Day 50 - Manchester to Portsmouth NH
Mileage: 61 miles
Weather: Low 60s to start. Low 80s to end. Sunny. Winds out of the SW.
Highlights of the day:
It was a nice day for the last day of the tour. Can you guess what kind of weather we had?? (pausing for effect…) Clear blue skies. Winds mostly favorable. Moderate temperatures. Sound familiar? Yup, it was just more of the same old, same old we’ve had to endure most of the past couple of weeks. Geesh! Many thanks to those of you who have been working what ever angle to keep us in this amazing weather bubble. You can relax now. 😀
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 with a few more New Hampshire style hills. They were short but with enough of a grade to keep the day interesting. We had a bit of a detour with a bridge out that gave the riders a couple more hills and a chance to think. It’s good to keep the riders thinking, helps keep them focused even on the last day of the tour. The hills 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) and some Vermont cheese. 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.
Just like we started in Astoria, the riders had the opportunity to have their own wheel dip, this time in the Atlantic. Picking from any one of 5 possible beaches on the route, they gathered in small groups to celebrate. Some riders had family meet them. Others contemplated quietly about what they had accomplished. Beach goers looked on at the lycra clad groups with awe (& a bit of confusion), asked few questions about what they’d done, and why they were there. Lots & lots of pictures were taken. Many hugs. Some 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 2019. 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!