Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Rest Day in Okinagen Falls

26th May, Monday. Okinagen Falls - Helen, our sheep dog - we have Helen supporting us for the next few days. She looks after all our needs and is an absolute angel. I have a corn between big toe and 2nd toe and it hurts. I happened to mention it casually and she drove to Penticton near where we will be staying to speak to a pharmacist at the local pharmacy. She arranged an appointment for me where I would probably have put up with it!! Penny and I are used to doing everything for ourslves so to have Helen is pure bliss. We don't have to think about a thing - apart, that is, from all the technology that I have keep boring everyone about. In the morning I hook up the Satellite Personal Tracker to my shorts, wrap a microphone around the top of my arm, attach the camera to my handle bars and switch on my new mobile phone - which I am just about able to understand now!!! For some reason the SPOT tracker didn't work sp well to-day. I switched it on and John and Ruth (cousins) picked up the signal then all was lost. We set off from Princeton in the pouring rain and entered an area called Wolf Creek, Indian Territitory. A short way into the Creek, there it was staring at me in the middle of the road -- a gigantic wolf. I wondered if smiling at it might help as I wasn't sure whether it would attack me like the dogs. Fortunately, after eyeing me for a minutes or two. it took off into the wood and I have been told they won't harm us. The route was a bit od a roller coaster but not too tough. I was cycling along when my phone rang. It was CBC Radio wanting me to do a live broadcast (beginning to get used to all this now - and every time we appear in the media is one more chance for donations to MacMillan). Also a news girl from Toronto rang to say their paper was following us and would like to meet us later. Local papers, TV and Radio are really interested in The Two Grannies cycling across Canada!! I would like to down load photographs to the blog but have to learn to do that soon. We have discovered that we have a stowaway. Penny was searching in a pannier and a little something bit her finger. It was a mouse and he had a good chew at her toilet bag . Helen is delighted about the mouse and she has called it Hope as she thinks that is where it may have joined us!! It lives in her van!! Monday night we arrived at the beautiful lake side home of Susy and Mike, friends of Penny, where we will be spending a couple of rest days. We were made so welcome. It's one extreme to the other - from sleeping in our tents in camp sites to the luxury of this lake side home - from sitting around a camp fire eating from a plastic bowl with a plastic fork to dining in luxury with delicious food and fine wines - from a thermarest in a sleeping bag on the ground to a big comfy bed - from a cold dip in the river to warmth of a big deep bath. That's life from the happy campers.... I keep apologising for mistakes I make, now I am at it again . When I told you about our friendly Mountie I called him Bill - his name is Jim. So sorry Jim if you read this. Looking forward to a more relaxing day tomorrow with a bit of sightseeing and sorting out the technology.....

