July 17, 2009
Hello to everyone out there, OLT, family, friends, and everyone following the blog.
This has been a remarkable day, just an absolute blast. What a change from yesterday for me when I was feeling so sick and not feeling well and had such a hard day. I got to bed at 8:30 last night, slept all the way through until 6 o’clock, had a really good night’s sleep which I really needed. I was ready and well. We went over to our breakfast spot that he had set up for this morning, which was over at the Anchor Grill in Chamberlain. They had a great breakfast for us and I met some really cool people named Dick and Jane Walker. Believe it or not, they’re looking to possibly move to Londonderry, NH, which is just a couple of towns over from me in Bedford. So I told them all about the school system, the sports, how great they are, they’re always beating us in Bedford. I told them it’s only 45 minutes to Boston and they’ve got the mountains for skiing, and they have teenagers, so I really told them they’ve got to come to Londonderry. And since their names are Dick and Jane, I teased them and told them, “Hey, you know, take care of Spot.” We had a good time. I gave them my OLT card and they said they would definitely look it up online and pledge, which is awesome.
Then we started the ride. Great weather, we started off around 60 this morning, and we did not hit hot weather again today, it just went up to like 78 maybe. Beautiful, perfect weather. We still can’t get over how perfect the weather is. The ride was just a nice, smooth ride. At the beginning I rode with different riders, sometimes I was with Garth and Ray and Dave, and sometimes I was by myself, sometimes just meeting up with different people in passing. I met one guy, Dave, who is leaving us in Sioux Falls. He’s a really nice man who was with us for this one leg of the trip. It was the first time that I had a good chat with him about his family and his daughter. He was wonderful to talk with. Then we met up at the SAG stop, we only had one SAG today at the 35-mile mark. There was an AZ Corner store, which I guess the people are from New Jersey and I heard the story that they came out to help one of their relatives build some churches and they ended up staying in the town of White Lake, in that area. They liked it so much that they’ve stayed for 23 years. They have an awesome little corner store there.
We moved on and we were in the town of Mt. Vernon at 57 miles. I had to stop to go to the bathroom and we went into a nice little store there. We met two little kids, one little girl’s name was Macy and her brother. I got a picture of them on Macy’s little bike that you’ll see once I get the pictures out for you. I told her that this is the way we started, just on our little bikes when we were kids. I got a picture with them and they were just sweethearts. I gave them my card for them to take home to their parents to take a look at the OLT website. It was really sweet to meet them.
Then we got into Mitchell. It was only a 70-mile day today, which was nice and easy. When we got into Mitchell, I ended up being with Paul and a couple of other people, so we went into town, into the business district. We found a wonderful café that had delicious sandwiches, it was like a health food store with delicious coleslaw. I got a pesto grilled sandwich with different kinds of cheeses with delicious coleslaw. On the outside of that store, which was really fun, I met up with three people who are here from Minnesota and lo and behold, one of the people, Matthew, is going to be in the rodeo tonight, which is really cool. I guess this is a big rodeo in Mitchell, and he’s going to be riding one of the bulls. So I told him, “I’m coming!” I’m going to the rodeo tonight. We got a taxi from the motel here and we’re going to go over about 8 o’clock and stay at the rodeo for probably about an hour or so. I hope I get to see Matthew riding his bull. We saw a car go by from Canada, I mean people come from all over to this rodeo, I guess it’s a really cool rodeo. I can’t wait to see it. I’ve never been to a rodeo before. And hey, honey, this is for Raymond, I know we’ve seen them on TV but I’m going to go to one live, I can’t wait!
