In order to arrive at the final destination on time, I woke up at 3:00 am and started biking at 4:00 am. At this time of day, it was pitch black outside and there were no street lights anywhere so I put on my head lamp to be able to make out the road ahead. When I first started biking down the road, I realized that the traffic wasn't as calm as I had expected it to be during these hours so I figured that the danger of not being seen by fast passing cars from behind was greater than not seeing where I was going. I made a quick stop a couple of hundred meters after starting and put my head lamp in epilepsy mode and mounted it on the back rack of my bike.
I had planned on staying on highway 1 all the way to Washington Monument and I was displeased to learn that the road had no street lights, four lanes most of the time and was mostly shoulderless. Although it was nice to ride in the early morning, the day's riding was in the most stressful and dangerous conditions I have ever ridden in. Having trouble to see the road ahead was particularly dangerous on the descents and I was unable to adjust my eyes to the darkness thanks to being blinded by the bright lights from oncoming traffic. Even after the sun rose over the horizon and the traffic increased considerably until it was heavily trafficked, the riding was bad with about 20 cm of space to the right of the white line and aggressive drivers who often honked and came dangerously close to me, even though bikes was allowed on the road and I hugged the edge of the pavement as tightly as I could.
After making a few short stops to calm myself down, I knew I was very close as I passed by the Pentagon and got my first glimpse of the monument, towering on the other side of the river. Once I got over the river I had to make a left turn over 3 lanes with a constant flow of high speed traffic, but I gave it up and went for the next exit to the right instead. After improvising by going through a tunnel, I found my way to Washington Monument at around 10:00 am, where I met a familiar face. My girlfriend had flown in from Norway and was there waiting in the shadows of the trees in the park with the mighty monument in the background. The feeling of reaching my goal after having been on the road for two months and having someone to share the moment with, was such an amazing feeling that i struggle hard to find words to describe this feeling. It was unlike anything I had experienced in my life. It was still surreal to me that I had in two months crossed the width of the continent on my bicycle, seen so many, so different places and met so many wonderful people. It was hard to grasp the full magnitude of the moment, but I expect it to be a process over the next few days, or even weeks.
After receiving a Trans America cycling jersey and taking pictures, we made our way to the nice hotel a few blocks up the street from the White House. We spent the rest of the day catching up on the last two months of being apart and went out for dinner later.