Today was one of my favorite days.
Everyone was up early and we met at the gas station in town for breakfast and coffee. There were no tables inside so we sat outside on the curb and hit the road at 7:30. The seven of us rode together: Rodney, Parker, Andreas, Claudia, Josh, Seth, and me. We had great conversation about the experiences on this trip and our lives in general. It was a cloudy morning but the sky cleared around lunchtime. We made great time and stopped in Ashland for lunch after 43 miles.
As I mentioned before, Josh has been "slackpacking", having his parents carry his gear. We all give him a hard time about it, and today Rodney decided to make him some makeshift panniers out of paper bags. We all had a good laugh when he came out of the restaurant and found them on his bike!
We continued together out of town, and Seth broke another spoke! That makes 5. It's a good thing we bought spares! Again it was not on the cassette side so we pulled over at a McDonald's and he and Josh fixed it. So frustrating!
My mom has driven back down to see us finish and she stopped and gave us Gatorade and homemade granola bars from my aunt! It was the perfect snack, and we continued on to Glendale to the Methodist church, where they allow bikers to sleep inside. They are having vacation bible school and had leftover pizza, so they gave it to us for dinner! George met us here at the church so we are all spending this last night together.
It is so hard to believe we are finishing this trip tomorrow! The mood tonight has been very strange...last night everyone was very chatty and tonight we are much more somber. Everyone seems to be having their own personal reflections about the previous weeks, and we're all contemplating how it will be to finish. We have been talking about the end for so long and riding as a big group today truly made it sink in that our journey is nearly over. What an incredible trip it has been, and what an amazing feeling it will be to touch the Atlantic Ocean.