Sunday, 25 May 2008

The Eve Before Birthday

23rd May - this evening Tom (our Mr Fix-it), Lynwen, Penny and I went to The Home restaurant in Hope to celebrate my birthday. Lynwen and Ton were leaving that night and thought it would be a nice idea to dine out. We ordered a table for four and ordered a drink. A short while later my cousin Graham MacDonell, and his son Rylan who lives in BC, turned up out of the blue so we asked for a table for seven. Tom felt it would nice for me to spend time with my relations as I had only just met them. So they left. There were now five. Rylan then gave me a birthday present - a SPOT Satellite Messenger GPS tracker! I attach this to me so that people are able to track our route as we cycle. Pretty scary (but something I have always dreamed of in all my earlier travels!!). It was very kind of Rylan to be so thoughtful. Just then Rylan's phone rang with a message to say his Grandfather, who is in hospital at the moment, had taken a bad turn and they had to head off to see how he was. So now there were two. So Penny raised her glass and made a toast to me. The staff sang Happy Birthday and brought a little cake with a candle which I blew out to a round of applause!! Penny and I camped that night on the outskirts of Hope.
24th May - Birthday Girl . In the morning Tom and Lynwen came back to spend a couple of days with us before Lynwen flew back to Scotland and Tom had another Assignment - very busy man this Tom. By the way, he works for Tourism BC and not Vancouver - sorry Tom. We had breakfast in the Home restaurant where we had dined the night before. Four Mounties sat around a table having coffee. Tom introduced himself and told them about us and wondered if they might check on us now and again. They agreed to do this and said they would keep an eye on us that day and let the Mounties know as we moved along!!! On duty was Bill who around lunchtime had followed us up the mountain we had cycled. He found us by the side of the road enjoying a Gourmet Lunch organised by Randy (real name) who had come along to do some filming for Triple Echo Productions and would be with us for a couple of days. Bill parked his big police vehicle beside us and we enjoyed a good crack. Later that afternoon we came across our first black bear eating quietly by the side of the road. We had been warned about the bears but didn't expect to meet one quite so soon but we are in the mountains after all. Helen arrived at Manning Park where we would be camping that night. She is a friend of Penny's and lives on Vancouver Island. She is going to support us up and over the mountains by taking some of our panniers. That will be a wonderful as it is so hard with the weight we are carrying. I am so cosy at night in my wonderful sleeping bag given to me by Steve and Murray - enthusiastic workers for Macmillan Cancer Support. Randy spent a lot of time filming and at night we had another Gourmet Birthday meal round the camp fire Helen had brought a lovely birthday cake with sparkles on top and lots of balloons so there we were round the camp fire singing the old ranchers songs!! An unforgettable night and one of the best birthdays I have had.
25th May - I am wearing the fleeces kindly given to me by the GlenLuce Gun Shop, thank you Stoob. It is cold in the mountains and the fleeces keep me warm on the bike. It has been a hard day to-day and also very wet but we are in Princeton at last and have treated ourselves to a motel and are now going off to enjoy a well earned glass of Vin Roug!!

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Amazing Flight to Vancouver and later

