Sunday, October 12, 2008

On the road

This is the flesh of my trip, the stories of pain, joy, emotion and struggle. Enjoy! Some are quite lengthy, but I believe provide the full experience that I had.

Just in case you haven't figured it out, the bolded sections of my entries are brief versions. So, if your in a rush, just read the bold sections to get the quick version of what I've been doing and where I am

Sept. 13, 2008 (Whitbourne - St. John`s, 90km) - It was a cold damp morning. It didn`t help dry my clothes that I did in the shower the day before. But it didn`t matter. I was too excited. Today I would be finished. No more biking. Wet clothes would dry, there were more important things at hand. I ate my dehydrated meal of couscous. I thought it was something else, but when I realized it, I didn`t care. Something different for breakfast, sure, why not? I had a great tailwind, and the sun came out! It was perfect weather to end my my last day of biking. I biked through lots of construction, but lots was downhill. And it was my LAST DAY! Nothing could have bothered me! Wind, rain, hills. I felt on top of the world. The high mountains, the feeling of accomplishment. And here, at the other side of Canada, I was now at the end of the world. I never passed the ``Welcome to St. John`s`` sign, because it was a mix of areas, including Mt. Pearl. I followed what I thought was the Trans Canada all the way towards downtown. Just before I went up an over pass was the dreaded ``No bikes`` sign. They always do that! Put that sign at the most inopportune times! I had been biking that road for a good 20 minutes and only NOW they decide to put up that sign?I turned around and went up an alternative road not much further ahead. Stopping at an Irving to give my friend Keir a call, I chatted with a guy who had been to Hazelton! He used to live in Houston. Had he not been leaving that day, I would have had a place to stay. I met Keir downtown. Getting there was something! I was warned that St. John`s wasn`t just hilly, it was built on hills! I found that out going downtown, biking down some of the steepest streets I have ever biked! The road conditions weren`t the greatest either. I tell people St. Johns was a wonderful place to bike to, but horrible to bike around. I met Keir downtown on the crowded Water Street. I told him the jyst of how I came to St John`s on my adventure of a lifetime and sharing what I did after my post Katimavik life. He used to be the project coordinator for our group in Newfoundland. He offered to put me up for a night, but had to leave for Labrador the next day. That would work out really well, because it would give me time to look at hostels or couch surfers to stay with for my rest in St. John`s. We talked a little more over a snack using up a bit more of my remaining food. I phoned home and let my parents know I reached my destination, I was done. My mom did the screaming and hollering, which is usually my responsibility. I phoned Shannon Hurst, the news reporter who helped me with publicity back home when I first started. I shared my experience with her and what it meant. Words just didn`t seem like enough. I kept expecting this sudden wave of excitement to hit me randomly. Keir invited me to a movie with his friend who also did CWY. Tomorrow I would find a place to stay and bike out to Cape Spear. I would dip my tire in the most easterly point in Canada. There were no more places to go, no more provinces to explore, no more towns to bike to. I was done. I had bike across Canada....

Sept. 12, 2008 (Clarenville - Whitbourne, 101km) - It wasn`t the greatest morning, probably attributed to the lack of shower the night before. My dad phoned in the middle of the night, waking me up. Shelley, the neighbor, said she would be returning from work at 7am, in case I needed a shower. Boy, did I. But she wasn`t up! I packed up right away, deciding it would be more convenient to prepare at the Irving up the road. I washed up a bit, changed into my bike clothes, brushed me teeth, the whole routine. I grabbed some food and the nice waitress let me eat it in the restaurant as it was really windy outside. It was a very chilly wind outside. At first it seemed to be a tailwind, that was very short lasted. I fought a headwind for the rest of the day. I saw some amazing lakes though, high up in the mountains. Yes, we were past the numerous hills and back up into mountains. The landscape was spectacular, a very sparse yet lively area. It reminded me a lot of 9 Mile, back home. After pumping up my tires at a gas station, they went flat like 20 minutes later! Even this far along, I`m not immune to flats. I stopped for lunch at Meagans Restaurant, having some fish and chips, a surprisingly rare dish for myself. Today was definitely a day where gravity and wind ganged up to beat me down, rain taking a day off. People have asked me what the most challenging area of my trip was. True, the Rockies are a lot of uphill. But you`re a lot more fresh there, still getting used to things and getting better. But here, in Newfoundland, were mountains, sometimes just as challenging, but you`re at the end of your trip. I was getting drained mentally and physically more and more then I could recharge, and that made those hills harder and harder. The leftover winds from passing hurricanes didn`t help either when they were in front of you. I pulled into Whitbourne, not wanting to go far. I stopped at the first house and camped not just in the yard, but next to the garden of Cecilia and her husband, whose name I never got. They let me use the shower and I cooked not one, but 2 cans of Chunky soup. I was trying to use up the remaining food I had. It was just enough. I went and bought a few groceries, simple snacks to get me to St. John`s the next day. Again, I just wanted to call everyone, let them know I would be done tomorrow! Sometimes I think I needed to remind myself more then others! I wrote some very personal notes that night, reflecting on the person I had become over those 4 months. But it goes beyond notes.

Sept. 11, 2008 (Gander - Clarenville, 147km) - I woke up a little later then I hoped, past 8. Today was going to be another big day. I hoped to make it to Clarenville. It was a nice day, and if I did go that far, I would gain an extra day off in St. Johns, which would be great considering the weather forecast called that Monday would be rainy. I would arrive Saturday then. I had breakfast with Allen. Both he and his wife had cancer and had been dealing with it in the last few years. They did seem to be past the hardest parts of it though, from what I saw. Similar to busy people still having time to let strangers camp in their yard, I appreciate when people with health problems are still friendly and inviting, rather then using that as a crutch to seclude themselves from people. So thank you everyone. I had a lot of packing up to do in the basement, again, because of drying equipment. I got a picture with Allen, as Myrtle was too shy and Buela was sleeping. The neighbors building a shed came over for a bit seeing the stranger emerge from their neighbors home. One of them said the wind was in my favor that sunny day! In that case, Clarenville was the place to go! It was a gorgeous day. A bit chilly, but beautiful. I had good music pushing me along the hills, the trees, the lakes. If you can laugh and smile when you see a HILL, then you KNOW its a good day!!! And there were some tough hills! But man, I also had some of the best downhills. Challenges = rewards, what can I say? It`s something you have to experience to realize how rewarding going downhill is. I compare it to cooking your own meal. Sure, its the same ingredients as the restaurant, and may not even taste as good, but YOU made it! The feeling is even more so if you grew your ingredients! It wouldn`t be the same if you were dropped off at the top of the hill. I made a movie of going uphill, to pair with my downhill movie. I took lunch at Gloverville, but I didn`t go into town. It dropped into a valley, and I didn`t feel like going back up it with the distance I had that day. People warned me that Terra Nova National Park had some grand hills. But I conquered them all. It was very pretty to go through, lakes here and there. I was having a flood of thoughts and emotions that day. Did I accomplish my goals of my trip? Did I succeed? Would I be happy with what I did or would there always be something missing? One thing I could be concrete on was the idea of perspective, which complimented the `hill`movies I made. I want people to see what I see. That`s the importance of telling people my story. They can take from it what they want, whether its a craving for their own adventure, realizing the importance of health or coming to terms of their own capabilities of change in their own lives and others. I don`t see hills, I see challenges. Something to overcome and realizing ``I can do that again, and maybe something bigger!`` Hills do that for me, what does that for you? Leaving Terra Nova and going past Port Blandford, there was construction. I got a lot of wet tar on my tires, which picks up tiny rocks that bombard the bottom of my frame. There I met another biker named Michelle. He would be exploring the eastern part of the Avalon area, but would still leave by September 20th. He must be going pretty fast to do that! I`d have loved to explore more of the island, but it was time for me to finish. There was one more sneaky hill before Clarenville. A tailwind helped push me there. I`ll say it was sneaky though, because I got to the top and overlooking a hill, I found the town was behind me! I passed it! After a ice cream I-made-it reward, I went back into town through a much closer road. I stopped at the first street I saw and asked. I asked a man named Dustin. He would have let me camp in his yard, but he wanted to be responsible, and asked the neighbors if they were okay with it, letting them know my intentions, considering they had young children. I respected this. They agreed, and in fact, his neighbor would let me stay in her yard. Dustin offered other services if I need them, which I leaned towards a shower. After setting up my tent, I went back to Dustins, as the helpful neighbor, Shelley, had left. However, Dustins girlfriend felt uncomfortable with a stranger using their shower. Dustin insisted, any OTHER thing he could help with, he would. But that was all I needed at that point! I was a bit saddened. I didn`t feel comfortable asking other neighbors for that single thing, so I went the night, showerless. Ugh. It happens. The neighbor left a container of chicken and muffins for breakfast for me. She was proving to be a better host then Dustin. But I appreciated his effort. I went downtown and stopped at a Chinese Restaurant. I got an all you can eat special. One plate was enough, because I wanted to catch a movie. It was a cheap movie night, and I watched the House Bunny. It made me feel less like a traveller in a strange town. I wanted to phone lots of people that night, being so close to finishing my trip. I called my grandma, parents, and two friends, one living in St. John`s. I let him know I was coming and I would call him when I got into town. They all told me how proud they were of me. I find it a bit odd to accept sometimes, I guess I`m just a bit modest. But with so many people assuring me how proud they are, I must be doing something great. I just have to take it. It`s a good thing! I returned to my tent just before the gas station closed.

Sept. 10, 2008 (Bishop Falls - Gander, 82km) - We had breakfast before Kirk put my bike in the back of his truck and brought me to his shop. I got all geared up there, weather proofed, and met a few of his co-workers. After putting on my gear, it was a bit of a time waster. He had to work, everyone was really. I was just standing there, the rain not going anywhere. But before I left, I got a picture with his crew and the big city dump truck they were all working on. Kirk, however, wasn`t so busy that he could offer to drive me to the intersection just outside of town. Usually I don`t take rides, but it was pouring rain and he said there were some tough hills leaving town. I didn`t mind accepting. He picked up his friend for a ride and they brought me to a hotel parking lot for me to leave from. I had a flat right after leaving. It was a slow leak and I didn`t notice the flat tire that morning. I turned around and fixed it at the hotel not far back. There was no culprit to be found. I pumped up my tire and hopped right bac on, continuing, but not before buying a slice of pie to brighten my day. You gotta start the day right and pie has that ability! It was rainy and windy till noon where the rain stopped. I decided it was appropriate to take off my jacket, but where my stanfield sweater to ease the cold wind. I had a tailwind a good 1/3 of the day, and then a headwind. During that tailwind was a long stretch past a few lakes, a fairly flat area. I used some qi gong and just zoned out, pumping those legs up and down steadily. The rain returned, so I put the jacket back on. While taking a break in Appleton on the side of the road, dipping my granola bar into my jar of peanut butter, watching and smiling as the cars went by, I just laughed. There I the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere dipping...uh...granola bars into peanut butter. I could only think, ``This has either got to be the best or worst time of my life.`` I`m leaning towards best. I made it to Gander and did my search for a nightly home. 1 person said no, and actually, contrary to what most people say, suggested a field in town to camp at. Usually I would go for this, but I craved company by this point. I wanted to meet people. to talk and learn and share. I won`t lie, I also wanted a shower. The second guy was genuinley busy, with boxes on his porch. Third times a charm, as an older couple said yes, and again, offered to let me stay inside without my further asking. Buela, Allen and Buela`s sister, Myrtle, let me bring my things downstairs and change before calling me up to talk. They wanted to ask a few questions of the stranger about to stay in their house. I had nothing to hide, so I was up for it. They were old questions, such as ``Where are you from`` ``What are you biking for`` ``Why did you choose this house?`` They were glad I passed the `bar exam.` Phew. They were very generous, offering up everything in the house, from tv to food. I went shopping with Myrtle to pick up some granola bars and fruit. I washed my bike again, oiled up the chain, as per usual on rainy days. They gave me a donation on all their behalf before I went to bed. The weather was to clear up once again.

Sept. 9, 2008 (Sheppardville - Bishop Falls, 130km) - Mildred was kind enough and made breakfast in the morning. I didn`t have much time to chat, as I was busy getting ready. Putting bags away, packing stuff. It was a nice day finally! Patience seemed to have paid off. I was so happy. I had seen it happen before, just how quickly things can change your state of mind. It energized me, ready to take on the remainder of my trip! So, within the first half hour, I got a flat tire. But I was still smiling. Keep that good mood going, snowball effect style. I oiled up my chain a bit more before I started up again. I was making great pace, even airing up my tires nice and tight at a gas station. It was very flat, considering what my first day in Newfoundland was like. I was making great time and stopped at a Chinese restaurant in Badger for a bite to eat. It was my early supper. I went by Grand Falls/Windsor quickly, because I was told by Shannon to go to Bishop Falls, as it was home to some of the most friendly people you would ever meet. The map I had was wrong. It wasn`t 19km to Bishop Falls from Grand Falls/Windsor, but actually 5km, almost all downhill and with a tailwind no less! The first person I asked to camp in his yard declined. He didn`t want to set a precident for others to camp in his yard or fish in the river or do anything else there, invading his yard. I respected his answer, but `anyone else`? There wasn`t exactly a line of people behind me, awaiting his answer so they could all follow suit. Regardless, I asked a neighbor who pulled up in a vehicle. He walked over, seeing my loaded bike. I explained to him that I was in Bishop Falls because of the nice people (haha, flattery) and his neighbors response. I guess I may have guilted him into it a bit, but I think Kirk was genuinely nice and said yes. More then yes actually. He showed me his property that he was fixing up, cleaning up the back yard of wooden flats, and the area up to the river. Then he suggested his trailer down the road, with a much more scenic setting and even deck beside the river. He also offered his girlfriends trailer as a possibility and then finally suggested that I just stay the night at his fathers place, where he and his girlfriend were staying. I was surprised at just how many properties this guy had! He showed me them all, including the shop where he worked that his dad had started, Smithy`s Trucking Services. This serviced trucks all across Newfoundland. With all these properties, Kirk was constantly busy and was still trying to get a bit of work done on the first house. Considering he was putting me up for the night, I decided to help. It had been a bigger day, breaking the 100km cap I promised myself, but it was a nice day and I didn`t want to waste it. I helped move wood into a burn pile and picking up junk. Kirk was very well known around town, on account of his fathers business and I think just being helpful everywhere. Someone would honk from the main road every so often, or his friends would stop by to help or chat. We ate at his fathers place chatted about a variety of subjects, from school, to travel, life aspirations, etc. Kirk gave me a hat with his business logo in front. I would wear it with pride, showing people where I came from a the nice guy I met. His girlfriend, Kristen, was a rehabiliation councilor, and had seen the ugly side of drugs and alcohol and abuse. She seemed fond of what I was trying to accomplish with my fundraising and supported my cause. I really did show up in a nice town.

Sept. 8, 2008 (Deer Lake - Sheppardville, 98km) - Robert let me cook my breakfast inside. This included another delicious hot chocolate. I chatted with Robert before I left. He was a survivor of a tumour operation on his head. Hearing his story, it sounded like it made him appreciate his family a lot more. They were very close it seemed. He shared how he worked around town a lot, doing odd jobs and being a well known and helpful person. I found it hard, again, to pack up my tent and leave. It was a slow morning with that, and fixing a slow leak in my tire. This time, it was a remaining nub of a nail that rub a hole in my tire. I oiled up my chain and was on my way at 10am. I reminded myself again to be happy. I turned on the music and put a good smile on my face. The thought of people seeing a crazy guy on a bike in that kind of horrible weather made me laugh as well. Anytime you can laugh and smile is a good day. I stopped at the Mary Browns restaurant because I was told they have a cool mount of two moose locked together at the antlers. I realized as I left that this was a different day then most. With the rain and now, headwind, including my 100km cap on my days, I could just go slow. I didn`t have to push myself. I still had a goal of Sheppardville that day, but with few hills, I barely even broke a sweat in my sweat-prone jacket. Because of that slower pace, I could go longer with fewer breaks. It was a cold day though, so it was good I kept my jacket on. When its wet AND windy, thats when I need it. Despite the fact that there were few places to stop, I didn`t want to. I just wanted to zone out as I do on wet days and keep going. I did see some nice sights, although foggy. I bought a sub and coke at the gas station just before Sheppardville. I turned into the small neighborhood and was a bit disappointed to find it was uphill and had wet, dirt roads! I didn`t walk far before I came to a house. I was wet and getting cold and really needed laundry to be washed. I had no more clean clothes. I was ready to ask people right off the bat if I could stay inside and do laundry (after explaining my situation) I knew it would be a stretch, but I really, REALLY did not want to sleep inside my wet tent or use wet, dirty laundry the next day. The house I was at belonged to Norman and Mildred. I never did ask them to stay inside, just to camp in their backyard. They were surprised and said yes, but offered that I could stay inside and even do laundry! I didn`t even ask them for that far of kindness, despite wanting to. I was very fortunate. It couldn`t have been more perfect; the small area they had to dry my pannier covers and even an empty bed for me to sleep in! After a shower, I rinsed my bike down while it was still damp and easy to come off and oiled up my bike in preparation for the next days leave. Some little kids came by, wondering who this strange guy was. I told them and shocked them. Mildred told me she invited her grandson over to hear stories about my bike trip. He brought his friend and I shared what I thought was relevant for them at that age. The fun and adventure, the dangers, the excitement, and of course, the food thing. Hopefully I sparked something inside of them. They were mountain bikers, just taking a few jumps here and there. Biking 100km to them was something extraordinary, but maybe when they get older, it won`t be a distance for them, but a huge jump or trail that they will take on. I was introduced to a few more friends and family of Mildred and Norman who came over. We watched a bit of tv before everyone went to bed. I could watch anything at that point. The feeling of just being `home` was something I was missing. Warm, comfortable, glowing tv. A familiar scene most of us have had, it was just a safe feeling.

Sept. 7, 2008 (Corner Brook-Deer Lake, 53km) - It was wet that morning. But like always, you can`t wait on the weather, or you`d never go anywhere. However, it still didn`t feel as though I rested enough, so I decided to only go to Deer Lake, making it a short day, of only 53km. It worked out quite well, because I needed to buy food which I forgot to do in Corner Brook, and it began to really rain later that day. It was very hard to start. I kept procrastinating, wasting time any chance I got. I knew that if I took another day off, I might not get back on the bike. It was wet, but only rained in a few areas, so I didn`t bother with my jacket again. I`m still sick of that thing though. It smells salty all the time now. My music was a big help, made me a little happier. I ran into one of the guys from the zip-line tour. He got to see the bike that I talked about, all geared up. I bought some jerky to help me along for that rainy day. Days like this, I`m not sure if its the weather, literally blurring your vision or the music or lack of scenery to keep you interested, but it just feels like a dream sometimes. You zone out, not noticing the vehicles or even the rain. You snap out of it and find you just biked 5km. There was a tailwind that day. You couldn`t quite tell, but it was there. It was a fairly flat ride. I was told the northern part of the island would be a bit flatter. After taking the Welcome To photo in Deer Lake, I searched for a yard to camp in. I had lived on a Pine Street before, so that was reason enough to go along, asking people there. A few door knocks later, I was camping in the yard of Robert Young. Like most others, he seemed a bit cautious at first, but seeing a poor wet guy set up a tent in pouring rain softened him up a bit. He offered some hot chocolate and later, a ride to the grocery store not far away after hearing I needed to buy some things. After a few hours of drying up in my tent, he invited me in for a true Newfoundland style dinner with his family. I met his wife, daughter, her boyfriend and their two kids. The dinner included salt beef, peas pudding and squash. I shared a lot with them about my trip, showed a few pictures, and we relaxed, watching a bit of tv. Going back into my tent, it was just wet, wet, wet. I just couldn`t believe I had done this for 3 and a half months! Camping in rain. It seemed so crazy at that point, even though I KNEW I had done it before. But for the remainder of the trip, that would be the last time.

Sept. 4, 2008 (Rest) I really needed that time off. The constant hills, even just in the last day only, drained me. I really needed those days to reflect on the final days of my bike trip. But it was also a good walk down memory lane, with some of my best times during Katimavik spent there in Corner Brook. The house we stayed in was now being renovated. The carpenters had no problem with me looking in the old rooms, taking a few pictures. But the friends were never far away. I would be moving in with some soon after my bike trip. I met an old friend, Shannon, who worked at the Cyber Zone laser tag business. He was shocked to see me and just couldn`t believe I had biked that whole way. I`m not going to lie, I enjoy it when peoples jaws drop when they can`t fathom that. Sometimes, I still can`t believe it. Shannon helped me burn my photos off my camera onto a cd, as it was getting full. It was a horrible feeling sometimes, wanting to take pictures, but having to get rid of old ones. The bike shop another participant worked at had moved to down town, perfect for me. I got to visit another friend who recognized me after only a few hints. I had my bike tuned up one last time there. On the one nice sunny day I had there, I walked along the old trail system that I used to work on. Where large pits filled with dirt and rocks were now lay a scenic grassy path, a joy to wander. My little day trek included a hike up the water pipe line, through a small canyon and along the highway. The friend at the bike shop informed me that there was a zip-line tour business at Marble Mountain, where I planned to climb Streamlander Falls. There was a pool of water just before the falls started. We weren`t allowed to jump into it because it was way too dangerous. But here I was, all by myself, already doing something crazy. So I joined the zip-line tour. With a few others, we zipped across the Streamlander gorge, over the waterfall and trees. I, being the adrenaline junkie I am, made an effort to hang right upside down and take insane pictures of myself over the falls. It was amazing. And right after I was done, I hiked RIGHT back up to the top. I found the pool we were at once. The river ran over a large rock and into that pool. I had been told that pool is deep enough to jump into. It was more nerve racking then the zip-line, which they assured us was had a safety rating of 7.5, whereas basic city bridges have a safety rating of 5. Now, I tend to overthink things, as you might imagine with the lengthy updates. This turned from a crazy act into overcoming a fear of the unknown. I told my friends I would do it, and I`m a man of my word. I believe in conquering your fears of the unknown. I am certain many people are capable of doing great things, such as biking across Canada, but it`s their fear born of doubt that prevents them from doing this. Doubt that they can`t do it turns into a fear of the unknown (`what if I get a flat?` `what if I get hit` `what if I can`t do it`) And here, this was just jumping into water! So, with how far I had come, I jumped. Low and behold, I came up not just with non-broken legs, but the biggest grin on my face, screaming ``I`M ALIVE! I DID IT!`` So what does any crazy fool do after performing a death-defying act of insanity? He does it again! That feeling of accomplishment was like biking to Montreal in one day again, crammed into a 5-second act. This is what I do on my days off.

Sept. 3, 2008 (St. Finnicks-Corner Brook, 130km ) - Ruby made me breakfast in the morning. It meant a little late of a start, but I didn't mind. I had plenty of hills to conquer. Thankfully it was very sunny. There was even a bit of a tailwind again! The hills went up, the hills went down. Repeat. I was getting exhausted fast. But once again, I found myself putting my finger down and saying "I will be there!" Time flew by as I biked up and down hills, biking past valleys and lakes, sparse landscapes. And there it was, "Welcome to Corner Brook" I made it! All the business signs I passed as I came into the town reminded me of my Katimavik experience, the cycle shop Andres worked at, the boat tour we took, the mountain we had climbed and camped at, the store we walked by on the way to work. Simple things. I didn't even stop for a phone call, I went straight to my old billet families house, fortunately right off the highway. They were just leaving and placing a note on the door for me. I ate some spaghetti they welcomed me to before they left. Despite having family already staying with them, my old billet family, Wally and Trudy, found space for me on an old chesterfield couch. They've hosted travellers before, having a daughter as an avid one. They knew what to expect. I'm not sure what I will expect. I have a few days rest now with many things to do: including visiting old friends, seeing the old Katimavik house, exploring some scenic places and the trails I used to work on. Lots to do. But I will enjoy it, as time is fleeting and it'll become another memory very soon.

Sept, 2, 2008 (Port Aux Basque - St. Finnicks, 101km) - I woke up to a full parking lot. They sure like their Tim Hortons here. I found it hard to get up. Just hard to focus. I had a big breakfast at Tim Hortons: cherry cheese danish, dream puff donut, BLT bagel, my own oatmeal and a cup of oranges. It was for the best, as I would find. There was the official "Welcome to Newfoundland" sign, which I got a picture at. I stopped at the tourist booth, but I had the map they gave me. I missed the hills, the rocks, the valleys. It was good to be back in Newfoundland. I've been weak these last couple of days. It might be the rain, but my back has been giving me problems as well. I think it's the leaning over my bike. You don't really bend at your knees, which I know is bad. Those series of stomach aches are back as well. I didn't realize just how MANY hills there were. Plenty of short challenges. There was a small tailwind behind me. Not always noticeable, but definitely helping. I passed the twin mountains near where we had debriefing for our Katimavik experience. I wonder how much of this bike trip I will remember as I pass through those towns and cities and landmarks. I passed three bikers, going the other way! They weren't touring, so I guess they were locals trying to catch the boat. I've decided to put a 100km cap on my days. 890km of highway, that's only 9 days! I want to enjoy Newfoundland, as Nova Scotia literally went by in a 3 day blur. I was smiling when the rain and mist came. Like I said, I was taking my time. I was not in a rush. I stopped for the day at St. David's. It was 6km out of the way, but there were no other towns on the highway. This was the place for the day. I bought some groceries before I went door to door. It wasn't going so well, as most people weren't home. One guy had dogs that he left off at night, and I didn't need that. An older woman was kind and let me stay in her yard. Ruby, and her dog. She let me shower and even made me supper. It wasn't long before she was calling me "my son" like a true newfie. I missed their lingo!

Sept. 1, 2008 (North Sydney - Port Aux Basque 179km, {I biked like 2}) - I had breakfast inside. I chatted with Joe for a bit. He was busy using the nice day to work on the siding of his house. I really appreciated that although he was busy, he still let me camp in his yard or the small chat. I went uptown, wanting to do a bit of shopping. But it was no longer Sunday, but Labor day! So things were still closed! But Shoppers was open, so I got a few things. I phoned to confirm the boat leave, which was now 6:30pm. I would check in around 4, just to make sure. I chilled in my tent to waste the time. I got a picture of Joe and his friends working on the siding of his house before I left. Truly unique, rather then the perfect, charming pictures. It will remind me of the surpassing generosity of people, busy as they are. I waited at the terminal, chatting with people here or there and made some phone calls. I was just aghast at how many vehicles were there, parked and ready to board the ship. I couldn't believe how many that bloody thing could fit in it! And there I was, with my wee bike while there were 18 wheelers, huge RV's and trucks. One by one, the cars and trucks went on. I was standing on the side, waiting for my que from the parking guy. He gave it when the large parking lot was completely empty. Imagine that lone, scuffling rhino following the huge stampede. That was me, a tiny biker, going up the huge ramp into the enormous mouth of the boat. There were no other bikers. Just me. A whole team of parking attendants guided me to park my bike. It ended up in the corner of the ship. I wasn't surprised. It COULD fit there, so why not? Hidden, away from people. I grabbed my things, because we couldn't go back to our "vehicles" during the voyage. I went up top to the deck and looked out at the small town I was in, and the vast ocean held before me. The harbour shrunk as we went away, with an insane headwind blowing at us. I stared out into the open waters, realizing the last step of my journey was upon me. I haven't been on many ships, so this was impressive. Restaurant, arcade, pub, lounge. I laughed at the movie they showed: the Bucket List; a movie about sick, dying men, fulfilling their crazy wishes off a list before they pass on. And here, I've climbed the Great Wall of China and currently biking across Canada. What's next? A few people actually knew me on the ship. I guess they saw me biking on, last minute, watching from the top deck. They all wished me well. I stepped outside and just sat in the howling wind, watching the dark. I pondered if I had reached my goals, attained what I had hoped to achieve on this bike trip. I befriended a truck driver called Russel. He shared a lot of life experiences he had of his own. Finally, the boat arrived at Port Aux Basque. I was the last to leave. I found it best, as most of the drivers were probably tired. I puttered off the ramp into the dark that was my final province: Newfoundland! I got a picture of the "Welcome to Newfoundland" sign, screams of woo-hoos echoing into the night. I just turned into town when a parked vehicle high-beamed me. It was Russel. He waited for me, just to make sure I got off the boat alright. He offered to drive me as far as he got, possibly Corner Brook, maybe Deer Lake, or if he felt like it, St. John's. I've come this far and it would just be silly to take a ride. It was gracious of him, but would just be wrong this far into the game. I pitched my tent on a grass patch just in front of Tim Hortons, as it was now 2AM. I didn't care where I slept. I just wanted to go to bed. I would be up in the morning to continue my last leg of my journey.

