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Sunday, 19 June 2011

Edson

   The rain poured outside the window again. When we started biking, I had to take off my gloves after only about half and hour. The water had soaked threw the gloves and my hands were prunie and tender. Nothing that I wore anymore stayed dry for long. I had found a certain kind of comfort in knowning that I was as uncomfortable as I could be, and that my situation couldn't get any worse pending a snow storm.
   My bike had been having problems ever since Kelowna and early in the day I had started losing spokes. The rain fell, spokes broke and repairs were frequent. The amount of kilometers we were putting behind us fell short of what we had hoped. When we rolled into the town of Edson, we looked for a little while for a cheap place to sleep or a willing person to host us. This was not to be the case tonight, and so we found a motel, paid the fee and warmed up indoors.
   Instead of spending our night in front of the TV, we spent it eating our last can of chef boyardie and fixing, oiling and maintiaining our bikes. My back tire was in such terrible condition that the only was to ride it was to disengage the back brakes because the tire was nowhere near true since I had been losing and replacing spokes constantly. It only needed to get me threw another day to Edmonton, where I could get a mechanic to fix it up... again.

Hinton

   No alarms, crows or caretakers woke me up. I got up from the dirty matress I had slept on during the night, where Downey still lay motionless and made my way to the couch. It was 10 am. The latest we had slept in on a biking or rest day. I had plopped myself on the couch in front of a TV, and started watching a meaningless soap opera. It was pouring rain outside, and so I was not in a rush to start moving. My hope was that the rain would pass on and leave us with good weather to bike in. However my hopes were dashed after an hours time and no more time could be spared waiting for the sun. Downey and I headed on into the rain, just like the day before, and the day before that, and biked towards our next town.
   Misery had become a constant companion recently. It seems that Emanuels departure not only left our trio incomplete, but also seemed to take alot of wind out of our sales. We had nobody to share our misery with but each other. Misery loves company, and our company had just left.
   We found a little restaurant on our way to Hinton where we could watch the Stanley cup finals. As if our day was not bad enough, but to witness the Canadian team we were rooting for lose 4 to 0 was simply too much. Exhaustion and cold had been a theme too common lately and it was being compacted by loneliness. Friends come and go fast on the road. Other than Downey, there is no other face I can count on seeing again in the future. The amount of time Downey had been spending on his cell phone texting friends and family suggested to me that he was feeling the same. When we finally did get into Hinton, we got a warm motel to sleep. No reason to be cold and wet again.

Jasper and the Mountains are done

   The night was a free one, but that comes with conditions. At 9 30 am, Downey and I were woken up by the caretaker at the hostile and we had to hit the road.
   The day was one of constant peddling. Just wanted to get miles behind us. Jasper was a nice place we heard, and we were going to end our day there, no matter how much rain, bears or weather changes came our way (there were alot of all three).
   When we did get to Jasper, i just asked a random person in town if we could sleep at their house. Her name was Chantal, and suprisingly she said yes. So Downey and I sleep on some matress in Chantal and her roomates apartment. It was great. Nothing of too much interrest to report about this day.

Goodbye Emanuel!

   Much too early in the morning my bleary, bloodshot eyes snapped open to the sound of Emanuel tapping on my tent.

    "Hey Guys, get up. Im taking off to Calgary soon. Lets grab a bite to eat and cycle for a couple of kilometers before we split up."

   It was a day that Downey and I had been dreading for a little while. Emanuel had become part of our group. A trio if you will. Without him there would be a gap that could not be fillled and it was not something we were looking forward too.

   "I'm up... I'm up..." said Downey

   We made our way to a little coffee shop in Lake Louise. Not too much was said between the three of us. The pending split was a little on everyones mind but we busied ourselves with facts about the road. Where the next summits would be, what kind of weather we were to expect, and what kind of drivers would be running us off the roads.
    The day started off warm, warm enough to cycle comfortably in a long sleeve shirt (warm in the mountains). When we got to the highway 93 and highway 1 turnoff, we said our goodbyes and Emanuel rode off East, and us West.
   From that point on, the comfort level of Downey and myself suffered alot. There was intense rain and cold. By the time we reached the first pass on the way to Jasper (pass is the highest point in the road, like a peak or summit) Downey and I were wearing all of our equipment. We had our touques, gloves, sweaters, bandanas, long shirts and pants. Even with all the clothes and cycling we were doing, nothing could stop the shivering that came with high mountain travel.
   The first pass was hard, but the second pass was much harder. There was a sleaty kind of rain that started and it chilled us to the bone. As we sat resting before attempting the second pass a group of German tourists stopped long enough to warn Downey and I about the looming dangers ahead.

