Day 50 - Manchester to Portsmouth NH
Mileage: 60 miles
Weather: Low 60s to start. Low 90s to end. Mostly sunny. Winds out of the SSW.
Highlights of the day:
It was a nice day for the last day of the tour. It was sunny. It was warm. It was humid. But we had lots of tree cover that helped keep the temperatures feeling a little cooler. The winds were mostly behind us, I think. They were light and bit variable. We had no rain. We had no pop up thunderstorms. It was a lovely August 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.
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 was even left over cake 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 our last group photographs and opportunities to say goodbye. 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 2018. 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.
Stay focused & keep it safe out there!