Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 88 and 89 Tillsonburg to St. Thomas to Leamington, Ontario

Day 88, a fresh start after a night at HoJo's. Rick Hansen stayed here on his original journey 25 years ago, and I think in his honor they have pretty well kept the place the same!

Start of day was at the Lion's Den, home of the local Lion's club that hosted our dinner the night previous at the Tillsonburg Community Center. Here is Bryn taking a photo of 3 awesome young difference makers, Ryan, Courteney, and Danae

This representative of the Lion's club presented Jamie (our relay director) with an Inuksuk figurine, to symbolize a safe journey for the relay crew! Many thanks!

Josh and Tyrone getting ready for their day as medal bearer escorts, with a little hamming it up I suspect.

Danae, getting into being in the spotlight, strikes a pose for the camera.

Long story made longer. When we are in endurance mode with our endurance athlete, if they are on the bike, we try to go 20 to 25 km an hour. Today the police decided we were holding up traffic on the highway, so we went into carrier mode, where everyone piles onto the motorhome and we go at highway speed. In the end we were almost 3 hours ahead of schedule going into Alymer, Ontario. So we stopped here for an extended break. I don't know what we are going to do to kill time.
Another relay first, let's just bowl a couple of games to keep the moral up. Left to right, Josh, Jeremy, Tyrone, Luc, Ross, and Kelly cannot believe their good fortune.

Josh is in the house (or bowling alley)

Old screens, but on the left you can barely see that I am in the lead. (you may have to take my word for it)

Forget the luck of the Irish, how bout the luck of the relay. At the bowling alley we were once again spoiled, this time with the self proclaimed best chicken wings in Ontario. Also included was pizza fries, and ice cream for dessert. I can see another trip to the gym in my future! The wings were very good, the hospitality better.

Many thanks again to the people at Cy's

Everyone on the relay is allowed to nominate one difference maker. Today Scott's (participant operations) chosen medal bearer was his mom, Dianne. Congrats!
Downtown Alymer

Reception in the park in Aylmer

This group sang the National Anthem while doing sign language as well.

No end of day celebration today. Oh no, time to get ready for another and probably only relay first. We were invited to be in the Christmas parade in St. Thomas. Natalie (region 1 co-ordinator), Marylyn, and Mark, our endurance athlete are already getting into the spirit

Marylyn and Karen get up on the roof to do the dirty work. (the men were more than happy to give their opinions on decorating from the ground) 
Changed the sign for tonight only. (thanking the people of St. Thomas for inviting us)

The moose is stoked!

So is the rat, Marylun zap-strapped it to the grill with the wreath. (we tried to throw it out in Toronto, but it keeps on rearing it's ugly head)

Very festive (hope it doesn't make anyone feel blue)

Don and Pat, (you add the caption)

Now me and Pat, that's amore!
The entire relay staff was involved in the parade, it was very cool to have them all walking in the parade with the motorhome.

Show time!

Okay, it was hard for me to take pictures while I was driving in the parade, with 20 of the staff close to my wheels, and with the crowds all around, and the horse and buggy ahead (had to dodge horse patties more than once), but it was fun. Crowd estimate was at 10,000. We did the dance numerous times, and on our sound system played Rick Hansen's St. Elmo's Fire  (Man in Motion). The crowds loved it. We also continued the relay over the course of the parade, 13 medal bearers participated and carried the medal.

Day 89, what a difference. It was a gorgeous sunrise in St. Thomas, Yesterday was just a memory.  I went from being in the show to behind the scenes, as it was my turn to drive the supply/luggage truck

The truck carries all our relay related supplies, including medal bearer uniforms. Also, one of the driver duties is to take the luggage to the next hotel. Even thought the end of day celebration was in Leamington, our hotel for the next three nights will be in Windsor, Ontarion.

Cruising on highway 3, a lot of farmland, and a lot quieter than the busiest highway in Canada, the 401
The GPS is a love hate relationship. Yes it helps, but you rely on it too much, and you start to lose your sense of direction. Here all I need to know is I have to make a right turn in 87 kilometres! Highway 3 is also the historic Talbot Trail

Very much rural farmland

I want to stay on the Talbot trail, but my camera is acting up, and the 401 is way faster.

but the traffic on 3 ??

So I did go onto the 401, and around this area there are hundreds of wind turbines, part of of an ever growning crop of wind farms

I was excited when I saw the city as I came over the hill towards Windsor. Most of this city view is actually Detroit.

On the way back from the parking lot to the hotel, I saw this sign regarding the border crossing from Windsor to Detroit. It is directly behind our hotel, and, well, you will have to click on the link to hear the whole story, what a feat of engineering!

outside of our hotel by the tunnel, and what a coincidence, Scotiabank is a relay sponsor.

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