Team 2 Hits The Road!
We have embarked on our tour through Eastern Canada. We actually left a few weeks ago now, but wanted to catch you up on how things have been going. Bryan, one of the School of Leadership students on our team, offered his daily journal to give you all an inside glimpse into a typical week on tour with us…who am I kidding, there’s no such thing as a typical week. But here it is, Week 1 of Team 2’s Eastern Tour. Enjoy!
Our first adventure has begun. We have actually set off on our Eastern tour. My best friend Adrian’s team has now left westward as well.
Last Sunday was Day 1 of our journey. Mel’s parents and Adam showed up to see us off, and we said goodbye to Adrian and Kelsey, acknowledging shockingly that it will have been the longest time we will have been separated since August. We pulled out of Hamilton and flew on past Toronto. From the highway in North York, I swear I saw the CN Tower. Once in Laura’s hometown of Oshawa, we were warmly greeted by her parents at her home. I beat JP and DJ at Chess and Queen was blaring in the background. We ate well with leftovers for the road. Between Belleville and Kingston, we heard a vibration, so we pulled over to discover that we would be pulled over for a while. A cop and a mechanic came by, but nothing really got moving until Dave and Sue, old friends of the Earles (our co-founders) arrived to pick up our trailer. The tow truck failed, but a flat-bed finally succeeded in loading our bus. In Belleville, we dropped off the bus at a Ford dealership and brought the trailer to their home where we caught the end of the Olympics closing ceremonies, had a beautiful dinner and got to sleep.
Day 2, instead of presenting in Ottawa, as per the plan, we hung around, waiting for the bus to be repaired, watching Titanic and playing pool, until JP, DJ and I decided to make things quicker by driving out to Kingston in Dave’s truck to pick up a new wheel and hub which we brought back. In forty-five minutes it was fixed and we could be on our way. We had dinner at Wendy’s in Kingston, and spent the night in a pastor’s vacant house in Cornwall, the most Eastern city in Ontario. Good news: The school in Ottawa will be revisited!
Day 3, we packed up the whole lot of food that the pastor left for us and drove the very short distance to the school in Cornwall, where the local police department was having us put on three different shows for all the local schools. After the first one, we had lunch, and then did the last two, each one better than the last, except for some wireless microphone difficulties… We drove back to Kingston again to stay at Ashley’s house. He is the LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) media/marketing manager. It was Ryan Wood and his family, the current LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) boss of everything, who came with our bus and Rachelle. We transferred our things into the new, larger bus and went to sleep, glad to have Rachelle join our ranks, making us ten: JP, Meagan, Christian, DJ, Hammer, Laura, Melissa, Rachelle, Nicole, and myself, Bryan.
Day 4, in the morning, some of us cleaned up the bus to ready it for our voyage. We left, and picked up some groceries. On our way east, we picnicked in the bus. We arrived in Quebec, my first time. It is really strange to be in a French-speaking land! It is new for me. We got some free coffees from McDonald’s and drove on through the old and new sights of Montreal. We stopped near Trois-Rivieres for dinner at A&W, and then had our first tastes of the show 24, which would lead to a regrettable consuming addiction for us. In Quebec City, we stopped at a McDonald’s, where we met with an old English-speaking LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)r-turned Quebecois. We drove on through the night. I was slated for the duty of talking to JP through the night while he drove. Just after we crossed into New Brunswick, JP and I got to sleep while Meagan took over driving.
Day 5, we awoke just beyond Fredericton. Once in Moncton, JP picked up breakfast groceries. From then on, DJ did the driving. A few episodes of 24 later, we were through Antigonish and the bulk of Nova Scotia and into Cape Breton on the Northeast tip of the province, to Sydney Mines. We ate some local fish and chips and then arrived at our billets, a pastor family. The band and I got the overflow billet at the house of some guys from their church.
Day 6. It seems that Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are currently under a freakish grip of snowfall that is uncharacteristic of the region for this time of year. Anyway, this morning I awoke with a migraine, possibly due to the change in barometric pressure. We got to our first school in Florence. The students were quiet, but appreciative and the show went great. We packed up quick and moved it over to the next school in North Sydney. We picnicked in the bus before we loaded in. Our billets sat in for this awesome show, and we went home to have dinner at their house back in Sydney Mines. That night, we went to a get-together in town, where we experienced small-town Cape Breton fellowship and a little step-set dancing.
Day 7, us guys slept in a little at our billet, and played a little N64 on their big-screen TV and enjoyed a pancake breakfast. We met up with the rest of our crew and went into town. Most of us went shopping at the local second-hand store, but JP and I walked around the harbour, contemplating the economy of the region. I tasted the Atlantic Ocean for fun, and then JP and I took our speculation to research. We stopped into Blue Star Traders and chatted with the owner. It seems that the areas core industries of old, coal mining, farming and fishing have long gone, and so general desperation has dominated the area. People rely on EI and turn to crime to get by in some cases. It seems that this regrettable phenomenon is increasingly common in Eastern Canada. After lunch at a local burger stand, our resident local teenager, Britney, showed us the way to an old WWII barracks on the coast cliffs. We had a blast, climbing the lookout tower, exploring the underbellies of a rotating gun mount, exploring the barracks rooms, spelunking in a well and, for me, seeing the open Atlantic for the first time. That night we watched 24, had chili, and relaxed for the night.
1 week down, many adventurous weeks to go! Stay tuned. -JP