Monthly Archives: July 2009

Jeannie rides from the front page of Sioux Falls, SD News Paper to Worthington, MN. Getting tan and dodging the rain! I had a wonderful experience with the truckers in South Dakota. So kudos to you, thank you very much, I really appreciate it.

eannie Speaks to the NOSC Sioux Falls, SD

Jeannie Benton, who is riding her bike across the U.S. to benefit a program that gives educational opportunities to military personnel and their families, talks Sunday at the Naval Reserve Center in Sioux Falls. (Picture-Emily Spartz / Argus Leader)

 

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.

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Jeannie’s Meet and Greet day at the Naval Operational Support Center in Sioux Falls, SD… Thank You for ALL your doing for our Military and OLT Jeannie!

Please click on link below to learn more about the NOSC- (Naval Operational Support Center)

NOSC-Sioux Falls

eannie Speaks to the NOSC Sioux Falls, SD

eannie Speaks to the NOSC Sioux Falls, SD

Hello everyone!  This day is almost over, and it has been my rest day, Sunday, July 19.  Before I enter into tomorrow, our next riding day, heading from Sioux Falls, SD to Worthington, MN, there are a couple of things I want to tell you about today.

First of all, when I got up I had some breakfast here at the hotel.  Then I went with a few of my teammates here over to church, which was absolutely wonderful to be able to go to church and have time to fellowship and sing praise songs and be with other fellow Christians who love God, it was just really a good time to be together with some of the other people on my team who are riding with America By Bicycle.  That was a really good time and I’m very thankful for a rest day that fell on a Sunday, because it’s the only one of all our rest days that does fall on a Sunday.  It was a real treat for me today and I really did enjoy it.  I was very thankful to be there.  I met some nice people over at the church.  The truth of it is that there are people all around the world in many different churches of various denominations, and it’s wonderful that we can share a sisterhood and brotherhood together and just loving a triune God and being thankful for how the Lord created us and created this world, just acknowledging that, praising that and thanking the Lord Jesus for all of our blessings.

One thing I wanted to mention about that is that they happened to be reading the Scripture from Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  I have a son named Joshua, so Joshua, that one’s for you.  For all of you out there who might be reading this, I just wanted to say that that was a great Scripture for me to be reminded of, because I do still need to make sure every day that I do go out courageous and knowing that the Lord my God is with me wherever I go.  For all of you out there, just know that you are never alone.  You feel alone, it may seem like you’re alone, but you are never alone.  Because even if you don’t believe in God, even if you don’t care about God, He still believes in you and He still cares about you.  So just know He never does leave you alone.  There’s never a time that if you ask or call out to Him that He won’t answer you.   He answers in many different ways, so don’t be surprised at how awesome our God is.  He’ll reveal Himself if you’re looking for Him, sometimes even when you’re not looking for Him, He still reveals Himself, that’s how gracious and good and kind and compassionate our God is.

Anyway, I suppose those of you out there who don’t believe it are saying, “Enough of that,” and that’s okay, I have no problem with that.  We all come from different places and we all have different experiences in our life that lead us to different places and different beliefs.  I’m just sharing mine and that’s the freedom we have in America, which we can thank God for that as well.  Even if you don’t thank God for that, it’s great that we have freedom in America, it’s a good thing for all of us.

The other thing is that when I got back I had the pleasure of being picked up by Petty Officer Michael Ash, who is over at Sioux Falls NOSC, which I found out stands for Naval Operations Support Center.  I had the privilege of being introduced and talking to approximately 60 or 70 men and some women about Operation Life Transformed, to let them know of the wonderful programs that are available to them and to their spouses.  I did talk about how the program really focuses on helping the caregivers of soldiers who are wounded and supporting them with that, as well as for different educational opportunities for careers and training, the online programs and how flexible they are, the opportunity to be able to put things on hold and go back to it as far as course opportunities.  We just kind of shared different information about that together.  They asked some questions about my ride, of course, as far as places that I’ve gone and experiences that I’ve had.  One of them asked me if I’ve had a flat yet, and honestly to my amazement, I know a lot of people pray and it doesn’t mean when we pray that we get what we ask for, but I really have been very blessed so far that I’ve gone this long and have not had one flat yet.  It is pretty amazing.  I thank God for my safety for that, that’s been kind of remarkable.  They asked some other questions also.  So it was wonderful to be there.  It happened to be their weekend for training, they’re in the reserves, and they come one weekend a month and two weeks out of the year for different training to be prepared and ready.  I asked them there how many of them have been deployed, and I would say a good half of the men raised their hands.  I almost started crying.  I just reminded them and all the people there how grateful I am and many other Americans who don’t voice it, how much I appreciate living in our country, such a blessed America, for men and women like them who are willing to serve and ready to put their lives on the line for us to be free and to be safe.   I really, really thanked them and their families for their sacrifice and for the blessing that they are to us.  I told them that they are not forgotten and they never will be in my eyes and the eyes of many others and in God’s eyes.  I was very grateful and very humbled to be there among them.  Any of you out there who are part of that group of people I talked with today, just know that I send my love to you and my prayers to you and my heart goes out to all of you.  Thank you so much, it was a great opportunity for me to meet you. 

