The rain had stopped sometime before I woke, but the clouds still lingered overhead. For a moment I thought about spending the morning at the nearby Air Force Museum while letting the storm continue moving east. It would only delay things, I decided, and I had been to the museum several times before, most recently in October between appointments in my flight physical. No, today I’d head south, diverting around the storm and head home. Knowing that Alyssa was keeping tabs on me through my Spot tracker, I messaged her that I’d simply be taking a large detour around the rains.
I checked out of the hotel and headed southeast towards home. The roads were wet, but the morning sun was still low enough to bounce light from under the clouds. Ahead of me I could see the storm, but the closer I got to it, the further it moved away. An hour and a half of riding, and the rain was still in front of me, completely opposite of what my radar view had shown earlier.
All I needed was to be patient, and after another half hour, I caught up to the rains. I had been rained on in those first two days of my trip, and now again in these last two. It seemed fitting, like some grand cycle was being completed. However, after nearly 9000 miles of riding, I was disappointed in how the rain washed away the bugs that had sacrificed themselves on my bike and my visor, leaving everything almost clean.
Somewhere in West Virginia, I punched through to the other side of the storm. I welcomed the bright blue skies, and as I looked to the east, it seemed like that’s how it’d stay for the remainder of the trip. Good weather would be a great way to end the trip, and make the voyage through Appalachia even more scenic.
I crossed into Virginia, and soon found myself on the same highway I had been on during my first day. I thought back to then, and wished my past self well. Back then, I had thought that I had more than enough time to see America. Now, I felt like it hadn’t been enough. There had been large portions of the country I hadn’t touched, from New England to the Pacific Northwest. Even along my route there were things I hadn’t done, for no other reason than not having enough time. But, did that mean this trip was a waste? Of course not. I had ridden a motorcycle from one side of the country to the other. Not once, but twice. I had seen things I had never before seen, places I had never before been. There were stories I would share, and some I would keep. There had been trials, and there had been rewards. In short, I had an adventure.
Having only the smallest of traffic jams (by I-66 standards) delay me, I crossed into Arlington and made my way towards home. A small side street that had been under construction long before I left, looked like it had been untouched in the time I was gone, still with orange cones and construction vehicles strewn in various places. But where some things hadn’t changed, others had. As I pulled into my neighborhood, the sight of spring greeted me. It had been winter the entire time I had known it, with many trees still bare when I had left in mid-April. Now, a month later and under a bright blue sky, the trees were a vibrant green. I turned into my alleyway and rolled to a stop in the small cutout that served as a parking space. After 8966 miles, I was home.
I dismounted the bike, looked at the machine that had been my companion over the past few weeks, and thought about our time together on the road. When I had first left home, it seemed as mundane as taking a vehicle to work. Now, it felt more like returning home from a deployment with a brother. When I had felt tired, the bike kept moving towards my destination. When the bike had faltered, I bandaged it up until it was as good as new. We had supported each other, and returned home together.