26 miles (42 km) – Total final milage: 4,157 miles (6,626 km)
Over the last 75 days as I’ve inexorably rolled towards the Pacific Ocean I’ve daydreamed of what the moment would be like. As I crossed the Mississippi, I experienced a small bit of the exuberant joy I expected to see at the end. As I crested the continental divide at Hoosier Pass, I felt a small piece of the sense of accomplishment that I’d feel as I rolled my front wheel into the ocean. Creeping along under the blazing sun of the Eastern Oregon high desert, I sensed the feeling of relief of finishing a very tough challenge.
At times, I’ve become very emotional imagining the ending: to the point of a lump in the throat and incipient tears welling in my eyes.
Arriving after 4157 miles in total, and a mere 26 for the day, I broke off from Paul and Terry to experience this life moment in solitude, as I had begun it. My experience was very different than I had expected. I looked down at the waves lapping gently against my toes and thought:
“Well… that’s done.” None of the emotional fireworks and blazing glory of my expectations came to pass.
‘Huh’, I thought, ‘That’s unexpected’.
Maybe I should just stand here for a few minutes and see if something deep wells up.
… … … ‘Nope’ … … ‘Nada’ … … ‘Zilch’…
About five minutes into my completely blank emotional canvas, I finally came to a realization. I was actually having a very profound reaction. Peace. Simple, subtle and satisfied. I feel at peace.
Savoring the moment for a time, I stared out at the Pacific while feeling pacific. I then sauntered over to Paul, Terry and Tuan to get down to the very important business of documenting the destination while understanding that the whole time this adventure has been about the journey. Sounds cliche’, but there it is.
Over the past week, I’ve been composing my thoughts on the journey and trying to crystallize my most deeply felt and experienced lessons. I’l post those thoughts tomorrow.