As it turns out, it’s interesting that Petty Officer Michael Ash also happens to be a bike enthusiast, he also rides his bicycle to work and back.  He says he goes the long route so that he puts in about 34 miles a day.  He said that he has gotten up to 16 to 18 mph riding his bike, and I told him he would be a perfect candidate to ride across America.  So who knows, maybe in the future he’ll be riding his bicycle across America as well!  He’s certainly got what it takes.  It was just great meeting him and I thanked him very much for picking me up and bringing me back to the hotel and giving me the great opportunity to talk to them. 

I was also interviewed for a short while by the local newspaper, called the Argus Leader, and they’re going to be putting an article in the newspaper (http://www.argusleader.com/article/20090720/NEWS/907200307/1001/news) about the NOSC and the men there and the work and training they do, which is awesome, and about Operation Life Transformed.  So that’s wonderful.

When I got back from there, I had some time so I had a taxi ride over to the Sioux Falls Park, which is beautiful.  It was a beautiful day, perfect weather, nice breeze, just a beautiful, perfect day in the 80s.  The grounds there are beautiful.  I ate with a few of the people, Jane and Doug who are part of the America By Bicycle people.  We had some time for lunch there and we all kind of did our own thing, walking around the park after that.  They were on their bikes and I was actually on foot.  I just enjoyed being around the falls and going out to the lookout tower and talking to some different people and families that were around that area and shared a little information about me riding.  I did give out some cards for Operation Life Transformed again.  It was just nice to relax and make some phone calls and have some free time.  I enjoyed my ride with my taxi driver from Empire Taxi, she was wonderful.  I really enjoyed meeting her and talking to her.  She has a little four-year-old son.  She was very, very helpful and I was very comfortable being in the taxi with her as a woman, it was just nice to have a woman taxi driver.  I don’t know that I’ve ever had that before, so that was really quite a treat for me.

Getting back, I ended up going to dinner with some friends at a really nice Thai sushi place, a group of our team of riders, about eight of us.  It was just nice to have dinner together and chat about all different things and have a good time.  I got back to the hotel and of course had to get my clothing and things ready and packed and take care of lots of little things we need to do to get ready for the ride.  I talked to a few family members and loved ones.  It was a very good rest day.  I’m very grateful that we’re ready to start tomorrow and continue on our venture of riding across America and sharing information about Operation Life Transformed.

God bless all of you, and God bless America.

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Jeannie is in Mitchell, SD- Meeting lots of folks – Next Sioux Falls, SD and the meet and greet with the Military on Sunday!

Picture from bamacycle.com- Mile is riding with Jeannie

Picture from bamacycle.com- Mike is riding with Jeannie

Pic from bamacycles.com

Pic from bamacycles.com

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 barnharted@aol.com.  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.

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One Last Ride Before Day Off In Sioux Falls, Manicure, Pedicure, Massage, Ode To Woman-Hood – July 18 2009 –

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.

0717rodeo_bareback1I 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. 0717rodeo_tie

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!

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Jeannie makes it to Pierre, SD- Grass Hopper infestations, Prayers and Thank you’s to family and friends today!

 

Water in SD

Jeannie at the Water in SD

  

photo's from bamacyclist.com

photo's from bamacyclist.com

 Hello everyone from Pierre, SD.

