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Steve’s Blog – Aug 3 –  RV life –  Thunder Bay, Ont. to Nipigon

The most common question that no one asks (😉) is “How the heck do you all live in that RV together for 3 months without killing each other?” Well, to begin with, murder is illegal and immoral. You should see our mornings – dressing, making coffee, making breakfast, interviews, gathering provisions for the ride – all without collision, without annoyance, and while preserving each other’s privacy. It is part twisted ballet, and part balletic Twister. But it works … usually. I am proud to say that we have maintained a zero percent murder rate. Zero. [Each of us could write additional details about RV life, but that would likely harm our exemplary non-murder status.]

We have big plans for today, but they are impeded by a troubling disappearance act of our highway shoulders. They are commonly 1-2 feet wide, and occasionally nothing. This is an essential highway, filled with transport trucks of every size, including wide loads. The divers have been outstanding thus far, but with the margin of error so small, the threat is just too high to rationalize away. Darlene usually drives to a distant meeting spot or the camp, and if she sees that the shoulder is sufficiently narrow or damaged for a large percentage of the ride, she will call. Today, we decided it is too dangerous, and we get in the RV. We will deduct this from our banked hours. 

Not all is lost, as the first 30 km were on highway 102 which had nice rolling hills. Jim and I smoke the route. According to Strava, I get the quickest recorded ride this year (5th all time) and Jim gets third this year (14th all time). Not bad for some old guys with PD. Jim doesn’t care about these stats, but I do: I use them to trick my brain to stay interested. I have learned lots of tricks to keep a lethargy-prone brain active.

We stop to visit the Terry Fox memorial marking the location of the halt of his cross country run on the highway nearby. The memorial is beautiful, with a nice vista, though it is highly ironic that you can neither walk nor cycle to the site – it is only accessible by car. What would Terry think?

4 Responses

  1. Love your humour. Which I believe stops you from pulling the trigger many mornings. Enjoy the views and looking forward to seeing you in Smiths Falls at the boxing class.

  2. Immediate alert. We are driving west.Leavung Mrathon to Thunderbaay in a few minutes. Where arre you. Canweconnectectd andcross paths today? How about meeting in Rossport. Great quaint, funky village. I am with FD and we want to organize an event with you inCornwall. Tom. 613 363 7375

  3. I am so glad to hear that Darlene makes decisions about what is dangerous and what works for the brave souls that are riding for Parkinson Awareness. It is a beautiful RV but yes I can see the need for private moments to unhindered by chatter or dish demands. We so enjoyed our stop with all of you at Still Waters. Planning Cornwall to receive you in style.

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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.”