Friday, July 28, 2006

Ode To A Wheel

total mileage: 3,566
starting location: Wrightsville Beach, NC
ending location: Long Beach, WA
flat tires: 1
tires used: 4
# of identifiable types of roadkill: 27
# dogs that chased me: 14
# servings of ice cream: 144
% of riding days that i cried: 29
# thunderstorms ridden through: 8
marriage proposals: 2

An overcast day welcomed me west
to the Pacific, bringing this journey to rest.
The cool ocean air gave me a chill,
a break from the heat, of which I got my fill.
Through eastern Washington the heat was intense,
my life at the mercy of the van and the 'rents.
Mom drove the van up from the big C-A
and picked up my sidekick Matt on the way,
both ready to join with my dad and me
on the adventure's home stretch to the sea,
riding through one-hundred-eighteen degrees
and wind that nearly knocked me to my knees.
Jumped in the river whenever I could
to escape the hot wind that occasionally would
blow past my ears with such great ire
that the poor cartilage felt as if on fire.
My very last day of the ride was a treat,
as some pirate's booty was found in the street:
an oven-fresh pizza lay in the road,
still in its box, fallen from a car's load.
That "5-second rule" had long been forgotten;
the pizza, still warm, was far from rotten.
My Uncle Chuck and Aunt Pauline also came
and played the bike and sag-wagon game.
Jumped in head first to the dirty sea water,
nevermind the strong riptides that caused me to totter.
It was then that I made it officially
riding one wheel sea to shining sea.
No more chasing sunsets, wobbling to and fro,
now which direction will life's wind next blow?

me, friend matt, parents kim and dale (yes, my dad has a beard and shaggy hair now)


Anonymous said...

WOW, OH WOW. Really. Wow. Words do not suffice. Wow. This is the most incredible thing I've witnessed. You are amazing. Congratulations on your spectacular accomplishment. What an inspiration and joy.
Much love,
Uncle Richard and Aunt Robin
P.S. What's this about a second marriage proposal??

Anonymous said...

You did it! What an incredible feat, Gracie - you should be so proud. I know we are.

Best of luck in your next journey, whatever it may be.

Marian, Eric, and Stella

sss said...

you are an inspiration!!

- a random bypasser :)

Anonymous said...

I have followed your blog all the way, I am sooooo happy for you, well done, you make us (Humans) all very proud.

Anonymous said...

Baby, we're so prouuuud of you! This unpredendented and incredible feat is all the more amazing given the adversities and pain you endured "relentlessly". Such perseverance and courage will serve you well in life, and - more importantly - will make you a blessing to many. We pray that the work you have done will make a difference in the fight against blood cancers like Uncle Richard's. We love you.

Anonymous said...

You done well, baby sis. And Pops finally got to grow out his white beard. Can't wait to see you guys. We love you.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Gracie!! :D Jennifer L.

Scott said...

Congratulations!. We met you along the way.
What an awesome thing you have done this summer.

Anonymous said...

I've been tracking your progress via this blog, but had no idea you finished "yesterday"! Congratulations!!! Your journey/blog has been a real interesting read every single time I've visited the site, and I'm sure your actual journey was absolutely amazing. Well, if you ever feel like coming up to Vancouver (no music composition please), I'll be around! Meanwhile, soak up the good Pacific Northwest, you've certainly earned a rest!
- Jonathan

Anonymous said...

Well done Gracie, you are a hero!

As for what next, how about the one-hour unicycle distance record?

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Remember the 108 degree temps in Walla Walla? Seems like a month ago I'm sure! The article in the "Columbian" was great! Photo looked beautiful! I have told Your story to many and I stuck with my promise and made a donation last week! All the best to you in the future! Accomplishments like this last a lifetime!
Always remember ~ CARPE DIEM!
Stuart from Portland

Anonymous said...


Congrats Gracie! Hey, you still have a few weeks of summer vacation left...

-dave from Colorado

Anonymous said...

Kudos & Congratulations Gracie, you've earned them. God bless you and your family too.

Whoa... marriage?? Did someone say MARRIAGE? I hope he has a White Mountain Ice Cream maker!

Leon in Vero Beach, FL

Marc said...

hehehe.... good ride Gracie!

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You did it!Wow am very impressed :) PS..barely recognized your Dad..thought it was "Shaggy" from Scooby


Rosco said...

congrats gracie--I followed your blog the whole way. You rocked. My bro and I are gonna ride next summer. We'll be sure to hit you up for some questions and advice! all the best with whatever the future holds.

Anonymous said...

Attagirl Gracie! I especially like the rhyme in the last entry. All of us back here at Duke are so very proud of you. No matter where "life's wind" blows you next, you are sure to succeed. Congratulations!


Tell Matt the yellow shirt suits him.

Jacqui said...

Dear Gracie,
I grew up next door to your Uncle Richard and discovered your blog after going on his. I am astounded that you could have made such an incredible journey! Congratulations. Not only do you have major guts and determination, you're a great writer and very funny too. You couldn't have picked a better person to do it for. Richard has been my hero since he was about 17 years old--he can tell you why (speaking of guts and determination!)

Anonymous said...

Yay, You did it!

rhondajo said...

Congratulations, sweetie, and all the best to you and your friend, and the bright future that lies ahead.

Love, Aunt Rhonda

Anonymous said...

Gracie-- Congratulations!! Such an amazing feat- I cant even say enough. I know that you are going to be amazing in whatever you choose to tackle next. I only hope that you make your way back to Duke to visit us.
We miss you!

Anonymous said...

yo, those athenian lovers
you know who they were
helena, hermia and ly-san-der...

i like the rhyme time there at the end ms. herbuffness! just wanted to say congratulations! i've been following your progress- you are amazing. you've never ceased to amaze me and once again, i'm not surprised at your accomplishment.

I LUF YOU!!! you are amazing!

Anonymous said...


i have followed you along on this since the day i met you in climax, nc.

your persistance and determination is inspiring!

God Bless You and expecially your uncle!

Anonymous said...

Hi Gracie,

Sandy and I have told your story many times since we crossed paths so many times in ID, WA and OR.

Congratulations!! You are a very special young woman.

Say hi to Dale, Kim and Matt. We appreciate the water and kindness you all shared with us through the lonely, hot desert.

Best wishes for a bright future,

Dave & Sandy Hahn

Anonymous said...

Good Job!
We have been watching you all summer fact is your photo has been on our 61" home theater desktop making it easy for my family to see something good happening.

From the crazy ladies in Pleasant Garden, NC who you spoke with after one of your many cheesebugers,

Judy & Marty

Anonymous said...

A nice picture of gracie by the gray sea



Anonymous said...

Gracie, congratulations on your accomplishment. Sea to shining sea, an inspiration to us all. Did you compose any music along the way?