Monthly Archives: June 2009

Woman Rides over 3600 Miles Across America To Support Our Military‏-June 29th Update

Jeannie on the  Road

Jeannie on the Road

Hello everyone!  This is our 8th day.  We did 65 miles today, from Ontario, OR to Boise, ID.  We passed into Idaho today, which was really awesome, that was just shortly after we left our hotel.  We got onto Route 30 and crossed the state line into Idaho at the town of Fruitland.  It was a nice peaceful ride out, not bad at all.  Once again we saw a lot of railroad tracks, a lot of cattle and fields with lots of beautiful horses.  Our first stop was at 32 miles, a good little stop at a large Shell gas station with enough room to have our stuff off to the side.  The weather has been really hot today, started off in the 60s and now around 91.  It’s been a hot ride and we’ve had to be sure that we’re drinking a lot and that we eat enough for energy in the heat.

It’s been a really good ride today, and I have to say, breathing a real sigh of relief and a sigh of joy.  After riding 8 days solid, we will finally get a day off tomorrow, which I’m really looking forward to.   Coming into Boise, after some of the desolate areas we’ve seen, it was really interesting to start seeing the groomed lawns and the estates and the townhomes and condominiums.  Really beautiful golf courses and groomed grass, I smelled fresh-cut grass today, which I haven’t smelled since I left home.  So that’s been really, really nice.

Just before we got in to our hotel at the Courtyard Marriott in Boise, we stopped off at a little café on the side for all of us to get something to eat.  The service was extremely slow, but it was still nice to just relax and rest and visit with everybody.  I talked with different people there and gave out the OLT cards and talked to them about our troops.  I talked to some technicians that work with doctors in the hospitals around here, talked to some women who were coming in to pick up one of their moms who has had some chemotherapy for cancer who lives about an hour out.  Nice, nice people that I’m meeting along the way, genuinely interested in seeing us riding across America.  It’s all been really positive.

It’s almost 4 o’clock.  We have what we call mechanics, which is going over anything on our bicycles, checking anything out that might need to be fixed or changed.  So far I’ve really been fortunate, I just had to have a valve changed because it got bent when I was filling some air, so they changed the tube with a valve for me.  So far I haven’t had any flats, and I’m really thankful for that, very safe travel.  I’m really watching the road, really being very careful.  Today the people I was riding with were riding really, really fast, so I was kind of pushing it today.  I got a true workout today, really “hauling it,” as we would say!

I won’t be doing every day like I did today, but it’s nice to know that I’m that strong.  I was kind of riding in the lead of all the women today, was always kind of a step ahead of everybody.  There are 11 women on the trip, and all are basically pretty good riders, but most of the time I happened to be more in the front for women.  So I guess I’m riding pretty strong, which is really nice to know.

I’m thankful to all of you out there, and I hope everyone following this that you’ll rally your friends and neighbors and relatives, because by you getting the word out for people to know about Operation Life Transformed and send in pledges, it really makes a big difference.  It definitely makes my ride worthwhile.  I’m enjoying this, but it still is a lot of work, riding all the time, it definitely is wearing, but it’s very exciting.  I really do appreciate your pledges, for any of you out there who are pledging for our troops and for their wives and families.  I really want to thank you with all my heart, I really appreciate what you’re doing.  I appreciate you trusting in my abilities and pledging for what I’m doing.

I have tomorrow off, but I’ll still call in and let you know at the end of the day some of the sights I’m going to be seeing.  I’m not really sure yet, I’m going to be checking with some of the other cyclists to see what I’m going to be doing.

God bless you all, and God bless America!



