Friday, August 1, 2008

Thanks Again!!

Thank you to all our friends, family, and supporters from home and across the country who have made this amazing experience possible!

I've uploaded a final album of pictures that runs through our spectacular arrival ceremony at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA!

All the riders will be sifting through their own photos and the team has organized a way to share them all with each other over the Internet, so ask your rider for the thousands of photos still to come!

Also, every team member will be contributing their own journal entry for our final day into San Francisco, and they will all be posted over the next week or so.

Thanks again!

A Crazy Busy Day - San Rafael, CA (Day 62)

It was a process leaving Stockton this morning, mainly because the hosts were so nice and we decided to play some games before circle-up. One of the community members offered to lead us on his bike out of the city. It is always fun to caravan as a group, but unfortunately by mile 20 we realized we were way behind schedule and would have to begin a shuttling process earlier than expected.

With such time restraints, a team dinner to make that night, and a complicated and important day tomorrow, Meg "da Leg Leader" and I decided to get some work done. We jumped in with Rob's parents at the lunch stop that they set up for us (thanks Mr. and Mrs. Kasten!!!) to go ahead and begin chalking out the 40+ turns for the next day. Though San Rafael is only about 20 miles north of the Golden Gate, the directions were complicated since we had to avoid the California highways.

The project became much more difficult than we had anticipated, and after about 3 hours of driving around getting lost and discovering non-existent bike paths, Meg and I decided to join the rest of the group (which had spent the last few hours shuttling over the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge) at a great team dinner provided by Mrs. Gotimer (again, we love parents!)

Though the chalking and re-routing process went till about 4am, with some vital help from Thomas, Clare and Anna, and though no one on the team had time to shower, the adrenaline-pumped anticipation for our day into San Francisco kept everyone on their toes and ready...


The Brewing Church - Stockton, CA (Day 61)

We finally reached sea-level (well, 15ft) today in Stockton, CA. The ride from Diamond Springs was great, especially because I was part of Team Broadway- we belted it out all morning and afternoon. You would be surprised how well you can sing on the bike with wind blowing in your face. (Note: though I sing a lot, and especially in groups like this, I really, really can't sing - ask the other group members.)

It was so weird knowing we were so close to our goal - the landscape honestly eerily reminded us of something out of Kansas or Nebraska. All we could see for miles was fields of gold, though in California that unfortunately means dried crops. As we got closer to Stockton, however, we came upon some fruit trees and vineyards. Jess took one for the team and picked a bunch of grapes. Though they were very tart and obviously not meant for consumption, they hit it home for us that we were finally in California.

Though we got lost right before we hit Stockton, and I got flat tire (I've lost count of how many of those I've gotten on this trip) it was nice getting there for another great community dinner and homestays. After having some of the church's home-brewed beer, "St. Anne's Ale," Jesse and I settled in with our host, Sarah King, who shared with us the powerful story of her son who lost his battle to leukemia 30 years ago when he was only 20 years old. It is in memory of her son, she told us, that she hosts young men from the 4K every year.

A truly powerful story to have with us tomorrow on our last full day of riding into San Rafael.