July 10

July 10th, 2007

Early in my day’s blade, I had a scary flashback of the encounter with the dreaded wild rabbit in New Brunswick. I could see a little bunny off in the distance sitting at the side of the road waiting for me to get closer. I could feel him eying me up and down. I just knew he was looking for my vulnerability and would strike as soon as I was within striking distance. But this time I was ready for the beast. when I was within earshot, I let out a loud ‘ARGH’ and caught him off guard. I wasn’t about to be made a fool of by another vicious rabbit. Score: Rich 1 – Bunnies 1.


With the wind at my back and a new set of wheels on my skates, I started the day off as best as could be expected. With only 80 km to the Soo, I had 55 of them under my belt before I stopped for lunch in Echo Bay. I wolfed down my leftover butter chicken and closed my eyes for half an hour before heading out again. Just as I was leaving Echo Bay, the shiny flash of money caught my attention. Unfortunately it wasn’t real money. It was a giant Loonie. You can’t go past a giant coin like this and not take a picture that makes it look like you’re lifting it above your head! You’ll see what I mean in the photo section.


While I was taking the picture, a couple of guys came out of a near by restaurant to see what I was up to. We got chatting with Will and Matt and found out that they are cycling across Canada for MS. Now here’s the kicker. These guys were both from Kingston! Talk about a small world. Two great guys from my home town out on a worth cause of their own. Good luck guys. (www.WillsRide.ca)


Not long after leaving the Loonie, I could see a car pulled over to the side of the road ahead of me. I had received a call from CTV letting me know that they were sending someone out to meet me. But as I approached, I could tell that this car was not from CTV. And yet the guys that got out of the car were clearly a film crew. I quickly found out that they were from the SooNews (www.soonews.ca). Who am I to turn down media attention?! So I gladly stopped for an interview and a few shots of me skating. As I was finishing up with this crew, the CTV vehicle pulled up. It was a mini media frenzy on the side of the Trans Canada! When I was finally done all the interviews and the crews were satisfied they had all the footage they needed, I set my sights on Sault Ste. Marie.


The wind continued but was now blowing clouds overhead. A sprinkle of rain threatened to release more, but it was holding off for now. As I was approaching the city limits my attention was grabbed by something on the right side of the road. It was a person who seemed to be almost lurking behind the guard rail. Just as I rolled up to him, he popped up and started snapping photos. The Paparazzi!! Oh wait, I’m not Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton. It must just be another reporter. And it was. This time it was the Sault Star newspaper wanting a few words. I didn’t have far to go, so I was quite willing to take another short break before finishing.


The Soo isn’t a huge city, so it didn’t take me long to get downtown and out through the North end. As I was rolling up the Great Northern Rd, I saw a familiar landmark. It was Swiss Chalet! Three years ago, Crystal and I packed up our lives in Ontario and headed out West. On our first night of traveling, we made it to Sault Ste. Marie around dinner time. And for those who know Crystal will understand that it’s almost impossible to drive past a Swiss Chalet without her wanting to stop for food. Well, here I was staring at restaurant we ate at when we came through here so long ago. It’s weird the things you remember.


The KOA campground just north of the city was kind enough to donate a night for us. We’ve had pretty good luck with campgrounds lately. It’s pretty nice being able to shower so often! I’m sure my parents appreciate that, too.


After checking in, we drove back into town where Brody’s Bar and Grill had offered to feed us for dinner. Although it was pretty quiet in the restaurant, the manager was very grateful to have us and even made a significant donation himself. Thanks to everyone at Brody’s!


I couldn’t come through the Soo and not snap a few pictures of Roberta Bondar and me with various wildlife statues. I don’t know what it is about statues, but I just have to get pictures with them.


I’ve always known that a lot of people cycle across Canada every year. But it’s been truly amazing just to see how many are out there. Today alone, I saw 5 people on similar ventures. It really re-enforces my gladness that I chose to rollerblade. I wanted to do something different that would catch peoples interest, and I think that’s exactly what I’m doing.


From Sudbury to here has been relatively flat ground. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be facing serious hills from now until Manitoba. And I will likely have very limited internet access. So please be patient if my journal is not updated regularly. The plan is to be in Thunder Bay by July 18 or 19. It’s about 700km form here, but I’m not sure if I’ll be covering 100km every day. We’ll see what tomorrow has in store.

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