KI’ve been home a week now. It’s fabulous to be back in Middlebury and at work at the Swift House Inn. For almost 4 weeks my entire time was spent riding, planning, eating and looking for lodging to sleep. So now it’s adjusting to a normal schedule and trying to not eat all day. The trip turned out to be 1730 miles with 24 days of riding. My average day was 71 miles per day and if I drop the 4 short days caused by weather, mechanical problems I averaged almost 78 miles per day. That’s plenty of time in the saddle. I’ve been asked why, it was a personal challenge to test myself, more mentally than physically. The time alone was wonderful but still would rather have company along the way. I was surprised by the friendliness of the people of the southern states. Each time I stopped at a country store in the middle of no where, both employees and others stopping there were very friendly and always asked where I was headed. Once into Virginia and north that stopped. The country stores turned into chain convenience stores and people really showed no interest. I am also amazed at the number and denominations of small churches in the south.The Adventure Cycling Atlantic Coast route and maps were outstanding, sometimes difficult to follow but had great back roads and limited high traffic roads. Routes through the big cities were fun. Bike trails were always a challenge as they are never marked well. Being alone on the routes and most of the time in the middle of no where, I always felt safe and had no incidents. I did’nt even have anyone in a car yell or honk in anger or to scare me. That is a first on these trips of me. Off the bike at night there was never any problems. I have and still have great faith in people. Now dogs along the route are a problem but none caught me, in fact I never was really threatened. When I needed information or help people always responded. I had dozens of people wish me well and safe riding. I met 6 other solo travelers either on the route or crossing and 3 were solo females. There always was a spirited and encouraging conversation. We shared information about the route ahead and the experiences behind us. There was an instant bond and understanding of the craziness, someone of the same spirit. This type adventure can be addictive. It is mind numbing vigilance and awareness that keeps you safe. Constantly pushing the peddles and watching for what is up ahead. Heat, cold, rain, wind, doubt and miles of road challenge you and the goal ahead motivates you.
I did my ride alone but I never could have done it without support and help, I never was really alone. My wife Michele had to endure the planning and training and the 4 weeks of running the in by herself. If not for her I could not do these trips. My friend Jim who crossed the country with me 5 years ago, followed with his route maps, and his knowledge of having done this trip last year with Mary. Jim called twice a day with encouragement, advice and in a few instances saved me with calls to find lodging and bike shops. I very much appreciated those who sent me e mails and responded to Facebook and the blog. I did not have time to answer those but your encouragement was really appreciated. The I had my help along the way, Amber and my Grand Daughters before I started in Jax, son Aaron for 2 great days off the bike, friends Ray and Lisa for hosting me a night! Michele ‘s sister and husband Marica and Marty and parents who each picked me up for the night. My great friends son Will and his wife Anne who rescued me from a storm for the night and great Innkeeping friends Frank and Julie owners of the Inn at Manchester, who hosted me for my last night on the road. All of you took part in my adventure and I really appreciated your hospitality and help.
That wraps up this adventure, thank you all for following me. Now with winter coming I will have time to figure out my next adventure……..