Sunday, June 21, 2015
Today Michael will be cycling again after having a nice day of rest:
"After we wake up and get dressed, Clinton and Kaytlyn take us to a restaurant for breakfast. Apparently it is Father's Day and it is quite busy in the restaurant. None of us had realized that today was Father's Day. After a short wait we are assigned a table and order a delicious breakfast.
I engage in interesting conversation with Clinton and Kaytlyn and it feels as if I have known them for years. In some way we have a very good connection. After a wonderful breakfast we return to Clinton and Kaytlyn's house to pack up and get on our way to Brooks.
It all takes a little longer than usual to get her stuff packed and on our bikes and have pictures taken with everyone. Even the neighbours are joining in the picture taking. It is hard to leave when you are having such a good time. On the other hand, I also want to start cycling to reach Calgary around June 23rd...
Sann and I both leave with good feelings about the last couple of days which could not have been better. When we leave Medicine Hat we see a windmill. A typical Dutch picture. We have a bit of an uphill climb and, although not strong, the wind is against us. After the climb we reach the end of Medicine Hat and find ourselves back on the Prairie. The interesting thing is that today, after two days of rest, my legs are not feeling so good. I can already start to feel my knees. I try to keep my cycling rhythm high to decrease the pressure on my knees.
In my mind I am wondering how I am going to finish my tour. Here and there people are speculating as to what I am going to do. I have decided to take my journey as far as I can and to bike as far as Calgary which is approximately another 300 km...
In Calgary, I will rent a car to drive myself and my bike to the airport in Vancouver. This seems the cheapest option and likely the most enjoyable. From Vancouver I will bike back to Port Coquitlam to be there on June 28. There is a chance that I might meet Terry Fox's family at the cemetary and I want to give them something that I brought from Newfoundland. I would like to be able to tell them why I did this tour in Terry's honour.
With these thoughts we continue our journey but I notice that Sann is lagging behind. A little later I also realize that my knees are not cooperating today also because the wind is picking up and is stronger than we had hoped.
After we have done about 40 km we end up in Suffield and decide to have something to eat there. It is a real prairie village. When we enter we are being helped by a young lady who I can hardly understand because of her accent. She is not making any efforts to clarify what is on the menu…
While Sann and I are waiting, we discuss our plans for the night in Brooks. However, judging the wind outside and the distance we still have to cover, it quickly becomes clear that we won't make it to Brooks in time. Which leaves us pondering where to spend the night. Neither of us wants to camp on the Prairie because of the possibility of thunderstorms.
As I am talking about this, reality suddenly sets in: it is risky to continue cycling and there is now a real chance that I will not arrive in Calgary on time to rent a car. Sann says: ”Michael the risk is too great!”
A lot of emotion is stirring in me. Is this it then? I knew I would end this tour somewhere but does it have to be here in Suffield, in this tiny unglamorous prairie village? How do we solve this? Of all the options available there seems to be one left and that is to return to Medicine Hat and rent a car there. Unfortunately the Wi-Fi in the restaurant is bad and we can't find a car rental company…
I contemplate to call Clinton to ask if he knows where I can rent a car in Medicine Hat. When I call him there is no discussion possible, he says: “I will be with you in 30 minutes.” That is not what I intended, but he is not taking “no” for an answer. It's hard to describe what happens to me in the next 30 minutes. I am very sad. I realize that my tour from now on will be very different. I feel like crying and I step outside. Soon I realize that I just have to follow my heart: this is not the end but it is a new beginning; this is the best possible way for me to finish this journey.
When I get back inside I see Clinton's truck approaching. Kaytlyn is with him. They are very happy to see us. Kaytlyn was worried about Sann who would have to continue on his own and it gave her a restless night. Clinton as well as Kaytlyn are happy and relieved that I called them. “We are going to look for a car for you but I have a surprise for you tomorrow” says Clinton.
We drive back to Clinton's house where we are being spoiled rotten. They make space for us in the bedrooms again and I feel conflicted. Why did I not realize sooner that I should not have taken any chances to arrive late in Calgary?
We have a wonderful evening by the campfire in the backyard, but we go to bed on time because we have to get up at 5 AM.
My journey will continue and so will my blog. I will get back on my bike in British Columbia and for sure more things are going to happen. Nevertheless, today was a difficult day for me!"
Han Schomakers, editor
Translation by Sytske van der Veen