Our last day of the Upper Mississippi River Cycling Tour. Even after seven straight days of cycling, I was sad to see our trip nearing completion. On the other hand, I was eagerly looking forward to the 30th Wedding Anniversary Celebration that awaited us at the end of the road.
It wasn’t the most beautiful day, with clouds overhead and temperatures in the low 50s, but a day earlier the forecast was for rain, so I considered it a good day! The winds had picked up too, but fortunately they were mostly behind us – a treat after all the headwinds we’ve had on this trip.
My head was definitely in a different place today. It wasn’t the same as the other days of our tour, when we were fully in the mode, taking in all the sights and making the most of the journey. Today was really all about the destination. Sure the farms were picturesque, we enjoyed the cows and horses in their pastures, and we had a tasty stop at Patty’s Place for a snack in New Prague. But we were eager to reach the end.
The closer we got to the outskirts of the Twin Cities, the more the farmhouses looked like suburban homes. They looked a bit incongruous in the center of large working farms. We encountered our first lake with about 10 miles to go. We’d seen plenty of rivers and ponds, but no true Minnesota lakes. We were zeroing in on home territory.
As planned, we rode to our daughter’s house where all of our children, grandchildren and a few close friends were gathered. We had a lively welcoming party, as they cheered us down the final street to the house. The afternoon was pure enjoyment, surrounded by those we love. It was filled with much laughter, many hugs, good food and warm feelings.Our kids collaborated on not only the party, but the entertainment. In true Brewer style (ie my family’s tradition) they collectively authored an epic poem, which they recited with great animation to commemorate our lives together – meeting, dating, marrying, birthing and parenting. It was an amazing piece of work and an hysterical tribute. Karen upheld her theme cake decorating reputation, producing Cake Cones in honor of our detour to the Dairy Queen after our wedding 30 years ago. That called for a re-creation of the scene when we arrived at our reception, cones in hand, linking arms to lick them!
The tour is finished, but the memories will live on. We had many great moments on our trip – met wonderful people, worked through cycling challenges, appreciated beautiful scenery and appreciated experiencing it all up close from the seat of a bicycle. But the best memories will be holding tight to our family members and friends at the grand finale. It was just perfect.