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Jeannie Benton’s Ride Across America for Military and OLT June 28th Update

Jeannie wearing her OLT Jersey! (2)

Hello everyone!  I am now in Baker City, OR.  We are only at 2153 feet of elevation.  Today is Day 7, and it has been a beautiful, beautiful Sunday, a peaceful day, a quiet day, surprisingly enough.  I thought it was going to be a really tough day because we had to get on the interstate highway, and I was a little bit nervous about that.  But it turned out, because it’s Sunday, there was less traffic and it was beautiful weather.  We started out with fairly warm weather, I believe it was in the upper 50s, then it warmed up to the 90s, really, really hot today.  That made it a little bit tough, but I can honestly say that today was not a hard ride.  It was the easiest ride that we’ve had since the beginning of the trip, because we didn’t have to do much climbing.  We went 84 miles minus 7 miles, because we were on Route 7 and then Route 30 East, and we had to be shuttled for a small section over to the other part of the highway because there was highway construction and there was not a way for us to be able to ride our bikes on that section of the road.  It was too broken up and under construction.  So we did miss that little part.

I can tell you an exciting thing today.  We were going along the railroad along Route 30.  It was a slight downhill but we still had to pedal.  Because of the low-grade slope and the way that the road meandered parallel to the railroad tracks, we were riding the wind today.  It was absolutely beautiful.  For the first time in my life I went 30 mph consistently for almost 30 miles; I’ve never done that before!  It was really exciting.  I was really in the groove, I really was feeling very strong today.  I can tell that I’ve strengthened a lot on this trip from doing all the climbing, so my legs are just really ready to roll.  I just sailed through!

We got to the little town of Huntington, at the 46-mile mark, and we had a lunch at this little café/deli place, which was really nice.  We fueled up and went on to do our 84 miles.  It was a beautiful day today.  I’m very grateful that we were all safe, that’s always a great blessing.

We are headed to Boise, ID tomorrow, which is what we’ve all been waiting for, because tomorrow after we ride to Boise we actually have a rest day.  After tomorrow we will not be riding the next day, and that will be fun for all of us.  Some of us need to get a few cycling things.  I need to get some new gloves with some gel in them, because my hands keep on going numb and keep on falling asleep.  Also after I’ve done about 50 miles my feet get kind of numb, so I need to find some kind of sole support or something I can put in my shoes that will make it a little bit more comfortable, they tell me.  Those are a few things I’m looking for.

I want to say the truckers are definitely being nicer on the road, for the most part.  It was great seeing the cattle and horses and miles and miles of railroad track and the prairies.  We started going along a river that looked more like a lake, the Snake River, for part of our trip, which was actually very pretty.  We looked down over a whole wide section and saw a lot of people fishing, I guess for catfish.  People come from all over to go cat fishing here, so we met a lot of fisherman and families vacationing to go fishing.   To Danny, my brother-in-law, that should excite you!

I hope all is well with everybody out there, family and friends.  It’s really incredible that I’ve done a week of riding, and still all of us are loving being together.  We’ve got a great crew, the food again has been really good, the weather has been perfect, we couldn’t ask for anything more.  Several people do get flats within a day, but we all have our tubes and everyone has their equipment to be able to fix their flats.  So there isn’t anything that’s happened that’s been really difficult in any way as far as any problems.  Everybody has been pretty healthy and we’re all doing well.

I want to thank you again and hope that you all had a blessed Sunday today.  As I was riding I was saying my prayers and just thanking God for the great blessing for me being able to do this physically and that there’s this time in my life that I’m able to do this at this age.

I’ll be talking to you all tomorrow as we head into Boise.  It’s only about 67 miles tomorrow, which now mileage in the 60s sounds like a cinch!  But we still always have to be really, really careful for debris; there was a lot of debris on the side of the interstate, which is why it’s so easy to get flats.  We have to really watch where we’re riding all the time and being really careful of all the cyclists around you, always paying attention and always being on.  That’s something that I never will take for granted, we all always have to be careful.

Thank you so much, God bless you all, and God bless America.

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Jeannie Benton’s Ride Across America for Military and OLT June 27th Update

Jeannie wearing her OLT Jersey! (2)

Hello to everyone out there today!  We are on Day 6, leaving from John Day, OR and heading to Baker City, which is 81 miles away.  We started off with a cool morning today, about 45 degrees, it was chilly.  We started off again getting up at 5, stuff on the trucks by 5:45 and breakfast at 6, heading out about 6:30 or 6:45 this morning.  It was a nice, smooth, very peaceful, quiet morning as we rode out for about 12 miles.  It was a prairie area; we went through the town of Prairie City.  Very picturesque, really sweet, the quietness was really nice, hearing all the birds and seeing the cattle.  It was really very peaceful, a nice time.

