Wednesday, August 1, 2012

♪♪♪ "There's a thousand little things, A thousand little things. I'm hearing I love you, In a thousand little things." ♪♪♪ ~ Point of Grace

Wednesday, August 1,  2012 (Day 56)
Lewes Beach, DE
Miles:  55  MPH:  14  Max:  20  Total:  3,496!

HOME!!!   ♥♥♥  Such a grand party at the beach!!!

56 days...... 3,496 miles ...... 15 states ....... raised over $5,000 for Lancaster County Special Olympics ..... Memories to last a lifetime!! ♥

 Hard to believe that we are actually back home.  In many ways the trip flew by and it hardly seems that we left at all.

Home is wonderful, but I know I will miss the adventure of each day on the road.  I loved not knowing what each day would bring.  I loved stopping on the side of the road and eating PB&J. I loved feeling exhausted after biking for hours.   I loved seeing the tremendous beauty and diversity of our wonderful country.  I loved spending the days with Jack and depending on him for so much of the trip.  I loved meeting so many kind, friendly, and generous new friends. I loved running into libraries to update our blog. I loved morning sunrises and the whispers of the new day, I loved the peacefulness of biking in remote areas where hardly a car ever passed, I loved sipping coffee in all the wonderful small towns.  I loved the serenity rendered by incredible sun sets, I loved eating yummy ice-cream everyday–sometimes twice!  Throughout our trip, I felt brave, strong, and young – it was wonderful!

Pins collected along the journey!

So much to be thankful for.......

..... Our bikes were just amazing pedaling machines.  I never had a single flat!  Jack had 3 flats early in the trip and none afterwards.  Amazingly, both bikes had few mechanical problems and  carried us and our gear across the entire country - I love my bike!

..... The love and support of my husband,  Dad,  neighbor, and BFF who took care of our home and cat while we were gone
Dad and me!

..... Our dear loving friends and family who followed our every pedal and delighted us with their pride and encouraging notes

Super wonderful friends!
..... My work for allowing me to take off 2 months and supporting me in this adventure

..... Those who supported us by making donations to the Special Olympics.  Wow!  Your generosity overwhelmed us!
Mom and me!

..... My son who would spend his summer pedaling with me.  xoxo

My navigator, mechanic, companion, friend, and Son!  xoxoxo
.... God who created the mountains, plains, forests, rivers, oceans, animals, and deserts that WOWED us with their beauty.  God who gave us strong bodies and good health to pedal over the ROCKIES!!  God who crossed our path with so many WONDERFUL folks who provided for us with incredible generosity.  God who gave us at least 1,000 little things to smile about as we pedaled from C2shiningC this summer. Truly, this was an adventure of a lifetime!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"We find no real satisfaction or happiness in life without obstacles to conquer and goals to achieve." ~ Maxwell Maltz

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 (Day 55)
Best Western, Smyma, DE
Miles:  78  MPH:  13  Max:  37  Total:  3441

Such a "teary" day today!!  After a scrumptious breakfast, as we waved good-bye to Tom, Annabell, and Matthew  my eyes filled.  Thank-you Lusardi family for the warm welcome and comfortable night!!

My eyes teared again when I saw a sign for Route 272 -- I could ride it right to my home!  Then, again, my eyes watered as we crossed into Delaware, our 15th and final state of our ride!!  Just an emotional mess!

Annabell, Tom, Matthew, and Jack

The Susquehanna River - our final river crossing!

Bridge across the Susquehanna at the Conowingo Dam

Our 15th and Final State!
Jack and I can't stop talking about all that has happened over the past 2 months -- it's been an amazing adventure!  Headed to the Atlantic tomorrow!

