Day 50 - Manchester to Portsmouth NH
Mileage: 60 miles
Weather: Low 60s to start. Mid 70s to end. Mostly sunny. Winds out of the SW.
Highlights of the day:
It’s definitely a day of mixed emotions. Part of me is truly excited to see this ride to completion and celebrate the accomplishment with the riders. The other part of me wants to keep going! I really love this summer family of ours and, if it’s not obvious already, I love the cycling. Whether I’m on the bike or driving a support vehicle. I’m addicted.
It was a nice day for the last leg of the tour. Temperatures remained unseasonably cool all day long. Previous concern about rain and thunderstorms dampening our celebration proved to be for naught. We were able to do the luggage & gear distribution outside at the hotel. The crew didn’t melt in the heat. The crew was mildly confused but, per usual when it comes to unexpected nice weather, no one complained.
The first half of the ride provided us a few more New Hampshire style hills. They were short but with enough of a grade to keep the day interesting. They led to the one SAG stop of the day and the last SAG stop of the tour. Lots of fruit. Everyone had to eat a banana (or two). The stores had to be emptied. There were even left over cupcakes from last night’s celebration. From there we moved to our last food stop of the tour. Me & Ollie’s. It’s a coffee shop with great bakery goods. We swarmed in one last time and ate up most everything that wasn’t tied down. No fingers were lost.
We all gathered at the Rye Junior High at mile 48 for one last group photograph and opportunities to say goodbye. The riders were then escorted to Wallis Sands Beach by a police cruiser. We owned the road!
At Wallis Beach, friends and family greeted the riders with loud cheers and cow bells as we pulled into the parking lot. Onlookers in beachwear looked curiously at these odd Lycra-clad people carrying their bicycles down to the water. We performed the necessary end of tour ceremonies. Front wheel dipping. Emptying the official water bottle containing seawater from the Pacific. Lots & lots of pictures. More hugs. More tears. And grins from ear to ear.
The last day comes to an end. One more motel for the final luggage drop. Bikes prepped for shipping. Last dinner shared with new friends. Vehicles return to the ABB office. It’s time to go our separate ways but with a wealth of new experiences and friendships that will last a lifetime. This ends the Across America North blog for 2017. I know the “North” staff leaves for home with each of us planning his or her next ride for this summer. I hope we’re not the only ones.
Keep it safe out there!