This morning Scotty smiled, Ross and I finally realized who he was all along. Please tell me these pictures are not identical. Not only does he look shockingly similar to the Grinch but his angry and bitter personality 800 metres behind us has started to show. -Ryan Mac
Hey everyone, brother Rusty here to update you on our trip from Nelson to Creston today.. As I am sitting here writing this blog at a picnic table at our over-priced campground in Creston, it is hard for me to stop thinking about the paradise that was Nelson yesterday and early this morning… We woke up at the Morrison residence to pancakes, fresh fruit, bacon, green tea (obviously for Scotty) and fresh juice… This was by far the greatest breakfast I have had on my trip and probably in my life.. No offense Kathy Mack, I still love your french toast.. Needless to say, we were full of energy and ready to go for the day… Papa And Mama Morrison we miss your cooking already!
Before I get started on our day I just wanted to give my old stomping grounds, the Town of Comox Parks Department, which I worked at for over six years as a summer-student, a shout out. Prior to my departure on this two month ride, I went in there to visit my former work mates and was informed that all of these hard-working friends of mine had amassed a big pool, betting on how far old Rusty would make it across Canada.. There was a 5 dollar entrance fee and the person who guessed the spot closest to where I would be to exhausted to continue would win all the money… I was Shocked to here that 80% of them thought I wouldn’t make it past Hope! I was extremely angered by this, but then began analyzing my training regiment over the past couple of months, which consisted of riding Guthrie hill in Comox three times over (which I thought was comparable to the Rockies), ordering a hot and ready pizza by 5pm and watching the bachelor or any other garbage show on T.V with my mom by 8.. So realistically, I can’t really justify being saddened by this, as my training had me ready for a hot dog eating contest, not an endurance trip like this..
Moving on, we left at 9:30 this morning, but it was different then most mornings, seeing we had to catch a ferry across Lake Kootenay at 11:30. Being 31km away we had to book it to make it in time, which actually sat well with us being satisfied by the earlier meal. The ride was beautiful, right a long the lake and with the sunny weather no one complained about the quicker pace then the average morning. We made it to the ferry 10 minutes before departure and actually picked up the Province Newspaper at the café there, which had an article on our trip in it… We made fun of Ryan for the rest of the day because the article had a big picture of him in a game this year playing Basketball for UVic and obviously none of us were in it.. Classic golden child Ryan getting all of the attention! Anyways, the ferry ride was unreal, and the best part about it was that it was free..
A common theme over this trip has been whenever we are super down on life, something happens to pick us right back up.. I don’t believe in fate or anything of that matter, but I am beginning to think something is happening to us… If you have been following us you have heard of us randomly running into the Michael J Fox Theatre, meeting our stranded German friend who saved us from the black bear, seeing mountain goats, foxes, badgers and more recently randomly meeting Harry and seeing a Grizzly bear just yesterday.. All of these moments have randomly occurred, but have definitely boosted the morale and helped us continue this journey… So I wasn’t to shocked when this next event happened. So as we biked off the ferry into Crawford Bay, who do we run in to who is parked at the ferry terminal waiting to go across? Our cousin Paul, who I haven’t seen in about 6 months and I know Scotty hasn’t seen him for at least 3 years.. For those of you who don’t know Paul, he is our Uncle Dave’s son, (Dave being the one who had rebuilt two of Baha’s bikes that we are taking across Canada)… He had no idea we were coming through this way at all and if that isn’t crazy I honestly don’t know what is… So we got to catch up with him for 5 minutes and he gave us a massive fruit salad prior to driving onto the ferry.. The rest of the day we called “the push for Paul”!
Today was by far the easiest leg of the trip.. Well for the two young bucks me and Ry at least! As Scotty mentioned earlier in a prior blog every single day someone tells us in the morning that “this part of the trip will be the most challenging for you guys” and we all put our heads down and walk out of the café or wherever we are to a day of pure torture.. Today, at least for myself, was not like this… I can honestly see a change of the guard in the family slowly shifting… Since I was born it was always Scotty and Neville having all the power and myself and Ryan having to deal with all the shananigans they put us through… Over the first week I have yet to breakdown mentally and I can see it in Scotty’s eyes everyday that he is losing confidence in his physical ability slowly.. Maybe it’s the extra weight I carry in my pouch that allows me to fly downhill at a rapid speed or maybe it is the little bit of air I deflate out of Scotty’s tires every morning that is inhibiting him from performing at his best… But whatever is happening there is a change happening with the Mackinnon boys… Usually when myself or any of the boys are looking for words of wisdom, we look to Scotty, but it is hard to look up to a guy that is finishing 30 minutes behind us every single day… Neville and Ry are starting to see my positivity and natural leadership abilities shine through and they are leaning towards me for words of wisdom and encouraging words… I can see Scotty slowly losing his role in the four of us and as much as it thrills me to see this happen, it worries me as well. I hope that Scotty can find his new self and role in our foursome sooner then later and we can ALL make this trip together!