Then we started climbing, climbing, climbing, climbing.  We had a really nice photo op in an area that had a nice view that looked out over some mountain ranges; I think they were called the Strawberry Mountain ranges.  There was a covered wagon there.  You’re going to see some of those pictures that we took that were really nice.   That was kind of the beginning of a very long climb again.  We climbed up to Dixie Mount Summit, which is 5277 feet above sea level, which was a hike again.  We had a very nice SAG stop near a little restaurant where we had a delicious blackberry cobbler that they made homemade, and they made sure they made extra, knowing that we were coming.  That was very welcomed.

Then we continued to climb, climb, climb, and even though we climbed to 5124 feet, we had gone downhill for a while and climbed back up again.  So I can honestly say again that the downhills today were probably my favorite.  Yesterday they were my favorite and today was even more my favorite, because the roads were smooth, little traffic on the route.  We were on Route 26 all yesterday; today we were on 26 and moved later on onto Route 7.  Route 26 is a very nice route going across Oregon.

It was a very nice ride.  We had another SAG stop that was near a very pretty facility that looked out over some water, which was very nice.  Still, doing 81 miles after doing 117 yesterday was pretty challenging.  But we’re all doing it and we’re all thankful that everyone is safe.  It was a very nice day today.  The weather warmed up to the 80s.  We really have had wonderful weather, very thankful for that.

I’ve been particularly thinking of moms who are home with their kids and people who are out there whose lives didn’t turn out the way they’d planned.  You may be doing things in real drudgery and a lot of work and no one really noticing what you’re doing and no one really giving you much thanks or praise for what you do.  You might be a little bit lonely and you might be wondering if your life is really going anywhere.  I was particularly thinking of people in that category today and I was praying for you that you’d really be lifted up and that you’d be encouraged, and that you would know that I’ve been there and I really understand that time.  A lot of times we do things when nobody is noticing, but I can tell you that God notices and I can tell you that I’ve been thinking of you and just wanted you to know that my thoughts and prayers were with you today.  You do matter.  Life does have some hard twists and turns.  As I was cranking up the hills, I was thinking how there was just no way sometimes that we could go any faster than 5 mph for a long, long time going up hills.  Sometimes our lives kind of feel like we’re going no where.  But you know what, you are going somewhere.  I never would have dreamed that I’d ever be doing this trip, and there were times when there were really tough days to even get through an hour.  I can tell you right now that here I am, never would have dreamed that it would be like this.  I have never been so happy and thrilled that I’m alive, that I’m succeeding at a goal that I just dreamed of.  So start dreaming, start thinking of some things that you want to do in your life, and start putting little plans in place to make it happen.  You might have some setbacks, but if you keep on moving toward that goal, one day it’s going to happen.  For me, every day it’s just getting out on the road and being safe and watching out for what I need to watch out for.  Yes, I’m having some fun, but it’s also a lot of work.  But you know what, it’s just one day at a time, one pedal stroke at a time, and we get to our destination.

I’m thinking of you men out there who are fighting for us and keeping our country free.  I know I keep saying that, but we would not have this beautiful America if it weren’t for our forefathers, if it weren’t for brave people, brave men and women and people who were willing to do the hard stuff, the stuff that it takes to get things done and the stuff that it takes to keep our country going.  I’m seeing a lot of farmland and I’m really thanking God for all of the fruits of their labors.  Thank you to you farmers out there, and to everyone who is doing the daily grind, the truckers who are shipping the stuff everywhere it has to go, the railroad people.  I’m seeing a lot of the blue-collar workers, the ones who are the substance of our country.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I really am proud to be an American.   As thrilling as this is, it’s also really emotional, and I’m just overwhelmed with the beauty of our country and the opportunities that we have.

