We woke up early as usual with howling wind hitting the house and all of us with large grins on our faces. Why do you ask? About 95% of the time the prevailing winds are going West to East, which obviously means it would be at our back making it a thousand times easier to make it to Halifax. I often joke with the boys saying that we are going to make it to the Atlantic a few days earlier then expected, just like the Titanic had planned on doing (really bad joke I know). Well karma came around and bit me right in my bruised and cut up butt! Saskatchewan had officially “checked” me for all of my cockiness. The 60km winds were ferociously blasting westward, as if the biking gods were planning some sort of sick joke on us. We then decided to check the forecast and there were tornado and thunderstorm warnings for all of Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. This was actually my nightmare. But then I imagined Scotty’s, Ry’s and Neville’s frail bodies being picked up by these treacherous winds and my weight finally coming in handy and keeping me on the ground, seemingly coasting to Halifax. However, we found out thereafter that the warnings only applied to places East of Regina, so we were safe from any horrific storm.
After a brief pep talk from a re-energized Sean Neville, we decided to man-up and push forth on the unforgiving Trans-Canada way. As we began riding you could instantly feel a change in attitude. Scotty Mack, who is usually very uplifting in the morning (because it is like 3pm his time by then) was very quiet. Ryan, in typical fashion led us, but was not his fun-loving self. Sean and I hung in the back wondering how we were going to survive this 150km day Captain Scotty had planned. Needless to say the ride was miserable. It honestly feels like we were crawling with winds hitting our bodies that hard. To make things worse, when it turns into crosswind, the bikes tend to be easily pushed from side to side because of all the Panniers basically acting as a wind-sail! Usually the best way to distract yourself from a bad ride is to talk to each other, but this couldn’t happen because the wind whistling by our ears sounded like Celine Dion hitting her highest note.
We left Regina at 8:30am and were able to reach Indian Head, Saskatchewan a measly 70km away by 4:30.. Pathetic I know.. However, our luck changed once again. As we pulled into the tourist information booth we met a very nice, older couple who gave us some information on finding groceries, a camping spot, a new knee for Sean and dandruff cream for Scott’s face. We thanked them and moved on to the grocery store, where Neville bought his normal post-ride meal four caramilk bars and the rest of us shopped. All of a sudden, we were surprised by Roy, our new friend who we had met at the tourist centre. He graciously invited us to camp at his house, and to watch game 4 of the Stanley cup finals there as well. Roy was a legend! Again, we had hit truly a low point on the trip but were some how able to be brought back up again. Roy reminded us so much of one of our families favorite people in the world, a second grandfather to Ry and Scotty Gord Moore. Immediately after we met Roy, Scotty and Ryan looked at each other and said “Gordo.” The way that Roy looked out for us we felt like Gordo sent him to help us out.
The coolest thing about the night was Roy was able to get a hold of the local newspaper to do a story on us an hour later after the first period of the game was over. How awesome are small towns! So the journalist Ken “Scoop” McCabe, who is actually semi-retired now, as his daughter runs the paper now, had come over to meet us. Ken showed up, without much knowledge on what was happening except for the fact that we were biking across Canada. So we were all shocked when he was asking us questions to hear that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three years earlier. We had a great conversation with Ken on how Golf has been a great coping mechanism for him. We spoke about his over 200 rounds a year and the research that Dr. Jon Doan has been doing in regards to Exercise and Parkinsons in Lethbridge. Our conversation eventually led to how he uses dancing as a way to cope as well. He is a very inspiring man. It is crazy how many people are affected by this disease. It was very interesting talking to Ken about how he is coping with everything, but it was mostly amazing how positive he was! He actually has changed his own theme song from “Rock around the Clock” to “ A whole lotta shaking going on” We laughed out loud when he told us that.