Hello everyone from Chamberlain, SD!
We went from Pierre to Chamberlain, 84 miles today. We were extremely fortunate today because we had the winds on our side, meaning more at our back than in our faces. Also we had perfect weather today, because it was in the high 70s, low 80s, no real humidity, and a slight cool breeze, which was very nice when we were riding. I guess this part of South Dakota is usually really, really hot. Last year they said people came in and were kind of fainting from exhaustion from the heat. So we were extremely fortunate today.
We left fairly early today, around 6:45 or 7 as opposed to 6 or 6:30, so it was an easier morning. The only difference for me was that for some reason last night I just didn’t sleep well. I usually have a really good night’s sleep, but last night I just didn’t sleep well and I woke up really tired today. I sort of felt like I didn’t sleep all night, you know what it’s like to have a night like that. I also just wasn’t really feeling well today. There are always those days that we women have and that’s just the way it is, and I had one of those days, just really wasn’t up to par. But it was really a good day to not be up to par, because even though it was 84 miles, we only had two really big climbs, which were tiring, yes, but still the terrain was pretty nice. It was a good day altogether, it just took me longer today than usual. I was one of the last ones to come in today, which usually that’s not how it is. But that’s okay, because I got to talk to some of the other people who usually come in slower. So it worked out nice to visit with some of the other people in our group.
The special thing about today is that we hit Day 25, which we all took a picture at the halfway mark of the halfway day of our whole trip; it’s a 50-day trip and today was day 25, so we’re halfway through, regardless of the mileage. So that was really kind of neat to celebrate today.
The other thing too is that I’ve noticed no matter what state we go in of all these four states, my family will be proud to hear that most of the time all I see is John Deere equipment, which is really exciting. I see John Deere equipment everywhere here throughout the West. So the Wild, Wild West loves John Deere just like my family does! My mother and my sister Sue and my brother-in-law Danny all worked for John Deere, they’re all retired now, but that’s how my mom supported our family as we grew up. So John Deere is really special to me. I’m going to have to make sure that I find a John Deere tractor that I can sit on and get a picture of me before this trip is over. Just want to say that I’m proud of all of you who have worked for John Deere, represented John Deere, and I’m a real John Deere lover. So it’s really fun to see John Deere all throughout the West here.
As I came in today, it was kind of quiet, since I came in later. Because I wasn’t feeling well, I was more tired than usual. It’s actually the first time in the whole trip that when I got in, after taking my shower I actually laid down on the bed. Believe it or not, I hadn’t done that once yet! I know a lot of other people have rested before dinner, but I’ve never done that. But tonight I laid down on the bed and I actually fell asleep for about an hour, so I missed the rap time, which was okay, I just got the notes from some people. I went off to dinner and had dinner with everybody, which was fun, and kind of walked around the town. It’s a quiet town here in Chamberlain. One of the really nice things is that the Missouri River is here, and we’ve been following the Missouri River all today, and the views of the river were absolutely gorgeous. Parts of the river were such a beautiful blue color from the sky that it almost looked like Caribbean water, it was so absolutely gorgeous. With the mountain ranges in the background and the fields on our side as we were riding by, the fields with the wind blowing through the wheat and different crops, and the horses you see all throughout these states, some horses have just been so gorgeous, they’re just perfect, shiny, beautiful black and golden and chestnut brown, just some gorgeous, gorgeous horses. Lots and lots of black cattle, the black really stands out among the green and the yellow as they’re standing and sitting in the fields. It’s still just a beautiful view to look out, breathe in the fresh air and just really enjoy it.
The roads were not really smooth today, that was one of the things that actually made it kind of tough for me today. My lower back was aching and I just didn’t feel very good, so we had a lot of bump-bump-bump-bump because of certain lines that are in the road that make kind of a bump. A lot of the descents were actually really uncomfortable because you just would go a little distance and the bike would just keep on jarring from the bumping. This one descent was really pretty long, and at the end of it I actually had to get off my bike and take a rest because I felt kind of nauseous from the bumping and from me just not feeling well. Needless to say, it’s not that it was a hard day today, it’s just that it was hard for me because I wasn’t feeling well. I was still able to enjoy the good parts of it, so that’s good, and I made it in, which is always good. Everyone else made it in safe and sound, which is always good.
