As you’ve probably noticed, ever since we visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame many of the blog titles took on a musical inspiration. As I thought of the title for the final day of our adventure across America the words Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith 1975) came to mind. The lyrics of the song don’t particularly apply but there’s no better way to describe our last day than simply Sweet Emotion.
As Matt and I pedaled the last 65 miles of our 3,910 mile journey across America I wanted to savor every pedal stroke I took and hold on tight to the wonderful emotions of satisfaction, accomplishment, pride, joy, etc that were running through me. There are days in my life that I can remember vividly: The day my brother was born (I was 10.5 years old at the time), the day I first met Brenda, my wedding day, the days each of my children (Amy, Eric and Sarah) were born and a few less significant other days (the first day I drank beer with my good friend Manzar in high school as an example). Now to that list I get to add so many days from the trip with Matt highlighted by the final day of our cycling trip across America. Part of what made it so special was the realization of a shared dream that I had with Matt. But what I discovered that became an even bigger part was the incredible support and encouragement of family, friends and people we didn’t know before the trip began.
Our final day began with us saying our final goodbye to the Super 8 around 8:30a. We then pedal through beautiful MA countryside with perfect cool mid-70’s temps (what else do you expect on the final day from Moses Matt). We rode about 25 miles before coming across Bolton Spring Farm for our final B2 of coffee and warm raspberry turnovers (are we ever going to miss the ability to eat like we have) and were joined by Brenda, Sarah, Cindy and Katie.
We then rode right through Weston, MA where my good friends Mike and Julie Panagakos live and planned to meet them at Dairy Joy for lunch and the “final” milkshake of the trip. As Matt and I sat at Dairy Joy and saw Mike and Julie drive up we suddenly noticed two other people in the car. Our good friends from Danville, CA, Kim and Melissa Peterson and flown out to surprise us on our last day! It was an incredible surprise and met so much to Matt and I that they had come to see us!
We all enjoyed lunch together and then it was time for Matt and I to ride the final 21 miles to Revere Beach and the Atlantic Ocean. As we rode those final miles along the Charles River and then past Harvard we relived portions of our trip and agreed on our top surprises of the trip which were:
- Cars and People
1 – The first one shouldn’t surprise anyone as the powers of “Moses Matt” have been well chronicled. However as much of the country had incredible heat to deal with this summer, Matt and I rode almost everyday in low 80’s temps and never rode in the rain. Of course except the 3rd day in California of all places that there was a light drizzle while we rode over the Sierra’s.
2 – If you would have told me at the beginning of the trip that we would stay on schedule throughout the trip I would have said “No Way”. But that’s exactly what happened…we arrived to the planned destination city 60 days out of 60! We had hotel rooms every night as scheduled and our SAG drivers were always right there as planned (with the small exception of one slight delay in Yellowstone).
3 – This was a big unknown to Matt and myself. We thought we were well prepared for the trip, but we didn’t know what unexpected issues we’d have. Would one of us get sick, have a crash, muscle fatigue, etc. Unbelievably we had no injuries. Certainly our rears are going to enjoy a few days off the bikes and a little recovery is much needed, but we held up amazingly well.
4 – Matt and I both ride very nice race bikes. They are light weight and meant for going fast, not attaching packs to them and riding almost 4,000 miles on dirt road, through potholes and over numerous railroad tracks. However, like our bodies, our bikes also held up very well. I only used two sets of tires and changed my chain once. Between us we only had 11 flat tires of which 9 (4-NV, 5-ID) occurred in the first 13 days of the trip.
5 – No matter the state or type of road we were on, 99.99% of the drivers and people we encountered were friendly and supportive. Cars and trucks would give us a wide berth when passing and people would go out of their way to help us. We live in a great country with great people and Matt and I experienced everyday.
So with all the “Sweet Emotions” swirling through us is was now time for the final turn to the beach. We crested the hill and first spotted the lookout Kim Peterson and then quickly saw the rest of the crowd and heard the famous cowbells and cheering. Matt and I can’t thank enough the following people who were there to great us: Cindy (Matt’s wife), Katie (Matt’s daughter), Brenda (my wife), Sarah (my daughter), Dick and Mary Anna (Matt’s parents), Manzar Iqbal (my lifelong friend from 5th grade), Brian McSharry (my great friend from high school and college), Mike and Julie Panagakos (old Danville friends who now live in Weston), Kim and Melissa Peterson (our good friends from Danville) and Peter and Virginia Morbeck (my aunt and uncle who live in Boxford, MA).
We then went through the ceremony of dipping the tires in the ocean and completing the journey. Also, when we had left my father had give me a $20 bill to by our first beer. Brenda took the $20 and bought Sierra Nevada (CA beer) and Sam Adams (MA beer) for us to signify the start and end of our journey. It couldn’t have been more fitting and was throughly enjoyed. matt then thought that to truly finish the trip we needed to go jump in the Atlantic. I was unaware of this part of completing the trip but had fun with Matt jumping in the ocean.
We then all went over to Brains, where Brian and his wife Mary Pat hosted all of us to a wonderful post ride BBQ. We spent the evening reliving the numerous highlights of the trip with great friend and family. Like I said earlier, it’s a day that has joined that list of special days in my life.
Before I sign off on this last blog from our trip I need to give a couple of big thanks. Our families were incredible in their support of our journey. For me to have Brenda give up a month of her summer to follow Matt and I around in a car we rode our bikes was not in any wedding vow. Brenda never once complained and embraced her SAG role and found numerous sights and places to eat that Matt and I would have never known about.
Finally, what can I say about Matt. Before we left on our trip our number one goal was to be as good of friends when we ended as when we began. Well, that’s simply not the case, we’re even closer friends. 60 days together and only one disagreement…I say he snores (Cindy supports this claim) and Matt insists he doesn’t. All kidding aside, Matt is the best friend anyone could ever hope for and made the life adventure what it was for me…THANKS MATT!!!
Here’s a few photos from day 60. Leaving the Super 8 in Gardner, MA
The great road we got to pedal on in the morning:
A view matt so way too much of…
The Final B2 of the trip
Our good friends Kim and Melissa Peterson and Mike and Julie Panagakos surprising us!
This way to Boston!
Cresting the hill and seeing the Atlantic Ocean…
We Did It!!!
Tires into the Atlantic
The gang (minus Kim & Mike who were watching all our stuff) there to greet us. Julie, Virginia, Peter, Manzar, Melissa, Brenda, Sarah, Chris, Cindy, Matt, Katie, Brian, Dick and Mary Anna!
The Swinnerton’s at the finish
Sarah, Brenda and Chris at the finish
Matt and his Dad sharing the finish they have both now experienced
The dive into the Atlantic