Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The End is Just the Beginning

Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.

~ Anthony Brandt

Here are the before and after pictures of the bikes in the Pacific in March (top), and the Atlantic in August.

It is still hard to believe that we made it. As I went to sleep last night in the tent at the Camden Hills State Park on the coast of Maine, I had to ask myself whether it was all a dream. To have come almost 4000 miles by bike. I know that in some sense it was just a bike ride -- a very long bike ride. But I also know that this experience has changed me in ways that I couldn't anticipate as we dipped the tires in the Pacific, and in ways that I still can't comprehend.

So, what is next? After a few days of exploring the Maine coast by car (actually, a big red truck -- a truly awful way to travel compared to what we have just done, but a compromise that needed to be made if we wanted to get to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor), we will return to Portland, Maine on Thursday. We are going to stay with our friend Thom's parents and then fly out on Friday. As Alison has told several people along the way, it took us about 80 days to bike across the US and will take us about 8 hours to fly almost as far. Amazing.

Alison's mom will pick us up at the Portland, Oregon airport on Friday night. We will then stay with Alison's parents south of Hood River (they are Warm Showers hosts, by the way, in case you are cycling near Mt. Hood, Oregon. Go to the Warm Showers website for more information). We will also be reunited with our dog, Xela (pronounced Shay-la). On Saturday we will return to Walla Walla, forever changed.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about what should come out of this trip. All of us, the kids included, don't want to just let it end (although I think we are all looking forward to our own beds and a home-cooked meal). I have already registered three website domain names,,, and There are no websites there yet, but I will be working on that and more related projects shortly.

We would love to hear from you, as would Shelia Hager from the Union-Bulletin newspaper in Walla Walla (see an earlier post for more information) about what our trip has meant to you.

This not the end, but just another beginning. We hope that all of you will continue to follow the exploits, adventures and mis-adventures of the shut-up-and-pedal crew!

I think one of the first blog entries at the start of the trip had a quote from John Steinbeck, from his book Travels with Charlie. It is fitting that we end with the same quote.

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.
It surely did. And we live on to ride another day.


Pam said...

I have been following you this summer, and want to post once to tell you how much I have enjoyed and been inspired by your adventures. Thank you so much for sharing America through your fresh and insightful eyes. You have taken us places we may never see ourselves.

And what a view of Family you have given us as well! Thank you so much.

Best wishes as your never-ending adventure continues in whatever form it takes.
Pam Amo

wombat064 said...

Great to hear the blog will continue , will stick with you guys, love having you around.

I still recon the "DAGS" Cycle tour company is a good idea.

Elaine said...

Dan and Alison,
It will be I picking you up at the airport Friday evening. I'll bring a bunch of cherries along and you can munch on them on the way home. We've been saving them for you.
Good photos taken at the beach and all along the Maine shoreline. Phil (the Aussie wombat) wanted to see your wheels in the ocean, so I hope he's content now!!
Remember how it feels after an evening of roller skating? Your legs want to keep scooting instead of walking for a while. I imagine being on a bike for so long is a similar feeling. You are all tuned to riding the bike instead of in a car.
If you made a list of the "Ten Things I Want To Do Before I Die". you can scratch off # 1.
Love, Mom

Peter K said...

Alison, Dan, Sonia & Gus,

How exciting to hear that you have completed your quest. We were just in Maine in June, so know how beautiful it is there. You will have many adventures to reflect back on. We're glad that you have been able to fulfill this dream.
Love, Peter, Carla, Ian & Amanda

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your accomplishment. You have a great website. My husband, 8 year old daughter, and I just finished a modified Northern Tier Route ending in Bar Harbor on August 8th.The bike touring grapevine is alive and well along Rt 2. We first heard of yout adventurous family somewhere in Montana. The funny thing is, the news usually came from employees behind the counter at Dairy Queen. (Ice cream was a staple for us as well) We knew we were getting to close when a woman at the DQ in Lakota, ND said that you were in 2 days earlier. Then finally outside a brewpub in Ashland, WI we spotted your bikes and even talked to Gus briefly. Our only regret is that we didn't come in to meet the rest of you. We can truly relate to all the joys and challenges you describe in your blog. Feel free to visit our website:
I haven't finished updating yet, but I know you'll recognize some of the same photos locations.
Congratulations again.
Barb, Steve, and Emma Kerr
Boise, ID