After 78 days of cycling 4,000 miles over mountains, through tropical storms, past mudslides, and occasionally through more than 100 degree heat, Pat and I arrived at ROMP's flagstaff prosthetic and orthotic clinic on Tuesday with a caravan of vehicles in tow. Around 2:00 pm we neared the clinic (25 Km), followed by our newfound (as of a week ago) and trustworthy SAG vehicle driver Dave Krupa. Knowing that my brother and the ROMP staff had something up their sleeves for our arrival celebration, I anxiously cycled alongside Pat, waiting for the inevitable surprise. After rounding a soft corner on the highway, the ROMP staff appeared in a microbus with signage and screaming and cheering heads. Not long after, a Guatemalan fire truck joined our caravan of three vehicles and two bikes (should go without saying). With a loud siren and PA system, we were escorted the last 25 Km with roadside fanfare of mainly unsuspecting spectators usually excited enough by the commotion to cheer us along.
|We made it!|
It is the bitter sweet end that we expected, but will not know how to accept for some time now.
"Riding for ROMP" has been a success; we have raised nearly $25,000, helped raise awareness to ROMP's incredible mission, met and shared time with incredibly warm and helpful people along the way, learned countless lessons on problem-solving, strengthened our will and of course our legs, and broke, at least in our minds, many misconceptions and false assumptions about the current state of Mexico. Which instead of being the dangerous and chaotic playground of narcotrafficantes and international crime syndicates that the twenty-four hour news would have us believe, was the safest stretch of our journey; where instead we encountered families, smiling children, and Good Samaritans at every turn of the Panamerican Highway.
Thanks to all of your support "Riding for ROMP" has exceeded even our highest expectations and given us the inspiration necessary to continue to work in a similiar capacity. If you ever doubt the good nature of humanity or have been reading the work of German or Russian existential nihilists, then I would suggest riding your bike to work, across town, across country, or even to Guatemala.