September 2nd, 2007
I woke up on the top bunk in the RV just as I’ve done 120 times before. But this morning was different. I opened my eyes to see an angel lying next to me. After 4 months of sleeping alone, I wasn’t sure what it would be like to have Crystal beside me again. I’ve been getting used to sprawling out across the double bed. But it felt natural to have her there.
Crystal headed to work, Kent and Matt were just waking up and I was getting ready to go back to Langley to skate. I didn’t have much time to visit with my friends this morning, but I knew I’d be back tonight to see everyone.
Sargent Cameron met us in the parking lot at Boston Pizza and provided an escort from Langley to Surrey. The sky was threatening to rain, but it had managed to hold off all morning. Then I started skating… and the rained started falling. Although it wasn’t much of a factor, but it was frustrating that it began to pour as soon as I was rolling, and it stopped when I arrived at my destination. Just cruel.
I only had to skate about 10 km to Surrey today, but it took a while since traffic was backed up due to construction. The slow pace and the police escort provided great exposure and lots of honks. When I coasted into Boston Pizza, and the sun started to peak through the clouds, my parents and I hit another frustrating obstacle. The staff at the restaurant had no idea I was coming in! Ugh. We’ve been working so hard to give the stores ample notice of our attendance, but apparently there was a mix-up in communications with this location. We were supposed to call back the owner to confirm but must have forgot. We must be on the phone at least 8 hours a day, so it’s pretty easy for miss a call. Someone had even called this Boston Pizza asking about me, but the managers had told them I wouldn’t be here. We learned our lesson. Immediately after smoothing out the wrinkles, we got back on the phone to make 100% sure that all remaining locations are confirmed.
Even with our carelessness, this Boston Pizza was excited to have us. In a last-minute effort, the management and promotional rep created a unique way to get customers involved and bring donation in. It was a very simple idea, but a great one. They sold raffle tickets for $5 a piece and the winner received their meal for free! Well done, Surrey BP! You surprised me with another first!
We had a full table tonight. Normally my parents and I would be eating alone, but while I was setting up at the hostesses booth, a voice came from behind me. “You must be Rich.” It was Dave and his girlfriend, Cory. I met Dave semi-randomly on Facebook. He had started a group asking for ideas of where to donate a substantial amount of money for cancer. To make a long story short, Crystal had suggested to him that he donate to my Skate For Hope and after receiving hundreds of other ideas, Dave choose me! We’d been in touch a few times and since he lives just around the corner, he came out to finally meet me.
Anjenett, a former co-worker of mine, also showed up to see me. If you’ve been following my progress from the beginning, you may remember when I was in Gander, Newfoundland. I was welcomed into the house of Bob and Kay for an afternoon meal and a hot shower. Well, these wonderful folks were Anjenett’s in-laws. It was great to eat with the company of Dave, Cory and Anjenett.
Back at my buddies’ house, I finally had a taste of what I left behind when I began the trip. Just a casual evening sitting around chatting with friends. The familiarity of it all was refreshing. Crystal, Kirsten, Chris, Kent, Matt, Louise, Jim and Nikki. Yup, seeing a few of my friends was nice, but also tough knowing that I’m not done. I feel so close, and yet tomorrow I’m rolling further away from home. As gratifying as this journey has been, I’m excited to get home.