Friday, February 14, 2014

From Charlottetown PE to Windsor NS

After staying up late with the gang from the Military Police National Relay Ride for Blind Children, I headed to me room at the Comfort Inn Charlottetown.  The bed was so inviting but It was 3 am before I was able to shut the lights out.

When the alarm went of at 6 am I was groaning. I wanted to stay put in my nice comfy bed, but that wasn’t happening.

I jumped in the shower and let the water beat the crap out of me. I had a wonderful breakfast in the lobby and then headed back to start the laborious process of repacking the bike.
I was heading to Springhill Nova Scotia to hook up with Medric on his the Long Walk to Sanity. His cause is another recipient of 1/3 of the money I would raise on this Conga and I didn’t want to miss him.
I had another picture perfect day of riding ahead of me and I was riding solo for the first time since hitting the New Brunswick border. It was an odd feeling, I must say. I had been enjoying the company.

I pulled into the Spring Hill Nova Scotia Timmy’s and called Medric to see if I had arrived in time to catch him. I was in luck. Next thing I know, Mike Smith and a few of the local riders pull up to meet me. Mike informed me that he’d be riding escort to Windsor with me! Woo Hoo.

A couple minutes later and I see Medric and Thai coming up the street. It was so good to see him. Thai is the service dog that changed Medric’s life for the better; in fact he says she saved his life. PTSD service dogs use their training and natural skills to help a victim become strong again, and Medric was strong, filled with fire and passion to help others find the sanity he had found.

Our time together was short; I had to be in Windsor for a fundraising ride and registrations were beginning at 5 pm. Mike’s buddy, Harvey who owns a tattoo shop in town decided he would join Mike and I. I was asked if I wanted to go on the major highways or take the road less travelled, you know what my answer was.

The guys took me through some of the prettiest riding in the region – and we stopped at a memorial park that simply took my breath away.

The Veterans Memorial Park in Bass River.

There are three gardens in the park, The Garden of Sorrows, The Garden of Remembrance and the Garden of Hope all separated and yet joined by the Cettic Cross in the middle.

The Garden of Sorrow has barbed wire all around it and resembles a First World War trench. From the Garden of Sorrow, you move to the Garden of Remembrance, there are trees, shrubs, daisies, lilies and forget-me-nots. There are benches all around the central podium where the names of those who served mark each stone.

Then you enter the Garden of Hope, with its bright colors and international flavour

The Doctor who founded and designed the park, Karen Ewing had messages she wanted to deliver and she did it in the most caring and loving of manner.

There is also a memorial to service animals that I thought was a gorgeous final touch.
I didn’t want to leave this place, but I had to, we needed to be in Truro to meet up with a couple of gals from the Valley Shifters that would be joining the Conga into Windsor.

After saying a brief prayer for all who have made this country the amazing place is it, we saddled up and were off.

A ways up the road, Mike pulled over and asked if we had time to stop for a drink and an ice cream, we were making good time so decided a hydration stop wasn’t a bad idea. I decided to text the gals to see if they waned to join us, but they opted to stick with meeting us at the Irving. At least they knew we were in the region!  The Masstown Market is an immense place and is home to Captain Cob’s Crazy Corn Maze.

Of course when we were there the corn maze was just growing, sometime I’d like to be there at the right time of year – it’s supposed to be one crazy, crazy maze.

This place also happens to be a favorite stop for area riders. There’s tons of parking, lots of food choices and great ice cream. A large cone and some water was what I indulged in and when that was done it was time to head out again.

Well just as luck would have it we stopped at the wrong Irving, through texts we finally figured out where we were supposed to meet up and headed for the other Irving with the Totem on a road fraught with construction.

We met up with Carla and Jane of the Valley Shifters. With time running short, we didn’t sit and visit long, after all, we were going to be taking the road less travelled which meant we needed to get on that road if we were going to be in Windsor on time.

The country the ladies led us through was filled with curves, hills, farmland and trees and under the bluest of skies we all had grins on our faces!

We pulled into the Clockmaker’s Inn, my home for the next two days. Sean, one of the owners, met us outside, at first I think he was scared that all five riders were planning on staying there.

I explained to him who I was and that the other four were my escorts! He gave me a quick overview of the place – which I was dying to explore but that would have to wait until much later. Bags dropped off, keys in hand, off we went to go and find Sue Cole and Joe Gregoire, the people who had put the ride night together for the Conga.

Once we were all together, we took the coupon for a 15% discount that Sean had given us for the Spitfire Arms Alehouse and have some supper. It was going to be another late, late night for me.

The service at the Alehouse was rather slow, probably because we opted to sit outside on the patio. The food was good but pricey so I was glad we had that coupon!

While we were finishing our meals, the first of the bikes started rolling in for the event. Carla, Jane and I shared hugs as they had to head back to Truro, Mike and Harvey had to head back to Springhill too so a few more hugs and I was off across the way to the Tim Horton’s to get set up for the ride.

Sue handled the registrations and cash, I got Rita out of her saddlebag and went around introducing she and I and getting photos with as many of the riders as possible.

Greg Marr had agreed to be the ride captain for the evening and he and I discussed my needs for filming and speaking to the riders. 

Just before 7pm and kickstands up, I got all my cameras ready to go on the bike. Close to 30 bikes headed out for a ride that would wend its way through town and out to some nice twisty riding. We stopped at the parking lot of a Kwik Way convenience store on the edge of town where I talked to the riders and their passengers about the plight of our veterans and service personnel.

It was so rewarding afterwards to have so many people hug me, thank me for sharing what I knew and some of the vets in the group talked to me about their situations and thanked me for helping to spread the word.

It was an amazing feeling, and it reaffirmed why I was out here putting in these killer long days.

We saddled up and headed back to the Tim Horton’s where I thought we’d all be parting company – come to find out there were other plans in store for me.

We were going to be heading to Greenwood for a meet and greet with some CAV members and so that I could get Blacky in for her oil change first thing in the morning at Hammersmith Auto. 

         Video - My sidekick Road Trip Rita 
     meets a ton of Nova Scotia Riders

SO, a quick stop in at the hotel to let them know I’d be back in the early after noon and we were back on the bikes.

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