Friday, May 22, 2015
Michael has arrived in Wawa where he will stay for a few days to build his strength up again:
"After a wonderful night sleep I wake up at 5:30 AM and I'm glad I can sleep for a few more hours. At 8 o'clock I get up and go to the dining room for breakfast. The place is filled with contractors as they call the men here who work on the roads and bridges or in forestry. The lady refills the breakfast supplies seems very busy but she eventually does come and have a little chat with me. Another lady soon joins the conversation when she hears that I am biking through Canada.
During our conversation she tells me that she has the ability to see guardian angels. She gages my reaction and carefully asks whether I had an aunt who passed away about two years ago. This is correct, my aunt died of cancer and she was a very spiritual woman. She then asks if there was another aunt who died even longer ago. That is also correct. That is my aunt who lived here in Canada. She tells me that both of them are watching over me and that I will have a safe journey. I am pleased to hear that. I am actually impressed by her. How could she know these things when I had not told her anything? We talk a little more and it appears that, like me, she also feels connected to the First Nations. I invite her to come and sit at our table and after a couple of stories she asks me if my grandfather was a tall man, which he was. She senses that he is standing right behind me. That is interesting, because my journey is in part in memory of him. Eventhough the thought that deceased loved ones are watching over me is beautiful, I have trouble believing and accepting it. Perhaps sometimes I do feel the presence of my aunts and my grandfather, but that is because I am thinking of them. I can’t be sure and I think you should just live your life and not pay too much attention to this. Except perhaps if it is something you can draw inspiration or energy from. Interestingly enough, I suddenly remember I had asked my aunt to give me a clear sign once she had crossed over to the “other” side.
After breakfast, I return to my room to pack up my dry laundry and my camping gear. I clean my bike and fix the tension on the chain. Toward the afternoon I have a look in the lovely General Store. I come across a particular stone. Darrell of the First Nations in Sault Ste. Marie, who I met on the island, had told me about this stone. He said that would be a good stone for me to have and suggested I try to find one. The stone here is a souvenir and I am surprised that it is not just the counterpart to the stone that I'm always wearing, but that is suggests to support the immune system. Whether this is true or not is not important, it is just interesting that Darrell had mentioned this stone, which to the Ojibway represents mother Earth. I decide to buy it, it is only four dollars.
A few minutes later I'm on the other side of the road having lunch at Tim Hortons. It is quite busy and there is a long row of trucks in the drive through. This is a golden business. I notice a CTV vehicle and the driver comes inside. I approach him and ask whether he can help me to connect with CTV. He seems very interested in my story and is sorry that he can't do anything for me.
Back to the motel, I send out several emails to newspapers, radio stations and also to CTV. CTV responds within the hour apologizing that they can’t do anything for me. Winnipeg would be the first next opportunity.
I speak on Skype with my wife who has a house full of visitors. They are having a good time and it is nice to see her. My youngest son is not at home, I hope to speak to him tomorrow.
The weather forecast for tomorrow is pretty dramatic which forces me to stay here for another night. They expect frost up to -11C tonight and snow and rain during the day. Not a good day for a 90 km bike ride. I am also feeling a bit under the weather, so it may be a good thing to wait another day. Suddenly I hear something tick on the window. I look outside, but see nothing at first. A minute later I hear another tick. It is a big black crow. I can't believe my eyes! I quickly grab my camera but the crow flies away.
When I go to the village to do some groceries and get something to eat, I see a guy on a recumbent bike. I catch up with him, greet him and we share some stories. His name is Olivier and he is biking from Vancouver to Montréal. He plans to sleep outside to save money, but he is unaware of the frost warnings for the night.
I feel bad for him. My gut feeling tells me this guy has a good heart and can be trusted, and I invite him to stay in my room, which has an extra bed. At first he politely refuses, but the wind already feels quite cold and in the end he decides to join me. I quickly do some groceries and then we return to the motel. It dawns on me that I am taking a risk with this invitation. I am not sure the motel might be agreeable to it, but I'll find a solution to that. Even though I am not getting a lot of media attention, I don’t want to cause any problems. I also have my sponsors to consider who likely would not want to be associated with negative publicity.
Outside the motel room is another big crow, right in front of the door. I didn't realize how big these birds are. Olivier has his own food for the night and he offers some to me, but I prefer to eat vegetables since I'm not feeling too well. I decide to have a meal at the restaurant by the motel. When I come back, I have arranged and paid for Oliver to stay in the room including breakfast in the morning.
When I was in Ottawa someone gave me a free meal and $20 with the request that I would help someone else along the way. When I tell Oliver that I have arranged this he is clearly touched. He is very grateful and finds it hard to accept. I understand and ask him if in turn he is willing promote my tour wherever he can.
We have a wonderful evening and share some interesting travel stories, and I have to say my stories are becoming pretty special..."
Han Schomakers, editor
Translation by Sytske van der Veen