So everyone who is having a tough spot, just know that in one more minute something could be better, in five more minutes something could be that much better, in another day, in another month, in the months to come, in another year.   Your life can take turns that you never dreamed of, and life can get so much better for you.  When you’re hitting those hard spots, just remember, there are people out there who care.  If you don’t know of anybody who cares about you, just know that I’m somebody who doesn’t know you but I care about you.  Just remember that and don’t give up, keep on fighting the fight and keep on walking the walk and doing the battle.  That’s what it takes, and you’re going to make it.

Tomorrow we head out to Ontario.  We have 84 miles to do tomorrow.  We’re going to be climbing just a little bit tomorrow in the beginning of the day.  The rest of it, what will be difficult about it is there will be a lot more traffic than we’re even used to, and we’ll just have to be very, very careful of the road conditions with those runner things that go along the road that can give us flats and give us a lot of danger.   But we’ll make it, 84 miles, and it should be interesting tomorrow.

Thank you, and my love goes out to all of you out there, my friends and family.  My dad is recovering better and better every day, he’s definitely getting stronger and doing well from his surgery.  It’s good to be with the people here.  Every day that we’re alive is a good day.   God bless you, and God bless America.


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Jeannie Benton’s Ride Across America for Military and OLT June 26th Update

Jeannie wearing her OLT Jersey! (2)

Hello everyone!  It has been a wonderful and also challenging day today.  We went 117 miles, which is the longest I’ve ever done in one day.  We left from Prineville and headed to John Day, OR.  We reached up to 3083 feet of elevation, so we’re still climbing.  We had an early start as usual.  I woke up at 5 and we had to have all of our stuff in the truck by 5:45 and set up for breakfast at 6.  Because we had a sit-down breakfast today, we sort of had to wait a little bit for breakfast, so we didn’t finish until 6:30 and got on the road at 6:45.  It started off again cool, about 48 degrees, so we’re kind of layered in clothes in the beginning.

I was headed out with a group, Ken, Tom, Ted and Pam for about 20 miles, and I kind of hit a wall at 20 miles.  I just couldn’t keep pace with them, I was too tired.  So I kind of slowed back and took the next 10 miles by myself.  It was a beautiful little ride by myself through some beautiful trees and some fairly flat land, although there were some headwinds that were kind of hard to ride into by myself.  But it was a pretty ride and I just enjoyed the solitude this morning and had some time to just be thankful for all the blessings that I have.

When I arrived at the first SAG stop, which was in Snow Park, OR, I met up with some other people, Cindy and Russ from Arizona and their friend Bill, and I rode the rest of the day with them.  They had a wonderful pace that I could keep up with, and we actually increased our energy level and did better and better as the ride went on, so that was really helpful.

I can say this, we’re still climbing, which is work, but the climbing is getting better because we’re all getting stronger.  All the views have been gorgeous, but today it was exceptionally nice because we had smoother roads and the downhill was not as severe in the way of a lot of wind as we were going down.  So the downhills were more enjoyable today with smoother roads and less traffic.  Today was actually my favorite day in the way of enjoying the downhills more than some of the other days.  There was one stretch that was just a beautiful slope where we could go like 22 mph, which was just totally comfortable without having to brake.  It was just a lovely, lovely, lovely, beautiful view, no traffic, smooth road, perfect air with just a beautiful comfort level riding downhill.  It was my favorite so far out of all five days.  That was just really sweet, and it was probably for about four or five miles.  It was really welcomed after all the climbing that we’ve done today and some of the other days.

The trucks were a little bit better today, we only had one mean trucker who just blew at us as he rode by for no reason at all.  The other truckers were very kind and I’m very thankful for that, most of the truckers were really nice today.

We had our first stop, as I said, at the 30-mile mark, and our second stop was at 65 miles, just kind of a little spot that they pulled us off, I don’t know which town it was in actually.  Then we had another stop at 85 miles and then we came into John Day after 117 miles.

So a successful day.  I had a wonderful time riding with some of the other people who were really wonderful once again on the trip.   When we got in we were all pretty tired.  I needed to shower and get something to eat, then I needed to get over to the store and get a few things at the little pharmacy market.   I came back and needed to clean my bike.  We had our rap time, which went really well, talking about tomorrow.  We’re heading to Baker City tomorrow, going 81 miles, still climbing.  They tell us again that we’re going to have some really pretty views.

