Wednesday we arrived at the Atlantic coast! We decided to go to Ocean Grove, NJ because it is straight east from Souderton, PA where we stayed and only 85 miles rather than the 100+ to Ocean City, NJ.
I stayed with my uncle Preston and aunt Lynelle, and Seth and Caleb stayed with Seth’s Grandparents. We had left most of our gear behind so we could ride light to the coast, so when we took off our spirits were high. There is nothing quite like going from lugging around 40 pounds to not carrying any weight. It makes you feel like Lance Armstrong! This feeling was soon crushed, however, as we ran into rush hour traffic on the narrow roads coming out of Souderton. We ended up having to take some detours in order to stay off those busy roads, since we all agreed that getting hit by a car on the last day would be a pretty disagreeable event. After a while we were able to get into more back country roads and traffic calmed down. Overall the day was relatively uneventful. We crossed over the George Washington memorial bridge and into our final state!
From there we took a bike path along the Delaware river for a while that was sunny and beautiful. As the day wore on we grew closer and closer to our final destination, something we had been looking forward to and thinking about for the entire trip. Aroudn 15 miles away from the ocean we got on 33 east which had a solid shoulder and a great tailwind to boot. With light bikes and the prospect of swimming in the atlantic ocean to fuel us we were flying towards the coast. Our arrival on the coast was to be prolonged, however, because in some cruel twist of fate I got a flat tire with no more than 5 miles to go.
So there we were, with Caleb happily sitting on his buns while either Seth or I fixed a flat for the last time. This whole trip Seth and I had been saying we we’re going to slash Caleb’s tires if he made it the entire 4000+ miles without getting a flat. However, since Caleb didn’t seem to want to cooperate with that at the time, we’ll just have to wait.
After fixing my flat, we flew those last few miles to the ocean. AS we were cruising into Ocean Grove we crested a small hill and could finally see the ocean in the distance. We of course started whooping and hollering and just generally disrupting the peace. When we reached the ocean we turned and biked alongside the boardwalk for a while until we met up with my uncle Preston, cousin Clara and our friend Sam Weaver.
We wasted no time in locking up our bikes to the railing of the boardwalk and running into the ocean. We didn’t even bother to change into our swim trunks, we just ran in, taking off our cycling jerseys on the way. We dove right in and proceeded to cause quite the scene as we celebrated. Seeing as how it took us 3 months to get to that point I think causing a scene was the least of our worries. After frolicking in the waves like children for a while we lay in the sand for a bit, feeling accomplished.
After all that nonsense, we decided to actually change into our swim wear and play in the ocean waves for a while. We grabbed food after, some Korean fusion tacos that were delicious, and then had a nice summer shandy at a boardwalk bar after.
From there Seth and I parted ways with Caleb, who is hanging out on the coast for a couple days. My uncle Preston was kind enough to take me to the greyhound station in Philly so I could catch a bus just after midnight. It was there that Seth and I said goodbye, and I said goodbye to Preston and Clara as well.
As I am finishing typing this in a greyhound terminal in Toledo, OH, it all just feels like a dream to me. I rode my bike all the way to the east coast and then got on a greyhound no more than 8 hours after we arrived. It all happened so fast that it’s hard to believe it actually happened. the whole concept of us being totally done with the trip is something that is a little hard to grasp. I think in a few days I’ll be itching to get back on the bike. I think, however, that for now I’m fine just to relax a bit.