Day 29: Ft. Pierce — Jupiter (49.3 miles)

I picked my grandpa’s place in Jupiter as a finish point for a couple reasons. I was living here (temporarily as a retiree myself) when I first had the idea for the trip. Also, my family has been coming here (usually for spring break) for longer than I can remember. It’s a special place.

When we would come down as a family, it involved a through-the-night drive from Cleveland. My grandpa’s complex has four tall buildings and one squat one (he’s in the latter). A couple miles out, we can see the tops of the four tall ones, and that’s when everything hits us: the drive is almost over, vacation is about to begin, we’re nearly there. 3–4 miles from finishing my personal journey, and approaching from the north instead of the west, I saw the same four tops today. That moment hit me harder than actually coming to a stop and walking in the door.

Along the way today there were a couple other things, like a nice stretch north of Hobe Sound on white cement over white sand (photo). And after my building-tops moment but still three miles out, I passed a bench between the road and the beach where I skated to three years ago, seeing if my then-new idea had any legs. From that bench to the finish line, I got to retrace those miles exactly (even though the ECG would’ve had me go a more direct way). I could remember how scary the hill was, how nervous I was going on the shoulder of US 1 even for an instant. All that seemed like everyday happenings this time. (To be fair, I was wearing flip flops like an idiot the first time.)

I don’t feel any different, mentally or physically, beyond the obvious aches that come after a day of repetitive motions. This is the ultimate cliché, but it all went by so fast. For sure, this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done, and maybe it doesn’t need to be any more than that.

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