May 30th, 2007
Looking back at today’s skate, I thought I would be able to sum up the events in a couple quick sentences. But a few things happened along the way that were pretty interesting.
The day started off in Moncton with a phone call from Radio-Canada (CBC). The name is deceiving, because they were actually calling me to arrange a meeting with a film crew for TV. So, while my parents were getting some groceries, I put my skates on and had CBC film me for a segment on tonights news.
I didn’t get out to the highway to start until nearly 10:00. But I can’t complain about my late start, because having CBC film me was pretty cool. And to make it even better, the camera man drove out to the highway and got some more footage a few kilometers down the road. I guess he wanted to get some more natural shots.
All the media attention in Moncton was great. The encouraging honks were occurring much more frequently. Now, if only I could convince the people of New Brunswick to pull over and donate! A couple of hours into my day, and someone finally did! I’ve now had vehicles pull over to donate in each province I’ve been through. I don’t know if any province will have as many people stop for me as I did on Newfoundland. Perhaps I should make a little challenge for each province. At this point, Newfoundland has a commanding lead for cash donations. I encourage everyone to donate however you can, but it would be fun to see if any other provinces out-do the generosity of Newfoundland’s cash donations.
Just before stopping for lunch, the second major event of the day happened. Most people have seen the cracks in the road that have been filled in with a tar-like substance. And if you’ve ever seen the tar in the summer, you know that it’s almost like a gum. Well, today was a relatively warm, sunny day. I’m usually pretty good at avoiding bad sections of pavement, but today I came across an area that I couldn’t get around. The wheels of my left skate hit the goo and came to an abrupt stop. As my momentum continued to carry my body forward, my right leg swung around in front of me to compensate for the sudden change in speed. But now I was almost sideways to the direction I wanted to be moving. My arms flailed around me trying to regain my balance. I tried to bring my left leg back around to correct the twisting my body had just experienced. My heart was racing and my eyes were bulging out of my head. But my cat-like reflexes saved me. A few more stutter-steps and I had regained my composure. Throughout my journey, I have hit thousands of little stones and had to struggle to hold my balance. but never before had I come so close to taking a nose dive to the pavement and possibly fall into the line of traffic.
The rest of the day was uneventful, but very enjoyable. The Trans Canada Highway between Moncton and Fredericton has a paved shoulder the size of an entire lane. There was a very slight breeze in my face, but it was not enough to be a factor today. All-in-all, the conditions today were some of the best I’ve had since starting on May 5.
I was nearly done for the day when the final intense event unfolded beneath my skates… literally. I was cruising along at about 20 km/h when I noticed movement several yards off the road to my right. It happened in a flash, and all I saw was a grayish-brown haze streaking towards me. It was too big to be a rat, but too small to be a dog or coyote. It was none other than a terrifying bunny (ironic, considering some of my good friends call me Bunny). I don’t know what spooked the rabbit, or what it was thinking when it charged towards me. All I know is that it was headed across the highway when it took a sharp left turn towards me with fire in its eyes. I’ve never been attacked by any animal, and I could hardly believe that my first encounter with a vicious creature would be at the hands of a wild rabbit. The bunny was now right at my feet and I had to jump to avoid skating over it. I was off balance for the second time today, but this time I was able to keep both skates aligned enough that falling was not a concern. I was concerned, however, of the lunatic rabbit which was now headed to the other side of the highway. Three cars and a transport came screaming past and yet the bunny still managed to sneak across the road unscathed. And just as quickly as it appeared, the little brown bunny vanished into the shrubs. What was going through its tiny, unusual brain, I’ll never know. But it definitely was an encounter I’ll not soon forget.
I finally reached my exit for the evening where we pulled into our typical Irving Gas station for the night. This Irving had one major difference, though. An amazing employee named Shannon had heard about me on the XL 96.9 in Moncton and offered to pay for our gas out of her own pocket! I hope we run into more people like Shannon. With the price of gas right now, this trip is getting quite expensive. And every little break we can get helps immensely. Thank you Shannon!