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May 23, 2016

By meriwether, May 27 2016 02:28PM

Beer and peanut butter and jelly - that’s what got me through. If I could have a cold beer and a hot shower at the end of a riding day, I was a happy camper. And peanut butter and jelly? I usually kept a jar of each buried deep in my pantry (front pack) and a half loaf of bread scrunched in my rear trailer bag . . . voila . . . P B & J sandwiches any time, and I ate a lot of them.

The final day’s ride of my U.S. Perimeter Ride was a fairly glorious one under a sunny sky that hung around all day, and temps that spoke of summer. I departed Round Lake early and caught a nifty tailwind along U.S. 223 to Adrian. From there I cut southward and followed mostly Michigan backroads homeward bound. I apologize for arriving earlier than anticipated. I had first thought it would be between 2 and 3, but the early departure and tailwind had other ideas. I pulled into my driveway a little after 1:00 with a nice gathering to greet me, and a Channel 11 news crew there with their cameras rolling. Over my garage door was a sign proclaiming that I had “Done It”, and balloons waving in the breeze shouted welcome.

I’m often asked what have been the highlights of this journey. My meeting with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur always comes to mind. She had had a very long day, and still sat down with me in her office for almost an hour back in October. Also . . . the warm reception that I received at Save The Children headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut, where I found myself in front of a large group of their welcoming staff doing a little impromptu talk. My volunteer opportunities with the 15 different Habitat For Humanity affiliates were some of the best days and always left me with a very positive feeling, being able to work with such dedicated HFH staff and volunteers. And the ride itself which took me through some spectacular terrain as I peddled the perimeter of our United States. Mostly, I suppose, would be raising almost $28,000 thousand dollars for these two worthy causes through donations from family, friends, friends of family and family of friends, fraternity brothers, tennis and golf mates, and complete strangers that I met along the way.

There were some lowlights too, but even those had a silver lining. My accident could have been much more devastating - I was lucky to escape with a few scrapes and bruises. But the circumstance of a disabled veteran paying for my entire repair bill and choosing to remain anonymous . . . because he liked what I was doing . . . how could you not wonder at the goodness of that act?

So . . . home at last! And it IS a sublime feeling. Although . . . when I first thought about all that I had to do to get my life back on a normal track after being gone for 9 months, I was tempted to hop back on my bicycle and keep on riding . . . but not that tempted. And now that I’ve been home for a few days, things are falling into place, and I’m thinking I will stay put for a while.

Thanks to you all for your support throughout these past months, for your donations to Habitat For Humanity and Save The Children, for your words of encouragement that kept my peddles in perpetual motion, and to my many hosts along the way who provided a safe haven for the night.

Hope you all have enjoyed the Ride!

Proceeding On (in spirit),

Al Thompson

As always acknowledgement and many thanks to some new and repeat donors who have made recent donations in support of my ride to Habitat For Humanity and/or Save The Children: Katherine Kelly, Phyllis and Kenneth Frain, Sue and Ron Lang, Don and Patty McGraw, and Doug and Marilyn Palmer.

I was invited by Jerry Anderson of WTOL, Channel 11, to appear on a segment of his Sunday public affairs program The Leading Edge. It was taped today (Thurs) and will be aired this Sunday at 8:30 am for anyone who might be interested.

The photos below are some images from my Final Day's Ride.

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