DAY 69 AUGUST 4 41.2 MILES
This land is your land, This land is my land from California to the New York island, From the redwood forest to the Gulfstream waters, This land was made for you and me. Woody Guthrie
Our last day. No one could believe it. The days had flown by. It seemed like only 2 or 3 weeks ago that we were in Bar Harbor. All of us wanted to reach Seattle but no one wished for the tour to end. Now we were only 32 miles away.
There is a long bikeway for the last 16 miles of the ride into Seattle. That was very fortunate because the city roads were heavy with traffic. First, however, we had to find the bikeway and that was not easy. The roads turned left and right over hilly country, often with inclines of 8 to 10% and 2 registering 14% (really, really steep). Fortunately, my bicycle computer guided me through the maze and, eventually, the path was directly across the street.
The Burke-Gilman Trail is 12 feet wide with tunnels under several busy intersections. It took us around Lake Washington past extremely pricey waterfront homes, packed together like sardines. Suddenly, there was a piano next to the bike path with a 10 by 10 foot canopy over it and a sign inviting anyone to play. How could I pass that? I sat down and played "Reach out and touch someone" while someone took my picture. Then, it was back on the bike. Suddenly, the city skyline, the Space Needle and a "Welcome to Seattle" sign came into view and, just like that, I was in Seattle!
All of us gathered at a city park and rode together for lunch at a local restaurant. A ceremony followed and a $20,000 check was presented to the Swedish MS Center that serves as a national model for clinical care, research and well-being for people with MS. This was the third such check that had been presented to similar MS organizations on our ride across America. Between those and other contributions along with the awareness our ride brought to the MS effort, we feel we have had a significant impact toward more effective treatment and the finding of a cure for MS.
Next, we rode to the waterfront to dip our front tires in the Pacific waters. I dipped both wheels to be safe. Then we parked the bikes and threw ourselves into the icy cold water. There was much celebration all around. 4 thousand, 2 hundred 95 miles from Bar Harbor the Seattle. We did it!
The group hotel was an easy one mile ride away and the celebration continued in the hotel parking lot. After flying up from Florida, Sherry arrived to join us there. No one wanted the celebration to end but Sherry and I needed dinner. At the group hotel, we were wonderfully seated on the rail of a narrow deck with Puget Sound only a few feet below. It was my first seafood since the lobster in Maine, with the exception of an occasional tuna sandwich for lunch along the way. After dinner, the celebration in the parking lot was still in high gear. We said our goodbyes and departed for our own hotel.
It was an incredible adventure. Over the course of 4,300 miles, we formed an indelible camaraderie by going through the fire together. And now we will be friends forever.
Tip: If you have not started cycling yet, you do not know what you are missing!