Hello to everyone out there! It’s Day 27, Saturday, July 18, and we went 72 miles today. We rode from Mitchell to Sioux Falls, SD. It was a beautiful ride today, the weather again was picture perfect, the roads were mostly smooth, which was very, very nice. I just had a really strong ride today. We could have taken it easy, but I decided to go a little faster, get out in the morning. We got to sleep in a little bit this morning, we didn’t have breakfast until around 7 and we didn’t load the truck until 7:30. So I got right out at 7:30, I was all ready to go, and rode on for a while by myself, with people in front of me and behind me, just enjoyed the peaceful morning. Then probably around 18 miles or so I met up with my friend Ann and rode along with her until we got to the SAG stop at mile 40, so we probably rode together for 20-some odd miles. I was delighted to be with her when we got to the SAG stop, because she had great surprise awaiting her. Her husband and three of her four children met her as a surprise at the SAG stop, which was just out in the middle of nowhere, which is where we usually have our SAG stops in South Dakota, just along the side of the road near a little country store. So I got to see her be totally surprised, it was really sweet. It was nice meeting them and I got a picture. It was just really fun.
Of course, I got back on after a little while, and just rode the rest of the day kind of on my own, which was just kind of sweet. I just trucked along at a pretty fast clip, probably 18 to 20 mph. I wanted to get into Sioux Falls because I had an appointment for a massage and I had the possibility of fitting in a pedicure-manicure. I was really trying to fit that in today if I could, because my hands and feet from over 4 weeks or so really could use a little touchup, as you can imagine! So I did get in on time, about 12:50, and I had a taxi waiting for me. I went and had a wonderful time at this really cool place called A Day of Indulgence, which is exactly what it was. There was a great massage therapist named Barb, she was really great and very knowledgeable and just really good. It was wonderful to have my pedicure-manicure, felt great. I came back and met up with the team at 4:45 for our rap session. We had to say goodbye to a few people who were just doing one leg. Some of the people were kind of doing across America piecemeal each year, they do a different leg until they’ve finished doing across America. So we said goodbye to some of them. There was one person, Paul, who’s going to be leaving us now, but he’s going to join up with us again towards the end, because he did all the other parts last year. So this year he’s just doing the sections he didn’t do before. So he will have ridden across America in two years. Sadly, we said goodbye to all of them for now, then we all went over and got something to eat together as a group, which was fun.
We got back and talked to some of Ann’s family and people who were milling around the lounge area of this hotel, just visiting. Obviously we’ve all kind of become little relatives of each other, riding together and seeing each other, it’s just really been good.
So we’re all really looking forward to having tomorrow off, which will be good. I’m looking forward to going to church tomorrow, and then get picked up and go over and meet some of the people in the military, which will be great, and possibly their families, I’m not sure how many of them will be there. I think it’s Channel 13 that will be there to interview me and interview them as well. We should have a really good time, I’m very much looking forward to that. For the afternoon, they have a jazz festival going on down here in Sioux Falls, over by the park, so I’m really looking forward to going to that, because I love jazz. That will probably be the extent of the day, then just getting ready for the next day, Monday, when we will be leaving around 7 in the morning for Worthington, MN. So tomorrow will be our last day in South Dakota. I can’t believe we’ll be going into our fifth state out of ten. That’s pretty cool.
I want to tell you about the rodeo I went to last night, it was a blast! About ten of us got a ride over to the rodeo, it was about three or four miles away from our hotel. The whole stadium was filled. It was just like on TV but it was for real. They rode the bucking broncos, to see how long they could stay on, and calf roping where they lasso them and tie them up. Some buffalo came out, which was really cool. We saw a really fast horse that was kind of from the Pony Express breed of horse that was riding so fast, I couldn’t believe it. Then it was really cute, they had little kids age four through seven riding sheep. The woman who sat behind us, her granddaughter Anna was in it, and we were all kind of rooting for her. And sure enough, her granddaughter won! She was five years old. She came out kind of on the side, we never thought she’d stay on, but she stayed on the longest of all of them. It was really cute.
We had to leave at 9:30 to get back to our hotel by 10. That doesn’t really sound too late for any of you for summertime, I’m sure, but just knowing that we had to get up and ride, and I wanted to make sure I could ride in strong because I wanted to get in for that appointment. I got to bed about 11 and got up at 5. I’m so glad I went to a rodeo in South Dakota; I guess Mitchell is known for this big rodeo, it was a pretty big deal. People came from Canada and from all over to come to this rodeo and be in it. So it was very, very exciting to see my first rodeo!
I hope you all are enjoying this weekend in July. We are extremely fortunate that bad weather has always gone before us, so we have still not hit really bad weather. Again, riding in and having a safe day and a good weather day, we couldn’t be more blessed, and we’re very, very thankful. I’m not taking that lightly, it’s really an incredible blessing every single day.
It’s about 8:45 my time. I’m probably not going to go to the festival tonight, I’m probably just going to rest up tonight and enjoy the festival tomorrow afternoon and evening.
I say love to you all, I hope you’re all doing well. God bless you, and God bless America!