August 23

August 24th, 2007

Skepticism. It’s a word that’s come up far too often on this trip. Even before I began blading across the country, my campaign was surrounded by skeptics. People thought I was crazy and that I wouldn’t actually go through with it. Well, here I am in Kamloops and now I’m guilty of displaying skepticism.


We left Pritchard with the sun shining and no wind in the air. Although the media seemed to be keen about my story, I felt a cloud looming over my head. The Kamloops Police had told us that we must apply and pay for a permit in order to be escorted through the city. This wasn’t the first time a city has told us that, but it is the first time a city has not been lenient. I was a bit surprised since I’m over 8,500 km into the trip and haven’t been denied assistance from Police yet. I suppose it’s my own fault for assuming an escort would be no problem since they haven’t been an issue across the entire country. So this little scenario put a bad taste in my mouth about Kamloops before I even arrived. Like I said, I am guilty of being skeptical.


On top of various phone interviews for radio and newspapers, Shaw TV sent a crew out which caught up with me right at the ‘Welcome To Kamloops’ sign. So I’m impressed with the media coverage in Kamloops, but I’m still not too happy with the lack of support from the cops. And the citizens of the city seem to be very welcoming, too. As I arrived into the town and headed up the steep incline towards Summit Drive, the honks and waves were coming at me from all around. I even had two vehicles pull over on the highway to donate! I haven’t had that in a while.


I rolled into the Boston Pizza at Columbia Mall to a very warm ambiance. They had already hand drawn a sign letting their customers know about my arrival today. Nicole was very energetic and excited to have me stopping in. She had created a contest for all of the servers to see who could raise the most donations for me! What a neat tactic! Definitely a first.


It was still early and we had some errands to tend to before returning to Boston Pizza for the main event at 6 pm. On the way out to the RV, I had an opportunity to meet a few amazing people. First was a man with a million stories. The most impressive of his tales was that in 1991 he rollerskated, yes I said rollerSKATED, from Winnipeg to Victoria. Can you imagine making that trek on those old school, 4-wheeled rollerskates?! Needless to say, I could have listened to him talk all day about his experience, but it was time to get moving.


Just before we pulled out of the lot, a woman came up with her 2 young girls to make a donation. I don’t know how she knew I was here because the media had been telling the public that I would be here at 6. But she tracked me down. She had specifically come to find me to donate because her brother-in-law is currently battling cancer. It was an emotional experience, but one that will be remembered. It is these types of encounters that help me when I have bad days. Knowing that I am giving people hope is more gratifying than anything else.


After having some extra posters printed at Office Depot, getting my license renewed at ICBC, and giving a couple more newspaper interviews, we headed up to the campground just south of the city. The site they donated to us was beautiful. It was very secluded and quiet. We’ve become accustomed to sleeping beside late night speeding trains, so this will be interesting to see how well we rest tonight. The best part about the campground is definitely the name. I can’t help but laugh every time I say it. Knutsford RV Campground. I love it! Knutsford.


Back at Boston Pizza, the waitresses worked diligently to raise as much money for me as possible. The restaurant was pretty busy, so I was anxious to have our server make an announcement to get everyone’s attention. Some of the servers in the past have been soft-spoken and the entire store hasn’t been able to hear. When I saw Stephanie some to our table, I was a bit concerned the same would happen. This sweet looking, petite girl stood up and bellowed like no one I’ve heard before! Her voice thundered through the store as everyone stopped what they were doing to listen…including all the kitchen staff. With out a doubt, this little blonde fireball helped bring a lot more awareness and donations to my cause. However, Rayel was the server who won the contest. I never found out what the prize was, but as since she personally raised the most money for me, I thanked her with a Skate For Hope t-shirt. If every Boston Pizza were as successful and enthusistic as this one, I probably would have hit my goal 3 weeks ago! Thanks Nicole, Stephanie, Rayel, and all the other hard workers there.


Skepticism. It should be one of the deadly sins. I had low expectations for Kamloops because of the Law Enforcement. But it turned out to be one of the best cities in B.C. so far.

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