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.


1 Comment

Filed under Ride Across America, Uncategorized

One response to “Jeannie Benton’s Ride Across America for Military and OLT June 26th Update

  1. Gerry VanderBaan

    Hi Jeannie,

    I have been thinking of you and wanted you to know that I felt bad that I did not see you before you left. I wanted to give you a big hug and wish you the best on this unbelievable adventure. Wow! I just caught up on your blog and all I can say is it sounds just incredible. I cannot fathom riding that many miles.

    Keep strong, healthy and happy. You are in my prayers.


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