Monday, July 30, 2012

♪♪♪ "Standing on this mountaintop...Looking just how far we've come...Knowing that for every step...You were with us..." ♪♪♪ ~ Matt Redman

Monday, July 30, 2012 (Day 54)
Tom and Annebell's Home, Fallston, MD
Miles: 71  MPH:  12  Max:  31  Total:  3363

Awesome day!  Jack and I headed for the very familiar North Central Rail Trail near our home in Pennsylvania!  We love this trail and have ridden it many many times.  Couldn't have gotten a better gift than my two dear friends, Kathy and Yvonne waiting to ride the trail with us ---- missed them so so so so so much!!!

Yvonne brought PB&J on homemade bread and Kathy brought M&M'S and almonds -- all my favorite biking food :-) 

Needed to replace my rear tire!  Totally worn through with the threads popping out, I was riding on the tube!  Incredible that I did not get a flat with all the trail riding this past week!

Continually, friends old and new have made our trip across the US a totally amazing experience.  Staying with family tonight where we are treated like royalty!  Awesome steak dinner, some laughs, and the comfort of family and friends provided the perfect day as our journey is in the home stretch!

I missed them soooooooooooo much!

Jack and the Pedal Princesses!

Thanks Curvin and Joe for dropping off and picking up my dear friends so we could ride today!!
Can't believe this journey is coming to an end -- truly memories to last a lifetime!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

"Luxuries are never so comfortable as are the familiar, ordinary things of home." ~ Eucharist Ward

Sunday, July 29, 2012  (Day 53)
Sleep Inn, Emmitsburg, MD
Miles:  65  MPH:  13  Max:  32  Total:  3292

C&O trail wraps around the mountains and follows the Potomac River
OMG!  Can hardly sleep anymore - getting so excited to get home!!

Beautiful day cycling again on the C&O trail. Debated if we should take the trail all the way to Washington, DC, but we don't have a way to cross the Bay Bridge as bikes are not allowed.  Mid-day, after leaving the trail we crossed back into Pennsylvania and then back again into Maryland.  Our legs screamed as we encountered some large hills  after riding the flat trails for almost 4 days.

Everything is so familiar now....familiar roads and highways, places, grocery store names, gas stations......Now Dunkin' Donuts is again
"King" (in the West it's all about Starbucks).  Saw our first Ritas Ice....of course we had to get some!
Yep!  We are back East - Dunkin' on every corner!
Spotted our first Ritas as we continue East!
Anxious to get to the Atlantic and to get home!!  Our summer has given us so many incredible memories!

Falls along the C&O Trail -- beautiful!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

"It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Wold you be mine? Could you be mine? Won't you be my neighbor?" ~ Mr. Rogers

Saturday, July 28, 2012 (Day 52)
Super 8, Hancock, MD
Miles:  64  MPH:  10  Max:  20  Total:  3227

Wonderful surprise this morning--our dear neighbors, Bonnie and Steve, drove down from Lancaster, after getting up at 3am, and met us at our hotel in Cumberland!  After breakfast and some catching up they rode with us several hours as we set out on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail.  Normally, the C&O is bumpy but after a rain storm, it is really crazy.  Slipping and sliding in the mud and water puddles, we loved their company.
Wonderful neighbors - Bonnie and Steve

 Met up with another group of 6 riders on the trail-- they were from Lancaster County, PA!!!

Riding the C&O is like taking a ride through transportation history.  You can sense how at one time the canal was a lifeline for the communities along the Potomac River as coal, lumber and agricultural products floated down the waterway.  The canal runs 184 miles from the mountains of Western, MD where we picked it up and it goes all the way to the tidal basin in Washington, DC. 

Deer ran across our path and families of turkeys gobbled along side the trail.  About 1/2 way through our ride we reached the Paw Paw Tunnel.  As we walked our bikes slowly through this spooky, creepy 3,000 foot long tunnel, water dripped on us and we stepped in puddles!  Not sure why we didn't use our flashlights!

Tired from the rough ride we were happy to reach Hancock!  Getting so close!!!!

So many riders along the C&O -- so much fun enjoying their company!

