Our last day!!
We woke up Saturday morning at about 5:30. It was freezing cold, but we were ready to bust out the last 20 miles and get back to Michigan. We quickly packed up our stuff and put on all of our warm clothes, including double layers of socks! It was so cold trying to put the tent away that we kept having to use the hand dryer in the bathroom to warm our hands up. It felt amazing (I only wished I had thought of that during the night!). We ate of couple of Clif bars and walked down to the historic house that provided the purpose for this stop along the Trace. Apparently, it was one of the first brick buildings in the area and was owned by the guy who operated the ferry across the nearby river. The house that stands there today is a replica, built by the park service, but it sure did look like it could have been built 150 years ago. After our little walk our legs were feeling a bit warmed up and all that was left to do was hit the road!
We were so pumped to get back to our car that we biked 12 miles before we needed a break. The sun had finally come up and we were finally feeling warm. We stopped at a bridge for a quick snack and to take some of our layers off. As we were chilling, two cyclists rolled up who were headed in the opposite direction. Their names were Keith and Bill and they were also bicycle tourists. They were out for an “easy century” (100 miles) and wanted to see what we were up to. We chatted with them for quite a while about touring, gear and our cross country trip. They were really cool and inspiring guys and while we hadn’t planned on stopping for that long, we didn’t mind the conversation. We said our goodbyes and they zoomed off south, while we continued north toward the car.
We only had another 8 miles after we left the bridge and they were fairly easy. As we rode, we passed lots of cyclists out for training or just fun. The guys warned us that there would be a lot of them out, but we weren’t expecting as many as we saw. We tried to say hi to most of them and some of them were really nice and offered encouraging words, but some of them just looked at us and kept trucking along. Oh well! Sometimes when you’re biking you just want to bike, I guess. We got passed by a couple of them, but they don’t have all that crap and are in much better shape than us. The road was slightly hilly, but we were so jazzed to get back to the car that we barely noticed. It was also a gorgeous, cloudless day and we were just enjoying the sun and being happy to be done. It was a really nice way to end the trip!
As we got near the parking lot where we left the car, we started down a hill and that pretty much took us right down to the parking lot. As we rounded the corner into the lot, we crossed our fingers that the car was still there. And, of course, it was! Hooray! Not sure we’ve ever been so happy to see our car before, but in it lay clean clothes and it was going to take us back home. Showers and food were in sight!!
We pulled our bikes in the spot next to the car and asked a nice guy to take a picture for us. After a couple failed attempts we got a good one and got to unpacking our bikes. We had to take the front wheels off to get them in the back of the car, but other than that we pretty much just threw our bags in the back. We got changed after we packed the car and it felt so good to put clean clothes on even if our bodies were still gross.
We hadn’t actually biked the entire parkway, so we drove the rest of it and stopped at the big bridge near the end. It spans a huge valley and is pretty awesome to look at. You can park just north of it there is a path that takes you to a little overlook, but you can’t really get the full picture from there. We thought about going back and down on the road underneath the bridge, but we were just ready to get on the road.
The drive home took about 9.5 hours and wasn’t too. We, of course, stopped at Chick-Fil-A and a couple other times for caffeine and bathroom breaks. Ethan drove the whole way… pretty good deal I’d say!! We got back around 9:30 and after bringing all our stuff in and starting laundry, went straight to the showers. Nothing has ever felt better!
So that was our adventure! And an adventure it was! We had some challenges and maybe weren’t quite prepared for the cold weather, but we had a blast and feel like we learned a lot of valuable lessons for our big trip this summer. We know now that we will need warmer clothes and that we’ll have to shorten our first few days out there, among other things like making sure our lights have working batteries! The next 7 weeks or so we’ll spend biking, fund raising and further prepping for the grand adventure!!
Stay tuned for more from us! And thanks for reading!