It was the morning of October 24th, today the Great Divide was coming to an end! I was leaving from the Bikers Hostel in Hachita and heading for the Mexican Border. I said goodbye to Jeff and packed up my bike for the last time. I remember trying to hold back my tears as I left Hachita and turned onto highway 81. I felt as though I was in a dream. Canada was now so far away and I had only 46-47 miles to the end!! THE END!!! The riding was great, easy, beautiful, perfect, fantastic. The miles seemed to fly by, the landscape was beautiful. The Hatchet Mountains were on both sides of me. The desert lands have always spoken to me on such an intimate level and I just loved the riding through such amazing land. Every so often Border Patrol would drive by me, but, other than that, there were no cars. It was me, my bike, the Chihuahua Desert and the lonely highway. My friend, Ruthanne was picking me up at the Mexican Border and I was excited to see her, but, I didn’t want the day to end. The riding was just so wonderful and enjoyable. I wanted to savor it, to ride that stretch forever because I felt after all of the hard days, here it was, a true perfect day. Everything was perfect- the sky, the riding, the temperature. It was all just so great.
Every few miles I would get off my bike, take a few pictures and start crying. I was so overcome with emotion. I was so damn proud of myself, so excited to be done, but at the same time, not excited to be done. I thought about my very first day leaving Canada with my shiny new bike, knowing absolutely nothing about bike packing and then I thought about everything that had happened since that day. I remembered everyone I had met, I remembered all of the hard moments and wonderful moments. And all of a sudden I was homesick for those places and memories. I was homesick for my story and memories on the Divide. I wanted to go back to some of those days, laugh a little harder with the friends I had made out there, stay a little longer in the towns I had resupplied in and I wanted to embrace it all more than I had. I already missed the Divide and it wasn’t truly over just yet, but, I wanted it back so badly. But, the miles kept going by, the land was so desolate and so intriguing. The tears kept falling, the memories of my journey kept racing through my head. My heart hurt, my journey was almost over. I wished I had had a partner to share all of that with. It was so hard alone, however, in the hardest moments out there, I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of, how strong I am. I was reminded of the best parts of myself and I was fortunate to learn so many new things about myself. When I reached the sign that said Mexican/US Border 2 miles, I lost it. I got off my bike and fell to the ground. I cried like a baby on the side of the highway next to my bike. After awhile I composed myself and called my friend, she was still far away. I sat there in that spot for a few hours waiting for my friend. I was happy to sit there because it meant my adventure would last a little bit longer and I could rewind the entire trip and just sit there in the desert with it all. The wind would blow hard into my eyes and the sun beat down on my skin, I didn’t care. I sat with my story of the Divide and it was one of the best times I have ever had. Those few hours seemed to allow me to get to a place where I was okay with it coming to an end.
I could see my friends truck in the distance. I was thrilled to see her. She and I agreed she’d drive to Antelope Wells at the US/Mexican Border and wait for me. It was time, it was time to finish. I got back on my bike and pedaled to Antelope Wells. I saw the sign (US/MEXICAN BORDER) and the gate and just like it was OVER! I got off my bike and set it down. I could barely breathe, I wanted to scream and cry and yell and fall over and just lose it as if I hadn’t done that enough that day 🙂 It was over! I did it. I rode my bike from Canada to Mexico. I bent down and hugged my bike, that bike had become way more than just a bike to me. My friend snapped some photos and we stayed there for awhile. I found it hard to leave. I didn’t want to leave. But I knew I had to. It was over. I really struggled with leaving though. I loaded my bike into my friend’s truck and jumped inside. It was time to go home. The Great Divide was over! Its such a bittersweet thing to finish big adventures and I am no stranger to that. But this one was so hard for me. It always takes awhile to process an accomplishment of this extent and to really learn what it meant and how it impacted your life. It is such a difficult thing to explain to others. In that sense these big adventures make you feel alone because only very few people understand them. I felt so many emotions that night- I felt pride, excitement, I felt strong, sad, and anxious about facing life back home. In only two hours, I was back in Arizona and the Divide started becoming only a memory.