What a day it has been today! I have to tell you, this day was an incredible day in many ways. First of all, it’s Day 24 out of 50, so we’re almost at the halfway mark. Second of all, we went 117 miles today, which for me it was the easiest 117 miles I’ve ever done. We went from Wall to Pierre. We had to get up at 4:30 this morning, load the trucks at 5:15, have some breakfast and be on our way by about 5:45 this morning. It was cool this morning, we needed our little thin arm warmers, but it was still a beautiful morning, sunny and clear, couldn’t ask for more. We got out onto Route 14, which 14 happens to be my favorite number and we just celebrated July 14th yesterday. Route 14 was very beautiful, lots of rolling hills, lots of huge hay bales, which by the way, I found out that each one of them is 1500 pounds! I would have guessed maybe 500, but they’re 1500 pounds. I got a picture the other day standing up next to one of them, and it almost comes up to my head, so it’s at least 5 feet high. I also sat up on one of them, which you’ll be able to see the picture sometime soon when I get the pictures out to you. As we were rolling through the towns, we went through the town of Quinn, which of course I have a fabulous friend named Mary Quinn, the Quinn family, Mike and Mary Quinn and all their kids. I give a hello to all of you, I thought of you all particularly because I was going through Quinn. Mary Quinn, you’re a dear, precious friend to me and thank you so much for all your support and love over the past 20-plus years. I just prayed for you and your family especially today as I went through Quinn. We also went through the town of Cottonwood, which was really interesting. The population on the sign said 12 people! That gives you a little idea of the towns we go through. Then we went through the town of Phillip, which was really cool, because I have some great friends Brenda and George Phillips, who live down in Strasburg, Virginia. Brenda and George, you are very precious friends to me as well. I hope you’re doing well, hope you’re enjoying your summer. I’m sure you’re following my blog, so I’m giving a hello and a God bless to both of you and thanking you again for your incredible friendship and support and love through the years, all you’ve done and been for me. I can’t thank you enough.

We hit our first SAG stop at 30 miles, and those first 30 miles we were sailing, it was just beautiful. No wind, just kind of sailing along, wonderful ride. From that SAG stop to the next SAG stop there was nothing in between, nothing, nothing, nothing. Not even any towns, you just see nothing. We went from 30 miles to 56 miles basically just seeing land and riding on a road that had no real significant traffic. I was so free today because for the first time I was able to ride on the left side of the white line with no rumbles, no encumbrances, that’s why today was my favorite day. Every single ride that I went down I could gear it up and put it in the strongest gear in the third ring and sail down the hill and lift back up and climb up the next one without any problems of rumble or debris or traffic. I think that’s partly why I rode so strong today; today was one of my strongest rides ever. Once we got to the second SAG stop at 56 miles, from there to 77 miles we were sort of in a cross headwind, so it was quite a bit of wind. But I rode by myself, I wasn’t in a pace line, and I don’t know how I did it, but I just sailed through the wind. I felt like a bird today. I just was a powerhouse! I’m not bragging, but I just really was able to go. My legs just were going for me, I just was having a blast. I was riding all by myself, praying for all kinds of people, praising the Lord, singing, having a great time, thinking of all my family and friends and all of you out there who are watching and following the blog. Just thanking God for all of you, thanking God for our country, for all of you military families. I just had a wonderful time and it was just really a great free experience. Even with that cross headwind I made it to the 77.7-mile mark and we took a welcome right turn, which brought us right into a tailwind, which was absolutely fabulous. From 77 to 83 miles to the next SAG stop, it was clear sailing. We stopped off at a little park that had some water there, meaning just some water to be able to see. We don’t see water that often, little water holes or kind of marshy land. That was kind of fun to see that. Then at the 115-mile mark we hit the town of Fort Pierre, not quite into Pierre yet. We crossed over and at 117 miles got into Pierre, which was great. One thing that I haven’t mentioned along the trip that has happened recently, on the front page of the journal in this town they’re talking about all the grasshoppers that are invading the whole area because of the rain this spring. I guess there’s just been a ton of grasshoppers, and believe me, we’ve noticed. They’ve been hopping all over our bikes as we’ve been riding, when we have to go out in the bushes when they are no facilities, the grasshoppers are hopping, and you know what I’m talking about! They’ve just been all over the place. It’s interesting to see that they’re on the front page here, talking about the grasshopper situation here, how they’ve been infested with them. I’ve been hit in the face by several bugs, and I know that they’re most likely grasshoppers. They can kind of sting a little bit as they hit your face. Another thing that I’ve never mentioned that’s really been happening a lot, is that we’ve seen a lot of dead animals on the side of the road, which is really sad and hard to see, but it’s just been a reality. We’ve seen fox and rabbit and deer, all kinds of animals dead on the side of the road. A lot of times you can’t even tell what kind of animal it is. We see a lot of dead birds on the side of the road also. That’s just kind of part of what we see. But on the other hand, on the bright side of the insect and animal world, there have just been some precious butterflies that float around and can almost land on your bike and land on your shoulder. Just like a little kiss of nature, it’s kind of sweet seeing these pretty little sweet butterflies flying around. The birds kind of soar through and they come so close, sometimes you can see the red and white markings and the colors of the birds. They’re just beautiful. I wish I knew more about kinds of birds, because I’ve seen so many pretty birds and just hearing them chirping and singing and making their beautiful little melodies, their joyful noise unto the Lord, as I would say. It’s just fabulous to see the little birds and the butterflies. That’s another part of my ride that I’ve never mentioned that I wanted to mention today. One of the other significant things as we crossed over into Pierre, we also changed time zones into Central Time. So I lost an hour today.

