Wow, our last day! We can't believe it is here and that our journey is nearly over. We have gotton so used to just cycling day in, day out, that it will be weird to not be on this trip once we have arrived in Yorktown.
We got up from our church overnight stay, cooked breakfast, packed away and set off as normal. Most of the day's cycling was along quiet country roads, until we reached the outer areas of Williamsburg where the traffic increased quite a bit.
We passed quite a few plantations along the way. Anyone can go and visit to see how they used to operate, but we decided just to keep on with our journey and get to Yorktown. Now that we know the trip is coming to an end we are keen to get there.
Much to our surprise we met another eastbounder during the morning. He'd already done at least forty miles, compared to our twenty, so no surprise we hadn't met him sooner, he'd obviously been doing a lot more mileage per day than us. He was eating peanut butter and banana sarnies at a gas station, so we left him there whilst we carried on, but we also saw him later on in the day and all cycled together for some time.
This area, once you get to Williamsburg, is really interesting. Jamestown was the first English settlement in the USA and was founded in 1607. There was a detour in place so we couldn't actually get down to it, but we did go and eat our lunch on a bench in Williamsburg, which was the former colonial capital of Virginia, and is now a rather twee, but pleasant town, which attracts a lot of tourists, who especially want to visit 'Colonial Williamsburg' which is done out as it was in the 1700s, complete with actors dressed up in costume. I'd already visited the town about ten years ago, but it was nice to go back.
From there we had thirteen miles to get to Yorktown, and it was all along one road which wound through forest hugging the shoreline We caught glimpeses of the river which leads to the Atlantic at various points and could smell the salty sea air, and it was really exciting to realise we were finally on the coast.
We cycled down into Yorktown at 3.55 pm (09/09/09) in glorious sunshine and headed straight to the beach. Once on the sand we lugged our bikes (have you ever pushed a heavily loaded bike in dry powdery sand?! It's v tough!) to the water's edge and stared out to the ocean. Mission complete and at exactly 4,200 miles!
This journey has been incredible. It has been everything we hoped it would be, and more. We feel such a sense of acheivement, and it's made us realise that anything we want to put our minds to, we can, it's all possible.
We have met the most charming, friendly, interesting and kind people we could ever hope to meet. We have seen the most beautiful and stunning countryside, and we have done it all from bicycles, a form of transport so regular, so simple, but so perfect for experiencing new places and getting from a to b. We loved cycling before, but now we are in love with it! On a bike, a cyclist is open to the elements, to an extent vulnerable, forced to physically endure whatever lies on the road ahead, but we are also approachable, sometimes a curiousity, in touch with their surroundings and not travelling so fast as to miss the little things that pass by. It really is the way to travel.
Thank you so very much to everyone who has supported us on our journey...
Our family and friends and everyone who has donated to our chosen charity – the Parkinson's Disease Society. We are delighted that we have raised over £1,500.00 for them so far. If anyone else wants to sponsor us (you were waiting to make sure we finished? – can't believe you doubted us!) please go to www.justgiving.com/pannierpeople – there is still a week or so to donate)
To the many people along the way who stopped to say hello/ wondered what the hell we were doing/ gave us advice/ a place to stay, or even just a wave – you made our day! We leave your shores with a newfound respect for America and its people.
To everyone who followed our journey via our blog – hope you enjoyed it.
And finally to the motorists of America – thank you for not running us over!
Sarah & Matt X