1 was successfully completed on March 24, 2001!
RWC team have been chronicling
their adventures and thoughts as they motor 'round the world.
These are Mike and the Team's Challenge entries.
more, read the weekly articles
appearing in The Ottawa Citizen.
1: Ottawa - Halifax, Canada (March 20-24, 2001
23, 2001: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
And the team rocks on... The press awaits
as the Team prepares to tour the Halifax Rehabilitation Centre.
22, 2001: New Brunswick, Canada
"Wassup world!? I am under the impression that
my tremendous thirst for novelty will be temporarily quenched
for the months to come...."
Team member, George Swinimer,reflects on the first few days
on the road as the team makes their way through Canada's east
20, 2001: Quebec City, Canada
Launch Day! At long last, after three and a half years
of planning, the big day has finally arrived! And what a day
it was...a send-off from Parliament Hill with Prime Minister
Jean Chretien, no less!
about other legs of the Challenge:
route to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada - March 23, 2001
raining now as we cruise along to Halifax, for a conference/tour
press release of a rehabilitation facility. We just passed
through a toll booth, myself stretching awkwardly across Mike
to grab the receipt. Glory Hallelujah! No new scars on my
hands today from my arch rival the roof rack today: Human
2 Machine 0. Scars so far, scratched left index finger knuckle,
cut palm, scraped back of the right hand, light slices on
right index finger, several broken fingernails which makes
playing my nylon string guitar slightly awkward...tsk tsk...
in for gas, Peter films some shots as Gary pops the hood.
Out I go to stretch. 67 Kilometers from Halifax. Just chatted
with with our main man Randy Waugh about computer communication
glitches, ironing out them wrinkles. One step at a time we
work out the details.
first "Sawa Sawa Connection" (Round the World Chapta)
watercolour has been presented to Carmen, the night clerk
at the Holiday Inn in Charlottetown as we chatted about the
ins and outs of the town.
In a Bottle" by the Police, one of my favorite bands
of all time, booms on the box. Numerous memories flood to
mind, particularly nights chillin' at the Carnivore when I
was growing up in Kenya. I always find it amazing how particular
songs can stimulate memories so vividly that they recreate
that unique emotional cocktail of the original experience.
Life and bliss...
Halifax, ships in the port, bridges, rain, people...good vibe...I
was last here a year ago visting my father who was in between
jobs in Saudi and Lebanon. I have a funky aunt in the vicinity
that runs an animal sanctuary...hopefully I'll have a split
second to hang out and speak the good philosophies. Time will
tell. OK world, for now Leg one seems pretty sawa sawa (read
"mighty fine" with energetic emphasis - Swahili).
We've just arrived and the press are waiting. Cheers!
end of Leg 1...Mike leaves the truck at the Halifax docks
press greets the Team
enjoys the view as he heads east of Quebec City towards Kamouraska
- the opening door of eastern Quebec and the Bas-Saint Laurent.
New Brunswick, Canada, March 22, 2001
world!? Apologies for the lateness of our first communications
but our first couple of days have been rather hectic as we
settle into the full swing of our little journey. We've just
left Gould's - a small restaurant outside of Moncton - guts
stuffed with deep-fried clam. Crash Test Dummies plays on
the box as we cruise on our way to Charlottetown, PEI. Main
man Mike is at the wheel bopping to and fro, singing along
with Brad's lyrics. Christine looks philosophical as she stares
out the windscreen.
How to describe the quarters of our adapted cruisin' machine?
This vehicle is contraption city. In front of me, to my right,
lies digital camera to capture Mike at the wheel. Side pouch
- communications device to talk to Road Warrior Extraordinaire
- the right just honourable Gary Sowerby. Mounted on the dash
- GPS tracking satellite system ... you get the idea this
beast can almost take us to da moon!
great journey has begun. Four continents, eighteen countries,
seven months. Three years of preparation. How can one possibly
begin to comprehend what we are about to experience? For me,
one of the ultimate sensations of freedom is waking up in
the morning, not knowing where you're going to be, who you're
going to meet, what you're going to experience. I am under
the impression that my tremendous thirst for novelty will
be temporarily quenched for the months to come.
We are about to cross the bridge over into Prince Edward Island,
Curtis Mayfield singin' in the background. This bridge is
one seriously large papa! Chunks of ice in the water ... rather
picturesque... onwards to Charlottetown!
Prime Minister, Jean Chretien,
wishes Mike a 'Bon voyage!'
Christine, George, Garry, François Belisle,
Mike, Don Sancton, Marlene Catterall
official launch on Parliament Hill
City, Canada - March 20, 2001 - Launch Day!
long last, after three and a half years of planning, the big
day has finally arrived!
I "write" this, we are approximately 45 kms outside
of Quebec City, cruising along on highway 20 at just over
100 km/hr. After a healthy dose of the new Tragically Hip
album, "Live between us", I felt inspired to write
my very first journal entry albeit dictating while George
frantically tries to keep up to my random thoughts. As I recite
this journal entry, Garry Sowerby is in mock pursuit in our
donated Ford Explorer from Budget Rental Car.
past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of events planning,
meetings, media, packing, technology training, conflict resolution
final trip preparations were even more overwhelming than I
imagined...installing all of the technology in the truck (web-cam,
digital camera, laptop, VCR, satellite tracking, sound-system,
cell-phone, satellite phone, etc. etc.), trying to pack everything
needed for three people to travel in a truck for seven months
(and still remain relatively sane!), emergency tools, car
and lift parts, manual wheelchair, the medical drugs and supplies
I need as a quadriplegic (antibiotics, drugs to control muscle
spasms...), an arm-cycle to provide me with much needed aerobic
work-out while on the road....the list goes on and on. I can't
believe we actually fit it all in...won't be much room for
souvenirs on the road, I'm afraid!
here we are! And, as I think back to the events of today I
am overwhelmed by the support of friends, family and sponsors
who turned out en masse for our official launch from Parliament
Hill. I can't imagine a better way to have begun our odyssey.
If you weren't there I can tell you that the event proceeded
better than planned. After touching addresses from long-time
supporter Marlene Catterall, MP, Don Sancton, representing
my very generous sponsor, Pfizer Canada, François Belisle,
my friend and CEO of the Canadian Paraplegic Association,
and Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons and our
MC, Peter Van Dusen I was given the opportunity to speak to
approximately 200 friends and well-wishers. It was finally
an opportunity to publically thank all those in attendance
who have believed in and supported the dream and took time
out of their busy day to see us off.
the official ceremonies wound down I was pleasantly surprised
and pleased to hear that Prime Minister Chretien wanted to
greet me and the team as he was leaving the House of Commons.
The PM was extremely gracious and supportive of the project.
I had the privilege of presenting him with our official Pfizer/Roots
leather team bomber jacket and baseball cap which he proceeded
to try on with the help of Marlene Catterall. Fortunately
it was a good fit!
have to say a huge thank you to Ellyn Holzman and Anne Chartrand
at unconventional planning inc. for their tremendous effort
in pulling together the launch. And thank you to the J.S.
Woodsworth Senior Concert Band for helping to make this a
very special occasion.
We're now entering Levi on the south shore of Quebec City
and approximately 10 km from the exit of our first hotel and
night on the road.
a final thought it feels great to have our first day on the
road and arriving safely at our first destination the Comfort
Inn...hoping to get a much-needed rest before moving on to
the next city!
talk to y'all soon!
about other legs of the Challenge: