Al from St. Catherines (near Niagara Falls) was our first cyclist encounter we met coming in the opposite direction. It would have been a strong 45 minutes of conversation as two way traffic blurred passed us on a dip stretch of road. The bounce in his voice was enlightening, especially telling us about another cross country effort by a girl on her horse some ways up ahead. Al is of Viking heritage. His mascot was taped to the handle bars looking up and backwards. The poor little thing never gets to see where he is going. I guess a positive, he never gets the wind in his face neither!
We too carry a mascot that was hidden away right up till this point of the journey. Our ‘Kerin’ the Kiwi now sees day light. Felt quite bad the toy has missed the entire 3000 kms that rolled over today.
Pulling into a rest stop in Dryden, the words “Kia Ora” rang out from the folk up ahead. Then the “Kei te pehea korua.” Our response was automatic, “Kei te pai.” Jay and Cheryl and children William, Maria, Ula and Andrew were taking a roadie pause at the same lay-by also. They were Canadian having returned home from eight years residing in New Zealand where three of the kids were born.
Both being Teachers, what a great career under their belts to see the world educating their little ones. It was a buzz to hear folk nearly speak the good Queens English as well as Maria still being able to rattle off counting one to twenty in Te Reo (Maori). They all miss a good mince and cheese pie from home.
We too could go a decent one of them. Or three!
Just as we were riding out of Dryden, another voice called from the side of the road. His name was Bill from Belfountain, Ontario. He was on his way home from having picked up his daughters car in Calgary and by the time he reaches his front door, it would have taken him 3.5 days to cross the same route we have taken weeks to cycle. Bill offered us a place to stay when we get nearer and owning a maple syrup business, another taste bud tease with pancakes and maple syrup breakfast offering.
It’s Canada Day here in the land of the Maple Leaf today.
After yesterdays acclimatisation to the inclines and declines, we encountered a number of folk who made the day seem to go so much faster yet taking longer. And it was by no means not over yet.
As we came out of the local store, up rode another cyclist. Her name was Sheri and she too was going in the opposite direction. Marcus Udokang (our other biker mate up ahead of us) had told Sheri Davis about the Kiwi’s on a tandem so it was like we just picked up a conversation like long lost friends versus being total strangers. So much so that we all purchased a beer (or Claire a Licking Lime) and microwave dinner each, went back to the hotel (Sheri booked in also) and spent the remainder of the sunshine rays dialoging about life, blended families, dreams and sore arses. Just like us, her grocery bag also had chocolate milk and Lays chips.
Canada’s birthday made special through the people met today.
The can of alcoholic beverage went straight to our heads because we didn’t see any of the fireworks go off as part of the festivities.
Just the bottoms of the eyelids.