Today one of the other blessings was that we had beautiful, beautiful weather.  It went from the cool morning into the 70s and into the 80s.  In fact, at some points during some of the climbs it was a bit warm, but still nice to have the warm air and cool breeze, beautiful blue skies.  It was just picturesque like what you see in a postcard, just unbelievable.  They’re just mammoth and it’s amazing how gorgeous it is.  We heard lots of beautiful brooks today, rushing waters of rivers and streams and brooks.  We saw cattle today with lots of little baby calves, which were just gorgeous little baby dolls, so cute!  We saw a lot of irrigation, miles and miles of the irrigation machinery, looks like big widespread arms with sprayers.  Lots of farmland.  It’s really beautiful to see Oregon.  We’ve spent a lot of days going through Oregon, I’m not sure but I think tomorrow’s our last day in Oregon.  I think the next day we switch over into Idaho.

Again it’s been a great blessing, certainly a real challenge to do this much mileage, but it’s really been great.  Again the staff has been great.

I’m sorry I haven’t sent any pictures yet.  I had problems with my camera today.  I put new batteries in but still it wasn’t working really well, so I’m going to borrow some pictures from some other people and download them to get them off to you so you can see some pictures.  I really want you to see some of the beautiful landscapes.

Last night when we were at the hotel, someone from the newspaper came and we had another press time, so I talked with him last night for about 15 minutes right after our rap time.  I gave him information about OLT and told him to go online.  I answered the questions he had for me and he had some questions for a few of the other people that are fundraising.  He was very nice and said he would get it out in the paper.  So far this is the third press person that I’ve talked with, so I know that in the towns as we’re going through the word is definitely getting out about OLT, so that’s all good news.   I’ve seen people at rest stops, some different places, some stores that we’ve gone into.  I’m always enjoying talking to the local people and finding out what their lives are like and giving them the cards and information on OLT, and they’re always really happy to hear that I’m fundraising for our troops.

So it’s all good.  I hope you all are enjoying your summer.  It’s been great summer weather out here.  We’ve actually had perfect weather days for five days in a row, this is really an incredible blessing and all of us on the trip are extremely thankful for that.

My bike is holding up great.  Lots of people have had flats, but I haven’t had one flat, so I’m really thankful for that, I know that’s a big deal.  This bike that I have is seven years old and it’s just been a little dream for me.  I just really love my bike.  I’m praying that we all stay safe and that my bike will keep holding up.  I just keep checking things and making sure that they’re fixed.  I’ve had little things that have had to be tweaked and fixed for me, but nothing major.  So everything is going good with that.

Thank you all for keeping me in your prayers.  Again, I’m just incredibly grateful for my dad and his successful surgery.  I also just want to get the word out there that I’m really thankful for my boyfriend who met my parents down there before the surgery and spent the day with some of the relatives that were there with my mom and dad.  He prayed for them and prayed afterwards in rejoicing that everything was so successful.  We just continue to pray for his speedy recovery and continued success with the surgery.

My love to all.  Thank you to everyone.  I hope everyone back in Bedford, my hometown, is doing well.  I’m looking forward to seeing my friends in Wisconsin and my parents when we go through Liverpool, NY, and hopefully some of my friends from high school.  We’ve got lots to look forward to.   I want to say thanks again for this wonderful opportunity.  I am tired and I am thankful, so I guess that’s like life, there’s a real mix of the whole thing.  Tomorrow is 81 miles and I’ve got to get to bed.  It’s a quarter of 10 our time, and I’ll be getting up at 5 o’clock again tomorrow.   It was a 10-hour ride on the bike, with the stops that we made, which we all needed to make to fuel and eat and rest a bit.  Different times we had to stop and go to the bathroom or take off jackets or whatever as the weather got warmer.  All that stuff takes time.

Take care, and God bless America.

