We are now at Day 4 and I have been shirking my blog writing duties. Our evenings have been filled with organizational tasks to get things going in the right direction, including all the mundane tasks (shopping, laundry, meals, scissor-jacking the RV).
So here goes the (hopefully) one and only catch-up blog:
June 25 – Victoria – and we’re off
You couldn’t ask for a better send off. (Well, you could ask, but who?)
We started at CloverPoint Park, a peninsula of land pointing proudly to the snow capped Olympic mountain range to the south. With warm weather and a cloudless blue sky, the turn out was high, with about 50 people coming and going. We enjoyed donated food and coffee; gorgeous hand-made signs created by my talented niece, Lauren; Media coverage from the Victoria Times (replete with hilarious misquotes) and, a drone to take elevated shots of nothing in particular.
The event was hosted by the Victoria-based Parkinson’s Wellness Project. Introductions were made, speeches tolerated, and Parkies herded, and finally we were off. A dozen riders joined us at the start of the 36km ride to the ferry dock, breaking off one by one until just our adopted group leader Andy remained. (Andy is an excellent cyclist, and participates in a small club of parkie cyclists. He is interested in helming a Rigid Rider chapter.)
June 26 – Vancouver
Each time we set up camp, we place a gorgeous Spinning Wheels Tour sandwich board sign (created by Angelo) at the foot of our site. This sandwich board, our RV decals and Lauren’s ebullient signs always garner attention and start conversations. So we learn early that there is interest in what we are doing. This is confirmed with two morning requests for live radio interviews (CKNW Vancouver- Raji Sohal show, and Global network’s national broadcast The Roy Green show), following
which we meet with Larry Gifford, international PD advocate, co-founder of the PD Avengers, and, it turns out, great guy. Larry came to our campsite, spoke for hours, and recorded one of of his famous podcasts. We bid a sad farewell to Lori, and then head into town to meet Jeff Kelly, son of Rigid Rider David Kelly, who is completing a masters-level study of the effect on Parkinsons of a device worn behind the ear to help improve limbic control and, thereby stability and gait. This guy is marvellous. His dream is to create a product that will have immediate symptom relief. I hope that he gets his wish.
June 27 – Vancouver to west of Chilliwack
This day was about cycling and pain.
Our original plan was for 121km. Long but sane, especially given the extreme heat. Lots of time spent lost, followed by the need to move our end spot 20km further, and it turned into a 165 km day. But the humid heat of the day felt like mid-30s, making this quite an endurance event. Jim and I do a good job of sticking relatively close to each other, but the heat became unmanageable for Jim. A funny story arose from it, but it is Jim’s to tell.
At one point we got totally lost and wound up in a Federal psychiatric holding facility. A guard told us to leave, telling us we’re had no business being there. We proved him wrong by then riding against traffic down a busy highway shoulder (bikes permitted) to get to the off ramp we needed. And we won’t mention the closed road due to landslides from a collapsed mine, which lead to some creative alternative route planning. Road restrictions are way more interesting in BC.
We stopped to give another live radio interview en route. Two more radio interviews are booked for this week, including one in Calgary on Wednesday morning 5:20 MST (can’t recall particulars), and one on Thursday at 8:20 EST with Toronto’s 640 am
June 28 – West of Chilliwack to Sunshine Valley
To begin at the end, Sunshine Valley is cold and rainy.
Today is a lighter cycling day: 65 m and a very strong wind. Highlights of the day include a stop in Hope BC to see their Rambo carving (apparently, part of the movie was filmed there), and a 16 km sustained uphill climb. Thanks to Fulton, James and the coffee crew for helping to get me ready for these hills.
It is dawning on me that this will be what my life will be like for the next few months. Each day brings something new and interesting, cycling and Parkinson’s are daily themes, but life in an RV is becoming the real story.
Those in Toronto, remember to tune in to 640 AM Thursday at 8:20 am.