Day 24, Tuesday, September 14 (FLY HOME TODAY)
Up at 6:15, 7:00 long relaxing and chatty continental breakfast at our hotel - Best Western, then back to my room to get caught up with journals. There are several shuttles to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, mine will be at 7:30 to the airport in New Orleans for my 2:10 departure flight - out of harms way!
Mike moved me to the second shuttle at 9AM, turns out he miscounted - still plenty of time though. He has a huge responsibility just dealing with the daily operations of the ABB ride and now to have to deal with stopping the ride due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Ivan - flights, disassembling bikes, packing bikes in shipping cases, shuttles, the wants and needs of approximately 35 people, etc... He and the ABB support team have done a super job! If you think you might be interested in doing a long distance ride, ABB offers rides all over the country - visit their website!
I got to the airport at 11 AM, the roads going north away from New Orleans are jammed , backed up bumper to bumper, but in-going traffic is OK, (I heard later on TV news that the southbound lanes of Rt 10 were turned into northbound lanes, so that there were 4 lanes going out of New Orleans). My flight out of here is on Southwest with a 25 minute stop in Philadelphia and then on to Green airport in RI. The line at Southwest had about 400 people in it but was moving. I was randomly selected to be totally checked out, which made me a bit nervous. At least I didn't have to take off my shoes. We departed late (3:00 PM), and had a smooth flight. Arrived in Philly at 5:45, then back out of the gate at 6:00. Long wait on the runway, no explanation from pilot, take off finally at 6:35. This is the "dinner time" flight but Southwest doesn't do meals - they gave us a glass of soda, a bag of wheat thins and a tiny bag of peanuts. I did not have any lunch so I was a bit hungry - oh well, I'll be home soon. Good thing I brought some bars and energy snacks I had left over from my ride. On the flight from Philly they gave us a cup of soda and another tiny bag of peanuts (no wheat thins).
We landed at Green 1 hour late and of course Donna was there to meet me. I didn't bring my bike with me on the plane, as it will be shipped home to me from a bike shop in Baton Rouge. I was told that it would arrive in about 1 1/2 weeks - OH DARN, I WANTED TO GO FOR A 100 MILE RIDE TOMORROW!!! :) We stopped at a Wendy's and then home to be reunited with my other foxy lady, my dog. Boy, was she happy to see me!
Well, that's it for this year. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who supported me and my Alzheimer effort through emails during my ride and donations to the Alzheimer's Association. All of my supporters have made their sensitivity and generosity very clear and I can't tell you enough how much it means to me, and to those who have to deal with this insidious disease as a caregiver or because they may have the disease themselves, or because of the heredity connection may contract the disease themselves. Please continue to check my website as there may be TV interviews forthcoming and when they occur I will post the dates and times on the main page. My plan at this point is to continue doing my Alzheimer cycling effort (I hope to reach $100,000 by the end of 2006). Also, I'd like to mention "my vision" - that a cyclist in every Alzheimer's region in every state in our country would do a cycling fundraising effort like this one for his or her state Association. Yes, it does take a lot of time, planning, and energy, but the rewards are huge! We keep getting closer to a cure, the door is opening, research is almost there.
I think my ride next year will be across the southwest - San Francisco, California to St. Joseph, Missouri. (2,116 miles, anybody wanna join me?? email me through my website.) See ya on the road!