3,000 miles. 8 states. 12 riders. 5 crew. 1 Babs. It was a helluva ride.
We left Palatka about 11:45 as we only had 32 miles and were meeting the police escort in St. Augustine Beach at 2:20. As it was, we got there about 25 minutes early. The weather was warm and a bit windy (from the east, of course) and we hardly broke a sweat. A few miles down the road we looked up and saw Lynn’s brother in his Cessna flying overhead taking pictures of us. Mark that down as another first… a fly by!
At mile 20 we decided to pull over at a convenience store for our last rest stop and to toast each other with a chocolate milk. Chocolate milk has been the go-to choice at rest stops for most of us for most of the tour. Something about it on long rides is so satisfying. We had, as Mike calls it, “a Kumbaya Moment” where I told the group how wonderful it was to ride with them and thanked them for being part of this life-long memory, followed by hugs all around.
We then rode the remaining 8 or 9 miles to the checkpoint and waited for our police escort to arrive. Now THAT was cool… following a squad car into town with his lights on! The riders were in front with Babs close behind. When we got to the restaurant there was another squad car directing us to turn right toward the beach where we saw a nice crowd of about 60 people all holding signs and banners and cheering their hearts out. Wow… what a moment! A couple people were holding a tape and the riders all lined up as we approached them and broke the tape together. Followed by hugs and pictures and more hugs all around. We then shouldered our bikes, went out onto the beach and officially completed the journey with a tire dip in the Atlantic. A couple of bottles of champagne appeared, we doused ourselves and had a few gulps and it was now time to go to the restaurant and celebrate!
It was a wonderful celebration and we talked about all the riders and crew, even those that weren’t there. Before I knew it, it was getting late in the afternoon and I was saying my final farewells to each of the team members as they were getting set to go off their separate ways. More hugs.
So that’s it. The ride is over. 3,000 miles. 8 states. 12 riders. 5 crew. 1 Babs. It was a helluva ride. But our cause remains.
Thanks for your support. You have no idea how much it meant.
Love and Blessings, Allen.