Day 81, 66 miles, total = 3997 miles
I never thought I’d say this, but I’m sick of eating. Completely disgusted by it. Maybe it’s the fatigue. I’m hungry yet nothing sounds at all appealing. I eat what I know I need to for recovery and strength and energy. But, I’m at the point where I’m tired, hungry and sometimes nauseas while eating. Pregnant? Nope, impossible. Unless somehow sitting on a bike seat got me pregnant.
I can’t even remember where I left off, but I know that Thursday's ride through Pennsylvania was quite beautiful. I camped Thursday night at French Creek State Park. I got there and the heavens opened up as I selected the perfect campsite. I mean, I got soaked. It actually felt amazing. Who cares? I’m almost done. Although my seat did get wet. Which meant yesterday I slathered myself with chamois butter. A bit more than usual. Now that both of these first two paragraphs have to do with my crotch, maybe I should move on… blame it on the exhaustion if you’re offended.
After the torrential downpour, I set up my tent, showered
and cooked the only food I had- Ramen and a packet of kidney beans and rice.
And, I had an apple. I had no energy to bike or walk the 2 miles within the
State Park to the concession stand at the pool. I knew once I ate and got
everything organized, I’d fall fast asleep. I slept over 9 hours (I always
sleep better in my tent) and it didn’t rain again. The temperature was perfect.
I slept in my sleeping bag liner and didn’t even need my sleeping bag. Nothing
really dried out, so last night in New Hope PA, my clothing and tent aired out in the motel. Back to yesterday morning- I woke up at 6am, made hot tea and my
last packet of instant cream of wheat, ate a banana and was on my way. I had
hoped for fresh legs again, but no such luck. My legs hurt from the start. That’s
when I made the video I posted on Facebook about being inspired by the
donations coming in and all the texts and emails of support I’m receiving. It’s
incredibly helpful. I’m almost there. And, a lot of it is mental. I know
I can do it. I only have 5 days of cycling (if you don’t count the 10 miles on
Sunday to the ferry and 20 miles on the last day). Here's just a sampling of texts that happen to come in yesterday, some from people I haven't heard from on this trip. Some from people I hear from regularly. Sorry if your text is below and you meant it to be private. I'm just so inspired by these, I wanted to share.
"Go Jess go! Sending you some love during your last (sore) legs of the trip!" -Megan Hansen
"Keep pedaling!" -Jered Bogli
"Thinking of you helped get me through my 22-mile training run this morning. Anytime I felt exhausted, I thought of you and how you biked to the White House. From Portland. You are amazing and just wanted you to know that you're pushing me in my athletics feats all the way across the country. Ride on, Jess." - Jen Sotolongo
"Hang in there. Amazing, amazing accomplishment. For a great cause and fulfilling a lifelong dream. It's freaking awesome. And, on the bright side of burnout, at least it's close to the finish and family and friends are at the end. Could have felt this way in Wyoming!" -Jamie Sparks
"PS. You are awesome!" -Evan Lawrence
I stopped about 10 miles into my ride at Ridge Restaurant and had a big breakfast since the instant cream of wheat wasn’t going to sustain my long day. A woman walked up to me and gave me $20 because she saw my banner on my trailer in the parking lot. Again, I might be blaming how tired I am, but I totally forgot to get her name. I did give her a card and hoping she’ll read this and contact me. My mom saw my FB video and was concerned about how tired I seemed and offered to come pick me up and drive me into NYC. I said, nope, I can do this. I’m not the kind of tired that I’d fall asleep while biking. It’s more of an overall fatigue and I know I’m ready to be done. I continued on to Valley Forge PA, obviously of historical significance. It was the site where the Continental Army spent the winter of 1777-1778 during the Revolutionary War. It’s a gorgeous area and even better, a great bike path begins here and I took that all the way to Norristown. It was wonderful to be on a bike path since I’m so tired. It was a nice break from cars and stopping and starting at stop lights and signs. It was motivating to see so many cyclists and runners and walkers. Other cyclists made me feel like what I’m doing is normal (well, kinda). It was tempting to jump on a train and take it into NYC, but nope. I can do this. I can ride. Good thing I have an irrational fear of trains. I’d rather bike to NYC...
