Today was the big day I had been waiting for--the conclusion of my ride. I was up early and waiting for Georgia Jimenez to come by at 7:30 AM to take some photos of my bike for a press release in their weekly paper. Georgia was a little early, so the photos were done and I was on my way north by 7:30 AM. I started up the tough hill out of Bonners Ferry at about 7:45, and got to the top about 8:40 AM. I got something to drink and then was off for about 13 miles more on US 95. Most of this stretch was on a bench, so the riding was fairly level, but the shoulders were really skimpy. I felt safest when big trucks came by to get off the bike and get off the road as much as possible. Fortunately, most drivers were courteous and considerate, and there were no close calls. About 10:30 AM, I turned off US 95 for the last time, and began the final 11 miles on ID Hwy 1 to Porthill. The area was very pretty, with the Kootenai River valley off to my left and the Selkirk Mountains beyond that, and the Purcell Mountains to my right. There were more ups and downs on this stretch, so with the growing temps into the 80s, it was still a challenge.
Linda and I had agreed that I would be at the border between noon and 12:15 PM, and she would drive up from Coeur d'Alene to meet me there at that time. As I rode along and saw roadside mileage markers counting down the distance to the border, it was hard to believe this long ride was almost over. I had been riding for 28 days already, with 25 of those being continuous. I'd soon be done and this part of my life would be history. I actually got to the border about 11:40, and after waiting in the shade for a few minutes, Linda drove up early as I expected she would. I let her get positioned to take some photos, and then I rode the final 100 yards. Linda turned Max loose to come greet me, and he was so excited--he had not seen me in 18 days. It was good to be done and back with my family, and Linda was so much help to me. People had asked me if this ride were "fun". I told them it was not a word I would use with the effort, but it would be "fun" when the bike were loaded on the car and Linda handed me a cold beer to drink. She anticipated that, and has a cold one for me. We drove back to Coeur d'Alene, spent the night at Jenn's house, and hit the sack early.
My ride is officially over. For those of you keeping score, my 29 miles today gave me 1055 total in 29 days. I'm going to collect my thoughts over the next few days and make some additional remarks in this blog before I shut it down at the end of August. For all of you who have kept track of my progress, thank you for your interest, and I'll be writing more soon.