The final update from Alex Halliday, William Duffy and James Howard who Cycled Across America!
For the last time it seems we shall be writing to you regarding this incredible trip across America. We are sure you all know we have finally made it to San Francisco; infact we am writing this on the plane back to England in rather more comfortable seats than what we have experienced for the last 6 weeks!!
We can safely say this shall be a trip that will be hard to forget. Rolling up to the Golden Gate Bridge was a moment we thought would never come. The last week has been extremely tough...even with the finish so close our bodies simply did not want to go any further. On that last day, 29th July, about 6 miles away from the finish I, Alex, genuinely almost hung my boots up, my throat was drier than the desert, completely out of water in the burning heat of the day and to add to this we were cycling through a city (where one would expect water to be in abundance) which seemed to be hiding every watering hole. Honestly, we must have cycled 4 miles through the city without seeing anywhere to drink! We had cycled through places which had hardly 40 people residing where water was easier to find, let alone hundreds of thousands. Furthermore the map had started to lie again...it was probably because even the smallest hill felt like a mountain now, but the map said it should be flat, yet we were going up...and up...and up!! These hills just would not stop. To make matters worse, our good old friend the wind decided to make a final appearance and reminded us just why we were looking forward to getting into San Francisco so badly.
Words cannot describe seeing that big red bridge (which I, Alex, thought was gold!), getting our photo and taking it all in. Alcatraz in the distance - quite appropriate as we felt like we had been imprisoned for the last 6 weeks!! - is a pretty amazing sight. We must say even that bloke from Prison Break - Michael Schofield - would have trouble getting out of that prison. Having finally reached our destination, we checked into a travel lodge near the airport and went out to celebrate in true fashion. Finding a decent fish restaurant was not difficult at Fisherman's Wharf and we must say it was a meal to remember. We spent whatever money we had left on copious amounts of food and we would be lying if we said we weren't the last to stumble through the door into the night.
Looking back on what we have done and accomplished, it is quite strange to realise just how far we have come. Through Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, the Nevada and finally California; we have probably seen more of the States than most Americans! Each state is like a country in their own right, with different customs, ways of life and terrain which differs tremendously (I still cannot believe we thought America was flat before the trip - how very wrong we were!) It has given us a much more rounded view of America, realising that New York, L.A and even San Francisco represent only a tiny minority of the population. These big cities are what many of us see America as, however this is simply not the case.
We feel we were very fortunate during our journey across America, with people lending us a helping hand when things were not going to plan. The kindness we have experienced shall not be forgotten, and hopefully there will be a time for us to return the favour. We have all learnt a lot about ourselves over the course of this endurance test and hopefully this will give us the confidence to shine in other areas.
Before we go, we would like to thank you all for the support which you have given us. To all our parents who have probably been worried sick thinking of us three buffoons cycling across America - Thank you for sticking with us and supporting us thoroughly throughout. Secondly, we would like to thank everyone that has sponsored us and the charity. The support from you guys has been incredible and with it we are seriously close to that £10,000 target of ours. Fingers crossed we shall make that figure after we have hunted down all our university friends!! I truly mean it when i say during the days where we really had to dig in, the support from all of you gave us that extra bit of drive...let alone the motivation to get up in the morning!!
It still has not quite sunk in yet that we have finished, and we are still waking up every morning wondering where our bikes are and why we are not on it!! We do hope that you have enjoyed reading about our trip and once again a massive thank you from the trio for every penny donated. For those that may still want to donate the link is www.bmycharity.com/transamericacycle.