    "Watch out ya, Dere is a big mama Grizzly bear up dere. She eat you... Ya?"

    And so with our fear perked we set out uphill into Grizzly territory. I found some comfort in the fact that if a mother grizzly bear did find the site of Downey and I aptizing, I could still pedal faster than Downey. It took us about four hours to climb the second pass and there was no sign of any Grizlies on the way up. The sign said we were 2300 meters above sea level and you could feel it. Our hearts beated faster. You couldn't catch your breath, and with the cycling you almost had a sense of light headedness.
   Just about the time where we were going to celebrate the success of a successful climb, we noticed a huge grizzly bear about a hundred feet down the road, only about twenty feet from the road. It was digging in the ground and eating grass and roots. Downey and I looked at each other, than the Grizly, then the hill we had just climbed. It didn't take long for us to make the decesion to cycle past the Grizzly, because there was no way we were going to climp up that long hill a second time. The decesion was made to cycle together and slowly, we figured if the Grizzly saw us together he would mistake us for a car and not bother with us any longer. As we approached, the grizly didn't seem to take notice, but then we stopped. The draw of this beautiful beast in the wild was too much for us. The adrenaline pumping threw our veins made us feel alive, and so we risked second of time with the Grizzly for a lifetime memory.
   When the Grizly stopped digging for roots and started looking at Downey the same way Downey looks at a twix bar, I knew we had overstayed our welcome. We got back on our bikes and put miles between ourselves and the first wild Grizzly I have seen.
   The air got considerably cooler at we entered the columbian icefields. The columbian icefields is a historical and natural tabluture of time. It has one of the last remaining glaciers that is easily viewable by the public. It was truly an honor being able to see this from our bikes and experience the cold wind blowing off the mountain glacier and into our face.
   As the moon rose and the sun set, we came upon a place called high beauty creek. There was a wilderness hostile there and they were more than impressed by our double pass day and allowed us to spend the night for free. It was late when we arrived, but there was a fire and a guitar, and so I busied myself with singing songs for the group, however the songs I sang brought me to a place far away from where I was. I couldn't help but picture myself back home, surrounded by friends and familly in the back yard, playing guitar around a fire. Downey and I haven't been gone for too long, but the twinges of loneliness associated with living on the road are starting to occur more and more often.

Lake Louise Rest day

   When we got to Lake Louise, we found a small camp ground to stay in. There was no workers when we arrived, so we just found an open spot with no campers and we set up for the night. Downey and myself set up our small bivy bags and our friend Emanuel put his luxuriously huge tent up. The night was a bitter sweet thing. We had made it threw what had been the hardest mountain passes to date, yet there was no celebration of any sort. Even if there would have been, I doubt any of us had the energy to really enjoy anything. There was an attempt to get a fire going, but the rain quickly put an end to that. Eventually, with my energy being drained, I forgot about any attempt to celebrate and squeezed myself into my bivy for some sleep.
   I woke up to water hitting my face. Not sure as to where I was, it took me a considerable amount of time to figure out that the rain had increased and that my water resistant bivy had once again let me down. Now, not only did I have a very limited amount of room to sleep in, but I was also wet. Regardless of my predicament at the time, pure exhaustion took over once again and I slept, wet or not.
    Our alarm clocks had flown into town with us and didn't waste an opertunity to wake us up. At around 6 am the crows from the surrounding hills found our small group and screamed till we struggled out of our sleeping sacs. It seemed like Emanuel had had a wonderful night of sleep, as he was bone dry when he emerged from his tent. I had been dampened a little, and some parts of my sleeping bag were downright wet, but Downey faired alot worse. When he emerged from his bivy, he was complaining vehemently about the manufactures of his bivy claiming they had not waterproofed his bag at all. At first it was hard to believe him, as I have found Downey to complain alot, but once he removed his drenched sleeping bag and matress I was suprised he didn't drown during the night. Downey also pointed out to me that on the inside of the bivy we both have, there was a safety guide that tells you very clearly "suffucation is always possible". There went all possibilities of a nice relaxed sleep in the future within the bivy, apparently it was just as risky as going to be with a garbage bag around your head, just less waterproof.
   Everyone in our trio made use of the on site showers, and it was a good thing. We were only planning to spend one day in Lake Louise, but we didn't want to be asked to move along due to our offensive smell. The town of Lake Louise was much smaller than what I had imagined. The center of town was a large parking lot surrounded by all kind of touristy shops and cool trendy coffee shops. There were no houses in site. Apparently the transiant workers who make the town run are put in living quarters out of the view of most of the people.
   The first order of business in town was to fix our bikes. Downey, Emanuel and I found a bikeshop and chit chatted with the workers there. When we mentioned where we had been and what we were doing, there was quite a few number of heads turned our way. It had dawned on me that people were finaly taking notice that we were in one of the harder parts of the cross Canada trek. It seemed like the workers of the shop new that the next few days going up the jasper would be a proving ground as to wether we would make it across Canada or crash and burn in a heep of exhaustion and frustration at the beautiful mountains that surrounded us.
    With our bikes being looked after we then needed to worry about laundry. There was a very nice hotel in town that allowed us not only to do our laundry, but also to use their pool, sauna and hot tub. It was our day off, and a hot tub and sauna was exactly what my sore muscles needed at the time.
   During our day of walking around town, we were invited by a couple of the local workers to join them for a party. It was very nice to enjoy an evening with the locals. It made me think that we were on the Titanic and we had somehow been invited to the party in the 3rd class bottom part of the ship where Jack Dawson and his friends go, as opposed to the more expensive but less entertaining party that Kate and her fiance are usually a part of (I just saw the movie Titanic so please... do not judge). When we finally went to bed, it was a little later than we had expected.