We left about 5:45 this morning and got in today about 3:30, I think it only took me about 9 or 9-1/2 hours to go 117 miles today. I was riding pretty much between 20 and 30 mph the whole day, which was a really strong ride, as I say. We lost an hour but I kind of gained an hour of being able to communicate with everybody back on the East Coast, which makes me really happy. The only other significant thing that I really want to mention about today that was really different was the last 24 miles after the SAG stop, on Route 14, which is a beautiful road, they were doing construction in about five different locations.

photo's from bamacyclist.com

photo's from bamacyclist.com

We kind of had to keep stopping and wait and then they let you through. This one section, most of it was gravelly and dirty and dusty, the woman let us go ahead, and she probably should not have let us go ahead, because there were cars coming at us with one lane of dirt and mud. They had just sprayed twice with water down on the dirt, so it was really rather muddy. I have these thin tires that are just the 23-inchers instead of 25, and it was a little bit difficult negotiating the gravel and the mud. A couple of times I had to get off my bike, there were trucks coming at us and we just had to get off and literally move our bikes over. But needless to say, I look like I went dirt biking because I got sprayed with all kinds of mud and I literally had mud on my arms, my helmet, on the front of me, the back of me, down my legs, on my shoes. I had to ride after that another 15 or 17 miles with dirt all over me and all over my bike. When I got in I had to spray my bike down. A lot of us got dirty, but not everybody got as dirty as our little group did that went through there, because they had just sprayed. The heat was so high, in the 80s or 90s, that it dried up quicker, so when other groups went through, they didn’t get as muddy and as dirty. So I have the mud on my little sheet, the direction sheet that we follow every day that’s kind of on the outside of our bikes that we have clipped on. I have my little mud to prove it on my sheet. I got a picture I’ll have to send, I definitely was filled with mud. So I had to clean my bike before I could even bring it into the hotel, but when I got to my room, I literally had to go in the shower with my clothes on to clean my shoes, my helmet, all my clothes, before I even cleaned myself. So that just gives you an idea of how filthy I was! It was kind of fun, to tell you the truth, the dirtiest I’ve been in a long, long time. So I did a little dirt biking today. The other delight when we got in, this hotel, which is Governor’s Inn in Pierre, they have been the most delightful welcome to us that we’ve ever had. Not only did they offer us lemonade, iced tea, pretzels and pretzel dip, but also shortly after we were in for a little while, they had warmed up all these chocolate chip and sugar cookies and they gave us a whole bin of free beer, which is really kind of unbelievable. On this whole trip I’ve only had a couple beers, on a couple different days I had one beer. But I definitely took a Michelob Golden Light and we all toasted to a free beer on the hotel. I haven’t finished the beer, but it was nice to have a toast and have a little bit of the beer. It was sweet of them and very considerate and nice of them to offer that to us. They’re the only hotel that’s ever done that, so kudos to them. Also at this hotel, there’s a big group of people here who are just amazed that we’re doing this. They’re at some committee working on the dam that’s in this area, so they were teasing and said they were going to the “dam committee!” So they’ve got a good sense of humor and it’s really fun. I’ve been sharing my OLT cards with them and about the fundraising and about the trip, and they’ve just been kind of in awe that we’re doing this. To tell you the truth, I’m really in awe too, I can’t believe that I’m really somebody on this team of people who are riding, because there are a lot of people here who are very experienced riders. It’s really a privilege for me to be with them. I met a man named Bruce Westergard, and he’s with the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association, and he’s out here on some kind of business. He gave me his card and I gave him an OLT card, and he said he is definitely going to pledge to OLT, so I really thanked him for that. Nice gentleman. It’s always fun to meet people from all over the country who kind of end up in the same place where we are, for whatever reason. It’s a small world and we’re all connected. Thank God we all need each other. I have to go to dinner and then go to rap to find out where we’re going next. I haven’t looked on the sheet yet to find out where we’re going tomorrow. Before I go, I have a couple of special people that I really want to thank. I want to thank Brendan Hehn and the whole committee from Fairlawn for your support for me and what you’ve done to pledge for me, I really, really appreciate it. Brendan, I appreciate you following my blog; Raymond has told me that you always ask how I’m doing, and I really, really appreciate it. It’s just really nice to know that all of you from Fairlawn are watching out for me by prayer and following me and supporting me. Emotionally it’s just nice to know that you’re there for me. I’m looking forward when I get home, you having shared reading my blog, you’re going to really kind of know a lot about my trip. Thank you so much for that. Thank you for the money support to Christar, that’s really a blessing and I really do appreciate it. Also I want to give a special thank you to Josh and Jen Coffey. You gave me some cards before I left and you had sealed them and told me to open them when needed. In the past week, there have definitely been some times when I’ve needed to open those cards. Josh, I opened yours first in the town where we watched the parade, and it was just really sweet to have a card just from you. Then last night I opened a card from Josh and Jen, and it was just so encouraging to read you be so sweet, and to say that I’m an inspiration is really a gift to me, because Josh, I know that you were in the Marines, and I can’t even imagine what you went through and what you did for our country. So I’m doing nothing compared to what you’ve done. Jen, you’re a teacher out there with those kids every day, and I know you two are just such a wonderful couple and I’m really thankful to be a part of your lives.

