Kathy Scourby – October 9, 2009

Day 5 – 74 miles.
 
Today, our last day on the tour, was for me, a day of very conflicting emotions.  After such a long week, like most of us, I was ready to not have to sit on my bike seat for one more minute!  On the other hand, after having spent five days bonding with some of the greatest people ever, I was reluctant for this adventure to end. 
 
We started the day early, but at least it was daylight.  We left Columbia under full police escort and rode approximately 12 miles to our first celebration of the morning in a parking lot near a Bruster’s ice cream store.  As we neared this celebration and rode over the rise of a hill, we could see tons of people ready to welcome us and cheer us in.  With my emotions right on the edge anyway, this celebration, with local dignitaries, agency people and lots of children,  just brought home the real reason all of us (riders and support crew) have invested so much of our time and energy this week.  I spent much of my time during the 45 minutes of this celebration talking to a little girl aged 12, who reminded me so much of my own daughter at that age with blond hair and freckles.  She was with a foster family and was hoping to be adopted by the end of this month.  She was precious and I just wanted to put her on the back of my bike and bring her home with me.  She kept thanking me for riding through the state for children like her!
 
After we left the Columbia celebration, we rode to Leipers Fork, TN, the home of several country stars like Wynonna Judd, Alan Jackson and Brooks and Dunn. Beyond a doubt, these were the most beautiful roads to ride on and some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen in this part of the country.  Vast rolling green hills and acres of farmland as far as you could see.  At this point in the ride, it was still sunny, but the black clouds were rolling in and we knew the rain was coming.  Today’s ride was all about pace lines again….today we called ourselves the “love train”! :)
 
At Leipers Fork, we ate lunch at Puckett’s Cafe, a legend in this little town.  The food was excellent and they seemed to have no problem catering to over 100 people!!  It was there we heard that we were under a tornado watch and as the rain started, we decided to wait it out for a while. After about 30 minutes the rain stopped so we all started out on the wet roads in three groups so the troopers could keep track of us and keep us safe.  Unfortunately, the storm started again and we ended up riding into Nashville (approximately 30 miles) in drenching rain.  Cycling under good weather conditions can be dangerous, but in rain, on wet, slick roads in traffic can be treacherous.  It took everyone’s intense focus and concentration to ride carefully, but fortunately, we all made it to Nashville safely.  The last 15 miles were under full police escort and included several other police from Nashville.  As I had remembered from last year, the ride into downtown Nashville to Bicentennial park with the police sirens blaring, the traffic stopped on the road so that we could ride through and people waving and cheering on the streets, made us all feel like rock stars!
 
We arrived at Bicentennial park to the end of our journey and the welcoming arms of family and friends (for those who live in Nashville) and a final celebration.  It was very difficult to then have to say goodbye to this wonderful group of people who, in the space of 5 days have become some of my new best friends.  Those of us who live in Knoxville got in a van and drove home, arriving home weary, bone-tired, but very proud of ourselves, especially since we heard at lunchtime that we had reached our goal of finding over 100 families who are interested in adopting a child.  What an accomplishment!!
 
The highlights of this adoption tour for me are many….but those that stand out include the visit to Jasper Elementary school on Wednesday…to see hundreds of elementary school kids screaming and cheering us in to their school was incredible.  The climb up Mont Eagle, which for all of us was an incredible accomplishment; the celebration in Columbia today and the dedication of all the riders to this cause are the ones that really stand out for me.
 
To Pam Wolf, Jesse O’Hatnick, the folks at Harmony and everyone else in charge of coordinating this Adoption Tour, I thank you and am very grateful to have been a part of this year’s tour.  To all the support crew, thank you for taking such good care of me and all the other riders.  To the THP troopers, thank you for all your hard work protecting us, keeping us safe and keeping us laughing with you all week.  To my fellow riders, I am so proud of all of us in accomplishing our goal, not only in our endurance challenge, but in achieving our adoption awareness goal.  To everyone: you all ROCK !!!

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