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Jeannie Benton’s Ride Across America for Military and OLT June 25th Update

America By Bike Group Photo- Astoria, Oregon

America By Bike Group Photo- Astoria, Oregon

Hello to everybody out there!  I have arrived in Prineville, OR.   We are at 2868 feet elevation, from last night when we were at 1038 feet; we did some more significant climbing today.

But before I share with you about my ride today, I want to tell you how incredibly grateful I am for all of you out there who prayed for my dad.  He had his surgery today with Dr. Steiffelman from New York University Medical Center, and he had a most, most significant victory in his operation today.  They were able to get all of the cancer out of his kidney and they were able to save two-thirds of his kidney, which is really amazing.  They went in robotically to take out the cancer and it was extremely successful.   I want to thank everyone who prayed for my dad and mom and all of our family, on behalf of all of them I just want to say thank you so much, it meant everything to me.

For our ride today, we started off a little bit after 7 again from Kahneeta and heading towards Prineville, which is where we are now.   We did have some climbing again today, not quite as much as yesterday, but still plenty of climbing.  I can tell you on my first mountain, I was having a lot of trouble breathing.  I was really huffing and puffing and not doing very well, wondering how in the world I was going to do the rest of my ride.  My legs were really pretty tight, my muscles were sore, and I really could not envision how I was going to get through the rest of the day.  So I just kind of gave that up to God and trusted that I was going to do the best that I could do with His help.  About half an hour down the road of just kind of hard riding, my lung capacity just opened up and I was just completely a different person.  I was able to breathe really, really well and ride incredibly strong.  I got stronger and stronger as the ride went on.  I really ended today the strongest I’ve ever felt in riding my bike, ever, which I’m really, really grateful for.  Thank you all for your encouragement and your thoughts and prayers for me, it really means a lot to me.

One of the scariest things that happened to me today was when we were going up one of those “cliff climbs,” I call them.  It’s where we’re on the highway and we’re going up those things that you see in pictures that are like you’re going up these rounded cliffs where there’s just a guardrail and it just drops off with all kinds of nothingness below with rocks.  It’s really astounding to see but I feel like a little teeny ant in this world climbing up these huge mountains.  A very mean trucker went by and I felt like he was going to slice my skin, he was so close to me.  It scared me so much, I though I was going to die right there in the road, he came so close.  Went he went on up and I saw that he was in the right lane and he could have been in the left lane because there were no cars in the left lane, it was very, very upsetting to see how mean that was for a trucker to do that.  I was very, very angry with him.  I had some real choice words for him, but then I quickly decided to forgive him.  I have to tell you that nothing yet has empowered me as much as that, because as soon as I forgave him I really sensed inside of me an incredible amount of adrenaline, it empowered me.  The whole rest of the ride, as I say, I’ve never ridden stronger.  It just gave me a sense of real power and strength on the road, and a bad thing turned into something really, really good.  I can say that was used to my benefit, it was a blessing in disguise.

So I do want to say to you truckers out there, if you ever would be watching this website or paying any attention, when you see cyclists on the road, please get over as much as you can and don’t go by us as fast as you possibly can, because it’s a wave of air and it just feels like we’re going to fall right over; maybe not as much for the men, but definitely for us women.  It’s very, very scary.  I can say this, whatever company out there that the initials on their trucks are CSX, I have an incredible amount of respect for you because I don’t know which trucker it was today, but he got way over, he went slow when he approached us, and we all gave him the thumbs up.  He was the best trucker we’ve encountered in four days that went by us.  I just want to say thank you to your organization, you are mighty fine and you should be really proud of yourselves for the respect that you have for cyclists on the road.  Thank you very much!

Another thing I want to say about our route today, we had a SAG stop at the 31-mile mark at a small park, and I’m happy to tell you, OLT, that we got some great press coverage at the park.  They interviewed a bunch of us and took pictures of us.  One of the interviewers particularly was very, very happy to see that I was fundraising for our men and women that are deployed and for their families, because she has lots of people in her family that are military.  She took my card and she took an additional picture of me with my OLT shirt that I have on today, and she took a picture of me with some of the other buddies that I ride with.  She really thanked me and thanked all of us with OLT, and I believe that we’re going to get really good press coverage for that today.  So, hey, that is great, great, great!  I was very thankful for that.

