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And finally….they made it!! On July 28th, 2017 cerca 4pm PT (duh!), Lincoln Log and Air Jordan clasp hands, embrace, and breathe in the salty sea waters of the Pacific Ocean at their final destination of Astoria, Oregon. 4,000 plus miles ago we began our journey from the shores of the Atlantic and we have now returned to the sea. Although we rode mostly in a straight line this journey has felt much circular than linear. No it was not easy, no we never stopped getting flat tires, no we did not choose the easiest route, and no we never gave up. Together we rode longer and stronger than either of us knew we could.
85 days ago in Yorktown, VA we dipped our rear wheels in the Atlantic Ocean. This time around, we were a nation wiser and made the decision to remove our front wheels, thus saving our ever so tired bicycles from one last sandy ride.
The final ride! Molly Kaye joined the Freedom Riders for the final 100 miles to the coast before beginning her own tour from Portland, OR to Bellingham, WA. Hers will be an organized tour through the not-for-profit organization, “Bike & Build.” Molly will be pedaling for affordable housing and constructing homes along her journey up the Northwest Coast. Read more about her mission here, https://classic.bikeandbuild.org/rider/9421.
JJ (the brother of Lincoln Log) came and left in a flash on some of the hottest and most beautiful riding from Missoula, Montana to New Meadows, Idaho. Just look at JJ’s smile along the Salmon River despite the 100 degree heat!! He quickly found out that the hardest part of bike touring is not the hills but actually deciding on what to eat!
Right before crossing into their 9th and final state of Oregon, the Freedom Riders found 2 American flag ties in a thrift shop. They soon realized this was the missing piece to their bike jerseys and proceeded to show them off at every appropriate opportunity.
To the right we stand with our dear friend Elliott Asher in Portland, OR. Elliott lives a normal quiet life, working 9 to 5 and always paying his bills on time. We thank you Elliott for letting us use your house as a base camp and especially for picking us up in Astoria! We enjoyed a cold drink right after descending from Mt. Hood National Forest where we spent our final nights in the wilderness.
Lincoln reunites with his brother Pascal behind a wall of classic Portland graffiti. Thanks Pascal for being our personal tour guide through Portland, the city of bikes, beer, and food carts!
Jordan reunited with his family in Portland. He then packed up his bike for shipment to the Old Spokes Home and performed the standard ritual with gusto.
Meanwhile sometime prior, a biker Hostel in Eastern Oregon turned into a reunion of several cross country cyclists. Below, we stand in front of the ancient Painted Hills just before Ochocho Pass around Mitchell, OR. Thanks Pat and Jalay for running the best hostel along the TransAm!
With the road behind us it is time to reflect on what we’ve learned throughout this journey of a lifetime. Every night a new camp and every day a new adventure that no amount of planning, pumping, or fidgeting could ever have prepared us for. As we pushed bike, body, and mind cross country we frequently talked about need vs. want in our every day lives. We made sacrifices and were rewarded with the intangible. With determination, curiosity, and a common vision we were able to find a rhythm amongst the constant motion. Google defines rhythm as a, “strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.” A repeated pattern of movement is how we greeted each new day on the road. In the end it is the journey not the destination that we will remember.
“We the people,” AND the places. Somewhere in between Yorktown and Astoria…
Now the freedom riders shake hands and bid each other farewell on their next endeavors. For Jordan, a cross country flight will deliver him back home for a precious 72 hour window before beginning another long road through medical school at the University of Vermont. In the Green Hills of Vermont it may in fact be his bike that will help him the most in his years of schooling to come. Lincoln, will board an overnight Amtrak down the west coast and back to Outward Bound’s Yosemite base. He will trade his bike for backpack and try to explain to a group of anxious teenagers how biking cross country changed his life. The two Freedom riders will remain in contact planning their next adventures while compiling their journals and memories into one story about their summer biking across America.
Thanks for reading and stayed tuned!!