Celebrating Her 70th
By Eugenia Hart
Having already completed the western half of a transcontinental bike ride from Washington to the Wisconsin border, I wanted to figure some way to finish the quest. With my 70th birthday rapidly approaching, my husband got an announcement of his 50th high school reunion to be held in Connecticut. We decided that riding our bikes out there was the perfect way to accomplish both objectives in one shot and really have something to remember.Â It may not say much for the value of his public education, but it may win him a prize for the most unusual way of getting to the reunion.
We packed up the Bike Fridays and flew from our home in Arizona to Minnesota where our daughter and grandchild live. After a week of enjoying being grandparents, we committed to the trip by taking the suitcases to the Post Office and mailing them to our ultimate destination in Connecticut.
With the cases on their way, we left Minnesota and headed into Wisconsin in what was mostly the most direct route across each state/province to the Atlantic Ocean. We did take the ferry across Lake Michigan which was an enjoyable experience even though it consumed most of the day … only rode 7 miles that day.
Our travels took us across Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario (Canada), New York, and Massachusetts to the Atlantic ocean. Having relatives north of Boston, we figured if time allowed, we would go see them. Well, we discovered that we were well ahead of schedule and easily made it to the east coast. We ultimately reached the ocean at Plum Island, north of Boston where I was able to dip my tire into the Atlantic Ocean, completing my cross country (self contained) bicycle trip with weeks to spare before my birthday.
There was still the matter of the reunion, so we still had to make it to Connecticut. Considering that we had had nothing but clear skies and tailwind since we left Minnesota, the rolling hills of Massachusetts and Connecticut were a bit of a grind. Nothing you couldn’t do with the gearing range we had, but they just keep coming and kind of wear you out. We made it easily in three and a half days, which left us plenty of time to get ready for the reunion.
We utilized a wide range of options for our nightly stays. There was always the credit card for a hotel, but we especially enjoyed the Warmshowers stays. Having hosted bikers for many years before when we were in Fargo (northern tier route) and since we have moved to Arizona, it was kind of interesting to see how kind people can be to what many people see as “strangers.” We may well be strange, but we seem to have a common interest in the bike and sharing our stories of the road.
Other overnights were utilized with another organization we belong to for people over 50 years of age. Much like Warmshowers, people take you into their homes and you have a much better experience than another lonely night in the motel. We did manage to camp one night but not sure it made carrying the necessary gear a wise decision.
We had overpacked our clothing needs because we were in a transitional period of the year. It was warm, but well could have been cold; it was dry, but well could have just poured down on us. One thing is for sure, we were happy after we stopped at the Post Office and mailed some of the things on forward. We figured if things changed, we could always find a thrift or department store to acquire what we might need and discard it afterward.
We have fond memories of our trip and the wonderful experience it was. So many people were just in awe of what we did, but we told them: anyone can do it…. It isn’t a race, you just do what you can. The best part was that we had fun doing it!