29. May 2016 · Comments Off on 3,400 Miles Under My Saddle – Heading Home · Categories: 2016 Ride

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Heather, Austen, Tate and I want to thank everyone for the generous contributions to help find a cure for Crohn’s and Colitis and supporting us in our cross-country journey these past few weeks. We will continue to work towards a cure and be advocates for those with this disease. We couldn’t have undertaken this journey without all of you! Our intent is to drive research so that Austen and others with the disease will have a better quality of life. You have all contributed to that goal.

This morning we were up by 5:00 AM Eastern to get ahead of the rain. It was a beautiful calm morning and I was excited to ride the Virginia Capital Trail and the Colonial Parkway through the Colonial National Historical Park to Yorktown. The route followed the Civil War Trail and standing looking out on some of the battlefields with the fog lifting created an image of what it must have been like in those peaceful moments before battle.

It certainly gave me a sense of how the country was shaped by defining moments in many of those Virginia fields. Lots of history here and Heather and I both agree that it is a place to come back to and explore.

The James River Park System in Richmond and the trail system in Yorktown are really incredible and an asset to those communities both from a tourism perspective and from a health and wellness standpoint. Even though I had an early start, there were lots of people out walking, running and cycling. The trail system is first rate with smooth, wide pavement and solid wood bridges over the low wetlands common in the area.

IMG_2245 200It was very easy to make good time this morning in the cool temperatures, no traffic and easy terrain. There were two turtles on the trail I had to navigate. The first was a large one with a shell probably 10 inches across. I gave him the right of way as he crawled along with purpose.

Further up the trail there was a smaller box turtle that saw or maybe felt me coming before I saw him. I had zoned out and was only looking a few feet ahead of me when he came into sight so I had to make some quick manoeuvres and just barely missed him.

He was standing as tall as he could with his neck straight up and when I was inches away he sucked everything in and I am sure I could hear him hold his breath until I made it by. He is probably telling the story of a Canadian almost flattening on his peaceful Sunday morning walk.

It took me a bit of time to connect from the Capital Trail to the Colonial Parkway. It was seamless but I wasn’t paying attention. The first bit of the Colonial Trail was along a large inlet of Chesapeake Bay. Mostly wetlands so there was lots of activity as local birds were getting their breakfast. It was an amazing nature area and very peaceful.

Tunnel (01) 200Further along into Williamsburg I had to take a detour as cyclists were not allowed in the Colonial Parkway Tunnel. It was a nice detour right through the heart of old town. There were lots of people and some of the roads I needed to take were closed to motor vehicles. I felt bad for some of the tourists as I was so intent on my destination I didn’t slow down much as they jumped out of my way.

IMG_1666 200After Williamsburg I had a short 13 miles and as I dropped down out of the trees and to the coast that smell of the Atlantic confirmed that I was close to the end.

A quick peddle into town and a selfie at the national monument. All the roads were closed to motor vehicles so Heather couldn’t get close so I headed off to meet her at the beach and to take a ceremonial photo of dipping my tires into the Atlantic.

We just made it in time before the rain started. We didn’t stay long and started to make our way back to San Antonio. I am sure there will be lots of reflection on our way home … it was a fantastic venture and adventure.

The last 80 miles on trails reminded me of living in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada – the most liberal province in Canada. We only had one car so I would ride my bicycle to work. The city had converted all the old rail beds into paved trails so my commute for years was along the cycle highway called the Galloping Goose Trail.

We also set a standard that all government buildings had to be equipped with change rooms and showers to promote activity. Nothing like cycling in and out of work to clear your mind. I often worked in Vancouver so my day would start with a cycle into work, shower and then a short work down to the dock to get on a float plane or helicopter to take me across the Salish Sea to Vancouver … at the end of the day I would reverse the trip.

We also made lots of family memories cycling those trails. We spent time as a family exploring when the boys were young. We even had a couple of Scout cycling trips and I remember when Austen was about 10 he received a new bike for his birthday and cycled to work with me that day to try it out. What a treat cycling was today!

As guest in the United States, it was a real pleasure to take a slow trip across the country and see some of the sights and meet people from different regions. We are amazed at the patriotism and we now have a better understanding of the great parts of the U.S. We also saw very humble circumstances that caused us to reflect on how grateful we are with the opportunities we have and the support of so many great people.

We just arrived in Savannah, Georgia to have a late dinner with Austen as he prepares for his final week of school. Tomorrow, Heather and I will make the long trip back to San Antonio, Texas and then back to work Tuesday although I may be a few minutes late.

Thanks to everyone for a very memorable May 2016! Until the next adventure …

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