Lastly, I wanted to give a HUGE thanks to both Highland Secondary and Mr. Rob Kinnear’s Social Studies 10 class at Oak Bay Secondary for following us and showing support for our trip! It means so much to all of us and I officially feel like Justin Bieber… Over the next couple weeks we are going to try and get CBC on board and to try and contact different celebrities so wish us luck.. Rusty out!
Howard Tsumara is a superstar for helping us out and getting our story out there! Thank you Howard, you are a great writer and we are all fans of yours.
We just wanted to say a huge Thank you to the Morrison Family, Sherri, Jon, Megan, Jana and Josh from Nelson,B.C.! We blogged earlier about having a crash and being down when we entered Nelson yesterday. The Morrison Family went above and beyond for us. With welcome signs (Which Russ now has taped to the back of his bike), a five course meal, showers, beers and about three hours of laughter. (We hope Josh does not forget us when he becomes Prime Minister of our great country, one smart kid that guy).Thanks to Jana for the night tour of Baker Street. Sherri and Jon made the most fantastic meal and we could not have had better conversation. We cannot say thanks enough for their hospitality, positive energy, excitement and interest in our trip and Baha. Nelson and this family are something truly special. We feel blessed to have been able to spend time with them and hope to again soon.
The Mackinnon Boys
Day 6 started for me at 3am in the morning. I have slept about 4 hours since this entire trip so far. Ryan says the bags under my eyes look like a hammock holding a 400 pound fat man, with the fraying rope on either side of the tree being my countless crows-feet. I thought that was quite witty. I wonder when they are going to pick a different part of my body to start making fun of, my horrific alien toes would be the next best bet. I hope it is soon as the crows-feet are starting to get sensitive.
Today started off early, We headed off at about 6am for brekkie at a local Grand Forks Café. Every café, gas station and local hang out we ever go to, when we ask how difficult our route is today, they always tell us that it is going to be the hardest day/summit of the trip and if you make this, you can make anything. I am not sure if it is localism, or if they really believe this but it always makes me smile to watch Russ’s shoulders slump disheartened as he finds out this news.
Our trip over Paulson Summit was ridiculous. An insanely long stretch of weaving, climbing hills that cuts directly through a pristine forest for 4 straight hours, I have now realized that my 10 sessions of spin classes with my disco dancing Filipino teacher and 10 rich foreign, expat wives in Manila did not quite prepare me for cycling across Canada. Paulson is a struggle to say the least. When we finally make it to the top we are rewarded with a massive hailstorm that hammers our spirits, luckily we have a pick me up.
Halfway down the mountain, completely unprepared and zoned out, I hear Ryan scream at the top of his lungs “bear”. Neville, Ry and I stop on the spot about 200 feet from the bear that is cautiously walking onto the road. Russ who is singing his favorite song “Call me maybe” does not hear us. 10 seconds later we hear Russ stop on a dime and scream "bear" in pure fear, almost going over his handlebars. We stop and talk to a passing motorist who tells us that it is a small grizzly and to keep our distance. Without our bear taming German we are a little more hesitant. The grizzly who looks dazed, disorientated and confused wobbles up onto the road, it is sickly skinny and its loose skin hangs from its weak body. We immediately start to give Russ a hard time saying that is what he is going to look like that after our 2-month cycling trip. Neville who is the boldest and bravest of us waits for the bear to cross and then rifles past it, knowing Sean is the smartest I follow right on his tail along with Ryan. For some reason Russ stays put. Russ reaches into his bag and pulls out his video camera, we watch as Russ starts to rock his bike back and forth, he then rifles into top Russ warp speed, seated in perfect aerodynamic position, head tucked flying down the road, I have never seen the big guy move this fast before. He beelines straight towards the grizzly the camera pointed straight at it, Russ swerves quickly to his right and swoops past the grizz for an unbelievable dive bomb of a 15-20 foot video shot well commentating. It is the most impressive thing I have ever seen him do. Russ is flying down to where we are, celebrating and pumping his fists only to realize he left the camera on pause and he has no footage. And so goes the life of Brother Rusty.