  
  

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Golden to Lake Louise

   Jumped on our bikes at 10 am. Grabbed a couple of Vector bars for breakfast, gathered our gear and moved out. Just outside of Golden there was a big uphill called the Kicking horse pass. From the news and internet reports, we figured the day would be a hot one, so the plan was to climb as much as we could before the sun was too much to handle.

    After an hour or two of traveling, the temperature was already in the mid-twenties and it was hard to keep enough water in your system with the amount of perspiration. Even tho the climb was challenging, the memories of hitting the wall on the way to Golden was enough to keep me moving. I had experienced the  difficulties of having your body give up on you, and going uphill was nothing compared to that. If I could describe what it looks like to do Kicking Horse pass, the best I can do is compare it to a scene in Lord of the Rings where Frodo and friends go through the two statues of the Kings of Gondor and are surounded by sheer rock cliffs with clear blue skies.The day was good. It was long but we kept a good pace and made it to Lake Louise late but refreshed.

Revelstoke to Golden

    It had drizzled just a tad during the night, but I didn't wake up until the crows located where we had immigrated too during the day and screamed until we were all up and alert.
   There was a little cafe in town and we had a small bite to eat there. The plans of the day were laid out on the table.

   "Today we are from here" Downey said pointing at a map. "To here"

    The map Downey help was one with both the province of British Columbia and Alberta. The two towns he pointed out were Revelstoke and Golden.

   There may not be much significance in indicating in which town we were in, and to which town we were headed but let me tell you a few things about the road we were facing. First of all, Revelstoke and Golden are about 150 km apart. Not a long distance for two in shape cyclist, until you take into account that the 150km includes the notorious Rogers pass, a 50km uphill at a 4% to 8% grades. Our friend Emanuel doubted that it could be done in one day. But with my great persistance, Downeys determination and Emanuels free of being alone in Grizzly territory, I knew we would make it one way or the other as a team.

   Downey was gracious enough to begin the day as the pack leader, he drafted for the team for about 10 km. After which I decided to take the lead... for 3 km. Downey went back to the front and drafted for 6 km, at which point I got bored, broke out from the team and sped uphill to the Rogers pass lodge about an hour in front of my friends. It was a purely miserable day weather wise. Since the day started out warm I was biking shirtless, about and hour after leaving the team the sky opened up into an angry and cold rain. Since I was going at a good pace, I didn't bother stopping to putting on a coat, but about 2 hours later, at the point of hypothermia, I managed to put on a wet sweater and jacket. It felt great.

   Upon arriving at Rogers pass lodge, i found the kitchen closed, and the available food limited and overpriced. I angrily poured a coca-cola down my throat and ate my four dollar wonderbar (it was actually extremely delicious). When Downey and Emanuel showed up, I was eager to keep moving. The secound part of our day would be the easy part, it was all downhilll. So after a short break for Downey and Emanuel, we went bareling down the hill. Emanuel cruising at about 40 km, I like a conservative 50 to 60 km, and Downey likes the breakneck speed of 70 km to 80 km. Therefore we all arrived at the bottom of the hill much later in different shape. Downey felt relaxed and satisfied while Emanuel and I had sore arms from holding the break steady for about an hour. Golden was still a ways off but now in attainable reach. We were only about 50 km from our goal, but I was starting to hit what some people like to call the wall. The very energetic first part of the day, the lack of food and the incescant uphills had taken a big toll on my body. Therefore, about 25 km away from Golden I fell behind by about an hour. My ragged body was aching, cold, hungry, my ipod didn't work and my bum was beyond painful. When I finally forced my body into Golden I literally collapsed at the nearest Barbeque Restaurant.
 
