Halifax

I’m a little behind on the writing, I apologize. You haven’t missed much. That’s what I’m supposed to say right?
We rolled in at a decent hour, on a mountain time zone clock.
The next morning after practicing patience waiting for our lazy asses to get out of bed, our gracious host filled the empty pits also known as our stomachs.

We cruise downtown and checkout out the university. Dalhousie is at the top of the hill, which means I get to bomb all the way down to the water in my chair.
( I’m excited because I’m in my manual chair. This is because my power chair has been left in Montréal.)

Just so happens it’s good Friday, there is hardly a soul to be seen. No complaints, no crowds makes wheeling easier. We weren’t in the mood for shopping anyways, at least I wasn’t. We head down the boardwalk and stumble into an old friend of Izzy’s, Theodore.

After they catch up we go battle our parched mouths at at a local watering hole also known as the Lower Deck.

This place is everything you could ask for in an East Coast experience. Basement of an old rock building, dirty rafters, funny accents and live music. We went head to head against our soberness, once we’re certain we have it in the bag we head home.

Gonna be an early morning.

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Sugar Shack!

Last and most important. The first two foods foods, let’s face it, the world could live without.
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Not gonna lie, I was napping in the back when I was pleasantly surprised by this stop.

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I stumble out of the van to a grey haired, red plaid jacketed foreigner. I say hello and he… He says…. ?????? My thoughts exactly. Where the are we?


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I took French til grade 12, I can put a pretty mean French accent on most English words (something I just can’t proove through written word)  and I am conversationally capable in Spanish, so I’m not dumb. Maybe he is?
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Just outside Quebec City we “stumble” upon a sugar shack. Thankfully our pair of three is two thirds semi capable in French.
Thankfully there are some hanglish speakers on site.
Thankfully it’s lunch time, and it’s served by some local ladies while a gent plays a tune.


Thankfully after lunch (heavily coated in pure maple syrup) we get acquainted with a chunk of snow, maple syrup and a popsicle stick.

Life is about balance. On one side of the scale there is you, the other side should be pure maple syrup. Once you consume your weight in said substance, you’ll understand. So I’m told.

Anyways, that much needed sugar high took us to  Halifax.

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Uhn Duh Twa.

Montréal.

In our style we roll in super late. Allison and Andrew  are there waiting for us. Izzys aunt and uncle. We have some veggies, quick catch up and then hit the sack.
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In about 20 years years you are going to hear the name Finlay, he’s going to rock your world. I’ve never met a kid so on the path to Rock. First off he still thinks Pluto is a planet. Secondly he plays the six string acoustic like it’s an electric and he plays the electric like Joni Mitchell.  Thirdly, ready secondly again.

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We start the day nice and slowly. The two objectives of the day, well there might be 3 or 4, depends who you are asking. First and foremost get the power chair looked at. Izzy’s cousin Matt swings by to hang out and plays navigator to a T. Greatly appreciated.  We go downtown and drop the chair off, then head for a bite to eat.

Mission number two.

Poutine.
I thought Québec took separating seriously. On a menu of over 20 different types of poutine, everything from your Classic to Hawaiian, I managed to find one. There are three things in the food department that Quebec is famous for. I decided to kill two birds and get stoned.
Smoked meat poutine. Well, hello there.

Two down one to go.

We head down to a shopping district and grab a cuppa java. Izzy heads out to throw some garments in a headlock. I hang out writing in a coffe shop, while I’m actually waiting for the dance studio across the street to open…. No dice. Time to go.

Time to go rehearse, Finlay is already deep into the first set when we get back. Allison and Andrew spin up a gourmet meal while we rock.
Another successful day.

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North Bay

We spent most of the day sleeping. Our main objective today besides sleep is get the power chair looked at. There is a Medi Chair in North Bay.
Unfortunately the tech is out on a call, so doesn’t get a chance to look at it until 4:30 PM.

Fortunately Ian at Medi Chair rocks.He took the time to thoroughly go through my chair.

Unfortunately he doesn’t know what is wrong.

Fortunately Montréal might know what is wrong with my chair.

So pushed the chair back in the van. It is now 5:30 PM and we’re going to Montréal.

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Minnishitisota.

11 pm in…. I’m not sure what time zone we’re in, or what state for that matter. We started in Saskatchewan, got investigated at the border…. And then more Saskatchewanesk landscape took us into the night. Then the night took us to Duluth. We found a hotel and Packed it in.

The next morning we were all ready to go… Then my power chair didn’t turn on. Perfect. We spent the next hour flipping switches, making phone calls and got nowhere. I shouldn’t say nowhere, ahhh yes I should. One shop in Duluthinal Minnesota said they were booked up til friday, great I’ll hang out in my hotel room (same hotel they filmed Uncle Buck in) for the week. We don’t want to hang in Duluth, broken chair or not, so I get back in the chair, and with the help of a hotel manager, I get a push… And a pull back to the van. I get locked down and, North to the Future! It’s 12:30 pm and we’re aiming for Canada.

Lake Superior is gorgeous, blue skies, sand beaches, ice piles on the shore it almost feels tropical. Almost.