Whoever the biking gods are they made the descent into Castlegar from Paulson Summit. An hour and a half drop into a powerful forest, the fresh mountain air awakes all your senses! The four of us have never been so happy! I really wish we could have done this with Baha as I would have loved to have seen the smile on his face going down that hill.
It is amazing to see Ryan struggle on a bicycle. For being such an accomplished athlete, I have never seen a more awkward person on a bike. His go-go gadget arms and pogo stick legs shoot out in every which direction which constantly throws him off balance, he has gone down more than anyone so far which is surprising and awesome all at once. Brother Russ on the other hand is like an Olympic gymnast on his bike, any downhill ride, Russ stretches every part of his body, he pretty much does a downward dog pose on his bike. Russ is at his best going downhill, it is kind of his thing. He attributes it to years of practice of getting comfortable on our living room couch.
Speaking off our couch.
It is hilarious to see the highs and lows that each of us experiences during this trip. The whole range of human emotions takes place. For example during our painfully long ascent to Paulson Summit, Brother Russ was looking quite rough and fatigued so I pulled in beside him to see how he was doing. Russ who finished his teaching practicum and degree in December has been unemployed for 6 months. He mentioned to me earlier in the trip that during these past 6 months he had been clocking in at least 4.5-6 hours a day on our couch watching TV and eating Ice Cream. As Russ was climbing Paulson Summit he looked straight at me with his teary eyes and said “Scotty, I would give anything in the world to sit down on our couch for one hour, get a big bowl of Neapolitan Ice Cream and watch one episode of Jersey Shore.”
The amount of self-talk and self-entertainment that we provide ourselves on this trip has been a must so far. For anyone who has ever cycled, Panniers (Bags on your bikes) could be the most frustrating invention ever, you can never EVER find what you are looking for inside them. It is a daily occurrence to see all four of us frantically scurrying through our Panniers to find our rain gear as a massive rain cloud begins to dump on us. We never find the stuff on time and more than likely get soaked. The past few days the only logical one of us Sean Neville has meticulously started to sort his stuff into specific bags in the morning before we leave. Seeing Sean be successful with this technique has pissed off the three of us. Sabotaging Neville became a must. For three days now, anytime Neville has gone to the washroom or left his bike, we have switched all of his stuff into different Pannier bags. Watching Neville try and find his stuff and then unleash his verbal barrage of four letter words upon his bike has been comedic genius. Seeing his restraint in not drop kicking his bike off of a cliff has kept us all quite positive. Please do not tell Sean as he has not figured this out yet and I think it might get the three of us through the prairies.
Entering Nelson, Nelson is spectacular. By far the nicest place we have been so far. I love it and could live here. Unfortunately, We have another quick downer. Riding into Nelson I was leading with the boys following in order of birth. Out of nowhere Sean Neville’s phone rings and of all people on the other end of the phone is our guy Harry! From the back of the line I hear Ryan say, “Scotty, Let’s stop I need to put on my rain jacket”. Being at the front I turn to Neville behind me and tell Sean “ Sean, we are going to stop Ryan needs to put on his jacket”. Sean in sunglasses and in full conversation with our guy Harry does not hear me the first time so I repeat it four times. By the last time I am convinced he has heard me. (My fault) As we are passing over the bridge entering Nelson I stop abruptly and send all four of us into a classic rear end collision, pile up. With my fender hammered into the sidewalk, I turn around to see Sean and Ryan unleashing a combination of potent words towards each other, my bike scattered across the road, and Russ confused as to why the three of us are all so angry. I figured we did pretty good making it to day 6 for our first fight. Off to cycle the beautiful Kootenay Lake tomorrow, cannot wait!
Just wanted to say Happy Birthday to our wonderful mother! Kathy Mac is the most compassionate and caring person in the entire world. She has given us every opportunity in the world to be successful in life and we cannot thank her enough. Putting up with us five boys (Including our pops Hughie Mac) is a feat on its own but doing it with the grace and poise she has is truly remarkable. WE LOVE YOU MOM! HAPPY 26th BIRTHDAY!