August 31, 2008 (Bouladerie Island - North Sydney, 37km) - Unfortunately, I couldn't stay an extra night at Sadies. She and her mom were in a frantic frenzy packing Sadie's things for school. They were driving that afternoon to Halifax with a loaded truck. They were very busy. I think Sadie felt bad she couldn't spend more time with me, but I understood. I did ponder a little bit if I made the right choice, rushing through Nova Scotia to visit her in this panic. But I have to be happy with my choice. If not this one, others as well. You never know where you're choices will get you. If I hadn't rushed, I wouldn't have run into Jackie! And I did get to see Sadie, even if just for a short bit. So while they were running around, packing, I worked on my bike a bit, ate some breakfast, did some laundry. I left that afternoon. There wasn't much point in standing around, dragging out the expected goodbye. Not to mention Sadies mother didn't feel comfortable with my being there while they were gone, which I respected. I biked a meager 30km or so to North Sydney where I would rest for the rest of the day. I was not in a big rush to get on a boat to Newfoundland that day. There were a few sneaky hills before I showed up on the coastal town. Sadie had warned me it was a little desolate. It was Sunday I had arrived and hoped to used the computer at the library to look up some couch surfees. The library was closed! As was with almost everything else down town! Man. Bad time to show up. Even the tourist center was closed! In fact, there was nothing inside the bloody building! They moved it to the ferry terminal. I went there, got some information on the ferry schedule and a map of Newfoundland. I still needed a place to stay. Not a hostel or nothing. I figured it would be this big gateway for bikers and such, the big stop before the 10th province. No! Nothing! Sadie was right! I was a little shocked. There was one biker who ran into me, and came to the same conclusion. After a quick supper at Subway (one of the few places open) I settled on backyard camping. A nice guy with an easy name, Joe, said yes, right off the bat. I set up my tent and then went to make a reservation for the ferry the next day. The second boat left at 4pm, but they were delayed lately, so a possible 4, 5, 6pm boat leave would be perfect. It would leave a whole morning and afternoon to relax, get a few things done. Joe offered me a shower and beer and let me check my email. After a small chat, I went into my tent for a good while, just resting. I was still hungry, so I went off into the rainy night for a second Chinese dinner. It filled me up just enough for the night where I slept with the rain pounding off my tent.

August 30, 2008 (Antigonish-Bouladerie Island, 185km) - I had a big breakfast. I took Jackies words to heart and tried to eat, eat, eat. Especially since today would be a huge day. I would see my friend before she left the next day. Jackie made me a lunch to take with me. It was hard to leave, having so much in common, it was easy to talk and talk. But I had to leave. Our paths will cross again, I guarantee. Luckily, I had a slight tailwind. Biking on the canal road through Port Hastings was probably one of the scariest parts of my trip! Two lanes, almost no shoulder, heavy traffic of all sorts. Scaaaaaaary. It was very short, but it still made me jump. I stopped at the tourist booth, but they really didn't have any maps for bike trails. It was basically just the Trans Canada 105 to get to my friends house. I passed two bikers, Yohan and Kirsten, going the other way. Seeing anyone going the other way now is a bit unnerving. It's getting late in the season for bikers to be finishing, so to be going the other way across Canada is insane. There was a bit of a blue sky near Whycocomagh that cheered me up, along with meeting two other bikers. They were only going to Baddeck for the day. The people at the gas station must have thought we were crazy. I would play leap frog with them several times. The tailwind was still a big help that day. There were a few more big hills that got me grinding my teeth, but it would flatten out just well enough before I came to Kelly's mountain. Yay, I love mountains! I got a great view of the Cabot trail at St. Anne's lookout, looking across the bay. I'll have to visit it one day. I had to take a break almost every kilometer or so! I'm not as fresh as I was doing the Rockies. It's a good thing my trip is coming to an end soon. At one break, I ate a can of ham, just for a nice break from granola bars. The three energy drinks were starting to settle. Yes, sigh. I did the energy drink thing again. Told everyone, if I can still feel my legs at the end of the day, they didn't work. But it was a big day! And I wasn't done yet! I was still about 20km away from my friends house. I made a nice movie biking down from the top of the mountain, having never rode down a steep hill in the dark. Tip: It's uber fun, but quite dangerous. Had I had the choice, I may not have done it. I followed Sadie's directions, crossing the green bridge onto Bouladerie Island and going down Kempt Head road for 8.5km, as per directed. It was so quiet, going down a road with nothing but my headlamp. Granted, my head was swimming from those damn energy drinks. I finally arrived. At first I didn't think she was home! That would have been a bust. Sadie fed me some wonderful stew and I shared some stories, as best as I could tell. I warn everyone after huge days, that I may not have the greatest speaking capacity. By the end of the night, I was ready to pass out in bed, but my head was still going! In my mind, I was still givin 'er on my bike! No more energy drinks, no more energy drinks, no more energy drinks!.....

August 29, 2008(Leah's House/PEI - Antigonish, Nova Scotia, 154km) - Leah was running late, so it was a quick goodbye. But it's never easy saying goodbye to friends. I knew before I started that this would be difficult, leaving friends. I was lucky enough to see her parents before I went off into the rain. I can't always choose my days. But I had a great time in PEI. Despite working every day at a new job, Leah found time to show me around Cavendish for a night, spend some time with her friends around some fires, meet her boyfriend and his family. I had the chance to go out to Blooming Point, a wonderful sandy beach and go swimming, an opportunity that rarely knocks for myself. I also caught up with an teacher who used to work in Hazelton and share my trip with her. My date of leave was, however, coerced by a friend in on Bouladerie Island, just west of North Sydney. She was leaving for school on August 31. I really wanted to see her before she left. What that meant was putting the pedal to the metal. Hard! So I left Leah's house in a light rain with the determination to get as far as I could. The weather wasn't that bad, but enough to make me weather proof for the day. A construction worker got me a bit turned around, but I was soon on the confederation trail. Although it was a dirt trail, it was packed, and it went straight in the direction I wanted to go. I went across the bridge into Strathmore. The wind would either be good or bad, depending on where I t turned. I really wanted to make it to the ferry by 1:30pm. I put on my hard music and went as hard as I could. I was a little angry to find out it was actually 1pm, not 1:30! I tried really hard, but had to accept I couldn't make it and would have to catch the 2:45pm. But with that in mind, I had an hour off before I had to board the 2:45 from Wood Island to Caribou Island, Nova Scotia. It was a cheap $20 ticket for my bike. I was surprised at how many vehicles they could fit on board. I would later learn that this is meager compared to other boats. I got an ice cream and had a small nap on deck before arriving in Nova Scotia, my 9th province! I went south for quite a while on a straight stretch, going over a few minor hills. Then BAM! There they were, hill after hill. Up and down. But I couldn't let that get me down, I had a friend to see! It took some loud music and some hard pumping, but I made it up the hills. The shoulders were quite tight on some parts of the Trans Canada Highway here. At one point, I finally gave up on my rain coat. The whole concept just evades me. Rain coat: keep you dry from the rain. exchange for sweating in it! So I'm either soaked and over heating in my own sweat, or soaked but cool (not cold) in the rain. I chose the rain. The weather was cool, a bit misty some parts. I hit my goal, Antigonish, around 8pm, and that's when it started to pour. I just laughed. It's all I could do. I just kept waiting for that "Welcome to..." sign. Nowhere. It was getting more and more frustrating until I gave up on it. I stopped at a gas station and I'm sure shocked the woman working. I walked in, no coat, probably looking like the closest thing to a drowned puppy. I really didn't even know why I was in there. Didn't want to buy nothing, to talk or nothing. I just needed to get out of the rain and acknowledge I had made it. I asked if she knew of a patch of grass I could set up my tent. Yes, even in the rain, I am that stubborn. She suggested a field and gave me directions. I went down the road, but I think I mixed up her directions. I wandered the streets, getting more frustrated and starting to get cold. It was late, too late to knock on a door and ask to camp in someones back yard. But I saw some people on a porch. I thought I could ask them, that if they saw me, maybe they would pity me and let me camp in their back yard or, GASP! Let me stay inside! I thought I heard them say my name. Maybe one of them had the same name? I looked around and saw a white car pulled off on the side of the road and this woman getting out. Was she walking towards me? "I bet you're wondering who that is." Who was this woman walking towards me? I looked at her hard and thought.....Jackie??? Now, I'll have to sum this up quickly, but you can read my Canada World Youth blog to find out another time we met. Jackie used to be the Katimavik Project Leader in Hazelton 3 years ago. She became a Canada World Youth supervisor who visited us in China, which I didn't know until this was explained to me. We climbed the Great Wall together. And here, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, she was. When she asked if I needed a place to stay, I almost cried. I could barely gargle out a response to her. I think she really understood the situation I was in. I followed her directions and met her at her apartment where she fed me and gave me a couch to sleep on. She insisted that I NOT be polite and really, eat anything I want. She knew I was hungry. We both couldn't believe the small world we lived in, having met eachother during 3 adventurous times of my life. Katimavik, CWY, and now my bike trip. I'm positive, our paths will cross again. We shared stories about travelling, our own experiences and the possiblity of my becoming a project leader for Katimavik or supervisor for Canada World Youth. It's a future possiblity, but at least a few years in the future. Jackie fed me well. I checked my email before the computer died, deciding it was time to go to bed. The world is a small still makes me laugh.

August 24, 2008 (Moncton- Leah's House/PEI, 125km) - I woke up early, took some money out and was right on time for the possiblity to sky dive! However, what the woman the night before didn't tell me was that it was only if registered people didn't show up. They were all there. I expected as much, so I wasn't too disappointed. I packed up my stuff, but before I left, I got a picture with a few of the people, so to show I actually had camped at an airstrip. They couldn't believe I had biked across the country on that bike. They thought I was crazy. I found that very ironic, coming from people who jump out of planes for fun. They insisted, no, that was crazy, but what I was doing was INSANE! It made me think. Would you be afraid of something that made that devil run away? Hmm...I knew biking across Canada was big, but whoa. It put a smile on my face for awhile. I turned off the TransCanada towards Parry Beach, to bike along the coast all the way to PEI. I finally saw the coastline and smiled every time I looked at it. It was beautiful, this big blue line. I went through lots of small communities, stopping for a quick lunch of beans and salad inside a restaurant because the mosquitoes were horrendus at that point. I had to fight headwind for a good portion of some road turns, but it stopped when I got close to the Confederation Bridge. About 5km away before the turnoff, I ran into two other loaded cyclists talking to an older man on a bike. They were going to PEI too, so we went together. The shuttle for cyclists was already loading some others. We loaded our gear and bikes onto the back and road it across the 13km bridge. The driver shared a bit of history of the bridge with me. At the drop off, next to the tourist village and info center, we got some maps and got some pictures together at the Welcome To PEI sign. I grabbed a snack at Subway before I continued biking. It was another 60km to my friend Leah's home, where I didn't know exactly where she lived. After playing a bit of phone tag, it was fortunate she and her boyfriend were close by. I hadn't biked 10km before they picked up a sleeping Devon on the side of the road, resting in the sun. We loaded my bike, fully dismantled, into her car. We went to her farm where I met her family. After supper, we went to a bonfire with a few of her friends. They were a great bunch, very friendly and funny. Maybe an islander touch? Leah just started a new job, so she will be busy in the day. I hope to see a bit of the island, but it may be very close by. I can only do so much, especially since I'm considering this my preparation point before Newfoundland. I'm almost done.

August 23, 2008 (Youngs Cove/Coles Island Tourist Center - Moncton, 100km) - I was another bright and sunny day. I filled my water and did my dishes in the tourist center and left a small donation in gratitude for the facilities they let me use. The 112 went through the woods, a very quiet road. It was flat for awhile. The road conditions were alright. Bumpy here and there with a few holes, but it was quiet. There were a few hills, but the good tailwind really helped. When I finally made it out of the woody hills, I could see how flat it got. I swear I almost saw the coast! I stopped at the Irving Big Stop, this massive convenience store at the junction of the TransCanada. They had everything for everyone, especially truckers. Moncton was not far away. I found Magnetic Hill, stopping at the tourist center first. It was a bit difficult, as it was in a McDonalds restaurant. IN MCDONALDS! Not, adjacent to. It was IN the building! I felt sick. It was a small booth in the corner of the busy fast food chain. It felt so morally wrong. After getting a map and phoning my friend Andy who was driving up from St. John with his boyfriend just to visit me, I took my bike to Magnetic Hill. Yes, I did exactly what your asking. I rode my bike up/down the "magnetic" hill. It was cool, even though I had experienced that optical illusion before on the road, making hills seem easy and downhill seem hard. Andy and Sean found me in the attraction center village. We got a beaver tail snack and I told hims some stories, sharing pictures. We drove to an airfield where I was supposed to meet a couch surfee, the only one who responded to me. She told me she wasn't at home that weekend, as she and her boyfriend were sky diving and camping in the field, and I was welcome to set up camp. We didn't find Nadine right away. But I decided to set up my tent anyway. I found her later and promised to share stories and talk, but Andy and Sean took me out for dinner after killing some time in a book store. I had a nap in my tent for a short while and then I met some people at a camp fire. I befriended one guy named Joe. He and others told me stories about sky diving and taught me about the sport and the lifestyle of the people who do it. It was something I'd love to try. In fact, one woman called my bluff and said they might be able to get a jump for me! What are the chances!

August 22, 2008 (Fredericton - Youngs Cove/Coles Island Tourist Center, 85km) - Jess left before I got a picture. I hate it when that happens. But people have their lives. I gotta be quick with getting photos. But the memories are always there, as is the written testament online that I was there. I took the trail bridge across the river. I got a picture of South Devon, whatever that sign meant. The 105 was my route for the day, being more direct. This worked better for me, as the TransCanada here in NewBrunswick doesn't go through many towns, it goes by them on the outskirts. Not great for wanting gas stations to stop at or places to visit. But I didn't see much through these small municipalities I went through that day. I bought some fruit at a large fruit stand next to a giant potatoe mascot. Over a bridge near Jemsig back on the TransCanada, there was a sign that said no bikes. I found that odd, as I was able to bike the whole bloody thing the past week! I biked over it anyway, just to get to Jemsig where I stopped and had a long lunch at a restaurant. I asked a local about taking the 112 or highway to Moncton, the 112 being flatter and less travelled. Both roads were kind of desolate, so I would stop wherever. I was contemplating giving 'er and making it to Montcon in one day and just taking the next day off to meet some friends. But it was a better decision to split the distance. I didn't even have a confirmed place to stay in Moncton. I camped at the tourist center near Youngs Cove. I was early, and just vegged in my tent that afternoon, which was more like a sauna in the hot sun! I had to peel myself off my mat! After supper, I biked to the river where I bathed. It didn't work that well, as there must have been something in it. I was itchy for a bit. I guess it was a bit buggy. Maybe I should have just stayed sweaty?

August 21, 2008 (Rest) - There was plenty of leftover food from the previous potluck that Jessica and Erin didn't mind feeding me. I played a bit of Wii and went for a coffee with Jessica before she went to work. I returned and got some computer work done (I swear, its endless!) This included uploading photos onto facebook, as my website is not enough for some people. Also movies! I got out to explore the town by 4, searching for geocaches. I enjoyed some food, trying a frozen bubble tea and found 2 geocaches. I mostly rested that night at the girls apartment.

August 20, 2008 ( Woodstock-Fredericton, 116km) - Alissa's family made me a delicious blueberry pancake breakfast that morning. It was a great start for the day to Fredericton. I had many more hills to climb I had been warned. I had that wind at my back again though, so that really helped. The hills weren't as bad as I thought. Mostly long, a few steep, but my good mood put that aside. Hills are different when you're smiling. The sun was shining, I had a good wind. Today was a good day. In fact, I was once more making good time and thought I would visit another unique town: Nackawic, home to the worlds largest axe, commemorating the superfluous lumber industry that was once there. I had to fight that wind again to make it there. It was worth the extra 10 km or so just to get a picture there of me resting on the axe, so I can tell people I was just "relAXing!" I ate my lunch that Shauna had made for me and continued on. I gambled and went on a road that connected back to the highway. The road turned a bit and I had to fight a bit of headwind until I arrived in Fredericton. Due to my text messaging screwing up again on my phone, I couldn't contact a couch surfee for awhile. She couldn't host me, having others at the time, so she looked for some of her friends to take me. I thought her friend Jessica offered me, but it was actually another couch surfee I contacted. It seemed great though. Jessica, her room mate and her friends were having a potluck dinner and a thrift giveaway, with all their old things. I arrived at her place and settled in. I wanted to contribute to the event but couldn't think of anything. Then I realized I could donate those scones the women bakers in Hartland gave me to the potluck, and I could give a book that Heather gave me from Winnipeg, as I had finished it. I met a variety of their friends, including one friend of the original girl, Chelsea, who was looking for a place for me. Supposedly, Sandy, her friend, looked just like me. I didn't see it. I relaxed in the apartment as they went out to the bar. I was exhausted.

August 19, 2008 (Four Falls- Woodstock, 90km) - Thankfully, there was a good short storm that night. The rain was just pounding off my tent. But it switched the wind around. Perfect for those pesky hills! I was making great time and was zooming down the road and passed a car that pulled over, only to see someone waving and smiling. I couldn't believe it. I stopped and turned around. It was Liz and Chad, the couple who I met during my stay with my friend Kiel on Ottawa! They were driving to Halifax to visit a friend and even tried to contact me before hand, letting me know they were coming through. There they were! They couldn't believe how far I had travelled. We got a picture before we both continued. I shook my head, laughing. The world is small. I stopped at a gas station/Subway and got a nice lunch. I met a nice guy named Christian, an IT tech salesman. I let him know what I was doing and before we went our seperate ways, he gave me a brief map to his home in Fredericton and his card. I was gonna rest a day in Fredericton, who knows? Might see him again. I phoned my friend Alissa's parents. Her mother, Shauna, was expecting my call. She gave me directions to her home out in Lyndsay outside of Woodstock. But I was ahead for the day. I thought I would visit Hartland and see the worlds largest covered bridge. Before I went down a series of downhill, sigh, I stopped for some donuts at a local bakery. I was still hungry! The very friendly women there sold me some donuts and were so nice, they even gave me some scones. I guess after me telling them I was biking across Canada, they assumed I was hungry. Good assumption. The nice women were as sweet as the treats they baked. I enjoyed my donuts at the bridge. It was definitely something. Loud too, as there was quite a bit of construction underneath. I contacted Shauna once more to confirm directions to Alissa's home. I hopped back on the bike and a few turn offs here, I was fighting that same headwind again. Horrid, horrid wind. Not only that, I was now fighting a flat tire. It was getting worse with every kilometer. Every 5 minutes or so, I would have to lean over and pump it up to get me a little further. I was only 10km or so away from their home. I did NOT want to take my bags off and fix the flat there! It could wait til later that night! And it did. I eventually arrived and met Rachel, Alissa's sister, and then her mother and father. I got the chance to shave that night. Shauna asked me earlier what I wanted for supper. I laugh when I get that question. The answer is always, "Anything and everything, and twice of it!" As the olympics were on, I shared with them my China experience, as I'm sure Alissa, having been in my Katimavik group, had shared many-a story with them about that. So many stories...

August 18, 2008 (Edmunston-Four Falls, 87km) - I ate breakfast in my tent and Marcey let me do dishes inside. I didn't stay for a long breakfast, though I would have loved to. It was probably for the best. The wind switched direction. And it was not happy! I had a mean headwind the entire day, going up big, long hills! It almost killed me to just do 80km that day! But I did it! I was drained by the time I reached Four Falls. My feet were down; I didn't want to go anywhere else! One girl said her parents had let travellers stay with them before, so she let me take a seat on their porch and wait. I wanted to ask them in person. When the mother arrived, she said it wasn't a good time. I was in no position to question or poke. I asked elsewhere. Her neighbor said I could camp the yard adjacent to his, which he also owned. I asked about a gas station or phone. He said there was a camp ground just 10km up the road or so. There were also showers. I didn't want to ask HIM for a shower after he just suggested that, and I needed a phone to let friends know I was coming soon. After setting up my tent, I biked up a long hill (with tail wind now) and continued for 8km til I arrived at the campsite in the middle of nowhere. I couldn't get a deal for just a shower. I had to pay for the use of the pool. But I needed a shower bad! There was salt on my shoulder the size of table salt! Bodily proof to how hard I had to work that day! I sigh and paid, using the pool only for a short 15 minutes or so before showering and doing laundry with it. I made my phone calls, filled my water and fought the headwind to get back to my tent for the night. I was bloody exhausted.

August 17, 2008 (Rivieres-du-Loups - Edmunston, 120km) - I had a very large hill to climb right in the morning. It was pretty straight forward to Newbrunswick, my goal for that day. I turned onto a road that I thought would eventually allow me to go onto the green trail. Only AFTER I biked down it 1/2 a km or so, was there a sign that said NO BIKES. Come on!!! If you're gonna put a sign up, fine, but put it up BEFORE the biker goes down! Geez. So I back tracked and found the very small sign denoting the green trail. I passed some other bikers from Maine who were there to do some geocaching. The trail was packed gravel again. I would hop on the highway when I got the chance. Otherwise, it was another good tailwind, with a bit of cross. I was in the thick woods for some short times, next to fields. Occasionally I will bike a road or past a field or some building that will remind me of home, a section that looks similar. This trail did that often. I guess I've been on the road quite a bit. Getting back onto the highway, there were quite hills, Some good steep buggers too! I had been warned of this. So I was presented with a choice: packed gravel, but mostly flat paths, or nice cement road, that would have hills, but more prone to good winds. I chose the road, which I think was better. I don't think the flat-ISH green trail was immune to the steep, neighboring highway I travelled on. But remember, downhill. And THOSE were nice. In fact, I went down a short downhill that topped 70km! Almost as fast as when I was in the Rockies! I passed through some nice country sides. I stopped at a Fromagerie before I left Quebec. I wanted one last bit of Quebecois with me. Supposedly they have good cheese. Before I knew it, I was at the Quebec/New Brunswick border! I got my pictures of my 7th province, welcoming me. A few more hills, I was in Edmunston. I went into town pretty well before I stopped near a historical fort. I knocked on a few doors, and on the second try, was I allowed to camp in the backyard of a nice woman name Marcey. After setting up, I went to the fort for a little tour of Edmunston, learning a bit of the history of th St. John river that ran through town. Back at the house, Marcey returned and she let me use the shower and laundry. I met her children, including Levi and his younger brother and sister. I can't remember their names, I'm sorry. I talked with them quite a bit of my travelling, what I learned and they shared about where they had been and living there in Edmuston. They were a great bunch of kids

August 16, 2008 (Saint Jean-Port Joli-Rivieres-du-Loups, 95km) - I hopped back on that bike, routine as every other morning. I ran into another biker whom I met the other day. But it didn't take long for us to get seperated. I took a green trail, but it was on packed gravel. Thankfully I had a good tailwind, otherwise it would have taken me forever to get back onto the highway. However, it was very scenic and a nice change of pace. The wind was amazing that day, pushing me through many more small towns with the occasional hill. I passed a very random statue, just standing in the middle of the field near Matamouske? I was drawn to it and had to take pictures with it. I left a card with my website in its cradles arm, in case another intrigued traveller should come by. I stopped in a small town and talked to some artists painting near the coast. One of them, Louise, shared with me that she wanted to go to BC to paint. I suggested going up north near Hazelton, where Emily Karr had stayed once, paying her stay with a painting. Well, attempting. Perhaps they might be inspired out there. I had a quick spaghetti/pizza lunch and continued to Rivieres-du-Loups. I bought some more sunscreen and then looked for a place to stay. This would be my first time camping in a french persons back yard. I was rejected quite a few times, however politely. One young man was nice, but his father was absent and wasn't as fond of the idea. I'm glad some people realized I'm not trying to make trouble. I just want a place to stay. Another young man walked after me and rejecting me on the grounds that it wasn't his house. I guess his landlord had a change of mind and said I could stay there. After setting up my tent. I went out to do some grocery shopping. I came back, ate supper, and then went back into town to make some phone calls for the night. So many people to call, not enough calling cards.

August 15, 2008 (Quebec - Saint Jean-Port Joli, 81km) - Standard morning. Wake up, breakfast, got picture with Stephane before I left. I now knew which way to go: the opposite! I followed the bike path all the way around old Quebec to the port, right below Chateau Frontenac that would take me across the St. Lawrence River to Levis. I arrived right when the ferry was unloading, so I rushed to buy a ticket, despite having more time then I thought. It was only a measly two dollars or so. There were quite a few bikers on the ferry travelling as well. But I don't think there were any cross-country cyclists. I haven't seen many since before Ottawa. But they're out there! I continued on after finding another cyclist map for trails on that side. I pretty much had to stay on the same road the entire time. I went through many small Quebec towns and villages, all so colorful, bright, blooming. It was a joy to pass through them. You could just feel the culture pulsating of them, especially one town called Saint-Jean Port Joli. Every three houses or so it seemed were home to a sculpture or artist or carver or something amazing! But it went beyond that. My timing was great, as I showed up for the first day of La Fete des chants de Marins. Birthday of the singing mariner or something. What great timing! I tired to secure a place to stay. I had passed several campsites through towns, and it seemed they were charge a lot. I was right. After asking at the tourist booth, rates were $21-$28. Screw that! I was told there were some tents in the field where the festival was held. I asked a woman who barely spoke english who grabbed another man, actually, the president of the festival! With a little more english, I asked him about possibly camping there just for the night. It was fine, so long as I was away from the crowd of tents, place of the entertainers for the night. Sure! There was a dinner and show for $30, dinner being fries and muscles. Hmmmm... I had that feeling again. Not indigestion. No, that feeling that tells me I should pay, that I should attend this thing. Something was in that tent that was telling me to go. If not, I at least got a dinner and show. Why not! Even if it was in french, you don't need to know what they are saying to enjoy a good show. I wasn't sure where to sit, knowing little french to converse with other patrons. I chose an empty seat where the neighboring one was quickly filled with a friendly Quebecois. Upon seeing it would have been very quiet in French, he chose english. In fact, Ray, a shortened version of a long french name with Ray in it, insisted he was probably one of the very, VERY few people who spoke English in this very french thick area. Wasn't I lucky. Although he was mainly there just for the fries and muscle, he was quite the character, enjoying hunting, fishing, travelling. He reminded me much of my dad back home. He asked me what brought me to where I was, even as specific as the dinner and show. I was quite frank with him about getting those feelings, and having trust those instincts. He was taken slightly aback at this and strongly insisted I follow those feelings. He was just amazed at my bike trip, the things I've seen, and the people I've met, and he was adamanant, nay, he ordered me to tell my story. He thought I shouldn't be selfish; I should share my storie and adventures with everyone, let them know what I've learned and seen so that I may possibly inspire others to follow suit. He couldn't have been more correct. A very important factor of this trip, and aquiring publicity is the simplified version of this: I want to inspire people. There are books, stories, movies, and characters out there that inspire people, that make them want to make a drastic change in their life. Those things can't inspire people if they don't know about them. Hence, I make it a point to let people know what I'm doing. Ray told me how he and his wife helped a fellow biker awhile back. It sounded like they spoiled him quite well, rest, food, etc. All they asked in return was that he call or write them and tell them how his trip had ended. He never did. Well Ray, I make it a POINT to do exactly that with people, with friends or strangers! So keep checking my website: You will surely know where I ended up and the people I met and my story! Too bad he left early. Ray missed out on soldiers drumming, a great songstress and french pirates singing! It was an great night.

August 14, 2008 (Rest) - I stayed in Quebec that day. It was a big 170km, so I think a rest was in order. Stephane drove me to the MEC in Viex Quebec to look for a replacement hook for my rear pannier. I was quite surprised to find they only had one style, and it wasn't even close to the kind I needed. I would have to order offline somewhere, sometime, when I HAD time. After we had lunch at Ashtons, a well known poutine place. I got my fill. We just relaxed that day until he had to go to work. After supper, his family took me to the island, (can't remember name) for ice cream. But this was quality home made, chocolate dipped ice cream. It was fantastic! It truly was awesome, enjoying on the best ice creams I've ever had while watching the sunset over Quebec. Later that night, Stephanes brother Francois brought me to Old Quebec again where we watched a light show displayed on the side of a factory. It was a presentation by a very enigmatic artist, depicting the history of Quebec city. It was very cool, using lots of styles of lights and color, going from black and white to almost flash animation style. It was a great night in Quebec.

