Well... about 15 miles into our ride Carolyn's bike got a piece of wire stuck in the chain, causing her bicycle to stop working. We couldn't get it out, and the next town was 30 miles down the road... so we had to go backwards (where we came from) and walk our bikes. And then it started pouring down rain.
Let's just say the struggle was as real as it gets.
We got back to Danville in the late afternoon and met some handy man who got the wire out of her chain. The weather was horrible so we couldn't camp, and we really couldn't stay in a hotel again.. So we resorted to using a website called Warm Showers (a site for bicyclists) and contacted a woman from the area to see if we could stay with her. We hadn't used the site previously because we didn't know about it.. we we're a little nervous..
but there was no reason to be. We ended up staying with some of the nicest/most down to earth people we have ever met. Kristin and Ron Saunders... you guys rock. Kristin shared with us her program called "Womanly Journey" which essentially is a program to help out girls who need it. She gave us these bracelets as a gift.
Kristin and Ron cooked us grilled salmon, washed our clothes, and even catered to our weird desire to watch a documentary on Amish people. They are true hosts.
Day 57: People Are Good
Ron fixing up Carolyn's bike
Kristin and Ron loaded up our bicycles in their truck and were going to drive us to where Carolyn's bike broke down the day before, but they ended up driving us a bit further to where the weather wasn't thunder and lightning.
Kristin left us with some words of wisdom:
"Get busy being yourself"
"You already succeeded the second you started."
She went above and beyond anything we ever expected... Kristin, we love you!!!
After Kristin dropped us off we started down the road on our bicycles. About 50 miles in... we got pulled over.
And I'm not kidding. Pulled over on our bikes by a cop.. (Riding dirty)
We stopped at a gas station and met this gem of a man. We ended up staying for an hour and learning all about his life, he gave us free reign of the store and let us blast our music and dance around (no shame). We were fast friends.
Warm Showers (the bicycling website) worked so well the night before that we decided to try it out again...
Day 58: WE FLIPPIN MADE IT!!!!!!
Norfolk- Virginia Beach
VIRGINIA BEACH YO
last day of riding... overly excited
and......... THE ATLANTIC OCEAN!!!!!!!!! There were tears. And the biggest grins you will ever see.
This is genuinely one of the happiest moments of our lives!!
From the Mohave dessert to the Rocky Mountains, from the Grand Canyon to the Appalachian Mountains, from the Indian Reservation to Downtown Nashville, from Huntington Beach to Virginia Beach...from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean... it was all worth it. Today was one of the happiest moments of our lives because we can confidently say that we are proud of ourselves, and that is a feeling I think every person should experience. Thank you to everyone who believed in and supported us, from the bottom of our hearts we appreciate you all.
Day 59: Happiness
going to get deep tissue massages that Carolyn's awesome sister Katie bought us!!! literally we were on cloud 9. Also looking like freaks walking our bikes in dresses and disgusting tan lines.
It was Joani's first massage and she had a 300 pound male man doing it.......... So that's good.......
And then we checked into our second hotel, courtesy of Carolyn's wonderful Grandparents.. look at that view and the pool!! We were in paradise!! We love you guys! Oh, and just for the record, we got the honeymoon suite... Again.
Day 60-63: The Adventure Continues
Virginia Beach- Williamsburg
We are off towards DC!
pit stop at Busch Gardens...
with our new friend Autumn!
The night before we checked in at the Williamsburg KOA and met an awesome group of kids our age! They are working there during the summer as apart of a Christian organization, and they upgraded our tent site to a cabin and took us out to dinner with them!
Busch Gardens was an absolute blast- but Lord knows we couldn't afford it. Thank you SO MUCH to Dave and Jeani Stockton who made it possible... This was one of the most fun parts of the entire trip!
After Busch Gardens we headed over to another family's house that we found on Warm Showers! This is their cat Woody
And this is Barb. She and her husband, Ed, are just wonderful. We were only going to stay with her for the night and be on our way, but she invited us to stay with them for a couple days and then drive us up to DC on Saturday. Since we already hit the coast we were SOOOOO over riding the bikes.. we took her up on her offer.
Day 64-66: USA USA USA
Barb's husband drove us to DC early Saturday morning..
and he dropped us off at Joani's cousins' Joe!!
Joe took us to see Arlington National Cemetery and to the area's biggest mall.
Day 67: Until Next Time
But don't worry we figured it out.
Then we found this guy on Craigslist to drive us and our giant bike boxes to the airport. Thanks Roy
The final struggle
We were going to title this "The End", but it's not. An "Until Next Time" is more appropriate. Maybe not another Mission:USA.... but this trip has been the spark to many more adventures in our futures, and we truly hope it has served as the same for you.
We can't explain the gratitude we have for everyone who has helped us along the way and those who have supported us from home. Your kindness will NOT be forgotten!!!
If you're reading this... go live out your mission. At least try. What's stopping you?
Joani Dahmen and Carolyn Murray
"Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere.. and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself."
(In about a week we will be posting a short video of the trip!)