Thanksgiving and giving thanks!

Thanksgiving and giving thanks!

Tomorrow Laf and I will fly back to Whitehorse, marking the end of the North American chapter of the CAT project. Exactly 6 months after Steve dropped me off in Deadhorse.

I wish I could elegantly summarize this wonderful adventure, but I can’t: this is exactly why I decided to take a break.  It is impossible to absorb everything that happened over half a year of traveling on a bike without taking a good chunk of time to absorb it all.

The “finish line”!

Even on my last day of riding, which was pretty easy, I didn’t really have a chance to think much, between having to navigate, trying to catch the ferry to Coronado and having other cyclists riding and chatting with me on the bike paths. And contrary to other places that felt like a milestone (namely the end of the Dalton Hwy, Fairbanks, Whitehorse and San Francisco), completing the ride across North America didn’t feel like a big accomplishment, but rather just another day on the bike. Or the “end of the introduction” to a much bigger adventure.

Lots of beautiful beaches on the way to San Diego, and lots of surfers enjoying the big waves
Beautiful houses along the coast
Double bike lanes! Amazing…
San Diego viewed from the ferry to Coronado

Well, I felt some sadness at the fact that Mexico is a stone throw away but I will not cross the border for sometime. But that was counterbalanced by the fact that I was going to spent the afternoon with two friends that were likely feeling more or less the same.

North America, from north…
…to south!
It was still just a dream…
…but now it’s 8763 km of memories

I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the journey: Mark, who had finished his tour 2 days earlier was waiting for me at Imperial Beach, to give me a hug and buy me some ice cream. Sam joined us a couple of hours later.

The Pier where Mark, Sam and I met for one last time
We watched the sunset before we all went our separate ways

For the record: I didn’t go all the way to the border with Laf. Mark and I walked on the beach from where we could see Tijuana, less than 4 km away. Good enough.

Imperial Beach with Tijuana in the distance

I was then once again hosted by fantastic people, first in Coronado and then in San Diego. I even had the chance to celebrate American Thanksgiving with Chris’ family. The food was so amazing, that I think I regained the 10 lbs I had lost earlier, all in one night! And talking about great hosts, I added a few pictures to the previous blog, thanks to Ken who sent them to me.

Sue and Craig, lovely hosts

Thanksgiving: what an appropriate time to end this part of the journey! This is all I can say: thank you, to all the people I met, to all the hosts, the supporters, the donators, the ones who smiled, who shared my happiness, sometimes for a moment and sometimes for days, to all the blog followers, to the ones who contributed to this project in one way or another, to the fellow riders. And also thanks to all the ones who bike toured before, and wrote about their stories, which inspired me to embark on this journey.

To answer the question that many asked: I will likely resume the CAT project in the summer or fall of 2020.  Why such a long break? Because if I travel in Mexico in the summer, it will be too hot, and then I would hit the hurricane season in Central America. And as I realized over the last few weeks, I really want to take my time to do this trip, so it will be a multi-year/multi-chapter adventure. But as a friend said, even if I take breaks, it is still the same journey…

And by the way, for those who haven’t already subscribe to the blog, you can do so at https://cathmandu.com/catproject/subscribe/, that way you will be notified when I start posting again. It’s easy to unsubscribe.

To answer another common question: even if it’s hard to choose between all the amazing moments of the trip, the best certainly was riding the Dalton Highway, especially reaching the Dalton Highway sign, at the south end. The low point was without a doubt spending the night on the floor of the campground restroom in Manchester, shivering and vomiting.

Maybe the best thing about doing a trip like this though, is to realize and fully appreciate that the world is a good place, that there are really good people everywhere, and that even if we are all unique, we are also all very human, with similar needs. Paradoxically, we all seem to want to be different, and yet we seek and find comfort in connectedness.

Special thanks to Mark and Sam, true soul mates

I was wondering what “final words” I would add to this post.  Luck has it that Chris (awesome Warmshowers host where I am staying now) has this perfect sign in his yard:

 

9 thoughts on “Thanksgiving and giving thanks!

  1. Congratulations on your awesome accomplishment! I enjoyed following along and reading about your experiences and milestones. You will have those memories for a lifetime! Safe travels Kat and I look forward to your future travels and adventures

  2. J’ai l’impression d’avoir lu un chapitre de ton aventure et qu’il reste encore beaucoup de belles choses à lire et à découvrir dans le prochain. Bravo pour cette partie que tu as franchie. Tu sais capter notre attention en partageant tes émotions dans les relations humaines et ton émerveillement dans tes découvertes. Bravo et à bientôt xxx

  3. Allo Catherine
    Le contenu de ce “post” manifeste que tu as déjà commencé à “absorber” les 6 derniers mois et les 8 763 km parcourus. D’abord par quelques constats et réflexions que tu as faits concernant les plus et les moins depuis ton départ du Grand nord de l’Amérique du Nord; puis par les photos que tu as juxtaposées tant des lieux que de ton appareil à mesurer la distance, Prudhoe Bay (km 0), Imperial Beach (km 8 763) . La juxtaposition des photos parlent par elles mêmes; ce sont des éléments plutôt objectifs. Mais le plus important reste à venir, soit le film subjectif qui n’a pas cessé de rouler en toi, même quand tu te reposais… C’est celui-là qui va se développer tranquillement dans ta chambre noire intérieure au fil des jours à venir. Précieux temps à chérir …
    Bisous
    Fernand

  4. Quelle belle expérience.
    Merci de nous avoir partager.
    Et puis Mark et Sam… ça me donne le goût de pédaler….

    On se voir bientôt en terre Québéquoise.

    Mo

  5. Merci de nous acceuillir dans ton Cathmandou, et ça, grâce à Lise ta maman que nous aimons tellement. Je finis tout juste de lire cette communication, cette dernière peut-être de l’année 2019 et je suis parfois, au cours de ma lecture, éblouie et touchée par ta joie de vivre, ton courage et l’amitié que tu dégages et que tu partages dans cette belle et grande aventure. Etienne se joint à moi pour te faire un gros Hug accompagné de bisous. Les octogénaires Monique et Etienne

  6. Congratulations on finishing your North American tour!
    Looking forward to reading about your next adventures.
    Cheers

  7. Congratulations Catherine on completing this latest part of your journey and for recognizing limitations (even if only physical) that we all face as we gather more km on our physical tachometers.
    Looking forward to catching up this spring, in Whitehorse.

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