August 13, 2008 (Trois Rivieres-Quebec City, 160km) - I didn't wake Jeanne up as I readied my things and was on the road by 9:30am. It was another sunny day. I hoped this time it would stay that way. With a bit of help, I found the green trail and stayed on it, continuing along the 138. If the trail would veer, I would keep going straight. I had lots of distance to cover. It was again, very scenic going through the small towns. There were amazing churches that could be seen from the roadside. But, in all honestly, I would have been bored of them quickly. They were nice to look at, but that was it. There were a few hills going through these towns, all situated along side the St. Lawrence River. Some on top of high cliff terrasses. One thing I enjoyed was the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetable stands. I stopped at one for a quick break and to buy some wholesome goodies. I was surprised at how cheap it was. A banana, kiwi, apple, two muffins and cinnimon bun were only $3.64! I've been trying to avoid 'lunches' and just take breaks, maybe with a bit more of a snack. I want to actually slow down my days. I feel like I've been burning myself out. It's also a factor that I have friends to visit, and that really drives me a lot then just biking to get further into the middle of nowhere. With the twists and turns of the green trail, sometimes disappearing, sometimes following another road, I had my share of getting lost. But I never went too far before discovering I was in the wrong place. I think next time, I will suck it up and buy some more detailed maps then the fits-all one I have. It was gradual, but I came into Quebec. Vieux Quebec, or old Quebec actually. There was never a big sign that said 'Welcome To...' Although I hate missing those signs for pictures sake, it's nice knowing that you don't have to announce it so obviously, like a flashing sign in your face. You just...know. Quick flashes of walking down similar streets during a Katimavik excursion came by as I passed the cobblestone roads, the historical buildings, statues, horse-drawn carriages. Quebec definitely had character. Using my ever-pressed skills of orienteering, I found the bike path and continued onto the other side of Quebec. I passed several bikers, but no cycle tourists. Despite the rush, I still had time to help another biker fix a flat. You should never been so rushed to do that. Besides, it was already late anyway. Stephane, my friend from CWY, hadn't been picking up his phone. I've only been leaving messages. Maybe I had the wrong phone number? It didn't matter. That late, if I did find his house, and in an extreme case, no one was home, I would have camped in his yard anyway! I made it to Montmorency Falls, where I knew he lived in the area above them. Now, the only problem was getting up there. Asking more people for directions, they aimed me towards a steep hill that I just couldn't find the strength to bike up. I had to walk. That late at night, it was no surprise. Asking another nice Quebecois for help, his family inside actually went out of the way to photo copy me a detailed map! Not long after, I was at my friends home. Only he was at work, and hadn't told his family anything of my arrival! There I was, a cold and exhausted biker talking with a family who didn't quite know what to do with the poor soul at their doorstep. They did what most kind hearted people do, and they took me in, let me shower, and even made me a sandwich. Sigh. Geez Stephane! I told them stories and shared some photos with them, to assure I was legit, haha. His family was suprised as most to find this huge adventure I was on. Stephane eventually came home and I shared the same stories with him. We caught up more with a little snack at Tim Hortons. I plan on staying two days, because 1) I NEED to rest! No more huge days! At least not for awhile 2) I need to do some repairs, chores, etc and 3) It's the 400th anniversary of Quebec, and I'd like to see a little something of it before I jet off. Oh, and 4) I need to cross the river, so I need Stephanes help in planning that.

August 12, 2008 (Rest) - Jeanne was very generous with my stay; she even offered to drive me out to St. Elie-de-Caxton, the small town where she had lived and where I had as well for 3 months during my French phase in Katimavik. I got to see the house I lived in, which was now turned into a bed and breakfast. It was hard to believe I used to have wrestling matches where that fancy table used to be, that I dyed my hair in that glamourous bathroom, and had so many weird and odd conversations where they now cooked gourmet meals. Ah, memories. They had really hit the tourism button with that town. There was now a map for it, with little touristist attractions around every corner. A lot of it was with the help of famous story teller, Fred Pellerin, a local celebrity who works in film and radio and writes books, all telling stories, with creative juices. They have really popularized that sleepy town. I hope to accomplish the same one day. In fact, I always tell people I want to put Hazelton back on the map. It's on there, just nobody knows where it is. We visited some old places I had before with my group, like the calvaire mountain with crosses on it. We had lunch at Alice's, her mother and our old french teacher. We watched more Olympic coverage. While it was still nice, we went kayaking on the lake, getting a bit stuck in some currents as well. It was nice to be using my arms for momentum instead of legs. Alice was having two boys from Reunion Island stay with her for a few days while they went to school in Shawinigan, so I met them briefly before Jeanne and I left. It was something to see how much that town had changed, yet hadn't. I wonder if people are the same.

August 11, 2008 (Montreal-Trois Rivieres, 148km) - I had the best time ever in Montreal. I admit, I did spend a lot of time kicking my buddies butt at video games, but it was a good way to relax. Usually I'm prone to climbing mountains or something big on my day off, but this time, I NEEDED to rest. Mike and his girlfriend Melissa were very hospitable. I spent a large portion of time during my stay telling stories. And after what I've been doing for the last two and a half years since I saw my friends, I had a lot of stories to tell. I went shopping, had my bike tuned up, had excellent Quebec poutine and got to see almost my entire group while there in Montreal. It was the best feeling in the world. It almost wants to make me rush and finish my trip just to see them again, but I know it will come soon enough when I move to Montreal after I'm done.

Despite after a good nights party the night before I left, I woke up and was on the road, still a little stiff. I don't think I'll ever stop being stiff. It was surprisingly sunny despite forcasts for rain and possible thunderstorms later. I followed the canal for awhile, thinking it was going north. Maybe I should have looked at what direction the water was going (now a good tip) I was going the wrong way, I found out after talking to some other cyclists! So I turned around and hopped on the route verte, the green trail, that led me all the way out of town. I met Paschel, another biker. He was casually dressed with only two panniers, and was planning to make it to 200km north of Quebec! Thats over 300km! In one day!!! Now that's insane! We leap frogged eachother. I was faster, but he was taking the 182 straight while I tended to follow the green trail #5. It would follow the 182 for a large part, but not always, so Paschel and I passed eachother several times. The trail was so nice though. It led us through some normal neighborhoods, but often through just beautiful creeks, wooded areas and just beautiful places. All the towns I biked through were just lovely, so full in bloom of flowers and other cyclists. I had a steady, but weak headwind that day. The energy bars and NOS drink I had didn't seem to help very much. I noticed at one point there was mold in my Camelbak! In the mouth piece, and I later found out in the bottom of the bag! Sick!!! I had been drinking from that for how long? Don't worry, I later washed it out. I was biking steady until storm clouds surrounded me. I didn't even have a chance. At that point, my old project leader from Katimavik, Jeanne, called me and gave me her address. I was about 25km away at that point. The rain eventually came and after thinking about my friends and how hard I worked to see them, I yelled the biggest "bring it on!" ever to the weather. I was smiling so hard, everyone must have thought I was crazy. Really, somedays, after biking up mountains, singing in the rain, and going numb in the legs, you begin to wonder. Something clicks inside you and you're not always sure it clicks back. At one point, I could barely keep my eyes open. In fact, stopping at that point, I couldn't. I think some sweat or something got in my eye because it hurt while I ate my canned oranges. But it went away and I hopped back on my wet bike. I continued onto a dark, wet, narrow shouldered path where I could barely see in front of me. I wanted to put on my lights, but I couldn't find a deppaneur (corner store) to stop. Finally, I called Jeanne from a pizza place, just outside Trois Rivieres. I knew I was in the outskirts of town, but I just didn't know where. I gave the phone to some nice french ladies to help me, and Jeanne offered to pick me up, only being about ten minutes away. The distance wasn't that much, but today had just dragged on and on and on. It was now almost 9pm. After the best shower ever (they all are) we chatted about Katimavik and watched a bit of the Olympics, which I hadn't had the chance to. I shared some stories about China as well. There's always stories to tell.

August 5, 2008 (Ottawa - Montreal, friends house, 215km) - This was not only a huge day of biking after a week of wind and rain, but possibly the biggest day I`ve ever biked! I left at 8:30am, after getting some instructions offline how to get into Montreal via bike, so not to make the same mistakes as yesterday. The weather was very foggy in the morning, which disappeared after a headwind came in. A strong headwind. I suppose I have to be grateful it wasn`t raining. After going back up the canal bike path, I found a 7/11 where I bought a 6-hour energy drink (not 5!) and two energy drinks. I did say it was a big day. Contrary to how I usually work, I was on the right path all day! The streets, despite having different names according to maps or people, were the fastest route. I would ask for directions every so often just to confirm. The 5 minutes it took to ask for directions was small compared to the hour I would lose getting lost and backtracking. I took the highway 17 out of Ottawa, going through small communties. After the first hour and half, I asked for directions at a house. Steven, the man who gave me directions was very nice and right away offered a shower, snack, etc. I politely declined, as this was just the beginning of my day, but I did decide to take my first break. He had done a lot of travelling to Africa and shared a bit about issues over there. He also asked if I was the same biker they were warning people about on the 417. Maybe there was another one? Just when I thought a preceding reputation was a good thing. I continued on with a bit of advice from him, proceeding through small towns all situated alongside the Ottawa River, such as Cumberland, Rockland, Wendover, Alfred and Hawkesbury. I took a break in Hawkesbury when my friend phoned. I assured him I would be in Montreal that night. Tired, definitely hungry and likely tired, but I would be there! When I say I`ll do something, I mean it! I crossed the bridge into Grenville, which was now Quebec. I was entering my 6th province! I was extremely happy. Woo hoos could be heard along that highway. Then I took the 344 back along the north side of the river. It was part of the route verte, the green trail situated all across Quebec. It was perfect for me. Very quick, easy, and scenic. More towns passed by. It was a beautiful country side. There was one guy stuck in a ditch, having done a U-turn I guess. I was in a rush, but never in so much a rush to help someone. Really, it took like 1 minute. I stopped at one gas station, a depanneur as they call them, for a final break. I bought some veggies and dip, an apple for later, an ice cream sandwich and finished my last energy drink. I didn`t even let it kick in before I got to the town of Oka where they ferry people across. I waited about 10 minutes for the next boat, chatting with some locals who instructed me how to ride the ferry. It was another time for rest, standing beside my bike during the trip across. Immediately after, there was construction and a short series of steep hills. Can you believe that? It was a very slight downhill the 342, just enough to be in 3rd gear. I followed directions off the internet, connecting onto the 540, which then lead....nowhere? Both directions it went said no bikes!!! There was one road, but it wasn`t the 540 I don`t think. And I saw no signs for the 20, which is the only route bikes can take to get onto the island. But as I said, things clicked that day. I asked for directions and was close. Following a few more bike trails that would later take me to Montreal, I found the 20. It was beginning to get late though. Although the wind had died down, it was just starting to get dark, so I put my lights on. I asked another biker if he was going on the 20, and although he wasn`t, he showed me where it was. There was construction going on, so bikers had to walk up these zig-zagging stairs, with their bikes, to get across!!! Seriously, I don`t make this up! Stairs! I took a picture it was so ridiculous. The nice stranger, Michelle, felt bad when he said we could also just cross the street just up ahead. Considering the weight I had, yeah, much better decision. He escorted me across the bridge and to the beginning of the path in St. Anne, along the south western coast of Montreal. He had to leave, but I told him I appreciated what he did. The area was like a small villa and would be lovely to visit during the day, but I had a place to be. I followed the coastal routes the entire way, not wanting to get lost. My friend Mike called me every hour osr so to confirm directions on where I was going. By this time, I had been moving for nearly 9 hours and was burning off the last energy drink I had an hour and half before hand. Or so I thought. I`m not sure what the explaination is, but my legs went into overdrive. They no longer felt pain or fatigue. Maybe it was the energy drinks, maybe it was the pure adrenaline and excitement of seeing my good friends again after 2 and a half years. My average that day with a headwind was 20km / hour. I was, with cellphone in hand talking with my friends, biking 24-27km an hour! Non stop! Thankfully it was late at night and the streets were deserted AND it was a bike lane! I swear I could not close my eyes, or at least noticed how wide they were. I was talking very fast with my friends on the phone and was a bit irritable, but when asking for directions from strangers, I`m sure they were wondering why this calm and polite biker had his eyes open so wide. Hills became nothing. I never changed gears, as I would just stand up to gain that extra momentum. It was like starting over again; my legs would be slightly tired for 10 seconds after a hill and then back to the numb powerhouses they had become. I went up and down streets, getting lost from my friends directions and strangers. But I was more determined then anything. After all, they were looking for me at 11:30 at night! I heard a whistle and there they were, walking the street to meet me. I almost started to cry seeing them. They knew very well the extreme level of transcendence I had achieved. I was certain that the next morning, my legs would fall off. I don`t know if what happened was something good or bad. I was just happy to see my friends again.

August 4, 2008, (Renfrew-Ottawa, 96km) - I had a good sleep that night. Nadine invited me in for cereal. At first I declined because I had brushed my teeth, but I changed my mind because I have had hardly any cereal and I don`t like declining breakfast. I got pictures with Nadine, her son Reese and dog Kohl before I left. I forgot my lock there just as I left, and turned around and got it. That`s becoming a real bad habit of mine. Just leaving town, I found some ID`s. I`m not sure how they got there, but I gathered them up and stopped a vehicle. The stranger turned around and would bring them to the police station. Hope they get back to the guy. I had a good wind. It wasn`t strong, but it was certainly behind me. It was quite flat to Ottawa, with still plenty of farmland. My chain has been squealing real bad, and I have had no time to clean it properly. After a strong 2 hours of biking, I got a flat on the highway. I stopped underneath an overpass and fixed it. But it was a happy flat! I took a well timed break, eating my cheese bun alongside the road, with my gear and bike on the side. Like an hour later, I was still going down the 417 when a patrolman signaled me. Bikes were not supposed to be in the 415. I explained to him the difficulty in this with other highways. You don`t always see signs where bikes can`t bike. I was going along the Trans Canada for quite a while. I couldn`t tell on my map either, being just out of range of the mini-map of Ottawa. He was polite about it though, giving me alternate directions which turned out to be faster and indeed much safer then the route I was going to take. Should I have a computer around, I will try to plan my route more accordingly, otherwise, it will have to be mistakes like that guide me. It was still a long way into town, through outside communities. My friend from Hazelton, Kiel, phoned me and gave me directions. I enjoyed the bike paths, while they lasted. I`ve noticed a lot tend to disappear without notice. I did eventually find a wonderful bike path along the river. It was long, but easy to navigate and that took me right up to Parliament hill. A quick picture later, some directions, I was on another bike path, this time along the canal. My friends place was further then I thought. I was really surprised that when I asked for directions, I overshot the turnoff! By like 10 km!!! I had to go back, but my friends apartment wasn`t far after that. His directions didn`t help. It was another case of bad maps. There were TWO Queen streets, and TWO University of Ottawa from the two maps I was using! I was justified! Kiel had just moved into his apartment, several days before. He had barely any furniture or nothing. I was still grateful though. Kiel and his sister Leitha brought me to their cousins house outside of town for a BBQ. Liz and Chad were very supportive of what I was doing. Liz even put some stickers on her sons shirt saying ``Go Devon Go`` and ``Bike For Youth.`` Liz had actually went to Hazelton High school, so she was aware of the importance of my cause. I was so tired that night. And the next day would be HUGE!

August 3, 2008 (6km before Stone Cliff-Renfrew, 150km ) - I was glad that the morning was dry and the bugs weren`t bad either. I was out by 9am and stopped in the elusive Stone Cliff, 6km away. The woman the day before was 12km off! I filled up my water at a gas station where there was a gang of motorbikers. They thought it was amazing what I was doing and couldn`t believe the distance I had put on my bike. After I told them about my cause, one gave me a whopping $50 donation! I thought that deserved a picture, so I got one with the group of bikers before I left. I bought a cinnamon bun and 5-hour energy before I left. The roads were just horrible in some parts. They have sections of like 6-10 feet of just dirt on the side, cover èm with cement already! I bought some groceries in Deep River, which included a self made lunch of taco salad, beans and a fruit smoothie. I ate in a park where there was actually a large festival. Booths, a train ride, car show, triathalon. In fact, I think a few people thought I was in the triathalon, with my bike full of gear. Maybe in some long distance catergory? I walked around for a bit, checking things out and talked with an old woman who reminded me a lot of my friend in London. She gave me a small donation as well. There was a great 10km or so flat stretch near the Petawawa army base. The tailwind made it even better. I stopped at a tank on a corner of the highway for a break, taking a picture of me beside it. You have to be ``army tough`` to do a bike trip, trust me! The landscape quickly turned into farmland. Wheat, corn, and fewer and fewer hills. I had one final break at a restaurant. I wanted to get out of the sun, so I ate my granola bar inside. Despite only having been in the sun for an hour or so, early in the evening, I still got pretty red. I had a tailwind the rest of the day thankfully which pushed me all the way to the Renfrew turnoff. It was another one of those towns a few kilometeres of the highway, and within those kilometeres, sigh....hills....and steep ones. But I couldn`t turn around. I would deal with them in the morning. I asked a woman if she knew of places to camp, and then asked her if she minded me camping in her yard. She was fine with it. Her name was Nadine and worked in parks and recreation after having been in the navy for 12 years. She had seen quite a bit of the world. We had a lot in common, supporting healthy lifestyles in communities. She invited me for a greek salad, which I joined her after grabbing a quick pre-snack and making some phone calls. Nadine really believed in people attracting like people, accounting for our meeting. I agreed, as I have met very similar people all across Canada. You never know who you`re going to meet while travelling.

August 2, 2008 (Northbay-abandoned highway 6km before Stone Cliff, 124km) - The next two days were a bit of a throw up. I wanted to make distance. And with the unpredictable weather and unknown road conditions, I didn`t know where I would end up that day. I woke up and made myself breakfast (pepperoni and eggs!) I did the big pile of dishes as a thank you to the friendly people for letting me stay there. I did a full out prep for that day, being very prepared. I was 10km outside of town when I noticed my bike pants weren`t on top of my pannier as the usually are. They weren`t in my bag. I FORGOT THEM! I wouldn`t let this be like the cell phone, especially since I JUST got that! I biked back, fighting a head wind. At least it would be with me on the way back out. There they were, crumpled on the floor. This was embarrasing, because I DID double check! Smarten up Devon! It was another day I wanted to change, I wanted to be happy. Of course, I did that with food. Northbay is the smoothie capital of Canada, so I thought I would try one. I found one on a main street riddled with musicians and carts. It was a music festival or something I had heard about. But I couldn`t stay to enjoy, sigh. After a good smoothie, I hit the road, finding the wind STILL against me. It`s just not fair. But you can`t quit because the weathers not fun, you try harder! At one stop, I tried a pickerell burger. It was something new at least. It was okay. Nothing special, just fish. My energy drink that I had helped a lot though. In eastern Ontario, you`ll find lots of statues or signs dedicated to the railway, the people who built it or where the last spike was pounded, etc. I took some pictures just before Mattawa of me against some canoes and windows. I stopped in Mattawa, got an aero ice capp which I`m very fond of, filled my water and repaired another false flat tire. I was shocked at the hills that came after. There was one after the other. The storm that came really didn`t help things either. I covered up and just took it slow. There was no rush, especially when you just sweat in your rain jacket. I stopped in Deux Rivieres. A woman told me it was about another 18km or so to Stone Cliff. That would be my goal for the day. There were more hills to come. But I had a pleasant surprise after one. It was one of the nicest descents I`ve had in all of Ontario, almost 4km of it! I was hoping the town would be after that, but no. I was getting restless, even though my legs had stopped hurting or feeling pretty much anything. After 24km and still finding no town, I was just getting frustrated. I made an iron clad decision: if the town isn`t over the NEXT hill, I`m done! I stop! Right there! And you know what? It wasn`t! I do what I say I will! I stopped. I found a road that led to an abandoned highway. Although it lacked facilities of any kind, it had personality. I set up tent and enjoyed a tasty chunky with tuna, instant veggies and tea.

August 1, 2008 (Sudbury-Northbay, 129km ) - I had a gutwrenching stomach ache that night. I don`t know what it was. I was a bit slow packing, but enjoyed breakfast with Anna and Allen where they shared more stories about Allens canoe trips and Anna`s time as a project leader experience. The morning started promising, but turned sour that day. Basically meaning rain. I stopped at park for a break. Some nice maintenance workers gave me an ice tea. I saw a storm coming and thought I could outrun it. I had a headwind the entire time, which didn`t help me with outrunning the storm. Just before I hit a gas station, there was hard rain and lightening. I seemed to recall I wouldn`t bike in headwindy thunderstorms. Sigh. Out came the rain gear. Despite the complaining, I still smile when people ask me, ``Are you biking in that weather?`` Oh yes, yes I am. You have to be tougher then the weather. I weather proofed myself and just kept the music loud and going, which kept me focused on biking. There were a few average hills, up and downs. But it all added up to a loooooooooong day. I was completely soaked by the time I reached North Bay. Danica, the girl I met in Thunderbay, had a friend in North Bay. The only problem was, although I had her address, I had no reference for it. I had no map to find streets. I actually found her house before a payphone to call her for directions. No one was home. There I was, soaked, and no one was home. I called her, got an answering machine with alternative number and got ahold of her friends. They didn`t realize I would be there that soon or knew where they lived, assuming I would have call earlier. They were very nice and came home to let me shower and unpack. I felt bad as I wasn`t that talkative, but I was extremely tired. They offered me me their food, home, computer. I`m always grateful when people are that hospitable. I watched Futurama with them and then talked with my friend from Montreal about the route vert, the green trails coming up in Quebec. I finally met Jade at the end of the night when she finished work. It always sucks meeting such great people for such a short time. But that`s better then never meeting them I suppose. I also picked up my phone that Danica sent there. Very few messages and missed calls. Do people know I`m gone, haha

July 31, 2008 (Espanola-Sudbury, 73km ) - I had one of the best sleeps I have in a long time. Like I said, Jo and Ted knew about the food thing, so they made us a big breakfast, insisting we eat up. We joked that although Dave is faster because he`s got longer legs, mine are more hollow. Ted took the boat, so we had to pack my bike and bags through a short but rocky path and then onto a smooth back trail. Jo made me lunch with leftovers, which was just sweet of her. Dave was going to spend another day or two at the cottage, but I had to continue. It was going to be a short day to Sudbury. On the ride, we talked about the small community of bikers that are on the road, how many people know eachother. To fit that conversation perfectly, another biker that Dave met went past us. Jo and Dave dropped me off at a gas station where we exchanged info before I continued my journey. I had a long break on some short rock cliffs beside the highway, enjoying the lunch Jo made me. It was a long bike ride into the city of Sudbury. A helpful biker saw me looking at me map and gave me directions. I think he would have gave me a place to stay if I didn`t say I was meeting someone. When I arrived into town, a nice guy working outside gave me some water, even after I insisted I had some. Sudbury had some nice people! I found a pay phone and called Allen, Anna`s boyfriend. Short introduction. Anna is the daughter of the billet family I had in Corner Brook during Katimavik. Simple, no? Allen gave me directions to his house where I would meet him after work. During that time, I ate the rest of the lunch Jo made me and bought a aero ice capp. I had quite the bike ride to New Sudbury, far away. I found the trail Allen told me about, but it stopped suddenly in the middle of train tracks! I was quite surprised at this. I guess the turn off behind me took it further. A short storm hit hard, and I hid under a building. While it passed, I fixed my fender and handle bar bag. When the rain passed, I found the trail again and followed it practically right to Allen and Anna`s home! Allen was a very friendly and pleasant guy. After our introductions, he told me about the Terry Fox support van being found and restored and being on display until 7 that night. We went out there and looked at it. I shared with Allen how Terry Fox`s experience reflected a lot on mine. He even took me to the big nickel which I thought I would have to skip! Anna finished work early and able to come home. Until she arrived, Allen took me to the Laughing Buddha, a nice restaurant. We shared stories on the outside patio about travelling, his canoe trips and slaughtering ducks on his friends farm (I can`t make this up!) His friends Veira and Eiko showed up. Unbelievably, Veira was from Hazelton! More unbelievable, was that I DIDN`T recognize her or her last name! However, if all the details are correct, my grandpa painted her barn. Go figure. I informed her as best I could about what was new with Hazelton and it`s residents. We all chatted, including a 3rd friend, Kyle that showed up. When we came back, Anna had arrived. I heard many stories about her from her parents, so it was interesting to meet her. She was a Katimavik project leader and also participated in Canada World Youth! We had a lot in common and she had lots to share, aside from the fact that I`ve lived in two homes that she has.

30, 2008 (Thessalon-Massey, 123km) - This was a bad morning. It started with me spilling my peaches in my tent, getting things sticky. my water bottle was open getting some things wet in the morning. I lost a pair of bike shorts as well as the bottom hook from my rear pannier. I don`t know how I lost my bike shorts. Socks are one thing, but these are shorts! And the hook from my pannier doesn`t even come off!!! I later foudn my shorts hiding very well in my compression bag, but the hook was nowhere to be found. I wanted to change things, make the morning better. Stop that negative snowball effect. I bought a cinnamon bun and then stuffed pretzel. It did make me feel better, as did the positive thoughts of the owner. Dave bought his breakfast, and we both had a late start, aroudn 10:30. Oh well. He was very fast! I was swearing hard within the first hour of trying to keep up with him! Luckily, we did indeed have a tailwind that day. But these Ontario winds feel like they come from all directions, even if you see a flag or grass waving in one. The roads were beautiful, going right beside lakes and rivers. I stopped in Iron Bridge, having to do some quick banking, but caught up to Dave before Blind River, where we had lunch at a Chinese Restaurant. The day was sunny and we had a good wind all the way into Spanish. We took one more short break there. I got ice cream while Dave got that, as well as like his 5th cup of coffee for the day! We stopped in Massey for the day. Dave`s uncle and aunt had a cottage on Birch Island, just south of Espanola. He called his uncle to pick us up. While we waited, we both made phone calls, ate some snacks and just chilled. I was suprised we got two touring cyclists bikes and they`re gear into his uncles truck. It was a long drive, but very scenic. It was a more hilly section of Ontario I was glad to not be biking. We loaded our bikes and gear into a boat and drove to a very quaint cottage on the lake. It was fantastic. His uncle Ted and aunt Jo fed us well (I think they knew the whole food thing with bikers) and we told them about our experience. We enjoyed the amazing ambience and summer atmosphere late that night; crickets chirping, bullfrogs singing and countless stars to stare it. It was just fantastic. I was very happy to have been invited out there, thanks Dave, Ted, Jo.

July 29, 2008 (Sault Ste. Marie - Thessalon, 87km) - So I woke up at 7am and made pancakes for EVERYONE. Genevieve, that girl, was so surprised. I made her day. But that`s what I do, I make people happy. Everyone left in a small rush. I knew it was out of the question getting a group picture. It`s just like a real family, so hard to get together. I took some black and white pictures of the new Soo Katimavik house, for reminders of what I had. I fixed my spedometer that lost some rubber spacers for the register. Then I was off. It was a nice day, which got better. It was very flat terrain which many people promised me, and had a slight headwind. I ate lunch at Echo Lake. I`m getting sick of burgers and fries, as per usual of most restaurants. It`s making grocery stores look more appealing. I saw another biker ahead of me going up a long hill, so I pedalled hard to catch up with him. I had to go hard, because he was fast! His name was Dave. He was going to St. John`s as well. In fact, he had heard about me. But we couldn`t figure out who told him about me. We biked together had a very similar wave length, which included both wanted to pee at the same time and stopping for a break where we chatted about our trips. I biked with him til Thessalon. It, too, was a nostalgic place for me, as we had our mass orientation there for our first week of Katimavik. I took Dave to a beach front full of memories, and we were about to set up camp there when a man told us we couldn`t. Too bad. We both didn`t want to pay for a campsite so we asked a woman if we could camp on her beach front property. Just weeks before she actually had some German bikers as her the same thing! We offered her dinner in return, but she was busy renovating. So we set up camp on the rocks on the beach front. It was a beautiful place. Dave and I bought some supper at a restaurant close by. After, I went into town, got some pictures and a muffin to snack on while I made some phone calls. When I returned, Dave had a fire and marshmallows out. Despite being in a tent half the time, I still don`t often feel like I`m camping. I don`t have the time to enjoy it, to make fires, s`mores, go hiking or swimming. But I am finding lovely spots and areas I`d love to come back and do so. The rain put a damper on our fire, so we both went into out tents for the thunderstorm that was coming. I hoped the wind would change direction.

July 28, 2008 (Rest) - I finished my own oatmeal for breakfast that day. I didn`t want to impose, and I knew how important food was to a Katimavik group. I had to buy groceries anyway. I did some computer work before I did my chores for the day. I checked a slow leak in my tire, but there was no hole. I went to the Wal-mart to buy a new iPod. My old mp3 player stopped charging for some odd reason. And I`m sure you could imagine. you need music on a trip like this. My other mp3 only had like 60 songs. I got a coffee, visited some stores looking for stove propane. One bike shop I was planning on going to was closed for some reason, but I found another one on the main street, Algoma bicycle. While I left it there to get tuned, I went to Joe`s camping gear store and bought some equipment, like a new fork and spoon! I lost my outdoor fork in West Hawk lake and have been using chopsticks and wooden cutlery (re-useable disposable wooden cutlery...don`t ask) I chatted with Joe about my trip and the experience. He seemed like a real nice guy, helpful to other travellers, which is always good to see. I caught a quick matinee movie before I picked up my bike. I tried it out for a bit and explored and ran into the same group of guys from Manitouwadge! I told them what happened to me lately. They were going on a boat tour. I might run into them again. I rested back at the Katimavik house while people returned from work. One participant let me upload some music on my new iPod from his laptop already! Supper was delicious and fun. How can it not be when they sing a supper song!? They had a french activity, so I went out and did some grocery shopping. To show my appreciation for them letting me stay there for several days, I bought some cookie dough and made them cookies while they were out. I don`t think they were too surprised to have a burning smell in the house when they returned. They laughed and informed me that the stove cooks a little hot, which I remembered did the same thing when I lived there. The rest of the cookies were good. Jessie and I had some more DS rumbles and then we watched a movie in the PL`s room. I told the participants I would make them pancakes in the morning, using up my leftover pancake mix. One girl asked for me to make them at 7:30am because she left first. I joked it was too early and she wouldn`t get any. She was very upset and threatened to wake me up. Sigh.

I seemed to have missing notes. July 27 is missing.

