Date: December 1, 2009
To: Yorktown, Virginia and back to Williamsburg
Route: Colonial Parkway and End of the TransAmerica 76 Bicycle Route!!
Miles Today: 30 miles
TOTAL MILES: 3,680 miles
Top Speed on this trip: 54.1 mph
Weather: Sunny and Low 60s (Frost in the morning and cooler in the evening)
License Plates Collected: 5 Montana, 8 Wyoming (2 motorcycle) and 1 Idaho (found in WY), 2 Colorado, 1 Kansas (Gifted from David of Baldwin City), 1 Missouri (To be sent to Grammy’s by our new buddy, Kansas City firefighter Shawn), 1 Illinois, 4 Kentucky (2 Gifted from Beth and Garry Feltus, one gifted from cousin John, one from Hwy. 127), 1 Virginia, 1 Maryland plate gifted from the McClure Family
Broken Spokes: 3
Cracked Rim: 1
First I have to say WOW! We did it! What a wondrous feeling of accomplishment. It has not been a day without its ups and downs though. You know what it is like to be working towards something for so long and to have this idea in your head how the culmination of this event will occur? Of course I had grand ideas that everything about the day would be perfect and we would have this fantastic celebration with everything in a neat little box.
We did have that celebration but it seemed a bit more toned down than I imagined. First, we pulled into Yorktown and our first stop was the Yorktown Battlefield rather than the Yorktown Victory Monument that is the official end of the TransAmerica 76 Route. So, before we actually threw our arms up in the air and said, "Hurray. We did it!" we had the tour of the Yorktown Battlefield and museum run by the National Park Service. We did get to sign the log book at the museum and received our official 76 Bike Route pins and that was pretty terrific. While we toured the museum and even out front we talked with several people about our accomplishment. All the while I couldn't relax and I felt anxious and eager to ride the few extra yards to the monument that was just around the corner. Gregory too sat against a wall anxiously awaiting our departure while we politely talked to folks about our journey. We've often said that meeting people has been one of the best parts of the journey but today we were eager to finish!
In the morning the 13-mile ride down to Yorktown via the Colonial Parkway was lovely. It was a sunny day and though cool it was comfortable. By the time we reached our final destination, the Yorktown Victory Monument, we were sitting on the steps basking in full sun with temperatures in the low 60s. To me that felt wondrous, just sitting on the steps of that monument with my guys and not only basking in the warmth of the glorious sun on this December 1st morning but also basking in the accomplishment of what we just achieved as a family.
As I struggled to set up a timed shot on the camera we had the good fortune of meeting Liz, her son Daniel and their Irish terrier Bella. Liz happily took many pictures for us and Gregory had a great time running around the steps at the base of the monument with Bella and Daniel. We spent almost 2 hours there just visiting and sharing about our trip, ideas for our future, her experience in Germany and what life was like here in Yorktown. By the time we were all ready to head out, Liz had offered us a ride the 75 miles back to Mechanicsville on Thursday. I am once again ever so thankful for our good fortune and the blessing of people who have reached out to us on our journey.
I knew that 75 miles back uphill to Mechanicsville from Williamsburg would be both a struggle mentally and physically for me. My knees are still giving me trouble, the saddle sore hasn't improved (we had to make a special stop for blister bandages before we could ride today), my low back has been hurting and now I've developed some sort of hives on my hands. I asked the pharmacist about it and he said it could be poison ivy, poison oak, sumac or bed bug bites! Good grief Charlie Brown! What next. I guess I didn't realize just how hard I've been trying to hold it together until I absolutely lost it this evening back at the room. It was a full on blubber fest and I have the puffy eyes to show for it.
It all started when we'd returned from our day in Yorktown and pulled up to the motel on the bicycle. Gregory was in tears. His hands were cold and he needed to go to the bathroom yet he wouldn't communicate that to me on the bicycle, even though I had directly asked him if he needed to stop and put on his balaclava. (I had no idea it was his hands that were cold.) I could hear him making little shivering sounds on the back of the bike yet he insisted he wasn't making noises of any such sort and that he didn't want to stop. (Later I found out he didn't want to go to the bathroom on the side of the road because it was too cold. He just wanted to hurry and get to the motel…) When the crying started, I first showed concern for his cold hands yet while I was trying to get him to stand still so I could put my warmer gloves on him he kept walking away from me in the direction of the room. (I didn't realize at this point that he needed to go to the bathroom.) Somehow the whole thing just spiraled out of control. Mike and I were frustrated that Gregory had let things get to this point and that now he was in tears and walking away from us while we were trying to get him to stand still and listen to us. So much for that victory day scenario I'd cooked up in my head! Meanwhile we were making quite a scene at the shuttle bus loading area.
