Final thoughts.....

I arrived home at 5:00 in the evening on Sunday. Monday I went back to work. This plan was a mistake; I should have taken a day to decompress, so to speak, before returning to the real world.

And there was so much 'real world' to catch up on. 300 emails, piles of mail and magazines, projects at work and home..... I needed to reorient myself to even 'normal' activities. Driving felt odd for about a minute when I got behind the wheel for the first time in more than two weeks, for instance. And it felt really strange to wear pants - I missed living in shorts while on tour.

As for the tour itself, there are several things I'll do differently next time:

- bring less and lighter gear. It's time I start considering lighter stuff. While my tent and sleeping bag aren't that heavy, I could invest in lighter items that pack smaller.

- bring a lighter rider. My weight was a drag in every sense of the word. Had I been closer to my low of 242 from July 2007 I'd have had a more comfortable ride and have been faster.

- spend more time training. I didn't do any overnight tours before I left for "the big one." I had saddle problems that could have been avoided or lessened had I known of them before I set out.

- spend more time on the road. With the sun setting as late as it did, I had plenty of time to get to a campsite or hotel. No need to hurry, too much to see.

- plan more carefully. The final day in particular was plotted too carelessly. What did I think by going through Wilmington? Heading straight north would have been hillier perhaps, but shorter and more scenic. And my miscalculation of the mileage for the final day was a mistake five minutes thought should have revealed.

- cook at the campsite more often. I only cooked twice on tour. Had I done more of it I'd have spent less on food. After all, why am I lugging around the stove and pot if I'm not cooking?

That said, even flawed as my planning and execution were, I had a great time, and I look forward to my next ride or tour in Delmarva.