Current Journal
July 1st - 15th 2006 Journal Entries

Searching for Air Conditioning

Saturday, July 15, 2006

It is very hot today. We are somewhere in the middle of nowhere, and the campground we are staying at is more of a parking lot than a camp ground. No real problem, but the electricity is getting cut whenever we turn on the air conditioning. I just turned it on again, so we'll see what happens.

Today is our last day in Alberta (power just cut out), and we are surely in the Prairies now. It's flat. I rode through the home town of Nickleback (a big Canadian rock band), and had a headwind most of the way.Therefore, it wasn't the most fun day. Oh well, it was still a pretty good day when you think about it.

I forgot to mention yesterday, Timothy wanted to stop at a local tea shop, so we did. It was called That's Crafty, and they had the best cinnomen buns I've ever had. The only problem with them was they were so big you couldn't eat one (Timothy and I shared one). It would be a long drive, but they were certainly worth it.

Distance today: 130km
Total Distance: 1354km

Searching for Dinosaurs

Friday, July 14, 2006

Today we are in Drumheller AB, the dinosaur capital of Canada. It's in the Badlands, which is a geogolical phenominon that you can't really describe. Most of the day was spent in a hilly version of the Prairies. Lots of farm land, mostly growing mustard seed. All of a sudden you dropped into a valley and the landscape is exposed rock with hundreds of layers of different colours. It's actually very beautiful, but it is a little strange.

We had a Home Hardware event today, and it was great. Mike, the manager in charge was fantastic and the BBQ was a success. Thanks for all the hard work everyone, especially Mike's kids who volunteered a beautiful sunny Friday to help out! I believe they raised close to $500, which will make a big difference in funding the research necessary to try and stop childhod cancer.

A few people in BC had suggested that we check out the Dinosaur Museum in Drumheller, and then the Mayor of Drumheller made the same suggestion. If the mayor suggests it, I always think it's a good thing to do. The museum was amazing, lots of dinosaurs and very interactive. The only problem I had was after reading A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (a great book) I learned that fossels are very rarely more than a bone or two. So the full sized dinosaurs with lots of bones are really fakes. Apparently, and I couldn't find anyone to ask at the museum, many times scientists will extrapulate from a few bones on the total shape and size of the animal, and then make the rest of the bones to fit. That said, it is still pretty amazing to see huge dinosaurs in person.

Tomorrow will be my last day in Alberta. Sometime on the ride on Sunday I'll be into Saskatchewan, and back into having to pay Provincial Sales Tax. So I'm doing all my shopping tomorrow. That's not really true, but it's interesting how Alberta has never had a provincial sales tax, even before the oil money allowed them to do anything they wanted. I wonder how they can do it but other provinces can't.

I was on SunTV tonight, and will post that in the press section as soon as I can. Last weeks interview as well as a few newspaper articles are now available on the Press page. I believe I was also in the Toronto Sun. The Sun articles are always great, if you get a chance, I believe every Friday for the rest of my trip I'll be featured.

Distance today: 145km
Total Distance: 1224km

Rest Day in Canmore - Take 2

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Again, very little to report. I should be in the Toronto Sun's Friday edition. I was interviewed via phone today. I'll also be on SunTV again tomorrow night (friday) sometime between 6 and 7pm Eastern. We'll be broadcasting from the Home Hardware in Drumheller AB, where there will be an event to raise some money for my ride.

I was reading Fortune magazine today, and it was about how Warren Buffet is giving away billions of dollars. It's a nobel thing, but what struck me was when he was asked about whether he'd leave money for his kids he said "I want them to have enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing." I thought it was a great thought.

The ride days are going to start getting longer now. The distance was less in the mountains because of the climbing but now that we're in the flats I'll be going longer. It might take a couple of days for my body to get used to the extra hours that it will take. I'm sure I will get used to it quickly.

I updated the photo gallery too, so you can find some photos from the last week.

