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, shutupandpedal.org, shut-up-and-pedal.org, and shut-up-and-pedal.com. 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.