July 26, 2008 (?-Sault Ste. Marie) - There were just as many slugs on my tent in the morning as there were last night. I had a breakfast of oatmeal and finished my guava fruit. I didn`t bother to do dishes, because I had a big day, wanted to get out on the road quick, and there was no water around to do them in. I could wash them later. I stopped at a gas station just on top of a hill. I wanted to start the day right; I bought a coffee, and for the road, an energy drink, poptarts (a change from granola bars) and chocolate skittles (they have CHOCOLATE now? I have been on the road a long time!) I filled up my water and was gone. I went around one corner down the road and could feel the wind just chill. I was right near the great lake. Luckily though, the headwind earlier that day turned into a tailwind! I passed one guy puttering up a loooooooooong descent I had. I felt bad for the guy, but all I could scream was a quick ``GOOD LUCK BUDDY!`` I hated having to stop to fix my garbage bag covering my front right pannier for a rain cover. It aggravated that I finally stopped and just ripped it off. Too bad! If it rained, that bag got wet! I made one more stop before the last 30km or so to Sault Ste. Marie and decided to get one more energy drink. Good idea, because the dreaded 4km hill I was told about was coming up. Although I had a tailwind, it seemed to disappear right before the decent before the hill. The decent was just not enough for me to kick it into third gear. The hill wasn`t as long as I thought, and sooner then I expected I was up top. And slowly going right back down again. It was a fantastic hill all the way practically to the Sault! Just enough to get me going, and combined with the returned tailwind, it pushed me into the 30`s kms. My excitement to see my old Katimavik town pushed me harder as well. I have never returned to a place I`ve lived before, especially something as important as Katimavik. This was the starting place of where I began to learn a lot about myself and the world and introduced me to travelling. At first, I didn`t recognize anything. But as soon as I hit a street, it all slowly came back. The malls, the streets, the random memories. I found a pay phone and called the project leader there with a number my friend got for me. I was shocked to find they lived in the same house that we lived in before!!! The house was easy to find, I remembered it all so clearly. Walking through the house in a different season, I could still see my group there, like a black and white flashback. Over dinner, I regailed them stories of my travels and what we did in that house and town. I played some DS with a participant named Jessie and he took me downtown. We went to his favorite diner, caught a snack and went to see Hancock in theatres. Most of the group was still up when we returned. After everyone went to bed, I was on the computer, talking to friends back home late into the night. With the time zones, it was only natural. I slept on the couch and found myself staring out the window that night, but different from the snowy covered one I used to look out at.

July 25, 2008 (Wawa-?, 102km) - It was a very wet morning, having slept in a thunderstorm. More wet then usual. I still can't fathom why they can't make water proof tents, but I'm sure that would involve sacrificing weight and packing ability. One day. I ate breakfast quietly, so not to wake my generous host. I waited out the morning a bit for my tent to dry. When I found the bugs were out, I assumed it was dry enough to pack up and leave. What the hell was I thinking? The bugs can be bad anywhere, anytime! I got a picture of Bonnie and lefft. I was informed that most of my trip to Sault Ste. Marie would be downhill. Well, the morning was accurate to that. But there are always hills, you have to remember that. What goes down, must come up, and vice versa. So it was, that I found the hills going up, some for a long time. It reminded me sorely of the Rockies (seriously, HOW did I do them?!?!) It was a LONG day, so I tried to make few and short stops. During a long ascent, I found a good shower coming, so I weather proofed and thought it best to leave it on the whole day. I found myself with a headwind, AGAIN! Later on in the afternoon, the wind was exchanged for something new: fog. Thick fog! The vehicles began to become difficult to see in the distance. But I surely couldn't just stop there, so I put my bright red flashing turtle light on the back of my camelback. I was told about the Agawa pictographs, and when I passed the turn off, I decided I would see them as a short break. Nice beaches are one thing, but I've never seen pictographs. Wouldn't likely be biking this way again, so why not? It's not like I was going to make it to my unknown destination for the night anytime soon. I was hoping it was only a short ride away, but I found myself going down a steep and steeper hill, groaning at what I would have to climb to get back out to the highway. Why did I do that? I parked my bike (perk: no pay parking!) and trudged down the wet, slippery rocks. It was even more dangerous in my rubber booties, but to be in slick rubber shoes with a metal clip wasn't much better. I played it safe and held onto the rope that was secured below cliffs Underneath were faint, but destinctable red markings and symbols. They were pretty much what I expected. I may have enjoyed them more if I wasn't soaking wet though and oh so tired. I again debated getting a ride up the hill, but it was a short 10 minute ride. The fog was still heavy and I knew I would have to set up tent soon before it got dark and things got really dangerous. I was very intent on my goal of 110km, but just couldn't reach it. I barely made a staggering 102km before I turned into a camp/beach turnoff. Right there, not 100 meters away from the highway was a little hollow in the bush. Perfect! But at that point, any patch of grass would have been perfect. It would hide me well away from any traffic. I had a big supper, including a can of Chunky soup, bean/bacon soup, noodles and pudding. This time I made it with dried milk. Not the same. Not bad, but real milk would have been better. I was too lazy and tired to do the dishes, and there was no water around. I would risk whatever repercussions. Before I went to bed, I found I had a new set of visitors I've never had: slugs, all over my tent! Ugh. You're level of caring is just so low when you're tired, but you have to be careful it doesn't go to far and become dangerous. I could hear more thunder that night. Hopefully I'll have a nice sunny day tomorrow for I have a big 130km bike ride, rain or shine.

24, 2008 (White River-Wawa, 92km) - I got another early start this morning. It was very sunny. I'm getting very bronze now. I didn't have too many challenging hills. I was told by locals that there were few hills to Wawa, and only a few biggies after, one being near Sault Ste. Marie AND most of them were downhill! I got this feeling though...I went through many lake filled woods today. An ice cream sandwich later, a few pedal strokes. I stopped for an early lunch at the Halfway Lodge, being half way between White River and Wawa. Wayne, the owner, was a nice guy who had seen several bikers come through that stretch. One, in fact, just a week prior, was trying to break the world record for the fastest cross country bike ride, 22 days! People call me crazy! I enjoyed noodles in my dish-saver pouch again before heading off. It was a good day really. Few hills, and I had a good tail wind for half of the afternoon. I met David, another Australian biker going West. He had run into a few other fellow bikers as well. I enjoy that on this trip, seeing other bikers and practically automatically being friends, chatting on the side of the road. I came into Wawa, a nice rustic town with a strong feel for the outdoors. I grabbed some contact information offline at the library, checked my email and made some phone calls. One Katimavik friend lived in Wawa and knew someone I could stay with, someone from Superior Lake Adventures or something to that effect. However, after hearing from locals the distance to there and dirt roads, hills, etc, I decided to stay in town. I was really tired, and had some shopping to do. I was prompted to a nice womans home where I'm currently camping for the night. After setting up my tent, I left and bought supper, a sausage on a bun and a grand plate of chili fries. I talked with some kayakers who had just arrived in town. They sold their kayaks and were going to bike to St. John's from Ottawa. What adventurers! Quite fortunate there was a hair salon that was open late and I got my hair cut. I look a little more decent now. Returning to the womans house, Bonnie, I asked if I could use her shower. She was very generous and had actually offered supper earlier, but I was out buying my own! She offered much food and even the use of her computer, which I'm using now. She's actually been host to a group of bikers cycling to raise money for polio research, I have one day of getting lost in the wilderness. Then I shall arrive in the Soo, the very start of my stepping stone into my life of travelling. It's a very symbollic place I'm sure holds something big for me.

July 23, 2008 (Marathon-White River, 95km) - I had breakfast, thinking I had missed most of the participants, but they woke up and were quickly off to their work placements. I didn't get the chance to say goodbye to most of them. I charged my mp3 player, the one that worked anyway and packed my things. Heidi came out to see me off. She seemed to have done some travelling in her time and was a bit worried I didn't have my mirror. I did, but it was just broken. I plan on buying a new one in Sault Ste. Marie. We briefly touched on the process of becoming a project leader. It seemed challenging in my mind at the time, but I reminded myself, I'm biking across Canada! I have to kick "can't" out of my vocabulary! I had thoughts of catching a ride with some truck up the hill, but decided to tough it out and rode up that long, 4km hill. It only took me 10 minutes. There was construction right away! Although I was only stopped once, there was still 20km worth or grated roads, looking like a cheese grader, and this gouged road would pull my bike to the left and right. I stopped at the Marathon info center, briefly chatting with some guys. When asked my daily average distance, I told them "It's not the hills you climb or the kilometers you do, it's doing it all again the next day!" I had a real nice down hill soon after, but it was ruined because of construction that I had to stop for. It was 2 hours later before I took a break at the Manitouwadge turn off. The town itself was 14km away, so I was content with the turnoff. I enjoyed my lunch of peanut butter AND nutella now on my granola bar sandwich (I'm getting fancy with my meals) and some fruit. I met a guy my age there. He was travelling with his dad and uncle who had cancer. He wanted to see the country, or at least Ontario before it was too late. I thought that was great, wanting to spend your last moments with your family. The guy said he quit his job to go with his uncle. I found great pride in that, because you can always get another job, you can never get that time back. I'm glad he made the right decision. Before I hit White River, home of Winnie-the-Pooh, I met a mixture of three bikers, travelling together. One was going to Toronto and the other two were going to Quebec. Wanting to secure a place before I went shopping, I asked around a few houses, but almost all of them directed me to the tourist booth. Apparently, they had free camping. Really, I was just hoping for a shower, but I remembered seeing a sign that you could shower at the Husky gas station. So that was that. I just had to be careful, as there was a bear shot that morning. I had a quick supper at a small bistro with the other bikers. A philly cheese steak sandwich was a nice break from the basic burger. I did a bit of shopping before I set up tent. The student at the tourist center said I could put my food in the train display, which was locked, but the door was still open (don't ask) so the bears couldn't get at it. Setting up my tent, I found I had a neighbor, who I didn't meet until after I showerd. His name was Casey. He had been stranded there in White River for a week. He crashed on his motor bike, while crossing the country as well, and was awaiting a new bike. He got to know the locals well, and they all knew him. I talked with him after showering and shaving (finally!) We were very similar; actually both from BC as well, he was from Valemont. We played some cards and snacked, just talking, and then visited his friend at the gas station. We shared his gameboy and just hung out. I got a picture of him and his tent before I hid my food in the train and went to bed.

22, 2008 (Terrace Bay-Marathon, 82km) - I got an early start this morning. The instant eggs helped. No dishes. I was hoping to use the internet quick and contact some friends about the places I'd be coming up to, but the tourist booth didn't open til 9 and I didn't want to stand around for half an hour, so I let it go and left. There were a bit of clouds, but it turned really sunny later on. There was a headwind practically all day too! There were some more really big hills. They always remind me of the Rockies, but I'll never understand how I did them. The view of Lake Superior was again, just gorgeous. I had some really good, long hills. The love the sight as you come to the crest of a hill and see it just drop, with a big valley in front of you. My max speed going down was 62.5km/hr. I stopped at Neys lookout after crossing a bridge across a big vally. There was a fantastic view of the valley, with the bridge I crossed on the right and some train tracks going along the coast on the left. I chatted with travellers who had stopped there also for lunch, such as a couple, Ed and Ellen. They gave me a coconut juice, a beverage I haven't had since my China experience. They got a picture of me, and I them. I enjoyed my new snack of peanut butter on granola bars. I also re-used my instant eggs ziplock bag to cook noodles in with borrowed boiled water from a camper. Another successful trick! I grabbed an ice cream sandwich at the Can-Op down the road and then motored onto Marathon. I was a bit bummed to find that I was only at the turn off, and that Marathon itself was another 4 km! But that was my destination for the day, so I went on. Luckily, it went from a small slant to a great downhill slope. Sorry to say, I had to climb that sucker the next day! I was quite fortunate to find a Katimavik van in the mall parking lot, as I was planning on contacting them anyway. I wrote them a note and left it on the windshield, and I was barely into the mall when someone chased after me. It was Heidi, the project leader. She invited me over the katima-house. After I ate and did a bit of shopping, I went there and met the group. They were just wonderful and I was joined them on a hike to Hawkesbury Ridge. The bugs were so bad though. I shared my stories with the group members during the hike. Two were especially interested in my bike trip, to which I obliged as much advice as I could. It sounded like one wanted to make a trip of his own! I also chatted with one Quebecois, sharing my trials of language during my travels and explaining the bit of reverse culture shock I had to endure returning home. I relaxed that night by watching Death To Smoochie with a few of the participants downstairs. I had to explain to them why I kept munching and was eating most of the stuff I had bought earlier; food is there to be eaten, no?

July 21, 2008 (Nipigon-Terrace Bay, 105km) - The morning was great today. It was sunny, but not too hot. Even on hot days, my tent will be damp, but today it wasn't. I had a good breakfast of oatmeal and pineapple chunks that Danica gave me, along with some other food stuff. I was on the road by 9:30am after filling my water. I finally got to see Lake Superior and many islands along it. It was so beautiful. I felt like I was in the maritimes. I'm really excited for them now! It was a long time since I've done big hills, but there they were. Big, huge, challenging. Not as intimidating as the Rockies, but definitely enough to make you groan. And there was lots of construction! However, the shoulders were decent. For now. I stopped at Gravel River coffee shop for lunch. Just outside were some sign posts with how far different locations were, from Ottawa (1310km), France (6331km) Australia (start digging) to the lake itself (1000 babysteps) Even the moon was on there! I am getting sick of the basic burgers, fries, but sometimes, that's all the restaurants have and I need a good lunch! I wasn't happy with the service there though. I'm finding a lot of small bugs are...well, bugging me, whenever I stop, so I find myself wanting to just keep going so to avoid them. There were some BIG hills. I found myself switching between sitting down and standing up and pedalling. I read its better to sit down, saving energy, but sometimes that rush just makes you stand and go. Plus I find it stretches the legs a bit, but I don't do it for long. As always, hills are hills, and they can be conquered. The taller they are, the more rewarding the descent. And to share with everyone, I made a movie which hopefully will be uploaded soon. I needed ice cream when I hit Schreiber, bad. And I picked some up before I finished the last 20km or so to Terrace Bay. But I still had time to check out Aquasabon Falls. I enjoy falls, but these weren't that special. Then again, I've been wanting to swim in or under some for a long time. I checked my internet at the tourst center before I went shopping. I was surprised, that although Terrace Bay is not what I would consider "in the middle of nowhere" it still charged a lot for food! I mean, I understand in between towns where small gas stations can charge like double for a can of soup, but this was in town! But I needed those granola bars bad! I decided to buy supper as well, as I had arrived late, and had chores that needed doing, so buying food saved time. I had a roast beef sandwich, salad and home-made pizza pop. I need to eat more vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes and "potatoes" just aren't cutting it. I'm doing good on fruit though. I bought a drink to keep that blood sugar going and bought a calling card to call some family and friends before they were gone. I set up my tent behind the tourist center and after, trued my two tires and washed my laundry, garbage bag style! A new tip! Bungee cords work everywhere. I anchored my bike on the corner of the building, attached two bungee cords from there to the faucet and voila! Instant clothes line! The rock wall was still warm too! I only played a little DS, because I was so tired.

July 20, 2008 (Thunder Bay-Nipigon, 118km) - I went out to breakfast with Danica, Maggie, and their friend Ribotto at Thunder Bay restaurant. They were a lovely group of friends and made me miss mine. I didn't mind the late start, and never do over a good breakfast. I said goodbye to Danice, got a picture and left. Perhaps a bit too hastily. I got a quick ice capp and was soon at the Terry Fox monument. That was something I refused to miss. I stared at the statue of a man who no longer dreamed something big, he started something big. He went beyond his fears, his doubts, as well as others, and did what he thought was right and would help the world. I only hope my journey could have the impact his did. I chatted with a few tourists who thought I was brave, but I pointed at the statue and insisted he was the one who was brave. I biked away with a small tear in my eye, very proud. Sorry to say, the rest of the day was actually quite long and boring. I was surprised to find most of it downhill. It was really helpful, considering I had a bit of a headwind the entire time! I arrived in Nipigon late and settled on camping beside the tourist booth. I was planning to make some calls when I realized my phone was missing! I doubt that someone stole it while I was at the gas station. I was sure I left it at Danica's. Wouldn't be surprised to find I did something like that. However, I didn't remember her number, because it was ON MY CELLPHONE! With my calling card beginning to run out, I called my mom, and through a series of websites and online surfing, I found her number and my cellphone was indeed at her place. She would send it to her friends house in North Bay, where I would stay and pick it up. I was so tired by that point. The next day would be another 100km or so. I needed rest. Bad.

July 19, 2008 (Rest) - A momentus day! I have been on the road for 2 months! Surprisingly, last night was one of my better sleeps. I spoke with Gail and she did apologize. She refunded half my money, which I think was fair, because, well, I DID stay at the hostel. I didn't mind. I walked to Danica's, grabbed my bike, came back to the hostel packed my things. I biked back to her house before she left for work. I updated the website for a good chunk of time. 3 hours almost! I only had a short time to do some shopping before meeting Danica. I checked out the Future Shop and Wal-mart, picked up some new rechargeable batteries and then went to the Interstate Mall. Danica, her friend Maggie and I went threw my bike in her truck and went to Maggies new home. We helped her put together a shelf that seemed almost impossible to do with one person, which it had been done so far. Three of us? We could of used another! Despite having put one side on...ahem...backwards, Maggie was very grateful. She insisted she was going to put a picture of me and her ontop to remind her of the guy she met biking across Canada. What a sweet heart. She also bought us pizza and pop, to which we munched out on while we watched Across The Universe. We dressed up (by which I mean the girls. Did I mention I only have one pair of pants that I wear everywhere?) and went out to a few bars and caught a band at Black Pirate. Danica introduced me to her friend Madelaine who was very interested in my bike trip, asking many questions, some I'd never been asked before. I was happy to answer them, as she was intrigued and thought it was an amazing journey. A large portion of this was yelling due to the loud music. It was a great night.

July 18, 2008 (Kakabeka Falls-Thunder Bay, 29km) - Yep. I was still tired and definitely needed a day off. I had been biking for a week straight! Thunder Bay was the place! Fortunately, it was downhill most of the way or straight stretches all the way into town. I was a bit disoriented arriving into town, not really knowing where to go. I didn't pass a tourist booth, let alone a "Welcome to..." sign. Where was the library so I could look up some couch surfees, check my email and hopefully update the website? I got a map from the mall. I deposited money into the charity bank account, did some WELL needed laundry, and then went to the library where I contacted every couch surfee in the area. After exploring down town a bit, another tourist center informed me of a hostel. With no reception from couch surfers, I took to it. It was my day off, I needed peace of mind as to where to stay. I would shell out money for it. Plus, I like hostels, so what the hell? I found it, amidst a street just wrought with construction. Right away, a woman came out, assuring me it was the hostel and demanded to know my story, a question I myself love to ask others. Her name was Gail and I took a liking to her quickly. She was very friendly. Running a hostel before, I'm sure she's heard many stories before, and now would have mine to add to her collection. I parked my bike and settled in quickly. I went for a snack after showering and checked out a suggested Finnish restaurant. Asking the smiling waitress what this or that was, I tried some new foods. I can't remember the names, but they were good. Except the clabbered milk. I'll pass. Having lost my other travel companions, I asked the waitress what her plans were for the night. She was going to a dance club and invited me along. I loved the offer, but wasn't so sure dancing was a good idea. I really needed to rest and that was not the way to do it. Back at the hostel, I received a phone call from one of the couch surfers, Danica. Although I had found a place for the night, she offered me dinner in place, which I found very kind. I took her up on that, feeling bad that I would likely have to cancel on that waitress. From one date to the next. I met Danica at her place and we cooked dinner together, chatting about everything. We went to a coffee shop after for a small show and she introduced me to a variety of friends she had there. I met other couch surfers, including one I tried to contact earlier that day! What are the chances? Everyone was nice and we found ourselves at a bar, having a few drinks and talking into the night. They were a wonderful group of people, and after hearing one was going to have a party the next day, I decided to stay an extra day. Danica agreed to letting me stay at her house the next day. I arrived at the hostel to find a note on the door for me. Uh oh. There had been a reservation double booking and my things were moved to the living room. I laughed it off, but still found it a bit ironic that, even with a partial refund, I found myself sleeping on the couch of a hostel that night. Gail was very apologetic about it though. Haha, funny. At least the following day, I definitely had other couches to sleep on now!

July 17, 2008 (Upsala-Kakabeka Falls, 112km) - And one more distraction. We had a dog or possibly wolf in our camp around 3am. I could hear him panting. He got into a bit of our food. Shame on us for leaving it out. Rob scared him off. We all got up early, resolving to leave soon. I ate leftover pancakes and my powdered omelette. It was SO buggy in the morning, I had no problem rushing. We got a few pics with everyon before we carried on. I bought an energy drink for a boost for the morning. It would be a long day. And hot! We had a small-medium headwind the entire day! I bought some fudge at the Beaver Post station that went well with my final pancake. I lotioned up, stretched and the bathroom duty. I guess in that time, the U of L bikers passed me, because I met up with them and Rob at the point where the time zones switch. So now, our long day was cut shorter, do to the time switch! BLAST! They left before me, but I caught up to Brett and Vanessa like 10 minutes later, and then Rob another 20km or so later on a hill. We biked a bit together and then I sped up. On a long hill, someone spray painted "Go muscles moving go" I guess they know what it's like. I arrived at a restaurant, with Kelly having been there for awhile. Rob showed up not long after. But the others didn't pass for a long time. In the meanwhile, we stopped for lunch, which was a long one. We talked about upcoming routes. It was still very hot. The other U of L bikers passed, not wanting to stop. I caught up to them not long after, but it took awhile of chasing. I was still so tired! I waited for them at the 102 junction. The U of L bikers decided to go straight to Thunder Bay, but Rob and I wanted to go to Kakabeka Falls. I waited awhile for him. I didn't mind. I didn't have nearly the energy to make it their quickly to to Thunderbay, no matter how long it took! It was just 16km to the falls, but it took so long! I didn't know it was a provincial park until I arrived. We went to the village just ahead. I had passed 4000km!!! That deserved a reward! And what better way then food? I bought some cheap smoked salmon and ice cream cones. Rob and I camped just outside of the camp grounds. I gave Rob some ice cream. It was a short distance to Thunder Bay. I had the feeling that my supposed day off would be rushed.

July 16, 2008 (Ignace-Upsala, 107km) - I was up first out of all the bikers there. I did make pancakes with an instant mix I had barely touched for awhile. I made some extra for my camp mates, but was a bit sad only Allen had some. Oh well. Leftovers for moi! Rob visited us in the morning, having slept behind the tourist center. He helped Bret with his tire and chatted with us for awhile. We met other bikers at the camp entrance before we left. It was two women, a biker and support driver, biking on behalf of cancer research around Ontario. We got some pictures with everyone together before I left. I did some quick shopping after. I was REALLY late. An 11am leave! We were told it was fairly flat to Thunderbay, but we found a few hills challenging. It was long and hot, but otherwise a pretty uneventful ride. There was about 20km of construction, being stopped twice. But those were welcomed breaks. I met Rob at a restaurant about half way. I had a really good burger and shake. With that kind of distance, a good lunch will carry you the last bit well. We chatted for a bit, about biking, our motivation and kind of why we were doing it. We planned to stop in Upsala. Thinking about it, although it was shorter then the expected 125km I had planned, I thought it better to stop a bit short in somewhere at least then a bit further in the middle of nowhere. Along the highway, I found many small inukshuks amongst the short cliffs beside the roads. Do people actually walk these desolate roads? Or is there a higher meaning to them then just "I was here"? Also on the rocks is a mulitude of graffiti. You don't really expect it way out here. I had to take a poo really bad and stopped at a pullout. I thought I had prepared myself by spraying bug dope before hand. I didn't think of when I pulled my pants down what would be exposed to the bugs. It was not a good experience, made worse by remembering that the toilet paper I previously had was thrown out due to mold (it got wet) and I had to improvise. Garbage bag, details exempt. It was not a good experience. Remember, I tell you these minute details because I know they'll make someone laugh. There were a lot of up and down hills all the way to Upsala. At first, I almost didn't think there was a town, being warned some of those small towns no longer exist along the highway. But it was there. I bought a chocolate bar and apple juice and then some pie at a CAN-OP further down the road. just NEED it! I filled my water and waited for Rob and the U of L gang. We planned on camping together there in Upsala. The rest arrived and we shared a campsite. We set up, ate and showered. Although the others talked a bit over supper, I was exhausted still. My hands were very weak from gripping my bike horns all day, and I found it difficult just to clip my pannier buckles! I demanded myself to wake up early the next day! No more distractions! So, several distractions later: clouds of mosquitoes buzzing between my fly and tent. I thought the bugs were supposed to be bad in Manitoba!

July 15, 2008 (Dryden-Ignace, 106km) - I had another late leave! 8:45. Breakfast of oatmeal and melon. I left some cards on the nice neighbors porches. I got a picture of the welcome to Dryden sigh and stopped at the 7/11, where I brushed my teeth, filled my water and applied sunscreen. I stopped at the Canada Tire and bought a shammy, not enjoying using greasy rags for watery clean-ups. The Quebecois guys passed me further down, scaring me like past cyclists. Bad habits, urgh! I passed some rocks in the sand from other travellers and got some pictures, including one that said BC BOYZ! From my great deducting reasoning, I have come to the conclusion that the people who made that sign were from a western province of Canada, likely British Columbia. I was still very tired from yesterday and was not pushing myself hard today. I'd get to Ignace when I got there. Passing more marshes and lakes, I really, really craved some swimming. I passed Raleigh Falls, and was going to skip it. But I hadn't seen any nice spots and it might have been nice for a swim. I turned myself around and forced myself up what at first what I thought would be a long hill, but was short. I took some pictures of myself underneath the waterfall. It was a great cool off. I also found a printer beside the garbage. In the middle of no where? An odd bit of disposal indeed. Here in Ontario, the dead gophers, skunks and birds are now replaced with dead bees, horsflies, and dragonflies littering the sidewalks. The live ones manage to keep up with me! Faster than mosquitoes, they'll still be circling you, even at 30km!!! I saw a wheels-to-walk van, a supposed group of bikers, but they driver didn't want to talk. He insisted I move, as the bugs would get me. As soon as he said that, they were on me, biting, gnawing and chewing. I didn't stay long. The population of the small town of Ignace was a small 1501. I don't know who that special ONE person was. I just found it funny. Although small, every food place looked delicious and inviting. Like other cases, I'd still eat supper anyway. While waiting a long time for my pizza and milkshake, the University of Lethbridge (U of L) group pulled in. I talked with them a bit before an Australian biker named Rob, pulling a small BOB trailer behind him showed up. I camped with the U of L group at a campsite. I could have used the company and they didn't mind another biker sharing the site with them. I left to do some shopping. Although I had enough food to get to Thunderbay, it never hurt to get a little extra. Even after eating my second supper, I ate more; a mexican angus burger at Cap't Rons fish shop. I did some phone calling, still being in a bit of a lonely phase. I got ahold of my friend Sadie, from CWY. She was very understanding about my bike trip and was very supporting, even to go so far as to claim me as a hero. It was the best compliment I ever received. I also phoned a friend in Montreal, letting him know of my whereabouts and expected arrival. After doing my dishes, I switched my tires on my bike. I was told to do this about half way, as the rear tire will wear faster than the front, which I could see. I showered and wrote my notes for the night. There were fireflies about. I had never seen fireflies. Like blinking lights in the distance. They were very pretty. It was 250km to Thunderbay. I expected to split the days in half, 125km each. We'll see...I feel like pancakes tomorrow!

July 14, 2008 (Kenora-Dryden, 143km) - Damn. I slept in, again! The neighbor, who had seen me setting up the day before, came by and gave me some muffins and a banana for breakfast. It was very kind. Any generosity like that is always appreciated. I gave her a card, and left one ofr Miles under her door mat. I called Morgan was expecting me. I met up with him and had coffee at a nearby coffee shop. I asked him what the story was on Kenora and was surprised to learn it's home to two of the best rehab centers in northwest Ontario. Morgan was an ex-addict. I was surprised, and eagerly listened to his story of survival, dealing with drugs and alcohol and how he came to where he was now. Although it may be hard to understand, we were very similar people. We were both seeking ourselves, through long and ardous roads, his of addiction, pain and loss, and mine of paved cement, the elements and determination. We came to where we are through the choices we had made, good and bad. We both wanted to focus our efforts on the youth now, wanting to give back. Myself showing them alternative roads to go down, and he showing them those to avoid. We both want to help others now, but as part of the protocol of AA, you can't force others to help themselves from a life of drugs and alcohol. They have to make that choice. I would love others to do the things I have and experience what I have. I believe it would really benefit them and open a world of opportunties and insight to them, but I can only tell my story. They have to choose what's best for them. I was very glad I stayed and listened to Morgans story. I hope he stays on the path he is on now while I stay on mine. It made me smile and reminded me of why I was on this trip. I forgot to get a "Welcome to Kenora" picture, and got one of the sign on the exit of town. I had rolling hills most of the way. I saw some really funky storms, like a funnel drawing clouds into itself. I really hoped it wasn't a storm. I was really enjoying the scenery. Although it wasn't mountainous, it was still rocky and rugged. I met some Quebecois bikers at lunch near a lake. They were biking home to Montreal. They were quite funny and light-hearted. They were also quite surprised at how young I was to be doing such a big trip. Age shouldn't prevent you from doing something like this. I read the other day, "If you want to be big, you have to think big. If you think small, you're going to be small." And it doesn't get any bigger than Canada, so age be damned! There was a bit of construction along the way, but I didn't mind too much. At Vermillion Bay, I took a rest. I bought a sandwich and energy drink. I needed a good boost to get me to Dryden. I set a goal and was determined to be there. I put on my good music and cruised the last 40km. A lot of it was rolling hills, one after the other. I learned Qi Gong, a breathing technique during Canada World Youth. I put it to use and zoned out for the last 20km. I put all other things out of mind and only thought of biking, using the strength in my legs to climb the hills. Occasionally a truck would woosh by and I would lose my focus, and all of a sudden be back to heavy breathing. I also noticed a storm brewing behind me. It them became a race to Dryden. Again, I was very determined. The rain slowly came in, with me screaming at the wind. "!....I'M NOT THERE YET!!! I CAN MAKE IT!!!" Even as determined as I was, I couldn't make it. A sign telling me of 2km more until Dryden, my spedometer becoming a lie, I was defeated. The rain came in, and I didn't know what the last 2km held. I wanted to set up before I became too wet. This isn't over mother nature! I'll get you back! I pulled in to a small area of homes, but many people weren't home or refused to answer the door! One couple asked their landlords mother if it was alright, and she was kind about it. I set up and by the time I had supper eaten, the storm had passed! Talk about anti-climactic! I hate that! The other neighbors, seeing a new additition the homes, came out and offered me dinner. I was still hungry (face it, I always am) so I accepted. They described my friends to a tee, who I learned were only about 5 days ahead of me. They let me use their shower and I talked with them a bit about the concept of camping and some stories about it. I biked into town to try to catch a movie, and instead ran into some other bikers. They were 3 bikers, Bret, Kelly and Vanessa, and their support van and driver, Allen, from the University of Lethbridge. They were meeting alumni along the way to St. Johns, Newfoundland. We got a picture and I went on. It became late and I couldn't find the theatre though. I made some phone calls and settled for a hards day work with a reward of choco-banana muffin and choco milk instead of film. I'll catch a movie one of these days.

