A truly rural country is what I saw, filled with all types of people. Farmers, fishermen, small town merchants, mothers and children and of course, I cannot forget the DOGS. Forests and farmland, swamps and rivers, hills and hollows, all contribute to a varied and beautiful terrain. Between last year's southern tier crossing and this year's south to north journey, I have cycled 5200 miles of this country, and I am awed by the experience.
After almost 6 weeks of riding, the legs are a little tired, the back a little stiff, and the butt (well I'll leave that one alone). Before I sign up for another long distance tour, I will have to forget how it felt climbing those 18% grade hills (as of today we have climbed 55,647 ft. total for the ride) and how it felt riding in 94 degree heat with 90% humidity. But like labor pains, once they are over, you forget, and you are ready to go again (riding that is, not having another baby). So on to Canada, and I can only try to imagine what crossing over to freedom meant for the fugitive slave in whose memory we have undertaken this adventure. "With Liberty and Justice for All".
Click this site to see pictures from the ride.