Rest Day in Canmore

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Not much to report today, since it is a rest day. I had lunch with my friend Brian Grasmuck, who now lives in Calgary. He took me out to a resturant called Route 40, where we had a nice lunch.

The clouds are rolling in over the mountains right now, so I suspect that we'll be having a big storm tonight. The hot tub at the Four Points Canmore is outside, so it will be interesting to sit in the hot tub while there is a storm.

Two Days in One

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

After I wrote yesterdays journal entry I had a funny thing happen. I was taking a shower and heard a man, who I believe was from Texas, complaining about the water taps. The taps were reversed, so when you turn on the 'cold' tap, hot water came out.

After hearing him complain about this, I went out and turned the 'cold' tap on and said "boy, that's nice hot water" "which tap did you turn?" "well the hot one, obviously" as I pointed to the tap on the right of the sink. He explained to me that it was supposed to be the cold tap, and I looked back at him as though he was crazy. I asked where he was from, and after being told he was American I said "oh, don't you guys have the metric water system down there?" He asked what the metric water system was, and I explained that because people are usually right handed and would rather wash their hands with warm water, it only makes sense that the hot water tap was on the right hand side. I think I convinced him that I was telling the truth.

We got into Canmore early today. Since the Four Points Sheraton, where we are graciously put up for the next three nights, doesn't allow you to check in until 3:30 and we were here at 9:30, I decided to keep on truckin' to Calgary. While I didn't make it the entire way, I am close enough where I'll be able to take two days off instead of just one. Therefore, while I am pretty tired and sore right now, it will be worth it whenI can sleep in and do nothing for the next two days.

I saw a farm of buffalo today. Which lead me to think about the difference between buffalo and bisson? In the back of my mind I think that they are the same animal but Americans call them one thing and we call them another. If that's true or not, I don't know.

We also officially left the mountains today. For those who haven't driven from the Rockies to Calgary or vice versa, the mountains just seem to end. I can't figure out why, but they don't go big to small and then to nothing, they simply seem to stop. There are still hills after the mountains end, but the mountains are 1500m and the hills are 150m so there is a big difference.

Distance today: 157km
Total Distance: 1079km

Alberta: Wild Rose Country

Monday, July 10, 2006

I am in Alberta! The second province in an eight province bike ride. We're staying in Lake Louise, and it is pouring rain right now. It was actually a wet bike ride today, so I didn't ride much further than Lake Louise. Lately we've been riding further, but the problem is that you then make it to your destination early the next day, so you ride further and the cycle perpetuates. There's no problem with it, but it seems to be a waste to ride further, drive back, and then drive back to the same spot the next day where I start again. So I think from now on we'll be trying to stay with the schedule. It was good to get ahead on days where there were mountains, but now that we're theoretically done those, it's not as useful.

I rode Kicking Horse pass today, the highest peak that I'll do on the trip. It wasn't too bad. Compared to the ones I did at the beginning of the trip, these last two big days were easy. The hills were long, but they didn't seem as steep as the ones on Day 3 and 4.

Lake Louise Provincial Park has a bear alert (the place where tents camp has an electric fence around it), cougar alert and wolf alert. So far I've seen a chipmunk.

Starting tomorrow, we've got three nights at a hotel in Canmore Alberta, just outside Banff. It will be nice to have a shower, tv and king size bed all in the same room.

Distance today: 58km
Total Distance: 922.1km

Be Careful What You Wish For

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Yesterday I mentioned how hot and sunny it had been. Right now it is both sunny and hot. That said, most of the ride today was cool and a little wet. Oh well.

Looking at the map I believe I hit Alberta tomorrow. Today we entered Mountain Time (I think that's what it's called.) So I gained an hour. Roger's Pass was surprisingly easy. Tomorrow is Kicking Horse Pass, the highest elevation that I'll reach on this trip. I believe it is 1650m.

