20080723

DAY 53 of 54: JULY 22: PORTSMOUTH (NH) TO SHARON (MASS)

Time Zone : Eastern (GMT -5)
Todays Distance: 86 miles
Cycling time: 5 hrs 47 mins
Average Speed: 14.9 mph
Today’s cumulative ascent: 3161 feet.
Average Heart rate: 108 bpm
Distance so far: 3,992 miles
Ascent so far: 128,874 feet.
Centuries so far: 13
Punctures so far: 11


Today’s Profile:

Today’s Route:
Dedication: Today my cycling was dedicated to my older brothers Sean, Eddie, Nicholas and to my sister Mary. They toughened me up in the early days. And for my deceased mother and father…from my father an athletic interest and from my mother good nourishment. Thank you all.

A special day of cycling – had to build own cue-sheet, new support team, through a major city and travelling south for a change.
For me it was alarm, breakfast and loading as usual. At the same time twenty of the other cyclists were checking out and loading all their gear onto the shuttle for Boston Airport. Another round of farewells and photographs. Never would our unique group be together again, but I know that we’ll be in contact
Ted and I went over the route one more time in the lobby. Cue sheets checked, maps highlighted and suggested stops marked. This was the first such day on this trip. ABB weren’t there should things go wrong.
I started out from Wallis Beach where we dipped our wheels in the Atlantic yesterday. At this hour of 7 a.m. there was no problem find parking space. Bike reassembled and ready to hit the road. Weather conditions were a mixed bag. Scattered rain in the morning with the threat of thunderstorms in the afternoon but a north-east wind. I liked that idea.
For a change I was heading southwards with a light north-east wind in my back. Was lovely to have the ocean there on the left and I was getting use to that sea smell again. Not a hill in sight till after Boston. I was beginning to miss those climbs!!
Navigation for the first 20 miles was very direct. Stick to the coast. After that it would be more of a challenge. But, I like plotting out routes and drawing up a cue-sheet. (I never used a cue-sheet before this trip but I see their advantage now. I hardly looked at the map today.) When hill-walking with the O’Dwyers, Brownes and Kennedys I always liked depending on the compass to follow a route and preferably with a little fog. Getting through Boston would be a challenge that I looked forward to.
The early miles passed through Hampton. A busy resort by the looks of it. Some fine residences about, but on the main strip it gave the impression of a Bundoran. At this hour the only movement was people off to restaurants for breakfast.
I was disappointed that there was no notice that I was now entering Massachusetts with a welcome sign. I went back and enquired. Even locals couldn’t help. On the far side facing the other way there was a welcome to New Hampshire. Had to be satisfied with the notice that I was entering Salisbury, the first town in Massachusetts. Utah was the only other state with no Welcome sign as we entered at Wendover.
On Ferry Road before Newburyport I had a touch of the rural. A nice road with bulrushes on both sides at one stage. There was a detour from our planned route because of a bridge being out. It didn’t add many extra miles or cause difficulty.
While on the detour I spotted an interesting WANTED sign. I think I have a few addresses from Illinois and Indiana that I can supply. No dogs at all entered the picture today.
Coming into Salem (of the witches) brought me over the massive bridge and I continued through the road construction (resurfacing). Support staff had to do a bit of a round and fell behind. Saw a number of ‘witches’ walking about who were tour guides or hostesses in restaurants. Enquired about the location of the courthouse (where we arranged to meet) to be told that there were three along the street. “Which one would you like?”

Support staff today (Ted and Michael) had a hard act to follow after the performance of ABB over the last seven weeks. But they turned up trumps in all aspects. Had a green shopping bag tied to the roof-rack and I could spot it in the traffic. No missed turns and at all landmarks on or before schedule.
Here was the three of us chasing down the east coast of USA and the common link between us was that we were at this for Providence and its team. Those kids deserve the best. They’re worth it.
Just after noon as we passed through Everett, the downtown of Boston appeared on the skyline. Everett had all the services of an active neighbourhood including its Credit Union. I did notice that some few motorists were a little more impatient than in other states. Pulling out in front of you thinking that cyclists move at walking pace. And cars reversing out onto busy roads. I can’t say that there was real danger but it was different.
Entered central Boston after crossing over Charlestown Bridge. Was a tad underwhelmed by the said bridge. For some reason I had expected it to be an architectural gem.
Boston was lunchtime. We had arrived at 1 pm, a half-hour ahead of expected time of arrival. Pulled up at Quincy Market and there was only one place that I wanted to eat…Dick’s Last Resort where you got to eat with attitude. Had the Wednesday Special… ‘Dick’s Big Pig’. Even got crowned by the waitress.