July 13, 2008 (West Hawk Lake-Kenora, 55km) - It was a little wet, but the sun was out that day. As similar to before, a once rainy day dawned a beautiful one. I was a bit slow packing. My dishes had been left out from last night. I received a few weird looks from people walking by, but paid no mind. A man suggested I go the other direction, which also turned into the highway. But I wanted pancakes and to wash my glasses. As I pulled onto the boardwalk at the beach, there were some tourists having their picture taken. The very friendly local taking the picture through his buddy into the photo, and then me, and then another stranger! It was so sudden yet fun and friendly. EVERYONE IN THE PICTURE! STRANGER! YOU THERE! YOU GET IN THERE AS WELL! It was nice to laugh and be silly with otherwise older people. Telling them what I was doing, I received immediate interest in my bike trip, as well as a few small donations! They thought it was amazing what I was doing. I didn't even get off the boardwalk when some other people asked questions about my bike trip. I told them about it, and the disappointment with the cancelled pancake breakfast, and they quickly invited me to breakfast with them! Pam, Gary, Tess, Lyndsay, Evan, and their mom (sorry, forgot name) were so friendly and nice, asking questions about my trip. They were from BC themselves and were enjoying the festival here, being part of the volleyball tournament. They were so nice. I had no problem at all getting a late start, as much as noon that day. And what did I have for breakfast with them? Pancakes. It was a sunny day with a few clouds, but the wind really seemed to be all over the place. But it was mostly behind me. I quickly noticed a difference as I arrived in Ontario. The trees, the wind, the roads even! I stopped at a tourist center with the Ontario sign welcoming me into my 5th province! I got some info on Ontario, some festivals and a map on Kenora. Another tourist showed interest in my sign and also gave me a donation! Today was a grand day! Ontario was making a great first impression! I enjoyed the rolling hills, curving roads, abundant forests, marshes and glittering lakes I passed. It was beautiful. Kenora, too, was indeed a wonderful city. A guy my age named Morgan (name changed for protection) stopped me, curious as the sign I had on the front of my bike. I explained and he invited me to a youth group he attended. I had originally planned on visiting schools and youth groups and talking with them about my bike trip, but I'm so busy and have so little time, I took the offer. I found a bike shop, and after waiting a bit, had it tuned up. I chatted with the employee, Steve, about my trip, and he gave me tips on biking, repair and upcoming routes and terrain, all while he tuned up my bike. Best of all, he gave me no charge! Yes, Ontario had definitely made a good impression. I stayed in a older womans yard, Miles. I didn't talk with her much. After I set up my tent, I was gone, shopping for food, phoning people and hopefully catching a movie. I spoiled myself with a big chinese food dinner and talked a bit with a travelling salesman. I remembered the youth group and cancelled my movie. I can always see the movies later, I only get one offer to go to the youth group. They were a bit younger than myself, but were very funny and energetic and full of bad jokes. I loved it! I still did get to see a movie actually. We went to one of their homes, and watched a movie, popcorn included! Ben, Jake, Kevin, Tanner, Gord, Amy and others were a great change of pace to be around one? I enjoyed the feeling of being with friends in a comfortable, home like setting. Before he left, Morgan offered me coffee in the morning. The group was even kind enough to drop me off at my own "home." Haha, I hope the old woman whose yard I was sleeping in didn't wait up for me.

July 12, 2008 (Claude's yard - West Hawk Lake, 134km ) - I woke up late, 7:15. It's a unfair cycle: I'd like to leave earlier, but I'm so tired, I can't get up. When I packed up and was near leaving, Claudes wife invited me in for breakfast and coffee. Because I had already eaten, I declined the breakfast, but took them up on the coffee. I hardly ever refuse an invite to breakfast or coffee. I can always make up the distance later, you never get the chance for the latter later. We chatted about the history of our respective areas, BC, Manitoba, and travelling in general. I left at 9 with a tailwind at my back! The formula of bad day/good day would repeat itself later on. Althought the wind wasn't as good as in Saskatchewan, it was still a great help. It was cloudy all day. I enjoyed some garlic fries at a quick stop, decorated with wind fans and art. It started to rain when I stopped at a gas station, so I weather proofed myself. The roads were still horrible, with no shoulders. I couldn't wait to get to Ontario. I made it to Falcon Lake, quite wet now. There was supposed to be a Parks Day celebration or something going on, but I didn't see anything right away. There was also a Meteor Festival in the neighboring West Hawk Lake, so I decided, again, to "go further"; It was only an additional 13km. The rain sure came down. I was now soaked. Pretty much through and through. I was disappointed, as there were few events going on that I could see at the beach for Meteor Fest, due to the rain. It was almost impossible just to find a small patch of grass to set up tent! There were no open spaces! Not even ditches would do. I attempted asking a few homes, but many were being rented out for the summer, and people didn't feel comfortable letting a stranger staying on property that wasn't technically theirs. One mans father, who owned the cabin, felt the same way, and asked me why I didn't stay at the camp. I insisted that I hated paying for a camp with facilities I had no intention of using. Would you pay for a table, fire pit, lake, hills, trails, etc, if you were only going to leave in the morning? Still, he gave me a $20 bill and insisted I go get a campsite. I didn't want to argue and accepted the money, but decided to consider it a donation and put it towards my cause. I still refused to camp. I just wanted to set up my tent! I found an area of docks/storage and just put my foot down! Small patch of grass in front of the shed? FINE! I'm camping! I know this is a park town. If someone wants to complain and even call the warden or whoever, let them! I'm going to hide in my tent and get dry. If they really want to make me move, they're going to MAKE me move! Nobody bothered me. I was soaked. My panniers were filled with water at the bottom. My covers had failed, horribly. What was the point of them then? It was suggested to line the INSIDE of your panniers with garbage bags. I'll take that into deep consideration next time. I would attempt laundry in the morning. Nothing like food makes you feel better, so using a chocolate milk I bought earlier, I made pudding. Yes, there is nothing I can't do. Instant, yes. Delicious, indeed! I read a bit of the book Heather gave me and played some DS. It would be a late day tomorrow for sure. There was supposed to be a pancake breakfast as part of the Meteor Festival. I hoped I could get in on that. Kenora was my goal for the next day.

July 11, 2008 (Birds Hill Provincial Park [Winnipeg] - Trans Canada Highway, about 27km ) - My fly was upside down, I didn't do the vestibule, and there was some water in my tent in the morning. It didn't help that there was a massive thunderstorm at 7am. I could still hear the hooting and hollering of the late night (morning?) partiers. I swear a strike of lightening was JUST outside my tent, hitting a tree! I quickly unzipped my tent, expecting to see fire atop the tree, but there was nothing. Still, it was indeed loud and scary! The wind was just hollering and it was raining. I was resolved to go back to bed, and back to bed I went. I was wet, miserable and did not want to get up. Several hours later, it stopped raining and the sun came out. I had a good breakfast, because I believe there's no point in making a miserable day worse by having a crappy breakfast. Good morning + bad day, is better then bad morning + bad day. I was just not happy that day. I was damp, cold, and just not happy. My chain had sand on it from somewhere, and needed a tune up. I was not happy with what Natural Cycle had done. I was certain it was actually making more noise now! I got what I paid for I guess. When I finally made it out of the park, there was mean, no, cruel cross wind waiting for me. With minimal shoulders, the occasional rain, and a brutal wind, the short ride south sucked! I was only doing 11-14km/hr!!! I stopped at a gas station where the thunderstorm kicked up again. I flip-flopped between just calling it a day or continuing. A fresh start tomorrow would be nice, but I had barely made any distance! I went to a small library and wasted some time away. When I came out, the storm had passed and the sun was out. I continued. The wind was still there though, sigh. My goal, although small, still seemed big at the time: make it to the Trans Canada Highway! It was directly south, but was still very challenging! Despite the fact that when I hit it, it would become a headwind, I remembered what I told the highschool students back home: "Determination is going further than you think you can." I decided to go further. Granted, it wasn't MUCH further, but further indeed. A few kilometeres up the road, I found a home with a nice french man who let me stay in his yard. Claude was nice and let me shower. I cleaned up my chain a bit, taped up my ripped seat and sewed my only pair of pants that now had a nice hole in the crotch (woe is the fate of all my pants, sigh) It wasn't a great day. But that night, the wind happened to be blowing in my direction...

July 10, 2008 (Rest) - Heather had to leave again in the morning to volunteer at the Folks Fest. I used her computer again, hoping to get some music off it. However, it did quite the opposite. I have a SandiskSansa, and hate it. It's a new problem everytime. This was no different, as for some technical reason or another, it ERASED my music! A good 600 songs, gone! I almost cried! So I spent a good while putting her music onto it in place. That afternoon, I was meeting a friend from Hazelton, Brett. He worked at APTN, and was working on getting me an interview with them about my bike trip. I met him at his work and we check out a smaller, localized version of the Folks Fest. I met his work mates who did a small interview with me. We ate talked over lunch at the Glass Onion. Returning to Heathers place, I burned my photos onto a cd, my camera now almost full, and thenI went to the legislative building as suggested by Heather. It was quite neat. With a continual list of things to do, and being rushed, I had to skip doing laundry. I had to meet Heather out at the Folk Fest and was biking out there, fully loaded. I would leave the day after from the festival grounds. It was MUCH further to the grounds than I anticipated. It also didn't help that I had a cross wind, got a bit lost and was just still tired. It was 2 hours longer than I thought to get there. Arriving, I had a dilemma as to where I could store my bags. I didn't have a camp pass (sold out anyway) and couldn't bring them on my bike into the grounds. Some nice people let me store them at the lost and found, where I could pick them up later with ID. I explored the grounds, but couldn't find Heather, she actually found me, wandering around. She introduced me to her friends. They were intrigued with my bike trip and one of them had done Canada World Youth herself. They left to their camp while I enjoyed a supper of festival food, which included a "whale tail" and a buffalo wrap. It was Manitoba, and I hadn't tried buffallo yet. Heather was very late meeting up with me again, but oh well. We listened and danced to the main stage musicians. It was a fun night. I don't often get to enjoy music and just let it flow. That's what music fests are about. It made me miss the one back home, about to happen soon. I camped outside the festival grounds that night, but was rushed. It was dark and late. I set up quickly, but it showed.

July 9, 2008 (Rest) -I slept in today. A great comfort I rarely get, even on my days off. There's always something to do, and today was no different. Heather had to work from her parents home, but was kind enough to leave me her computer which was a great help. I finally was able to upload pictures all the way up to Winnipeg! So look away guys, there they are. I was also able to upload movies onto Facebook onto my group. Until I find out how to get movies onto this website, there they shall stay. I dropped off my bike at Natural Cycles to be tuned up as suggested by the kind woman who gave me directions on the road. It was the cheapest in town. After, I visited the local MEC, my favorite store. I bought some propane for my stove and some dehydrated meals and energy drink mix. I dropped my things off at Heathers place and met her soon after. We explored a bit as she showed me around downtown Winnipeg, explaining a bit of history here and there. We picked up my bike, which unfortunately they told me had a slightly bent disc rotor. That's the part where the brakes touch to slow it down. But it wasn't that bad and would still work. We ate at Salsbury House, a Winnipeg chain. I do like to try local cuisine. However, it was indeed a chain and it wasn't special. Good, but remember, everything tastes great on a bike trip. We toured a bit more, Heather playing tour guide and enjoying it, even being kind enough to share Winnipeg history with some other travellers we ran into. Back at her place, she went to bed early while I watched a movie online and chatted with a bunch of friends.

July 8, 2008 (Austin-Winnipeg, 135km) - It was a windy morning. Luckily, I saw Cederik before I left, and had the opportunity to give him my card. It was sunny, but cloudy, which was great for a long day. I didn't deem sunscreen needed that day. There was a crosswind, and unlike the previous days, it was behind me enough to give me a good push. I stopped at the "one tree" along the road, a Very pastoral and nice. I ate at pizza hut in Portage Aux Prairie. I hoped to try a P'zone, but they didn't have any. The lunch buffet, almost ready, seemed more appropriate anyway. Buffet, one of the favorite words of bikers. After stuffing my face, I continued with few stops. Most people don't realize how much your wrists begin to ache. You have to move them to every possible position on your bike horns. The tailwind only got better and I was averaging a decent 28-30km. I wasn't sure if I was still in Headingly or Winnipeg. The whole area kind of blended. I got ahold of my friend and followed her directions to her apartment. On the road, a girl on a bike helped me find her place. I chatted with her about my bike trip and along the way, she gave me a quick tour. I met Heather, showered, and were soon with her family having dinner at her grandmothers. They were wonderful people, teeming with jokes and sarcasm, but loving nonetheless. It was a great atmosphere for me to be in. Returning to Heathers, we looked at google/maps and plotted out my route, looking at detours, distances, etc. It was assured I have a long way to go, but she has the utmost faith in me. I'm a bit nervous about getting back into the wilderness of Ontario, being cautious of wild life. But that's Canada. It's only going to get easier. My friends will keep me going.

July 7, 2008 (Brandon-Austin, 81km) - I thought I'd call the bluff of the expected thunderstorm that night. HA! Considering how hot it's been, I expected to wake up wet from sweat, not rain. Ehn, I've been wrong before. It was a heavy rain, and after looking outside, a headwind too? Screw that! I did something I hardly have done on this trip. I went back to bed. I woke up, ate, played some DS, waiting the rain out. There was no point in packing up in rain AND wind. The rain did indeed stop, and I packed up. Would you want a bad start to a long day or a good start to a short day? Sometimes it's putting things into that simple of a context. I stopped at Subway and enjoyed a sub and energy drink for lunch. I saw a Katimavik van outside and scoped it out for participants. I met two after lunch, Matt and Chris, the project leader. They were actually from Minnedosa, I guess shopping. They way my bike and came over. I told them briefly of my experience and my current adventure. I'd like to continue being involved with Katimavik in the future, and I'm sure I will. I found once again where the shoulders just disappeared, for no reason. I had a light headwind, but motored on. I had a good start and intended to keep it that way. I made short stops that day, with no lunch break. Remember, I already had lunch! I found a small house for sale. It was like a play house, but still odd to see on the side of the road. No elves around, they must be hiding. I pondered the idea of the choice I made that morning and just the choices I get to make. Expecially being solo. I decided when to leave, whether in rain or sun, or to pick up the slack later. I decide where to stay, what to eat, how much, what I do. That kind of independance and freedom is something great. I've been enjoying the many vast fields of yellow flowers. I hope to see fields of other colors too. Although the lack of shoulders sucks, its not HORRIBLE. Like I said, most of the time, people are on the other lane. I've been told that truckers, if they are caught not pulling far over for bikers, they could actually lose their job! I noticed at one point I was really slowing down without even noticing! I went from 19km to a sluggish 14km. I made a decent distance, with still a bit of energy left, but something drew me to the town of Austin. I felt I could have biked to the next town, McGregor, and that would be less distance I'd have to do the next day, but something told me to camp in Austin. I'd be a fool not to follow that voice. If I hadn't before, I wouldn't very well be on this trip. The slight storm clouds behind me may have been a sign. I visited the shack of a tourist booth and then entered the town. I stopped at Memory Lane Cafe for a light supper. I still planned to eat again, but I just needed something there. I got a grill cheese and brownie because I haven't eaten a grill cheese in a long time. I then stopped in a grocery store, again, the need of something in there. I didn't know what. I wanted to buy something though! Compulsive buying? I got a yogurt for breakfast and chocolate bar. At the checkout, a man came rushing in, asking "Where ya coming from?" I looked around and found him talking to me. I told him, explaining I've been camping a fair bit, but hoping to find a nice persons yard to set up in (with a little hint in there) He took it and said I could camp in his yard, just behind the store. He was the owner, Cederik. He was extremely friendly and even offered a shower in the grain elevator across the street. I assured him I wasn't looking for anything fancy. When you live out of your tent most of the time for 3 months, you can't afford to be picky. I admit, it was a bit odd to be showering in a grain elevator, but a shower was well needed at that point. He said he enjoyed hearing stories from cyclists. I insisted I had stories. It was a shame he had to leave for the night though. I explored the town. Very small, it reminded me of Hazelton. I hope to raise my kids in a small town one day, so they can learn to appreciate what they have and have the choice of seeking bigger things, in turn, making them appreciate their home. I hope there's not storm tomorrow, for it's a big day to Winnipeg. That night, I found myself just looking around my tent. In Kelowna, during CWY, we attended a presentation on the homelessness situation. I pondered the idea of homelessness on my bike trip. It's not the same. I have a home to go. With the friends I have, I have many. With the nice strangers, I have more. I tell people I don't camp most of the time. Camping is settling for few days, enjoying nature, the picnic table, the air, the mountains. Most of the time, I just need a place to put my head. Home is where I set up my tent for the night. It's like a personal room. Not much space, but that's my home.

July 6, 2008 (Virden-Brandon, 79km) - There were ants on the outside of my tent that morning. I flicked 'em all off and packed up, in another hot morning. There was a slight wind that morning that turned into a medium cross wind. Only this time, it was on the wrong side! It was now blowing in the opposite direction, blowing me towards the shoulders, which NOW disappeared. On those long curvy roads, I had to veer on the white line, staying away from the gravel shoulders, only 5km outside of town. I'm noticing a lot of road kill here and there, a lot more then other provinces. I never seen raccoons or skunks. Now I've seen too many. I almost cried when not just one, but BOTH my mp3 players died! I had nothing to listen to but the wind and the voices in my head. And man, are there a lot! I kept hearing this tinging noise coming from what I expected to be a loose spoke. I would get it fixed in Winnipeg, no matter what. The road kept turning north, even more into the wind! According to my map, it was supposed to go slightly south! SOUTH! There were a few hills and a bit of heavy wooded areas. Yep. Definitely not in Saskatchewan now. I couldn't believe how much a small sign for a world famous schnitzel shop would make me talk and sing out loud. Just a funny word I guess....schnitzel. So when I saw the little shop, I just HAD to stop. After singing about it for like 20 minutes, I craved schnitzel....whatever it was. I ate there and had a tough decision between schnitzel or a Sunday breakfast buffet for cheap. I had the schnitzel, having never tried it before. I saw another biker pull up, and take interest in my loaded bike. He recognized the owner when he came in and we began chatting. His name was Steve from Montreal and was biking home. He was not shy at all and starting talking right away, even taking a picture right off the bat! We talked about biking, possible routes and the unfortunate accident. We were both surprised to find that not only did those bikers eat at this schnitzel house that morning, they were hit just a few kilometers. The owner even knew the guy who hit them! They warned us to be careful. After seeing Steve with his pancakes and bacon, I indulged and had a large lunch, with two plates of buffet. The owners were nice and gave me a deal on my food. It was an easy day, with only another 20km or so left. I biked with Steven, who decided to do another 50km past Brandon. Good luck Steve! Going towards Brandon, it was like Manitoba didn't believe in shoulders at all! I phoned my friend Amanda who was working to find me a place to stay in Brandon with her friends. It was at that point I gathered that my phone did not work at all, sending or receiving texts and now calls! I bought a slushee, and called some friends. I hit another lonely patch, where I really need to hear from friends. I talked to some guys at the Source and found out there were no Telus towers in Brandon and Regina. That would explain my lack of service. I bought a new DS game at EB Games I got a map at the info center and then looked for a place to stay. I went to a neighborhood further north, at the bottom of a hill, so I wouldn't have to climb it that night. "Friendly Manitoba" my heiny! I went to like 8 different houses, and no one would let me camp in their backyard. I guess it was a rather posh neighborhood, but I tried to not be picky like last time. I biked back down town and asked around. 1 man offered me a place after he mowed the lawn, but I stayed at another mans place. Although he was leaving for the night, he still let me stay there. A place is a place, and I would be in my tent most of the time anyway. I set up my tent and then found a pay phone to make some phone calls. I got ahold of my friend Caytee. I hope she's in Montreal when I go through. I shared my biking experience so far and some stories from Canada World Youth. There are definitely more stories to tell. With our discussion, I expressed my desire for a BIG experience on my bike trip. I often aim pretty high, and some days it feels like I could be experiencing so much more on this trip. But similar to my Katimavik experience, I can't regret what I didn't or couldn't do, but embrace what I DID do, what I DID see and who I DID meet. It's these thoughts you ponder on those lonely roads. I regret nothing so far!

July 5, 2008 (Wapella-Virden, 92km) - It was too bad that Sandy wasn't awake when I left. But I left him a note, thanking him for his generosity. I made it into my 4th province, Manitoba! Almost half way! I stopped at the tourist booth coming into the province and read a cyclist specific log. These were great adventurers, all with many-a-great story to tell. I hope to be one of them. I wrote down a few of their notes, websites and suggestions, such as inspiring comments or highways to take/avoid. That day, the wind still refused to get behind me! There were slight hills and many S curving roads. It was hot, but cloudy most of the day. I've yet to hit the horrible shoulders I've been warned about so many times. I'm contemplating taking Highway 2, south of Brandon. It's only 1 lane, but there's less traffic. However, I've been told there's construction on it. We'll see. I think many vehicles were more cautious after hearing about the other biker accident. Many would be over on the other lane when passing. I saw a coyote pouncing on a gopher, but he lost interest and almost chased after me! I ate lunch in Elkhorn in a small cafe. I had a egg salad sandwich and fries with some cherry pie. I might want to look into buying and making my own lunch, but it doesn't help to make time. You have to go shopping, make it, eat it, and maybe wash up. I arrived in Virden, my destination, early, around 2:30. I went to the tourist booth and chatted with a cute local for a while. There's got to be a way to spend more time with them then just a casual chat, but it's difficult on a bike trip. Hmp. Riding around town, I was kind of mad at myself. I was being picky about the places I'd ask to camp. I guess I was expecting too much, hoping for a friendly house with people who'd like to chat and maybe invite me in. . "No, not that house. Ehn, they're not home I don't think. Hm...maybe not them" I hated myself for this. I don't know who lives where, who's friendly because of the vehicle they drive or how nice their lawn is or if a family with kids, due to toys in the front yard, would want a stranger in their yard. Although the idea of choice would become a deeper thought, I told myself to just pick a house and just ask. I found myself camping in the backyard of Elis and Phillis, another nice old couple. I set up and explored the town, walked along a creek, visited the community orchard and fish pond. It was unbelievably hot that day. I needed a cold drink, BAD. I was confused to find many stores closed at 6, despite it only being 5pm. Then I clued in, TIME ZONES! I set my watches and found the corner store was open. A slushie never tasted so good. I ate my can of Chunky and talked with with Elis and Phillis. I was surprised to find that they had not only heard of Hazelton, they had been through there on a trip to Alaska! It always makes me smile to know people have enjoyed my town as well. They enjoyed talking about their grand kids, as I expect mine do the same.

July 4, 2008 (Sintaluta-Wapella, 111km) - Despite it seeming to be an early morning for a good breakfast, Ivan and Mary woke me up at 6:30 to enjoy breakfast with them. It was already hot in the morning, even that early! Ivan and Mary wanted another picture and had me sign their guestbook before I left. They even gave me a donation to my cause! They were great people. I'd like to have a guestbook when I get my own place; so many stories to share. I was on the road by 8am. There was a medium cross wind the entire day. It seemed no matter which way the roads turned, I just couldn't get that wind behind me! I stopped for lunch in Broadview. Just a small chat with some people outside and I had a $5 donation! It seems to be more successful then the online donations almost (ahem!) I ordered too much, not expecting the chicken wrap to be so filling. But the leftover nachos would be a great addition to supper. I really just need to get out of the sun and demanded of myself to take a long lunch, out of the sun. It was still fanastically hot after lunch, so I visited a historical museum not far. It was almost hotter tin-roofed museum then outside! It was still muggy outside. The distant hills or curves were clouded in mist. I drank lots of water that day. I had a flat tire, but refused to fix it in the heat. I just pumped it and rode, pumped and rode. Again, I overshot myself. I had aimed for Moosomin that day, but couldn't go much further than Wapella. Even though he was very busy with yard work, a man named Sandy was still friendly enough to allow me to camp in his yard, after he had mowed a section. He was very hospitable after all his hard work in the sun. He made us supper of chicken, shrimp, perogies and macaroni and those leftover nachos. He suggested I sleep inside on the couch, even though my tent was already set up. There was an expected storm that night. It was SO hot that night, it was a good suggestion. Sandy had to leave for a bit, but left me to enjoy the tv and anything in the fridge! I fixed the flat that night. It was a hole in a dried, cracked patch, which I had to rip off and replace. But it was good to go for the next day

July 3, 2008 (Regina-Sintaluta, 85km) - I checked my tire that morning, feeling it a bit flat the other day. But it had no leak. Odd. I showered, ate, and packed my things to get ready to leave, a ritual all too common and not enjoyed. I got some pictures with everyone and said my goodbyes. Becky gave me a letter goodbye, another to my colection that I have hidden in my panniers; letters and notes from my family, close friends and even myself! Notes to remind me of why I'm doing this and who I'm doing it for. They keep me going. Haven't forgot about you guys. It was quite hot and muggy that day. The wind wasn't strong, but it was all over the place. It was a long bike ride, with a few bug storms in between. I phoned my friend Heather in Winnipeg to let her know I had left Regina. My contact with friends and family increased due to the accident with the other bikers. so to assure them I was alright. I intended to make it to Grenfell, but couldn't make it, and had to settle on Sitlatuna, a small Saskatchewan town. I was a bit disappointed I didn't make my goal, but when you're tired, you're tired! I was surprised that an older couple agreed to let me camp on their lawn right away. They were nice people, Ivan and Mary. In fact, they invited me in for supper! I met their daughter and granddaughter, their granddaughter being from Prince George. They were all very friendly and actually wanted pictures before I asked! Of course, I obliged. What great people. I hope I find more like them on the road. At one point, they thought I was 25 years old. I guess I really need to shave. I phoned my mom that night, and she informed me my brother in Bragg Creek has been doing some biking. He's on bike patrol and did so for 4 hours one day. He could not believe how much his butt hurt after and couldn't believe what I put myself through, 5-8 hours a day. Haha, it takes getting used to Derek.

July 2, 2008 (Rest) - It was a late morning, a well needed rest. I went to a park and threw a frisbee around with Becky, just chilling. We went to Cornwall Centre and did some window shopping and got some Booster Juice, an suggestion I had yet to indulge in. After dinner, we went to Kat's grandfathers house to do some lawn maintenance. It was a good chance to wash my bike that really needed it. The hose really, really helped. However, it was too late to go to the movies which we anticipated, so we opted for more scrabble and leftover cheesecake from the night before!

July 1, 2008 (Rest, Canada Day!) - I went to visit a friend early that day who was also in Regina, for the sole purpose of visiting me. It was another Katimavik friend, Amanda. I met up with her and walked around Wascana Park. During our trek, we checked out the pre-Canada Day celebration preparations and talked about our Katimavik experience and just how we ended up where we were now. We were both surprised that it wasn't as much catching up as we thought there would be. We checked out a book store and she dropped me off at Becky's sisters, where we relaxed until we went to a BBQ at Brenda's house. I was glad to see her again. We enjoyed some delicious BBQ food, watched some movies, some drinks over Scrabble and then went onto the roof to watch fire works. It was a great view of Regina. Even though I have been to China for their Spring Festival (fireworks like freakin' WWII!) fireworks still have the ability to invoke a great passion in me. Happy birthday Canada!