Thank you so much for your encouragement and for your words of love to me, I really appreciate it. There are so many of you out there, I can’t say thank you enough for all of you who are following the blog, for all of you who are pledging. All of our military people are so grateful. When I get into Sioux Falls, I guess we’re setting up for me to meet some military families, and I cannot wait, I’m so excited about that. Jay Brethen from Operation Life Transformed is setting that up for me. I guess it’s going to be covered by one of the television stations. I’m really looking forward to meeting some military family people and having an opportunity to be interviewed at the halfway mark, which will be really, really amazing that we will have gone halfway. I’m looking forward to that on the rest day, that will be sweet. To Raymond, my love, and to my fabulous children that are my most precious gifts, my mom and dad, I love you dearly, and my sisters, Janie and Susie and families. Blessings to all of you, I’m thinking of you all every day. Thank you for your prayers. God bless you all and God bless America.

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Yeah! Jeannie half way day.. June 16th- day 25 of the ride. Happy Birthday Brie! and loving John Deere tractors.

PIC from bamacycles-One of the other riders in front of tractors.

PIC from bamacycles-One of the other riders in front of tractors.

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.

Tracktors

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!

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Jeannie’s GREAT day! 57 miles with LOTS of tail winds, which leads to early Christmas shopping at Walls Drugstore in Wall,SD.

Good evening to everyone out there on Day 23 of this wonderful trip, Tuesday, July 14,

from Rapid City to Wall, SD.  Well, the interesting thing about Wall, I can tell you, is the great Wall Drugstore, which is famous and known from, I guess, all around.  It started with them offering free water and that’s how Wall Drug got started, and it’s a major, major chain out here.  (See below for links about the store and history)

Walls Drug picture from bamabikes.com

Walls Drug picture from bamabikes.com

 

Picture from Raod side attractions.com

Picture from Roadside america.com

 

Picture from Roadside attractions.com

Picture from Roadside America.com

 

 

Leaving Rapid City today we had a very, very wonderful experience this morning that we didn’t have to load the truck until 8 o’clock.  So I was able to sleep in until about 6:15 today instead of 5 o’clock, and had breakfast about 7 o’clock, leisurely got my stuff reloaded and my bike ready, and loaded our luggage at 8 o’clock and got on our way.  It was a very wonderful morning.  We were extremely blessed today with our mileage of just 57 miles, so it was an easy day today.  It’s considered a rest day when we only have to go 57 miles.  But not only that, we also were on a beautiful service road which was kind of a back road for most of the trip.  It was just really, really beautiful, beautiful countryside, back road that was fairly smooth, up and down rolling hills.  You get the momentum going up and have to climb a little bit and roll down, climb a little, roll down, it was absolutely wonderful.  But added to all that, we had a partial tailwind which made us be able to fly, and at the end we had a total tailwind, which was just really phenomenal.  We all got in really early and were able to go shopping at the Wall, SD shops.  So I actually did some Christmas shopping, which was really fun for this trip, and had it mailed home.  So that was really good.

