June 20th, 2007
As I laid in my bunk, I realized I hadn’t slept in the RV in quite a few days. It’s been different having a real bed to crash in for the last while. And now that I was back on the road, I had to get used to the lack of elbow room again. But something wasn’t right tonight. This isn’t how I thought I’d feel when I arrived in Trenton. Maybe that’s because I wasn’t in Trenton. Heck, I wasn’t even in Belleville!
I woke up around 8 am so that we could go pick up the RV at 9 am. I was hoping we could have ad it ready earlier, but a 10:00 start wouldn’t be too bad. But when 10:00 rolled around and the RV still wasn’t ready, I was starting to get concerned. It wasn’t just ‘not ready’. It actually wouldn’t start at all! The mechanics were stumped. We had been driving it yesterday, and now there were new batteries and a few other new parts, and yet it just wouldn’t go. I was getting frustrated and anxious. While my dad and I were pacing back and forth hoping for good news, a man came up and started talking to us. This guy seemed to know all about me. It turned out that his name was Marvin, a.k.a, ‘The Highway Prisoner’. Marvin is a truck driver who is good friends with Butch (Crystal’s step-dad). He’s pretty convinced that he’ll cross our path again when we’re heading through Northern Ontario. That would be pretty neat to see him again, but I don’t know if I can make it up there as quick as he thinks I will.
By the time it was 11:00 am, I couldn’t bare it any longer. I had to leave. My dad decided to wait at the mechanics to see if they could get the van running. I headed home so I wasn’t wasting so much time. I should have been half way to Trenton, but instead I was heading to the house to work on my journals (which, by the way, I’m almost caught up on!). My mom and I also took the unexpected extra time in Kingston to fire off some errands. We ran to the bank, picked up some more supplies and even stopped by my old high school, Frontenac Secondary.
I was now almost 3:00 pm and I had come to terms with the fact that I had lost another full day of skating. I was a bit disappointed since I know I will likely lose more time in and around Toronto. But I was more concerned with the fact that the RV still wouldn’t start. Talk about irony. We drive the old beast all the way to Newfoundland and it breaks down just outside of St. John’s where I was starting the Skate For Hope. And now that we’ve made it all the way to my home town of Kingston, the RV is having issues again. I can only imagine what will happen what is in store for my arrival in Vancouver.
And then the phone call came. It was 3:36 pm and the RV had started. It took several mechanics all day to figure it out, but finally a broken wire was discovered. Ralph, the man who found the broken wire, got the shock of his life, literally, when he put the wires together and the engine roared to life. My sigh of relief was not the only one. I could hear my dad, my mom, and all the mechanic exhale simultaneously as the stress was lifted.
With the van brought back from the dead, we decided it would be best to have dinner at home and then try to get a few late kilometers in before the sun set. By the time we had the RV packed up and eaten dinner, it was going on 7:00 pm. This was officially my latest start. I usually finish my days around 7:00, not start them!
Our neighbours, Darlene, Rick and J.J., have been a huge help and very supportive of my journey. So I was more than happy to pose for a few quick photos with them before heading out highway #2 towards Toronto. I knew I had to get moving now. Judging by the clouds rolling in, I didn’t have much time before the skies opened up. I was able to complete almost 10 km before the clouds became too heavy and started throwing drops of water the size of marbles down on me. No problem. I’ll just put my wet skates on and I’ll be good to go. Wrong. FLASH….KABOOM. It only took one flicker of lightening to convince me I shouldn’t be on the road. I still can’t figure out why, but it’s pretty obvious that all the Gods were doing everything in their power to stop me from skating today.
As we sat in the RV waiting to see if the lightening would pass, a truck pulled over in front of us and a man got out. It was my dad’s friend, John MacDonnell. He just happened to be cruising by and thought he’d stop to say ‘hello’. We chatted for a fw minutes before I decided I would make one more attempt to continue skating. I hadn’t heard the rolling thunder in a few minutes, so I thought I’d give it another shot. I stepped into the pouring rain and pushed on. One kilometer done… no lightening. Two done… nothing. Before I knew it, the rain was letting up, but not stopping, and i could see the clouds breaking. I must draw more attention to myself when I’m blading in the pouring rain, because in the short distance between Kingston and Napanee, 3 cars pulled over to make donations. Maybe they just thought I was some poor kid that didn’t know any better than to skate in the rain.
Although Napanee was only about 30 km West of Kingston, it was a triumph to get there. I had faced more adversity today than I had in the last 2 weeks combined. Joan and Jose DaSilva, family friends, were waiting for us at their home in Napanee. I had the opportunity to meet a few of their grandchildren, too! The 2 little girls were a bit preoccupied with each other, but Connor and his brother were pretty excited to meet me. From the sounds of it, Connor has taken a pretty keen interest in what I’m doing. Hopefully I’ve sparked some fire in him to become someone who will help change the world.
A late night visit from a neighbour turned out to be one of the highlights. Buzz, from Joe FM, was convinced by Joan’s daughter that he should come over and meet me. I’m very appreciative that he did. Poor Buzz has to get up at 3:45 am every morning to go in to work to do the morning show on Joe FM. And even though he should have already been asleep, he took the time to come talk to me. He’s a great guy and has asked me to call him in the morning for a live interview on the radio! Looking forward to it, Buzz!
Through everything that went on today, I can only look to tomorrow and know that all the problems I have been faced with are trivial. A day does not go by that I’m not thankful for my friends, family and health. Things can always be worse. But maybe my skate across Canada will help make some peoples lives a little better.