I was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon (Saturday). After my accident on Wednesday, my wife Angie, my son Domenic, and Angie’s sister Gina flew to Albany to be with me. It was great to see them. I just wish the circumstances had been different.
After more X-rays over a couple of days it was determined that my collar bone may or may not need surgery and the decision should be left to an orthopedic expert near my home town. So nothing has been done with the collar bone. It was also determined that although the lung puncture is no longer apparent, I still would not be able to fly.
So with that information in mind, the nursing staff spent Saturday morning preparing my collar bone and road rash for car travel and Angie and Gina spent the morning finding a suitable vehicle to drive home. No small task as it turned out with the upcoming holiday.
By early afternoon a vehicle was secured and we set out from Albany for what turned out to be a long but pretty easy drive. The original plan was to drive half way and spend the night and then complete the trip today. However, I was able to get comfortable in the rented minivan and Angie and Gina were able to split the driving duties between them and so with just a few stops we made the entire trip arriving home late last evening.
I am very grateful that Angie, Domenic, and Gina were able to come to my aid.
And so my ride is finished but not complete. The ending was overwhelming disappointing. But not the ride itself. The ride was amazing. The ride was wonderful. The ride was unforgettable. The ride was life changing.
I have done a few things in life that were frightening at the start. I have done a few things in life that seemed too big to take on at the beginning. I have done a few things in life that had me questioning myself and my abilities as I set out.
But nothing like this. This was so big it was hard to get my mind around it. So big it was hard to comprehend. And so I didn’t. I just peddled. One stroke at a time, one mile at a time, one hour, one day, one week, one state, and on and on.
And what I found along the way was amazing. I found that our country is big. It’s big and it’s vast. It’s also incredibly beautiful. And it’s diverse with beautiful deserts, tall mountains, rolling plains, rich farmland, thick beautiful forest, and so much more.
I also found that the people in our country are friendly and nice. I had so many wonderful conversations with so many very nice people in restaurants, convenient stores, hotels, and other places I stopped. Most were curious about my adventure and almost without exception they wished me luck and safe travels as I carried on.
I even found that most drivers were exceptionally cautious around cyclist, slowing down and giving us room. There were exceptions of course including the RV driver who played a part in cutting my trip short, but there are always a few jerks. I found them to be the exception.
I found a large part of our country that is struggling. I rode through more dying and abandoned small towns than I was prepared to. It was so sad to see the all but boarded up Main Street, the closed down diner and movie theater, and the no longer working neon sign of the Chevrolet dealership.
It was also difficult to see all of the flood damage from the extraordinary rain most of the country received this spring. So many rivers and streams were out of their banks flooding the adjacent land. Crop damage was an ongoing theme from Oklahoma to New York State.
But this is America and I saw lots of signs of hope. There’s a lot going on in the country I rode across. There are thriving towns both big and small. There is big industry and big agricultural all across the country. And there are amazingly nice and friendly people all across this great land.
Fifteen or so miles per hour is the perfect speed to absorb a country like ours. The right speed to smell the smells, notice flowers, yard ornaments, wind mills, and old farm implements. Things that are just part of the blur at highway speed.
It is not possible to describe this experience in a few words. I’m actually still in the process of comprehending the experience. But I can confidently say it was an incredible, overwhelming, experience that I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to participate.
There is the matter of the final miles. The accident happened on the third last day of the tour and about 140 miles from the Atlantic Ocean at Revere Beach in Boston. I have to finish the ride I started. Once I heal I’ll be making plans to go back to Vermont and pick up where I left off. No time table at this time. Could be this fall or I may wait and join the Crossroads Cycling Tour next year for that part of the tour. But I will finish. Thanks for following along.