Daily Archives: June 23, 2009

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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Jeannie Benton’s Ride Across America for Military and OLT June 22nd Update

Jeannie Benton

Jeannie Benton

Hello to everyone!  It was a wonderful day today.  We all started off with our breakfast early in the morning, between 6:15 and 7.  We all got our luggage on the truck and we all started off.  We had a group picture today in our America By Bicycle shirts, and we started off about 7:15 or 7:20.  I arrived in with a group at about 1:20 today, so we had a really good ride.  The weather was really perfect today.  We had lots of nice sunshine with some clouds to kind of keep it breezy.  We did a lot of climbing today, up to an elevation of 9800 feet.  It was a lot of good climbing; some of the climbs were long.  We had some small shoulders sometimes on the road.  We were on a highway with quite a bit of traffic actually.  Some of the roads were smooth, but we just had to really be careful, had to really watch it because of the traffic.  But it was just beautiful.  The rolling hills remind me a lot of New Hampshire actually.  Lots of nice lush trees and seeing the cows and horses.  We saw a lot of logging trucks, double logging trucks going by, and trains going by with miles of long logs, so obviously this is a big logging area.

Oregon is beautiful.  It was a great ride from Astoria to St. Helens, where we are now.  Everyone really had a strong ride and a good day.  We had two SAG (Support And Gear) stops.  We had one at the 22-mile mark at Bradley Park, and then another one at the 48-mile mark in the town of Ranier.  We just stopped off at a minimart where they had a large parking lot for us to be able to get our snacks and drinks and fuel up and have a little chat with each other and move on.  It was all really good.

I rode with several different people, but kind of my mainstay partner today was Annie, who comes from the Seattle area.  She has three children and is close to my age, so we had a lot of fun together.  Yesterday I didn’t say who I rode with, but I rode with Ken and Tom and Ted and Rollie.  It’s really great riding with the different people of the group and kind of getting to know everybody, everybody’s been great so far.  It’s a wonderful group of people.  The staff has really taken great care of us for the ride, supporting us, and their choices of hotels have been great yesterday and today.  These are really clean, nice, spacious rooms, friendly staff, it’s all really been great, everything has been good.

So I’m really appreciative, thankful we all got in safely.  Thank you all for your prayers, it’s really a blessing and I really appreciate it.  We’re all a little bit tired but a healthy tired.  We went 68.9 miles, almost 70 miles today.  We’ll do a lot more miles other days, but there was a lot of climbing today and it was our first day, so this was a good way to start.

I hope everyone at OLT is well and hope the students at school today did well in the finals at Bedford High.  Again hello to all the staff, and I wanted to say an extra hello to Jess Bartling (sp?), it was great to have you at the little going-away party, it was really nice of you to come.  Also to Stu Pepper (sp?) for getting the email in for me, and to George, when you were interviewed by the newspaper, thanks for all your kind, good words.  I’m thinking of all you back home, all my children, blessings to all of you.  My parents got on their way to New York City today, I’ll find out how that was for them getting down there for my dad who will have surgery on the 25th.

All is well.  I’m very grateful to be here.  It was a really great start.  Hope you’re all doing well.  Thank you everyone out there who are following and excited.  Remember to put in your pledges, that’s what really counts, this is really for our heroes, the people who are out there fighting for our nation to keep us safe and free.  We do live in a beautiful America and we’re very blessed to be part of this country.  I know I’m really proud to be an American.  Let’s just remember them and remember the moms who are home taking care of the children, waiting for their deployed husbands to come home.

God bless all and take care.  Thank you so much!

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Jeannie Benton’s Ride Across America for Military and OLT June 21st Update

6/21/09

Hello!  It’s 7:40 p.m. out here in Oregon.  Astoria has been a beautiful day.  I do want to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all the men and dads out there, and I just wanted you to know how much children really need you dads.  So Happy Father’s Day and thank you for all you do for your children and your families.

For the start of the day I did get up at quarter to 6 and got some breakfast with the group and headed out for 9 o’clock to go out on our ride.  We were due to arrive at the Fort Stevens State Park; however, the group that I was with did get a little lost from the directions.  We ended up over at Sunset Beach Road along the coast, a beautiful ocean front there, and then found our way back to finding out how we got lost, and did get ourselves to the state park.  So we got there much later than we expected to, but we had a wonderful ride.  We had mixed weather between wind and beautiful sunshine and rain, we kind of had a mix of it all, in and out of different kind of weather patterns for about those two or three hours that we were riding today.  When we got in, I had to change hotels because I had to be at a different hotel last night.  I was at the Dunes Motel, and I can say that they were wonderful there.  The owner there is very sweet.  I shared with her about OLT and she was really excited about getting that information.  She said she is going to follow our ride.  I talked to the housekeeping lady who helped clean the rooms, and gave her a tip, and just really thanked her for everything and gave her a card and shared OLT with her.  She was very excited as well.

