Finished the final miles to Jackson today. The sun finally came out and the temperatures rose. We cycled along the Trace surrounded by fields frosted with tiny wildflowers beneath a warm summer haze. The last miles into Jackson paralleled the Pearl River; cypress stumps the perches for cattle egrets and herons; beauty southern’ style.
A police escort offered us a grand entrance to the city from the information center just outside of town. After getting settled at our final church host for the trip, the Madison United Methodist Church, we celebrated with an incredible meal and fellowship with students and leadership at the historic Tougaloo College. Hard to believe we are finally here – Jackson, MS – and end of our tour.
Knowing I would be writing the blog entry for today I polled our group for summary statements of their experience.
Landon Beachy hailing from Iowa: “The people were awesome. The weather not so much.” How true. It rained 2 full days and was cold the other 3.
Tom Weber came from Colorado to ride with his granddaughter (Harper) and son (Matthew): “What should have been an easy ride was a tough ride.” But an incredible memory for the three of them, no doubt.
Patrick Smith from Williamsburg, VA: “Amazing. A chance to get away, to be a part of something bigger than yourself and have fun at the same time.”
Sarah Doren from Pennsylvania: “I’m sad it is over. This morning I had a lump in my throat just knowing this would be the last day.”
Dan Sheridan of Ohio: “I loved the finish; ending the ride together with Jack in the front and the sun shining.”
Scott DeWalt from New Jersey set some personal first’s on the trip: “DAMP but exciting!”
Bud Ennis from Ohio: “Turned out better than I anticipated, mostly because of the group of people.”
Venus Cooke, a first time cyclist: “Down to earth. Extraordinary. Uplifting. Non-threatening and welcoming.”
Ben and Preston, who came as father and son from South Carolina: “A great father-son adventure!” There were other quotes. Jack Hughes (our 85 year old participant) wanted you to know that “old folks like to play outside also.” He was an invaluable asset and cyclist. For my part, I’m tired and ready for the ride to end. I miss my family at home in Ohio. But I’ll always treasure the memory of the Spring Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure of 2013 – nearly 400 miles of courage, service and smiles.
By: Cheryl Smith