Then we stumble upon the dried up dirty brown lookin, funny smellin… Yup think it’s the asshole. We happen across the fellow who’s state we’re in. Just so happens he’s a state trooper. Just so happens we were goin a little fast.
“I’m sorry I caught you speeding in my state.”
He says at one point. Then in regard to paying the $80 cash in Canadian.
“No, courts stopped takin that because the exchange rate”
….right.
Our only other option was to pay with a drivers license.

We get to the border and “randomly” get asked to pull over for further inspection. 11:30 at night, not another car around. Out comes the dog.

430 am we roll into North Bay. Lights out.

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Eastbound and Down

It’s Sunday and we are in Manitoba. We’ve missed our first turn into Brandon so using logic, and moving some road closed signs, we took the next one. We could see the lights and the road was bare, there were lakes beyond the white lines but not a drop in our lane.

The progressive emergency management  city that Brandon Manitoba is, they were preparing.  They were anticipating some serious rising water, so they put up a 15 foot sandbag wall between us and the road that, somehow we didn’t see right away. Sounds strange, I know. It is.

Around the sandbags we go and meet some friends for lunch. It’s a short stop to see if there is any help needed in planning a party being thrown on the 14th. Everything seems to be lining up, except the Daft Punk cover band, haven’t given up yet though.

We have a lot of ground to cover so we don’t stay long. We make it to the border in good time head down to Duluth, Missishitisotagan.

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Loaded up and Truckin.

With Revelstoke in our rear view mirror we have Calgary in our sights. We stop in Kandahar to connect with friends for dinner. It’s short and sweet and she loads us up with buff’s. Now I know you’re not sure what bus are because I have a punch in the Vannis manhole and I’m not sure what they are either.
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This is what I am working with. Voice dictation. Slightly touchy and case sensitive, I am learning to talk like computer.
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Into Calgary. Craig is waiting for us to let us into his place, where we will be sleeping. And he will not be. We get all settled in, and he leaves.

The next day we spend with Izzy’s dad. She gets a new skateboard and he helps install some new speakers into the van so we can have some music in the front.

stereo technician

The stereo is still pretty sh*tty. Not really sure what to do there wish I was more technology.

We have dinner at a friends place and our summer books up even more. Big time. We just signed up for an 80 km bike race. I don’t even have a bike. And. Live It! Love It! is going to host a summer camp, stay tuned for more on that.

Another night at Craig’s house, still not sure where he is sleeping, and the next morning we make tracks through the prairies.

Not much to say about them. If you’ve driven through, you know what I mean, if you haven’t well you should really spend some time in your country. If nothing else it helps you appreciate where you’re from. And the sky is massive. I heard Saskatchewan has the largest sky in the world, so that was cool to see.

moose!

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Embrace the struggle.

Embrace the struggle.

Exactly one year after breaking my neck I got out of GF Strong. Friday afternoon I left Strong, by Monday morning I was in the van driving across the country.

It’s my life and it’s now or never just kidding props to you Jon Bon, great song. Seriously though it’s my life, I’m gonna live it and I’m gonna love it.

This is the first entry on our journey across the country.

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Somethings in life are worth the extra effort. Gardening. Friends. Learning harmonica. I don’t know much about gardening or learning how to play harmonica but on the metaphorical paper that you read this, they seem similar to friendship. Gardening for example,
start with some dirt add a seed and then some water, the end result is freshness that you can taste. If you replace dirt with a person, seed with adventure and water with beer or cesar’s that’s a recipe for friendship. I don’t know if learning how to play harmonica fits into any of this, but I have one. And I don’t know how to play it.

I don’t know if any of that made sense. What I’m trying to say is over the last year some friends gave me a herb garden.

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This trip across Canada was inspired by friends. Friends that stood by me when I laid on my back in a hospital bed. Friends that help motivate me to get back on my feet and push through. Friends that need a visit. Friends that haven’t been made yet.

•••••

Monday morning we leave Vancouver after dipping your toes and wheels in the West Coast. We are off to Revelstoke and the adventure is underway.

peace out pacific

We spent our first afternoon catching up with old friends. At the village idiot We drank  caesar’s and told lies. We sat there long enough to get a sunburn on the side of our face. Then it was time to go home. thankfully as mountainous as the area around is, it was a pretty flat wheel to the bed and breakfast. Thankfully the caesars give me the essential nutrients I needed to get me there. Thankfully my buddy I was walking with has a wolf that actually pulled me most of the way.

That night we got home and arranged for some dogsledding. Early the next morning we get going and meet a friend of a friend who runs the dogsledding operation. Have you ever been instantly entertained by an individual? Nothing has been said or done, you are just immediately entertained for the time you’re with them, however long that may be. Meet Eric.

hello, eric

Eric had six dogs with him that morning. Hawk, Sapphire, Grizzly, Pam, one that had more bark than a Douglas Fir, real thick  deep  and everywhere, truly annoying and last and least another one that instead of remembering I have forgotten it completely. Had we not taken pictures I would argue there were only five.

All loaded up and off we go, it’s a short 5 km loop that we get to rip around. We get a little loose around some of the corners. Real loose actually, we did this one move I thought was more commonly reserved for kayaking. The Roll. It all happened fast, before our captain could say
“this is the sketchiest corner on the whole trail”
I was dirty side up, in the rhubarb.
We manage to make it all back in one piece. And yes I would go again, most definatley!

-J.S.

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