EpilogueNovember 9, 2001. Wenatchee, WashingtonIt is now 3 months since the end of our trip and we are finally getting back to our familiar routine, though we still think about our bike trip every day. For the first month after our return, both of us dreamt every night that we were still on the road, pedaling with determination to our next destination. It is a wonder we did not churn up the bed covers with all of our pedaling. More recently I dreamt about the Cookie Lady and her humble generosity.I also find that whenever we drive somewhere I still imagine myself outside the car, traveling the route by bicycle too. I mentally experience the trip along the shoulder of the road, back in the open air again, trying to take in all of the senses.Peter and Maren, our TransAm cycling companions June 10-
15, visited us at our home here in Washington soon after our return. Since their trip had been cut short in Colorado, they were traveling through the western U.S. by rental car, carefully avoiding the TransAm bike route in order not to spoil their plan to finish the route in 2002. It was the bicycle trip, not the car trip, that they talked about with the most enthusiasm. We hope to bicycle with them again.We have also heard by email from many of the other cyclists we met along the way. Holger Anderson, whose trip included crossing Nevada’s Loneliest Highway in the heat of the summer, put his foot in the Pacific and cried out to the entire world, "I DID IT!" Lorraine Gebert, who teamed up on a tandem with her son Steve, was overcome with both sadness that the trip was over and happiness to have made it coast to coast at age 67.A month after our return, we had another chance to relive the experience when we joined two other couples who had also ridden across the U.S. (Northern Tier in 2000). We spent a fun weekend with them sharing stories during an organized, 160 mile bike ride in Northern Idaho. By the end of the weekend, a familiar craving overcame all of us, and we could not head for home until we had located and consumed large root beer floats.A weekend of riding elicits a Pavlovian response among coast- to- coast bicycle veterans.Here are a few more impressions from our trip:
Riding a bicycle across America is an empowering and enlightening experience. We learned that our dream was possible with enough determination, that a big journey is a sum of small steps, that it is possible to take time off from jobs and responsibilities without the world collapsing, that we could roll with the unexpected, handle adverse conditions, find the physical strength to go the distance, and still have fun along the way. I guess it is not unlike the rest of life.