Day 44: The Final Countdown.

Tuesday, August 15th. Tonight we sleep at an undisclosed location in Baltimore, MD.

(If you haven’t read Day 43, I recommend you do so right… now.)

In the morning, Will DeVar picked up Paddy and myself after driving 3 hours from Virginia in his spacious Suburban. He’s our savior right now: he’s the only thing making the final day of this trip possible. Paddy and I met back up with the other CCFC riders in Fredrick, about 5 or 7 miles outside of the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. We all changed into our CCFC jerseys and rode together toward the fabled Atlantic Ocean.

But, of course, one final “F.U.” to cyclists had to occur before we arrived: Just after we entered Baltimore, the surroundings transformed from pseudo-suburban to absolutely slumming. People were leering and jeering at us, and someone even threatened to throw a brick he was holding at Ezra.

John had brought portable speakers and put them in his jersey. When we pulled into the Inner Harbor he blasted our official CCFC song: The Final Countdown, by Europe (…a band from Europe). Our cheesy 1980s-ballad arrival into the Inner Harbor was greeted by Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center friends and Hopkins 4K riders.

Arriving at the harbor provided a truly surreal experience: we are done. All we’ve known for six weeks is hot, melting asphalt. And now we’re at another ocean. How does that work? Anyway, we dipped our wheels into the Atlantic (Does the Chesapeake Bay count? We’re still divided on that.) and took some publicity photos.

And we are, after all, Cross Country for Cancer… so…

Finally we all met the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center (SKCCC) crew for the first time. We’re glad they could come out and greet us at the harbor:

(The first women we’ve interacted with in weeks!)

After exchanging howdies and being accosted congratulated by many random tourists at the harbor, we headed over to the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center itself for a reception. Also, Ezra, Max, David, and John had met up with another cyclist in the last miles to Baltimore, so he joined in the celebration as well. I’m still not really sure who he is, but, hell, the more the merrier!

At last, we had the chance to rub shoulders with Sidney Kimmel himself. Yah. So while this painting makes it seem like he’s pushing up daisies in a pleasant New England cemetery, Mr. Kimmel is, in fact, alive and well. (He’s clearly not here, though.) Hopefully he has read this blog and had a good laugh, but I suspect his secretary reads it to him and describes the photos (“There’s a red arrow pointed at the helmet…”). It’s a little known fact that extremely wealthy people generally don’t bother to learn to read.

After the reception and meeting a few doctors, faculty, fellow cycling enthusiasts, and administrators, we started to realize that most of us didn’t know where we were going to sleep or how we were going to get to airports tomorrow. The SKCCC folks came to the rescue and helped us find bike boxes and figure out how to get our stuff to hotels and what-have-you. Not having the support car really put a damper on our options at the end of the trip.

Cross Country for Cancer and Hopkins 4K: reunited at last.

At this point, Max and Paddy left with Will DiVar to Washington DC in preparation for their flights back to their native land of Australia England. If you’re American, I’ve heard that only 35% of the population can point to England on a globe so I’ve made a map. If you are one of the brilliant 35%, I’ve included Kazakhstan as well so you can learn something new:

The parting of Paddy and Max was far too anticlimatic for my tastes, but there was nothing we could do. There were no last drinks or meals together or any sort of Pomp and Circumstance. They just got in a car and left us. Forever. *sob*

After attempting to cry but realizing our tear-ducts had shriveled to nothing due to 6-weeks of dehydration, the four-remaining members set off to do what we’ve all missed: go pubbing! We had reservations at a restaurant later, so a few hours needed to be dropped like a bad date. And Heather from SKCCC knew a great little place in Baltimore called “you’ll see”. David was already gone from the 2 ounces of Champagne at the reception (“Guys, my eyes are buzzing!”), but that didn’t slow any of us down.

Upon leaving the pub we found a sweet support car for our next trip. (As if rednecks need more reasons…)

Finally we hit the last event for the day: dinner at Pazo. Oh and what a dinner it was. Fourteen showed up between CCFC, SKCCC, and Hopkins 4K. The dinner probably the most hedonistic meal I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. Plate after plate of Italian and Spanish delicacies were delivered and passed around for over two hours. It was essentially a 12 course meal of smaller servings.

Unfortunately John didn’t really tell us what we were in for when he booked a meal at Pazo. Even more unfortunately the we’re fundraising for cancer research-card didn’t work at Pazo’s like it did at campsites.

After dinner and farewells, David, Ezra, and I went off to a hotel in Bel Air, MD and packed our bikes and gear late into the morning. Chesapeake Community Church put us up in the hotel at late notice and we’re extremely grateful. The youth pastor, Arie Mangrum, drove us and all of our bikes and bags around in the evening and even took us for breakfast and to the airport in the morning. Without Arie and Will DeVar to help us after our support car broke down, David, Ezra and myself would probably still be stranded in Baltimore. Many thanks to them both!

That about sums up our six week marriage to America. We’re pleased to have done the tour and to be done with the tour. Would we do America again? Definitely not. Will CCFC ride again in another country? Absolutely. Stay tuned for European adventures in the future.

Today’s Numbers

Miles cycled: 80
Flat tire tally: 40
SKCCC Administrators that were upset with what I wrote about Southern Missouri: 1 (Let the record show I love Central and Northern Missouri)
Times John was called a “p**sy b**ch” during dinner by Hopkins 4K girls: 2
Times Jacob asked the waitress at Pazo to marry him: 0
Days John will be stranded in Baltimore because he doesn’t realize yet that you have to be 25 to rent a car: 4
Hours to Baltimore from San Francisco: 1,047 hours
Hours to San Francisco from Baltimore: 8

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2 Responses to “Day 44: The Final Countdown.”

  1. Dad Lauterbach Says:

    Ok men, we have a problem. That is NOT Kazakhstan. It is Saudi Arabia. But for the 35% is does not matter — no one else would know they are wrong.

  2. Bob Sega Says:

    Well guys you got the USA and The UK right. Kazakstan is still a little east and north of the location depicted. Two out of three was not a passing grade when I went to school.
    Your ride reports however were very entertaining. Your cause is good. I have been raising fund for the LAF.

    Good luck.

    Each day is a givt given to share with others.
    Carpe diem
    Bob

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