There is just one last thing to do to finish the journey, dipping my wheels in the Pacific Ocean. I mentioned at the beginning that the tradition for cross-country tourists is to dip your wheels in one ocean, ride across the continent and dip your wheels in the other ocean. The salt water is probably bad for the rims and spokes, but who am I to argue with tradition.
I almost didn’t do it. Resting in my hotel room, I thought, “I’m already done. I don’t really need to dip my wheels.” I am glad I did it, though. It put a bookend to my ride, an official ending.
My ride to the beach wasn’t so bad. I only had to climb one hill, then rode through Golden Gate Park. I took a different route back to the hotel, however, and ended up climbing three or four of San Francisco’s famous hills. They were still little bumps, but they were steep little bumps.
The end of the journey seemed a little anticlimactic. For the past week or so, I have been so focused on returning to real life and some decision I have to make that the end just sort of crept up on me. It really hasn’t sunk in that this is over, that I’m not going to just hop back on my bicycle tomorrow and ride all day. It hasn’t sunk in that I actually rode across the continent. Maybe in a few days. I will continue to ride my bike and will do other tours, but none of them will be nearly this epic.
By the time I got back to the hotel, I had ridden 5,288 miles on this journey. I keep thinking I must have added something wrong, but I think that is right. It turned out to be about 1,000 miles more than I expected. Excluding the time I spent visiting family along the way, but including rest days, I averaged just under 40 miles a day.