I saw five mountain goats today. They were just standing by the side of the road eating grass. We're in Golden BC, and there is a big river that flows through the town (Kicking Horse River) and it is very green. I'm not sure why, but it looks very green.

I saw some glaciers today on the top of a few mountains. I was riding through Glacier National Park, so it makes sense that you'd see them there. There were also a bunch of snow sheds, which is basically a roof over the road. I guess to ensure that an avalanche didn't cover the road. They are very similar to tunnels; it's a bit nerve racking to have 18 wheelers zoom by you at full speed in a tunnel. I wasn't any closer to them than I would on the highway, but it seemed tht way because there were walls around you.

Distance today: 120km
Total Distance: 865.3km

One Week Done

Saturday, July 8, 2006

One week ago today we left Vancouver. So one week, 745 Km and a bunch of mountains are behind us.

I was wrong yesterday when I said we'd hit big mountains today. There were some big hills and long inclines but nothing like a mountain pass. Apparently tomorrow I do Roger's Pass which is 1200m in elevation. So that should be a long day.

The campsite we are staying at tonight has free wireless internet (though it's very slow) but you have to pay for showers. They also gave you warnings about bears. So I might have some good stories to report tomorrow. I doubt we'll see a bear, but if we do, I'll attempt to do something stupid I'm sure.

Not much else is new here. It's very hot again. Apparently the weather doesn't know that I'm trying to ride a bike, so it just stays hot and sunny.
Distance today: 109km
Total Distance: 745.3km

Biking for Bibles

Friday, July 7, 2006

Today was a ride from Vernon to Sickamous BC. The ride was flat and the wind was behind me so I finished the day early. Therefore I did another 40km of tomorrow's ride. Along the way I stopped at the Last Spike, which is a tourist attraction showing where the last spike of the Canadian Railroad was supposedly done. While there I saw 50+ riders who are riding across Canada to raise money to buy bibles for people. Therefore, they were called Biking for Bibles. They are averaging 153km a day, so they will hit St. John's on September 4th. They all seemed nice and had matching outfits. There were 120 people on the road, with 50+ riders and the rest being support staff. Good luck to them. You can check their progress at Bikes for Bibles.

The temperature the last two days has been cooler. So it is better to ride in. Tomorrow will be big mountains, so I am looking forward to having them done with. I believe there are basically two more days of mountains and the rest will be relatively easy. The next two days though, will be very difficult.

Distance today: 120.6km
Total Distance: 636.3km

Rest Day in Vernon

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Today was the first of seven rest days on this trip. It was a good day, the weather cooled off and therefore it was more enjoyable. Diana, from the James Fund, is from Vernon so Timothy and I were able to spend the afternoon sailing with one set of friends and the evening have a nice BBQ and powerboat ride with another set of friends.

Tomorrow is supposed to be relatively flat and then we hit the last two days in the mountains. I will be appearing on Sun TV's newscast tomorrow night. I believe it is called Canoe TV. It is on from 6-7pm Eastern. You can also find it on the web if you miss it. That should be interesting. I also had an interview with the Toronto Sun today and that will be in Saturday's paper.

Rest days are designed to be uneventful, and while I had a good time today I am now pretty tired. So off to bed I go.

It sure is hot!

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Today was another Home Hardware event in Vernon. It was also a great success. My step-sister Suzanne showed up to say hello which was very nice. I don't get to see her very often, since she lives out here and I live in Toronto. We joked about how you are either a person who can live in Toronto or a person who can live in Kelowna. Apparently you can't be both.

I got another flat tire today, so I switched my back tire. Olympia Cycle and Ski in Vernon was nice enough to give my bike the once over and switched the tire for me. Apparently there was a flat spot on the tire which made it flatten easier. So, for those who are keeping track, after 4500km your back tire is likely going to need replacement. The front tire was fine (from what I've read, you change that every other time you change the back tire), and they were nice enough to give me a pump I can keep on the bike.

Apparently a few people noticed that yesterday I didn't update the journal. I had written the update and when I was uploading it, the battery on my laptop died. BC provincial parks don't have electrical outlets, so I couldn't plug anything in to charge. My iPod died too, so it was a longer ride today, since I couldn't listen to music.So there was no update. That might happen from time to time.

Tomorrow is a day off, so I'll be enjoying the local flavour of Vernon BC. Apparently there will be some sailing involved, which will be interesting because I haven't seen much wind around here. I'm sure it will be nice either way. I'll try to update some photos, so keep your eyes open. Timothy and I were lucky enough to be able to stay in hotels for the rest day, so thank you to Best Western Vernon Lodge and Sandmann Inn.

Distance today: 98.3km
Total Distance: 535.7km

First Home Hardware Event was a success!

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Today was the first Home Hardware event in Penticton. It was very successful, and I want to thank everyone involved because it was obviously a lot of work. We raised another $500 for my ride, which is very nice. They had a BBQ and sold both the Hope dog tags (available for $10 from our Ontario representative, my Mom) and the "Ya Can't Let Cancer Ruin Your Day" book, written by Syd Birrell.

The media interest was great. I believe there were two TV stations that interviewed me, two radio stations, an Internet site and a newspaper. It's funny because they all want the same picture of me: riding a bike down the street. I'm getting to become an expert at riding at the correct speed and the correct distance away from the camera. The first TV interview was set up outside a mall, so while we waited for the guy to show up I did a little shopping. While looking at magazines a retired lady came up to me and said "are you the guy whose riding across Canada?" and I said "yes", and she wished me a safe trip. It was very nice, and a little strange that standing in a store in spandex gets you recognized. Usually people just look at you strangely.

Otherwise the ride today was nice. The first half of the ride was completely flat and so I travelled 60 km before breakfast and was feeling good. The second half was back to normal BC riding: lots of hills. The trip today was supposed to be only 110 km or so, but our campsite tonight was 26 km from Penticton towards Vernon (tomorrow's destination) so I rode it. That way we don't have to drive back tomorrow for me to start. Unfortunately, the wind was in my face for some of the ride (we're heading north now) and the hills were pretty big. But, eventually it got done.

Ten minutes after we got here and set up the RV it started to downpour. I'm certainly glad I wasn't riding at that point. The rain drops were huge and I prefer not to get soaked and have to continue riding. I know it will happen on this trip and I can accept that and will have no problem with it but I don't want it to happen.

Tomorrow we go to Vernon and another Home Hardware event. I'm excited to meet more people. The day after is a rest day, so it will be interesting to just relax. The maps seem to suggest that the mountains get pretty big after Vernon, so I better enjoy the rest!

Note: BC Provincial parks don't have electricity. My computer's battery died, so I couldn't put this up in time.

Distance today: 136.8km
Total Distance: 437.4km

"I drove by you up that mountain, how did you make it up?"

Monday, July 3, 2006

I was hoping today was going to be flat. It was not. There were two major mountain passes that I rode today. Neither were very fun, and both took a LONG time. I can't decide if it's a bad thing or a good thing, but most of the mountain roads that I've climbed zig-zag. The good thing is that you don't sit at the bottom and realize how much you have to climb, the bad thing is that you're never sure when you're done.

We had our first rain today. It was a sun shower and happened after the riding was done. Right now it's bright and sunny and hot. On one of the mountains I noticed my bike computer say it was 40 degrees celsius. I've been using a lot of Eload, a product designed to help you deal with heat and put back the 'things' you sweat out. It works like Gatorade pretends to work. It's pretty amazing actually because after all that riding and all those mountains I've yet to feel a cramp or get dehydrated.

We are staying at the Princton Muncipal RV park in Princton BC tonight. They were generous enough to let us stay for free tonight and to make a nice donation to the cause. It's great when other people are as excited about this trip and the cause as Timothy and I are. The great thing about this park is it's right on the big river that runs through town. So we will be eating dinner right beside the water and enjoying the sounds of the flowing water. If you are in this area, it's a great park to stay at.

