Thursday, January 19, 2012

Days 145, 146, and 147 Kenora, Ontario to Sainte Anne, Manitoba

Day 145 in Kenora, Ontario, looking out the hotel room window, I see the lake of the woods, I also see it's really cold. We have a day off, might be a good day to stay in.

At some point I do have to get down there and clean the shuttle bus, a spring cleaning sounds nice.

The view from the restaurant

Towards downtown.

They are stealing my material, I'm the only one that gets to be that corny!

A map of Lake of the Woods. Spanning Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota, it contains over 14,500 islands.
The stairwell maze. Besides going to the gym across the street and going for dinner with Ross and Jeremy later, it was a pretty casual day.

Day 146 was an event day, with a couple of school presentations. I had some time to do a couple of on the road chores, so it was off to the laundromat.

Hello Roxie! The resident mascot of the laundromat.

It was right downtown Kenora, so we had time to look around while our clothes were washing and drying.

Quality time for Marilyn and Mike, who doesn't like Bartholomew the Beaver?

Getting a pic at Donnie B's, an electronics shop downtown. It was more of a show of respect for our own Transportation manager, Donnie B.!
Yah, a painted mural of a beaver, that's as close to the real thing as I will ever get.

The original name of Kenora.

Kenora City Hall, built in 1898

Along the shores of Lake of the Woods.

Where we had to go see Husky, the world's largest Muskie (short for Muskellunge)

He is a thing of beauty, I remember seeing this aquatic vertebrate on the Olympic Torch Relay, it even had the olympic red mittens on his fins!

On the way back to the hotel I saw these boat docks specifically set up for boaters to pull in to the Safeway for a little grocery shopping.

Tyrone doing a little moonlighting at the hotel front desk?

Hank is in fine form today!

A day later I finally got out to my shuttle bus to clean it up to hand it over to the driver using it next week.
Off to Canadian Tire with Don and Hank for some cleaning supplies and lock de-ice (and a snickers bar, it was past lunch)

Final job for the day, cleaning the command vehicle that rides in the convoy behind the medal bearer, that is my scheduled duties for the next week.

Day 147 sunny, clear, and cold as we get ready to leave Ontario after almost 3 months!
And farewell to Kenora, the home of the 1907 stanley cup champion Thistles!

Fabulous, it will warm up to minus 22 by this afternoon, phew, I was worried it may not get that balmy. 

Start of day 147 was another school presentation, this time at the Lakewood Public School in Kenora
One of the lessons of the cold weather, we left the hand cycle for our endurance athlete in the motorhome for 2 days. This included the cushions for the seat. They were frozen so Marilyn sacrificed herself by sitting on them in the gymnasium of the school trying to warm them up.

Driving the command vehicle gives you the best seat in the house, and you get to stay warm!

One of the endurance segments of the relay, where Joey rides his hand cycle, this time for about 5 and half kilometers

Bryn taking a shot of the last medal bearers for Kenora, from right to left, Sydney, Bruce, and Taylor, who was nominated by her school, Keewatin Public School

What Bryn, your cold? Speak up, I can't hear you over the heater fans!
The last school stop in Ontario

A very brief talk about the relay outside the school, and a chance to thank the students for their support. Then a little warm-up dance to get the blood flowing.

The students did a report on the Rick Hansen story, here is a small part of their work on the wall in the hallway

Another relay milestone. We have now finished going through 6 provinces. To mark the occasion Joey, our endurance athlete, poses with the 25th anniversary medal at the Ontario/Manitoba border

The team vies to get the best pic of the moment. I think Kenn is risking frostbite on this one!

headin down the road to our first school stop in Manitoba, at the Falcon Beach School in Falcon Lake
A brisk walk into the school and our lunch stop for the day.

the picture says it all? or do we need a little more time in the gym, boys?

 Jeremy and Josh, no doubt about it !

The students spent a lot of time on their projects about Rick Hansen.

The school cooked us a hot lunch, chili, and stew, very tasty, and it warmed us up on this cold, cold day. Thanks to Falcon Beach school for looking after us!

All the students (apparently there are less than 60) wrote letters of support and encouragement for our team to deliver to Rick Hansen.

I read a few of them, very well thought out, and the kids definately have done their homework.

Falcon Lake is home to Megan Imrie who is an Olympic atlete who competes in biathlon

a blurry shot of Billy giving the students a presentation on Rick Hansen and the 25th anniversary relay

Another EMT (extraordinary mode of transport)  Gillian (sister of Megan Imrie) will carry the medal on her horse, for approx 1 1/2 kilometres

Another blurry shot, the horses rode by the school kids on the way to their destination at Falcon Beach ranch.

We were ahead of schedule so we stopped on the outskirts of St. Anne, Manitoba. CTV caught up with us there, and did a story on the medal bearers carrying the medal in the town.

Our second school stop in Manitoba, at Richer school in Ste. Anne, Manitoba

Thanks for having us!

A little frog pond in the hallway of the school.

The reporter from CTV jumped on the pace motorhome to film the medal bearers as they ran/walked their segments.

The students at Richer came out despite the cold to see the convoy off.

I did have the best seat today, here the medal bearers walk together down the streets of Ste. Anne, which has a population of just over 1500

Our end of day celebration for day 147 was at the Ste. Anne arena and curling rink.
Introducing the end of day medal bearer Jude. Here is his story:

I am a retired physical education teacher that taught in the Ste. Anne area for 27 years. Our classes were part of the relay that passed through our community. The students that participated in that relay were inspired by the determination of Mr. Hanson. He showed them that if you put your mind and will anything is possible. All of them told us that this was one of the most inspiring moments of their short lives and I am certain that it changed the attitudes of many students to be better people etc. Our goal at our school was to help the students to be physically and mentally fit to be able to function in a fast changing world. We know that lots of our students have had many life changing experiences and they have told us that we were part of the reason why these experiences happened to them. To be part of this relay at this time of my life would be an unbeleivable accomplishment for me and would bring back many memories of the first event

Ah yes, what would an E.O.D. be without the fist pumps of our warm-up dance. If you get bored, look up Katy Perry's firework song on you tube, then picture us and the medal bearers all jumping around in perfect synchronicity!

Since crossing the border into Manitoba, it just got flatter and flatter, and once the trees started to disappear as well it was flat for as far as the eye could see, quite a change from our drive from Sault Ste. Marie to Kenora. This was on the drive to Winnipeg, about 40 kilometres.

Winnipeg, population about 630,000 plus 25 relay staff that will be here for the next 9 nights!

Cold, cold, cold, time to bundle up kids!

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