Thank you for being patient and tolerating my previous brief updates.
We rolled into Harrisonburg on Thursday around 2:00 after riding from Seneca Rocks over two substantial passes. It was a great feeling to be in the town that has been my home for the past two years. We spent Thursday and Friday visiting with friends and making the rounds to my favorite places. On Friday morning we celebrated my birthday at the Little Grill with Boris, Julia, Nicole, and Joaquin . My favorite breakfast, The Bricker's Son (toad-in-the-hole/egg-in-a-basket with vegetarian chili on top), tasted like Harrisonburg and made me feel even more at home. With all the friends and familiar sights, it felt like the end of our trip; I thought it was going to be difficult to pedal out of town on Saturday morning and enjoy the last two days to the beach. Fortunately, Ben Wyse and Austin Showalter met us early on Saturday to escort us out of town. Their conversation distracted us as we crossed over the city limits and got us on the road without much of a bitter-sweet feeling.
The following two days were like a blur. We met Momma and Dad Bailey in Richmond. It was great to be reunited with them and share more about our trip. They have helped us out a lot emotionally and logistically. We have been thankful for their support.
Sunday was quite the sprint. We rode the first thirty-plus miles without stopping, because my dad and Nate's friend Scott would leap frog with us in the car and hand us water and snacks. It was fun and kind of goofy. Around noon, my mom met up with us after picking up my friend Joe from the train station. We all ate lunch together and then the non-bikers set off to wait for us at the beach. We road another 60 miles at a blistering pace in some of the worst heat of the trip. Around 5:00 we reached Sandbridge Beach after riding 106 miles. Our muscles were shot thanks to the all-out sprint that ensued 7 miles from the shore, but me managed to hoist out bikes onto our shoulders and carry them across the sand and then collapse into the water. We posed for some photos and then returned to the beach house for dinner. We spent the rest of the evening in a semi-coherent state.
We are grateful for generosity of Tina and Dan Beachy who are hosting us in the Beach house that they rented. Since arriving here we have had a full house of friends and family. Our friends Hannah, Joe, Matt, and Scott are here with us. We are thankful to finally have a a vacation (this trip has not been one).
We also would like to thank all of those at home and across the country who supported us in one way or another. If we have learned one thing on this trip it is about how strong our web of support is and how generous people can be. We would like to thank everyone. Some bought us hotel rooms, some let us in their homes, some talked us through the tough sections over the phone, and some asked us tough questions and helped us learn from our experience. I want to thank all of you. Thank you, thank you.
My lack of satisfaction about my ability to thank everyone and my ability to bring closure to this blog is similar to my feelings about this trip. Its ending seems abrupt and anti-climactic compared to the adventures that it contained. I will therefore share a few more things on the blog (possibly a summary of our presentations about peace), I will continue to thank all of you as I see you, and I will continue to ride my bike.