Ryan here just writing a few words on our ridiculous day. To start I want to clear up a few things that I have learnt over the past five days:
-My Gerber baby butt is ruined forever.
-We have been riding the Crowsnest Highway for 4/5 days, I have seen zero Crowsnests but over 200 Crowsfeet around Scotty’s eyes.
-Sean Neville thought Canada was the size of Prince Edward Island
-Rusty’s eating habits will never change.
Today was full of ups and downs both literally and figuratively. We woke up at the beautiful Haynes Provincial Park campground in Osoyoos. Which is set on a gorgeous point that reaches far out into the middle of Osoyoos Lake. Scotty who I have been spooning for all of the camping nights has been jet lagged and up for most of our nights. To explain it quickly, the guy has been awake 98% of our trip. I am actually worried about him. When packing up our gear we realized that Rusty’s front tire had deflated overnight. Sean Neville immediately got to work and fixed the tire before Russ could have any sort of meltdown. However, around 15 minutes following our take-off Russ was cruising through downtown Osoyoos waving and whistling at every innocent bystander in his way. Just as Rusty was coming to a decent 25 km/hr he realized that Sean Neville did not connect his front brakes following the tire fix. Rusty began to panic looking for any sort of ditch that could support his frail body in any sort of bail. Luckily, Russ screaming and hollering for help eventually used his pouch as a parachute to bring him to safety. He actually used some spectacular maneuver to slow himself down without crashing through a business window.
The first third of our ride consisted of an uphill climb up to Anarchist Summit. It was beautiful, we rode non-stop as the road winded up and around the mountain that literally hangs overtop the lake surrounding the city. Our climb was super long as we dragged ourselves all the way to the top of the peak. Osoyoos was a hot spot for Baha to take the family for summer vacations back in the day so I hear! Through our eventual boredom, the two current and one prospective teacher of the boys came up with a great way to pass the time through a multiple choice question regarding each turn in the road.
What is around the next bend?:
A) A hill
B) Another bend
C) A mountain
D) All of the Above
E) Just A and C
For the next two and a half hours this is what our ascending climb consisted of. Just wait for the Rockies. As we pushed on following our first pass Russ ended up popping another tube in his tire. When he was biking he immediately knew something was wrong when “Shadow”(Scotty) was passing him. About 30 seconds later Rusty realized his tire was deflated and he was biking on his rim. I have never felt better seeing Scotty’s ego deflate just as fast as the tire after he realized Rusty’s tube was popped. A tube patch later we cruised along on the road.
For lunch we stopped at the town of Rock Creek, which ended up being a blessing in disguise. Scotty and Sean Neville met our newest best friend Harry from Grand Forks. A guy who himself biked from Virginia to California up to Seattle back in the 80’s. Harry actually had the exactly the same bike as Baha’s bike. It was insane as Harry knew everything about that model and gave us some very useful facts. Very weird coincidence! We were pumped to meet someone who had done something similar before and said Bye and thought nothing of it. Eventually, around 2 hours down the road Harry stopped his Van in front of us and offered his place for us to stay the night in Grand Forks. It was around 2:00 so we carried on and were excited as we had a prospective place to pitch our tents in the night to come.
Our last 40 km into Grand Forks consisted of one more mountain to climb then a free ride all the way downhill into the city. The last climb we were all fatigued. I could see Rusty slowly hitting a brick wall and Sean Neville considering calling it quits. Scotty, well, I couldn’t even see him he was so far behind. So, lets just say he was fatigued. Anyways, Sean was particularly struggling up this final pass. His legs were burning, stomach was growling and overall I think it had been a long day on his body. The day was long and we hit the final descend into Grand Forks. The wind was powerful and was directly smashing us in the face resulting in freezing hands and brutal sore knees from the cold. We got to Harry’s place absolutely beat, tired, sore, angry and agitated. Harry welcomed us with open arms displaying his massive Garage, beautiful home and also the pizza that he bought for us to eat. What a legend! Sean Neville went from losing his childhood pet to absolutely ecstatic as he found a new best friend in Harry, who lent him his car to go into Grand Forks to buy some groceries!
To say the least, Harry is one of the nicest guys you could ask for. He set us up with a warm place to stay, fed us and took us in with open arms. If there is anything we have learnt so far in our trip, it is that Canada has amazing people. Not only is the country beautiful geographically but it also has people nice enough to let four stinky and gross MacKinnon boys crash at their place. Anyways, tomorrow we are off to beautiful Nelson!