We are done! We did it! We dipped our front tires ceremonially in the Atlantic Ocean about 3:30 Tuesday afternoon. It is not like we hadn’t seen the Atlantic yet…we saw the effects of ocean tide in the St Lawrence before Quebec City already. We followed the seashore from halfway down New Brunswick, and crossed ocean water into PEI and on the ferry out. And then on our last day we were teased with views of the ocean at least 20 km before we hit the beach…over and over again. We waited 9 km from the beach for everyone to arrive so we could end together and the final 3 km were done with a police escort. It was very emotional to see all the family and friends waving and cheering as we came in.
About three days into the ride, I was not sure we could do this. I knew we could do the biking – that had gone very well. I wondered if we could come up with a different word rhyming with Pa, Kra and Fah for each blog. But in the end my family came through and Pa and Kra biked fah to be greeted by Ma, Oma, Sarah, Hannah and Noah (last three are my nieces and grand-nephew). Seeing beloved family reminded me that a big piece of poverty is a lack of healthy relationships and that we are rich in that area. And we appreciate all the more that which we have after giving it up for a while.
Right now I am appreciating writing a blog on my computer instead my phone…and doing it sitting in a chair, having slept in a bed…and I am anticipating eggs for breakfast that are not cold hard boiled eggs on bread that is toasted. Small things, but the simplicity of the Sea to Sea life makes you appreciate them more.
Pa and Kra biked fah with Doug Straatsma. On Monday we crossed by ferry from PEI to Nova Scotia. As the ferry was docking we were standing at the rail and saw someone waving and holding a sign that said something like “way to go Straatsma”. That was the first time we realized that Floridoug, as I called him earlier (he is pictured in an earlier blog too) is a Straatsma. Short game of Dutch bingo as he is not knowingly related to anyone in Brampton. Doug shared his story on the last day of the tour. He is very funny and at the same time able to go deep. His story is that his wife died in December and so this ride was a grieving journey for him. We both appreciated Doug very much, but also know that it is unlikely that we will see him again. That is part of grieving the end of Sea to Sea.
We are richer in many ways for having had this experience of cycling to end poverty. I can imagine how much more powerful the ending would be for those who rode for 9 weeks all the way from the Pacific. However, I am not jealous. Impressed for sure, especially for those who were not cyclists. The fact is, this tour proved that anyone can ride across Canada given enough time and support. Seeing 81 year old Jim struggle to slowly climb every hill and seeing him come in late every day moved us all. So for the last 3 km we put him at the front of the line, setting pace. We honoured someone who sacrificed with dogged determination to make a difference for others. That was what it was really all about.