87.61 miles, 2,753 feet of climbing
We stayed last night at the Triangle L Ranch. It’s a very cool art ranch. Hannah enjoyed the sculpture walks. I was feeling low so I worked on getting ready for bed. But I did have a nice visit with Jim Cowlin Of the US 89 Appreciation Society.
My alarm went off at 4 a.m., which really felt like it was too early. We drove to Catalina and I started my final day of this long ride.
The first 20 miles were downhill and pleasant. I was going 22 mph into Tucson. I had to make my way around some construction. As I was making my way south of the city, it started to rain—hard. I got into the truck and waited it out. I fell asleep and woke up 30 minutes later. It was still raining, but it had abated enough that I could continue.
I was riding past fruit farms and finally made my way over to Interstate 19, which replaced Highway 89. I took the frontage roads and continue in the intermittent rain. I was so soaked that every little scratch and wound stung. I hate being that wet. Between that and the fact that most of the food I had prepared had gone bad, I was a bit grumpy.
There are a couple of places where the frontage roads disappear and I had to go on I-19. As I got closer to Nogales I went back to the frontage roads and made my way into town. I have spent 1700 miles wondering how I would react on completing this ride. When I finished my first LOTOJA, I was so focused on pedaling that the volunteers had to talk me off the bike. Once I realized I was actually done, I cried. When I everested, I was so tired that I collapsed in the back seat of the truck and slept for three hours. I was an emotional mess for a day, probably more from the lack of sleep than anything else.
As I was pedaling, I suddenly saw the pink wall. I reached the border and diverted over to the pedestrian entrance. I pedaled up and stopped. My first thought was where do I go now? Then I realized that I was done. I got off the bike and took a picture of myself in front of the border crossing. As I was taking a picture, a guy called out and asked if I had ridden across the country. I proudly told him yes and he asked if I was the Biking Buddha.
I’m not. He had me mixed up with some other cross-country cyclist.
We went across the border and walked around since the kids wanted to be able to say they entered Mexico.
As we were coming back across, I handed my passport to the border control officer, she looked at the computer and asked, “Um, this says that you crossed the Canadian border on July 11 on bicycle?”
I proudly told her that I had and that I rode it all the way here.
A quick correction: I was wrong. I said this route went through or past seven national parks. But it turns out that it goes past eight national parks. On our way home today, we visited Tumacácori National Historic Park. It’s on a frontage road. The park is the site of a Jesuit mission that was built in the 1600s. It was abandoned in 1856. If you’re ever down on this end of 89, it’s worth a visit.
I’m glad to be done. This was a great adventure and I’m glad I did it, but I’m ready for a rest. I’m sure I’ll share more thoughts later.
But we’re not done yet
Yes, we’ve now ridden from Canada to Mexico, but right now we’ve only reached 60 percent of our fundraising goal. Please take a moment to think about how cancer has touched your life, or how it may touch it in the future and donate. You never know. The research Huntsman does today, just might save your life tomorrow.
On a related note, if you would like us to come visit your group and talk about this adventure, cancer, and the Huntsman Cancer Institute, please contact us.