    During our travels we have seen our share of good and bad. We did not know what the expect in Golden. The thought of sleeping outdoors in our thin sleeping bags and water resistant (NOT PROOF) bivy bags didn't exactly rally enthusiasm. When we checked out one hotel in particular the price we were quoted would have busted a weeks budget. Someone in town refered us to the Sportsman Motel. From the outside it looked like any regular motel exect the staff was so kind and understanding of our situation they accomadated us in everyway they could. Our rooms were great, it felt so good to lie in a dry bed. The staff even alowed us to relax in the motels hot tub. My legs felt so good relaxing in the hot tub, it was nice to have such nice people looking out for us.

Sicamous to Revelstoke

   I woke up in my bivy bag around 6 am, not because I wanted to, but rather because the crows in the neighbourhood decided to hold a screaming match in the yard that we slept in.
   Jalena, our host, found a friend that would be willing to drive me into the town of Salmon Arm where there was a bike shop, but there was a catch. If Jalena and her friends were going into Salmon Arm, they would be doing some shopping. Therefore I did get a ride to Salmon Arm and had my bike fixed, but while I waited for my bike, I had to spend my time looking at various amounts of jewellery and clothing to fit into the group of girls that were my hosts and also my ride back into town. At around 2 pm all the work on the bike was done and I was back in Sicamous.
   Downey, Emanuel and I were back on the road. We didn't have a huge goal, something just under 100 k. We wanted to get into the town of Revelstoke by nightfall and since all of our bikes were now in good working order, we were looking forward to being on the move once again.
   When we did get to moving, the sun was beating down heavily on us. After all, it was already about 2:30 pm. The day was a nice relaxed one with a good balance of uphills and downhills, which was nice for a change. When we did get into revelstoke it was only about 8 pm. We found a place called the KOA campground. It had showers and a laundry place and the attendant there gave us a discount for a camping spot, so it was the best choice for us.
   The night was a quiet one. Everyone had a shower and took the oppertunity to do some laundry. When my head hit the pillow at the end of the day, I didn't even dream, just slept.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Sicamous

Hello Everyone!

   So much has happened since last time. We made it to Kelowna, which was hard once again because of an extensive uphill climb. However, once we started the descent into the Okanagan valley the climb was more than worth it. The gentle downhill slope allowed you to enjoy the view without peddling, and with so much beauty to take in, it was great.
   We stopped by a BP when we arrived in Kelowna. Sawn, the manager, was kind enough to give us a 20% discount. After we ate, I called my cousin Nicole, and stayed at her boyfriend Jeff's Dads house.
   Our stay was amazing. We had a hot tub, warm bed and washing machine. Our day off gave our legs the much needed rest they deserved. We had a chance to drink in the beauty of the Okanagan valley.
  When it came time to leave Kelowna, we met this guy Emanuel, on the side of the road. He was cycling to Montreal, and we figured we might as well stick tgether for alittle while. So Michael, Our friend Emanuel and I headed out from kelowna and made our way towards the town of Sicamous.
   We had been lucky up to this point not to have suffered any kind of major bike problems, but this day was going to be different. As was flying down a mountain at 50k, my back tire blew out. I had managed to bring the bike to a slow stop and we fixed the problem in about 30 minutes. Next, Michaels bike tire went wobbly and his rear brakes were rubbing. Lastly, my rear gear arm got somehow pulled into the spokes and twisted up inside of it. That was the end of my day, 16k out of Sicamous and my bike had enough.
   Emanuel and Downey left me on the side of the road in hopes could hitch into town with my busted bike. After standing for an hour, this guy came out of the bushes from accross the street.

   "What seems to be the problem bra?"

  " My bike seems to have tried to destroy itself, so I'm trying to get a ride into town" Said I.

