Right now I am eating Taco Bell at 11pm in the car, happily contemplating the nest of blankets and pillows I have built for myself here in the backseat and the wonderful happenings of the day.
Today was an amazing day, the culmination of half a year's planning and hard work. The Sherpa and I woke up around 8 and had a leisurely hotel breakfast with our family before setting off on the ten miles left to Macalester. When we arrived, I saw a small contingent of people standing on a street corner, including a camera -- and then I glanced at the corner opposite, and was shocked by a whole horde of people welcoming us to the end of our epic journey. It was extremely difficult to take in -- when we stopped, I just smiled dumbly at them for awhile until in quick succession a stream of Macalester figureheads stepped out to congratulate me and introduce themselves. Even the college President came out to see the triumphant arrival. I was so happy to see each and every one of them, their enthusiasm and support significantly added to the confirmation of my own beliefs in this ride's importance and impact. I was absolutely not expecting this warm welcome -- or to discover that the entire admissions office has been reading and keeping up with my blog.
*Shoutout to my friends and donors from the lemonade stand: one of the admissions ladies told me she had to stop reading my blog at work when she came upon your little part of the story, because crying at work is professionally frowned upon.*
After this initial greeting, I was interviewed by no fewer than three TV stations, which was just wow -- I've never been on TV before! After the interviews the reporters hung around for a bit taking "candid shots" -- I'm not 100% sure what made one sweat-covered, dazed and giddy Bethany picture more honest than the next but I suppose it must be a trade secret.
Then, my family and I attended a Macalester information session followed by a campus tour followed by free food. I kind of love Macalester; it's going to be so hard for me to pick a college at the end of the year!
I am so incredibly happy -- and I owe it all to everyone who has supported me on this journey. It was hard -- much harder than expected, even -- but every time I was ready to give up someone pulled me out of it. I'm so lucky to have had this experience, and to each and every one of you who has sent me a text on the longer days, put up a Facebook post reminding me to keep pedaling, donated to the Foundation, given me free lemonade, hosted me at your home, followed my crazy story on the blog, prayed for me, or in some cases become a fully-fledged Sherpa and ridden the whole distance with me -- thank you.
I intend to keep updating for awhile, so the blog lives on! I'll update major events or epiphanies; maybe I'll come up with another ridiculous idea, who knows!
But for now, we made it. And we couldn't have done it without you.
Thanks for reading,
PS - I won Yellow Car! The final score was 73-72 but I got two bugs today so had the tie-breaker as well. Yes, all is as it should be.
PPS - The Macalester photographer sent us a zip file of all of her photos, so there will be more of those tomorrow when I have access to the 'real' computer and not just my phone.