- Durham, NH to Gloucester, MA
- 63.8 miles
- 4,291.5 miles total
- 150,836′ of climbing total
- NO FLATS SINCE MINNESOTA!
- Rain and sun and drizzle
We did it! We made it to the Atlantic Ocean on our own power! Woo hoo! What an accomplishment. We are ever so proud of ourselves and the entire cadre of cyclists we’ve been riding with all summer. That includes those who, for many reasons, couldn’t finish the ride. Life throws curve balls and one nailed a member of our team today. Jon from Idaho, a sweetheart of a guy, went down hard while crossing a railroad track 8 miles into today’s ride. He was unconscious for 2 minutes, but the doctors say he’ll be OK. He’ll have to finish the trip another time. He was being properly cautious from all accounts, but got caught anyway. We wish him a speedy recovery.
But let’s get back to the start of our story. Last night we ate at the University of New Hampshire – Durham. The food court was as big as a football field. They had everything you could imagine – burgers, ribs, salads, make your own stir-fry, desserts galore including fresh hot cookies. They had plenty of options for vegans, gluten-free people, etc. It was heaven after a long string of less than adequate meals on the road. Breakfast was just as good except they put chocolate chips in their pancakes. What a travesty. Leave the chips in the cookies, please.
It was raining steadily as we left. The plan was to get the whole group to the Gloucester High School which is one mile from the place we were going to dip our tires in the Atlantic. When the whole group got there, we’d get a police escort and go. Everyone was raring to go. We started in heavy raincoats and booties, but by 10 we’d slipped out of them because the rain had virtually stopped. It was in the first 8 miles that Jon fell. Motorists and cyclists helped him until the aid car came. After that, most people were much more cautious about the wet roads. Ric from Monroe fell and scrapped himself up only a mile or so from Jon’s accident. There was one more accident today. Alex, one of the Smyth-Osbornes, had dipped his tire and was riding back to the gym when a car hit him and bent his front tire. Fortunately Alex is OK, but his bike will need the wheel replaced before he can ride it again.
Our trip was uneventful. The rain made everything feel more homey. The towns were quintessential New England towns with town squares, gazebos, colonnaded porches, majestic city halls, classic stone walls, etc. Sheila felt right at home. We eventually arrived at Gloucester and crossed the “not quite” finish line at the school. Other riders cheered us in. Greg gave us all red, white and blue plastic leis. We signed the pavement and waited for the last arrivals, cheering on our comrades as they arrived.
When we all were in, we lined up behind a police car for the trip to the beach. Gloucester is having a waterfront festival this weekend, so we needed it to be able to navigate the throngs of cars and people. Locals were all wondering what the to do was about as we swarmed like lemmings to the Atlantic, the promised sea following the arrows used by the crew to get us to our final destination.
There was much joyous tire dipping. We smooched and don’t you love the look on Tim’s face? He’s like a grown son we never had. When we stood in the water and raised the tandem high, we were unconquerable. Leaving the water we had conversations with locals about what we’d done, why, how, and where. It was the first time we had to recap the whole trip in a few minutes. We’ll get more experience, but if you have been following the blog, you know the stories will go on and on and on.
Tonight we’re going on a whale watching tour after dinner. It’s the final celebration for all the coast-to-coasters and their friends and family.