The rest of the mileage from 31 miles up until we finished at 61 miles was really good.  About 10 miles before we got in today, my little clicker on the left side of my bike for changing my rings stopped working, which could have been really difficult because I had to keep it in the middle ring.  I couldn’t get it down to the lower ring or the upper ring, which gives me more power, I just had to stay in the middle ring.  Fortunately most of our riding for the rest of those 10 miles was downhill, so that was a real blessing for me too.  So I’m going to have my bike checked for that and get that in gear again.  It couldn’t have really happened at a better time if it was going to happen.

All is well.  I give my love to everyone out there, and I know you’re out there, so it’s really exciting.  I’m very, very glad to have finished the fourth day.  We’re all really grateful as a group of riders that we’re all safe and we’re all doing really well.  I know that God is definitely watching over us.

Tomorrow is a very, very big day.  I have to find out which city we’re going into, but I just know that we are going 117 miles tomorrow, which will be our longest day yet.  I guess it’s not as much climbing and it’s a good time with a lot of flats to catch some mileage tomorrow.

So I’m signing off from Prineville, OR.  Thank you all, it’s been a pleasure.  Take care, God bless you all, and God bless America.

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Jeannie Benton’s Ride Across America for Military and OLT June 24th Update

Group with Oregon Mt View

Group with Oregon Mt View

Hi everyone!  I’m calling from Kahneeta, OR, which is at 1038 feet elevation.  We started out of Welches this morning.  We had our stuff on the truck at 6:15 and had some breakfast.  We started with a 14-mile climb, which was very, very long.  I can honestly say this is the hardest 66 miles that I’ve done in one day.  It was the most beautiful, the most difficult, and in parts the scariest ride that I’ve ever done in one day.

We started off at 48 degrees and climbed the 14 miles, had a SAG stop which was very necessary, then we continued on, going up and down roads.  Those rides down were really nice!  I can honestly say when we went down, the roads were in good condition and I had two descents down that were really sweet.  I got up to about 38 mph, and that’s about as fast as I wanted to go.  It was just really, really lovely going down.  Then we had some more ascents, more climbing.  We reached an area that switched into real desert land and it became very, very, very hot, 80-plus degree weather, climbing some really, really difficult elevations again.  That part was very difficult and trying for me at times.  Sometimes I was just going 4 mph up the hill, one stroke at a time, sometimes 8 mph, sometimes 10 mph, and sometimes 15 mph.  I was able to draft with some friends, some guys that kind of watched out for me, Ken and Tom and Ted.  At times I met up with Sylvia and Annie and different women.  There are 11 women out of 50 riders on this ride, and we’re all doing it, so that’s really exciting.  It was a real victory to make it today.

When we were going across the desert land, the rock formations were absolutely gorgeous, huge red rock boulders with the mountain ranges, the Three Sisters, I think, with Mt. Hood and some of the other mountain ranges where you could see the snow peaks.  I got some gorgeous pictures today.  Some of the views were really breathtaking.

On the way down, when we did a little descending again, we had some switchbacks back and forth on the road, which were a little bit scary.  I had to keep braking, which it’s really kind of hard to keep braking with my hands, they sort of kept falling asleep and tingling because it was so hard to keep gripping to brake and not go any faster than 35 mph.  The wind would catch me and it would feel like I was just going to be taken away!  So it was really pretty scary, pretty intense on some of the switchbacks coming down.  After coming down we had to climb back up again in an area to get up to our resort spot where we are.  This is an Indian territory which is really beautiful but really hot and very desolate except for where the hotels are.

I just want to say I’m very thankful for a safe ride, that my bike is doing well, I’m doing well.  I’m very grateful again for this group that I’m riding with, they’re taking care of us wonderfully and it’s really been a delight to be with them and the people that are on the ride.  I just want to say thank you to all of you out there who are encouraging and following me.  A lot of the new people whom I’ve given cards to, I hope when you’re following that you pledge.

