Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 174 and 175, Herbert to Swift Current to Maple Creek Saskatchewan

Day 174. We had a later start today, so I had a chance to head downtown into Swift Current and hit the gym. This mural of a farm in Saskatchewan was on the side of the building.

hard to take a good pic when your puffing so hard!

Thanks Body Fit, great gym with all new machines and weights.

After the gym I headed back towards the hotel to pick up Jake.Our medal bearer meeting point was cancelled so we went to the end of day celebration in Swift Current to help with the event and work the merchandise table.

Soon enough we will be heading further west, all the way to Vancouver!
Our hotel is on the edge of town. Swift Current seems to be facing a bit of a building boom, there were quite a few stores, hotels, and businesses going up.

End of day was at another new community facility, the Iplex.

Ross and Argie filled in until we got there. Argie is on the road with us for a week from HQ in Richmond, she is part of our participant ops team.

the 1989 memorial cup winning team

A lot of NHL stars played their junior hockey in Swift Current, including Tiger Williams, ......

Burnaby Joe
And one of the all-time greats, Bryan Trottier, who won 4 stanley cups with the New York Islanders in 1980,1981,1982,1983

Jake, the merch-meister! Look at how neat that table is! (okay, the thanks goes to Natalie)

End of day interloper?, no, we love Ronald!

Here comes the Swift Current end of day medal bearer, Jayci! Here is her story:

On August 10, 2009, Jayci’s 16th birthday, she was a passenger in a car that rolled and left her with a C4-C5 spinal cord injury. She was told she wouldn’t have feeling or movement below the chest and may possibly never breathe on her own and have a trachea for life. The trachea was removed 3 months post injury. Today she can move both shoulders, her left arm and bend her elbow. She has feeling down her back and stomach and at times can feel light touch to her legs and feet. Her core strength continues to improve as well, and she is now able to sit on her own. She uses a power wheelchair right now as she doesn’t have enough strength in her right arm yet to work a manual chair.
Jayci has always been an active girl, enjoying all sports and excelling at everything she tried. Her remarkable recovery, which is ongoing, is due to; 1) she remains active through training at First Steps Wellness Centre in Regina, and Project Walk in Carlsbad, CA, which are intensive exercise-based recovery centres for people with spinal cord injury, and 2) she remains positive and has a spirit like no other. She is determined and she believes that one day she will walk again.
Jayci has been an inspiration to many, showing them that no matter how hard life gets or how bad things may seem, there is always hope and with hard work, determination and a positive outlook, anything is possible if you just believe. Despite her shyness, Jayci has begun to share her story and the benefits of staying active and positive with community youth. Jayci's dream is to one day attend university and become involved in spinal cord research.

There was an on-ice celebration as well today!

Standing room only, what a great turn-out!

A group shot as we say farewell to Ronald McDonald (this is one of a few Ronald's that have been with us on the relay. They have regions that they work, I believe this Ronald was with us in Manitoba and Saskatchewan)

The city of Swift Current was generous enough to offer free public skating after the end of day celebration.

There was a chili cook-off tonight, about 12 of the local businesses and service groups cooked their own chili recipies. You had a chance to sample each one, and when you picked the one you liked the most you made a donation to the Rick Hansen Foundation. It was a huge success!

You could not do an event without the support of the local volunteers, businesses, and supporters.

Stopped at the ATM on the way home, I never turn down a chance to be on camera!
Star light, star bright........... It looked more poetic with the naked eye!

Day 175, something we have seen very little of on this relay, snow. (albeit a light dusting)

Heading toward Medicine Hat, Alberta, I can not believe how fast we have relayed through Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Now were getting into oil country, one of the many oil pump jacks that we will see in the next few weeks.

Jake and I had a medal bearer meeting point in the quaint farm town of Gull Lake, Saskatchewan (population about 1,000)

As I have said before all of these farm towns look like they have seen more prosperous times.

When we got to the Gull Lake school for our meeting point the first thing I noticed was a map of Canada on the wall .  As I studied it, it sank in that we have already covered 8 provinces since Aug. 24, 2011, and covered a lot of kilometres.

Oops, somehow I have mixed up the order, this downtown pic was taken before we got to the school

The medal bearers share their stories.

Josh, the coolest guy on the relay. When we signed on, Rick Hansen gave us all an autographed ball cap that he received from the different communities he visited on his original man in motion tour 25 years ago. Josh's cap is from Gull Lake.

I like this cartoon, if you can't read it, it talks about how the rat runs away from all his problems, and the piggy says, wow , I didn't know it was that easy. Sounds a bit like someone I know, lol.
The Rick Hansen 25th anniversary tour came to Gull Lake today, and made a stop at the school. Here they are celebrating their own difference maker, Shane

One of our community stops today was at the Gull Lake special care centre.

Looking back in my side mirror, our police escorts (still makes me a little nervous, though)

Our last medal bearer of the day, Kyle. After Jake and I dropped him off, there were a couple of minutes for him to wait until his segment started.

There goes Kyle, riding along with our endurance athlete, Lonnie. Kyle Shaw is a Canadian Paralympic track athlete  that will be competing in the London 2012 Paralympics. Kyle is from the nearby town of Hazlet

here's  Kenn, escorting and knocking down the intersections as per usual.
The snow seemed to be confined to Swift Current, and Gull Lake. The farther west we went the more we saw the familiar brown landscape.

Cruisin into Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, population about 2,200

Maple Creek is the day 175 site for our end of day celebration.

Jake and I had an hour to kill before we did "merch" at the end of day celebration, and seeing as how we had not had lunch yet, we decided to try out the local cuisine.

The owners recommended the chicken dinner, so we went  for it. I do not know what they are feeding the chickens out here, but the pieces were huge!
I said I would give a plug !

The owner's nephew, Willie, came here from China 9 years ago. He says he loves it in Maple Creek. He was a pretty funny kid.

In a local paper, there was an ad for this bar in Maple Creek, it show this heritage building in the heart of downtown.

That is the building we saw outside of the restaurant building. This pic does it well, it really was quite dilapidated

Actually went in and mailed a letter.

and they had this poster up promoting the end of day celebration at the Centennial Park Arena. 

You do not see posters like this back in B.C.

Centennial Park Arena

Kyle with Vicky , a medal bearer in Swift Current, who came all the way from 1. Campbell River, B.C. on Vancouver Island to be part of the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen relay. (yes, she did have family out here), and 2. She came to Maple Creek to part of the end of day celebration. To be part of this relay is such an honour for so many people. They are posing with "Arbie", the mascot for RBC bank. Vicky and friends and family have taken Arbie all over the world, and the coincidence here is that Kyle worked for RBC (a sponsor) during the Olympic Torch Relay in 2010

The end of day medal bearer was Alex, a member of the local figure skating club, who did her segment on the ice.

Alex did a few laps while some of her peers at the skating club performed a routine for the supporters in attendance.

Afterwards, introduced my our MC, Jeremy, Alex came out, still in her skates, to the lobby to greet the attendees.

On the way to the hotel I came across this sign in front of a church like building. The Cowboy Church offers God's word and some good old country music!

Crossing the track back towards the Trans-Canada Highway

Westward Ho!

Even though end of day was in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, our hotel was in Medicine Hat, Alberta, about 103 Kilometres away, that meant crossing the border into Alberta.

And then there were two!  (provinces left, that is!)

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