Yes! My second to last day is finally here. And, wanting to stay grounded in my goal versus the media attention and interviews I’ve had this week (5 of them- Good Morning America, Journal Inquirer, Hartford Courant, Ithaca College View, Westerly Sun) and the celebrations and parties. I mean, I’m looking forward to celebrating but I’m concentrating on being in my mind, in my space and feeling good about it all. Yesterday’s ride was 55 miles from Smithtown area to Southold NY. It was congested and busy for most of the ride. Long gone are the days of solitude and the sounds of birds. Other than the traffic, the North Fork was pretty with farms and vineyards. The headwind was strong most of the day and even after feeling rested after my break in NYC, I was still tired. I never got my groove on yesterday.
I stayed with friends last night. Chris is a friend from Ithaca (he went to Cornell and I went to Ithaca College) where I went to school and his wife’s family has a home in Southold, only 15 miles or less from the Orient Point ferry to New London. Jean-Marie, Chris’s wife was there when I got to her folks home at 3:30. I met Jerry, her father and got settled, showered and crashed for an almost 2 hour nap! I haven’t been napping much on this trip, but because it’s the end, everything is taking more effort. A friend who called last night told me, “I think it’s because you know you can start to feel tired.”
After meeting Marie, Jean-Marie’s mom, we picked Chris up from the train he took from the city. Chris, Jean-Marie and I walked to a local dinner place. It’s so nice to eat seafood again, by the way! Didn’t really eat it throughout most of the middle of the country. My energy level was low, but I still really enjoyed reconnecting with Chris after so many years and meeting his awesome wife Jean-Marie! We walked home to the sound of crickets and distant voices from other homes and I fell fast asleep around 11. I woke up at 3am to use the bathroom and didn’t fall back to sleep until 4. My mind was racing. I know how overwhelming ending tomorrow is going to be. I want to breath and relax and feel and celebrate and embrace the end of a 23-year dream come true.
After Jean-Marie made a delicious breakfast, Chris and Jean-Marie cycled with me a couple of miles towards Orient Point (thanks to you both for cycling with me!!). I rode the rest of the way, feeling more relaxed than yesterday. I hopped on the ferry, excitedly awaiting touching ground in Connecticut, the state I grew up in. I saw the Gold Star Memorial Bridge, which I would soon cycle over and thought about all the times I’ve been over that bridge in my life. Probably starting as a baby. And now I see it through the eyes of someone that biked to it from Oregon.
I got off the ferry, cycled over the bridge and headed towards my friend Alison’s. Alison is a close friend from college and lives in Stonington, my destination for tonight. She lives with her husband T (short for Terrance) and her kids MacKenzie (6) and Max (4). They have been following my trip each day and I know Max keeps asking each morning when Aunt Jess will be here. He even made me a map when I started my trip so I didn’t get lost coming. I’ve sent them postcards from almost every state! So, I’m very excited to pull up to their home today at 5!