Hello everyone out there today! It’s Monday, July 20.
I can’t believe this much time has gone by already! It’s Day 29. We rode from Sioux Falls, SD to Worthington, MN. Today, I’m happy to say, was a really easy day, only 70 miles. The terrain was easy and it was really pleasant. What made it so pleasant today was the roads for the most part were pretty smooth, but we had cooler weather today. When we were getting ready this morning it was pouring rain out, and we said, well, here we go, here’s our rain day. But to our wonderful surprise, as we ate our breakfast and we put off loading the truck about 20 minutes later than what we were going to, the rain passed by and we were able to load the truck without any rain and get our bikes out there about 7:30 as opposed to 7 o’clock. We rode in no rain today, which was another great blessing. There was cloud coverage all day, which made it a cooler day, but it was a little bit humid. The coolness felt great without having to put on all the sunscreen and be really hot in the sun today. It was a nice little break, I actually enjoyed it. I have a little bit of a fever blister that started on my bottom lip, so not having the sun today was actually a real relief for me. Plus, I can’t even tell you, with 50 sunblock on two to three times a day, what a little brown bear I’ve become! People have told me from the beginning of the ride until now, I look the most changed. I’ve kind of surprised everybody, being a natural blonde, that I would tan this much. I knew that I tan this much, because I’ve seen myself in the summer from down at Cape Cod, but it’s kind of been a surprise to other people to see me as a blonde tanning so much. I can’t believe how dark I am already. I’m trying not to get any darker, but it’s just happening, being out there all these hours every day.
So today we left about 7:30 and got in about 1 o’clock. We only had one SAG stop today, it was really a quick ride. I rode mostly with John and Ann and Gene. We had a good time riding and it was great to be together. It was lots of fun, a good day.
We entered into Minnesota today, which was very exciting. One of our staff members, Jeff, this is his home state, and he literally kissed the ground as we crossed over into Minnesota. I got a picture of him kissing the road!
As I left South Dakota, I really loved South Dakota. I loved a lot about it, and all you people who live in South Dakota, I just want to tell you you live in a wonderful state. Out of all the states, the truckers there were so far the best truckers I’ve seen on the road. Every single time, all the trucks that went by, they moved over, they were gentle, they were kind, they were really good to us as cyclists. I just want to say to you folks out there who drive your trucks and hay tractors and all of your large equipment, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart, you were wonderful to me. I don’t know about the other riders, but I had a wonderful experience with the truckers in South Dakota. So kudos to you, thank you very much, I really appreciate it.
I also wanted to say that I came downstairs for breakfast this morning a little bit later than some, and everyone was cheering me on that I was on the front page of the paper today, and carried on to the third page. I’m very happy to say, I thank the newspaper, it was a really well-done article, it was nice that it was written up so well. It was a real honor and privilege for me to talk to the Navy reservists, I really appreciate the opportunity. I do sincerely mean this, it is an honor to be representing Operation Life Transformed. I just feel not even deserving. I’m just glad that I’m bringing about awareness to all of you people out there about Operation Life Transformed. I really thank everyone who is pledging and helping our troops and helping the families of people who are deployed, helping our men and women who have been injured and letting them know that we care about them. We care that they have fought for our country, we care that they’re out there on the battle lines. We love you and appreciate you and every pledge that you make and your friends make and your family members make is another answer to them to say we care about you, we’re with you, we’re supporting you. So thank you so much. For me to have this honor is really beyond what I could have ever hoped or expected. I think I told you that when I asked about the people in the room who had been deployed, more than half the men raised their hands, and I almost lost it. I just really can’t say enough about how blessed we are as a nation that there are men and women willing to sacrifice for us.
Thank you to the newspaper in Sioux Falls. I will look up the woman’s name who I talked with, I have her on the card. I will put that on the blog a little later, I don’t have her card with me right at the moment. She was a sweetheart, I could tell she had a very compassionate heart, she was very sweet and she really did the article up very honestly and very well. I just really appreciate not being misquoted, it’s really quite a pleasure to have that happen when something goes into the newspaper. Thank you very much for a job well done!
Tomorrow we will be going to Mankato, MN. We’re going to be doing 102 miles tomorrow, and then the next day we’ll be going into Rochester, which is another 100. So we’ll be doing two centuries back to back. We’ve done something close to that, but not exactly that on this trip, and I’ve never done a century and then another century. So I’m just hoping that everything will go well for all of us on our team, hope that my legs keep holding out well. I’m just really grateful that I’m really strong; I feel like I actually keep on getting stronger and feel really good and really healthy. It’s been a real treat.
To all of you out there, thank you for your little messages. I’m not reading all of them but I do know of some of them and I am going to be able to read all of them when I’m home. So even if I’m not responding to you now, just know that your message will be a treasure for me for the rest of my life, and I do mean that. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I don’t ever expect to be able to do this again to this degree, a whole entire trip across America. I’m just savoring every day and every opportunity, every message, every bit of support that’s pledged in, every bit of personnel that I get to meet with the military, every family that the pledges get to touch. It’s just an honor, an honor, an honor.
God bless all of you, stay healthy and well, and God bless America.