Sunday 18th May - after a comfortable night in the Holiday Inn at Glasgow Airport - compliments of the hotel manager Mr Craig Renfrew - my son Bob and I headed over to the Terminal. Bob had driven me over the day before from Luce Bay with the bike and all the gear for the ride crammed in my dear little old car. At the airport numerous relations, friends, cameras and the media were there to see us off. After tearful farewells we were soon on our way. With us was the lovely Lynwen who was to be camera person for the next week. We flew with ZOOM AIRLINES who had sponsored our flight. A little into the flight Kevin, with the smouldering blue eyes - oh to be young again!! - announced over the microphone that two special ladies were on board and told the passengers what we were up to. Kevin asked us to stand up and, to a great round of applause, there we stood blushing to the roots of our hair!! Not long after I developed severe abdominal pain which thankfully was eventually relieved by the simple expedient of spending the proverbial penny. It was around this stage that Kevin asked me to say a few words to the passengers. Penny was sound asleep so it was up to me although I felt really unwell. Lynwen stood with me holding my hand and with microphone in hand I spoke to the whole plane load of passengers. There followed a collection for Macmillan Cancer Support and over $1000 was raised! Amazing. The staff on the flight were wonderful and, apart from the pain I was suffering, it was one of the best flights I have ever had. On arrival at the airport we made our bleary way to The Access Hotel, paid for by cousin Susy and husband Charles. thank you so very much. The following two nights were to be in The Fairmont Hotel, compliments of Lynne and Jaque. Everyone has been so good to us and we have been quite overwhelmed with the kindness. Thank you everyone. The next couple of days were verging on a nightmare.
Monday 19th May - we headed off to downtown Vancouver to collect our brand new Blackberry Curve smartphone sponsored by Emma, and her husband John's, company Dunpark. Also a new mobile phone for me, as mine turned out to be useless in Canada, and some other technical bits and pieces. Penny and I are NON TECHNICAL so this was going to be a challenge. We have to learn so many new things also the camera strapped to the handle bars of the bike!! Me, a film maker. You see, when Lynwen leaves we have to do the filming!!! The mobile phone was kindly given to me by Michael, manager of Rogers computer shop.
Tuesday 20th May - was spent sight seeing and buying bicycle bits and pieces. Lots of things happened after that which I'll tell you in another blog.
Wednesday 21st May - the following morning and we are off but before we left we were introduced to Tom, our Mr Fix-it, an incredible guy. He works for Vancouver Tourism and was to be our driver and help us with any problems (little did he know what was in store!!). We headed off on the ferry to meet the Mayor of North Vancouver and his friend Dan. After the photo call and endless good luck messages, we were off. Now Tom insisted we load the bikes into the van and take a lift out of Vancouver as he said that "only crazy idiots would think of cycling out of the city as the traffic is horrendous". We accepted the lift with grace and headed off. He dropped us off and then Penny and I started The Bike Ride at long last. It was a short day and that night we camped at Vedder River. Lynwen did a lot of shots of us from the van as they sped past. It was great fun and ther was lots of waving and shouting out.
Thursday 22nd May - we set off to cycle to Harrison Hot Springs, a fabulous resort by the Harrison Lake. We did some filming around the lake and visited the biggest sand castle competition in the world and some of the features were absolutely awesome (picked up the expression when I was in Oz) We made our way to Springs RV Resort and there we met Sheila. Sheila was so pleased to hear the Scottish accent as she was born in Edinburgh although has lived for many years in Canada. She was on duty at the park and was so kind to us. She gave us free camping and insisted we put our tents in front of a couple of log cabins and to use the facilities. Then I went to blog and spent ages doing my first blog from Canada and managed to loose it for some reason. It was a good one too as I was in the mood and the setting was fantastic overlooking Harrison Lake and using Tom's fabulous hotel room with his lap top - maybe it's still out there somewhere. That night we had a visit from Bill and Tom and round the camp fire we heard the story of Big Foot, part animal, maybe part human, a huge wild creature having been seen roaming the wilds. Sure hope we don't meet it although it sounds slightly mythical.... maybe a bit like Nessy. Oh, maybe I shouldn't have said that!! We actually had a great night and other campers joined us for a few drinks.
Friday 23rd May - this morning before we left Sheila came out to see us off and gave us a cheque for $100 for Macmillan Cancer Support. All packed up and on the road again this time heading for Hope - nice place to spend my 70th!!! We had our first experience of the big road trucks and they are huge. We were able to cycle on a path at the side of the road so it wasn't too bad To-night we are in a camp site called Coquihalla and by the river. I have blogged a lot to-night to catch up with everthing and hopefully the next ones won't be so long. Tomorrow we ride through the mountains to Princeton - this will be a big one

Friday, 23 May 2008

Sorry Blogg Readers

I spent last night blogging and unfortunately the blog had somehow got lost. I'll try again to-night.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Temporary loss of service

Mave has asked me to say that, ever since getting on the airplane in Glasgow, she and Penny have been so inundated with one amazing thing after another that they have hardly had time to turn round let alone find a computer etc etc. As a result blogging has had to take a bit of a back seat. They should now be in Abbotsford hopefully waking up around about now after a good nights sleep. She has asked me to let you know however that, conditions and opportunity permitting, normal service will be resumed in due course.

Friday, 16 May 2008

On The Go at 5am

To- day I start the journey planned over one year ago. I leave the log cabin and head up to Glasgow(son Bob driving) to stay overnight in the Holiday Inn at Glasgow Airport. The plane leaves at 12-30 but Penny and I have to be there at 9-45 for the media.You see, this is what happens when one becomes famous!! We shall be dressed in The Macmillan Cancer Support vests for the photocall and we'll have to do the "look this way, over here now , lean over your bicycles, that sort of thing!! I am laughing as I type this as it really is all quite hilarious the fact that there is so much interest in us, and it is down to being 70yr old grannies going for a run across Canada. If we were 25yr olds the interest wouldn't be the same. My dear friend Syl(you notice I don't use paragraphs-it is easier but lazy, I know) has a wonderful daughter-in-law called Kate. Kate is the answer to every mother-in-laws dream of a daughter-in-law.I can't list her attributions as there is not enough room but she is one fantastic person. She is writng a cookery book with wonderful recipes for runners and anyone who enjoys being fit and healthy. You will find Kate under ---go fasterfood.blogspot.com I hope that is right as I am prone to the odd mistake. Yesterday I had my hair chopped off. There will be no hair driers or fancy hair tools for us girls. No,it will be up, shake the head and helmet on!! Gillean cut my hair and made it look really nice. It was good in the hairdressers as the girls seemed quite excited about the bike ride and have taken a sponsor sheet for the charity. Thank you.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Blogging and Blear-eyed

