As my time with Jessica was finishing up, I started thinking of what I’d do next. The plan was to continue South to Ecuador, maybe even Peru. But that was a lot of mountain, and I wasn’t really pumped about it. After 6 months of cycling, it was all becoming the same. A new place wasn’t all that exciting anymore.
I looked at return flights to the US from Bogota and compared it against leaving from other major cities that I might be passing through, like Quito and Lima. One-way flights from other South American cities were ~$500. But I found flights from Bogota to Orlando on Jetblue for $80!! And this was a flight that was only a week away. That’s the bargain basement price of Destiny.
It was a relief to know my trip was over. I’d had enough.
Getting a cardboard bike box in Bogota was harder than I thought. I went to the Bicycle Shop part of town (that’s how Bogota was set up — all the shops of a certain type were in one part of town), and asked for a box at every store, but nobody had one, or they were too stingy with their boxes. In the US, bike shops want to give them away. One store had a box that was fit for a smaller bike and they wanted to charge me for it. An option of one choice. Then I had to walk it back a couple miles to the hostel.
Jetblue charged me for bringing the boxed bike. I think it was $50.
On September 1, 2009, I flew into Orlando, back to the US. My mom lives in Tampa and my plan was to surprise her, so I didn’t tell her I was coming back. So, my ride out of the airport was my bike. I had to put it back together.
I got a pretty good amount of attention for re-assembling my bike by baggage claim, but not many people asked what I was doing; mostly just stares. One couple, who were in town to visit Disney World, asked where I had biked to. I told them Colombia. “Columbia, South Carolina!”