Just down the road from this restaurant was the Corn Palace, which is absolutely amazing. It goes back to the early 1900s when they built it. Every year they change the design and the theme on the outside of this corn palace. They make it out of corn. We went in and saw the little movie about it, and I bought the movie to bring home. I also bought the movie on Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore so I can show it to any of you back home who want to see it. This Corn Palace is just amazing. It goes way back with presidents. When President Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, for you Bedford High School students out there, more about the Homestead Act of people getting that free land when they came across into South Dakota for free land and started up their lives here. They have all kinds of history about this Corn Palace, it’s really fascinating. You’ll have to look it up online and find out about it. We had a blast inside there. We saw the movie, got a picture with one of the characters, Cornelius, that was really good. We talked to some really nice people, this couple, and gave them my card. Lo and behold, they gave me their card. Their names are Ed and Rachel Barnhart, and they live in Wenatchee, WA. They have been in their motorhome for six years, amazing. Traveling around, meeting people, obviously hearing the love of the Lord. At the bottom of their card it says Esther 4:14, which I know that Scripture, “for such a time as this.” I’ve gone to different women’s retreats and things that have been titled, “For Such A Time As This” from Esther. She’s a fabulous woman in Biblical times, and if any of you don’t know the book of Esther in the Bible, you might want to get a Bible and read it. She’s a fascinating woman. There aren’t many women in the Bible that have a book of the Bible, so that’s pretty fascinating within itself. But they were wonderful people, and if you want to go on their website, it’s www.edandracheltravel.com, and their email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can go on their website and find out about them. We blessed each other, gave each other hugs and I just couldn’t get over these people who are kind of coming out of the network all over the world here that I’m meeting who are sisters and brothers in the Lord. I’m just kind of amazed at how I’ve met people across this country who are just all doing really good things. It’s just really fascinating to me. People in stores, people in their little teeny country shops, people in these tourist spots, it’s wonderful. Whenever I tell people and give them the card for Operation Life Transformed and say that I’m fundraising for families in all the military branches, for our troops that are deployed and for their families who are home training for medical transcription, and also to help the caregivers for our wounded, you can tell it always touches their hearts and they just say, this is so good that you’re doing this for them. Just know that people really do care, I just want to keep on getting that word out to you and telling you that they really do care that you people are out there fighting for our country, and your families are out there, so just know that. So even at the Corn Palace I met some wonderful people.
So we got to our hotel here in Mitchell and we had our rap time for them to go over our trip for tomorrow. But the interesting thing is, right after rap, a few of us, Doc and Gill and Paul and me rode our bikes down about a mile and half to a cool store that probably a lot of you have heard about, it’s a sporting goods store called Cabela’s. It was really fun. I talked to the sales ladies there and I bought some shorts, which are really cute, and a top, and I actually wore them out of the store. I carried my other clothes out and I wore these because they’re really comfortable. I just needed a change of pace from the clothes I’ve been wearing, got some different colors. I got some pictures of the ladies there, and I gave them the OLT card, and I ordered a credit card, which gave me $15 off on everything. I got me a free hat for my boys, hey boys, I got you a hat from there. And I got a little toolkit for me, which has all the little tools in it, a little jackknife, a little flashlight thing and a bunch of stuff all compacted into one. It’s pink, which is really fun. I had a great time there. I almost forgot my credit card, the lady had to come out and give it to me, so I got a picture with her. I had a really fun time there and talked to a lot of people about us riding across America and gave them the OLT card.
We’re looking forward to going into our rest day city, which tomorrow again we only have 72 miles. We’re going into Sioux Falls. We have a few climbs but not too bad. So far my body is holding up really good. I have a little twinge in my right knee, so I’m kind of being really careful with my right knee. It’s nothing that’s hurting me, I’m just going to be really careful and take good care of that. I can’t wait to get into Sioux Falls and go to church on Sunday, since our rest day falls on a Sunday, so I’m very much looking forward to going to church. I have Raymond looking into a good church for me to go to. And at 12:30 I will be meeting some military families, I’ll be telling you about that. I think it’s Channel 13 in Sioux Falls that will be covering us, I’m really looking forward to that. And just having some down time, rest time with some of my team. I’ll probably hopefully have dinner with all of them from America By Bicycle.
So blessings to all of you from here at Mitchell. I will be reporting what the rodeo is like, so that’ll be very exciting. God bless all of you, take care, and God bless America.