Hello everyone out there! It’s Day 20, Saturday, July 11.
We rode from Casper to Lusk, WY, which is at 5014 feet elevation. We did some climbing today, nothing real significant. What was best about today, which was a real gift, a real blessing, was that for the first 75 miles of the 106 miles we did today we had a tailwind, so it was a dream compared to going into Casper! It was like night and day difference. We left about 6:30 this morning, got up again at 5, had to load our stuff on the truck by 5:45, had breakfast from 6 to 6:20 or 6:30 and got on the road. I think we got in at about 2:30, of course a lot earlier than yesterday because with a tailwind you can go 20 to 30 mph, working at it, of course, but still really working good for you. You’re riding with the wind and it’s really beautiful. The terrain was some climbing, but mostly kind of climbing with up and down, up and down kind of hills, which was sweet.
The last 30 miles we did hit a headwind and there was a lot of traffic and it was really, really windy, I’m going to say gusts of probably over 20 mph. It was really tough the last 20 miles, in particular, coming into Lusk. But we did all get here safely, which is great. The group that I rode with today was Mike with the staff, and Garth, and a man named Ray and another guy named Dave. It was good to ride with them, we were all at the same pace today, which was nice. We all took turns pulling in the front, which is called the pace line. The person in the front kind of carries you and you keep on rotating so that everybody can kind of keep taking a break of being in a different place in the pace line, so you save about 20% of your energy, which is really nice. Every day it’s kind of finding different people to be at pace with. When I went into Casper I was with Cindy and Russ, and that was really great. I remember telling you that they carried me those last 30 miles, especially Russ the last 20 miles, meaning that he stayed in the front the whole time, I just couldn’t get out in front, and I was just way too wiped.
But today I was able to carry the weight. I was able to switch up in the front, which was really good, and carry my load, which was really nice. We got in here and got a nice chocolate shake. A chocolate milkshake is a really good recovery drink, for any of you that don’t know. I’ve kind of learned that, I didn’t know that. But chocolate milk or chocolate shakes with just a little bit of protein and carbohydrates, if you can, which doesn’t really take too much to have just a little bit before we have our dinner.
So that was all really good. What is interesting about Lusk, now that we’ve gotten in here, is that there’s a really sweet family that owns this little motel section here. They have an indoor pool and some hammocks, and it’s very homey with pretty flowers. They had lemonade and cookies waiting for us, which was really sweet. Some of these hotels do have little things for us, other ones don’t. It’s a sweet family, husband and wife and two little boys, little towheads with blonde hair and blue eyes. They’re just a cute little family running this. She said that their parents owned it before them, and when they retired they took it over. It’s very family oriented.
I wanted to say that when I was Casper, I didn’t get a chance to tell you that I did get interviewed with Channel 13 yesterday, and I was on the 6 o’clock and 10 o’clock news. They had a nice little spot about Operation Life Transformed, which was really nice. Hopefully people will call in and give some pledges, and I appreciate all that anyone out there is doing. You’re just sweethearts and it’s just great to see any of you who are just being thoughtful of all our military branches. Just to let you know, if you didn’t know, Operation Life Transformed covers all the military branches, not just one in particular. I really appreciate that, because all the different branches serve us well, and all have their part in helping protect and provide for us our freedom. I just wanted to get that out there for anybody who didn’t know that about Operation Life Transformed.
Anyway, I also went to the Chamber of Commerce and talked to Mindy there. She was really sweet and said that she’s going to get out a lot of information. I gave her a lot of cards to hand out for OLT. What I want to say is that I noticed that the town has a real serving heart, a lot of really friendly, kind-hearted people. Like I said, the woman at the hotel when I got in, she really helped me a lot when I was exhausted. Likewise here in Lusk, we all came in pretty hearty, feeling pretty good because our ride wasn’t that difficult, although 106 miles is still 106 miles, no matter how you look at it! I don’t really like going over 100 miles. I told Mike Munk, who runs this show here, “You know, couldn’t you just make these rides like no more than 100?” Whenever we have our centuries, I think once I hit 100, my body just says enough is enough! Particularly the last 6 to 10 miles, I was just saying, “You know what, I want to be done.” So I told him, “Plan these trips so there’s not more than 100!” Of course, they can’t always do that, so I was kind of teasing him. But the truth of it is, I really don’t like to go over 100.
Tomorrow’s only 92 miles, so that will be a help, at least it’s under 100 and I think that’ll be really good. We’re going out of Wyoming tomorrow. It’s been great while we’ve been here, it’s the Wild, Wild West, and it has been a little wild! I can say with our last day in Wyoming being here in Lusk, the fun thing is we got to be part of seeing a parade. We weren’t in the parade but the parade came right through the street here where the motel is. We got to see all the horses and the wild horses with Indians on them riding bareback and whoop-lah-lahing. We were able to see all the fire trucks and little midget horses pulling covered wagons with families in them, and they threw out candy. It was a short parade, probably didn’t last more than maybe 25 minutes, but it was fun to see a parade for a local town.
When we head out tomorrow, we’re going to be heading to Hot Springs, SD. So we’re on our way to our next state. We’ve gone through Oregon, Idaho and now Wyoming and heading into South Dakota. I hear that there are hot springs there, I don’t know if we’re going to actually get to go to a hot spring, but it would be nice if we could. I’d like to try one. The other time we were at that place that I thought had hot springs, in Kahneetah, actually it was a regular swimming pool that they said was filled with hot springs water. But that wasn’t what I was thinking of, I was thinking of some kind of a natural hot springs that we could go into. I’d like to do that if it turns out we can do that tomorrow, we’ll have to see what’s up.
For tonight I have to get over to dinner at 6 o’clock. It’s Saturday night and our group is doing well. We’re still having fun and we’re still doing it! I’m really thankful that my bike held up. The group that I was with today, one of them had a flat, so that took us a little extra time, otherwise we would have gotten in earlier. So far, so good with me, I’m really thankful for that. I realize I will have a flat at some point, but I think it’s to God’s glory, it’s been three weeks and I think I’m probably the only one who hasn’t had a flat, so it’s pretty amazing. I really do appreciate all your prayers for my safety, because I’ll tell you, out on the road it can be pretty dangerous with the traffic.
I look forward to talking to you tomorrow. Thank you everyone for your little encouraging messages and for your pledges, and for talking to family and getting the word out there about Operation Life Transformed. I’m very, very thankful for the organization, for everything that you do, for even supporting me. You’ve been wonderful. Like I said, I can’t say enough about America By Bicycle either, they’re really great, they’re topnotch. If anybody wants to go on a bike ride, they have other rides that they do that aren’t as intense or as long as this one, and I’d highly recommend them, they really know how to do this and do it right. So any of you bike lovers out there, set your goals and put it on your calendar and make it happen, okay?
Enjoy your Saturday night and the rest of your weekend, and I’ll talk to you soon. God bless all of you, and God bless America.