Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 155 and 156 Headingley to Portage La Prairie, Manitoba

Day 155, last night in Winnipeg. I started my day by trying out these "soap nuts" that I got from my visit to Egli's sheep farm in Dryden, Ontario. They come from the Chinese soapberry tree .It was a miracle!, as 3 of these nuts in warm water cleaned a load of my clothes, and the best part is they are biodegradable, and each nut can be use up to 3 times. $ 4 bucks for 12 nuts, that's a deal in my book!

The sun rising over Winnipeg

Today Don, Hank, and I moved a couple of vehicles ahead to Portage la Prairie, about 90 west of Winnipeg. First we had to stop at Crown Honda in Winnipeg once again to drop off one of our Honda Odesseys for some maintenance.

It warmed up today to around freezing, which made the roads and the vehicles a mucky mess.

On the highway it was still a little icy in spots
2 nights in Portage La Prairie and 4 nights in Brandon coming up.

The wind was howling today, a lot of blowing snow, but really there wasn't that much on the ground to blow around.

I drove truck for a lot of years, but I never had a chance to pull two 53 foot trailers, like this combo. You see a lot of these units out here.

Downtown Portage la Prairie, population about 13,000

Portage la Prairie, home of the world's largest Coke can? and it's right behind our hotel.

On the way back we stopped in Headingley to pick up the relay pace motorhome which was also getting some work done on it.
really?  I saw this on the way back to the hotel, I did not try it!

Day 156, back to the Rick Hansen 25th anniversary relay. After 9 nights, (our longest stay anywhere to date) it was time to pack and say good-bye to our hotel and to Winnipeg.

The roads were wet on the way out of town, and whatever they spray on the roads to keep the ice off sticks to the vehicles like tar.

I was driving shuttle bus #3 this week with Jake, again, as the medal bearer host.

The GPS said this gravel road off of the Trans-Canada highway was the shortest way to downtown Oakville, Manitoba and to our only medal bearer meeting point of the day.

Chili seems to be the meal of choice these days. Back in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, it was all the hotdogs you can eat.
Our meeting point was at the Oakville school.

The bell from the original school that was built in 1906, but destroyed by fire in 1959

The icon of the prairies, the grain elevator

Downtown Oakville.
Jake and Mackenzie, the Oakville school nominee to carry the Rick Hansen medal. Here is her story:

The Oakville School student selected for the honour of serving as a Medal-Bearer on January 26th is Mackenzie. Presently in Grade 8,

Mackenzie is the Student Council President of Oakville School, a varsity athlete in multiple sports and an active community member. Despite her

tender age she has worked diligently to improve her community by serving at Senior citizen’s events, organizing children’s activities and

attending school Parent Council meetings. She is respectful to every person she comes into contact with and is an ideal role model for the

younger students at OVS.

These kids from the local Hutterite colony, designed their own medals in honor of the relay and to support their colony medal bearer, Elma.

School support for the 3 medal bearers in Oakville

 The lunch celebration and lunch were held at the Oakville community hall, just 1/2 a block from the school

Once again, the smaller communities know how to make us feel so welcome. The volunteer served homemade chili, and rolls. I had the moose chili of course, and wow it was soooooooooooo good!

Our M/C Billy chatting with the difference makers of the day.
The hall was full with townsfolk and most of the students from the school
Our relay commander, Otto, is on hand to accept a cheque from Elma. Her Hutterite colony raised a lot of money to donate to the Rick Hansen foundation. Here is her story:

I was severely burned in a house fire when I was four years old and have faced numerous obstacles in my life because of the burns I sustained.

However, to quote Rick Hansen, “Life happens to you, stuff happens that you can’t control, but it’s what you do with it that counts.” Because of

the support of the difference makers in my life: my community, family and friends, I was able to earn an Education Degree at Brandon

University and a Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Education from University of Manitoba. I`m currently the principal and primary teacher at

Brennan School, Elm River Colony where I reside. I have several students with learning challenges in my classroom who, on a regular basis,

motivate me to be “the best me that I can be” to create learning experiences and organize programs that will enable them to realize their fullest

potential. It is also on their behalf that I am honoured to participate in the Rick Hansen Medal Relay.


The Jakerator

After Oakville, Jake and I had to get going  to Portage La Prairie, it was our turn to sell merchandise (Rick Hansen t-shirts, souvenir medals, and his biography) (affectionately know as "merch") All proceeds go back to the Rick Hansen Foundation. Our pilot vehicle is leading the way, (randomly), up ahead on the left.

Our end of day celebration was at the William Glesby Centre, in Portage la Prairie.

Pretty close to a full house in the theatre tonight.

Billy addresses the crowd as our race director Jamie, and medal bearers Heather and Bryan look on.
Jake does a rousing rendition of  'O Canada'

The medal bearers of day 156, part of a crew of 7,000 thousand that will carry the medal across Canada. (how did Ronald sneak in there?!)

I guess he was there to get everyone pumped up with our warm-up dance!

There was extremely talented local talent entertaining us today. These young men really knew how to rock the crowd.

The Portage Vesna Ukrainian dancers.
This kid nailed it with his acoustic version of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train"

I am so glad to see young people carrying on the tradition of square dancing. These are the Metis Prairie Steppers. Super high energy to finish our end of day celebration.

Behind the hotel. My little camera did not capture how bright the moon and venus were tonight!

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