I’m certainly doing a lot of singing as I’m riding, “God Bless America,” “Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory” from Mr. Carterelli, my 5th-grade teacher.  For my kids, I’m singing a lot of my family songs I used to sing to you at night at bedtime, so you know what songs those are.  Mom and Dad, I’m praying for you, Dad for your surgery.  I’m thinking about a lot of you people out there and putting in a lot of prayers for you.  Just know I’m thinking of you all, I’m thinking of the troops and the families that I haven’t even met yet, but I’m grateful and privileged to be riding for you.  It definitely gives me more purpose as I’m riding, and I’m very, very thankful for this whole opportunity.  It really is a blessing and I’m really thankful.

We got in here a little after 2 o’clock, a lot of us, some are still coming in.  We’ve got our luggage to unload and stuff to do.  I hear I might be able to go to a hot springs thing, which I’ll have to tell you what that’s like.  It sounds like it would really be fun to try tonight or this afternoon some time.  So mixing in a little bit of fun with the hard work on the road!

I’m giving my cards out to everyone and telling them to get on board and pledge and take a look at what we’re doing, and they’re really happy to be taking my card and saying, “Wow, this is really something!”  So the word is spreading across Oregon: Operation Life Transformed!  I’m wondering if maybe I’m the one who’s going to be the most transformed!  On some of those downhills and some of those climbs, I’m telling you, I was thinking, “Whoa, this is a challenge!”  But I’m thankful to be alive and thankful that I’m staying safe.

I hope you’re all doing well, if you’re working hard at your jobs or some of you have the summer off, I hope you’re enjoying it.  God bless you and God bless America.  Take care!


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Jeannie Benton’s Ride Across America for Military and OLT June 23rd Update

Jeannie wearing her OLT Jersey! (2)

Hello everyone!  This is Jeannie from Welches, Oregon, and I want to say thank you so much for all your wonderful notes and encouragement.  It’s wonderful to see and I really, really appreciate it.

We started off on a beautiful day today, leaving from St. Helens and we trekked 75 miles today to get to Welches, Oregon.  We’re in a very nice place nestled in a valley with the mountains all around us.  Mt. Hood is absolutely gorgeous.  It was far in the distance when we started off and we got closer and closer to Mt. Hood, and we’re going to get even closer tomorrow and climbing part of it.  It was just absolutely gorgeous seeing the countryside of Oregon today.

Our morning was early, we woke up at 5:30 and breakfast was at 6.  Our stuff had to get on the trucks and we had to fill our tires with air and make sure everything was safe, and we left at 7, so we do have early mornings.  We got in about 2:30 or 3 o’clock today and had to get our luggage and get it to our spots.

We did do a lot of climbing again within the 75 miles.  We hit some construction sites and some really great views.  It was really, really wonderful.  Again we had a few SAG stops, one at 22 miles at a park, which I don’t have the name of it right now, and then we had another SAG stop at the Blue Lake Regional Park.  Both SAG stops were great.  We also took a little stop at Calamity Jane’s in a town called Sandy, Oregon, where a bunch of us had lunch; that was really fun.

The pedaling is going well, the trip is going well.  I’ve been very safe; my bike has been just riding great.  I’ve had really good strength, so I thank you for all of your prayers.  We had beautiful weather today.  I had heard that it rained several days before with really bad weather, but we came into really beautiful weather today.  We started off at about 56 degrees and worked our way into the 70s when we got here.  They had an outside pool and a lot of us went swimming in the outside pool when we got here.

Now I’m going to dinner at 5:15.  They are definitely making sure we’re well fed.  We’re all doing really well.  America By Bicycle really knows how to carry us, they’re doing a wonderful job, I want to say.  The people that I’m riding with are really, really just wonderful people.

I just want to say hello to everyone out there, and thank you for following me, thank you for pledging, thank you for all your prayers.  I love you and thank you for everything.  I’m looking forward to letting you know more tomorrow.  Have a great evening yourself and a great day.

God bless America, and God bless our troops!

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