Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 41 - A DAY TO REMEMBER!! Waycross to St. Simon's Island

THE LAST DAY OF THE RIDE! DONE! 65 miles to Brunswick and then on to St. Simon's Island on the actual Atlantic coastline. I am writing this on Friday since Thursday became busier than I anticipated. The  ride to St. Simon's started out chilly with a fairly stiff headwind; not the way I looked forward to finishing the trip. I was so sore and stiff from a couple days of hard riding that it took almost 20 miles for my body to even feel like riding. Thanks to Janech, Coach's wife, she pulled 7 of us about 20 miles in a pace line. That made the mileage much more manageable. Also the anticipation of meeting Nancy in Brunswick made the miles melt away little easier. We had one last big climb for the trip, which happened to be the largest of three causeway bridges in the last 7 miles of the trip. For the entire coast to coast trip I logged 2570 miles!

Once in Brunswick, we organized at the local McDonalds where the city police ushered us across the two remaining causeway bridges three abreast and ten deep onto St. Simon's Island and the coast. We took some group pictures and individual pictures before getting showered and cleaned up for the big final celebration banquet late in the afternoon, which would be the last thing we would do before ultimately going our own separate ways.

And then...

After getting cleaned up and collecting my bike and gear for the trip home Nan and I decided to do a little sightseeing. On the Island was a very tall, stately lighthouse from which we thought we could get a wonderful view of the ocean and shoreline. So the first thing we chose to do was climb to the top of the five flight, 129 step lighthouse. With a little leg muscle burn and soreness we made it to the top and it did prove to be very scenic. It also proved to be a bit scary.

At the top I began to feel my body start to go numb beginning with my left shoulder, where the numbness continued to move down my left arm and hand, my chest and left leg. At that point I was not feeling real stable and told Nan I wanted to come down from the lighthouse. With God's favor and Nan's help, I managed to make it down where we found a bench to site and wait to see if the numbness would go away. Well, it improved a bit but then started making its way to my face. When the numbness started affecting my speech is when we decided to call 911. Shortly after the call the symptoms subsided and mercifully have not come back since. With the EMT's counsel and Marilyn's help (she is a Wheels alumna who lives in Brunswick) she helped us get to the hospital. Fast forward from yesterday - I have had an EKG, CT of my head, MRI of my brain. a carotid ultrasound, plenty of blood collections and not more than two consecutive hours of sleep since Thursday night. Currently we are awaiting test results before we can confidently leave the hospital (assuming the results are all negative). The biggest disappointment of all was not being able to attend the closing celebration banquet to say good-bye to all my new friends. Oh well, my Father knows best! I am hoping that we will have the results before the end of today (Friday) and be on our way to our next destination - Charleston, SC. We will keep you updated through this blog. As I alluded to earlier, I will keep this blog active indefinitely. Below are some pictures of the last day.

Wildflowers along the road

The largest of three causeway bridges, around 186 feet high

The beginning of the big bridge

From a cyclist's perspective

Rodgers, Robyn (back to us) and Betsy in the Atlantic

Rodgers emulating a Wheels tradition

Congratulations Derrel and wife Beth

Congratulations, Rosie and Richard!

Congratulations Janet, Terry and Myron!

Way to go, Bob!

Here we all are. Mission accomplished!

Andy, my room mate. We did it.

Robyn can take a great American memory back to New Zealand!

Congratulations to Canadian Betsy for her 2nd or 3rd successful crossing

Rodgers crosses one more time.

Congratulations to first timer Jim from Tennessee

After 6 false starts, Dan gets it all this time!

Crossing number 21 for Dick. Amazing!

Karl and I at the end with the infamous lighthouse in the background.
Apologies to Lou, Edith, Bonnie, Al, Dean, Gary, Gil, Coach and Janech, for not getting a picture of you at the grand finish. If you are interested, I am coordinating with others on the trip to collect more pictures from other riders. So, if you would like to see more pics, please stay tuned. They may be available via this blog site or through Snapfish.


  1. wow Jim what a way to end the ride. Praying for negative results so that you can get going on your trip with Nancy.

  2. Glad to hear from Nan that all is well; enjoy the sites and sights!

  3. Jim, Glad to hear you are ok....sorry I didn't get to say my last goodbye. After sleeping in the airport on the floor until about 4:30am, I hopped a 7:40 flight back to Phoenix where the temp is more agreeable to my cold. I haven't studied your account of the trip yet but it looks very complete. So glad you were able to persevere after a long day of biking to get out the blog while I vegged on the bed.....Andy