July 30th, 2007
I was supposed to remember to so something today. What was it? I know there’s something going on today, but I just can’t put my finger on it. Oh well. it couldn’t have been too important if I can’t even remember, right? Just kidding. Happy Birthday, Crystal! Miss ya, babe. Hope your birthday is more eventful than mine in Wabigoon, Ontario.
I’m glad Crystal was due for a fun-filled night, because my day started off as a day from hell. And it wouldn’t get any better. When I left MacGregor, I was instantly faced with unbearably rough roads and incredibly strong wind. Are these the ‘Westerlies’ that my Dad has been yapping about since we left Newfoundland? I hope not. I know the Prairies are generally windy, but I can’t imagine it being this extreme every single day! To give you an idea of how bad the conditions really were, I had managed to struggle through 30 km by 1:00pm. Officially my worst morning in terms of distance covered.
My one consolation was that Brandon was only 90 kilometers from MacGregor. But would I really be able to conquer 60 km in the afternoon having only done 30 in the morning? The pitted pavement was taking a toll on my feet. The pain was excruciating, and for the first time on this trip, a blister appeared near the ball of my foot. And there was nothing I could do to avoid it. It’s not one of those blisters you get from wet socks rubbing on your skin. It formed from the inescapable vibrations of the pebbly road. All I could do was grimace and continue to push through it.
I was about 30 km from Brandon when I had another run-in with the Law. When we entered Manitoba, we found out that I must have a permit to be in the highway. And the permit takes 4-6 weeks to acquire! Oi vie! In my mind I’m thinking, “There isn’t a cop in the Country that would write me a ticket for trying to raise money for cancer, right?”. So what are the odds that the officer who just pulled up beside me is going to ask me for my permit? No worries, though. My Dad had pulled some strings to get the permit fast-tracked. We had it if need be. But this encounter wouldn’t even go that far. The Policeman pulled up beside me with lights flashing. He had all traffic behind us completely blocked from getting past. “I just wanted to see how you were doing and say Good Luck,” the Officer yelled out his window as he coasted along side. Manitoba is really living up to their slogan “Friendly Manitoba”.
Earlier in the day I had given a quick interview to Chris from Star FM in Brandon. He really seemed to take a serious interest in my quest and gave my countless plugs throughout the day. It seemed like every 15 minutes my Dad was saying that he heard another mention about me on the station. Fantastic work, Chris. Thanks!
I was scheduled to be at Boston Pizza, Brandon, at 6:30 pm, but I was still 10 km from Brandon at 6 o’clock. A Police escort had been arranged to take me through the city to BP. My parents suggested I get in the RV and we come back to this spot tomorrow to start. But if you know me, then you know I’m stubborn. No way was I going to succumb to this Province! If I could get through a blizzard on Newfoundland, and the hills of Northern Ontario, I would get through this. With the help of the escort, I managed to stagger into the Boston Pizza parking lot about 20 minutes late. I may have been delayed, but I wasn’t beaten. But I’ll still give a point to Manitoba for the shear brutality I faced all day.
The reception was quiet, but effective. My Mom’s family, Harvey, Marnie and Doug, as well as a friend of there’s, Heather, all showed up to show their support and encouragement. The Boston Pizza Managers, Darren and Matt were very welcoming and even walked me around to each table and introduced me to the guests in the restaurant. Once I had finished my standard Thai Chicken Bites, Darren then surprised me with a check from the restaurant towards my efforts. Thank you, guys. It was a successful night with your help.
As windy as today was, the heat was embedded in every gust that washed across my body. My sweat couldn’t evaporate fast enough to keep me cool. So you can imagine how sticky and grimy I felt by the end of the day. Fortunately, Marnie and Harvey let us stay at their place so I could indulge in a much appreciated shower. Over the course of the evening, I met a few friends and neighbors including one little boy from next door who touched my heart. In his pajamas, he walked over to meet me and make a donation. With a grin on his face stretching from ear to ear, I never would have guessed that he had lost his mother to brain cancer just last year. My pain from today vanished instantly. I could not even begin to imagine the suffering he has had to go through at such a young age. He is the reason I continue to push myself to new limits.