top of page
  • Katherine Guo

Day 72:…and the journey ends

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Benicia, CA->San Francisco, CA

53.23 miles, 3267ft gain

I thought about the end of this journey as soon as we started, imaging what the Golden Gate would look like (last time I was in SF was in 2009, visiting my aunt in Palo Alto) but once it was literally in sight, it was so surreal. The day before, I got a flat tire (my first flat), about 15 miles away from Benicia so had to get picked up by Duha, driver of the day, and we stopped by a rest stop on the way and could actually see the Golden Gate Bridge all the way from there. Even then, the excitement of being so close didn't distract from the stories of our hosts in Benicia! We stayed with Gretchen and her family who we met through Glen, her step father and an MIT alum, class of '75. We exchanged stories about our journey so far, the time Gretchen's son, Max, got his Scout book signed by Joe Biden, and pondered how Gretchen's fridge's auto fill water option worked (through soundwaves). Benicia itself was a beautiful town. It's the sister city of Vallejo, and was named after General Vallejo's (the founder of Vallejo) wife.

Lucy's parents and brother drove all the way down from Eastern Washington to meet her at Gretchen's house. Even after that grueling drive down, they so generously lent us a helping hand as we cleaned out the van and sorted through our things to donate or ship back to Boston for the Spokes team next year. Seeing Lucy's family made me so excited to see my own family the next day as my dad flew from Dallas to meet me at the bridge and my younger brother was flying down from Seattle to see me as well.

We had a late start Tuesday morning because the mileage was pretty short. However, I didn't quite realize how hilly it would be, but I guess it is San Francisco...

Lucy and I biked together one last time, she completely blew past me as usual on the downhills and we also ran into Joy right before we hit up a Trader Joe's for a nice little creamsicle break. FYI, the tangerine ones>mango in my opinion.

Biking the bridge was actually the most anticlimactic part of this entire summer. There were so many people on the path, pedestrians and cyclists alike, that it was all I could to not collide into someone. It also was super windy (as my dad warned) but the view out onto the bay was so nice. Unfortunately, we did not end up with a nice group photo with everyone because in the usual Spokes manner, the group was kind of spread apart and with the combination of our late start, it started getting close to rush hour so my dad and I skedaddled first to go pick up my brother at the airport before we really had to experience Californian traffic. The rest of the gang headed off together sans Lucy (she headed off with her family) to San Jose and a former '22 Spokes met up with them that night which is so sweet.

Despite the lack of photographic evidence on this final day, this journey the seven of us shared will stay with me for the rest of my life. There definetely were highs and lows, times when I laughed so hard my sides hurt and times when I cried from stress, but overall, it was an experience that I learned so much and grew stronger from and I'm sure the rest of my teammates share similar sentiments. The physical biking part was the easiest part of this journey, but as much as I joked about never sitting in a bike saddle again after this summer, two days later in Palo Alto at my aunt's house, I found myself itching to go out for a ride...unfortunately my back tire had deflated again due to the lack of sealant. I'll just have to wait a year until I'm back in SF after my gap year abroad and I am so excited to explore the bike paths in the Bay Area.

...and that's it! We've all made it, safe and sound to San Francisco all the way from Washington DC with the help of countless packets of applesauce, chocolate milk, the generosity of numerous hosts, alum, strangers on the road and the love from our friends and families. I'm so grateful to you all. Thank you all for being there for us, we couldn't have done it without you all. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page