July 18

July 20th, 2007

I’ve skated my ass off to get where I am today. When I entered Northern Ontario, I figured that I would probably only be able to blade 70-80 kilometers a day. But I am thrilled to look back and see how many days I was over 100! On that note, I’ve earned a day to sleep in. It was 8 o’clock before I got up. Whatever happened to the days when Sleeping in meant getting out of bed after lunch?

 

Although today was my ‘day off’, I still wanted to at least skate from the Terry Fox Monument in to the Boston Pizza where I was having a reception later. I made the quick 20 km skate early in the day so we could spend the rest of the day running errands around town. When I arrived at the Boston Pizza, TBTV / CTV showed up to run a quick story on me. Kristi interviewed me and taped some footage of me blading down the street. I won’t get to see it on TV, though, since I’ll be at BP tonight.

 

As we finished up the interview, my dad was turning the RV around in the parking lot of a restaurant called Joe’s. The owner, Joe himself, came out and without hesitation invited us in for lunch. We were treated to a delicious Mexican buffet at Joe’s on Arthur Street.

 

With our bellies ready to burst, it was time to run around town and get some much needed groceries among other things. While we were in the parking lot of the grocery store, my dad noticed a young woman walking along with rollerblades in her arms. He went over to her and brought her back to the RV to meet me. Tanya had actually read about me in the local paper and was very happy to see me. She even contributed an unexpected donation. Thanks Tanya! It was great meeting you. By the time we had completed our checklist of things to do, it was time to get back to Boston Pizza. The day had flown by.

 

The Police had graciously offered to provide a free escort for several blocks through the city. Even though I’d already skated to Boston Pizza, I thought it would be good for exposure and effect to show up to the restaurant accompanied by 2 police cars. I definitely turned some heads in the city as I came down Arthur Street with the escort. I rolled into the parking lot of Boston Pizza and was immediately greeted by a group of inline marathon skaters. Suddenly I felt like I was in a rerun of the Bob Newhart show. Except instead of everyone being named Daryl, everyone here was Richard. There was me, Rick, Rich and Bill. The guys all geared up and we headed down the road where they guided me through some local trails. By the time we returned to Boston Pizza, I’d seen Confederation College, Lakehead University and covered an extra 15 km. It was awesome to go for a casual skate and not have to worry about transports coming up behind me.

 

Back at BP, the staff provided me with a great reception. A supervisor got up on a chair with me at her side and announced to the entire restaurant who I was and what I was doing. It’s such a simple thing to do, but I find it to be one of the most effective. It immediately catches everyone’s attention and usually leads to fantastic donations. Tonight it also lead to a few autographs. A kind elderly lady came up to me to meet me. She introduced herself as Donna. Although she was younger, she reminded me so much of my own Grandma Lemon. Donna was at the restaurant with her daughter Sherry and grand daughter Kimberly. I chatted with the 3 of them for quite a while. Donna was quite emotional and extremely excited to meet me. They were on their way back to Dryden where they said they would be contacting some media for me! Amazingly kind women.

 

Sitting at the table we were joined by another gentleman who is now making his second appearance in my journal. Rick Harrington. That’s right, there were now 4 Richard’s sitting at the table. We just made a leap from the Bob Newhart show into the Twilight zone.

 

At the end of the evening, we headed back to Trowbridge Falls Campground where they had donated another night for us. On the way home I tallied the donations from the restaurant and found nearly $500 had been contributed. Thank you to everyone in Thunder Bay for the warm recepetion. And thank you Boston Pizza. You guys were great.

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