June 30, 2008 (Rest) - I was woke up this morning by a phone call. It was a man from the Regina Leader Post. He received my email and wanted to do an article on my bike trip. I gave him some more details on what my trip entailed and the reasons behind it, what I hoped to accomplish and just how about I went doing it. It will be out Wednesday, so I hope you guys get the chance to read it. He sent over a photographer, whom I met with my fully loaded bags outside. I packed up to leave Brenda's house and thanked her. I met the photographer, got a few photos, shared some thoughts with him as well and then was left to my chores for the day. I went to Staples to get some more business cards printed off. For the last month or so I've been relying on Kyle's extra Future Shop business cards, to which he no longer even works for. I just wrote my website on the back of them. But even Staples, the go-to people of stationary, couldn't help. My images on my memory stick, all different formats, wouldn't work! And I really like my image for my business cards and refuse to use a simple template. So I'm planning to get them printed at home with the help of a friend, have them sent to another friends place in Montreal and pick them when I go through. I bought some more Pay and Talk there as well. Didn't do so well anyway, because I later found at (at my own inconvenience) that my texts didn't work because Regina didn't have Telus towers. I ate near that same health food shop, but at a different place, using my hostel card for a discount. I visited the Saskatchewan Sports Museum for a bit of a time waster and culture (not ALWAYS the same thing!) Upon leaving, I got a phone call from my dad. He was glad to hear my voice. I thought he had a bit of a traumatic experience or something. His friend told him of a biker being hit near the Manitoba border and dieing. His details were specific, the biker being a fundraiser, starting in Prince Rupert, and coming from Hazelton! My dad thought it was me, but was glad to hear it wasn't. After, I came to the conclusion it was my friends, also biking across Canada and near that area as well! I felt really bad for an hour until my dad returned the phone call and informed me it was two Quebecois bikers. I still felt bad, because I think I met them! I'm still not 100% sure if it was the same group, but it was a horrible feeling nonetheless. I've had many people warn me since then to be careful. I went to the library, got some geocache locations and looked for a few before meeting my friend Becky and her sister Chery-lynn and her room mate Kat. Within the first hour of meeting them, I was standing in their living room, baring nothing but the Saskatchewan flag and a towel. Not your average welcome, but just thought I'd share that with you guys, details spared, haha. We at dinner, did some shopping, and while we did a bit of baking and cooking for the next day, we had fun with this question game. It was great seeing another close friend after a long time and a bit of her family.

June 29, 2008 (Rest) - I would have loved to have slept in, but I needed to check out from the hostel that morning. The receptionist, Julie, was very nice and said I didn't have to leave until like 2:30pm. She was making and selling a pancake/coffee breakfast cheap, so I endulged in that, despite having breakfast already. She was a very polite person, who understood the travelling experience well. I got her phone number, just in case I had free time and wanted to spend it with someone here, should my friends not show up. I left around noon, and had to fix ANOTHER flat! It was the same, small pieces of metal! The library was closed, AGAIN, until after lunch hours, so I went for lunch. I found a small, healthy organic shop that was cheap. I chatted with some girls eating there and may meet them again for a Canada Day BBQ. Back at the library, I found it difficult to update the website with 2 half hour blocks on a slow computer, having to stand up. I could only use it for an hour, and focused on the webpage, because I'm sure you guys are just raring to know what I've been up to. After my time was up, I checked out an art exhibit on Pandora. I managed to get ahold of my friends finally. For some reason, my text messages weren't working. One friend, Becky, really came through, and now, I'm currently updating my website at her sisters friends house (FOR THE SECOND TIME!!!) Hooray for the kindness of strangers. Who knows where I'll be tomorrow. But I should take it easy. I'm going to stay here and spend Canada Day here with my friends. Maybe a day extra?

June 28, 2008 (Moosejaw-Regina, 66km) - I ate breakfast with a few participants, those who woke up early enough. They had an excursion in Regina to go to that morning. I wanted to get a picture with them, but they left before I got to. I fixed my flat, AGAIN, previously forgetting the cardinal rule about flats: find the cause! It was a small sliver of metal, barely detectable and difficult to pull out, even with my needle nose pliers! I was back on the road by 10:30am. It was another hot day. The road to Regina was one of the most flat and straight stretches I've come across yet! There was a mean cross wind the entire way. Even though it wasn't that great a distance, I found myself getting exhausted very fast. I guess the last 5 days were catching up to me. Plus, I'm sure the dancing and boxing with the Katimavik group at the YMCA didn't help either. I still didn't get ahold of my friends who were to meet me in Regina. When I pulled into the city, I lost control and went into the first appealing food joint I saw. I was so hungry and enjoyed Burger Kings $6 for two double bacon cheeseburgers. When you're hungry, it's hard to say no. Even so, I STILL went shopping after and bought some food. I went to the library and found it had just closed! So now what was I supposed to do? Eat, haha. I went to the park beside it and had a light supper of strawberries and trail mix. Leaving the park, who should I run into but that Katimavik group from Moosejaw! I got a picture with them before they left again. Who knows if I'll see them again. I was hoping to stay with my friends family or other contacts in Regina, but because I couldn't get ahold of them, I stayed at a hostel. It was a very nice victorian style home-turned-hostel. I befriended a few residents, had another light supper, and relaxed. The hot water was out, so I took a cold shower, because when you need one, you need one! I had to remind myself to rest though. The extreme heat of the night helped with that. I just watched movies on tv late into the night before passing out in my bed in my boxers. It was that hot!

June 27, 2008 (Chaplin-Moosejaw, 86km) - It was a very sunny, but WINDY day this morning. The windiest I had ever seen! I was afraid to take my tent down! I expected to be chasing it across the field, but it never got that out of hand. Thankfully, that harsh wind was a tail wind! I was worried that with the salt in the air, it would have damaged my bike over the night. The emergency blanket I laid over it the night before was now torn to shreds by the wind. The tailwind was great. It gave me the opportunity to try out my home-made kite I concocted out of a garbage bag and string. When I got a good wind, I threw it into the wind. However, despite that it did indeed fly, it just didn't have the momentum to pull my bike. I was making much better speeds just pedalling with the wind. Although I bet it did make some truckers go "What the !@#%? is that guy doing?" Some storm clouds and rain showed up when I came to another small town, Mortlach. I stopped at a coffee/grocery/liquor store/gym. I planned on waiting out the storm. I didn't have that great a distance to go and was making great time with the wind behind me, so I had that choice. I bought some coffee and fresh cookies. With almost every local that came in, I chatted with, discussing the ensuing rains, my bike trip and the local area. They were all very friendly. I was told the store had great subs, so, and, as it was almost lunch time, I had one. It was indeed very good. A man I had been talking with was generous and bought my sub for me! What a great guy. I really liked that place. It held a very comfortable setting to it. I couldn't wait out the wind forever though. I put on my rain gear and hopped on my bike. Thankfully, the wind was still blowing in my direction! When I arrived in Moosejaw, that's when the worst of it hit. I stopped at the tourist center to try to find the Katimavik group there in Moosejaw. They didn't know where they lived, so I looked for non-prophet organizations they might be working at that day instead. I'm clever, huh? It was almost an impossible task, just to get down town with the hardest weather I've ever biked in! Insane headwinds and battering rains! It didn't help that I also had a flat tire now! Only in the cities! I stopped at Joe's Place, what I thought was a youth center. It was, somewhat, but not exactly and didn't have Katimavik volunteers there. They were nice enough to let me use the phone. I phoned Salvation Army, got a contact off of them, and was soon talking with the Project Leader, Chris. He was very friendly and nice enough to invite me to the house for dinner. But as it was still early, I had some time to kill, and spent it at Coffee Encounters, a local java shop. I enjoyed getting out of the rain and warmed up with a cafe mocha, poppyseed bun and reading the local coffee page news. I stopped by the local bike shop and used their back room to fix my flat, but couldn't stay for long. I needed to get to the Katimavik house. Now, I'm often a victim of circumstance when it comes to directions. Well what else would you call it when you experience the exact mirror directions that you were given? Pass the sports field on your right? Check. Cemetary? Check. Grey Street? No. GRACE Street? See how easy that is? That's a common situation for me, just in life! I corrected my mistake and hauled butt onto the opposite side of town, fighting a leaking tire and wind. I made it though, and none too soon. Supper wasn't quite ready, so I was able to chat with some of the participants for awhile, sharing stories of my Katimavik experience. They had an after dinner activity though. They were being oriented on their new volunteer job at the YMCA, which I was invited to join. They were demonstrated the rock wall, gym and family room, which included biking video games, Dance Dance Revolution and video boxing, all which we got to test and use after! When we returned back to the house, I showered during their house meeting. After, I shared some more stories and just the experiences I had. I was worried about my bike outside, so I gave it a good rinse so it wouldn't be caked in dry dirt so bad the next morning. I was glad to be in a Katimavik house again. It really filled me with fond memories of an important time in my life.

June 26, 2008 (Swift Current-Chaplin, 89km) - I enjoyed my peanut butter, banana and yogurt that I bought yesterday for my breakfast this morning. No dishes, yay! I took the scenic route along what I believe was the "Swift Current" creek. It was a very pretty alternative towards the Trans Canada. I was a bit disappointed, as weather reports had indicated a slightly cloudy day, but it was right blazing hot, even early in the morning. I was also worried because my mp3 player was only half charged! I wasn't sure if it would make it! Not far out of town, I had a loooooooooong hill. There was a decent headwind all morning, which really slowed me down. It waivered in and out, so I had to remind myself to be happy. I ate lunch at Marnies Cafe, in a small town called Herbert. I'm surprised lately at how cheap I've been finding food. This was no exception! There was a buffet special: soup, salad, sandwich and dessert! Perfect! Not only that, it was home made. It really hit the spot. On my way out of town, I passed two girls, also fully loaded. Unfortunately, they were going towards BC. I suggested the cafe, which they already had planned on eating lunch at. Great minds think alike, don't they? I filled up my water bottles and bought an energy drink to help me finish the day. I could see I still had a good ride ahead of me. I've had a few people joke "Yeah, Devon, bet you could see for days in Saskatchewan." Not entirely true. Granted, you can see VERY far. But still not far enough for a days distance. I can see a point, bike there, and repeat like 5 times or so. That's a days distance here in the prairies. Along these roads, I've been finding many dead birds and gophers, which I'm accounting to the speeding traffic. I like watching the live gophers run away as I whiz by, scurrying into their little holes. You begin to appreciate the big rigs too. It can be a bit frightening for some to have them speed by, only feet away, but the air they displace gives you a speed boost of .5-1.5km, which can be really handy. Not to mention how cooling they can be on a hot day. And it got hot! I'm finding some lakes dried up, so much, that their sandy shores are replaced by sand. One town in particular, called Chaplin. Right beside it is a salt factory! Just a big ol' heap of salt, and the lake has piles of it. I walked along it like it was snow! I just didn't expect to see that here in the prairies. I stopped in Chaplin for the night. I went into the Nature Center, which I guess also acted as the tourist center. The woman there informed me I arrived on a good day. It was opening day for the pool and they were having a BBQ! I set up my tent in a lonely campground and mosied on over. The pool was a nice treat, as I haven't been swimming once this summer. But with lightening strikes in the distance, the lifeguards made swimmers wait for 15 minutes after every strike. But I did get some swimming in. I enjoyed some burgers and even bought some tickets for the penny draw. Had I won anything though, I would have sent it home. The rain and wind came near the end, and I helped some people take down and put away. When it was done, I retired for the night in my tent just as the wind began to roar hard through the night. Talking with some of the residents of Chaplin, I found it to be a striving small town, running solely on its dependable volunteers. They worked hard and it seemed to carry them far. It was really inspirational to see that kind of determination. Coming from a small town myself, I had no problem participating in their fundraising event.

June 25, 2008 (Maple Creek turn off/tourist booth-Swift Current, 130km) - I was surprised to find there was no wind this morning! It made for an easy takedown, which I was grateful for, being unavoidably camped next to barbed wire. I filled up my water bottles right as the tourist center opened up. At my first rest stop, I talked to the bikers support van guy and gave him my card to share with the other riders. They passed me further down, when I was taking a break at a gas station, where I bought a well needed gatorade. There were a bit of hills, but nothing drastic. However, I did find myself missing the tailwinds, blowing me up those hills. That's the thing; it takes quite a bit of a tail wind to make a difference but only a little headwind to take notice. It was a very clear and sunny day, and I am getting very tan. Sunblock is a necessity. I ate lunch at a gas station restaurant in Gull Lake. I enjoyed a fantastic tomato and bacon sandwich, turkey soup and a chocolate milkshake that just made me so happy and fulfilled inside. It didn't hurt that the waitresses were cute too. I continued, and the bikers followed after, passing me. They, too, were planning on settling in Swift Current for the night. I went to the library, but could only use it for an hour. I didn't have time to update the website, just look for couch surfees to stay with. I still hadn't had a response, all day. I explored the town a bit, waiting for a response from the possible couch surfees. I found there was a Kokopellis and a Schimmels there, just like Smithers! In fact, the baker at Schimmels said the picture of the man there was the same guy who opened the Schimmels in Smithers! Crazy! However, the Kokopellis was a small gift store and not the tiny coffee shop that I liked. I enjoyed a small strawberry pastry, and then an iced coffee beverage at another place. I try to make it a point to try the local cuisine. I checked out a few stores, including the local bike shop, where I bought a new chain. The man there suggested rotating two chains, so to extend the life of them as well as the free wheel. I bought some food for breakfast the next morning after. I had to act soon to find a place to stay, because I didn't think couch surfees would contact me. I checked out the campsites, but the $15 price tag just was not appealing at that time, and I had laundry that needed to be washed bad! Pay showers are not the best to help you out there. I was determined to camp in someones backyard (with permission of course) I was rejected several times, and almost resorted to paying for camping. But it became a big personal issue for me, a self challenge. I'm not one to be shy and take no for an answer, and to have resorted to camping would have made me not only a little more light in the wallet, but depressed at my own inability. I am one to rise above! I was surprised to find a man with a family, young children no less, said yes. So I pitched my tent and settled for the night, sweaty and salty. I made one of the most fancy meals I've ever made so far on my bike trip: instant mashed potatoes with turkey. It was fantastic! I did some sudoku from a coffee newspaper until Kirk, the family man, arrived back. They let me use their shower, which I did my laundry in. They seemed much more comfortable with the stranger now, hearing a bit of what he was doing. They gave me some bottled water for the next day too! I left my laundry on the fence post to dry that night. I planned on splitting the trip to Moosejaw into two days.

June 24, 2008 (Medicine Hat-Maple Creek turn off/tourist booth, 100km) - I woke up at 6am again, having microwaved oatmeal this time instead of stove boiled. I've been craving eggs lately, so I will try to get those in for breakfast. It was a dreary morning; ugly grey clouds, a slight wind. I got onto the road and turned at the giant teepee that Medicine Hat is known for. I cut across a field and took a picture. That morning, my crank had been jumping while pedalling hard, and continued doing it more frequently. I began to get very worried. I knew this wouldn't be good to bike with. I stopped at a covered area at a baseball park and did some maintenance. I found a stiff link on my new chain, thinking that was it. I broke a link putting the pin back in, so had to replace it, which took more time. I tried working that new link with oil, working it over and bending it, but it stayed stiff! I hoped it would work itself out, but I knew deep down that wasn't the problem. I sighed and knew it would have to get tuned up. I phoned the shop from the tourist booth, not far. Luckily, they could get it worked on by that day, but not until 5 or 6pm. Better then days later. I packed my bags, sick over the condition of my bike, and swung by Wendy's to drop off my bags at her trailer. It was now locked! She wasn't aware I was returning. Guess she never got the texts I sent. So, I put my bags behind her trailer. I didn't want to leave them at the bike shop. I stopped at Gravity sports, another bike shop. Although they previously said they were booked solid, I believe in chances and I told the guy my situation. He could have it fixed in a few hours! I was so glad. I didn't care how much it cost, I just wanted my baby back on the road! I left her, and walked back to down town to grab a snack and waste time. I got a lemon slushie and text messaged some people. When I returned, my bike was back in it's glory! The man said it was the freewheel that was worn, and with the new chain, it was skipping. I'm not surprised. I knew I had to replace my chain every 2000km or so (I should have done it at 500km) but I didn't know it would wear down my free wheel. And I'm sure biking across the Rockies was enough to wear it down! So now it was running fine! On my way to pick it up, my glove fell out of my helmet I was carrying like a basket. So now I had to look for that!!! Luckily, I found it on the street not far from the donair shop where I ate lunch after. The nice ladies there reminded me to be happy, and I reminded myself of that. There will be days like this. I picked up my bags from behind Wendy's trailer. She had no idea what went down, as she didn't have her cell phone, and had just arrived to see me off. I said goodbye and was on my way. I was WAY behind schedule. like 6 hours! It was 1pm when I left. Luckily, I still had a tailwind. The cloudy weather had turned nice that afternoon. I made quick stops so to make some ground. ANOTHER bike passed me, scaring me. Not enough to make me yelp out this time, but enough to make me jump. Damn them! I later found out he was part of a group of bikers cycling on behalf of childrens diabetes ( They planned on stopping in the same place I had in mind. I was not far behind them when they pulled into a campground just outside Maple Creek. However, I didn't have any cash on hand and just really didn't feel like camping that day, so I biked ahead a bit to the tourist center. The woman there said I could camp there, so I went behind a short hill in a field just behind the center and camped beside a fence. It was a windy night, but I was worried about gophers chewing through my tent or something similar. I ate a can of Chunky and planned on using it for oatmeal in the morning, so to avoid washing dishes. It was a loud night.

June 23, 2008 - Ari left early that morning, onto other roads for him to travel. Who knows? I may run into him again. I left the campsite not much longer after him. My first stop, like most towns, was the library so to use the computer, check my email, update the website and find viable couch surfees to stay with. I was surprised to find some steep hills in town. The library, like many other times, was not open. I found myself talking with a local who needed the library services as well. He told me a bit about himself and the town he grew up in. I updated the website, looked up some geocaches and couch surfees, but none whom I contacted earlier in Calgary responded. For lunch, after all my internet chores, I ate at a health food shop. I haven't had a egg salad wrap, but this was great. The pie that followed wasn't bad either. I checked some shops for tune up prices, and they all seemed a wee high. $50-$60. I thought they were cheaper, maybe that's the standard price. I decided to skip, rather needing my bike to get around during that hot day. I visited some parks and trails, looking for the geocaches, but could not find any. But the parks were pleasant and I enjoyed the trails very much. One couch surfee who texted me no longer lived in Medicine Hat, another suggested a "free hostel" which I later found out was a shelter and another would have had me, but her husband was very conservative and away at the time and would have been very distressed at her letting a complete stranger into her house. After shopping for some food, the woman (for privacy issues, we will call her Wendy) texted me back. She felt really bad that should couldn't let me stay at her house and was trying very hard to find a place for me. So, she offered me her trailer. She felt a little modest about it, but it was the thought that really counted, that she tried so hard for me which I really appreciated. It was a very secretive matter though. She instructed me to meet her behind her house, in the alley, so her children would not see me. I unpacked my things into her trailer and settled in. Before she left me to my deeds, I introduced myself over a beer she offered and told her a bit about myself and what I was doing. She lent me a bucket and soap to wash my bike that really needed it, as well as a new chain. After all, a clean bike is a happy bike. Most of the time..... She even brought me some supper in the trailer and offered me goodies from there. Wendy invited me to chat with her friends on her front deck, as her children were now sleeping. After supper, I went over and chatted with the girls, from travelling to my bike trip to their baseball games. They were indeed very nice, although it did feel a bit different being the only male in the crowd. Wendy continued to offer me things, from drinks to snacks. I felt so bad for declining, but I would have felt guilty taking advantage of her generosity. I would have loved to have stayed up late with them, sharing stories, but I hoped for another early rise the next morning. But winds change fast on the prairies...

June 22, 2008 (Glechien-Medicine Hat, 201km) - I did, indeed, wake up early. 6am. I ate breakfast and took down faster then usual, and was on the road by 7:15! I filled up my water bottles at the same RCMP. I officer there informed me the town wasn't as sleepy as I thought, he was dealing with a murder that morning. Ye! No better time to skip town. I had a crosswind right off the bat, sigh. I would aim for Brooks that day. The road turned and the wind slowly pulled behind me. It was still a cross wind, but just behind me enough to push me. I was happy just at that, but then the road turned more, and so did the wind, and it eventually became a full out tailwind! TAILWIND! From soul crushing to soul rejuvenating! I was deeply saddened to find the road turned at Bassano, and had to deal with a headwind again. But after a short break, the road turned once again! I was back with the tailwind! RIGHT behind me! I was biking 25-50km, on flat ground!!! I couldn't have been happier. I made it to Brooks by noon! I enjoyed a quick lunch, contemplating going the whole way to Medicine Hat with the great wind. I met another bike who pulled in, Ari. He was from California and biking to Toronto. After talking, we decided to bike together to Medicine Hat. We talked a lot about biking, and the many ordeals that go with it, including touring, food, repairs, etc. Although our tailwind had lessened, it was still there. But it was just the companionship that made the time go by. 4 1/2 hours later, we were in Medicine Hat, an astounding 201km! I shattered my old record for longest distance and wasn't even near dead! I was tired, but not nearly as bad as the other large distance days. We split the fee for a campsite and set up. I enjoyed a whole backpackers meal to myself, well deserved. I enjoyed a shower (hence, laundry) and a shave, and enjoyed the cool night in my tent.

June 21, 2008 (Calgary-Glechien, 93km) - That morning, Naomi made us all the best pancakes I have had in a long time! Banana chocolate chip with strawberry/rhubarb jam with blueberry syrup and peanut butter? To DIE FOR! It was an amazing start to the day. We took some pictures, said goodbye and I was on my way. Supposedly. I still stand by it, Calgary is hard to get around in. I had construction to go around and even passed the transcanada highway. Signs were minimal. It took me an hour to leave the city. When I did, there was still plenty of construction, making the arid prairie land very dusty. It was indeed the prairies, but I still managed to find hills! With a cross/headwind slowing me down, it turned those hills into mountains! I got sick of the fading radio, so I turned on my music to keep me going. I pulled into Strathmore around 2pm, but I didn't want to settle there. It was too soon. I was mad, discovering Tim Hortons ice capp machine wasn't working, so I continued without my caffeine boost. The cross wind became a full on headwind blowing north, hot and dry. Those small hills were monsters and I found myself going at a snail pace of 8-13km. The whole ordeal was as bad as climbing through the Rockie mountains, just soul crushing, leaving you wanting to drop your bike and cry on the side of the road. I stopped at one house, hoping to stay their, but they insisted their dogs would chew me up. However, they informed me that Gleichen, a small town just a ways up the road had free camping. It was good enough for me. Another bit of motivation, to go just a little further. I hurt and ached and was covered in salt and dirt blown from the wind, but in small bursts, I made it to the small sleepy town. I bought some quick food at the grocery store, and had a guy watch my bike. Right after, he asked for change though! I gave him a little for watching my bike when I came out though. I stopped at the RCMP to fill up my water bottles, and the officer, Kathy, let me heat up some Chunky soup there. I told her about my bike trip and why I was doing while while I ate. When I left, she gave me a $20 donation to my cause. I think she understood just what I was trying to accomplish. Thanks Kathy! I set up my tent in the wind and settled quickly for the night, exhausted and starving. The Chunky soup wasn't enough, so I ate some instant noodles and some carrots with black bean hummous dip. I was about to explode, but forced myself to finish it. I never felt a bigger accomplishment since the Rockies. I texted a lot of my friends, letting them know of my endeavor that day. I decided to wake up REALLY early the next morning, so to make some distance without having to face harsh winds.

June 20, 2008 (Rest) - I woke up early today, had breakfast and left while most of the house was sleeping. I had some things to do, which included updating the website. I contacted some couch surfers, upcoming in the small towns and Medicine Hat. There were no replies to the news stations though. I found the MEC and went shopping in my glory. I love that store! I bought some pannier rain covers and some energy gels and bars, to help me motor through the prairies. After a good while there, I took my time finding my friend Alissa's house. She was the first friend from Katimavik from my group I have seen since the program ended. It took awhile to find her place. I don't like Calgary. I was told architects come here to see how infrastructure SHOULDN'T be done; I could see why. It was just kind of messy, taking roads everywhere, not really straight. Despite having a small map of Calgary, it was almost impossible to find where you were. After stopping at three large intersections, still couldn't find where I was! I found Alissa's house and we just chilled on her couch, reminscing about Katimavik, hearing old and new stories. I think she was really glad to have someone to talk about the same 9 month ordeal she went through. Her boyfriend and she drove me back to my friends house, it being late. It was really good too, because it would have taken me a long time to get back and I likely would have got lost. Well, we still kind of did. I couldn't recognize many landmarks and it was getting dark. After mixing up some directions and a bit of miscommunication, we found the area. But my friends house was in the neighborhood, and going around proved very difficult. Usually I cut through small parks. Finding Martin Crossing Rise was nigh impossible, with there being Martin Ridge, 100 Martin Lane, Martindale Park, Martin Rise, Martin Street PL, Martinridge Boulevard! ARGH! We went down one street and found one guy flashing his highbeams. Were ours on? No. WE WERE IN THE WRONG LANE! We dodged two cars, but thankfully Alissa's boyfriend had a tough truck and he drove onto the curb and turned around. We backtracked to an area I recognized and I just grabbed my bike, thanked them for the ride, said goodbye and found my way back!

June 19, 2008 (Rest) - This was a particularly special day! I have been on the road for one month! Now, not to nitpick on myself, but I'm 1/3 done my expected time frame, 2.5/10 provinces done, and less then 1/4 done my journey. I really want to pick up my pace and go fast through the prairies. Nothing personal against them, I just want to gain more speed. I have several friends who I'm going to visit %100 though!

I calculated distances and looked at my map in the morning. I got to have a long talk with my friend, exchanging what we had been up to and how we ended up where we were. It was quite the batch of stories. We met up with her sister, babysitting her cousins child, and went to the waterpark. I had no big preference on what to do, I just wanted to spend time with my friends. We waded in a public waterpark for a bit, just cooling off from the summer sun, and then went to the mall, visiting the childs mom. I returned back to their house, my friend having errands to do with her boyfriend. I ate supper and watched tv with her mom. It was a quiet evening. With all of them having to work or being pregnant, they went to bed early. I slept soon after.

June 18, 2008 (Bragg Creek {Kananaskis} - Calgary (about 50km) - I took highway 22x instead of the transcanada highway, because taking that the other day with my brother, I found NO shoulders for bikers. Also, having no idea where my friends lived, any entrance into Calgary would prove just as good until I contacted them. 22x came in through the south, and included several hills as well. How do I keep managing to find these things! But behind me, I caught what was very well my last glimpse of mountains for a looooooooooooong time. *sniff. With some new music on my mp3, I enjoyed some Dane Cook all the way into Calgary. I still couldn't get ahold of my friends on my cell, and my text messages didn't work now! I biked to the closest library and checked my email, contacting radio stations and news stations, emailing my friends, and getting no new contact information off of facebook. After, I ate lunch at the YMCA and got ahold of my friends mom, who was so excited to see me. She gave me directions to their home, which included taking the C-Train. It was something new on my bike trip, having to take a transit train, but then again, I lived in Beijing for 3 months. If I can use public transportation in a foreign country like China, I can get by. And I did. Not long after, having only took the wrong train once (I figured it out!) I found their house, with my friends on the grass. I brought in my bags, joined them for dinner, and updated them. They used to live in Hazelton, so I told them who was still there, what they were doing, where they had went. I think I have the same fate, to become a mysterious Hazeltonian, people curious as to my whereabouts. One of them was my best friend and I babysat her younger siblings. It had been 8 years since I last saw them. My friend was now pregnant! She still looked the same, despite her siblings having grown up so much. In fact, they had all matured. With conversations between all of them, here and there, I learned their family had went through many hardship, and still were, but were overcoming them and becoming a stronger family. I was glad to hear things were getting better for them and just so happy to see them. We mostly just talked the first night on the front stairs.

June 17, 2008 (Rest) - I know I just had a day of rest, but I wanted to spend at least a day with my brother. So, I did what I usually do on my days of rest: I climbed a mountain. Derek, being a conservation officer of the local area, chose a mountain that wasn't too difficult, as my knees had been getting stiff lately and I didn't want to over exert myself. I AM on a bike trip. We drove out to Moose Mountain and began our ascent. He explained to me how on the weekends, the rocky mountain trails are just fraught with tourists and hikers. I couldn't fathom that idea, way out there in the wilderness. I also didn't WANT to envision that. He, too, hated the idea, but had seen it before. Wild trails like that are meant to be used to get away, to walk into the unknown (mostly) and get away from everyone and everything. We got to the second peak, trudging through snow in the arctic landscape high up. We built an inukshuk to let everyone know, we were there! Pictures are great for that too. Derek pushed me to go a little further and climb to the ranger station. Mountain-goat Devon was hopping, crawling and climbing his way through the snow and rocks and loose shale to get there. I was surprised to find people up there, doing research in the small station. One ranger informed us they were leaving via helicopter soon. I was kind of hoping they would give us a ride. Guess not. We had a short lunch and continued down, me just running through the snow. I was getting wet feet anyway. We passed a hiking couple and another guy who had parked his mountain bike just below the snow. He had BIKED up the mountain! This was not a road, this was a rocky path! I was impressed! Hiking down, the mountain biker came right behind us not long after. He was running his bike down, with a flat tire. He had a patch kit, but couldn't get his tire off, being on too tight. I bet he was surprised when I offered him my multi-tool, with detacheable tire irons! What are the chances, eh? I only had my camelback with me, but at the bottom of one pocket, my multi-tool. The lucky guy was from St. Johns, Newfoundland, my final destination! So now, after a fortunate encounter, I have a place to stay! Sweet! Derek and I talked from everything during our 6 or so hour hike. Just like my other visits during my bike trip with family, I learned a lot. We discussed family, politics, the environment, lifestyles, I think even food. We devoured another pizza back at his place, watched another movie, and then went shopping in Cochrane for supper. After supper, I watched another movie while he slept, with having work the next day. I, too, was leaving. However, I was glad to have spent the time that I did with my brother.

