And with that, the trip comes to a close.
Fittingly, the roads I biked on were very familiar to me, and I saw many familiar faces along the way, leading up to a grand finale on the beach, with dozens of friends on hand to cheer my accomplishment.
I started, of course, in Boylston, and Brian saw me off in the morning. Just a few miles from there, I ran into Bruce, who had communicated with Brian to find out when I was leaving, and was on the side of the road, capturing a video of me as I went by.
About an hour later, I stopped in Maynard, to see Betsey and Scott, who live there. We went to the Maynard Farmer’s Market, where Betsey bought me a nice, juicy peach to enjoy before continuing on.After another 10 miles, I came to the start of the Minuteman Bike Trail in Bedford. The Minuteman is a 10+ mile long paved rail trail running from Bedford in to Cambridge, and along the way goes through Lexington and Arlington, where I live.
At the Bedford end, I met Dan and David, two biking friends who live in the area, and they biked the 10 miles from Bedford to my house. It was a victory ride, of sorts, as we all talked about the trip, and various bike rides we each have been on that made an impact in our lives.I was so happy to arrive at our house! It was great to see everything again, and I dropped off most of my gear. No need to carry it the remainder of the way to the beach! So I had a nice, light bike for the final stretch.
While I was home, I saw our cat Petra, who was initially standoffish to me, and I wasn’t sure if she had forgotten me, if she was mad at me for being gone so long, or didn’t recognize my smell because I was so sweaty. I also saw my mother-in-law, Anne-Marie, who traveled from Connecticut to be there for my return.
And of course I saw my wife Marsha. I had seen her about a week earlier in New York, but it was wonderful to see her again, and I look forward to being able to spend much more time with her in the coming days before she has to go back to school.
But I wasn’t finished with my trip just yet. Dan regretfully departed for home, and was replaced with another friend Arun, and David, Arun, and I biked the final 10 miles to Revere Beach.Before I left for my trip back in June, I had plotted out a bicycle-friendly route to the beach, which included some back roads, some roads with bike lanes, and even a paved bike trail for quite a few miles. I rode this route several times, both to do some training to prepare, but also to fix the route in my mind so I would know it, just for today.
I triumphantly led the way, and we arrived at the beach to the applause of a couple of dozen friends who were there just for the occasion. Brian and Rachel had come in from Boylston, Betsey and Scott were there from Maynard, Marsha and Anne-Marie came from our house, and many other people showed up as well.
The inspiration for my trip, Sheila, showed up as well, and I think she was flattered that I had used her experience thru-hiking the Appalachan Trail to motivate me for my own voyage.
After I dipped my bicycle tire in the ocean, we hung out at a pavilion on the beach for hours, enjoying the nice day. It was a hot day, but with the ocean breeze it felt downright reasonal. I was worried that Revere Beach would be very crowded on a hot Saturday in August, but surprisingly, there weren’t that many people there.Some members of our group took a dip in the ocean, until we noticed some lightning strikes in the water just a few miles off the shore. It never rained where we were, but for much of the afternoon we got to see nature’s light show. Several people had brought snacks, and we ordered a couple of pizzas, most of which I ate because I was, as usual, starving.
There was a group of people working on an art project, walking through the pavilion and filming passersby talking about their personal stories, which they were planning to edit into a film. Naturally they came over to our group, and I ended up telling them stories from my trip. Maybe I’ll make it into their finished project!
As evening began to fall we dispersed, with Marsha, Anne-Marie, and me making our way back to our home. After a quick meal, we turned in, and I got to sleep in my own bed for the first time in 67 days. I slept very soundly.