So as I say, after dinner I walked around the town. There wasn’t really too much to see, most things were closed, but I got a little bit of ice cream after dinner and went to the ATM to get some money, as I always need money for different things. Everyone is just kind of relaxing back in their rooms. It’s 7:30 my time. I will definitely go to bed early tonight.
Tomorrow we head to Mitchell, which is a 70-mile ride tomorrow, so we don’t have a difficult day tomorrow either. Then we only have one more day and we head into Sioux Falls, which will be our rest day. So that will be really good. We’re all ready for a rest day after eight or nine days, it’s so welcomed, I’m really looking forward to that.
I want to say that today is a really special day, July 16th, my oldest daughter Aubrielle’s birthday. Brie Brie, as I call her, I called her today when I was on the road. I stopped at the first SAG stop, where we took our pictures of the halfway mark, and I actually got a hold of her. So Brie, it was really sweet to talk to you today on your birthday and sing you a happy birthday song. I’m really proud of you and I really love you, of course. Actually, at my time here, 7:39, you haven’t really been born yet, 26 years ago. Brie was born at 8:44 in the evening, and she weighed only 5 pounds 7 ounces. When we left the hospital she only weighed 5 pounds. She was fully developed, she was six days late, she was just a little teeny tyke! She’s the joy of my life with our first child, and so are Justin, Josh and Christina. It’s really been a treasure to have our four kids, and I’m really grateful for them. So Brie, enjoy the rest of your birthday. I’m glad all my kids are following me, that’s really a treat with all of you.
The other great treat I had when I got into the hotel was a lovely card from my sister Janie, which was just kind of unique that I got a card from her on Brie’s birthday, for me. Janie, what a great encouragement your card was! I love everything you said. I love the picture that you sent me that you got out in Washington in front of the fountain thing, wherever you were there, the big sign of Courage, Defy, and Fight, that’s really, really cool. Not really sure why they had that up there, but it’s really cool-looking, the picture you sent. Also, I love it, Janie, thank you for sending an email out to all your friends and updating them about the things going on with you and updating them about my fundraiser for the ride. The picture of Janie and me that she sent me was really amazing. When I was coming from Manchester, NH to Portland, OR, I connected in Philadelphia and I was so busy the days before I left that I hadn’t really been in touch with Janie. To both of our utter amazement, we were both sitting in the Philadelphia airport food court when we saw each other! We couldn’t even believe it. She didn’t know where I was connecting to go out for my bike trip, and I didn’t know that she was even flying at that time, she was flying with her son Bryce to go out to Washington to a computer training thing. So we had a woman take a picture of the two of us, and Janie, that was a good picture of you and me, that’s really sweet. Thanks for sending it to me, because I haven’t seen it on my camera yet, from the one that I had. It was really a treat to see my sister Janie before I officially got to Portland, and that was just really amazing that we connected there and hadn’t even talked about it! So thank you for the card.
I can’t say enough of just thanking everybody for your encouragement. The great thing about a lot of your emails and your messages of encouragement to me, I will be able to keep them, because OLT is faithfully and wonderfully saving them. Thank you to all of you, especially Jay Vance, who’s doing this transcribing, it’s a real treat for me to be able to call in and have you transcribe it all so OLT can put it on a blog and Twitter for me. I’ll be able to keep all the notes and everything from everything that I’ve said and everything that everybody sent me, which is really a treat for me to have that as a treasure in the future. We also have a T-shirt that we have from America By Bicycle that has all the cities that we’re going to. I bought one that I’m just going to be wearing as a T-shirt, but I’m also going to buy a second one and I’ve decided that I’m going to frame the T-shirt and keep it as a souvenir of this special event in my life that is really meaningful. I still just can’t get over that we’re halfway through and we’ve been really, really fortunate, all of us are doing really well.
I’m looking forward tomorrow to going to Mitchell, and I will be in touch with you then. God bless all of you and God bless America, yes, yes!