Picture from Bamabikes.com

Picture from Bamabikes.com

The only difficulty today was a 5-mile stretch which was, believe or not, going downhill.  Because we had a fairly strong crosswind at that point, going downhill off of that service road on Interstate 90, the rumble on the side of the road was way over and we had a very tiny, narrow strip that we could actually ride on.  Because it was so narrow and the other side of it was not really a cliff but a break-off into grass, there was a very narrow area that we had to ride our bicycles.  Because it was downhill and we had to keep braking as well as with the crosswind, it just easily felt like you could be blown over, or you could go over the rumbles and get caught in a bad way with our thin tires.  It was 5 miles of that and I have to admit, I was scared out of my wits.  I almost tried to stop and pull over on the grass, but people were behind me and I was afraid that I would cause an accident if I tried to stop and pull over, because there wasn’t even a way to pull over.  I just did the whole thing totally afraid.  In fact, I was so nervous and so scared for those 5 miles that I was actually crying and praying incessantly that the Lord would just spare me, because I was really that scared.  I was so relieved when I got through with those 5 miles, I can’t even tell you.

So out of the whole day, that was really the only stressful part, the rest of it was really beautiful and easy.  Not everyone was as scared as I was, some people are just really great at balancing on their bikes, and they don’t really feel worried in the strong winds that they’re going to fall over like I do, because I have been pulled off balance from the wind.  I’m just not as good of a rider as some of the people here.

But anyway, I got through it, and I’m thrilled.  I want to say I’m very thankful for another safe day.  After a bunch of us shopped, I was able to visit and have some down time with some of the riders, with us just talking and having a good time.  We all had more time together today and our dinner was really nice.

But we have to get to bed really early tonight because we have to load the truck at 5:15 tomorrow morning.  That’s really early, which means that I’m getting up probably between 4:15 and 4:30 in the morning.  It will be an extremely early morning.  We load at 5:15, eat breakfast at 5:30 and we will be on the road by 6 o’clock, because we’re doing 117 miles tomorrow, from Wall to Pierre, SD.  We are supposed to have a tailwind tomorrow, we don’t know if it’s going to change.  It would be really great if we do have the tailwind, and we’re supposed to have really good weather.  So far tomorrow’s looking good.  There’s only one section that we have to turn and kind of go into a headwind for about 20 miles of the 117.  But if we just have to do 20 miles and not the whole 117 with the headwind, that will be a true gift and a blessing.  So I’m hoping and praying for that, and I know some others are too.  Thank you again for your prayers.  So I’ll be getting to bed early.

I’m still having a good time, and the laughter between all of us as a team, kind of sharing different stories of things, has really been good.  As you know, when you go shopping in places like this, there are always items that you can buy that are really, really funny.   I bought a couple of really funny gifts for some of my loved ones, which you guys will find out what they are in the future.  We just had a lot of fun.  Today basically has been a really great day and it was really needed by all of us.  It was a real team day.

We’re almost at the halfway point.  Tomorrow is Day 24, so the day after tomorrow is Day 25, which is our halfway point.  That’s pretty amazing and pretty exciting.

God bless all of you, and God bless America.

** Walls Drugstore links and history.

The Wall Drug Store got its start during the Depression years by offering Free Ice Water to
thirsty travelers.  From their beginning in 1931 to today, the family-owned and run business
continues what their reputation was and is built on — giving friendly service to the public! http://www.walldrug.com/

Wall Drug Store

Field review by the editors.Wall, South Dakota  http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2216

Wall Drug is the American roadside wonder best known to people who’ve never been to America. Metro riders in Paris have seen signs for Wall Drug. So have rail commuters in Kenya, bus passengers in London, and visitors to the Taj Mahal.

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