A friend phoned to say I hadn't blogged for a couple of days. It concerns me slightly that people are waiting for my next blog I know it is only minutes at the computer but it is amazing how difficult it is to find these minutes.So please forgive me and apologies to the blogger readers!! The last couple of days have been amazing. Cousin Ruth and John booked Penny and me into the Holiday Inn at Glasgow Airport for the Sat. night before flying out. When John told the manager what we were up to he said "It's on the house" Isn't that lovely! Then cousin Suzy and Charles phoned to say Penny and I were booked into the Accent Inn at Vancouver Airport with their compliments. Many cheques and gifts have been pouring in and lots of sponsor money for Macmillan Cancer Support. Thankyou to everyone. Meg- Triple Echo Productions - sent Andrew to teach me how to film in the absence of the camera man. Did I tell you the BBC has contracted Meg and Co. to make a documentary of our journey? !! Now, I am a hopeless photographer, snapping away with poor results.
so naturally I was terrified at the thought of this camera. I was sorry for Andrew. However Andrew turned out to be an excellent instructor and I even managed to make a little film with the camera mounted on the handlebars of my bike. We'll see what the results are when we head up the Great Rockie Mountains. There will be much cursing withthe odd f--- thrown in which helps when the going gets really tough. Apologies to the non
expletive users. I'll turn the camera off!!! Last night brought more gifts when friends arrived for a farewll glass of wine. Lots to do to-day so must bash on.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Another Day In The Life Of Granny Mave!!

I have butterfly handlebars on my new Dawes Karakum Bike, I also have a butterfly brain. Around 3-30-4 am the brain decides to become alert and remains so for 2-3 hours. There's lots of chatting and lots of activity going on in the bearers brain. She is not happy. She gets up and makes a cup of tea. She is tired and wants to sleep as there is much to do. She goes to her computer to reply to e-mails to be told by relations and friends that she must rest . She can't--they do not understand. Is there any help for this condition? If so, please let me know. Seriously ,though, this is happening to me and driving me crazy. I want to be fit and ready for the challenge but I need more sleep. Yesterday was a busy day. Our local MP Russell Brown came round in the afternoon and presented me with a very generous cheque. A photograph was taken for the Free Press and during the visit I got a phone call from Mark Beaumont (just broken the round the world cycling record) to wish us luck and to offer help which I thought was really nice as we are a pair of old Granny's and Mark is a young 24yr old!! At night Katy( daughter) William ( grandson) and I went out for a cycle run> Katy has my old bike by request, surprisingly, as she is an Eventer going off to Horse Trials every other weekend and I always imagined she thought cycling a bit tame. Anyway, she did enjoy it and something we can do when I get back. I have just come back from a big bike ride and I am saddle sore. The saddle is different from my old bike but I'll get used to it. I had planned to leave early but phone calls, e-mails , put paid to that. Eventually, I set off and the weather was fantastic. As I left Luce Bay ,my home , and headed across to Newton Stewart using all the back roads I thought how much I am going to miss this lovely area of Scotland with the rolling Hills of Galloway stretched out before me.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Getting Back to Normality.

