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!