Local highways with little to no shoulder carried us toward Savannah. As expected, the fields of crops were replaced by residential and commercial areas. More semi-trucks loudly filled the road, more hurried drivers expressed their consternation at having to deal with us by honking or leaving little room for us as they passed. Fortunately, no one was flatted, and we reached Savannah with some extra time to rest before the last few miles to the beach.
Savannah has some lovely broad boulevards with handsome homes of different vintage, well set back from the curb. We saw the moss-covered trees with their overarching branches providing shade for the homes and the street. Several parks were filled with children and adolescents – their laughter and music filled the open spaces.
To reach the post office, our meeting place, we rode over a very narrow bridge to Tybee Island. Water, docks, smaller boats for the homes of an inland waterway could be seen stretching for miles. Jerry and I (he is from South Carolina and riding with me the last eight miles), stopped for a cold drink at a gas station. Then, my last final push of the trip with Jerry drafting behind me, trying to keep the bike speed at least 22.5 miles or more to be finished with the heavy traffic and lack of a shoulder. Finally, we found the post office – our meeting point for the bikers and some visiting family members. Mike Monk then lead us for a slow, two-mile ride to the beach.
Suddenly, after months of anticipation and weeks of hard work riding our bikes, we reached the goal – the Atlantic Ocean. Taking our shoes off, we carried our bikes to the water’s edge for our ceremonial tire dip and photographs. How joyous and satisfied we felt, how relieved to have safely completed our trip. The pleasure in the moment was complete, and we stayed for nearly 30 minutes to celebrate and relax, congratulating one another and enjoying the sights and sounds of our second ocean on this trip. We then rode the two miles back to the waiting vans for the drive to our hotel. We had just completed 2,880 miles of riding across the US.
Our final dinner was at a local pub, the Blue Moon, located along the river. It was our last big meal after riding 104 miles for the day. As we ate, a slide show was presented. Mike had taken thousands of photos of us in the context of beautiful scenery, interesting buildings and equipment, and important sightings along the road. How fun to relive those moments – we purchased a DVD copy of the pictures for ourselves and will get it in a couple of weeks. Finally, speeches by all the riders and the staff helped give us some last laughs and good-natured ribbing, it also helped me understand how each rider experienced their own ride and it solidified my impression of each person.
It is unlikely that I will see any of the other riders in the future. Nonetheless, talking about riding on the home turf of the other riders was momentary fun.
Returning to the hotel, I rebuilt the cardboard bike box, disassembled the bike, packed it and printed the mailing label for FedEx pick up on Monday. Saturday morning, after breakfast with Brian and Ken, we wandered some streets of Savannah – seeing the old town squares where slaves were sold after their arrival by boat. Many of the original buildings from the 1700s and 1800s remained. Beautifully scented roses, gardenias and Magnolias blooming in the parks, added to the Southern atmosphere of the city. Perhaps I’ll return some day for a complete tour.
There is much to contemplate from my experiences these last 28 days. It will take some time to review and absorb – so much seen along the way as we traveled across this great country.
I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this successful trip. To Jane Graupman, Emily Hipps, Kate Raleigh, and Brooke Ashland at the International Institute for their technical support and their help creating the Nursing Student Scholarship fund and the #roadscholarship. Thanks for Larry, Sophie, and Adam at The Fix Studio for helping me to prepare for the ride. A shout out to Stephen, Tyson, and Kevin at Freewheel for their help with my bike and equipment. Most importantly, to my friends and family, your love and support (and suppression of healthy skepticism when I told you about the ride) helped carry me through even the most challenging days.
I will be in touch with details about the scholarship fund and the student recipients in the near future. I have other email I hope to send – I could not send them due to lack of WiFi at some hotels.
Finally, with hope for the future, I have begun to wonder, what to do for my 65th birthday?
Support Jeff and New American nursing students by making a donation to the #roadscholarship fund!
To make a donation online
- Visit our donation page
- The suggested donation amount is $50, but feel free to donate any amount that works for you
- Complete all of the required fields (orange text with the asterisk)
- Under “Direct my donation” be sure to select “Road Scholarship: Nursing”
To make a donation by mail
- Please make your check payable to the International Institute of Minnesota
- Write “Road Scholarship” on the memo line
- Mail your check to
International Institute of Minnesota
Attn: Emily Hipps
1694 Como Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108
To make a donation over the phone
- Grab your credit card and call Emily at 651-647-0191 x 304 between 9 a.m. -5 p.m. Monday-Friday (sometimes she’s away from her desk, please leave a message and she will return your call as soon as possible)
- Provide Emily with your credit card and contact information