June 14

June 16th, 2007

This morning I actually woke up before my parents! I went downstairs and found Debbie who had already been up for an hour and a half. She’d had her morning exercise and was now baking some muffins. And it was barely 7am! As I sat down at the kitchen table, I was expecting to engage in a conversation about farts or dirty jokes. If you know Debbie, you know what I’m talking about! But instead, we started chatting about nutrition and health. People seem genuinely interested in my health. One of the most common questions I am asked is “How much weight have you lost since starting the Skate For Hope”? I suppose if you browse through the Photo section, I look like a stick man. But in actual fact, I’ve always been pretty slender. If I’ve lost any weight on this venture so far, it’s been insignificant. I’d say I may have lost 5 lbs max. My nutrition is very important, and Crystal is doing an amazing job with helping me to eat the right foods. I really haven’t had to make too many major changes with what I eat. I just focus more on the quality of the foods I consume.


While we sat there talking, the morning paper (Ottawa Citizen) came in. I hurried over with eyes as wide as saucers. Would my article be published today? I flipped open to the City sections and found myself staring back at me! Tony had written a fantastic article. I would later discover one detail he left out.


The rest of the house buzzed to life as we all prepared for the day ahead. Some of us had to work, others had to rollerblade, and others had nothing better to do than putter around with some unfinished renovations in the bathroom (seriously Peter, shouldn’t that be done by now!). When we were finally ready to go, my parents and I headed out and hopped in the RV. With a turn of the key, the engine roared to life…. almost. Actually, it didn’t respond at all. Just a faint ticking sound pulsated from under the hood. Perhaps the excitement of yesterday’s media frenzy on Parliament Hill was just too much for the old girl to handle. It turned out that a simply boost got us on our way. We did have concerns that the battery may die again, but we’ll see if we can make it to Kingston before worrying about it.


About half way to Smith Falls, a woman and her daughter pulled over to make a donation. She mentioned to me that she had just read about me in the Citizen and wanted to congratulate me on my endeavors up to now. And then she highlighted the missing ingredient in the article. My website was not included. That’s a pretty essential component to my quest. I need to rely on people’s online donations since I won’t be able to see everyone. I’ll have to call the Citizen and see if they’ll write a follow-up article to give the site.


We made it to the edge of Smiths Falls just before lunch where we made a quick call to the Police to see if they’d offer an escort through town. The dispatch wasn’t sure but sent a cruiser over to talk to us and see what they could do. My dad invited the officer into the RV for a minute to chat. When he came inside, I was standing face to face with Adam Slate who was a bit younger than me, but went to my high school! Small world. Adam was happy to give us an escort with lights flashing through Smiths Falls. By the time we had reached the far side of town, we were now on Highway 15. We had previously considered avoiding this road since we expected it to be busy and possibly in rough shaped. But after struggling across highway 17 into Ottawa a few days before, I knew this road would be a breeze. The decision was re-enforced when we realized the highway had been freshly repaved recently. Oh yes, this was going to be enjoyable.


The road was just as expected, if not better. At one point, it was so smooth that I couldn’t even feel my wheels turning. It was an odd sensation. Without the typical vibrations from the rougher surfaces, it was hard for me to get a feel for my speed. Up until now, I was associating louder sounds with faster speeds. I asked my mom how fast I was actually going. I figured I was hovering around 10-15 km/hr, so I was pretty surprised when my mom responded with 20-25 km/h.


Recently, the motor home has been creating some concern for us. So it seemed fitting when I stopped for an afternoon break coincidentally in front of a mechanic near Crosby. While I chowed down some fruit and yogurt, my dad managed to get a car battery donated and installed. Bob French was happy to help us relieve some of the stress of a weak battery under the hood. Just before we started away from the mechanics shop, a woman pulled up and mentioned she had just read about me in the Citizen. She was happy to make a contribution herself. It didn’t take long after the break for me to reach my destination of Delta. I was over 90 km on the day and decided we were now close enough to my cottage on Killenbeck Lake that we could make the short drive in for an evening of luxurious beds and comfortable living. My dad weaved his way through the heavily forested driveway to the base of our cottage hill. Branches were scraping down the sides and top of the vehicle, but we push our way through. Knowing the back end of the RV had poor suspension I figured it was a safe assumption that we would be leaving the van at the bottom of the gravel hill. I was pretty surprised to hear my dad say “I’ll just back it right up the hill”.


“Um…ok…If you say so,” I thought.


With a flick of the wrist my dad threw the van in reverse and started backwards up the narrow path. I had my doubts, but I was impressed to see the motor home emerge over the top of the ridge and come to rest neatly in front of the cottage door.


Although I had just had a shower the day before at the Read’s house, the drying sweat from today’s skate left a thick film coating my body that felt like only sand paper could remove. I didn’t have to think twice about running down the stairs and off the end of the dock into the refreshing lake. Ah…sweat relief. But the Warden (aka Dad) thought my 90 + kilometers wasn’t enough work for one day. “While you’re down there, drag the raft out and drop the anchor”. The work just never ends.


A few evening phone calls helped to solidify the plans for the next few days. Wendy smith (Crystal’s mom) has been working vigorously in the Lansdowne/Gananoque area to start creating a buzz for me. She’s been working on donations, sponsors, meals, advertising and everything else under the sun. She has even arranged to have the Mayor of Gananoque meet me in town at Milano’s Pizzeria! Crystal’s little brother, Codie, has been dying to get his skates on and blade with me for a while. So Wendy will be dropping him off tomorrow morning so he can ride with me in the RV and skate through Lansdowne. Then a call from Boston Pizza in Kingston put a huge smile on my face. Corrina was very interested in my venture and wanted to let me know that Boston Pizza would do everything they can to help. This coming Monday (June 18) I will be attending a reception at Boston Pizza on Gardiners Road between 11 am and 2 pm. During this time, 10% of ALL sales at the restaurant will be going directly to my cause!! That includes eating in, patio, lounge, take-out and deliveries! So if you’re craving some pizza (or any other tasty treats form Boston Pizza), please come see me on Monday!


The day was finally winding down, but not before a visit from my buddy, Dan, some neighbors on the Lake (Wes and Carol Evans) and my uncle Ron. It was nice to sit back and chit chat casually with the sound of crickets chirping and loons echoing across the water in the background. Then, just before turning in for the night, my dad got a message from our friend Bill Surrette in Newfoundland (you may remember me telling you about our week long stay with the Surrettes in Harbour Grace while the RV was out of commission). He wanted to let us know that our good friend, Rose, in Stephensville, Newfoundland, was up to her old tricks. He had heard her on the provincial wide radio station, VOCM giving them an update on my progress. She’s truly a wonderful woman with the type of enthusiasm that we all need. All I’m doing is rollerblading. It’s people like Rose that help change the world.

Posted in Daily Journal | 1 Comment »


One Response to “June 14”

  1. Cameron Says:

    Hi Rich,

    I saw a facebook group dedicated to your trip and got interested in what your doing. It’s great to see what your doing and the help your receiving along the way. Nice job. I coach inline skating here in Mississauga and will be keeping an eye out to when your around in the area. I remember quite a few years ago someone came on the mike bullard show who was skating across Canada for a cause. All the best on your skate and work towards ‘seeing the end’.


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