I let Mike take the bike up to the room and walked Gregory right into the lobby and sat him down by the fire to both warm up and cool down. I went to make him hot chocolate in the adjoining breakfast area and when I got back he was still crying and said, "Can I go to the bathroom now?" "I had no idea you had to go to the bathroom! Of course, go to the bathroom," I said. Ugh!! I wanted to shout but I instead made myself a cup of tea and waited. When he returned he wanted nothing to do with me and sat on a couch in the corner with his fleece over his head. He finally took a couple of sips of his chocolate (under his fleece without looking at the big old mean mommy sitting across from him) and he asked if we could return to the room a couple of times. We sat there for a good half hour before I agreed to release him to his quarters.
After hot showers and resting on the beds in silence for a good hour or so, Mike wanted to make a move to get some dinner. I honestly could have cared less about food, I was so upset at this point. Yet, I got ready. Before we were to leave the room Mike made a plea for us to get past all of this. That is when I lost it. "I'm just upset because here we are supposed to be celebrating and instead Gregory is crying over cold hands that could have been prevented if there would have been some communication. Meanwhile, I've somehow managed to hold it together myself despite the fact that I have a saddle sore, blown out knees, low back pain and I'm just exhausted! I just wanted us to have a good day, and it was a good day, but I'm just sad that it had to end this way." I ran to the only place I could be alone, the bathroom, and I stood over the sink sobbing my eyes out while the boys sat on the other side of the wall listening to me wail. (Later I could reflect back and see that this break down was probably coming whether or not I'd let the incident with Gregory take me there. I'd just hit the wall long ago and reaching the end of our bike route was just the ticket to let my tough exterior fall away.) After I came out of the bathroom and continued my cathartic crying on the motel bed, my little boy came over and curled up next to me. I said, "I'm sorry I got upset with you. I know you were just cold." (Later I thought that maybe he too was having a bit of that end of the journey release as well. He awoke today saying he didn't feel well. He was probably having a bit of anxiety himself.)
Well, the absurdity of the evening doesn't end there. We managed to get out the door and on the shuttle bus to take us to Merchant's Square adjacent to Colonial Williamsburg where we would find more dinner options. Once there we went from one over-priced restaurant to the next. I vetoed one restaurant because it had only one couple in it and I knew that had to be a bad sign. "Let's just keep it simple and go back to the sub shop where we ate lunch yesterday." Once there we received terrible service and though it was about 8:20 P.M. (with a 9:00 P.M. close) they were only going to let us order take out. That about put Mike over the edge. When they finally agreed to let us order in, and we took a minute to make our decision, the counter girl walked away. To add insult to injury I told Mike I didn't want anything and though I told him this back at the room he just couldn't accept that I didn't want to eat. Again, his idea of having a celebratory dinner together just went out the window. He walked out of the restaurant and headed towards the shuttle bus. He was just beside himself. Meanwhile, Gregory and I just sat on a bench next to an enormous Christmas tree in a common area for several gift shops. I was fuming because Gregory and I didn't have our bus passes or money and I just sat there hoping Mike wouldn't board that shuttle and would come back. When Mike realized we had no money he did come back and we all ended up back on the shuttle to the motel and in bed by 9:00 P.M. without dinner and not another word said.
On a more positive note, I must say that after we left the Yorktown Victory Monument we did cycle down to the "beach" and we dipped our tires in the York River to once again signify the end of the journey. It isn't the Atlantic Ocean but it is pretty close. The York River feeds into the Chesapeake Bay that feeds into the Atlantic. After that, at around 2:30P.M., we had a delicious lunch of flounder at the Yorktown Pub where a cozy fire was burning in the fireplace and we had views of the York River from our table. There was a wreath in our window and the lampposts on the street were decorated with pine bows and large red felt ribbons and it was picture perfect. We had a toast and I felt completely content at that moment. It then got even better with a bit of playtime on the beach where we wrote "7•20•09 to 12•1•09 tripleontour" and had a passing tourist (that we met earlier in the day at the Yorktown Battlefield) take one last picture of Team Triple on this Victory Day in Yorktown.