Day 69: Saturday, August 3 - This morning we woke up to a beautifully sunny morning and met our West Point Military Police escorts at the gate of West Point Military Academy. Led by one New York State trooper and one mp vehicle, and with two mp vehicles in back, we crossed the Bear Mountain Bridge and pedaled down Route 9/9A through Rockland County. We paralleled the Hudson River, pedaling past Lake Welch, Piermont, Dobbs Ferry, and into Yonkers where Route 9 becomes Broadway. At 260th Street in The Bronx, a NYPD vehicle and Ira's cousin, Lt. Colonel Edward Levy, joined the escort.

From this point, our ride culminated in a once-in-a-lifetime trek. (Those who know NYC will appreciate this): With sirens and pa systems, the mp and police vehicles cleared traffic and blocked both sides of every side street all the way down NYC's Broadway from 260th Street in the Bronx to Ground Zero. The journey which typically takes 2 hours in NYC traffic took less than one hour.

We pedaled past Lincoln Center, the Ed Sullivan Theater, and right through Times Square where thousands of tourists standing at TKTS and on top of double-decker busses cheered. We pedaled past Macy's at 34th street, through Union Square at 14th Street, Astor Place in Greenwich Village, through Soho, and right into the world's financial district where we visited Ground Zero for 30 minutes.

We then proceeded to our closing ceremony, at the East Coast Memorial for Merchant Marines, in Battery Park. With the Statue of Liberty behind us, we were welcomed by The West Point Military Police Academy Honor Guard, Karen Goh from the Twin Towers Orphan Fund, Mayor Bloomberg's Sports Commissioner Kenneth Podziba, NYC's Second Battalion Fire Chief George Belnavis, and more than 100 friends, relatives, and onlookers.

Lt. Colonel Levy commanded our nation's colors; We presented Karen Goh with a check for
$54,000; we presented quilts, from Chicago's William H. Ray Elementary School, to Chief Belnavis; and among other things, the ceremony concluded when Lt. Colonel Levy commanded the retiring of our nation's colors.

Special Thank You to:
The Thayer hotel
West Point Military Academy Military Police and Honor Guard
Twin Towers Orphan Fund and TTOF Rep, Karen Goh
Fire Department City of New York
NYPD Highway Patrol Officer Christianson
Lt. Colonel Edward Levy
NY State Highway Patrol
Beth's mother and sister-in-law for the brownies and joining the escort on Aug. 3rd.
Ira's dad for picking up our banners from the Hilton Hotel in Newark
Karen Kelleher for setting up the banners in Battery Park

the team at the Thayer Gate, reunited with Rachel for the ride-in! this is a great way to see New York! West Point Cadet Color Guard
Karen Goh of the TTOF addresses the team Sports Commissioner Ken Podziba Lt. Colonel Edward Levy addresses the crowd
presenting the check presenting the quilts from the William H. Ray Elementary School remember this? the banner which traveled with us all the way from Craig, CO
  the final team picture  

Day 68: Friday, August 2 - We are finally in New York! After nearly 10 weeks on the road, we are at the Thayer Hotel on the grounds of West Point Military Academy. The team ate its final dinner together this evening, joined by Beth's mom Cathy and sister-in-law Sarah.

the last state line to cross arriving West Point victory dinner

Day 67: Thursday, August 1 - A long day in the heat today, 96 miles from Philadelphia to Newark. The route was fraught with detours, and we finally arrived hot and weary.

Pei and Mike make the best of yet another detour

Day 66: Wednesday, July 31- After a long and very traffic-intensive day, we finally arrived in Philadelphia in time to clean up and hustle ourselves over to the Lights of Liberty show. We were presented with medals and Benjamin and Betsy bears before setting out for an impressive walking tour of the historic sights of Philadelphia enhanced with audio, lighting and projection. Many thanks to the Lights of Liberty staff for the warm welcome!

9/11 team with the Lights of Liberty staff a sample of the images from the show

Day 65: Tuesday, July 30- A hot ride today! We started from the Washington Memorial and proceeded out of the DC area toward the Chesapeake Bay. We were disappointed that we were unable to ride our bikes over the bridge, but were fortunate to be met by Jason, an old and dear friend of the Levy family a few miles outside of Annapolis. He came bearing news of road construction that required us to rack the bikes a bit early, but with the addition of his vehicle, we were able to get over the 5 mile bridge without having to shuttle back and forth to get all the riders across. Thanks to Jason for saving us a great deal of time! Once across, the terrain became blessedly flat, allowing us to get to Chestertown sooner than expected and get out of the heat.

Norma models Ira's helmet! following Jason across the bridge Beth and Mike share a salute after a nice fast stretch of road

Day 64: Monday, July 29 - We arrived in our nation's capitol today after a pleasant rolling trip through Maryland. After a quick stop at the White House for a group photo, we headed to the hotel to shower and change in time to meet Ira's cousin Lt. Colonel Ed Levy for a trip to the Pentagon. We had been unable to arrange for a tour of any sort, and so were thrilled that Ed's credentials were what it took to get us past the MP's for a viewing of the crash site. The construction is nearly finished and it is hard to believe that not so long ago, an airplane had crashed into this building. We were told that the Pentagon building had been undergoing renovation to make it more resistant to just this type of attack and that the plane actually crashed into the one part of the building that had been reinforced to withstand the crash. Had the plane hit anywhere else in the bulding, the damage would have been considerably worse.

9/11 team at the White House 9/11 team a tthe Pentagon with cousin Ed Levy (2nd from right)