We did it. We rode across the U.S.in 91 days, traveling 4,287 miles and climbing 162,483 feet in the process. We are glad to reach our goal, but have enjoyed the whole trip tremendously.
Riding out of Dale City this morning was a nightmare of heavy traffic on roads not designed with the thought that anyone would ride a bike on them. We spent a good bit of time on sidewalks and crossing intersections by using pedestrian lights. The turning point came as we were trying to make our way along busy U.S. 1 with no shoulder. A young man pulled his car over and gave us an alternative route which would be easier and safer. It led back to the intended route at the gate of the huge Ft. Belvoir army base. From then on the riding was easy and enjoyable. A few miles past the army base the road ended at Mt. Vernon. As we'd planned, we stopped there and spent the afternoon touring Washington's mansion overlooking the Potomac River and the gardens and grounds around it. One picture below is Sandy relaxing on George Washington's back porch. When we got back on the bike, it was only ten more miles to Alexandria on the Mt. Vernon Bike Trail. When we approached my brother Shaun's house it was very near our ETA of 6 o'clock, and Shaun was actually standing on the corner waiting to take a picture of our arrival. Not only that, but Chris Wolz, a fellow transam rider we'd met back in Kansas, rode up on his bike at the same moment to join the welcoming party. Shaun's wife Sarah and their son Kyle unfurled a welcoming banner (see pic) and we dipped our wheel in the Potomac to give the ride its traditional end.
Some bike tours are "unsupported", meaning without a guide or vehicle to carry luggage. We have carried our own gear, but in every other respect, we have been "supported" all the way. We have stayed in motels and eaten in restaurants except where there were none. We have camped a few times, but more often we were generously provided a place to stay by churches and fire stations. Some of the odd places we have slept will be among our fondest memories, like the gym, the jail, the dance hall, and the exercise room by the minimart. We have been overwhelmed by people's generosity all through the trip. When the bike failed, we were put back on the road by four bike shops, in each case at embarassingly little cost or no cost at all. The people at Bike Friday sent new parts so often we were on a first-name basis with Tim and Phil. Lloyd at ABC Bicycles in St. Pete was there to help us locate a part we despaired of finding. The route maps from Adventure Cycling were indispensible guides. Equally important, we have been buoyed by encouragement from other riders, the many other people we've met, and those who have commented on our blog. Countless motorists considerately slowed to a crawl behind us until we gave them the all-clear to pass. We have made many new friends who were interested in our story and shared theirs, though we will probably see few of them ever again. It would be ungrateful to say we were "unsupported": without the help of all those people we would not have gotten far in distance or enjoyment. Thanks to all for supporting the trip of a lifetime.