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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

August 22: Maramichi to Charlolettetown

   We woke up really early. Around six thirty am. Now the first thing I wanted to do in the morning is wake myself up. Coffee was never an option, but there was a washroom and shower not too far so I figured I'd go brush my teeth and throw some water in my face to get the day started right.
   As I looked at my bleary red eyes in the mirror of the washroom, a janitor walked into the room with a garden hose. No big deal, I thought and continued on my business. That is when it happened. I heard a bit of pressurized water escape from the hose followed by a couple of swear words.

  What's going on there? I thought.

    The janitor then lost control of the hose, and dropped it so that now it was spraying cold water in every direction. As he struggled to get hold of the rogue hose, I found myself getting intermittently sprayed. I looked for an exit but none was easily available. I was at the wrong end of the narrow corridor leading to the sink, and I felt like a target at the wrong end of a firing range.

   "Son of a Gun!" Screamed the Janitor.

    At this point the hose got a life of it's own. It moved like a belly dancer and snaked itself in every direction spraying down the entire washroom. I tried to cover as much of myself as possible, but it being so early in the morning, I did not have the mental capacity to really understand what was happening. Therefore, I just stood there, most likely with a stupid stunned look on my face while I tried to figure out whether I should be mad, laugh or feel sorry for myself.

   "Gotcha!"

   The janitor pounced violently grasped the hose and tried to bring it under control. The only problem was that now instead of spraying down the room equally, the evil hose of death was concentrating on soaking me entirely.

   "Arrrggh!" I screamed like a pre-pubescent boy at a backstreet boys concert.

    The hose was finally turned off. The janitor turned to me and said:

   "I'm so sorry about that. Are you ok"

   I looked at him. The bright side of the situation was that I was now awake. I didn't have to splash water in my face anymorem, and I had had a shower, in a sense. The bad part was that not only was I now soaked with cold water, but that now Michael was aware of the situation and made sure to laugh at my expense.

   "I'm fine, I guess" I responded to the janitor. This must have been too much for him because at this point he joined Michael in laughing at me. The misery that I had experienced in the morning made the day of the people around me.

   I got on my bike, ready to start the day. Honestly, at this point I just wanted to start biking to start warming up and drying out my clothes. As I made my way out of the campground with our cycling crew my rear derailer cable snapped, which means I was now stuck in the hardest gear for the rest of the day. My day couldn't get any worse.... seemingly.

   As I struggled up hills in hard gear I focused on the sad state of my bike. Both my front and back tire were kept intact by duck tape, I had four broken rear spokes, I had a broken gear cable, I couldn't use my front break and I was wet. Please God, just make one thing work out well in my day!

    Bleep Bleep!

   I looked over to Downey, his phone made the common sound of him receiving a text. He reached into his back pocket and retrieved his phone. Then, still peddling with both hands off his handle bars, he began to read his message. God must have heard my earlier pleas because not long after Downey had grabbed his phone, his bike's front tire turned sharply to the left, in essence stopping him dead his tracks. I watched Downeys eyes look into mine as his body was thrown up and over the handle bars and onto the hard concrete bellow. His feet remained clipped into his bike as momentum threw him like a rag doll falling down the stairs. Suprisingly and impressively, he still held his cell phone. As his shoulder made contact with the ground his bike's momentum continued to move over his head and brought him for a second round of tumbling pain. I laughed internally as I unclipped to see if my friend was alright. Turns out he was. He just dusted himself off and said he was good to go. At this point I laughed in his face, good friends can do this.

   "Well since we're stopped, I'm just going to go take a pee" I said as Michael rubbed his sore shoulder.

   I made my way to a small pasture fence and stared to pee on one of the wooden poles. Its funny but I always feel the need to pee on something, almost just like aiming at a target. I looked about me, there were a few cows in the pasture. This is one beautiful province I thought. New Brunswick, just breathe in the clean air. That's when I felt it. A crack of pain right in my kidneys. My whole body convulsed and and I got light headed in a second.

    What the hell just happened? I thought.

   Maybe in the excitment of Michael's crash, or maybe because we had been getting barely any sleep in the atlantic rainy season, I had neglected to notice the little metal wire that ran down the lenght of the wooden pole I was peeing on. I didn't notice the little wire that carried enough of an electric current to keep a full grown cow from pushing the boundaries of the pasture. I learned about it the hard way, as usual.
   For a couple of minutes I stood there inspecting myself, making sure there would be no permanent damage to "myself". I did not even scream when I got shocked so I figured nobody would notice. This is not something you want to be known for. I quietly walked back to the group.

   "Why are you so pale?" Asked Downey

   "Nothing, I mean no reason" I replied

   "Are you ok?" Downey asked

   "No I'm not. This day sucks. First I get sprayed by a janitor, then my gears, and now I just peed on an electric fence. This isn't my day man."

   Downey looked concerned, he went and looked at the fence. Then looked at me clutching my lower stomach with my head in my knees and then started to laugh.

   "Man, you have to put this in the blog! Thats so funny" Downey said.

   After Downey laughed at me for a few kilometers with no end in sight promised him I would put my incident in the blog only if he shut up about it. This made him content and he cycled with a smile on his face for the rest of the day. We finally arrived at the Confederation Bridge. I was happy that New Brunswick was coming to and end. There was a free shuttle bus to get accross the bridge for cyclists and pedestrians so we jumped on board.
   The island of PEI was beautiful. We cycled towards Charlolettetown and the sky opened up. The rain fell heavy and cold. It would not have been too bad, i'm used to the rain by now, but the wind picked up as well and it blew right in our faces. It was 50k to town, and with every kilometer it got more difficult. Not only did we get two flat tires on the way to town, but we were also stopped by a police officer.

    "If you have helmets, put them on" we heard from a cruise car megaphone.

   The officer pulled along side of us and rolled his window down.

   "Officer, we do not have helmets with us. We haven't had them for a few thousand kilometers now. We are just trying to get to Charlolettetown."

    "You know its a $120 minimum fine in PEI not to have a helmet?"

   "No officer, honestly I did not know that. We just arrived in the province about an hour ago. All I know is that this has not been an easy day. If you could leave us with a warning instead I would really appreciate it."

   "Oh I'm not going to give you guys a ticket or a warning. The rain is really intense and I'm not getting wet over something like this. You guys just be careful, and good luck"

    And with that the officer let us be. What a nice guy, I thought. He must have seen the look of exasperation on our faces.

    An hour later we rolled into Charlolettetown. We met up with an ALS PEI member who had a hotel lined up for us for the night. Relief came over me when I found out we'd be staying indoors tonight. Downey and I had been living a life withought luxuries for a while now and we really didn't have the spare funds for anything that was not absolutly neccesary, not even bike repairs (duct tape is much cheaper). The thought of a heated room made me really happy. The ALS PEI member and I discussed what we could do for the media and things the next day and I was happy to get in the swing of things once again.

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