SEA TO SHINING SEA: Home again, home again, jiggity jog
DAY 84 - Saturday, Aug. 10 - "You're such a lovely audience, we'd like to take you home with us, we'd love to take you home!" - The Beatles
We left The Brick Hotel on the Circle in Georgetown at about 9 Saturday morning. The riders we met the day before at the 404 BBQ joint passed the hotel as we were getting ready to go.
"Some guy was looking for you yesterday," one hollered up at us as they rolled past, their compasses set for Rehoboth. "He had an American flag and a couple of cold beers."
That was Jimmy. He thought we were over near Greenwood.
He stopped by the house Saturday afternoon. "I tried," he said. "Then I just drank the beers myself."
Laura and Ron met us on bicycles Saturday morning just outside Milton, near Brittingham's produce, where Shingle Point Road and Route 5 meet. There was confusion on our part about Shingle Point Road and Sand Hill Road but cellphones closed the gap. Smiling, familiar faces. Sweet.
We turned off on Carpenter Road, then to Hudson and Log Cabin Hill and joined with everyone else headed toward the beach on Route 9, at Hopkins Dairy Farm. More familiar names and faces. (And suddenly a flashback - to Shondo Daily, outside Richland, Oregon. Such friendliness! Beef cattle attacking Shondo's sweet hay, smiling. A pitch fork. A human working and accomplishing, western mountains in the background and a café in town - the Shorthorn Bar and Grill - with a Shondo Burger on the menu. "Everyone knows Shondo," said the waitress who served us glorious fried chicken. He was a bright light in the valley. Spread the love, for God's sake! It's a huge universe and we're on this tiny, mysterious oasis in the midst of it all.)
Mayor Jim met us at the Savannah Road entrance to Cape Henlopen High School along with Patrolman Tyrone and his new sidekick, a Belgian Malamud police dog. Debbie was there too, with a big smile and hugs. Saturday midmorning in August, tourists rolling into town. I told the mayor we didn't want any fanfare. (Just a lot of pedaling for three months.) Mistake. Tyrone fired up his lights and his siren wailed from time to time as our little parade headed for Lewes Beach. 500 cars behind us itching to get to the beach. Pennies holding up dollars. Tourists scratching their heads. "Who are these yeehaws?" Life in a small town. Ain't it grand?
Tyrone led our little parade up Savannah Road at about 17 miles an hour. Huffing and puffing. By the time we summited the canal drawbridge I was reminded of the second winds we experienced grinding up the switchbacks at White Bird and the other passes in Oregon and Wyoming. Matt told me it has to do with that physiological sweet spot where your body starts burning fat. Very cool.
Champagne at the beach - Thanks Kevin! - as those tires, gritted up with soil from states west to east, touched the Atlantic coast sand. Friends and family and all the other smart people who bring their families to the Delaware beaches for the best fun children old and young can have. They melded their smiles with ours. Once again: e pluribus unum.
Saturday's miles: 20, so we ended our great adventure with 3,369 total miles over the course of 84 days of riding.
Thanks to all who stopped by Saturday afternoon and into the evening. You brought so much positive energy into our home - I'm sure the guys out on the space stations saw the planet shining a little brighter as another day came to an end and darkness settled over the coast.
"You're such a lovely audience . . . "
"And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." - Same guys