June 16, 2008 (Cochrane-Bragg Creek, 32km) - It was a nice, sunny day for me to bike and visit my brother in Bragg Creek in the Kananaski Valley. I had a good breakfast and had all my things ready to go. But my friend Kim was sound asleep and I really didn't want to wake her just to say goodbye. I was contemplating a goodbye note as I loaded my bike when she surprised me. We got a few pictures, said our goodbyes and I was on my way. I hate goodbyes; it's one of the hardest things for me to do. I can only imagine when I visit my friends in Montreal how hard it is to only see them for a few days and have to leave again. I reckoned it would be quite the quick bike ride, being now partially into the flat prairies. Irony, we meet again. I probably hit the road with the MOST hills. Granted, they weren't as steep as the Rockies, but then again, nothing will ever be. I had 4 or so good climbs before a long stretch of level ground. However, the shoulders were clear, wide and well paved, so it was still an enjoyable ride. I hit a short storm burst for a few minutes, but that was it. I rolled into Bragg Creek, a rustic, but tourist oriented town. But I don't think it was as bad as Jasper of Banff. It reminded me a lot of Kispiox Valley in Hazelton. I could see why my brother liked it here. However, although his directions were accurate, he hadn't really mentioned just how far he lived! Like 10 km out of town! With a little help from a woman at an info center near Elbow Valley, using her very detailed map, I found my brothers home. It was good to see him. After showering and briefly watching the end of a movie, we drove into Calgary for a quick snack and movie. We did enjoy Kung Fu Panda on the big iMax screen, but hardly found it worth $15. We shopped the Safeway, had some pizza back at his place, and watched Endless Summer II, a movie about surfing. That adventurous spirit lies everywhere, doesn't it?

June 15, 2008 (Rest) - Kim's father, Tim, made a pancake breakfast. Over home-made syrup and flap jacks, I shared with him stories of travelling and my bike trip. When Kim woke up, we remininsced about our Canada World Youth experience and shared stories we hadn't told before. She left to work and I to my own chores. This included updating the website again (because the last entries didn't save! ) looking for more geocaches, and just exploring the wonderful town of Cochrane. I had another donair lunch and got to enjoy some of the "red trails" they have. I met up with Kim after work, looking for one more geocache. I only found one that day. After supper, we watched more Family Guy, just relaxing. She shared some good ol' immature laughs with her brother Geoffrey in the kitchen and then retired for the night. I plan on biking south now to visit my brother Derek, a now conservation officer in Kananaskis. It's a short 34km bike ride though, and then it's off to Calgary!

June 14, 2008 (Banff-Cochrane, 112km) - I saw Kate off as she had to go to work shortly before I left. It was a very trusting experience to have stayed with her and I was quite lucky. I don't think I'll be camping as much anyway now, but who knows. I left around 8:45 with a belly full of food. I had the sun shining down and a grand tail wind. I was making fantastic speed on the straight and wide lanes of highway 1. I finally bought some health-energy snacks, just to try them out. I drank/ate two energy gels that morning which must have helped. I was doing 25-40km/hr most of the time! I turned onto highway 1A again, but a strong headwind was a bad sign of things to come. When it finally turned east again, the road just turned sour, right away. The wind was only there for a bit before it turned around. Guess I had a taste of what was to come for prairie wind conditions. The nice paved road I had was now a small shouldered, chipped, wavy, bumpy, uneven and cracked road. Even a healthy chocolate bar couldn't keep me going at the speeds I was before. I was really disappointed and couldn't believe that it was so different from the other section of highway 1A. The only good thing, was there were few hills. I stopped for a snack at a church monument and took some photos. I found myself once more in a completely odd location, having looked around and finding myself almost lost, especially considering where I was just that morning. Short, rolling hills with farmland around and no mountains. It was like I was in Ireland or Scotland. No, it was the Prairies. And I knew it would only get flatter. In fact, arriving at the Welcome To Cochrane sign, I looked back to see the mountains far off in the distance. I mean, FAR off. I couldn't believe I could physically see the distance I had biked, away from those mountains. A little further in even! That's what 112km looked like. And now, just hills, but hardly mountains. Guess I shouldn't be too surprised. I am going into the Prairies, and,'s only going to get flatter. Still a nice change though. I found my friend from Canada World Youth, Kim, at her workplace. She was very excited about me coming to visit. She gave me directions to her house, which I found easily and her dad welcomed me in, having heard a little about me. Afte showering, I chatted with him for a bit until Kim got home, checked my email and watched some Family Guy with her. I slept on the floor of the living room, which I was perfectly fine with. People always feel slightly bad about what they offer, but considering what they offer, no. Dry roof, warm place. It's great.

June 13, 2008 (Lake Louise-Banff, 57km) - I woke up early again (getting better at this) I began to run out of food, using up my last two packages of instant oatmeal for breakfast. I only had a few granola bars left as well, but like 5 supper meals. Still. I spoke Chinese with a few women at breakfast. I love using what little I know and surprising people. After I had things packed and ready to go, I couldn't find my helmet! I was starting to freak out, wondering why people would steal my helmet but not my other stuff! I was very frustrated, but quiet about it so not to wake the other people in my room. But it somehow managed to get into the lost and found at the front desk. I could have sworn I threw it with the rest of my stuff in my room. It was sunny for the second time that week. I finally was able to get back into my bike shorts and shirt, not including bulky booties and a bright yellow jacket. I took highway 1A, as suggested by Sherril from the Seldom Inn from Jasper. She was right on the ball; it was smooth and well paved, and quite quiet with very little traffic. Half the time, it was a one way road only. Best of all, it was flat most of the time! The scenery was very pleasant, from meadows to streams to brush to cliffs overlooking rivers. I weather proofed at one stop because of incoming rain which came and hit hard, but lasted short. Guess I was still in the mountains. It was very inconsistent. I saw 1 coyote along the way, but sadly not much more. I arrived in Banff much earlier than I anticipated, around 12:30. I had heard much about it, but it really was the typical small mountain town. Just the cutest small town nestled in between the mountains, with what seemed plenty to do for the tourists and residents. I planned on couch surfing with a woman named Kate and followed her directions via text message to her apartment. I found her place, brought my stuff in, showered and got changed. She had experience with hosting travellers before, as she gave me a spare set of keys. She was very trusting, which was very appreciated. I had a lot of things to do, including checking emails, contacting friends in Calgary, finding a list of geocaches in the area and going shopping. I still didn't have enough time to update the website much though. After lunch at a local donair/pizza place, I went shopping, looked for those geocaches, ate supper and went to the theatre and watched the Incredible Hulk. Awesome movie. Kate still wasn't back, even though I arrived late. I hadn't seen her since I left. She arrived just before I went to bed, so we didn't have much of a chance to get to know eachother.

June 12, 2008 (Rest) - I woke up and had breakfast. I was waiting for Kirk, the guy I met the day before. He planned to hike Lake Louise today and I asked if I could tag along. I went back and forth between the kitchen and his room, right next to mine, and the tv room, expecting to run into him, but nothing. I couldn't wait all day, so I left by myself. If I constantly waited for people to do things with, I wouldn't very well be on this bike trip. I kept running into Mick and his girlfriend though. I grabbed a map from the info center and hiked a trail, enjoying nature. It was a beautiful sunny day, a rare occasion at that time, so I had to use it. I took the wrong turn somehow and ended up going the long way to the lake. But I did arrive and it was splendid, a wonderful blue lake amongst the Rockie Mountains. Truly wonderful. I didn't hike the trails, as I didn't want to exhaust myself too much on my day off, and I had things to do. This time, I caught a ride down to the village. I bought some eggs and poppyseed bread for lunch. Didn't want to buy too much, as it was uber expensive there. I made some grits for lunch, using rice in the free food section of the kitchen, and then checked my email. Kirk showed up and sat on the couch. Turns out he was looking for me all morning too. We just kept missing eachother somehow. That sucked, but it happens. My email just made me a little depressed, with a few suggestions to my website. I try to work hard on it, it's difficult, especially when you're rushed because your paying for it, or the computers slow, or there IS no computer. I washed my bike after, which really needed it. I bought Kirk a donut, just for being a nice guy to me. I ate grits again for supper. I chilled, watching more tv. At that point, many people had left the hostel, all the new people I met. It was very quiet, and I just wanted to rest. I had another sweat in the sauna and enjoyed the good conversations between nations; UK, Switzerland, Quebec. I ate a small snack and ended up at a small fire with some french people. We ate a few marshmallows and just chilled outside. It makes me want to stay at hostels more often.

June 11, 2008 (Rampart Creek Hostel-Lake Louise, 56km) - I was up early, around 8. I was ready to leave around 9:15, but put it off as long as I could. Sarah and Barry offered me an egg breakfast after hearing of my craving for eggs. But they woke up before I left. And rather then rushing things, I enjoyed my breakfast with my new friends. So I enjoyed those eggs in addition to my oatmeal and canned oranges breakfast. It was a good start to a big day that I had ahead of me. I took a picture with the couple and left. Once again, I found myself biking in the drizzle. I didn't mind, but my bike had begun to sound kind of clanky with all the rain. It needed to be washed soon. But it was tough. I met my friends once more at Saskatchewan Crossing, but I couldn't drag it out. I had a big day. I had the second and last large hill to bike over. I had my music going though. The first leg of the hill wasn't that bad. I did most of it in my second gear. By that point, the rain had stopped. I don't mind biking uphill in the rain, as you're going slow enough you don't get splashback filled with dirt on your bike. The hill grew steeper as I went further and just seemed endless, even though I knew it was a shorter hill then the previous one. The music blasted louder and the adrenaline grew. I found myself trying harder and harder to distract myself from the behemoth of a hill that lay before me. Similar to other extreme parts of my bike trip, the adrenaline pumped into me and the most primal, almost animal instincts grew inside. From what I learned in pyschology, the most basic needs or humans arose and sifted through my thoughts: food, shelter, physical demands of the body, and basic human contact. My mind wandered, from the mysteries of the universe to contemplating life itself. I could hear my friends so distinctly, cheering me on from the top, even so much as to specific peoples sarcastic remarks. I grit my teeth, sputtering spit; my legs, though increasingly weary, refused to stop. A voice rang through my head "If you can do this Devon... if you can climb THIS hill... then everything else will be easier. If you can climb THIS hill..... you can do anything." As the top of the road came into view around the corner, the last bit of adrenaline surged through me and a song drove my legs to stand up and pump those pedals. As the pain went away and it became easier to pedal, I knew I had made it. And then I saw the sign for the turn off to the peak. Well SCREW that! I'm not climbing this monster and not going to the very top! I sucked it up one last time and bolted to the parking lot. Taking a quick bathroom break, I found something pouring out of my jacket. Not dripping, pouring. Sweat. I had indeed drove my body something fierce. I pedalled once more up to the hill, a short 5 minute bike ride. I took off my jacket and camelback, my shirt soaked with sweat and I walked to the viewing platform of Fox Lake. I had made it. The view of the gorgeous blue lake was not just a great photo opportunity, it was symbolic. I did not just climbing a mountain, I conquered it! I had defeated the Rockies, the elements, the rain and wind and gravity. I was now passed the most difficult part of my bike trip. I declared it loud, "What else you got Canada? BRING IT ON!" I had tourists take many pictures of me amongst the lake to mark the momentous occasion. I may not return. At least sure as hell not on bike, haha! I was running out of water, but I would last until the end of that day. I had a bit of downhill, with more mountains and lakes to enjoy. It was phenomenal, the views way up at the top of the world. I enjoyed a steady downhill. After what I just did, my legs almost floated. It wasn't as fast as the other hills descent, but good. Before I knew it, I arrived at Lake Louise. I rewarded myself by staying at the hostel there. Although it was dry, I didn't want to set up camp. I just didn't want to. I stayed in a room with Mick, and guy from Ireland and his Spanish girlfriend. I met Kirk, a fellow Canadian from Nova Scotia who had been living there for a week. He was a laid back and cool guy. There was a pair of french girls travelling from Montreal. I learned there was a group of bikers staying there, which may have explained the full rack of bikes outside. They were biking from Jasper to Banff as well! I must have been just behind them the whole way! After a well deserved back-packers meal, I enjoyed some tv and then another sauna! Two saunas in two days? Unbelievable! I had some great conversations with some of those bikers, having just done the same route they did. With others we also chatted about biking, travelling, living in cities and sweat lodges. If I'm not sweating on the road, I'm sweating in a hostel! I slept well that night.

June 10, 2008 (Jonas Creek-Rampart Creek Hostel, 64km) - It was another wet morning, sigh. But not as wet as other days, just another drizzle. The campsites emptied fast. I guess they had a similar idea of leaving before the park attendant arrived. I had a grand breakfast, of canned strawberries and 2 oatmeal packages. Yes, strawberries come in cans these days. And they are delicious! Despite the drizzle, the shoulders were dry that morning for a short bit. However, it was cloudy, and I didn't see many mountain peaks that morning. I had bigger things to deal with then lack of scenery. Part of the map I had showed the vertical distance and hill sizes you crossed. There was 1 out of 2 large hills coming up. Just around the corner, there it was; a long, snaking, steep mountain pass. I road up a short ways before breaking at a rest stop. I saw another biker come rest as well, Artie. He was only biking up a bit, then back down. He would do it again with his wife, returning with his trailer. A woman at the stop took a picture of us, to show her family and friends the crazy bikers they saw climbing the hill. I won't deny it; you'd have to be some bit of crazy to take on the hill we took. I looked at the hill and said that same empowering phrase against every hill I come to: bring it on! It was a light but steady rain up the hill, one of the steepest I had ever climbed. I had my music to keep me preoccupied and sooner than I knew it, I was at the top. I took an extra long break to recharge and take pictures. But I couldn't revel forever. There would be other hills. I enjoyed the short but fast descent I had earned. A few kilometers down the road, before I hit the Columbia Ice Fields, I just stopped my bike. I looked around me; mountains surrounded me, with sparse arctic landscape everywhere. I might as well have been on a different planet. I could look at a map and point where I was, but I just felt lost. I was in the Rockies! I continued and took lunch at the Columbia Ice Field Center. I had chili, soup that I had, and a slice of chocolate cream pie. I enjoyed my lunch, took notes, and planned my upcoming route. The center was huge, like an airport, fraught with tourists from around the world to see and climb the glaciers. Could you blame them? I had a little more of a climb before I held the large descent. And was it large! It shot down and next thing you know, I couldn't stop. I picked up speed and it became frantic as I had to dodge the cracks on the shoulder. With the weight I had and the speed I was going, it would murder my bike or possibly myself! I found myself turning onto the car lane, which didn't matter because I was going almost as fast as them anyway. At a scenic tourist stop (which I would have stopped at if I wasn't going mach 5) a bunch of tourists heard a short wale. "......wwwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.............." They had no idea what it was that sped by them at 75km! That may not sound that fast, but on a bike, it's intense! I couldn't have stopped if I wanted to, lest I overheat my brakes, rim and then tire. Thankfully, it had dried up enough that the roads were dry. I sped into a circular road which turned into a beautiful valley. I passed waterfalls, stretches of rivers and even a mountain that looked very similar to Roche de Boule back home in Hazelton! An uncommon, but prevalent scene was a dry creek bed with nothing but rocks. There was one last sneaky hill I had to bike over before I arrived at Rampart Hostel. It was a very quaint hostel amongst steep mountain cliffs and a turqouis creek running through it. There were no more campsites or any stops 15km or so past the hostel, so that was the stop for the night. No one was there but a couple from Holland who arrived not much earlier than I had. We assumed the manager would be back at the 5pm check in time posted. I set up my tent to dry it out and relaxed in my own cabin. When the manager did arrive, we were surprised to find out he was actually planning to be closed that day! But as we were already settled in, he let us stay. Good thing I made it there when I did. I got to use my student travel card for the first time, which gave me a discount on the price. I ate a quick supper of beans and pesto noodles. I climbed the lookout behind the hostel. This is how I take my time off, I rest by climbing mountains. My friend was right, I AM the energizer bunny. I enjoyed the sites of snaking rivers coming from the mountains, a sight I never bore of. The best feature of the hostel was the sauna they had! Only in the middle of the Rockies could I find a hostel that had a sauna! I went in with the Holland couple, Barry and Sarah. We chatted and enjoyed the steam. They were a very adventurous couple, preferring far off lakes and hiking trails as opposed to the typical tourist destinations. After the sauna, we would wash in the creek just a short walk away. We settled that night in the common room, enjoying tea, trail mix and reading. It had a wonderful camp feeling that I haven't felt in a while. I was very fortunate to find that place.

June 9, 2008 (Jasper-Jonas Creek, 74km) - It was a quiet morning. No one else was up except the Japanese girls hired as help. They were surprised to find all my equipment could fit onto my bike, like many others. I decided to treat the day to a good meal and ate at a restaurant that claimed the "best breakfast in town." I challenged that claim and went in. However, it was just a basic menu. I ordered waffles, one of my favorites. It was indeed delicious, but the only thing that prevented it from being the best was portion size. Outside of Jasper, I was warned of thunderstorms for that day. But I couldn't let a little thunderstorm frighten me. I finally was able to see the Rockies! Although it drizzled, I was able to see the mountain peaks, especially when the sun came out to play. It was such beautiful landscape. I was a little slow going, having to fiddle with the garbage bags, weatherproofing my gear. Occasionally I would pass a line of parked cars, with tourists armed with cameras taking pictures of bears. I just wanted to yell at them. I'm well aware that they may have never seen a bear before, but it's IN the pamphlet they all receive, not to approach the bears. It de-wilds them. I wish they would get attacked. Same reason that there are fences at zoos, because there's always that one tourist who wants to get a little more closer. There were small showers here or there, but it was hardly a thunderstorm. They were right about one thing, the mountain weather does constantly change, and therefore wasn't predictable that much. This time, it was in my favor. I stopped at Sunwapta Falls, with the falls only being 1km away from the Road. I ran into a German couple I had met at Rearguard Falls. They suggested going to the lower falls, which I did. I also passed another biker on the road, Matthew, an Australian man. He was biking up to Jasper, and then to Edmonton and back down to Nova Scotia. Perhaps I'll see him again. The hills were gradual for the most part, but it was the cracks in the shoulders that really aggravated me! Every few feet or so, with my fully loaded bike, I felt it almost every time; TING....TING....TING...I was reallly worried about my spokes. I found myself aiming for this narrow strip of cement that was level. It was a big challenge staying on that strip. I set up camp at Jonas Creek. I happen to like this whole, setting-up-in-dry-weather thing. Your not wet after! I used my garbage bag method and washed my clothes. After, I ate my supper and chatted with my neighbors, an older man with his wife and grandson from Minnesota. He was taking his time and enjoying the scenery, as was I.

June 8, 2008 (Rest) - I'm staying an extra day here in Jasper, because my bike seriously needed a wash and is getting tuned up now. 1100km would warrant for a tune up I think. I'm doing the computer thing right now, updating the website, gonna get some lunch soon at any various cafe. The town here is just beautiful. Now, if only I could see those bloody mountains!!! But I digress, mountains will always be here. I can return and conquer them any day. They are only part of my adventure now, not the core. Canada first, mountains later. I'm glad to pay for another night at that amazing home, the Seldom Inn, as it's called. Considering how little I've spent on this trip anyway. I'll give a number at the end of my trip, but for now, less then $200 I think I can say (not including equipment). I expect to take about 4-6 days to get to Banff, weather permitting (pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease) After that, it's onto Calgary, and out towards the east! So keep in touch, continue with the lovely emails or small quirks. I love them guys, they keep me going.

June 7, 2008 (Fraser Crossing-Jasper, 35km) - I was excited today, because I would finish my first, and what I think to be one of the toughest provinces. But in all fairness, I haven't hit the other provinces. But hooray! Prairies are coming up! I rewarded myself with a spicy cheese omelette back packer meal (dehydrated) It was delicious. Needed ketchup. Again, it was a wet morning. Some mennonite people ran into my camp and had me take a picture for them. I think they were a bit surprised to find me out there, but I think they understood. So I passed the BC/AB border. I will miss home. The rivers, the mountains. But I have a while before those are gone :) It still rained, the whole time I biked passed the Rocky Mountains. I arrived in Jasper early. Hooray for civilization! Nothing like rain for 3 days to make you appreciate businesses, cafes, and anything with a dry roof! I used the internet, checking and other accomodation tools, including, but it was very, VERY tough to find a place to stay. It was all so expensive! Even the homes being rented out, expensive! Most had no vacancies or were too expensive. I had a bad feeling about the hostel, one being full and 15km away, and the other just didn't seem reliable. However, some helpful information people got me in contact with a couple, Sherril and Doug. Being cyclists themselves, they gave me a deal at $60 for the night. I was happy to take it. They were extremely considerate, knowing of the trials I had been through and helped me dry my tent, shoes, and even let me wash my clothes! It wasn't even like a hotel or motel, but a house! Just the feeling, of being so welcomed, no matter where you were from. It was worth $60! More people arrived, and they quickly were booked up, and I realized how fortunate I was to have found that place. They even fed us supper and shared stories of travelling themselves. I was very exhausted by the end of the day, too much to explore the town. It was good just to have a roof.

June 6, 2008 (Rearguard Falls-Fraser Crossing, 65km) - It was a little wet in the morning, but I waited a bit for it to dry. I hate taking down in the rain. Your still getting wet after, whereas when you set up, at least you can dry off. I planned on doing 60 or 70km that day, leaving an easy day to Jasper and giving extra time to find a place to stay. I stopped at Mount Terry Fox. He was a great inspiration for me on this trip and thought I'd pay my respects. I'd like to go back to that mountain one day and climb up to see his cairn at the top. A brave man doing extraordinary things...I bought some fries from a small shop there and went on. It was just wet, wet, wet. There were few hills, which was good, and I had a tailwind though. However, it still rained! I was really disappointed though because I couldn't see the Rockies! The majestic Rockies, and all I could see was the base! Clouds and rain obscured their great peaks. I was heartbroken. After climbing a tough hill pass Mt. Robson, I took a break at Overlander Falls. Hey, if I can't see the mountains, then I'll see the rivers instead! I hope to come back one day and do some hiking and camping, when there's SUN! I biked to Fraser Crossing, a small rest stop close to the river. I saw a nice patch of grass that beckoned for camping, but I thought I'd check out the campsites at Lucerne Lake, just 2km down the road. I did, and found it to be bare bones. Barely anyone there, and just as wet. I was not paying $15 for a fire pit and a picnic table I had little intention on using. So I went back to Fraser Crossing and revelled at my happy camp spot! The rain let up a little for me to set up camp. I hid in my tent the rest of the day, attempting to dry my clothes. Many were still wet from the previous days washing. I had this idea for setting up a bungee cord inside my tent to dry only slightly damp clothes, but it just didn't work. The clothes, even barely damp, just won't dry. However, crumpled paper in shoes works! I didn't sleep that great that night either

June 5, 2008 (McBride-Rearguard Falls, 70km) - I left McBride around my usual time, 10am. I find I'd like to leave earlier, but it just doesn't happen, between having breakfast with friends, minor repairs, packing, etc. Besides, I didn't plan to cover too much distance that day. It had been forecast for rain. Lots of rain. Go figure. 3 days of it approximately. But rather then wait 3 days for it to leave, I sucked it up and left. I know I'm going to be biking in the rain anyway. Besides, as my mom told me, rain brings rainbows. It went from a light to medium rain, to a bit of hard. I just laughed the whole way. Besides, I had a fantastic tailwind and was making great time on the straight stretches. I saw 1 moose and 1 deer along the way. There was no sun for quite the, just clouds. Sadly, that tailwind pulled a rude 180. I hit my first 1000km!!!! I celebrated with a good lunch of fruit cocktails and banana bread oatmeal bar at the Small River campground where I met a travelling man from Swift River, Saskatchewan, delivering farm equipment to Vanderhoof (that looked strangely like a boat to me) That headwind became a HARD wind, pushing me side to side, leaving me biking 10-13km/hr, even having to pedal downhill. I happen to look down to find one of my rear pannier bag covers missing! It blew off in the wind! I backtracked just a wee ways up the hill to see if it was in the ditch, but to no avail. Well I sure as hell was going all the way back! I never would have came back with that headwind! That damn bag could have been in Vanderhoof by then! I'll suck it up. I replaced it with a garbage bag which worked. It also left me in mind that I should buy more bag covers anyway, as my two front panniers didn't come with any. Just another case of live and learn. There was nothing I could have done, the wind was so strong, I never heard the bag or seen it go. I made it to a nice stop, Rearguard Falls. I checked the trail and found a section wide enough to pitch my small tent. I made camp, hearing river rafters go by on the river below the steep cliff on the other side of the fence I camped at. After setting up camp, I explored the falls and then did laundry in the river. I think I had one of those rare, good ideas! Dirty clothes + soap + garbage bag + water = washing machine! SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE! Just rinse well! Seemed to work out well. I explored more, revelling in the rivers beauty with some German travellers taking a similar route I had travelled. I was worried about this crow I saw stalking my camp site though, so I went back and ate. I read for a bit, played my DS, cleaned up and tied my food pannier in a tree, over the cliff. I heard this rustling in the bush and thought it was an animal. I went out and found my pannier gone! No, it wasn't an animal. The twine broke! Where was my pannier? Down the cliff!!! But the dented cans of soup suffered more then the bag. Although not water proof, those things are tough! Note: rope, not twine. I couldn't sleep well that night, maybe because I was on a bit of an angle.

June 4, 2008 - (Rest) - Today, my friend and I ate and went shopping. I bought some minor groceries in preparation for my trek into the Rockies. I'm trying to contact some people in Jasper via, but if anyone out there knows anyone who'd be willing to put me up, please share. We went and saw her boyfriend fall some trees and met some interesting locals. Now, I have to clean up my bike, do some tune ups and hope for good weather tomorrow. I'm expecting rain, rain, rain. But I swear, I won't be pulling 150km for a long time! Maybe not until I hit some flat ground! So I'm expecting 3 days until I reach Jasper. Until then, talk to you there!

June 3, 2008 (Purden Lake-McBride, 150km) - The next day, I slept in til 8am. I shaved off a bit of time packing up and eating breakfast, 1 hour and 45 minutes. I hope it only goes faster. It was dry enough to bike though. Before I left, my neighbor offered me a beer for the road, when I reach my next destination. Bugs were extremely bad in the morning. Without bug spray, take down may have taken even longer! I had a lot of ground to cover - 150km! It was the biggest ride I've ever done! But I really wanted to make it to McBride in one day. I saw 3 bears and 1 moose within 1 km of eachother! I saw 4 more bears, the 7th being cinnamon. I had another vehicle warn me of them. Although on the road, I have little fear of bears and animals, its still a nice and appreciated gesture of peoples warnings. I really didn't enjoy the cracks perpendicular to the shoulder. Although they may have have seemed small, with a large load on a bike with less then 2 inches of rubber between 2 tires, you feel it! I went on the main road to avoid wrecking my spokes. I lost my rear BIKE FOR YOUTH sign I did up in Prince George, but still have my front one. I stopped at a rest stop for a extremely well needed lunch. That's the thing about biking alone. You are responsible for yourself. You have to be able to tell yourself, "I need a break!" Discipline plays a pivotal role. I asked a camper full of Holland travellers for some hot water for some soup. They were kind and I chatted with them for lunch. But I couldn't stay long, as I had a lot of road to bike. Through curves and hills and plenty of damn mountains, I kept going. Just like when I biked from Terrace to Hazelton, I found myself taking breaks more often and sooner. Granola bar after granola bar. After climbing a hill, I think I saw a few blinking lights and said "Screw this! Devon! Sit down and rest!!!" I sat and happily ate my cold can of beans, a nice break from granola bars. The distance just went by slower and slower. In fact, I was sure my bike was slowing down! My tires werent flat, the brakes weren't touching, the crank was good, everything was spinning, but I was just slow! And I was sure it wasn't just me being exhausted, because even going downhill required pedalling sometimes! My only answer was that it was hills that seemed flat, an optical allusion. But I'm sure my exhaustion attributed to it. Thoughts of friends and family kept me going. Even my music helped, when I really needed it. Passing the "Entering McBride" sign kept me going, but I was just about ready to drop. My legs just could barely go. I felt like passing out sometimes! But 9 hours later, I made it! My friend and her boyfriend picked me up at the "Welcome to McBride" sign. They fed me, I shared some stories and then slept.

