We made it! After 64 days on the road, we dipped our tires in the Pacific Ocean at Sand Beach to signify the end of the journey.
Our final day began well before our alarms went off at 6:30. Neither Evan or I could fall back asleep after 5:30, so we packed up our stuff and made our breakfast while watching the sun rise over Mt Desert Narrows. We took our time eating, trying to savor the last bit of time we had to ourselves.
Wes had driven up to Bar Harbor with the Malinchock family and rented a bike to ride the final day with us. We met him on the side of the road and headed towards Cadillac Mountain. Right away, it felt natural to be riding with our original group of three. We told stories about the past few weeks and had our typical bike-trip banter all the way up Cadillac Mountain. At the top, we looked out over the bay and snapped a few pictures before beginning the fast, twisty descent to Sand Beach.
Our families were waiting to meet us down on the beach. It was pretty emotional for both us and them to be reunited after being away for so long.
There is a lot of mental and physical work that goes into a bike trip, and I feel like I have been “on” for more than nine weeks. This last section has been especially demanding, with thirteen consecutive days of biking, two century days and the steepest, hottest climbs of the trip. Finishing today felt like a tremendous weight being lifted off of my shoulders; I could release a huge sigh of relief.
Around the time we dipped tires, we also achieved our fundraising goal of $3 for every mile biked, for a total of $12,600. Every penny of that will go directly to the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation, who will put it to great use providing services specific to adolescent and young-adult cancer patients at UNC hospitals. Over the past few days, we’ve received a flood of donations from close friends, family members, blog readers, and complete strangers. It’s truly touching to see how many people this story has reached and how much support and generosity there is out there.
There are so many people we have to thank for helping to make this trip a success. Last night, I read through my journal and tried to take note of everyone who has helped us this summer, but I realized the list is just too long. There is no way that we could have made it here without all the kindness we’ve received, and I’m making it my goal try and pay forward that kindness further on down the road.