After dipping the back wheel in the pacific ocean and then getting our group picture we were off! Suddenly, we were doing the bucket list item we had prepared for many months. It seemed a bit surreal as we started off! The first miles were recognizable places cycling through as we had visited Natalie many times in the San Diego area. Many of the first miles were on trails and it was just so fun! Our first SAG stop was at a beautiful rest stop in the mountains a bit. I needed to go to the restroom and one of the other ladies in the group offered her elbow. At that moment I knew we were going to be just fine! We stopped for lunch at an amazing Taco place. Steve had a shrimp burrito and I had a chicken taco. Amazing! We arrived at Alpine, CA to our beautiful hotel. I needed some new sunglasses so we walked over to the CVS. As we were walking over there Kendall called to tell us the Utah State Aggies had won the basketball tournament. Yay this really was a great day!! Dinner / bed time and back on the bike in the morning!
Friday we arrived to check in at the beautiful Ocean Villa across the street from the Beach / Pacific Ocean! Meetings started at 12 and we enjoyed learning a lot from Bubba and the staff of what is to come. We all introduced ourselves! Such an incredible group … Let’s do this!
Meeting everyone was fun as we introduced ourselves. Luckily we all wear bright safety vests with our names on the front and back every day so names weren’t a problem. We quickly found out we were the rookies of the group. They all have been riding week long and month long rides some for decades. They have ridden across the country and europe. A whole new cycling world has opened up. We are collecting info and are excited to enter this world of cycling the world. Everyone was very nice and excited to meet each other.
Immediately after staff meeting on Thursday, March 5th we left to start this ride! We rented a van to take everything to San Diego, CA including our tandem bike that fit nicely – thankfully without having to take the wheels off in the Dodge Caravan. We needed to be to San Diego by the next day before 11 AM. We got on the rode – hoping we had remembered everything both in leaving our house /business for almost two months and had with us everything we would need for this adventure! My mom was riding with us to St. George so it was nice to get to visit with her on the ride down. We stopped in to drop her off and check on our house in St. George before continuing on the drive. We hoped to make it a few hours out of San Diego, CA. Steve was feeling good and we continued on making it to Temecula, CA! What a day! We would only have an hour left to go the next morning.
So much to think about and questions were creeping in — could we do this? Were we really going to cycle across the country!! We had talked so long and prepared so much for doing this and now here we were!!
This was a culmination of massive preparation. Fulfilling equipment checklists, food we like to eat while cycling took up one of the seven duffle and luggage bags we had. One duffle full of bike equipment, Extra tubes, tires, chains, tools, cleaning and lube, etc. Another full bag for my biking clothes, another for Becky’s, Then another each for our after cycling clothes, One huge one for bedding when we camp and then camping supplies. Some stuff we hope to never have to use such as dog spray and other stuff we will have to replenish along the way. Ready or not here we go! Super Excited!!!!!!
What would I do with my guide dog for almost two months? Thankfully, my dear friend Debi had volunteered to care for her! It was so wonderful to know that she would be in incredible care while we were gone. Then, it was super exciting to learn that they planned to come to the finish line in St. Augustine, FL when we arrived April 27th!! So exciting. Then, after we returned home, I would fly to pick up Georgie from another friend in Portland. The many logistics and support to make this dream happen were coming together. So grateful. Today – March 3 I got on a plane with Georgie my guide dog to meet Debi at the airport. She was at the gate and we had lunch and enjoyed visiting before she departed with Georgie girl and I flew home with my cane in hand. I had my harness to return home and had some people ask me what happened to my dog! I definitely felt a little empty handed not having my dear guide of six years by my side.
Knowing we were going to be gone for 52 days, we scheduled a quick trip back to visit our kids in DC and VA and wish Kendall a Happy Birthday! It was so great to see them and spend some time together. See you in FL in two months for dad’s birthday was the plan!