It was raining slightly as we got started today, but it cleared up and became sunny just a few miles into the route. The first part of the morning was on pleasant, quiet country roads, with enough hills to make it interesting, but not much tough climbing. I rode mainly with Bruce and Colleen, but we were joined on and off by Karina, Kira, and Scott.
Today is our longest ride day of this week, at 83 miles. I got a flat tire about 10 miles before lunch (which would end up being my last flat of the trip). It was a patched tube, and the patch was leaking; I didn’t find anything in the tire that caused a puncture. The lunch stop was next to a gelato stand at mile 45.
After lunch, there was a section of about 20 miles where the road got busy, through a couple cities such as Rochester, NH, and past lots of strip malls. For the last few miles into Durham, though, we turned onto pleasant country roads again. We met up with several other riders during this last stretch, including David Butler, Jane, and Lynette.
Bruce and I had talked earlier about going straight into town to get a snack. Just as we entered town, though, it started raining very hard. Bruce stopped to put on his jacket, but I continued and just went on to the school (Oyster Middle School). By the time I got there, the rain stopped and the sun came back out already, so I headed right back into town, and found Bruce with a milkshake outside a local shop. I got a milkshake of my own.
Bruce headed to the school, and I found the local public library to finally catch up on my e-mail after almost two weeks. Most importantly, I needed to look up some phone numbers, to get in touch with my family to let them know when and where to meet me tomorrow, and to get in touch with my Boston-area friends to figure out when we were going to get together.
After getting cleaned up at the school, we walked a few blocks back into town, for dinner in the cafeteria on the University of New Hampshire campus. This was like no school cafeteria any of us had seen before. The selections were spread out over three or four sections, with several meat entrees, a well-stocked vegetarian buffet, pizza, salads, and of course, desserts. Everything was fresh and top-quality.
We walked back to the school, where Keith presented us with our final Tour Talk. Then, we voted on our final road relics, and I won the pot of over $20. Some final awards were presented, then it sort of broke out into an impromptu talent show. A couple weeks earlier, it somehow came out in conversation that I could recite the entire list of cities that we visited during the tour, so I did it now. Then Molly read a story she had written, a fable-like account of the trip, where she listed all of the animals, mountain passes, bodies of water, and other notable features of the tour. Finally, David Beraru stole the show with a rendition of a “Cycle America” song he wrote, sung to the tune of Simon & Garfunkel’s “America.”
About a dozen of us went back into town to a pub for our final night on the town. We sat outside for a while, until it started raining again.
Filed under: Coast to Coast 2004 |