June 24

June 25th, 2007

It was great to see my friends and family, but I was ready to get back on the road today. We left my sister’s place and headed to Lakeshore where I left off a couple days before. I was only planning to go as far as Grimsby today, so I didn’t need to get started until after 9:00am. The road was smooth and the breeze was light. Nothing like a nice Sunday morning skate.


My dad had me pull over for a radio interview as I was coming into Oakville. It was a good opportunity to take a quick break, too. As I was wrapping up on the radio, a red car came up beside the RV and pulled over in front of us. Two women got out of the car and walked back towards us. “Rich? I’ve been following you since February!” a voice said. Noreen had heard about me even before I started the Skate For Hope. She had tracked my progress via my journal all the way until now. She had read that I was heading down Lakeshore today and decided to come down and find me. I’m glad she did. They offered me a donation and then presented me with the most unique gift I’ve received. Noreen’s husband had painted a picture of me on my blades. But the unique part was that the painting was done on an old LP record! I think my mom liked the painting as much as I did. I think she’s jealous that I’ll be keeping it in Vancouver when I get home. I know she’d love one to hang at the cottage. I’m glad Noreen tracked me down. I love meeting the people who follow me on the website. It was nice to put a face to the name.


The great skating conditions continued through Oakville and Burlington. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the area, but I’ve always liked this part of Ontario. When I was a McMaster Student, I used to enjoying coming through Burlington. I followed along the water, crossed under the Skyway and over to the beaches near East Hamilton. Just before stopping at Hutches for lunch, another voice came from behind me.


“Those are quite the blades,” he said as he approached me on his bike.


I got chatting with Matt for a few minutes and was telling him about what I was doing. He was extremely interested and started telling me about his plans to bicycle across Canada for cancer research. Mat was very encouraging and really hope to hear from him again. Matt, let me know if you do end up biking across. You’ve got a place to stay in Vancouver.


I had my afternoon lunch and nap and tried to escape from the searing heat from the sun above. The summer was in full force today. But the heat wouldn’t stop my Aunt from racing. Lynda had been in a triathlon in Guelph before her and my Uncle Ron met up with us at the beaches. I headed off towards Niagara Falls along the North Service Road parallel to the QEW. I hadn’t gone very far when a little black car coming in the opposite direction pulled over. I knew right away that this guy had no intention on making a donation. He had a weird smirk on his face as if he knew who I was. And in fact he did. It was my cousin, Jeff! He’d driven down from St. Catherines to cycle with me for the rest of the day. He also brought his girlfriend, too. She seemed like a really nice girl, so I’m a bit confused how he’s convinced her to be with him. Just kidding, Jeff.


I continued skating with Jeff cycling beside me until reaching the town of Vineland. I was only a few kilometers from St. Catherines now. We decided to stop here for the day since I had to be back at the Boston Pizza in Grimsby for a reception. I just had enough time to drive into Jeff’s place for a quick shower and head back to the restaurant.


This reception was better than expected. Even though I don’t know anyone in Grimsby, the familiar faces started rolling through the doors. Leading the charge was Ian, Danielle and baby Evan. It was my first glimpse of Ian’s baby boy, and I’m happy to say he looks more like Danielle! Bruce and Barb Darnley showed up to say Hi and have some food. I had stayed with Bruce and Barb’s daughter, Trish, when I was in Halifax. Carrie, and old friend from McMaster, and fiancee Tom made an appearance. And of course the family was there. My dad made his typical rounds through the restaurant letting people know I was there when he came across a woman and her husband who mentioned they had already see me before. Coincidently, this couple had been in Kingston the day I had rolled through. They had seen me being interviewed by CKWS in front of City Hall. And now it was another coincidence that they were here at the Boston Pizza today! You never know when your paths will cross again. It’s a small world.


It was nice being able to hand people a business card so they’ll remember the website and they can check it out when they have a chance. Thanks again to ehGRPHX for to donated cards.
We drove back to Welland where my Aunt and Uncle live so that we could indulge in some more luxuries. My parents got the short end of the stick, though. The Best Western Rose City Suites has donated a room for me for the next 2 nights! But my folks don’t have it too bad. They’ll be staying at Ron and Lynda’s.


I’ll be skating in the Niagara area for the next couple days and then I’ll head toward Brantford and London. So if anyone knows Walter Gretzky or how to get in touch with him, please let me know. I know Walter raises money for Lung Cancer ever since Phylis passed away, and I think it would be amazing to meet him. I should be in Brantford late on Wednesday. But for now, I’m going to enjoy the comfort of my own room at the hotel!

Posted in Daily Journal | 2 Comments »


2 Responses to “June 24”

  1. Leah Says:

    Enjoy your time in Niagara! Maybe I will see you on the bumpy roads of Niagara Falls. You are doing a wonderful thing, quite the motivation. You truly show people that ONE PERSON CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!! Keep it up….enjoy the ride.

  2. David Says:

    Good Morning..

    Hope you don’t melt out there — real scorcher!
    I’m glad you liked the record painting… you’ll have to keep a sharp eye on your Mom to make sure
    she doesn’t nab it for herself 🙂

    Keep up the great work and fantastic journal entries, my wife Noreen looks forward to reading them!
    I wish you continued success and a safe journey.

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