June 2, 2008 (Prince George-Purden Lake, 58km) - I had a fantastic break in Prince George. I had dinner with several friends, met new ones, was a wedding date for another, spent time with family, and had an interview with PGTV on Monday. I had a phone interview with APTV, but they never called back. The woman was busy. I'm finding I'm having a tough time with most reporters and media. Something often goes wrong. And going back to that wedding, my travels have again proved the world is small. My friends room mate's was in Katimavik, with one placement being in my cluster and another where my CWY friend is from. Her boyfriend was my buddy from Katimavik, and her sister was the one getting married! Small stuff, eh? I left Prince George on a sunny day. I saw my brother off early in the morning, to take my mom to the airport and he had to work after that. It was a long 210km or so to McBride, so I planned on splitting the trip there in two. But first, I had to return my friends iPod that he left at a party. It took me a small portion of the morning to find the bloody Starbucks he was at! I thought there was just one mall, Spruce Pine Mall. But there were Spruce Meadows mall and Pine Center mall. 3 Starbucks later, I found him. There's too many Starbucks!!! Before I got out of town, I had an early lunch at Wendy's. The day started with a nice long hill, but I was ready for it. Although I biked past many mountains, I still have not went through the Rockies. But soon! I best get my fill before the mountains are gone. I've noticed the bugs are getting worse. I saw my first moose along the way! I also saw a white tail, hopping away in the bush. I stopped for a break at Bowon River, about 3 or 4 km before Purden Lake. I saw a lot of dark storm clouds on many sides of me, and the wind was blowing towards me. I didn't want to risk biking in a storm, so I decided I should set up camp and pulled into Purden Lake Provincial Park. I arrived right when the storm hit. I was in a rush to get my bags off my bike and into my tent. Was my instinct ever right! That was the worst thunder storm I've EVER been in! I was so happy I made the right decision. I had my bike locked and covered in my emergency foil blanket. In the thunder, I was wondering if that was a good idea. Foil? Over wet metal bike? Under a tree? But it was raining way to hard and I was just exhausted to care. And it needed to be dry or the next days bike ride would suck. I just wanted to lay and listen to the storm. It was like the mountains were exploding around me, every 10-30 seconds! I had an early supper that day, and wanted to get an early start the next day to cover more ground. When the rain stopped, I talked to the neighbors, from Edmonton. They had been at that campsite for weeks. I think they may have met my friends, biking ahead of me. They gave me some fire wood, even though I didn't light a fire. I paid my $15 camp fee and then went for a wash in the lake, still cold.

May 29, 2008 (Vanderhoof-Prince George, 100km) I woke up early to a grand breakfast that only a grandma could make. I put it away like it was my last meal! As per their offering, they drove me to the top of the hill just leaving Vanderhoof. Yes! They drove me! I admit it! There was a small part that I did not bike! Give me a break! You bike up hills all day and see how fast you want to do them over again the next day! And don't you worry. I got my fair share of hills today; good practice for those pesky Rockies coming up soon. The hills today were not very steep, but many and occasionally long. Sometimes I could just motor up them. But to me, it really seemed like my downhills did not add up to how much up hill I was biking. I'm going to check the elevation of Prince George. It feels like it must be really high. It was expected to have some showers today, but I didn't hit the grunt of it until lunch. It began to pour before I stopped at a fellows house to ask if I could use his microwave to heat up some Chunky soup, courtesy of my grandma. I caught the man just as he was leaving, but he still had time enough to cook my soup. Go figure: the kind man knows my uncle Ken. So, until I arrived in Prince George, it was heavy rain. I had all my rain gear on, until I hit the city, where I took it off, as the sun came out. WIth poor directions, I ended up going down 3 large hills, and then biking back up them, only to go back down 2 more to meet my brother. The rain came right back, and I noticed my tire was low. I had my first flat since I started! But only one flat tire for 717km is very, VERY good I'd say. And with that, is the distance count. Reading a sign here in Prince George from here to Prince Rupert, where I started: 717km - in 10 days. I'm quite happy with that. So yes, I will be resting here for about 5 days. I have to update the website (you won't hear from me for awhile) wash and tune up my bike, fix that flat, buy a new foam pad, go shopping, try to publicize my bike trip with local tv and radio stations, visit friends and family and rest. Resting, yes. Relaxing? Not quite.

By the way, really enjoy the comments guys. Appreciate it. Gonna try to work on that format that Nicole suggested and put in distance and from where to where, so check old entries as well.

May 28, 2008 (Burns Lake-Fraser Lake, 70km) (Frase Lake-Vanderhoof, 58km) I got an early start to bike to Vanderhoof the next morning. The weather was fair, the bug activity was low, and there was what seemed like a bit of headwind. So off I was. I enjoyed the scenery, short mountains, lakes and farmland along the way. There were a lot of stops where there was dead pine trees from pine beetles, so that was a shame. I only had to wear my jacket for a short drizzle before I made it to Vanderhoof. My grandparents (dads side this time) caught me before I made it to the arranged meeting place. This time, there was only ONE A & W to meet at, and I knew where it was! They pulled in right as I was taking a picture in front of the Welcome to Vanderhoof sign. They bought me an big burger combo which I wolfed down with pleasure. I gave them some brief details of my trip (time, weather, things I've seen, etc) We put my bike and gear into their van, did a few errands and drove back to their farm. I snacked, showered and then washed my clothes. I turned from distraught to down right angry when I couldn't find a sock when hanging them up to dry. Before I left Fraser Lake, I folded the dirty laundry into my towl which I tied onto my pannier. It should be here! Losing my foamy from just being careless is one thing, but this I took the time and precision to make sure it was there. I only have 3 pairs of socks people!!!! But I was relieved when I found it tucked in the neck of my stanfield wool sweater. URGH I say! Can't keep losing things! I ate supper and then had a nap. I enjoyed another late night chat with my grandparents, as well as my grandpas farm, his workshed and many other ventures. He sure is a man to talk and joke, with a philosophy that people look better when they're smiling. I couldn't agree more Ross. They had some friends over, whom I shared my stories with. Family seemed really important to my grandparents. They talked a lot about it, showing pictures and stories of kids and grandkids. They were really proud to have one biking across Canada and doing something noble. I was happy to share that experience with them.

May 27, 2008 (Houston-Topley, 29.5km) (Topley-Burns Lake, 51km) I woke up fairly early at my friends house, and before everyone ran off to do their own things, I got a picture with the family, a habit I'd like to continue doing. I went shopping early, buying fruit. I still planned on buying nuts, but all they had were big bags and they were too expensive when I can make my own batch. Again, I had bad road shoulders, being broken up or cracked coming outside of Burns Lake. There were a few good sections though, thankfully when they went downhill. Nothing like hitting a big pothole at 50km an hour with a fully loaded bike. It was a great day for biking; sunny, with a few clouds here and there. However, there was a constant headwind. I really want to do some bike maintenance, as I keep forgetting. It's not broke, but I just want to check things, tighten things, that sorta thing. I do enjoy the lakes I stop at. Very peaceful, albeit a wee buggy. It was a good ride to Fraser Lake. I ate a late lunch at the White Swan beach that seemed to be just infested with mosquitoes. I guess this IS lake country. I went around town to a few homes, asking if I could camp in their back yards. I explained I was biking across Canada, and I would be gone by the next morning. But they were very shy and questioning, and all declined. I just need a place to set up tent and sleep! Geez! I even went to the library, RCMP, Royal Canadian Legion and town hall, asking if they knew of other places that took in people, or if they even knew of nice people who would put me up for the night. Nothing. Suggestions were the lakes up the road about 20km (don't think so) or the beach. I settled on the beach. I was just too tired. So, I set up my tiny tent in the stage on the beach, so that way, I didn't have to worry about my bike or equipment getting wet and didn't have to bother with the tent fly. I set up camp and moved all my equipment into the tent, so I wouldn't be bothered by the hundreds of mosquitoes stalking me on the outside. Some curious kids came by, wondering who was camped under the stage. I told them who I was, and I went biking with them for a bit. We climbed Mouse Mountain where I took a picture of them and then I returned to my home for the night. However, as request by one of the kids, I returned his helmet he left on the beach before his parents could scold him, and gave him my website address. Nice kids. Sorry boys, I don't remember your name, but I do rememeber they all started with D. If you read this, send me your email and I'll send you those pictures I took of you guys taking those jumps. I settled in for a nice relaxing sleep on the beach....sorta.
May 26, 2008 - My grandparents were kind once again and bought me breakfast at our favorite cafe now. During so, we talked with a woman who actually motorbiked across Canada, so she donated to my cause and wished me well on my trip. Thank you! On the way out, two other cyclists just arrived. We talked a bit, but I was ready to leave. Just as I biked away, I realized I didn't have my gloves! I left them at my grandparents house! They said they would find them and mail them to my brothers house in Prince George. Once again, they help me out. I have great grandparents! By the time I found my second pair of gloves and washed the degreaser from them that leaked, the other two bikers, Jonathon and Emilie were leaving. So, I found some temporary partners. We biked until Burns Lake, even doing a horrendous 6 Mile hill. Although shorter than Hungry Hill, it was steeper. Almost to Burns Lake was when I noticed some missing luggage. Where the hell was my foam pad??? DAMN! I think I left it at the cafe I was at, while rooting through my bags to find my second gloves. Although I contacted them, I don't know if it will be found. Oh well. I won't be camping in the next couple of days, and can order another one off MEC or buy one in Prince George. Smarten up Devon! Geez! I left the two cyclists to continue their own journey. Good luck you guys! In Burns Lake, I contacted a friend, and while waiting, I had a small tour of the local museum. I brought my gear into my friend Christies home, and later accompanied her to her old school. She was helping out her younger sisters theatre class. We both volunteered and painted some backdrops and later watched a dress rehearsal. The show was good! Keep up the good work kids! I'm sorry I won't be around to see it. I looked at the couchsurfing website, but couldn't find anyone in Fraser Lake. So, I may have to knock on a randoms door. Hopefully they'll be as pleasant as my other hosts have been.
* On a technical note, I'm curious as to what people would be interested in hearing from this website. Would you like me to note what animals I see? Strangest object found on the road? Kilometers biked each day? Current location (still trying) I'll see what I can do, but I need feedback!

May 25, 2008 - That yogurt I had been carrying since Terrace was finally opened! I had been carrying it around with ice in a plastic bag, but kept forgetting to eat it. During the morning, I talked with my Uncle Rick about environmental issues and politics. He's got quite the stories. My second cousins were still talkative and didn't want to see me go. I felt bad leaving so soon, but it's something I'll have to experience more often on this trip, I'm sad to say. It was a very sunny day. I planned to stop in Topley, a short 28km ride. But I planned to spend the day with my grandma and grandpa Vipond. I arrived at the restaurant I was to meet them and waited....and waited...and waited...after playing a bit of phone tag with them and my mom, I discovered they were diligently waiting for ANOTHER restaurant down the road!!! I didn't know there was another restaurant! So, because a bit of miscommunication and difference in opinions, we missed eachother for quite awhile. When they did arrive, we decided to ask the cafe they waited patiently at if I could leave my bike there for the night, rather then unpacking everything in their car and driving to Granisle. They bought me a late lunch. Most of the staff knew who I was. They were well informed by my grandparents. One woman offered me an angelic pin that she held for over 10 years she told me. She gave it to me, wishing for myself to have an angel on my trip. I understand that it means a lot to give something you've held onto for 10 years to a complete stranger. I really appreciate this, kind woman. I talked late with my grandparents that night, a lot about family.
May 24, 2008 (Smithers-Houston, 64km) I had breakfast with my friend the following morning. I ate with Sam and after, we went to the farmers market. Upon seeing a caracuturist, she wanted a cartoon of the two of us. We got one of us on a tandem bike. Treasure it Sam! Don't come across those every day. I left for Houston late, at 11pm. I need to try to get into the habit of leaving earlier. The roads were decent, however, the shoulders going towards Telkwa were a bit chunky, leaving me to swerve onto the road here and there. After passing through Telkwa, biking by some cows, I was scared almost off the road by another biker. He biked beside me and gave a friendly hello. A shrieking Devon wasn't the likely reaction he was expecting. He was training for some bike tours in the martimes. Talking with him helped the upcoming hill go by faster. I had a bit of a headwind for awhile, but it left at about Hungry Hill, a monster of a hill. I was a bit disappointed with my lunch, which I ate before tackling said hill. I didn't have nothing special that didn't require heating or boiling water, other than granola bars. I enjoyed more water and a peanut butter granola bar sandwich. Mmmmmm. But it was enough to get me over that hill. Man did that feel great. I just kept thinking about other things, seeing my friends, the next town, anything that would distract me from the hill. I made it to the 7/11 where I was to meet my Uncle Rick and Laurie. I was right on time. I tried to phone them collect, but that phone operator was a smart cookie, realizing my name actually wasn't "Rick-Devon's-At-Seven-Eleven" Worth a try. I phoned them and I waited. An elderly man asked if I was the one on the bike, and he shook my hand, giving me some money. I looked at him curiously, and he found it odd that I didn't recognize him. I was shocked as I saw my uncle, aunt and grandma emerge. It was Ross, my grandpa! I felt so embarrased. He had a bit more hair and I hadn't seen him for 7 months or so. I followed them to my uncle and aunts house. They then took me to my cousins house where I met some smaller second cousins I never met before. Two in particular were so excited, asking me many questions were just beaming with energy. We went to a Chinese restaurant where I taught my cousins how to use chopsticks and speak a little chinese, while sharing my Canada World Youth experience. I was quite fortunate to have a jacuzzi bath that night. I talked late with my uncle and aunt, particularly about my uncles job history and work with my great grandfather Win Vipond. I learned a lot about their experience with the Lions Club in Hazelton and the amazing things they've done, comparing that to my own bike adventure. It was very inspirational. I think when I return to Hazelton, I'd like to try to revive the Lions Club. It's such poor reasons that an organization that does such great things shouldn't exist. I slept well in the camper they set up for me.
May 23, 2008 - (Hazelton-Smithers, 72km) The next week or so will be fairly easy I think, provided the weather remains nice. I'm at a friends house again, this time in Smithers. This nice family has actually put me up before when I lived in Smithers, and they're doing so once again. I'm so glad to know people that nice. It was a great sunny day to bike to Smithers. Even with talking to people at stops, I did better than my training session in getting to Smithers. Last time it took me 4 hours and 30 minutes, this time 4 hours and 15, with longer breaks though! On the way there, I saw my first bear. It was just out past Adams Igloo. He popped out of the bush next to the ditch and just watched me go by slowly on the hill with this lust for blood in his eye! NOT! He could care less. As I slowly pedalled by, not more then 15 feet away, I just knodded and said "Hi bear." Come on! No need to flip out. Very few bikers get attacked by bears while riding. I will be more cautious should I be camping though. I have my wits, don't you worry. I stayed with a family in Smithers that I had stayed with before when I was working there. They were kind enough to take me in once more. Thanks Trav and Vick! In Smithers, I had an interview with a reporter, but I was at the wrong spot. I was supposed to meet her at the East Smithers sign, not the West. But we figured it out and met there. She asked me some questions, did some filming and that was that. She had a great zest for adventure, much like myself, and she really seemed to understand why I was doing what I was doing. So the interview will be on CKTV news (Terrace station I believe) Monday night. So watch it. I hope to be in the news more along the way. Not just for publicity, but to pass on my messages, why I'm doing this. It's all in the interview, watch it. I visited some friends for the last time. In fact, I have a coffee date tomorrow morning with one. I will be continuing onto Houston tomorrow. I'm making great time it feels, but I will rest in Prince George for several days. Lots of people to meet and greet.

May 22, 2008 (80km point-Terrace, 60km) (Terrace-Hazelton, 140km) I'm back home now, recharging. I think I deserve it. Yesterday, I left my friends house in Terrace to continue my trip. I was a bit disappointed to find that Hazelton was 140km away from Terrace; quite the challenge. I didn't know if I was ready for that yet. I went shopping in the morning, which included buying a big ol' apple, cherry tomatoes, yogurt, alfredo sauce, macaroni and granola bars. I know northern BC is quite the small place, but I was still surprised to see my aunt and uncle on the way out of Terrace. Outside Kleanza Creek park, they passed me and helped out with a sports drink. Thanks you guys! I needed that badly! The weather held out, thankfully, as there were many hills and rain would have just made things worse. Thankfully I had a decent tail wind for most of the way. I thought about it, and decided to just bike the whole way home. Usually, biking until late is dangerous, with fatigue and darkness, having to set up camp and supper, but I had a nice comfy home waiting for me, so why the hell not? Also, I wanted to see my dad before he left for a hunting trip. I was like a man possessed! I don't know how I mustered the strength to bike home like I did. I found myself resting from an every hour, to 45 minutes, to half an hour, needing some small snack each time. But in my rush, just outside of Hazelton, I happened to pass another fellow biker named Ed. He had met my friends, also biking across Canada, and he recognized me! He was biking towards the Yukon for reasons unknown. Whatever your reasons Ed, may good weather and plenty of down hill be with you! I rolled into home around 5:45pm, ( about 8 hours) with a banner saying "Way to go Dev!" and an excited mother waiting for me with a pan full of brownies. I downed my supper and had one of the nicest bubble baths ever! I slept well that night

As for today, I rested and recharged. I just felt the urge to eat, eat, eat and refill. I also washed my bike and got other errands done. But I don't want to dilly dally. I'm back on the road tomorrow. I'm still just amazed at the 140km I did. If I can do that, everything else will be easy!

May 19-20, 2008 (Prince Rupert-80km out) - I have begun my journey. More then just one on the road, it's one of self discovery and inspiration. It's something you have to do to understand. For the rest, I write. The night before I left, I went to 4 mile look out with some friends, to see Hazelton one last time in all it's glory. I drove to Prince Rupert the following morning at 6:30am with my dad's friend. The plan was he would help take some pictures, see me off, and do his own things, and meet up with me at a chosen campsite and camp together. He would leave the next morning. We found a spot on the beach for me to dip my tire into. SPLASH! Not a minute into my adventure did I have soaked feet, thanks to a bloody wave! But I laughed it off with a grand smile. I couldn't be happier. I was doing it...I was biking across Canada. I fed off my happy energy. Just like a bad day gets worse as you think about it, my day got better. Rain, wind, didn't matter. Even though my feet were wet, nothing could dampen my spirits. I tried to contact the reporter I was supposed to have an interview with, but couldn't reach her. Neither could I wait, and continued. I must have smiled almost the entire way out of Prince Rupert. Thoughts of friends and adventure kept me pedalling. I was surprised at how much my bike weighed, fully loaded. Handling took a little getting used to though, but I figured it out quickly. Indeed though, I kept a good mind about things. If I could handle the first day being the toughest, everything else will be easy by comparison, as though I earned it! At one stop, I talked to some strangers, telling them what I was doing. One couple was nice enough to make a small contribution to my cause! My first on-road donation! Thank you kindly strangers! Outside of Prince Rupert, the road was fairly flat, which was great for a first day ride. I ran into my dads friend on the highway. He was surprised at how far I made it. He regretted to say that, with the rain going the way it was, he didn't bring any extra clothes and thought he would be bored, waiting at the campsite we chose while I biked there. He decided to go home, but gave me eggs and some moose steak that we planned to eat that night. I didn't mind though. It seemed a lot further than I anticipated, but I made it there with a big grin (this positivity thing is really working out!) 80km out of Prince Rupert. A great first day! I set up in the light rain and got supper going. Darn it all, the moose steak thawed and I had moose blood on my equipment. Lest I want a bear in my campsite, I washed my gear after a supper of steak and rice. I used up like half my propane cooking that damn steak! But man was it good. I explored a bit, checking out some waterfalls in the area. I went back to one in particular and had a well deserved shower. The mist alone was enough for me to clean. I went back to camp, played some DS, and read notes from my family and friends that inspire me. Those notes are coming with me the whole way. This includes a chinese compass I received before I left CWY; "So you know where you're going." Thanks Sadie. I know where I'm going

Animals seen - 1 bear (drive there) 3 eagles, 1 easter bunny?

Notes: Calibrate brakes, oil chain, red meat sucks to carry

Damn train woke me up in the middle of the night. The following morning was still a bit wet. I planned to get up early to make some ground, at 6am, but didn't get up til 8am. Water took a long time to boil. I noticed the night before I had only one bottle of water left, so I got some from the waterfall with my emptied dry bag (great tip from MEC) Ironic; a dry bag carrying water. Boiled eggs are faster and easier then scrambled. I had eggs, oatmeal/hot chocolate mix, tea for breakfast. 2 hours after waking up, I was on my way. I got fresh water from a stop 4km down the road. It was a little drizzly, but the sun came out to cheer me up. Almost most of my biking was on flat road. It was a beautiful day, with the sun shining, birds chirping, and amazing scenery, cliffs, waterfalls, creeks. I really enjoyed the area. Just stunning. There were a few small hills, and then one big one. I ate lunch before tackling it, consisting of a can of fruit cocktails and chocolate. I even busted out the adrenaline music, the kind that gets you pumped. Man did I need it! It was the longest series of hills that I've ever done! And I conquered it!!! It took a lot, gritting and screaming "BRING 'EM ON!" They just kept coming, but I didn't slow in the least. It was was a victory of many to come. It was a slight drizzle coming into Terrace, and then a down pour. I called up some friends and met them. One let me stay at her mothers house. She was nice enough to make me supper as well; steak cuts, beans and fried potatoes. She insisted "I know it's not much" and that she didn't cook often. I revelled at her modesty. I was told that much of your time on a bike trip, you think of food. I see why now. Let me get this straight: I'm biking for simplicity, appreciation of simple things. Even after ONE day, I notice! Every bit of food just tastes delicious. A granola bar after an hour of biking tastes euphorical! Everything tastes good, no matter what! A shower is such a gift! A soft warm bed is fantastic! THIS is what I wanted! This is what I wanted to experience. I just didn't think it would happen so fast. I visited my friends. Although I was sad to see our time so short, I'm glad to have seen them for the time I did. But I must move on. I was a bit disappointed to find Hazelton further then I thought. I hoped to make it home in one day, but I don't think I'm tough enough to do 140km in one day. That includes some hills! So I'm going to go shopping tomorrow and then try to aim for 80 or 90km for that day, making the next day a little easier.

May 18, 2008 - I'm leaving tomorrow! I don't think it will really hit me until later that, good lord, I'm leaving and not returning for a long time. I'm actually doing this, I'm biking across Canada! But I don't think it's a good idea to think of it that large. Really, I'm just biking home from Prince Rupert; then I'm biking to Smithers again; then I'll go visit my brother in Prince George. Then I'm biking across the Rockies. Then I'll go a little further because I've never been to Sasktchewan, and so forth. Look at a large goal (like biking across Canada) as a series of little goals, and it will be accomplished before you know it. A friend gave me that advice. And now, I'm going to take it to heart, and go see him. I'm going to see my other friend, another friend, an old project leader, supervisor, a youth group, school, homeless man, store owner, cousins, brothers, strangers, maybe even the prime minister! I'm going to meet many people! I'm going to see many places! I'm going to do many things! I'm going on the adventure of a lifetime...I'll keep in touch. Thank you all very much for your support and faith in me!

Today I finished my final fundraiser here in Hazelton. My BBQ was a great success! I insisted to my parents and friends, I would rather go out with a bang, attempting something extravagant and possibly failing rather then just relaxing and sitting back. I'd rather try and fail then never try at all! But I surely didn't fail. I made $250! Beforehand, I received contributions for my BBQ from the Inlander Groceries, Zellers, J & V Food, and Bulkley Valley Wholesale. Everyone who came out were very generous and nice, declining change, instead giving it as an extra donation. Some people even donated some soda to my cause (many asked for coke) This is what a communit y is! Helpful, always. I really appreciate everyone coming out and being so supportive! I'll do you all proud! Thank you so much!

Saturday, I did my last set of door-to-door donations. I only did small sections of Gitannmax and Old Town, but it was enough. I had some good conversations with people about what I'm doing. One guy couldn't donate because he just bought $200 worth of soccer equipment for his daughters. I insisted it was fine. He went on to tell me how he would always have kids at his place, and one day he made 17 of them individual breakfasts. One teenager asked him why he was doing that for them. He told him because he wanted to show them once that they were special and deserved recognition of that. He told me it brought a tear to that kids eye, and almost to mine as well. His goal was to keep the kids busy, active and happy, away from the drugs and booze, similar to my goals. I wished him well and told him to keep fighting the good fight. It's days like that it's good to be out and about, seeing the good in my community.

May 14, 2008 - My depature date is confirmed! May 19th! I plan on having a BBQ the Sunday before, May 18th at the Credit Union parking lot @ 12 noon. It will act as a final fundraiser here in Hazelton before I leave (aside from the donations jars around town. I will be collecting from those until my bike trip is finished) There will be burgers, hotdogs, the works, as well as a small fundraising activity, which I've been wanting to do for a long time. If anyone out there can volunteer and offer some assistance, flip some burgers, donate some food, have an extra BBQ, it would really help. A reminder to everyone out there I am doing this ALL by myself. It would really be great to have a little help, it doesn't take much.

May 12, 2008 - This weekend, I biked to Smithers. I'm rather proud, sticking to my plan. I went lightly packed, with food, water, some clothes and my sleeping bag. It was decent weather the whole way, all 4 1/2 hours of it, including breaks and a short lunch. It was nice whenever people honked, I'm sure people who knew me. I thought of the friends I would see on my full trip, and it distracted me mentally so I wouldn't focus on the heavy pedalling or steep hills. I made it to Smithers with a big grin on my face. I stayed at a friends house, who was very hospitable. I rewarded myself that night by going to the movies and watching Speed Racer and Iron Man, both awesome movies. After, I went to the bar to visit some friends I haven't seen for long time and won't see for a long time after I start. Then next morning, I biked back home, which originally wasn't the plan. But what the heck! A little extra training never hurt. Especially since I didn't have a ride home anyway. So I was off, although a little later than expected. But I made it home in 4 hours this time! Long hills are easy, it's the steep buggers that suck! But I don't have to worry about doing a route twice, because I'm only going one way on my trip!

May 8, 2008 - Just came back from the Hazelton Secondary school, where I gave a small presentation to the students. It was only for 15 or so minutes, but I think they really got the message. Plus, it was great having a different crowd who actually listened instead of not, when I was in highschool. I gave them something to think about with my "crazy" speech; depicting that yeah, biking across Canada may seem crazy, but when does that line start? Biking from Hazelton to Smithers? to Prince George? Vancouver? And why? Purely distance? It's danger factor? That fact that you may have never done anything like that before? Is travelling across Canada for 9 months, living with strangers in a house crazy? Is living in a foreign country for 3 months with meager language skills crazy? Then I must be crazy! Maybe someone applying to university for 4 years might be considered crazy, or applying for a job they'er not qualified for. I also pointed out another person who may have seemed crazy when he attempted to run across Canada. He had an artificial leg and cancer for crying out loud! His name was Terry Fox! Many thought he was crazy, but now they celebrate his name for his courageous act. I shared with them how youth can do a lot; that determination is going farther then you think you can. A lot of the teachers thought that's just what many students need to hear; someone whos been in their shoes, and has aimed high. That's what I what I want them to do...

May 6, 2008 - I was up nice and early in New Town, going door to door, letting people know what I was doing and asking if they could support me. By the end of the day, I was pretty tired, going from 9:30am - 4:45pm. Granted it's only New Town, but I'm only one man, so that's a lot of walking around! People were very generous. They often think $20 is not much, but that's plenty, and I really appreciate it. Remember, it all adds up. I made $315 that day! I've been emailing a bunch of youth oriented websites and other partners, trying to get some publicity. I still stand by it, that my bike trip will be more successful if people know what I'm doing. I've had a few suggestions, and am always open to ideas. Do not feel shy to giving me your thoughts on what I could do to make this trip more successful. I don't know everything, not everything is set in stone.

I have an article coming out in the Three Rivers Report, by Shannon Hurst, who's been phenomal in helping me. So if you get the chance, please read it.

Also, this Thursday, I'll be giving a small presentation at the Hazelton Secondary School during an assembly. I had planned for it to be a quick, short fundraiser, but I think it would be too difficult and rushed. I'll have to save my idea for a final fundraiser before I leave, which I also have to plan.

May 3, 2008 - I've been going around town today, collecting donations from house to house. It's been really good. Just for one day, biking around South Hazelton, I raised $375. That's like a dollar a person! And even then, there were lots of people who offered to donate online when payday comes around. They were very generous, and I appreciate everyones support. Tomorrow, I'll be going to New Town. Hopefully I have time to do Two Mile and Old Town, because next weekend, I plan to bike to Smithers on Saturday. There's a mothers day bike event in Smithers that Sunday; so a 60km or so bike ride to Smithers one day, and 80km bike ride the next sounds like a good training session. I think I'm going to reward myself by going to see Iron Man and maybe buying a new bike jersey!

These are all lists, as of, SO FAR

Most common thing seen on road: Bungee cords, gloves (sometimes pairs!) single shoes (where do they come from!)

Most bizarre thing seen on road: Rotting horse leg, mangled deer corpse

Full list of things on road: Bungee cords, electrical cords, single shoes or boots, dead porcupine, broken toys, oil barrels, broken chair, plunger, car mat, countless tires or tire shreds, screw driver, single and pairs of gloves

Animal count: 11 bear, 3 eagles, 1 easter bunny? 2 coyote, 10 deer, 3 moose, 3 caribou, hundreds of birds,

Flat tire count: 2

Furthest distance travelled in one day: 201 km, Gleichen - Medicine Hat

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