Dave's Cross Country Bike Tour 2004
The tour is now complete as I pedaled the last miles with my good friend and neighbor, Casey Conte. New York greeted me with cool weather and misty skies. It is great to be home and it’s never looked better. Winnie, the dogs, cats, etc. were there to welcome me at about 7:00PM on Saturday, August 7th.
I feel an enormous sense of accomplishment, regeneration and fulfillment. I thought back a lot on my last day or two about all the people, scenery, adventure, etc. I’ve experienced and I can’t believe it at times. But as our good friend Patty quoted in the guestbook, this trip has expanded and stretched my perspective in unchangeable ways.
Highlights of my trip were many. Probably getting over Hoosier Pass at 11,562 feet in 45 degree rain, and doing it after not having had a rest day in two weeks gave me the biggest sense of elation and accomplishment. Not getting discouraged after endless storms in the mountains was a major challenge of the trip. Staying calm and making decisions I later felt very good about ended up enriching my trip by helping me feel more confident about how I handled myself in the tense situations that Mother Nature served up. I’d have to say that Idaho knocked my socks off in terms of overall beauty, but that the Grand Tetons in Wyoming stand alone in their majesty, especially in evening’s amber light. And no kidding, the Rockies have nothing on the Ozarks of my home state Missouri. The sharp, endless steep climbs there make your quads cry for mercy. Worst time? Without getting into bashing, lets just say the roads in Indiana leave a lot to be desired when it comes to cycling.
It feels good to be back. Gradually approaching home on a bicycle gave me lots of time to prepare, think, and wind down my vacation. It seems like so much more of a natural transition as opposed to rapidly arriving by other means of transportation. You have time to process slowly, relive special moments, and think about what it will be like back home.
There are so many people to thank for making this experience richer and less stressful for me. To my wife Winnie, and both of our families for their constant love and support. To Michael Czarnecki, my webmaster for managing a fantastic website, which allowed so many people to ride along with me. To Winnie again for transcribing all the phone calls in near verbatim text. To Patty and Chris Ingraham who generously allowed me unlimited access to their phone card.
To the staff and faculty at Prattsburgh Central School for their support and wonder sendoff, especially all the homemade ICE CREAM!!!!! To the staff at Steuben County Mental Health for a wonderful welcome home luncheon on 8/9/04, complete with chili "mole" style and Vicki’s "Certificate of Achievement".
To all the folks who put me up and fed me so well along the way and/or shuttled me here and there: Destiny Cook in Eugene, OR; Gracia and Michael Valliant in Bloomington, IN; Karin Tanquist and Pat Coy in Peninsula, OH; Barbara and Jeff Leber in Coudersport, PA; my brother Kevin in Ste. Genevieve, MO, and my brother Ed and sister-in-law Tonya for providing a vehicle during our family reunion.
Special thanks to Larry Cook of Prattsburgh for taping highlights of the 2004 Tour de France (Lance Armstrong’s 6th consecutive victory). Thanks also to Larry Hopkins of Bath, NY for his contribution to Lance Armstrong’s Cancer Foundation and sending me the "Livestrong" bracelet you may see me wearing in later tour photos.
Last, but not least, to my mother for the dozen ‘victory’ roses upon my return home and to my mother-in-law, the Rev. Canon Gwendolyn-Jane Romeril for the St. Christopher medal (my middle name) I wore throughout the trip.
Thanks for logging on and encouraging me. You gave me the strength and will to finish! I made it! Follow your dreams!!!