Apologies to John Sebastian for butchering his verse, but by this time tomorrow, I will be HOME or close to home. After so many different beds in the last 50 days, it will feel nice to be back in my own bed, and not have to decide what clothes I am wearing by using the “sniff test”. Great day today in New Hampshire. It always surprises me how dissimilar Vermont and New Hampshire are. We spent a good deal of time on back roads today so we got a real good feeling for the terrain-LOTS of Short but STEEP hills, and the small towns-quaint and charming. Lots of streams running along the road side. We even rode past a paper mill, Monadnock Paper. This is a mill I have visited a few times in the past since in the “good old days” we used their paper for some beautiful print projects and lots of upscale Annual Reports. Tonight after Rap we are having our final dinner together, and we have all started talking about the reasons we have started and finished this trip, and what we will take away from it. Last night, Mike Petroni, who every night presented Mikey’s Minute, gave us his take on this. At the end, he gave a toast, which I present below. When he was done, there were a lot of us close to tears.
“I would like to raise a toast. To the mountains, to the plains, to blowing tail winds and passing rain, to smooth gears, to the crest of a climb, to the year of training, and to wonderful families understanding–to sweat, to salt, to challenging pain and overcoming it, to the seat of our saddles, to the meat of our thighs, to God and country…..to all the miles and men and women who are now and will forever be a part of us, may adventure live in and guide our hearts forever”
Well put Mikey!
After dinner tonight we all spoke a bit about our feelings. We all thanked the staff for their efforts. A funny story about the staff, today my rear tire was flat when I left the hotel room. We checked to make sure there was nothing in the tire, changed the tube, and I was off. EXCEPT, 20 miles later it was FLAT AGAIN. While I started the process to fix the tire by myself, Tom, who I was riding with called one of the staff. Next thing I know it was like a SWAT Team showing up, 1 van from one direction, 1 van from the opposite direction, AND 2 of the staff on their bikes, simply amazing! Jim did, finally after really working at it, find a 1/8″ piece of wire embedded in the tire, so it was good I didn’t fix it myself as I never would have found it. But we also all talked about the camaraderie, the constant caring and encouragement that we all have given each other, whether before each day’s ride, or during, that has enabled us to complete the ride. It was quite an evening.
Tomorrow is the end, on to the Atlantic to dip our bikes.