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Mosquitoes, mosquitoes, I do but hate thee.

I suppose I’ve been a city boy too long. I like the comforts of home. The three to seven mosquitoes that come out to bother me at twilight in Toronto can be enough to drive me into the house.

I don’t know anyone who like mosquitoes.

And no, it is not just the mosquito I dislike. I don’t care for black, dear or horse flies.

Perhaps this dislike traces itself back to my teenage years in scouts. Camping in southern Manitoba. We were in tents the leaders in their vehicles. They were not new tents. They were the old canvas tents. They did have bottoms in them that smelt of mildew and the funk of every person that had ever slept in them. No screens to zip close, no windows for ventilation and the doors were sort of held closed with ties.

Dusk came and with it, the mosquitoes. They were everywhere, buzzing all around in the tent, some poor guys tried to “hide” in their sleeping bags even though it was warm. Any flesh exposed was a target. They were relentless. We sought refuge in the leader’s car. It was locked and we were met by a smile of sweet revenge from the shadows which disappeared when he rolled over to return to sleep.

To be fair to this heroic leader, because without responsible committed adults volunteering their time and efforts, I and the other boys would not have had the many opportunities for travel and camping and canoeing that we were afforded. We were teenage boys, far from home and parents and should have received far worse punishment (and the leaders didn’t know the half of what their idiot charges go up to).

Back to the mosquitoes…

We walked dejectedly from the vehicle. Then an idea came from one of the boys. We could go to the washroom. They were mostly clean and the doors shut tight. Unfortunately, this seemed the spawning place for all of the mosquitoes with the added benefit of urine smell. (I suppose I might have been able to stick it out if I had my Parkinson’s and my lack of smell back then).

This might have been the part in the evening where some large Manitoba mosquitoes carried off one of our smaller members. It was a while ago, some details are fuzzy.

In the end, we walked to the highway and on to a Truckstop, where we drank coffee until 6:30am and walked back to camp.

Another time when I was much older and playing in a band. We were hired to play a private party in the Ottawa Valley. We were outside playing music on their deck. I believe the deck was built over a swamp. The mosquitoes were so thick, that everyone, including the owners went into the house and listened to us through the screen doors and windows. We were so good, they ate us up!

Now I find myself crossing this country and every province. When parking the RV, we have encountered mosquitoes at every stop except the Walmart parking lots, go figure. In Thunder Bay they were thick, to which my cousin exclaimed, you should have been here earlier, the blackflies were worse!

We have been diligent in keeping the screen door of the RV closed but you can never keep them out. Then in the night, while drifting off to sleep….buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, you hear one. The morning finds you swatting mosquitoes. We are decorating the walls of the RV with little spots of our blood that the mosquitoes took in the night. My mosquito bites have mosquito bites.

Months to go and I am unsure my blood supply will last.

And then last night we arrived in Boulder Mountain Resort. We set up came, lit a fire and cooked dinner outside. Not one mosquito. Well, what do you know, I think I will survive.

(Please note, real mosquitoes were harmed in the making of this story.)

3 Responses

  1. A tip that worked for me was to rub citrus peel on your skin, ideally orange peel. I’ve used that advice many times and it does have merit. The added benefit is that you don’t have to rely on dousing your skin with chemicals.

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Why We Are Doing it

You have probably heard of Parkinson’s Disease. You may even know people who suffer from it.  Get used to it, as Parkinson’s Disease is the world’s fastest growing neurological condition, set to double in number by 2040.

Parkinson’s Disease occurs when the brain’s dopamine-producing cells die prematurely. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter necessary for many functions of the brain and body, including muscular control, and its loss affects all forms of movement and balance, as well as non-motor functions such as memory, concentration and motivation.  Think of dopamine as the electricity in an electric car: without it, the lights dim and the wheels stop spinning.

There is currently no cure, no bio-markers to aid detection, and little is known about how it is triggered, except that Canadians are disproportionately afflicted

Most people living with Parkinson’s reduce or even discontinue regular intensive physical activity after their Parkinson’s diagnosis.  Why?  Their actual skills and abilities do not suddenly evaporate on the date of their diagnosis, though their mental fortitude often does.  As a result, many abandon the very restorative health practices, such as regular exercise, when they are needed the most.  For people with Parkinson’s, intensive exercise can boost energy, sharpen the mind, elevate spirits and keep the body mobile.  Studies indicate that intense exercise can help train the Parkinson’s afflicted brain to use dopamine more efficiently and be able to do more with less.

Let’s use the dopamine we have to build the lives we want.

What are We Doing

Canada is a big country.  It is home to over 100,000 people living with Parkinson’s disease, 9 in 10 of which suffer in silence, isolation, or without the support of a knowledgeable organization or community.  Starting in June 2022, we aim to cross our big country by bicycle to meet as many of these people as possible to personally deliver this message: get moving to stay moving.  

We start In Victoria, British Columbia and ride east through every Canadian province, and hundreds of cities and towns along the way.  Our route is approximately 8,000 km, and we expect to average 125 km a day, six days a week for approximately three months.  Our Spinning Wheels Tour team will include two riders with Parkinson’s Disease, as well as two ride-along supporters to keep things moving.  Along the way, we will be meeting with people whose lives are touched by Parkinson’s, and encourage them to get moving with us, get engaged in support communities, and to set up their own group athletics.

We are not athletes, just people with the resolve to do what it takes to live well with this disease, and to encourage others..  

Along the way, we hope to hear these words, “If they can do it, I can too.”