Saturday, July 29, 2006

What a Change….

Cindy and I managed to make our way home in the afternoon of Thursday July 27th....  It was a long drive for me.... I haven’t driven a vehicle for that length of time in 10 weeks. It was definitely a different feeling.

We arrived home to find an Inuksuk on the front step.... I knew who was behind it as soon as I saw it.  Thanks Ed.... and you too Jean!  It meant a great deal to have it there when we arrived.

We found ourselves locked out of the house.... I had given my keys to Jean and Ed and of course they were working....  So I called Brett (my son) and luckily caught him as he was getting ready to head out of town for the night.... he came by with the house keys and let us in.... and of course welcomed us home.

It was very quiet when we entered the house.... no one around but Cindy and I.... But it was nice to come home to a clean house and a groomed yard.... a few less things to worry about for a while. We settled in and started unpacking.... It was still very quiet as we moved around the house.... finally, not being able to stand it any longer we headed next door to grab Tessa (our dog) from Ed and Jean’s place.... She was very excited to see us.... it was probably Cindy that she was excited to see as she hadn’t seen me in two months and probably didn’t recognize me....  but I can pretend she was excited to see me too.... LoL....  The silence ended as we played fetch and listened to Tessa run around the house barking to get our attention.  It’s nice to be HOME!

Later in the day Jean and Ed stopped by to welcome us home.... We talked for a few minutes and they left us to settle in at home.... we’ll visit properly over the weekend hopefully.  We have lots to share.

We spent the rest of the day just relaxing and talking about what is to come....  I have lot’s of ideas, but really want to take a break before getting too involved with anything else.  I also have taxes to deal with and WCB....  So I won’t be bored.... well, I probably will be, but I will still be busy.

Friday was a day to get a few things done.... The pond needed cleaned out.... and will take a week or so to get back in shape....  the raspberries needed picking - I got 2/3 of them.... more later today. We basically wandered around the yard and the house doing odd jobs.... then we decided we should probably get some food in the house so we can eat at home. So we spent some time grocery shopping....  A pretty exciting life, huh.  We are slowly getting back into the reality of being home.

Today it’s off to the farmer’s market.... then a few other errands.... who knows....maybe something exciting.... nah.... that would be too much!

Until next time....

Posted by John on 07/29 at 07:31 AM
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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The last few days….

We’ve had a wonderful time over the last couple of days....  Lot’s has been happening.

We’ve done some sight seeing.... we’ve met a few new people.... I was taken to a city council meeting and welcomed to the city.... my friends and family were acknowledged as a huge part of my success.  I know I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family, my friends and co-workers back home. Yesterday I did a Rogers TV interview… it went very well.... took a while to get done, but was well worth it.... I even managed to get out on a whale watching tour.... only to get sea-sick and miss the best parts.... oh well, everyone else had a good time.... I did too, until I got sick.... which has never happened before.... I guess this old body just can’t handle it any more.... hehehehe

Today we will make our way back home.... I’m really looking forward to getting home and seeing everyone. It’s been an incredible trip.... A journey of a lifetime! 

Until next time....

Posted by John on 07/26 at 04:01 AM
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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Day 70…. The Final day on the road!!

This is it.... the big day has arrived.... Day 70.... My ride into St. John’s NL

Today I only rode 46 km.... It wasn’t a hard ride.... but it was a tough ride.... Tough only because my journey is coming to an end!!  I’ve been looking forward to seeing the end of my ride for a few weeks now.... But now that it’s here I know I’m going to miss it.... 

The day started early for me....  I was kept awake last night by the loud music being played by numerous campers around us… they were only playing their music loud to drown out the sound of the music going on just up the hill at the campground dance.  It finally ended at 3 AM.... then nerves and excitement kept me up for most of the rest of the night....  I finally got up at 6:30 AM.  I spent an hour or so cleaning my bike.... after yesterdays rain the chain was a mess.... as were the derailleurs and pretty much everything else....  After that I had some breakfast while the girls got themselves ready to go.... We finally got everything loaded up and we hit the road to get back to my starting point for the day.

I started my ride around 10 AM.... I only had 35 km to go before my meeting with the St. John’s Fire Department.... and that wasn’t scheduled until 1 PM.... I had LOTS of time… So I headed out at a nice easy pace.... much slower than I was capable at this point. 

Tim and I had planned to meet up on the road about 15 km outside of St. John’s.  He had finished his ride on Wednesday.... but he was still around.... and as we had talked about numerous times during our rides together we were going to ride in together.... My sister Debi had wanted to join me as well, but this day I had to ride with Tim alone.... at least until we hit St. John’s where there was to be some FF riders to join us.  Tim ended up coming out further to meet me.... I saw his vehicle pass me and pull over far ahead.... as I approached I saw Tim and his mother and father.... He was wearing his Cycle for Life jersey.... and a huge grin.... I snapped a few pictures as I approached.  I stopped.... we said hi.... shook hands.... a hug.... lots of smiles and laughs as we introduced everyone.

We finally got going.... still at a leisurely pace as we had a few hours to go only 25 km....  We talked a lot.... me more than him for a change....  Tim and I had talked a while ago about Inuksuks.... and Tim loves them....  so I suggested we build one.... He agreed.... so we looked for a spot and after riding a little more we finally found what we thought would be a great spot.  We stopped.... explained to everyone what we were doing and set to work.... Kelsey joined in....  We searched for just the right rocks.... and after about 45 minutes we had our creation built.... we took pictures from numerous angles and with both Tim and I along with it.... It was a pretty cool moment for me....

We got cleaned up and headed out again.... we had killed enough time so that we would be on time, but not extremely early for out meeting.... We road at a nice pace.... and watched as the heavy fog ahead of us turned into a light drizzle.... we kept going.  The drizzle turned into a light rain.... we kept going.... Soon a couple of motorcycles pulled up.  FF’s from St. John’s motorcycle club. They escorted us to our meeting place.... in the pouring rain.  Along the way we ran into a couple of FF’s on bikes.... then we were pulling into a parking lot with a couple of St. John’s Fire Department trucks, motorcyclists and bicyclists.  We got introduced.... hung around in the cold pouring rain for our escort to get coordinated.... then headed out into the pouring rain for the last 10 km of the ride.  We rode through a few fire districts and vehicles peeled of while others joined in.... before long we were riding up to City hall.... past the Mile Zero marker.... I looked around and everyone else had dropped back.... I rode up to the front of City Hall alone.... then the others followed. 

As I rode up I saw my sons OJ and Brett.... then my dad.... then my sister Debi and her husband Cam and daughter Chelsey....  WOW, family..... I hadn’t seen any of them for a long time.  I was then met by Paul, our contact in St. John’s. he introduced me to others.... I was so overwhelmed!!  Emotions were running high.... I can’t remember what happened next....  There seemed to be people everywhere.... some I knew.... lots I didn’t..... there was an Honor Guard present....  The Deputy Mayor....  I greeted the family....  hugs and kisses.... Tim congratulated me.... others did… Cindy came over.... we held each other.... a few tears were shed....  It was so amazing.... I was here.... I was done my ride.... but not completely.

We soon went into City Hall.... it was still raining, so everything was done inside..... thankfully!!  Everyone moved inside....  Paul said a few words.... the Deputy Mayor said a few words.... then he read a letter that had been framed.... from the Prime Minister.... how cool is that!!  Someone had done a lot of work to get that.... hmmmm He presented it to me....  I said my thanks… and a few other things I can’t recall.... Lots of pictures were taken and things quieted down.... Soon I was on the phone with a local radio station.... we did a taped interview.... Things inside then quieted down.... a few more introductions.... more congratulations....  I just can’t believe it all....

Soon I was outside.... Tim and I grabbed our bikes and headed to the mile zero marker for pictures....  my final destination.... I’m HERE!!  I fulfilled a promise to my good friend Jean.... then Tim and I ran across the street for an ice cream.... 

We finally headed to our hotel to get cleaned up.... a WARM shower.... DRY, Clean clothes..... It felt great.... It felt weird.... 

Paul came back and picked us all up and took us back to a station for supper with the FF’s.... They put on a huge traditional feed for us.... gave us a tour of the station....  we talked for a bit.... I talked in depth with a few of the guys....  We had a great time....

The whole family met up later.... we hit a few pubs.... enjoyed the night.....

Todays ride.... 46 km....  Total for the ride: 7945 km....

The ride is complete…

The battle continues!

Posted by John on 07/23 at 11:53 PM
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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Day Sixty-Nine….

Two rides and one sleep to go!!!

Today I rode from Bellevue Beach Campground to the Irish Loop Campground.... 73 km....

The day started with a few big climbs on a cool, overcast, misty morning.  From there it only got worse.

My stops consisted of taking pictures of the mileage signs, dropping my wind jacket as I warmed up, then a quick lunch break at about 30 km After that it got increasingly wetter.  I had my rain coat on.... and an old pair of riding shoes (trying to keep the good ones dry for the last day).... and I put the glasses away as I couldn’t see through them any longer.... too much of the wet stuff!!  I rode on into a strong headwind and a rain that was continually changing from light to heavy.

This was a very different day....  so close.... I knew I could finish easily today.... I was only 35 km from St. John’s when I stopped the ride, loading into the motorhome and made our way back to the campground.... which took us a while to find.... but we found it and checked in....

This place was horrid.... The showers were a mess and barely spit out any water....  the other facilities weren’t any better.... we made the best of it.... only one sleep and one ride to go!!

Until next time....

Posted by John on 07/22 at 09:48 PM
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Friday, July 21, 2006

Day 68….

Today I made it from Terra Nova National Park to Bellevue Beach Park....  142 km....  Total to date: 7826 km

We were all up by 7 AM today....  Ready to go and on the road by 8 AM as we planned....  A first for us!  The ride started with a good downhill.... to bad there was a stong headwind blowing.... I had to pedal to get down the hill....  Then came a long climb.... into the wind.... The roads are great.... but the hills seemed to get longer and higher as the day progressed.... and the winds stronger. I plugged along stopping from time to time to take pictures....  some scenic.... some of the mileage signs to St. John’s....  207, 179, 161, 149,129 km today.

Today was a battle with the wind.... but with the support crew out cheering me on at various points along the way we conquered!!  I feel great.... even after flatting the rear tire again today.

We made it to Bellevue Beach Campground and got checked in....  Fairly close to the water....  It was a nice spot and we enjoyed the evening.

I have around 120 km left to go to St. John’s....  I could easily do it tomorrow, but we will hold off as there are plans set there for Sunday....

Until next time....

Posted by John on 07/21 at 10:34 PM
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