Sunday, November 28, 2010
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor's Center
Friday 11/26 10 Our plan today was to navigate the multitude of twists and turns through a string of bedroom communities that would lead us into San Diego. It was a day of urban riding with some nice descents and a few surprising climbs. As we rode, the green & brown mountains of the area were never out of sight. Summer flowers that have ceased blooming in Missouri's onset of winter are still vebrant here - geraniums, roses, and shasta daises gave no indication that the season has changed. Only the cool air and red/yellow leaves of maple and cottonwood trees, hinted that fall had arrived. We rode a short stretch through Mission Trails Regional Park on the Father Junipere Serra Trail that parallels the San Diego River, which over time, has carved a deep gorge. We saw lots of runners, bikers, and hikers as evidence that this beautiful park is a popular place. We stopped briefly at the Visitor's Center before exiting the trail and merging again with traffic. As we rode past the San Diego Chargers Stadium, the traffic intensified. Holiday shoppers clogged the bike lanes in Fashion Valley on Black Friday forcing us to ride on the sidewalk. A traffic cop apologized for the inconvenience as she was slapping tickets on the vehicles which she stated would all be towed away. When we stopped at Mission Bay Park to look out over the blue waters, we experienced a wave of emotions. There was no celebratory whooping or dancing in circles. We just hugged each other tightly in a warm congratulatory embrace, relieved that we had reached our desitnation and thankful our journey ended safely. We thought of Roger Grooters whose life ended tragically on his ride three days after we met him. We hoped that other riders we encountered who are still on the road were in a safe place today. Together we have created some incredible memories on this trip. Like paintings in our minds, we will remember the inviting front porches of the deep South, shaded by enormous live oaks draped with Spanish Moss....the beautiful hill country and lonely western deserts of Texas....the rugged desert mountains of New Mexico and Arizona that captivated us with their jagged peaks and changing colors as the sun moved across the sky....and finally, the green valleys of California, where summer seems eternal, and its' mountains that made us earn the final leg to the Pacific with challenging winds and climbs. More memorable than the scenery are the many remarkable people we met along the way. They gave us the privilege to learn about them and their corner of this world. Their generosity was humbling. For several, it extended to making a donation to CMN. We are honored that our ride is somewhat of a catalyst to raise funds that will assist children in obtaining healthcare. We feel a connection with the walkers in Springfield, those that motivated us with comments on the blogspot/e-mails, and those who took on the last 100 mile challenge. For those who silently followed our ride on the blogspot, we appreciate you for taking an interest. Tomorrow the Coast-to-Coast Miracle Ride will officially end when we dip our front tires in the Pacific.