Proud to be an American

 The White House

The White House

 Sitting on the lawn on the Mall

Sitting on the lawn on the Mall

I'm in Washington DC, swarmed by the memories of my elementary school trips, visiting friends, attending conferences, evening jogs around the monuments after work meetings, museum visits... I'm in DC! I pedaled my body plus 100lbs of gear across this country. Did I really do it? It's not a dream, right?
With less than two weeks to go my rides are filled with recalling states I've cycled through. Memories and sights I've experienced. Overwhelming emotional thoughts of the people who have waved at me from large porches and in seated lawn mowers. Butterflies that flirted with me up hills and birds that swooped only feet away from my front tire. Cyclists I waved to and gave them the head nod headed the opposite direction and cyclists that became a significant part of my trip. Generous people who bought me meals and donated to my charity on the spot. Homemade dinners consumed to nourish my body. Amount of sunscreen I've applied. Amount of bug spray I've applied. Amount of grease I've scrubbed off my body every single day I've had a shower. Amount of times I've skinny-dipped. Number of fawns and cows and horses I've made eye contact with.  It all comes back and brings me such joy. What an incredible adventure. And, I'm still on it. I rested the past two days and I will cycle up the eastern seaboard with energy and finish strong. Emotionally and physically stronger since the last couple of weeks have been hard. I will do it!
Cycling around DC today was exhilarating. I took photos at the White House and near some of my favorite monuments and memorials. I find it incredible that as a female, traveling alone mostly in spandex, I can bicycle across this entire country and feel safe. I'm not only free to do it and travel almost any route I want... But I feel safe doing it. What an amazing country we live in. Road systems that allow efficient travel (except Wyoming! Ha!), potable water accessible at least once a day even in remote areas and the kindest people in the world. And the beauty! The diversity of what I saw... flora and fauna, smells, animals, colors, flowers, weather. Experiencing the weather in such a raw way... being IN it. All day. What do I do when it's hot? I bike, just less miles and I drink more. What do I do when it's raining? I put my rain gear on. Or get soaked. What do I do when it snows? I bike 10 miles and then cry and then the CA Crew rescues me! What do I do when it's cold? I dress in all my layers, get into my tent and snuggle into my sleeping bag. And wake up to frozen water bottles... that will melt within the hour. What do I do when I'm sore? Stretch. Ice. Ice baths. What do I do when I don't feel like riding? That honestly hasn't happened. Because it's my job. I just do it. And everyday is an adventure and it's FUN. I mean more FUN than I've ever had in my entire life. Everyday for 3 months.
Thank you America. I'm proud to be an American.

 Bike lanes! DC

Bike lanes! DC

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 WWII Memorial and Lincoln Memorial

WWII Memorial and Lincoln Memorial

 Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial