Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 86 and 87 Port Coborne to Simcoe to Tillsonburg, Ontario

One last shot of Niagra Falls. They have a light show that shines on the falls at night, not a bad way to relax in one's own room

Especially if you are being serenaded by your roomate, lol!

Start of our day today was at the Port Colborne High School

This is continuing to be a marvel. Apparently we have committed to over 1000 schools in Canada, and it makes me proud to see the students so enthusiastic about Rick's story and his message.

Our new endurance athlete Mark, waiting in the wings with Mike, ready to make his entrance.

Where else? McDonald's sponsor stop of course.
The Ronalds actually do a pretty good job of representing the company. Here he is with Andrea, medal bearer number 6 of the day. Here is her story.

Twenty-five years ago, I was 16, my family and I stood at the side of Highway 3 in Port Colborne and eagerly awaited the arrival of a Canadian

Hero, Rick Hansen. Now, twenty-five years later, I am writing to hopefully participate in the relay. On November 11, 2003, I contracted a rare

virus that left me paraplegic. At the time, I was working in Calgary as a music dream job. Due to recurring medical reasons, I had

to take a leave and return to my hometown. All of these sudden changes were a lot to handle. I have a saying that inspired me to reinvent my

life; "I may be changed by what has happened, but I refuse to be reduced by it." Although, I couldn't go back to teaching in a school setting, I

was determined to continue in another way. I started volunteering at the Port Care centre, to assist in their Adult Literacy Program. About a

year later, I was asked by the Parks and Recreation Director of our City, to join the Accessibility Committee. He thought that I would be an asset

in providing a unique perspective to changes that needed to be made with the goal of making our community more accessible. I conducted

sensitivity training sessions for business owners, providing them with suggestions on how to make their establishments inclusive for all. I am a

member of the CPA, visiting newly injured people, offering support. I assure them that they can still have a fullfilling life. It would be an honour

to participate in this relay, instead of watching by the side of the road.

Marylyn, in charge of our bike escorts, does a huge no-no, and gets on the bike of one of our police escorts.

Support from the Wainfleet, Ontario fire department.

Celebrating their school in Wainfleet

Let's just go from school to school that is the best part of the relay. Here we are at William E .Brown public school in Wainfleet. 

Our leader Jamie, talks to the students. High tech, we have a mic that works from the motorhome's sound system. Just don't ask me how it all works!
Josh giving high fives to the students!

Medal bearer Megan hanging with her peers outside of the school.

We ended up very early to our next school, so I was forced  off the road by our police escorts! Stand down, Monty!

Winger Public School in Wainfleet.

We always have a police escort. As we move ahead, we have to change our police as we cross into different jurisdictions. This is very prevelant in Ontario, as we change from city police forces to the Ontario Provincial Police. In this pic, we are saying good-bye to the Niagra Regional Police force. Thanks for all your support!
We were told this was one of the biggest things that have ever happened at their very rural school. Oh yes, they loved the dance.

Otto is holding a sign that this lady had brought to our attention. She carried it 25 years ago when Rick wheeled through Wainfleet.

These schools are so energizing. This is St. Michaels school in Dunville, Ontario

The Canadian flags are reminicent of the Olympic Torch Relay.

We are in Catholic country

I was outside by the motorhome while everyone was having lunch, and a teacher brought her students outside to take a picture of their signs. I was the only one outside when they did this. BRAVO!

Schools, schools, schools. This is J. L. Mitchner Public School in Cayuga, Ontario

Randon brush, can't be all medal bearers and schools!

A shot of one of our escorts, Luc, and the medals bearers, from my right side mirror.
Same mirror, Marylyn this time.

This is a too bad for me. We had a break in Port Dover, Ontario. It was a beautiful small cottage town on Lake Erie. The town ws right on the water, but our break was at this community center away from everything. In this pic is Jenn, another employee of the Olympic Torch relay that lives in the area and came out to support us. While she was there we had a short 10 minute snow squall, that reminded us that winter is on the way!

My view of the medal bearers through the rear view camera, except this time at 4:30 p.m. it is a lot darker than it was when we started in August. Our end of day was in Simcoe, but I had to miss it, there has been a strange vibration in the the drive-train of the motorhome and I had to take it to a mechanic shop to get checked out.

But day 87 brought another sunny day, this time in Simcoe. I first had to take the motorhome to a tire shop to get the front tires re-balanced, but the vibration lives for another day

Simcoe Composite School

I caught our photographer Bryn trying to take a picture of me in the side mirror, so I managed to beat him at his own game!
The school nominated Kelby to be their medal bearer

After she high fived the entire school, she had to come back and talk to the media

Sponsor stop at the Honda dealership in Simcoe

One of Honda/s ads include this epic picture of Rick Hansen going up the Great Wall of China. Rick himself still pulls out this picture at times when he needs to motivate himself.

There was also available these cardboard cut-outs of our Honda pilot vehicles, I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to put tab A into slot B, that's for sure!

Team meeting, let's make sure we are all on the same page
Long story short, out endurance athlete was supposed to ride for 20 KM, but the police decided it wasn't safe to drive on a provincial highway at slow speeds, so we drove ahead, and that put us way ahead of schedule. We ended up "standing down" at a golf course along side of the highway.

One more school this time in Delhi, Ontario

Now this is reminiscent of the Olympic torch relay, Canadian Pride!

Beautiful downtown Delhi

For once, we were on our own for lunch. The locals recommended this Hungarian restaurant.

It was a real cozy athmoshere, and the soup, cabbage rolls, and chicken left us all looking for a place to nap! The real reason it was so enjoyable was because of the staff  who worked there, especially Claire, who always kept us on our toes.
I was too full to drive, so I grabbed a ride back to the motorhome in the command vehicle

I checked in on a medal bearer breifing in Courtland, Ontario

We do not have this in B.C. I have noticed these large grasses on the side of the highway in Quebec and Ontario. Beauty, eh?

I can see there is a lot of celebration going on back there!

Sponsor stop in Tillsonburg, finally a Ronald I am not afraid of!

For the second night in a row I missed the End of Day celebration. Don, Marylyn and I had to take the motorhome to the carwash to polish it up for a future special occasion.

When we got back, we had supper waiting for us, provided by the Tillsonburg Lion's club. Don't look if you like Prime Rib, chicken, and all the fixin's

One of the traditions with the Lion's clubs is the collecting of pins, something the relay staff (including me) are getting caught up in.

Omg, my end of day celebration was seeing this piece of plywood Stompin Tom Connors gave to the Lion's club. I was the only one on the relay that new he sang a song about Tillsonburg, which used to be a big tobacco growing area. I still have his autographed album when I saw him in Penticton a long time ago. He used to kick the plywood with his heel while he was entertaining. Thanks to the people of the Lion's club of Tillsonburg, they treated us like gokd, and made us feel like we were at home.
So now as my tribute to Stompin Tom, here is the lyrics to Tillsonburg, you will have to find your own methods to here the melody.

Hey Tom, You ever been to Tillsonburg?
Tillsonburg? My back still aches when I hear that word
While, a way down Southern Ontario
I never had a nickle or a dime to show
A fella beeped up in an automobile
He said "You'll want to work in the Tobacco field's of

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg) x2
My back still aches when I hear that word

He said I'll only give ya seven bucks a day
But if you're any good you'll get a raise in pay
Your beds already on the bunkhouse floor
If it gets a little chilly ya can close the door

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg)
It was Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg)
My back still aches when I hear that word

I was feelin' in the morning anything but fine
The farmer said I'm gonna teach ya how to brame
He said ya gotta dawn a pair of oil skin pants
If ya want to work in the Tobacco plants of

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg) x2
My back still aches when I hear that word

We landed in a field that was long and wide
With one ol' horse and five more guys
I asked them where to find the cigarette trees
When he said bend over I was ready to leave

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg) x2
My back still aches when I hear that word

He said just to pick the bottom leaves
And don't start crawling on your hands and knees
Prime your load cause you'll get no pay
For standin' there pickin' at your nose all day 'round

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg) x2
My back still aches when I hear that word

With a broken back bendin' over there
I was wet right through to the underwear
And it was stuck to my skin like glue
From the nicotine tar on the morning dew of

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg) x2
My back still aches when I hear that word

Now the nearest river was two miles from
The place where they was waitin' for the boat to come
When I heard some talk of makin' the kill
I was down the highway and over the hill from

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg) x2
My back still aches when I hear that word

Now there is one thing you can always bet
If I never smoke another cigarette
I might get taken in alot of deals
But I won't go workin' the tobacco fields of

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg) x2
My back still aches when I hear that word

My back still aches when I hear that word(x4)


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