#SD2KW: Wrapping Up Our San Diego to Key West Ride

Tom and I wrapped up our San Diego to Key West bike ride a little over a week ago and have some data, final thoughts, lessons learned and finally one last video we’d like to share. Thanks so much to family, friends, neighbors and followers for the prayers, comments and encouragement along the way.

Tom and Deb

For day-to-day mileage, where we stayed and songs in the videos, click here.

From Tom:

I had expectations that riding Southern Tier was going to be easy peasy after riding the Great Divide a couple of years ago.  I thought riding on asphalt and mostly flat we would average at least 70 miles per day.  Right off the bat coming out of San Diego on our first set of climbs I realized that we might be out of bike shape and touring with traffic all around us was a bit more mentally challenging watching out for drivers.  The first few weeks we also rode at higher elevation which came with cold temperatures when waking up and packing up the tent, etc.  It got lighter in the morning later and darker earlier in the evenings (5pm), which limited our hours of riding as well.

As the days moved on we started feeling good with our riding and only took one day off the entire trip because of a High Wind Advisory.  

As the days ticked off, I think I mentioned to Deb that this is my favorite touring ride compared to the rest.  Not sure why.  Probably because we ate like kings/queens. 🙂

As a whole I am very happy with our trip.  It just sounds amazing in my mind to think I rode my bike from San Diego to Key West.  What a great accomplishment with my honey!

From Deb:

Each time I come home from an extended bike tour there is less friction in the transition to home life. I think it’s because the bike tours have changed me in small ways and many of those changes have stuck with me to some extent. For example, minimizing clothing, reducing food waste, understanding I need less “things” and attempting to keep life simple. I still get edgy on wheels that go more than 12 miles per hour (like automobile travel) but that will wear off soon.

As Tom mentioned above, this ride was an unexpected toughie, not based on the miles and terrain but the cold temps and wind at the beginning. It was a particularly cold season for Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas and I don’t do cold. This was an “Escape the Cold” bike tour remember?

But it all works out! One of my favorite “mommyisms” (and I have a few) is “Life is seldom what I expect but it IS what I make it.” There were so many surprises and variables out of our control and it was a blessing to experience those and make adjustments with Tom. I have the utmost trust and confidence in him and it was a joy to experience the 3,600 mile ride together. We dug in during the tough times, expanded our comfort zones and learned we can still do some hard things. Heck I barely remember the black rats and leaky sleeping pad anymore! Problem solving together was fun. I mean… we were on vacation!

I’m going to miss the extended time for daily reflection and prayer on the bike and all of the self directed learning. I’ll miss meeting new people and learning more about them and their culture. And I’ll miss the looks on the locals’ faces when they ask, “where you ridin’?” and we reply “San Diego to Key West”. Lots of people do it but it sure does get some raised eyebrows when we answer. I can’t think of a better way to experience our great country than slowly and from a bicycle seat. I’ll even miss riding my bike from point to point every single day. It’s not the same when you just “go out for a ride”.

However, I’m so grateful to return home with Tom to our family, friends, neighbors and home and am already asking myself, “what’s next” and “for what purpose”.

May God bless you with peace, abundant joy and a thirst for learning.

Click on the image below to view our San Diego to Key West Recap Video – some of our most memorable moments (sound on for music):

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