The dipping of the wheels


Robert Burns

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men,
Gang aft agley…”

Robert Burns, “To A Mouse,” 1785

It’s customary at the end of a transcontinental bicycle ride to dip the front wheels into the opposite ocean.
We started the journey by
baptizing the wheels in the Pacific at Ocean Beach in San Diego on Sept. 20 and ended it with a wheel-dipping in the Atlantic Ocean in St. Augustine, Fla., on Nov. 21, the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
This latest batch of photos is being posted more than a week after the event because they were shot by our youngest son, Thomas, and I had neglected to transfer the photos from his camera to my computer. So he had to e-mail them to me from Denver.

Pirate Haus Inn. Photo by John Diller

As I wrote in the previous post, Thomas, middle son Matt (who lives in New York) and my wife, Mary Ellen, flew to Florida to share in the end of our cross-country trip. Their plan was to wait at the beach just south of St. Augustine to greet us upon arrival. But that plan fell apart because of a chance meeting at a St. Augustine Wal-Mart. As Robbie Burns wrote, “The best laid schemes …”
I had taken a shorter route to St. Augustine on the last day of our trip to make sure that I could pick up my rental car before the Budget location closed at 4 p.m. that Saturday. It turns out that the Budget office, on U.S. 1, is inside a Super Wal-Mart.
I had originally planned to ride to the Pirate Haus Inn, where our bike group was to stay that night, drop all my gear and then ride to a designated rendezvous point, meet my fellow riders and then head to the beach. But my route into St. Augustine on Florida 207 intersected with U.S. 1, only about a mile from the rental car location.

Stairs at the Pirate Haus

So I rode instead to the Budget office, picked up my rental car, loaded my bike and gear and then bought a pair of jeans at Wal-Mart because I was tired of wearing the same set of clothes for more than two months.
Lo and behold, as I was leaving the store, Mary Ellen, Matt and Thomas were walking in. They were headed for the Budget office to tell the staff NOT to rent me a car because they already had rented one at the airport in Jacksonville.
With two rental cars on our hands, we had to get rid of one of them, which took about an hour. We then drove to the Pirate Haus, where Mary Ellen and the boys had stayed the previous night, and unloaded my gear. I then rode to the rendezvous point at the Bridge of Lions, met my compadres, and we rode to the beach as a triumphant group.
Mary Ellen and the boys, meanwhile, drove to the beach and were on hand with other relatives and friends of the riders to greet us with signs, cow bells and pompoms. We all then went to the beach for the ritual baptism of the wheels and these photographs.
It was a suitable finish to a great ride.

Heading for the beach

Dipping the front wheel

The Dirty Dozen at the beach. From left: John D., Dolores, Felix, Cathy, Jenny, Derrik, John V., Jim, Reg, Dave, Gerben (Kevin) and Kami

Jim and Mary Ellen

Congratulations from Matt and Thomas

Jim shows off trophy from Mary Ellen, Matt, Thomas and Ben (who lives in Taiwan and couldn't make it to the celebration)

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2 Comments

Filed under Cycling across America, Journeys

2 responses to “The dipping of the wheels

  1. Ben

    Congratulations again Dad!! I wish I could have been in St. Augustine to meet you and everyone. I like the photos you posted. See you soon. Love, Ben

  2. Pingback: Dipping Wheels | All Wheels Blog

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