From Dick’s Last Resort I wanted to ring Sinead (she worked there in summer 1998) and t’was then I found out that I had lost the phone. Had neglected to zip up my trunk bag fully after leaving Salem and there were many bumps along the way. Tried ringing it and went into voicemail straight away. At this stage it’s in smithereens some where along a Massachusetts road.
All morning had been fine with a slight tailwind but rain appeared as I restarted after lunch. Raingear on as I cycled up between the towering office blocks in downtown. Made great headway by cycling right up to the red lights and then first away. State Street and left onto Congress, over the bridge and right onto A Street. By the time I was halfway down Dorchester the rain jacket was off again and it stayed off for the rest of the day.
Dorchester passed through south Boston which has strong Irish connections. At one junction there was the large church of the Blessed Mother Teresa parish. Dorchester went on for miles in a straight line till I crossed over the Neponset River.

In the mid afternoon a severe storm warning was issued although it was still dry. It was moving north-eastwards from Providence. Even at 3.30 pm it was unusually dark but I was keen to cycle on till rain arrived. Just after Sharon heavy drops began to fall and I knew this was it. No point in getting soaked unnecessarily when a major part of the journey to Providence had been covered.
No sooner had we packed in the bike but the heavens opened. I was just 4.5 miles short of the best scenario that I had planned out for today. 86 miles done and just about 40 for tomorrow. On the Interstate back to Providence traffic almost came to a standstill with the lack of visibility. In Providence itself near Ted’s house there was plenty of debris (including heavy branches) along the roads and streets. At 8 pm tonight there was another vicious thunderstorm with the heavens bucketing down. Hope the skies are fully drained now.

Tomorrow is the last day of this adventure. I can’t believe it. Leaving San Francisco this day seemed a thousand years off. Now it is here. Only one more effort to complete the challenge. Incredible. And I don’t feel tired nor jaded nor exhausted.

A very successful and exciting day for so many reasons. I cycled as strong as ever and enjoyed every single minute of it. Pity about the phone.
Thank God for the health and thank God for the energy.

8 comments:

sinead said...

Hey Dad,

Only one more day, and by the time you read this, you'll be done. Wow! Walsh really does work wonders :)

Enjoy your few days off now in Providence, and if you'd like to continue with the history and geography lessons, we'll be here for you. Will check back in on the blog again for a few days! But really, I think you deserve a rest now. You really do.

Again, well done, you're amazing, we're all so proud of you.

All our love,
Sinead, Barrie and Saoirse.
xxx

mike said...

Well done Dick!
Tipperary hurleys must have taken some inspiration from your level of fitness. Great to see that you are almost over the finishing line safe and well. See you soon.
Martin Family

ps&j said...

hi dick,home after five weeks in spain-in awe as i read your reports-what a wonderful achievement and lovely to see michael at the finish-looking forward to reading your book? Paddy Siobhan and John

providence said...

Richard

Today is your last day and our thoughts ,prayers and gratitude to you are something you will never quite imagine.....just as it has been hard for our little kids to understand that a 62 year old gentleman has cycled the breadth of USA for them.
Words fail us

Thank you
and May Gid be good to you always

THE PROVIDENCE FAMILY

Eddie said...

Hi,
I have been in recovery mode for a few days and didnt post anything. I was determined not to let this momentous day pass without posting something. I am honoured to be included in todays dedication - thanks. I dont know what you can ever do to match what you have achieved over the past 54 days. But, I suspect that I may be underestimating you. I hope that the monetary returns of your trip will match the enormity of your effort and the nobility of the Providence cause.
Congratulations and I will look forward to meeting you on your return (I presume you are flying home - you havent committed yourself to rowing home, have you !!)

Anonymous said...

Wheres all these trucks???

JOD said...

Dick, While discussing your adventure with Michael Ryan some time back he told me that he was going out to give you a surprise welcome. I'm sure it was a very big shock to you. Anyway, I hope that he has been an able lieutenant for the last 2 days. While your trip and blogspot has continually focussed on Providence, I'm sure that it has also been an influence for good on all those that have followed your adventure. Well done Dick and continued good health and vitality.

Anonymous said...

Dick is a true star.I've seen him in action in rain and in fine. Obstacles don't exist! Ag dul abhaile go luath? Nil aon tintean mar do thintean fein.Tog go bog e anois. Micheal.