I stopped in Ambler, PA to have a peaceful lunch and find something, anything I could keep down. I found a deli and was eating and typing this blog and all of a sudden a customer and the owner of the deli starting yelling at each other. The owner asked this customer to leave because she didn’t intend to buy anything and assumed it was ok to just walk in, plug in and sit and work on her laptop. He asked her a few times. The customer, an African American female (dressed very high class, by the way) was calling the owner of the deli a racist. They had a yelling match as he told her she had to leave, multiple times. She refused. So, she called the cops because she felt she was being treated unfairly and he called the cops because he has the right to refuse service, or in this case, ask a customer (who’s not even a customer) to leave. I continued to eat my lunch and begin this blog post. When I was ready to leave, I walked outside to my bike and trailer and two police officers had showed up and were talking to the woman and owner separately. The owner and I started to chat and the police officer asked me if I witnessed the altercation. I said yes and gave an official statement. Even gave them my DOB and donation/bike trip card! Before he left XXXX gave me a $20 as a donation. $40 total today from two complete strangers! I’ll pop another check (good think I brought checks with me!) in the mail to Alliance. Go figure, I’m a witness during an altercation, but get a $20 donation out of it. Ahhh, welcome back to the east coast Jess.
I cycled through an area where the 1% live. I thought about the thousands of homes I’ve cycled pass and the variety of styles, economic status and geographic variations of home style and ornaments. By ornaments I mean from wreath style (like in eastern KY, homes had these puffy colorful wreaths I’ve never seen anywhere else) to the stars on homes and barns that started in KY and have been in VA and PA. I love the stars and I’m not sure what they signify. Is it a patriotic thing? I need to look it up. To more American flags in the south and east coast. To the eagle above the garage. I peek into homes as I ride by and see people reading the paper or watering plants. And I long for the day that I can sit inside in my robe and slippers (two things obviously not with me) and read the entire NY Times. And rest. And not sweat once during the day. I’m envious of those in a home they love to relax in.
I posted on Facebook for any connections in New Hope, but I ended up getting a room while at Ridge Restaurant in the morning. Mentally I needed to know I had a place to stay. Some people had friends north or south of here by 10-20 miles, but for some reason New Hope was calling my name. And, once I arrived, I knew why. Quaint, cute town with lots of boutiques and B&B’s, restaurants, ice cream shops and tourists! New Hope PA in on the Delaware River across from Lambertville, NJ. Yesterday officially ended being on any ACA route. It goes north from here and I head to Middletown/Atlantic Highlands NJ to take the ferry to NYC tomorrow. I got to New Hope, threw the tent, fly and ground cover over anything I could in the room. I took my wet clothes and towel (chamois) out of a plastic bag from the night prior and hung them over my bike in the hotel room to dry. I did my routine of plugging in my bike computer, taking a shower, washing my sunglasses, taking my charm bracelet off and washing it, calling my parents to tell them I arrived safely, drinking water, wiping down the hitch to my trailer (it gets gritty) and adding a new clean batch of grease to it, wiping down my chain and re-lubing it and checking my tires. Finally, got dressed in ‘normal’ clothes, not spandex, and walked the mile into town. Beautiful night, perfect weather. I walked across the bridge and stepped into my 13 state (not including DC), New Jersey! I walked back over into PA and got an IM from my friend Alison. Her friend Misty, whom I’ve never met has a friend who happened to bike into New Hope and as having dinner with three other people They wanted to buy me a drink! I was a block away. So, I joined Chuck, Bill, Dorian and Donna as they ate (I eyed an Indian place on my way over) and I enjoyed champagne on them! Thank all of you for inviting me to sit with you and enjoy the evening. I felt human again. Tired, but human. Social. Normal. I said my goodbyes and headed to Indian food for dinner. I actually enjoyed the food (wasn’t nauseas) and my friend Melissa from Kentucky called to say hi. It was great to catch up (and thanks for the donation today Melissa!!) and I left just in time to head over to Nina’s for ice cream. Although I got into Nina’s and again, felt not in the mood. Not in the mood for ice cream? I think my body and appetite is all wacky. Hoping that gets better, very, very soon. Something is definitely wrong if ice cream doesn't sound good anymore.
I walked out of Nina’s without anything in hand but headed over to the river just in time for the New Hope fireworks to begin. And what a show! They go off from a barge in the river and the moon was coming up and it was a gorgeous night full of 1000’s of people on the bridge and along the shores of the Delaware River in PA and NJ. I thought, what a day! What an experience! And, now I get to end my day watching a fabulous firework show. I’m so lucky.
I walked the mile back home, fell asleep and woke up by 6. Only 7 hours of sleep. Still tired, but excited. I walked to McDonald's because it's close, has fast internet and breakfast. It's only the third time I've eaten at a McDonald's on the trip, but wanted to update blog. Today's ride will be about 55 miles, which is a bit shorter than I’ve been cycling. I’m looking forward to it. I'm staying with warm showers hosts.
Yesterday, $780 (plus $40 cash), $820 total was donated to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. At that rate, we'll reach my goal of $25,000. Only $6265 left to go!
THANK YOU ALL. I finish this dream come true a week from today. Join us at the end party. Contact me if you want to be there.