Home > Day to Day > Small gestures make a big impact — Minnedosa to Portage La Prairie

Small gestures make a big impact — Minnedosa to Portage La Prairie

Getting to the Minnedosa campsite was another exercise in frustration. The riders took different routes and had all sorts of stories about their adventures. Bah! I much prefer clear instructions any day!

The campsite was overrun by huge RV’s, some with full bars, huge swing-out flat panel TVs, fold-down decks and all the comforts of the wilderness. We set up camp amongst these Wild Kingdom machines. An employee of the camp came around: “Thundershowers coming”. And come they did! No sooner did we retire and the rain poured down. And poured down. For hours. See the photo of the after-effects.

Next morning everyone pulled on their rain gear. The same woman came around. I asked her if we would get rain. “No rain. Gonna clear up. 22C. Nice weekend ahead.” She should be a meteorologist — once again she was bang on! The clouds gradually gave way to patches of blue. The temperature was in the low 20’s and we had a steady tail wind. We stopped at Gladstone and chatted with a self-supporting rider (using four full panniers; his total weight — 120 kg!) who was cycling from a navy base in Vancouver to one in Halifax. He had accumulated over 200 vacation days and ‘was going to spend them getting to know the country he had sworn to defend with his life and for which he had gone to three war zones and two UN missions’. And then he was going to retire.

Owen and I took turns in the lead and quickly covered more than 100 km. Then came the dilemma — how to negotiate the 8 km section of the Trans Canada that had only a rough gravel shoulder? We decided to ponder this over sandwiches and drinks which we picked up at a PetroCan station at the intersection of Hwys 16 and 1.

I knew my sandwich was ready when its cellophane cover exploded in the microwave with a loud ‘bang’. The cashier barely batted an eyelid. I went outside. A woman came out of a minivan and headed to the store. She did a double-take of my jersey and exclaimed:

“Are you with the SchoolBOX guy?”, to which I replied

“I AM the SchoolBOX guy!”

“No way! I heard you interviewed on CBC! Are you just leaving Winnipeg?”

“No, I am headed there.”

She fished in her wallet and took out a $10 bill. “This is for you. And you have to wait — I want my son to meet you!”.

She rushed into the store and returned a minute later with a young boy of about 10, a confused look on his face. And they were followed by another woman of similar age, and her daughter, also about 10 years old.

“This man is cycling across Canada to raise money for poor kids in Nicaragua…” I was truly impressed: she had really listened well and retained many details about SchoolBOX and the ride. I had a brief exchange with her and then her friend pulled out a $5 bill. The daughter grabbed the bill from her mother’s hand: “I want to give it to him!” And handed it to me, bashfully. I hugged them and shook the boy’s hand. The two women said: “This is much better than the ice cream we were going to buy!” And then they drove off. Having given me a morale boost for a week! Even the 8 km of gravel shoulder next to the Trans Canada and the 3 km of rough gravel leading up to Miller’s Resort were bearable given this wonderful experience!

“Fuelled by Equator Coffee!”

 

imageOur campsite, post deluge
imageHappy Rock! Huh?
imageGlad stone… Happy Rock. OMG, I get it!
image

Miller’s Resort … a small city of RV’s, both permanent and temporary, with a few tents sprinkled in

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Categories: Day to Day
  1. Jason
    July 13, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    What a touching story, it’s wonderful that a child so young was so excited to contribute to your cause! Keep on pedaling!

  2. Gay
    July 13, 2011 at 4:54 am

    Sooo glad the news is spreading. I was deeply touched to hear the comment that donating to Schoolbox was more rewarding than ice cream. Aren’t people lovely?

  3. July 11, 2011 at 8:42 am

    What a truly amazing and humbling experience Ilan. I too am lifted and inspired by it.
    I hope that you have a wonderfully restful day and enjoy the cookies.
    Cheers
    Tom

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