Sunday, April 8, 2012

Days 220,221, and 222, Kamloops to Vernon, B.C. (with a detour to Sun Peaks)

Day 220 on the Rick Hansen 25th anniversary relay. As I look out over Kamloops and the surrounding valley from the hotel parking lot, I get a feeling the next two days are going to be quite special.

A short 60 kilometre drive from the hotel to our destination.

Which is over there somewhere.

That was our last night in Kamloops.
Heading north on the Highway 5 (the Yellowhead highway) These hill are the remnants from a forest fire that went through here in 2003

Does not look much like winter around here anymore

Maybe if we head up to Sun Peaks Ski Resort, we will find snow. We will spend our next two nights up at the ski hill, a nice break from the relay and a chance for a lot of us to try out our ski legs.

I see snow!
Sun Peaks has changed a lot since I was last up here some 20 years ago.

Beautiful little village, and the weather was awesome, just above freezing at the base of the mountain.

We stayed at the Delta Hotel at Sun Peaks.

That's an OK view from our hotel window
One of the employees knew how to relax as the conveyor took him to the top of the t-bar.

There's Luc, (who was one of our pilot drivers for the first part of the relay), looking smooth on his snowboard.

Jeremy and Andrew

They weren't  too far behind, I was on skiis and a little bit farther behind, it was only my second time skiing in the last 25 years!
what a day, I feel pretty blessed sometimes.

Jeremy and moi, all smiles going up the chair-lift!

the boys hangin out, Billy, Andrew, Jeremy, and Luc.

Afterwards skiing, it was time for a cool beverage after all that work. Cheers Lisa! (part of our Marcomms team)
Hank and Russ doing their best lumber-jack impressions!

Day 221, looking out the window, a little overcast, but looks like another ski day!

there was a couple of centimetres of fresh snow today as well.

top of the world!
Russ is modelling for the next ski magazine

The staff at Sun Peaks outfitted our endurance athlete Tyrone with a sit-ski, a ski designed for disabled people to be able to enjoy the slopes. They also had a toboggan with a ski, that Jake could ride in, with a driver on the back, kind of like a dogsled. Here is an example of a sit-ski

And only one casualty, Wendy twisted injured her knee, but this shot makes it look a lot worse, she got a ride down the hill by the ski patrol to get checked out at the first aid building.

Day 222, time to dust the snow off of the shuttle and get back to work. Kyle and I had to leave Sun Peaks at 6AM to be at our medal bearer meeting point back at the Tournament Capital Centre in Kamloops.
On the way down it was snowing and the roads were really slippery, I hope this is the last of the winter road conditions.

Cold and rainy in Kamloops.

the daffodils are doing there best to bloom despite the snow in the planter

for a 7 am meeting, these medal bearers were pumped and ready to go, one of the liveliest early morning groups I have seen on the relay.
the medal bearers are ready to go, they just need someone to drive the bus, I guess I better quit taking pics and go get the bus!

Me taking a picture of Teresa video-taping me! She has her own blog and youtube channel called Teresa the Traveler

I encourage people in my community to be active through my YouTube channel called Teresa the Traveler. I film myself and friends exploring

the parks, historical sites and places of interest and give information to people so they can take their own families on day trips as a way of

keeping active and making long lasting memories.

The rain stopped and it ended up being a nice morning as the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen relay wound it's way along the Thompson River.

9 year old Bronsen is all set and ready for his segment. Bronsen was nominated by another medal bearer today, Audrey, and they did their segments together. Here is her story:

I am an Educational Assistant working in the Kamloops School District. For the past three years I have worked with a little boy (nine now) who

is in a wheelchair. He has a severe neurological disorder that occurred at age three. The virus that attacked his brain has affected his entire

body but limited the use of his right arm/hand and both legs. He is cognitively as capable as his peers. I work everyday to provide an inclusive,

safe educational environment for him and all children in our school. Through him I teach others to not only accept differences, but to embrace

them in all people. I try to instill in him (and all children) that working with determination and humour :) is worth it to overcome challenges and

reach personal goals. He is noticing his differences more than ever and can, at times, get discouraged. I would be overjoyed to participate in

the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay, but I'd like to participate by pushing this young man's wheelchair. He would be able to wheel himself a

short distance (no small feat) and I can push him the rest of the way. I know that the age restriction is 13-years-old, but I would like you to

consider this application jointly. I think our story together would be an inspiration, worthy of sharing with others, especially children. What

better way to show case Mr. Hansen's Anniversary Relay than by showing a young man with the same strength and determination.
The convoy is right on my tail! Time to get out of Kamloops,

and head towards our new home for the next 2 nights, Vernon, B.C.

But first Kyle and I had one more medal bearer meeting point, in Falkland.

Cruising through Monte Lake, (no relation)
Snow level is pretty low.

Before we got to Falkland, Russ (our community engagement specialist) told us we had to stop at the Westwold General Store in Westwold, a tiny hamlet between Kamloops and Vernon. Rumour had it the donuts were the best around.

The lady that owned the store personally made Kyle and I our own donut, and she had already put a batch away for the relay convoy when they came through.

Kyle is sold with his sprinkle donut.

I went  for the chocolate, and I must say it was very light, and very good, especially being still hot!
I know it as day 222, but it must be Sunday, church is in in Westwold.

Falkland, just down the road from Westwold

Heading into town. Falkland has about 600 residents.

Also home of the 94th Falkland Stamepede an annual Victoria Day long weekend rodeo.

spotted a couple of wild (maybe tame) turkeys behind the rodeo grounds

The wild wild west.

Apparently Falkland is recognized for one of the largest Canada flags. This is a zoom shot.
There it is on Gyp mountain.

We only had 3 meal bearers in our group at the Falkland community hall.

I am really not sorry I missed this event!

A cozy group shot.
Another EMT (extraordinary mode of transport), the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen medal will be worn by one of the medal bearers while he drives this stock car at the Motoplex speedway just outside of Vernon.  (unfortunately Kyle and I had to get going to the end of day celebration in Vernon, and had to miss it.)

Getting closer to my stompin grounds, Vernon, (population about 38,000)

An outdoor celebration at Polson Park.

Send in the clowns, these ladies really brightened the event.
The Vernon PipeBand escorted in he final medal bearer of the day Josh Dueck. Josh is a medal winning Paralympic skier. He is also the first person to do a back-flip in a sit-ski. This is the link to the you tube video. and here is Josh's story:

I’m a skier, a dreamer, and a freedom seeker.

I’m driven by my love for the mountains, and I’m always on the hunt for the next adventure to embark on or the next challenge to conquer.

While there’s still a lot to accomplish, my desire is to break down boundaries and find freedom from my disability have resulted in some pretty

major achievements: my recent debut in Mike Douglas’ award-winning short film, ‘Freedom Chair’; a gold medal in Mono Skier Cross at the

2011 X Games; a silver medal at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games; and a gold medal in downhill at the 2009 World Championship.

When time and weather permit, you’ll find me racing down courses or flying through the air as a freeskier. When I’m not fulfilling those

passions, I’m out sharing my love and zest for life with everyone I meet or I’m shaping my dreams into reality.

I attribute my success in life to being connected to the present moment. My motto is, "The only difference between the impossible and the

possible is one’s attitude.”

I enjoy spending time speaking to those within my community and challenging others to dream big, because how we see the world shapes what

we do!

Josh and Sonja, who won a gold medal in curling at the 2006 paralympics

Vernon put on a great end of day in Polson Park, with a lot of interactive events and food vendors. Unfortunately it was very cold that day, about plus 4 celsius, and the turn-out was a little bit less than hoped for.

polson park was right next to the downtown core

that's a wrap on day 222 time to go back to the hotel, and
chill out!

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