Hello everyone, Mark here. After 77 days and 4,725 miles, this cross-country bicycle odyssey is complete. Devon and I still have another 200 miles to get up to DC, but the journey across the continent, from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia is in the books! It is a strange and wonderful and yet somehow anticlimactic feeling.
Our day began in Williamsburg at the home of our fantastic warm shower hosts Jim and Martha. We waved goodbye, and began the 35 mile ride to Yorktown. The forecast was for scattered showers, and within 1/2 mile it was sprinkling. Then, within one minute the rain came down in huge sheets. We just kept pedaling on through it, but were both soaked to the core in less than 5 minutes. It was actually kind of nice because the temp was so warm; it reminded me of swimming in a heated pool. It rained on and off for the next 3 hours as we pedaled the Colonial Parkway linking Williamsburg to Yorktown. Once in Yorktown, we registered with the Park Service for having completed the ride, and then headed into town to find our place for the next two nights. It is a wonderfully beautiful apartment situated above the garage of John and Twyla. It is very comfortable and we are most grateful to be here.
I have some initial thoughts on the completion of this journey, and I’ll share a few tonight, but really need time to reflect on this trip and on the impact it has had on me. Here are a few thoughts in “bullet” form:
– Cycling day after day for this long is physically challenging. That is no surprise, but it has been more challenging than I anticipated. It’s not a soreness thing, more an accumulation of one tough day after the next that, after a few days leaves you exhausted. Devon, who is 20, agrees.
– Our nation is beautiful and varied and historic and filled with the most friendly, hospitable and gracious people you could ever hope to meet. We have so many stories of countless acts of kindness and generosity shown to us as we pedaled these miles. We all have our differences, but in the end we are all of us surrounded by a family of Americans who, I can say I am very proud to live among.
– Our nation has its environmental challenges to be sure. But there exists in our country an immense amount of open space that is so very worth protecting and preserving. The Cascades, Tetons, Rockies, Ozarks and Appalachians, along with the Great Plains and stunning green valleys of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Virginia are still largely intact and ecologically functional. There is much natural heritage in North America worth saving. It falls to our generation to ensure that it is protected.
– I am utterly convinced that to bring an end to the brutality being perpetrated on the world’s sharks, we need to bring the issue to the forefront of people’s consciousness. Essentially everyone we spoke with was appalled and very much against this terrible practice. We need everyone who knows about finning to speak out and demand an end to it. Engage people and tell them how you feel, and ask them to tell their friends and post a link to endfinning.com on their Facebook page.
Did we celebrate finishing this ride? Heck yeah! We took a three hour nap, had a great lunch and dinner, and visited the local Ben and Jerry’s TWICE in a span of four hours! Tomorrow we have a day off the bikes to explore historic Yorktown, and then on the 4th of July are scheduled to ride our bikes (complete with trailers!) in the local Independence Day Parade! Ha! Will post photos of that for sure! Well use the opportunity to pass out our shark info cards and rubber bracelets.
Time for me to snooze now, but I’ll share more thoughts and reflections on my next blog. Love to everyone.