Once I got kind of settled back into my room over here where we’re staying, at the Holiday Inn Express, I had to go down to ride down to the bike shop to get some bike parts.  I rode my way down to Bikes & Beyond and talked to the man who owns that store, and I got my bike pump and a few things that I didn’t have that I needed for my bike because I had lost them.  He was wonderful.  I shared OLT with him as well.  On my way back I stopped off at a Subway and talked to some moms with their children and again shared OLT with them and had a wonderful little conversation with them.  I made my way back to wash up a little to get to a 3 o’clock meeting.  We had a briefing with everybody, the 50-plus riders who are riding, and we had a little get-to-know-you session of everyone kind of saying where they were from, their names, and why they were on this ride.   I shared that it was a dream of mine for over 12 years, but I was also very excited to be riding for Operation Life Transformed and how it has added this great excitement and value to me riding.  I always wanted to ride for a cause and I’m very, very proud of riding for you all.  I shared that and shared about my 4 kids, whom I’m really proud of and just really thankful that I have them.

I want to give my love to my parents; my dad is having surgery soon, because he has cancer, so I’m just praying for him that he’ll be fine on the 25th of June with his surgery in New York City.  I want to give them my love, and to my boyfriend Raymond, and all my children, I love them dearly.  To all my friends back in Bedford, NH, tomorrow is a final for the students, so I just want to let them know I hope they do well on their finals.  To the Bedford High School staff and students, I just want to let them know I’m thinking of all of them tomorrow as they have their last day of finals.  They have make-up day on Tuesday, but tomorrow a lot of them will be finished.  I just want to tell them that I hope they have a wonderful summer.  I’ve really appreciated their excitement for me and their encouragement.  I thank the whole staff, especially Mr. Pepper, O’Hare and Pepper class.  The American History class that I was in this year was amazing, the students were great.  I was able to share about my ride towards the end of school there and they were all very excited for me.  I just love the students there and I just want them all to know that I’ve really enjoyed my year being a Para there and look forward to seeing them again soon.

Anyway, we had our briefing, which was for about three hours actually, from 3 until about 6, and then we had some dinner; we were all very hungry!  We finished eating and I just got back to my room.  So even though it’s late for all of you on the East Coast, it’s still just quarter of 8 for me, but I’m definitely going to probably get to bed by 9:30.

Tomorrow is what we call a jersey day.  I’ll need to wear our America by Bicycle shirts that they gave us so that we all leave Astoria in our jersey shirts.   They are all-American with the red, white and blue and they’re really beautiful.  We’ll all be wearing those tomorrow as we leave Astoria and head to St. Helens in Oregon.  It’s about a 70-mile trip, not really too long of a ride tomorrow, but we do have a lot of climbing terrain to do tomorrow.  We’re all excited.  Each of us is riding together and we’re looking forward to becoming a team of riders and looking out for each other.

I once again am just really thankful to be riding for Operation Life Transformed.  Tania and Jay of Operation Life Transformed, I thank you for everything, and Jay especially for all of your help.  Jay, transcriber from HDTI Institute who’s doing this for me, it’s a huge load off my mind that I don’t have to try to put this on the computer, since I’m not very good on the computer yet!  Something I still have to learn that I will get better at when I get home.

Anyway, blessings to all, and I thank everyone and look forward to starting the ride tomorrow, very exciting.  This has been a beautiful stay here, looking out over the river over a huge bridge in Astoria.  It’s been a really friendly, wonderful town.  The Holiday Inn Express here has been wonderful, the staff has been great, the room is really wonderful, and I feel very blessed and very fortunate to be here.

Thank you all and I hope you have a good night’s sleep and a good day tomorrow as you get this message.   Take care!

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Jeannie Benton’s Ride Across America for Military and OLT June 20th Update

6/20/09

Hi!  I’m calling in from Portland, OR.  It’s beautiful here.  I had a wonderful flight yesterday.  First of all, I just want to thank the woman whom I met at Walgreen’s yesterday who helped me get my final things that I needed to get before I took off for my flight.  She was very helpful.  She was on 101 in Bedford, NH.  I’ve met so many people so far that I’ve been able to talk about the trip and tell them about Operation Life Transformed and give them cards.  They’re so excited for what I’m doing and what we’re doing with this ride.  Two people I met were flight attendants on the flight from Philadelphia to Portland, Cindy and Todd.  They will be praying for me and they are just really excited about this and are going to get the information out.  Then here at the hotel, the Marriott Courtyard, a woman named Island, a waitress here, is really excited too.  She’s going to pass on the information.

I just want to say thank you to all of you, I’m very excited.  I’m going to be heading over to Astoria today and start meeting some of the people for the ride.  God bless all of you in Operation Life Transformed.  I just want you to know that I’m thinking of all of you.  I’m very honored and privileged to be doing this and I’m very excited about it.  I’m feeling great and everything’s going really well.  I’ll be in touch tomorrow or maybe even tonight I’ll call again when I get in to let you know how things are going once I get into Astoria.  Thank you so much to Tanya and Jay.  I especially want to thank Diane and Steve Dunkle for just giving me the information to even get involved with Operation Life Transformed and everything that they did for me at their home while I stayed there before I left.

God bless all of you and I’ll talk to you soon!

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