Quick Fact: I was just told that Sunshine Valley, the place that claimed to be only six kilometres away from where i was yesterday and caused me to climb the biggest mountain around here, was once a Japanese enternment camp during WWII. Apparently it was so remote (there was only the Trans-Canada Highway back then) and at the base of such a big mountain that they had a huge camp there. A shameful part of Canadian history, but one we should remember anyway.

Carla Clark from the Similkarmeen Spotlight came by to interview me today. She was great and seemed really interested in the James Fund and trying to ensure that we can improve the odds for the children diagnosed with the disease. Some people reading this might not know, but Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the central nervous system that really only affects children. Any money we raise will go to help better the odds for the children diagnosed with this terrible disease. The James Fund website has a lot of information if you're interested in learning more.

Tomorrow we ride into Penticton, and our first Home Hardware event. I'm looking forward to that! It should be great to meet the locals. The people you meet in the RV park are all tourists too, and while they are interesting it's nice to be able to meet people who know about the town.

Distance today: 119km
Total Distance: 301.4km

"It's only six more km"

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Today's ride was supposed to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 83km. We left at 6am, and were done by 10:30. So I decided to do a little of tomorrows ride. I knew that tomorrow would be the first day where I hit the mountains, what I didn't know was I would hit them at the beginning.

I did my first mountain pass, and it was hard but reasonable. I got down to the other side and continued riding for another five or six km, when I met up with Timothy again and he suggested we stop for the day rather than overdo it. We decided to ride another 200m, to the rest stop. That way we'd know where to start tomorrow.

At the rest stop was a sign saying "Sunshine Valley - 6KM", I had done 90+ km already, so what's another six? Little did I know that it was literally 6km straight up. I have NEVER been on a hill like that. I made it up eventually, stopping probably five times to ensure I didn't have a heart attack. The mountain went on and on and on, and on some more. It was not enjoyable in anyway. Eventually I made it up, and got to ride down, which was much more enjoyable.

Apparently those two mountains were the only two real mountains I'll see tomorrow, and really the only two I'll see until Thursday or Friday. So it is nice that they are done, but it will teach me from ever thinking that six km would be an easy ride when I see the road ahead start going up.

We drove back to Hope where we are staying tonight and found a nice campsite. Free showers (a rarity according to my Mom) and cable tv. I made use of both! We met a couple from England who had won a trip to Canada from their local camping assocation. They got a free RV, plane tickets and spending money. They seem to really like the mountains, but they love the fact that compared to back home there is basically no traffic on the roads.

The misquitos are quite bad here, so I'm sitting in the RV typing this. I hope this finds everyone well.

Distance today: 106km
Total Distance: 182km

Finally, it starts!

Saturday, July 1, 2006

I am sitting in the RV in Mission BC, day 1 is over! This afternoon was a very nice ceremony at the Planetarium on the campus of UBC. I dipped my wheel into the water and met a bunch of great people. I met two young boys who are fighting Neuroblastoma right now. It was great to see how happy and positive they were. Saying goodbye is never easy, but I knew I'd see my Mom in a month and a half and everyone else at some point, so it wasn't too bad. It was very nice of my Mom to fly out though, it meant a lot.

I then left UBC and started on my way. I got another flat (I have to watch for broken glass on the road, there seems to be a lot of it) and while searching for a gas station I was offered a ride by Seanna and her two sons, who were actually just going to pick up a new bike. They were great and saved me a lot of time getting air.

I rode the rest of the way with little problems. BC has nice scenery and big shoulders on the road, which are very nice to ride on (other than the aforementioned glass).

Tomorrow will be the first real day of riding. The distance won't be that long, but I'll be starting on the road around 6am. That will be a little shocking to my body!

Distance: 76km


all material copyright canadawide for cancer 2005-06.