SAVANNAH, Ga. – We have successfully pedaled America.
Without ceremony, except for something akin to a guys' knowing grin, Will Fifer and I separated Monday afternoon at Waters Street in central Savannah; him to his sister's house, me to stay with friends. And the transition began, back to the warm embrace of our real lives.
We would be home today except that, because our one-way plane tickets had to be booked 10 days ago, we built an extra day in the schedule, just in case. But we're ready: We've found boxes for the bikes, which have now been packed and shipped home. We've alerted our people that we made it, in one basic piece. We have a ride to the airport in the morning. The laundry's done.
And we're summing up: what we learned, what we did right, what we did wrong, what we'd do differently, and what, basically, it all means (as much as that is possible at this point, of course). The report on those reflections will be in the Star Tribune's website next week.
For the moment, we have a preliminary final number: 3,114.52.
That's the tentative total mileage from San Diego to Savannah, if you go through an amazing coast-to-coast arc of towns across this great nation of ours. Which towns? Glad you asked.
Alpine, Shamrock, Kayenta, Slidell
Ruston, Chama, Gulf Shores, Idabel
Pampa, in Texas, with oil for big moola
Marianna, Madison, Borger, Pascagoula
Jacumba, Davis, Ardmore, Bayfield
Darien, Durant, Congress, Winnfield
Tierra Piedras, with a census about nil
A couple of "Jones," both a -boro and a –ville
Taos by the mountains it doth cling
Valdosta, Texarkana, Du Funiak Springs
Blythe, Tallahassee, Salome, Cortez
Prescott, Nahunta, New Boston, Natchez
Waycross, Cimarron, Dumas not that pretty
Durango, Bay St. Louis, Hugo, Tuba City
Biloxi, Quartzsite, Brawley, Magnolia
El Centro, Bonifay, Altus, Pensacol-ia
Crestview, in Florida, is kind of a misnomer
Oh: Two more -villes! A St. Francis- and a Homer-
So many towns from which people said, "We'll see ya!"
We'll forget neither Pass Christian nor Tierra Amarilla!
Tony Brown is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer, working primarily in journalism and nonprofit development. He is currently riding his bicycle across the country — from San Diego to Savannah, Ga. — with his childhood friend Will Fifer.