Day 1: Sendoff, June 9th 2019

June 9th, North Route 2019
Today was the day we have been looking forward to for months now. It was our last day at the hostel in the beautiful Marin Headlands which also meant the last time we have beds for a couple days. However, that was a clear afterthought as the realization that we would ride across the infamous Golden Gate Bridge this morning kicked in. Waking up, and getting ready you could tell there was a different energy amidst the team. We headed South to the city and ate breakfast on the other side of the bridge at the visitor center for the historic landmark. We ate a lovely breakfast of bagels with peanut butter and assorted pastries while we said our final goodbyes to our loving family members. As we left to make our way across the bridge, we got into single file line on the bikes as we enjoyed the breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay Area. The weather was abnormally warm with clear skies for the early morning and that just added to the experience. The ride itself was one full of climbs that was separated by a very nice lunch sponsored by a previous pi alpha named Troy. The 70 mile ride from San Francisco to Napa proved to be a learning experience for the team as a whole as communication, planning, and an overall lack of urgency led to mistakes but we learned from it and we will do better going forward. It was an extremely hot day that got to a blistering 95 degrees throughout the beautiful Napa valley vineyards. Because there were mistakes, we were forced to rush to get ready for the friendship visit. The visit itself was an amazing experience. It was at a local park with fields, jungle gyms, and a large picnic area shaded by trees where the majority of the event was held. The group was fresh off the culmination of their softball season so they were all very excited to tell us their stories from their seasons, the ups and downs, and their other experiences through the organization. We tossed footballs, got challenged to foot races (and lost), and laughed with our new friends. The food was a thing of beauty, with just everything we were craving from burgers to fresh fruit, pastas, to potato chips. It was just a little slice of heaven to top off our unforgettable sendoff for this amazing journey. We are all excited to continue to grow as a team and become a cohesive unit that steamrolls across the US, while impacting lives as we go.

-Mark Roberts, Delta Alpha, Virginia Tech