[I just found this blog post in my drafts, written October 17, 2021. I thought I had published it. Oh my. It’s out of time sequence now but I’m going to share it anyway.]
About 3:40 PM, at Dog Beach in San Diego, we dipped our front wheels in the Pacific Ocean, then lifted our bikes in the air.
With over 2000 miles put into our pedals, every inch by every one of us, it was the counterpoint to our tentative wheel dipping way back on September 6, when it was a conjecture how this current effort would unfold.
Dog Beach, where we ended today, is the spot where it all began in 2015. I was about to begin my first ride across the United States. Allen Giese had welcomed me to his Ride to Awareness, but neither of us knew if I would be able to do it. Here we are at the start. I’m the one who could not lift my bike over my head, not a good omen. My arms were not ready, but my legs were.
Brenda is the one in the pink shorts. This is the ride where she and I met. We’d do long rides again in 2016, 2017, and 2019. Most notably, we rode self-supported (but not camping), just the two of us, from her house in Wichita to Canada in August 2019 to complete the north spoke of the peace sign.
While the 2015 track is part of the continent-sized peace sign, the concept had not yet emerged. A bud of the idea arose on a beach ride in 2016 when I conjectured riding around the perimeter of the United States. It fully blossomed in 2017 on a ride from home (near Washington DC) to Florida. It was on Curt Wildeman’s C2K (Canada to the Keys) ride that I sat on the floor with my computer in our free church accommodations and created a potential map.
Brenda commemorated the event by presenting each of us with the stunning peace items she created for each of us.
And a beautiful peace quilt for me!
Now it’s done. In the morning, we will go through the ritual of filling in the final piece with a heavy magic marker on the map below. As Mary Ellsworth, Mary 1, pointed out yesterday, there’s a reason the Pacific coast was last. The ocean was named for its apparent peacefulness.
Speaking of Mary 1, without Mary Ellsworth (Mary 1), Mary Davies (Mary 2), and Nancy Zavala, this would not have happened. How M2 came to be part of our group would be the subject of an entire blog. My sister-in-law, Sandra West, was scheduled to drive support for the final two weeks, but she had a family emergency. I put out wide calls for assistance. As M2 succinctly put it, “It had her name all over it.” Our Marys brought grace, talent, knowledge, compassion, energy, discipline, competence, and love to this mission. Without them, Lynnie would not have discovered that “Yes, she can!” (When Lynnie started, she thought she’d ride 30-40 miles a day. She has cycled every inch!)
We cannot thank our Marys and Nancy enough for accompanying us on this ride. I also want to thank Susie Schmitt, Sandra West, Michael West, and Connie Whaley for providing support on previous rides. Susie has shared 15 weeks of her life to support my bike trips. Sandra has provided support on at least four segments of the peace sign. Their behind the scenes work made it all flow.
The peace sign is now completed, but world peace is still a dream. At dinner last night at the home of Marlys and Brent, friends of Lynnie, we discussed if there might be a time in the future when peace is achieved. Homo sapiens wiped out other more peaceful human species, so fighting and killing is quite literally in our genes. I believe education is the counterpoint to our genetic heritage. Our minds have to overcome our genetic tendency. Brent pointed out there will always be resource scarcity of one sort or another that will spur fighting. So who knows, but I believe we must always try.
The American Friends Service Committee has been trying for over 100 years. If you are moved by the completion of the peace sign, please consider donating whatever you can to this excellent organization at afsc.org/peaceride.
Tomorrow, we will ride the remaining 25 miles to Mexico to complete the border to border traverse. That will also complete the cycling requirement for my attempt at a third Guinness World Record.
Start: San Clemente CA
End: Dog Beach, San Diego CA
Distance: 59.77 miles
Cumulative distance: 2057.7 miles
Elevation gain: 2113 feet (notably the Torrey Pines climb)
© 2021 Lynnea C Salvo