This is the last update from Rocky River customer Debby Milano -- she has successfully complete the second leg of a cross-country bike trip along the Northern Tier Bicycle Route! Our hearty congratulations to Debby and our grateful thanks for letting us share her journey with all her fellow CC friends and family. Without further ado, here's her final post, dated Tuesday August 16:
We have arrived, all 25 of us, safe and sound in Bar Harbor. For our last day of riding, the clouds burst open and we pedaled through puddles and rain for 45 miles arriving soggy and cold, but elated to have completed our journey. For the most part, with the exception of a snapped rear derailleur cable for me and 6 flat tires in two days for Sue, our last three days of riding through the coastal towns of Maine have been picturesque, yet hilly to the end. We commemorated our arrival by dipping our tires in the Atlantic Ocean as we had done in the Pacific Ocean when we began this ride in Anacortes, WA, last summer.
Emotions are high right now. I am thrilled to have met my goal of crossing the country three times in the past five years. I am tired and I am sore. I am relieved that we all made it to Bar Harbor safely, while carrying with us the memory of our dear friend Barbara's loss, last year. And I am sad because I will be saying goodbye to my cycling sisters. But most of all, I am grateful for having had the opportunity to see the country as only a cyclist can - Up Close and Personal. The sights, the sounds and the smells are all locked in - what great memories.
I have crossed the Rocky Mountains twice by bicycle and have ridden along some of our great rivers: the Mississippi and the Ohio, the Rio Grande and the Missouri. I have pedalled by as a bear dug in the ditch along the "Going to the Sun" road in Glacier Nat'l Park, and as a female moose waded in a stream in the Cascades. I have had to brake for a mountain lion loping across the road in eastern Montana and I will not soon forget sitting as still as possible as an alligator dove under my kayak on a river in Florida while we took a break from cycling. And then there were the coyotes scampering along the endless desert roads of the SouthWest while the ever present vultures circled above.
Traveling across numerous Indian Reservations, provided the opportunity to meet and speak with a few of our proud Native Americans who now call these bordered lands their homes. And while cycling through Dixieland, I came face to face with the genteel South and well as the Bible-thumping, red-neck South, much of which was still reeling from the ravages of Katrina which had made landfall just a year prior.
I will remember the smell of the pine forests of the Northwest and the SouthEast, and the smell of saltwater as we approached the Gulf Coast and the Maine Coast. The smell of the dry, desert land will stick with me as well as the smell of freshly-cut grass and of course the earthy smell of manure which surrounds you while riding through farm-land which covers a very large percentage of the country. (And you become quite proficient as detecting the source: horse, cow, pig, poultry...)
Such unique experiences, so many valuable lessons.
We, all of us, leave for home soon, back to our families and friends, satisfied and happy. We have been on the road for six, long weeks. The ride has been a beautiful, fulfilling experience, but no one ever said it would be easy. So we say goodbye. We have our memories. We have crossed the country.
Pain is Temporary...... Pride is forever.
Thank You for your interest, your good thoughts and prayers. Love to you all.