Friendship

I think what I feel most right now, on the last day of Road to Rhode is the support and close friendships that means so much to me.
As I approached Alison's home, in the distance I could see Braedon (Alison's nephew), Mackenzie and Max (Alison's kids) waving at me and yelling, "She's here! She's here! The long awaited 'Aunt Jess', the crazy one who biked across the country, the one who sent us tons of postcards is FINALLY here! Because in kid-days, I probably took forever. I pulled up and was overwhelmed with emotion and immediately thought about the day I left Ithaca College mid-year my senior year to spend my last semester of college at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. The memory of hugging Alison so hard and both of us in tears grieving the fact that our undergrad years together were over. Grieving the fact we'd miss each other so much while I was away.
And over the years we've always been so close. Pulling up to her home in Stonington CT meant I was home in a way. A home I'm always welcome to be in. I gave everybody big sweaty, smelly hugs and T rolled my bike up to the house for me. Within minutes Chris (Alison's brother and Braedon's dad) pulled up. And he had a huge Road to Rhode decal on the back of his car! And a few minutes after that, Sage (Braedon's mom) pulled up. I'm with family I thought.
Chris noticed my shifter cable was on its last threads so instead of me spending the time doing it, we quickly brought it over to Mystic Cycle Centre and Apolo there fixed it up! When we got back, Chris decided to clean up my bike (see photo), so I'm ending today with a nice clean chain! I've neglected it for about 5 days! That's way too long...
I showered while T made a feast for everyone. Food was amazing and plentiful and around 8:30, my friend Meredith, coincidently, my roommate at University of Auckland drove down from Maine with her partner Carrie. Meredith is one of my favorite people in the entire world and for her to drive from Rockport to come for one night to ride with me means more than words. We all hung out for a bit and went to bed by 11. Unsure what this morning will bring. There is some car shuttling happening soon and I've been promised a mimosa and we'll cook a big breakfast. Another really close friend of mine, Josh, who I've known since I was 8 years old is driving down from Boston with his girlfriend Kate (whom I've never met- so very excited!). And, my friend and colleague Kate who works at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and drove down from Vermont is riding with us too! Everybody is meeting here at Alison's at noon and we plan on taking our time and savoring every mile of the 20 miles or so to Charlestown Rhode Island!
I feel so fortunate and excited to have such a great crew cycling with me this morning. And now? Let Day 90 BEGIN!

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