WE MADE IT! After 6 weeks of traveling, rv and scooter hiccups, riding in 100+ degree heat, strong head winds, and countless memories, we finished!
It took me 32 days of riding to get from Fernandina Beach, Florida, to Marina Park in Ventura, California, a total of 2,930 miles! Passing through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and finally California. Since I can’t drag and drop each road on Google Maps, here’s a close-to-accurate photo of the route we took.
Starting our adventure on Sunday July 19th, and finishing on Sunday August 30th, it seems like this trip flew by!
It was bittersweet waking up Sunday morning knowing it was the last day of riding. I’ve really come to enjoy our daily routine of getting up early (some days way before the sunrise!), seeing states and cities I’ve never seen before, riding through different terrains and elevation, meeting Mom at the next campground, chowing down her delicious meals, and relaxing the rest of the evening with Mom and Dad. It made for long and tiring days, but I know we wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Since we changed the finishing point and hadn’t scoped out a campground near the finish, Mom was able to ride with Dad in the rental car! I am so extremely happy that Mom was able to be with Dad and I during the final ride; she has only seen me ride when she passed by in the rv. So after going through our normal morning routines, we packed up the car and drove from the Barstow campground to Thursday’s stopping point in Hesperia (I wasn’t about to skip any miles during this trip; I actually did extra miles by overlapping some days!)
With huge hugs from Mom and Dad, I rolled out to start the 122 miles to Marina Park in Ventura! Thanks to the advice of our new friend Tim, whom has lived in California his whole life, we took CA-138 for the first 40 miles. WIth the exception of having a low shoulder at some points and a little bit of traffic, it was a great change from the original route. As we got settled into the ride, Mom was able to see and listen to all that Dad and I do throughout each day. Since we wear headsets, Dad relays to me when cars would pass, what turns to take, and if he spots anything cool. I’m sure it was pretty funny listening to just his side of the conversation! 🙂
At a stoplight right before we turned off of 138, Mom did a super fast water bottle change out the window that would totally make the pros jealous! Throughout the day, when there where no cars on the roads, Dad would pull up beside me and Mom would take photos and video out the window. All I would see is her huge grin and a camera in front of her face. 🙂
The next section of the route took us through Soledad Canyon, which was a long and winding road in between canyons. If it wasn’t for the usual strong head wind, I would have zoomed through the canyon; this made Mom much happier though because she was nervous enough that I was already going fast. 🙂
At some points several sport motorcycles zoomed by weaving through the canyons; a lot of them gave thumbs up and fist pumps! I told Dad to watch Mom as I got down in a tight tuck position and started weaving down the canyon like the sport bikes. He started laughing because Mom was asking him why I was doing that, how dangerous it was, and that I’m her baby and I need to slow down! Haha love you Mom! 🙂
With 70 miles down, we entered the town of Santa Clarita and took our first break of the day at a Subway. The weather was so nice we decided to have lunch outside on their covered patio. We all sat back and relaxed, enjoying our lunch and a nice break. After recharging, we headed back out making our way through town. At stop lights other drivers would wave and give thumbs up after reading a sign Mom and Dad had put in the window. It’s been really cool having complete strangers cheer me on throughout the trip, it definitely helps boost my moral! Once out of town we spent the next 30 miles on CA-126, which offered a descent shoulder to ride on. I can count on one hand the amount of days that I’ve had a tailwind or no headwind; this was not one of those days! No worries though because it’ll just make a windless day that much easier. 🙂
CA-126 was wonderful as far as scenery; we rode by fields of peppers, lemons, oranges, a couple wineries, and the canyons and mountains were stunning. It definitely made up for the conditions. At mile 100 we took a quick break to refill my bottles and to get everything ready for the finish. The last 22 miles went by so fast; I couldn’t believe how quickly we made it to Ventura! We were all so happy that the last day’s ride was on a Sunday because traffic was very light. Turning onto the last street of the day, I could see the ocean, then the parking lot, and finally I hit the end of the road. Mom and Dad were cheering out the window all the way down the ocean side street; we made it!
Ready to get to the beach!
Getting off my bike and standing within 100 feet of the ocean, I was ready to get to the water!
As Mom and Dad walked down to the water, I took off and ran right into the ocean! 🙂
Going back to them I grabbed my bike and put my front wheel in the next wave, making it official.
I was so stoked to put my front wheel in the Pacific after having put my back wheel in the Altlantic Ocean. We spent a while taking pictures and video of us by the ocean, celebrating our accomplishments. As we were doing so, my Great Aunt and Uncle spontaneuoulsy called us to see if we had made it yet; talk about great timing! It was definitely weird standing in the ocean, knowing that we had finished my cross-country ride. If I could ride a water bike to the next piece of land I would absolutely do it! 🙂
Loading back up into the car, we headed back to the campground talking about our entire trip, what we’ve seen so far, and how amazed we are at how fast the time went by. Mom and Dad let me pick where we would eat our celebratory dinner, and I knew exactly where I wanted to go…Carl’s Jr!
Back home in Florida we have Hardee’s (which is the same as Carl’s Jr), and I love eating there because you can get so much food with their rewards program. I definitely thought about going to a nice restaurant but I wanted comfort food, and that’s just what we got. A giant thickburger with hot fries, it definitely hit the spot! 🙂 Once we got back home, Mom and Dad surprised me with some double stuffed Oreos and coffee, which absolutely made for a great end to the day.
Along this trip we have met so many wonderful people, whom I will always be grateful to have had the opportunity to meet. Just as well, I’d like to thank everyone who has followed along, donated, and supported us throughout this adventure, you all have been amazing! This part of my adventure may be over, but I am very excited to see what will happen in the next part of my life.
Getting back on my bike and riding on roads with vehicles, has been one of my biggest accomplishments since the 2011 wreck. Before this trip I would have never ridden with traffic, let alone on I-40, but knowing that there were no other roads to ride on to make it to the coast, I had to overcome my fears. WIth the support and protection from Mom and Dad, I have come to love cycling again. I know that there will always be a risk while riding on roads, but instead of being afraid, I am more aware of my surroundings. YAY FOR BEING BACK IN THE CYCLING WORLD! 😀