   "Yeah that's pretty serious brother, why don't you throw your gear into my wagon, I'll give you a lift into town"

    I decided that this would be good enough, and therefore I put my bike into the this guys truck and we started driving to the town of Sicamous.
    Vern was my drivers name. He was living near Sicamous and was a very interresting and nice person. We had an interesting conversation and after about half an hour we said our goodbye as I was dropped off at the hardware store in Sicamous.
   There was not much hope that a hardware store in a small town would know anything about fixing a de-railer, but when your out of options it seems like a good idea. The workers at the hardware store didn't carry any supplies or tools I needed and I was informed that there was no bike repair shop in town. Therefore I walked dejected to the closest building to ask about directions and went to the local shell station.
 
    "Hey my name is Joel Bisson, I'm biking across Canada. My bike broke down do you know of anyone going towards the town of Salmon arm or Revelstoke?"

    The gas attendant I was talking to was named Jalena. After hearing my case she not only promised to find help but she allowed Downey, Emanuell and I to sleep in her yard. Downey and Emanuel were happy to hear we had a place to sleep when they finally arrived in Sicamous, so we set up camp and fell asleep.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

If you like it so much, why don't you Merritt

  After my last blog update, we left the town Hope and made our way up the number 5 highway with the hopes of reaching the town called Merritt. We had about 130 km to go that day, and most of the local were warning us about the Coquihalla grind. The Coquihalla is a section of highway that goes upwards at a 8% grade that is highlighted by a section where there is an avalanche protection bridge. Going up the highway was physically tolling. Downey and I had to pour water down our throat about as fast as we could fill up our water bottles. Everytime we found a mountain run off stream, we would have to fill up our water bottles and we probably drank about ten liters during the day. As well as drinking constantly, we were also eating often. Our biggest point of desperation came right after we passed the avalanche protection building, where we sat down and decided to eat our emergency supplies of one can of black beans, and one can of stewed tomatoes. This meal was eaten straight from the can. The day was 27 degrees celcius, so we didn't see much of a point of cooking with fire.
   We somehow managed to bike up threw the Coquihalla grind and finally reached the peak of mount Coquihalla around 4 pm. It was both good and bad news, we were up the mountain, but when we looked down at a map, we had only gone 50 km in about 6 hours, and we still had about 80 km to go until our destination.
   We continued along the Coquihalla, breaking freaquently for water and food and finally around 7:30 the hill started to break into a seriouse downhill, were we were able to make up most of the time and distance. At 8 pm, the first signs of life started to emerge, we started seeing houses and finally the town of Merritt was visible in a valley not far away.
   Merritt is a cowboy town. It has the rolling hills spotted with the occasional evergreen and everyone seems to own a couple of horses, and if they don't own horses, they still wear the cowboy hat. I was feeling a little awkward in my tight bike shorts and shirt rolling into town.
   We stopped at this place called the Grand Bar and Pub. I ordered a spaghetti and Downey ordered a steak sandwich, and we ate like monsters. After our meal we asked the owner if there was anything she could do in terms of lowering our bill (as we do in all restaurants to save money). The owner said she would do us one better, she took out an empty pitcher put twenty dollars in and made one of the watraisses walk around and collect money for us from all the patrons. By the end, we probably had another 80 dollars. We thanked the owner and the patrons profusely and left the restaurant.
   A place to sleep was a different scenario. We found a trailer park and figured this place was as good of a place to sleep as any, so we blew up our air matresses and slept underneath the stars on a patch of grass in the RV park. It was not exactly the best sleeping scenario, but we were both so exhausted that it didn't matter and we shut our eyes on another day.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Hope?

   This will be a realitively short post. You can also expect of errors, because I am writting this from my phone and my thumbs are not the most nimble.
   Two days ago, Downey and I stayed at my uncle Marks house. It was a great time. That was in Surrey. We left Surrey and pedalled all day to a place called Hope BC. In Hope, there was no place to sleep, but some locals told us of a spot where the hobos go to sleep near an abandoned house.
    
     "If its good enough for the hobos, its good enough for us" - Downey

   So with Downeys words of wisdom we found an abandonned shack on the outskirts of Hope and unrolled our sleeping bags. It the most restful night, first of all I was wooried a hobo would steal our supplies or murder Downey. Secondly, in the middle of the night, a raccoon came out of the bushes and stole my apple while leaving a dead mouse next to my shoe. I suppose in his mind it was a fair trade, but I share the same taste as my raccoon friend. Lastly, Downey had some wierd night terrors or something where he thought something was touching his arm.

   We have some thanks to say today, Kelli the manager from Canadian tire donated a helmet to me after my last one was stolen in Vancouver. Cecil from bike zone donated two rear view mirrors, great guy. The guys at pedal sport in chilliwack fixed Downeys tire for free.

