June 28

June 29th, 2007

“Hey, I stayed in that hotel once! And I stayed in that one over there, too!”
The familiarity of the buildings in London was comforting, but it felt like I hadn’t been there in an eternity. When in actual fact I was just here not too long ago for DIV (some of my buddies may recall DIV). But the weird part about being here right now is that it was only this morning that I was still east of Brantford and the skating conditions were far from ideal.


I started the day well with a dual police escort through Brantford. The city wasn’t too busy, but being accompanied by an Officer or 2 is always reassuring. I paused briefly at mid town for an interview with the Brantford Expositor newspaper. The escort continued through the city and North over the 403 towards Paris. When the police finally left us and I had arrived in Brantford, I realized that my hopes to meet Walter had quickly faded. But no sense in dwelling. There are over 30 million other Canadians to focus my attention on. It would have been great to meet him, but I’m sure he’s a busy man.


After a quick stop at a gas bar in Paris, I was back on the road and heading for Woodstock. I had been asked by the Woodstock Sentinel newspaper to meet the reporter at the big cow on highway 2. There’s a lot of farm land in the area, so I wasn’t too sure if I’d be able to find the right big cow, but sure enough, there she was.


After another interview and a few quick photos, I’m sorry to say that the rest of the day unusually ordinary. I skated a lot, and then I skated some more. The road was straight and the wind was in my face as always.


I was supposed to be having a reception at the Boston Pizza on Wellington St in London. So when I knew I was getting close to the city, I started to push myself a bit harder. I finally took my blades of around 6:45pm but had to be at the restaurant for 7:00. But I was able to get us into the city limits all the way to airport road. I had done nearly 100 km today directly into the wind all day. But I’d made it. I was now in LLLLLLLondon!! (That long ‘L’ is for you, Jeff and Ryan).


While my dad drove us into Boston Pizza, I toweled of as much sweat as I could. I wasn’t too sure what to expect at the restaurant because we gave them very short notice that we were coming. But the managed to give us red carpet treatment when we arrived. They had a welcoming committee meet me in the parking lot where we snapped a few pictures before heading inside. I was also greeted by an old friend of mine, Sandra and her roommate Eileen, who live in London. We were settling into our seats when a loud voice came thundering from directly above my head.


“CAN I HAVE EVERYONE’S ATTENTION PLEASE!” the Manager, Sean bellowed. He proceeded to introduce me to the entire store and let everyone know what I was doing. It seems that every Boston Pizza has their own unique way of handling my reception, and this was no exception. This was definitely a first, and I think Sean has set new high standards for the rest of the Boston Pizza’s ahead of me. Everyone in the restaurant was genuinely interested and happy I was there. Many people ended up coming to meet me and make a donation. Thanks, Sean. Well done!


An interesting bit of History I just found out… Today was the day that Terry Fox passed away in 1981. And he was born on July 28, 1958. He shared the same birthday (except the year) as my girlfriend! you should feel special, Crystal!


After dinner, we drove back to Sandra’s place where we were able to park our RV, plug in the electricity and even indulge in a hot shower! I was great to see Sandra and meet her roommates. We haven’t seen each other in years, so it was nice to sit, relax and not think too much about rollerblading for a couple of hours. But that was short-lived. I had some planning to do for tomorrow. There is a Native Protest that we have been warned about by the Police department. So it’ll be an early morning so i can try to get through London before the protest begins.

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