*Stolen pics*

Last day, on the way to Florence - Stefaan surprised us during a gas station break!

So Now that I have had the chance to browse the guys’ blogs, I stole some pics from them 🙂  They all have great pics and some highly entertaining posts – check them out here:

Wim: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=RrzKj&doc_id=6733&v=LO

Ryan: http://cycleacrossamerica.co.uk/

Terry: http://www.pedaltheplanet.blogspot.com/

Siemen: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=RrzKj&doc_id=5909&v=pY

Stefaan: http://www.stefaanvermeulen.com/

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Pictures from the last day

the huge-ass nail i picked up TWO MILES from the finish. Seriously.

The crew at the beach!

looking like a human again, the day after

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a few pics (more to come)

Incredible view from the top of a pass in Idaho - just before dropping down into Hell's Canyon

Hell's Canyon (the first day... it continues on seemingly endlessly)

Hell's Canyon, ID

Oregon! Final state line crossing.

The Snake River, which divides OR and ID (Oregon is on the left)

Wim and his upside-down-gatorade-bottle-chalice. nothin but class.

The Three Sisters, OR

The Cascades. Pic of the lava fields from the top of the last pass of the transam!

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going home

I can’t quite explain how I felt the moment I gazed out upon the pacific ocean after a two and a half month journey there. I guess the best way to describe it would be to say I felt peace. I was filled with a sense of serenity. It was not what I really expected; I had anticipated feeling a roaring sense of pride and completion…or even twinges of sadness because the ride was over. But I felt neither.

Everyone who bikes the transam has a reason, and I am no exception. However, I think my reason for riding was unclear in the beginning. I knew I had to sort out some things in my life, and I also knew that I seem to always have the greatest ephiphanies when I’m in the saddle. I think that the biggest thing I was seeking was closure over my dad’s suicide. I had so many questions. There was so much I desperately wanted to understand. I guess I thought I would spend a lot of time mulling over and processing the whole thing.

The crazy thing is, I can’t recall thinking about it at all. Not once – for the entire 4200 miles. But when I think about him now, I no longer feel sadness, anger, or guilt. I just feel – peace.

Now sure, time heals. I believe that. But there were bigger things at work in my life (which I believe was God) that helped me learn to trust…and relinquish control of that which I can’t control. I look back on so many of the scenerios that this trip put me into…situations in which I had to rely on others…or those where I felt completely helpless, alone, and scared, and had absolutely nobody to rely on…except God.

I know a lot of people scoff at the idea of God and think I’m nuts for believing in a divine being. But all I can say is that I feel…I know…that the presence of God in my life has been undeniable. I cannot rationalize my faith, but I will just say that there have been so many instances in my life which I think can be explained in no other way than to say some outside influence intervened…and to me, that means saying- It was God.

What I’m trying to say is that I was given a sense of peace through this journey that quelled any mistrust, anger, fear, etc. that I’ve encountered over the last year. I didn’t have to try to “work through” my dad’s death anymore. I just let it go. I gave it to someone else, who’s way tougher than me, to handle.

But beyond that, I would also say that I’ve come away from this trip a better person. My faith in my fellow man has been renewed. I’ve been inspired to trust and give by the innumerable people that I crossed paths with. I am more patient. I have learned to appreciate the beauty around me more. I’ve learned to slow down – everything doesn’t have to be rushed (and it shouldn’t be). I have remembered how good it feels to laugh so hard that you can’t breathe. I’ve learned to appreciate the simple pleasures in life (like a shower and a cold beer at the end of a ride). I’ve just been reminded of the things in my life that are really important.

The ride was monumental. I am forever changed by it, and it was a journey I will never forget. It could not have come at a time when I needed it more (funny how life works like that, isn’t it?)

I write this while on the plane back to Florida. I have soaked up so much this summer and can’t wait to get home and share with my loved ones. I have so many stories. I actually am going to try to compile a list to jog my memory because there is so much more that I want to write about.

But right now I am ready to lay on the beach and listen to the waves. I’m ready to get back home 🙂

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the end…

Arrived in florence yesterday! Will update the blog with pics and reflections later. I’m meeting the international coalition for breakfast for now…just wanted to let everyone know that we’ve arrived!!!

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last day!!!

Florence today. Can’t believe it! 🙂

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eugene tomorrow? florence sunday?

The international coalition has been putting in some hard days over the past two weeks. I think we are sort of like horses that can smell the stables at this point. Tomorrow will be the last mountain pass of the transam…which is really hard to believe. The thought that the climbing is almost over is about as weird to think about as the thought of the ride being over. It seems as if the last couple of weeks have been a steady onslaught of climbs; not that I am complaining…but I am looking forward to that drop out of the mountains and onto to the seashore. In order to make Eugene tomorrow, we will have to do 115 miles, including the ride up to (and down from!) Mackenzie pass. Then another 80 on sunday to the coast.

I think we can do it! Ill update tomorrow!

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