Trip Start Jun 04, 2011
47Trip End Jul 26, 2011
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Everything felt different today. When we woke up we knew that we would be finishing the trip. Each step of our morning routine today was strangely special because many of them were specific to a day of riding. We were more than happy to be waking up foolishly early for the last time, putting on sunscreen for the last time, eating like a pig at a hotel continental breakfast for the last time, and trying to fit in an elevator with a bicycle for the last time.
On the other hand, it was sad to load my luggage in the van for the last time. The first few miles on the quite roads were strangely silent this morning. We had lots of rain last night and things were wet and chilly when we started riding. It was sad to look around at American Jon, British Jon, and Michael knowing this would be the last time I would ride with them. I have really enjoyed the company of British Jon on this trip. He's a smart, quick-witted guy with maturity and insight beyond his years. He's also just a lot of fun. By the end of this trip he had basically become an adopted member of our family and people started referring to him as Jon Collins.
We rode quickly today. We also rode slowly today. We left the hotel late but we arrived at the Rye Jr. High School early. We gathered there at noon because we had a police escort from the school to the beach. Getting escorted behind a police car was interesting - traffic stopped for us, we went through lights and intersections as a group, people waved and cheered when we went past - but the whole experience was a little too surreal for me to soak it all in. I didn't quite feel like I deserved it and I wasn't sure why other people cared. Regardless, I think I was smiling from ear to ear.
We arrived as a group at the Wallis Sands Beach in New Hampshire and made our way towards the water. It wasn't exactly a beautiful day but there were still plenty of people at the beach. As we rode up to the sand, there was a group of elementary aged kids from a summer camp gathered together on the grassy area between the parking lot and the beach. Presumably after seeing our police car escort, or maybe the definite swagger we had, a kid asked us "are you superstars?" Only in our own world kid, but yeah, we're superstars.
Scott and Jon jumped in the ocean. I refrained. They were sandy and salty the rest of the day. I wasn't. I'll let you decide who made the better decision.
**Excuse the interruption. Scott would like to add a guest sentence.**
i have fun on this trip!
**And now back to your regularly scheduled programing. Thanks, Scott.**
I am still very disappointed that my camera busted on the road a few weeks ago, but it seemed like everyone else had a camera so hopefully I can bum some pictures from the beach. Our ABB support was officially over when we hit the beach but we certainly didn't all disappear in various directions. We ended up riding away from the beach with Michael and the Jons. We joined Patrick on the road to Maine and we all met Al, his wife, and Michael's wife at a seafood restaurant in Maine. I feasted at the salad bar and drew attention from other patrons when I put eight slices of pumpkin bread on my plate. I tried to look back at them like, "I just cycled across the country, get off my case" but a guy actually made a comment about it which allowed me to speak my mind and defend myself. He was impressed and told me I had earned it.
Nearly everyone from the trip spent the night in the same hotel because that's where our luggage was dropped off. As has been the case in nearly every town, our hotel was in the shadow of a much bigger, newer and nicer Holiday Inn. It was fitting that even on our last night this held true. After lunch in Maine we headed back to that hotel to package our bikes. ABB had provided us with bike boxes and packing material and Gerard helped us take our bikes apart and make them fit. From start to finish he proved himself to be the expert mechanic.
Because we didn't see enough of each other over the past 52 days, the Jons, Michael and his wife, and Team Collins walked into town together for dinner. That's when I found out that Portsmouth is an awesome town. There were so many delicious looking places to eat on the beautiful main street. I was pushing for "The Friendly Toast" but I guess everyone was sick of breakfast foods after the terrible continental breakfasts we've been suffering through every morning. We put our name in at the Portsmouth Brewery which was packed, but as we were there we ran into Al, his wife, and Tony. We tried for a table of ten but the wait was ridiculous. Everyone split up and looked for somewhere else to eat. We managed to come back together near the brewery at some bar and grill and it seemed like people were just getting hungry and they may have been letting their standards down in order to get a table. I looked the bar and grill place up on my phone and saw that it had bad reviews; fortunately I was able to convince everyone to keep looking. Eventually we settled on a more upscale seafood place across the street called the Dolphin Striker that I wasn't exactly excited about.
It turns out the ten of us had a great dinner together on our last night out. Scott and I had great salmon but we looked at the waitress like she was speaking another language when she asked us what temperature we wanted it cooked at. Um, Medium Well? I used my phone again to find some good ice cream and we made our way to Annabelle's where the great cross country ice cream adventure had a perfect ending. Again, I'm sorry I let the ice cream blog die, but it just happened. I had "Mint Summer Night's Dream" and "Maine's Rocky Coast" and both were delicious. I will be back to Portsmouth, no doubt about it.
For the record, I'm home now and I couldn't be happier. I may post a "wrap up" tomorrow or the next day.
Distance: 62.59 mi - 3,897.65 total
Time: 03:49:17 - 257:15:07 total
Elevation Gain: 1,724 ft - 118,688 total
Av. Speed: 16.4 mph - 15.2 overall
Av. HR: 116 bpm - 125 overall
Calories: 4,786 - 260,023 total
Flat Tire Count:
Scott - 12
Stephen - 5
Mark - 4