Friday, July 27, 2012

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." ~ Altbert Einstein

Friday, July 27, 2012 (Day 51)
Holiday Inn, Cumberland, MD
Miles:  77  MPH:  13  Max:  22  Total: 3163

Another state!! - Only one more to go!
Crossed the Eastern Continental Divide and entered Maryland today!

What a storm last night!  I finally had to brave the rain to get to the shower house and bathroom.  Slipped in the mud after showering :-)  We woke starved so headed straight for town. Ordered the Friday special for breakfast - french toast, eggs, wheat toast, home fries and bacon!  Then I got desert -- a turtle (morning desert :-)  The turtle was a circle of dark chocolate with a layer of caramel, topped with a layer of cashews and then another layer of dark chocolate.  I really hope I can stop eating like this when I get back home!

Downed trees from the storm covered the trail in several places.
We met another cyclist who had traveled almost the same route as us.  We were 1 day apart for almost the entire trip!

Just love this bike trail!
The rain continued through the morning and our bikes, bags, and bodies were covered with dirt kicked up from our tires on a very wet trail.  Branches and downed large trees covered the trail making it a very slow ride.  But by the afternoon, blue sky began to give way, and we stopped in Rockwood for a treat   As we road off the trail, I described in detail to Jack the baked goods that I had gotten 4 years ago at the coffee house we were headed to (second desert of the day).  Amazing the things I can remember!!

Making our way through the rugged mountainous terrain of the Allegheny Highlands, we pedaled across numerous bridges, the 1,908 foot long Salisbury Viaduct, and the monstrous Big Savage tunnel.  This trail is such a jewel - for sure, one of my favorite places!

After reaching the highest point on the GAP trail at 2,392 feet, it was downhill for a 20 mile joy ride into Cumberland, Maryland.  We reached Cumberland just  in time for the Friday night street party!  Five bands, restaurants with outdoor seating, dancing, and fun filled the downtown area.  Ice cream (3rd desert) topped off our evening!
View from the GAP trail - breath-taking!

Olympics Opening Ceremony tonight -- a perfect way to end our day!  Can't believe how close to home we are!

Big Savage Tunnel -  It's  just for cyclists - Awesome!
Big Savage Tunnel - over 3,000 feet long

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, July 26, 2012 (Day 50)
Ohiopyle State Park, PA
Miles:  65  MPH:  11  Max:  25  Total:  3086

Oh!  Great Allegheny Passage how I have missed you!! So many memories as I pedaled on the GAP trail today!  I love this trail, and  believe it to be one of the most beautiful bicycle trails in America.  The trail travels through the Allegheny Mountains, along the Youghiogheny River, through two gorges, and has monumental bridges, tunnels, and viaducts.  It's mostly flat, with a smooth surface -- truly a gem. 

In the morning I rode with John.  We saw many deer.  We met up with Jack in Perryopolis for lunch.  Then we emptied our bags again and sent home a set of pannier bags and all of our belongings except for 2 changes of clothing.  We said good-bye to John till we see him at the beach next week!

River view along the beautiful trail.
Jack zoomed ahead on the trail.  I wanted to enjoy every moment so I pedaled to my music and thoughts.  Huge trees formed a welcome canopy of shade.  Water trickled down the mountain side on my  right and the clear Yough River babbled along on my left.  It was so peaceful!

Once in Ohiopyle, we decided to try the State Park for lodging.  To get there meant hiking with our bikes up a steep, gravel path about a mile, but we like to hike-n-bike!  We wanted a cabin, but had to settle for a platform tent.  While at the ranger station, the heavens began to rumble and lightning and thunder filled the sky.  The ranger started telling me to seek shelter in the shower house if I didn't feel safe!  I thought it was funny until the wind roared and the rain pounded on our canvas topped home!  The storm never let up so we never got out for dinner, showers, the bathroom, or water!  A bit scared but otherwise loving the sounds of a wild storm from the inside of our home for the night.
Home for the night during the thunder storm.
First time on the GAP for John
My bike loves this trail!

Love it!

Chilling out in Ohiopyle along the river.

Ohiopyle Falls!