Clicking the week’s summary chart will bring up a detailed route map for the week including elevation gains. After the summary and overview of the week and Sheila’s op-ed piece, you’ll see the posts in order starting with the first post of the week.You can view any week of posts by clicking on the week in the sidebar.

Click to see week-9 overview summaryThis week riding from Lake Placid NY to Gloucester Massachusetts (just outside Boston) has taken us through most of the New England states including a day from Burlington to Stowe Vermont, a couple of days in and out of New Hampshire and a quick trip through a corner of Maine. Each day we drew closer to the end of our 9 week journey at the Atlantic Ocean.

We feel we met our pre-trip intentions with gusto! As predicted…it was an adventure and we did not fail! We had a ton of fun, we didn’t miss a day of blogging, we only used the sag vehicle twice, once in Helena, MT when the winds were 50 mph and then the last 5 miles on a day when we had 3 flats and no more tubes. We managed to remain pretty present and not complain or whine during the more challenging times.

We plan to put together an FAQ over the next few days while we visit with my brother and his family in Newport, RI so there’ll be at least one or two more posts.

This week’s op-ed from Sheila

Last night Cycle America hosted a sunset harbor cruise providing an opportunity to socialize and add closure to our little temporary community. Not everyone attended, including Jon from Idaho. The great news is they released him from the hospital after his crash yesterday. He actually went back out to mile 8 and completed the remaining 54 miles of his interrupted journey. He was much too exhausted to attend the party! But he’s clearly doing well. Thanks to those of you who expressed concern.

The cruise made me feel somewhat sad instead of the expected elation. Some of that is the ending of a very special time. I’ve loved every minute of this trip. Our traveling circus was great fun and we enjoyed getting closer to people from all over the world. I especially enjoyed that every day the ride covered new territory with new surprises around every corner and hill. We’ve talked about how we hope to retain this level of fitness at home. It will be challenging with work and NW weather. And for the lack of variety of riding routes within easy reach of our doorstep. We will work on it and keep you posted down the road.

Meanwhile, I think another reason I feel sad is realizing that in 9 weeks of sharing the road and a myriad of experiences with this group of folks, I do not really remember many moments where we shared much of ourselves. We had a few rare conversations that covered something other than the mundane (route, weather, camping, accommodations, saddle sores, etc). Only two folks even asked us why we eat the way we do.

One of the weekly messages we opened from Bill and Sooz said, “Why fit in when you can stand out?!” Yet we all yearn to fit in, to be seen and heard. Spencer and I have made choices that do set us apart. Our food choices, riding a tandem and not drinking all tend to keep us at arm’s length from a group of folks who were enjoying bottomless margaritas after sharing seafood dinners!

Alas, a temporary community is not automatically a community. It has served its purpose well. But again, what do we take back to our fledgling intentional community and to our other relationships? Perhaps it’s the realization that we all deeply want to be known. This knowing takes time. Yet it does not automatically happen over time, but only with an intention and commitment from all parties that this knowing is both possible and worth the personal risks incurred. We so value our close relationships with Bill & Sooz and Richard & Dianne because we do know each other deeply after many years of sharing ourselves.

We’ve often commented to ourselves how this journey has been like a rolling meditation retreat. It has reinforced the benefits of approaching each day, not knowing what to expect, yet being open and present for whatever arises.

Atlantic at last