September 18 (The End)

September 18: I wake up at 5:30 and make breakfast in the tent. I leave by 7:15am, deciding that I would rather attempt the 80 miles to the coastal city of Anacortes and the end of the route than to spend another night in the freezing cold overnight temperatures Washington has to offer in September.

It rains a lot, not a downpour but enough of a drizzle to keep me soaked through. When I stop for lunch at 11am, I am driven more by wanting food to fuel my body heat rather than hunger. My feet are numb, which makes walking around quite the entertaining task. I get hot coffee and chicken teriyaki from a gas station, tasting none of it but feeling the warmth spread through my body, almost-but-not-quite reaching my toes. It stops raining finally in the afternoon.

The terrain is mostly flat, with a consistent slight downgrade as we approach the coast. My legs never tire, I feel as if I could easily bike in these conditions for an indeterminate amount of time.

About 20 miles outside of Anacortes the trailer gets a flat tire. I really don’t feel like changing another tire tube. Ever. I pump the tire back up just to see if it will hold air. I’d rather drag the trailer on a flat at this point than change it. The tire seems to at least have a slow leak. So I’m just going to keep going and see what happens. It’ll be fine. Probably.

Once I reach the Anacortes city limits it starts to drizzle again. The route takes me on an incredible scenic bike trail along the water.

I bike all the way to Washington Park in Anacortes to see the Pacific Ocean. I’ve never seen the Pacific Ocean before and while there would have been far easier ways to get here, I think the months of challenge all to see this body of water made it that much sweeter. There is a campground in Washington Park and I head over to check it out. Once I see how close together the campsites are and read that there are coin showers (one quarter gets you 2.5 minutes of water, hot or cold not specified) I’m out. I’ve just bicycled 3200 miles, proven multiple people, including myself, just how resilient and stubborn and determined I can be.

I bike back to the Ship Harbor Inn to spend the night in a hotel with heat, hot showers and a bed. The hotel even has a restaurant, so I order two dinners and a chocolate milkshake to my room. The concierge brings the entrees and two sets of silverware, logically thinking two people had to be present to consume all this food. I hand one of the sets of utensils back to him with a wry grin.

I’m done.

Just like when I left Bar Harbor, there was no fanfair, no parade in my honor, I had gone for a ride that day in July, and now the ride has ended. As simple as that sounds, I am forever changed in ways I have just begun to comprehend. I think it is much easier to understand why people have been making pilgrimages and traveling in other various ways since recorded history began. We may set out to discover new places but we will inevitably discover new places inside ourselves.

76 days total.

71 cycling days.

5 rest days.

We have traveled 3,230.4 miles.