   On June 3rd, Downey and I were touched by a very special experience. We were invited to to ALS Vancouver for a reception, and there we met some great people. There staff was really courteous and kind. We also had the priveledge to meet Dean. He is a father, a husband, an avid cyclist and also has ALS. He can no longer bike, pick up his kids or kiss his wife. Downey and I are lucky enough to suffer sore muscles and sweat going up these BC hills but for people like Dean, those things are only memorys. The experience was a bigg eye opener.
  Im writting from a town named Hope. Its too easy to feel despair about a disease like ALS, it takes courage to have Hope. Please spread the word about ALS and what Downey and I our doing. Alone we may feel helpless, but find a cure together.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Another Day on the Island

   Sometimes I worry that Downey and I have it much too easy in Victoria. Its officially day two in our tour, and what I had imagined we would be experiencing, is quite different from what is actually happening.
   What I had envisioned was both Downey and I being severely tired, cold and under nourished. Every morning we would be waking up at 6 am and peddling about 150 kilometers.We would be sleeping everynight in the ditch, all our gear would be wet, and Downey would be yelling at the sky with tears rolling down his face going "why God did I ever agree to this... Why!!!"
    But that is simply not what is happening. Instead of waking up in a ditch this morning, I woke up on my own very comfortable mattress at a very nice ladies house called Mable. Her husband passed away from ALS 12 years ago and she is a very active member of the ALS society of Victoria. Not only has she given us a beautiful place to sleep, eat, shower and do our laundry, but last night she let Downey and I borrow her car.
   It all happened once we started watching the NHL at Mables home.We all grabbed a glass of wine and settle comfortably on the plush sofa. Mable has had two boys in the NHL and it showed. Once the game started, she turned from sweet old lady to seasoned coach, yelling instructions at the television between sips of wine. After the first period she looked to me and said:
   "If you and your friend would like to borrow my car and partake in the celebration in Victoria tonight, your welcome to."
    To which I replied: "Mable, you are without a doubt an angel sent from heaven, and I will take you up on your offer. I can give you very little in return, but, I can promise to make you sound as tho you are an angel sent from heaven in my blog."
   Mable agreed, and after an excellent supper Michael and I were of once again to Victoria to celebrate a Canuck win.

   When in Rome, do as the Romans do.... But where do the Romans hang out? Michael and I were looking for the largest concentration of people. We were looking for signs of celebration, but apart from a couple of people hanging on the side of the street in jerseys yelling happily at the occasional car that sported a Canucks flag, we could not find "the" place of celebration.
   We decided to enter a pub, or sports bar and ask the locals what was customary to do in a situation such as ours. The first bar we went to we were refused entry. Apparently my manly five finger vibram shoes and my zip up pant shorts were no match for the Ed Hardy the Victoria boys were wearing.  The bouncer probably figured we were homeless and therefore cast us off. I would like to say I didn't care, but I did shed a tear on the inside.
   Shunned from the high class bar, we found a sports bar that would accept the likes of us. It was the kind of bar with sports memorabilia on the walls, rock music, and all the waitresses wore shirts with "two twins one cup" inscribed on it. The party had been long gone from when we arrived, the locals were not very helpful and even tho the hockey team won the game, people were generally in a bad mood. When we started drinking out cheap tasting expensive beers, we asked for our bills and left.
  Feeling dejected and depress, we followed our sense of familiarity and found ourselves once again at the Oceans Islanders Backpackers Inn. Instantly our mood brightened. Our friendly bartender Becca was at the bar and Downey made quick work of ordering a couple pitchers while I found a table of familiar faces. We sat down at a table with the British nationals; Carrie, Amy and Hannon. As we drank beer and conversed, I realized that it was open mike night. Downey dared me to go and sing a couple of songs, feeling confident, I made my way to the stage and opened like this:
   "Ladies and Gentlemen, I have been informed that this guitar if very slippery, and that being the case I may play a couple of bad notes. If you do hear something that isn't pleasant, please remember how slippery this guitar really is."
   Even tho it was the least confident opening to a show in the history of my life, it still got everyones attention. I started with an improvising of a song called "the winnipeg blues". All it was was a summary of my life in Winnipeg.
   "I live in a flood plain, the mosquitoes know me by name...." And so on.
   I played a couple more songs, the audience endured my music, we talked a little more, and called in a night. Day two was far too easy, and I worry that we will endure some real hardships soon.