|The finish line!|
In order to have enough time to put my spare tire on I set the alarm a few minutes early for this morning. Then I promply put the tire on and pinch-flatted the tube. Ugh.
Then breakfast, then returning to fixing the new flat. Finally on the road this morning for our final miles, only 5-10 minutes behind the majority of riders. Today's route was probably the easiest riding of the entire tour, basically going from about 1000' above sea level to sea level. So a few ups and downs in the first third of the ride but not too much challenging work to do. Time to enjoy the run-in to the finish line.
Except my shifter started sticking and not working very well right at the start of the ride. By the first rest stop it was barely shifting. Even on a relatively easy course I need gears though. So Lon gave me a "field fix" by jamming a stick in the rear derailleur to hold the gear in place, thus giving me only three gears to use by shifting the front chainring. Good enough for a pretty flat ride though, I thought. And it was good enough, though the gears slipped a bit and at the second rest stop Dave and Jerry replaced it with a rock held in place with electrical tape. I joked that if we were still out in the rural areas we would have used duct tape and baling wire. But good enough was good enough for the last day. Oh, and I had another flat tire midway through the day. I was beginning to be very glad it was the last day! Two flats, no shifting mechanism on the rear, all after having had relatively little trouble since week 1 of the trip. But the end came closer and closer. The lunch stop left us just 24 miles to go to the beach and everyone was smiling. Traffic was heavier as we unavoidably kept moving into more congested neighborhoods but it was manageable. The Massachusetts drivers didn't give us the same courteous space when passing as many other states' drivers had done, but nobody was truly brushed back.
|Then a rock and tape to secure it a little better|
|First a stick to jam the derailleur|
|Long journey concludes at the Atlantic Ocean|
Finally it was within sight: the Atlantic Ocean! Almost unbelievable to be coasting down to the water's edge and joining my fellow travelers in the ceremonial wading into the water. But here we have arrived, after 3600 miles and 32 long days on the road. More in a post-ride entry on this, as I think it best to let the experience seep its way into my head slowly. So many of the days still seem to run together, but maybe they'll sort themselves out a bit with some time off the bike.
Time to pack up our bikes and prepare shipping labels to send them home. An hour took care of that task. Then the final banquet dinner, with slide show of the trip set to music, many nice words from Lon, Susan and a few riders. The big map that we've watched trace our path across the country in red ink each day was auctioned off to benefit the PAC Tour projects in Peru and Africa, most specifically to help subsidize Aracely's education in California.
Now off to bed, as I have a taxi coming at 4:45am to go to the airport. Congratulations to all my fellow riders and crew! Well done. Well done indeed!