Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thanksgiving thoughts and plans

I'm sitting in a beautiful, newly built home on 180 acres of woodlot. The living room has enormous picture windows which look out onto fall colours and birds. The owners, Eric and Anne, call this their widescreen tv. They have an enormous supply of firewood, neatly stacked in a long series of structures. They have a small garden, fenced in to keep out deer, which provides them with all their hard vegetables and root vegetables. There is a root cellar cut into the rock below the house, where all their vegetables are kept in bins of sawdust. Crates of neatly ordered bottles of homemade wine sit cooling there, too. Their water comes from an onsite well. Electricity is delivered from a large array of solar panels. I arrived last night to freshly baked home-made bread, soup made from vegetables grown here, pumpkin pie and brandied pears. It was one of those days where I felt ravenous, seemingly unable to stop eating. My own cell phone won't work here, but they do have a more powerful phone on site that will. Wolfe, a friend of ours, and neighbour of our hosts, came to visit after dinner, and Alex and John arrived as well. Alex will be trailing us in our support vehicle while Rene walks with us from now on. It has been a beautiful and restful place to celebrate Thanksgiving.

We started out yesterday with Dewan's brother Ali taking his place for a few hours. His family were worried about him and talked him into taking a brief pause. We covered stunning lands of wooded hills, rocks, and marshy lowlands. As always, Rita was picking up little caterpillars and bugs off the road to prevent them from being crushed. After a while, Ali and I started joining her. At one point, we all watched and hoped one little fuzzy guy would survive the passing of 2 cars so we could rescue him off the road. The first car swept him up in the wind, the second left him on the side of the road. Rita raced over to pick him up and set him back in the greenery.

We walked through Harrowsmith and Hartington, hoping for a bite to eat, but everything was closed up. We finally had lunch at Mom's in Verona, where Dewan, another brother and a cousin caught up with us. Thank you Ali for lunch.

After eating, Dewan took off ahead while Rita and I talked to some locals about climate change. Then we were back on the road too. When we arrived at our endpoint, we heard a single gunshot go off in the distance.

My feet have been blistered since the day we miscalculated and covered 42 km. But yesterday afternoon, they started burning. When we arrived at the endpoint of the day's walking, I peeled off my shoes to discover an angry red rash, itchy and raw, on both my feet. So the first thing I did when we arrived here was to soak my feet and scrub them for poison ivy, and change my pants. This morning, I'll shower off before I head out, because I'm getting itching further up my legs.

We had originally planned to go past Sharbot Lake tonight and walk along highway 7 into Ottawa. Then we were convinced that Highway 7 was not good to walk on, so I had redone the schedule to have us heading east just north of Oconto and linking up with Highway 10. Last night, Wolfe and Eric convinced us to walk on Highway 7 at least to Perth, as on the alternate route we wouldn't really meet people, which is kind of the purpose of this journey.

So we're back to the old schedule, for a couple days at least. I want to post it, but I can't access my own computer. I'll try again a bit later, but if I don't succeed, we're heading north today on Highway 38 at Ball Rd. We should be starting out around 7:30. At Highway 7 we turn east, and we hope today to make it to somewhere like Silver Lake. We're pretty easy to spot on the road. We've got bright yellow t-shirts, Rita has a bike with a flag and a sign, both blazed with our logo, and we're trailed by a silver Toyota Prius with our posters in the windows.

It's election day today, and everyone needs to vote. I voted myself on October 3, the day before we kicked off in Queen's Park. It's going to be hard to sleep tonight, wondering what the results will be, what kind of government we'll be facing when we arrive in Ottawa. Tomorrow morning, I'll wake up to find out. Please think of us at the ballot box.

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