Party guests all gone now apart from Sylvia who travelled up from Liverpool by train with her bike and then cycled here. The party was a great success. Friend, Jim White, kept the night alive with the skirl of the pipes with much dancing to jigs and reels. Katy, daughter, produced a magnificent cake with an iced cyclist adorning
the top. Murray and Steve presented me with a fabulous sleeping bag which will keep me snug and warm during the spell in The Rockies. Jane and Una sang a lovely duet and fireworks followed. Thank you to all family and friends who made this a night to remember. There is still a lot to do and so little time but I must not panic--hang loose, cool baby cool!! I was thinking how extremely fortunate I am to have so many wonderful relations and friends and sad at leaving them all. There will be days when I'll be very homesick but, to know Penny and I are helping to improve the lives of people with cancer through Macmillan Cancer Support, makes it all worth while. Thank you to family and friends who have contributed through Just Giving and donations
by cheques and cash
Back soon.

The Day After

Sunday Post Party---Rest Day!!!

Saturday, 10 May 2008

New Bike and Farewell Party

Yesterday morning my son Sandy and I drove to Carrick Cycles, Ayr to collect the bike I am using for the trip. It is a Dawes Kara-kum and a dream of a bike. Carrick Cycles very kindly helped with a discount which means that bit more money towards the Charity. A few days prior to this, The Fred McAuley Show had phoned to
to ask if I would like to come on the live show to give an update. I had been on the show the month before and told Fred it was more nerve wracking than the thought of cycling across Canada. So, back again and the nerves returned. Fred is affraid of heights and next year Macmillan Cancer Support is having another Abseil (our third!) off the lighthouse at the Mull of Galloway. Wouldn't it be great if Fred did this?? My Farewell Bash, arranged by Katy and her husband Peter, is taking place in The Cock Inn just a short walk along the shore from here. It is the third oldest pub in Scotland, there will be lots of good food, drink and ceilidh dancing and it all begins in half an hour so I must awa the noo.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Sleepless Night

It is 5-45 am and I have been awake since 3 am!!! The thought of the enormity of The Bike Ride has suddenly dawned on me and I am scared. It is only a few days now before Penny and I fly to Vancouver to start cycling for the next 4 months. My son, Sandy, is staying for a few days and this morning we are driving to Carrick Cycles, Ayr, to pick up the bike that Dawes are giving me at a reduced rate. My daughter and son-in-law have organised a Farewell Fling for me on Sat night so lots of relations and friends are rolling in to-day. John and he Ruth,cousins, are travelling up from East Ayton a lovely village a few miles from Scarborough. They have been with me from the beginning and will be 'base camp' during the cycling. A huge thank you to them and to all sponsors and friends who have supported me.
I am going back to bed!!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Bus collection

I forgot to mention the fun I had on the bus going to Aviemore. A bunch of Irish chaps were on the bus going to Edinburgh for a Stag Week-end. Billy, sitting next to me, started chatting and asked me a lot of questions about myself . Eventually it came round to The Bike Ride and he up and went off round his friends on the bus and collected over 50 pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support--wow!! He has my web site and will follow the journey.

Preparing for Bike Ride

On the Ist May I went to gym and had the best work out since returning from Oz. Christine(trainer) put me through the usual but this time I felt so good as I had fallen behind a bit with being away. Penny's farewell BBQ was on the Sat,3rd May so I headed off to Aviemore on the bus. I can bus all over Scotland free as I have reached a certain age!! Being in the 3rd Age has huge advantages so, young ones reading this, have loads to look forward to.The BBQ was a huge success with masses of donations for Macmillan Cancer Support .The weather was good although rain had been forecast. Triple Echo Productions (T.E.P) are making a documentary of our trip for the BBC and they thought a good introduction would start with the BBQ. So they were there talking to guests and asking questions about this crazy pair who are about to set off on this marathon trek across Canada!! Penny and I are are beginning to question our sanity but have decided it is too late to call the whole thing off!! Penny will be in control of the Blackberry and I (heaven forbid) will be in charge of filming when the crew aren't there. Meg (T.E.P.) is sending a cameraman this week to teach me how to use the camerastrapped to the bike. I don't think the poor soul knows what he, she, is taking on as I am so stupid about anything technical.