Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"Mission accomplished - Alex Bain first autistic to run PEI tip to tip"

PEI Eastern Graphic, Wednesday July 19th, 2006

Monday, July 17, 2006

Day 14 - Tip to Tip

East Point Lighthouse

Day 14

8:00 morning at Baltic. Souris Runners and father join ran first 2km on trail. Reached 273km mark of main trail at Elmira Train Station. Eastern King firetrucks follow the final trek of tip to tip PEI. We arrived East Point Lighthouse at 10:27 morning and the journey was over. The wrap-up party at Elmira and ride on mini train. After 2 weeks of across the island total distance is 316km.

Wow.... what a wonderful end to an incredible 14 days.

Last night's severe thunderstorm warning never turned into more than a few drops of rain. It was a beautiful evening in our riverside guest house.

The morning broke sunny and promised to be hot. The Rite Bite Cafe in the Mall in Souris provided our breakfast, excellent muffins (I was told the omelettes are great but Alex doesn't do eggs straight up). I'm not much of a breakfast person, I fueled up with one of their cinnamon rolls and coffee. We were met at our start point on the Baltic Rd. by the Souris Gals, our hostess Joan, Terri, Rachel and, as always, Sara was on hand multitasking.... photos, video, coordinating our Fire Department escort, BBQing, getting a cake.... Sara you & those gals are amazing, we can't thank you enough for EVERYTHING you did. Our Souris are experience was one we'll treasure, Souris is one little town bursting with spirit & Kings County truly treated us as kings.

Alex, Roger & the gals set off for Elmira (Roger wanted to run the 1st Km & last Km of the day with him. Not far along we ran into a mailbox on the trail, in the middle of nowhere, we left a flier and a postcard from the Run in it. We arrived in Elmira at 9:00, slightly ahead of schedule. The Eastern Kings Fire Brigade joined us with an emergency truck & a fire truck to escort us to East Point . The Cheif's wife, Linda Robertson joined the running there too. Elmira is the end of the trail. There are a number of buildings there at the station, a museum, take out, gift shop....

Back on the road the Emergency truck led the way, followed by Alex, then the rest of us, and tailed by the fire truck. Just up the road we came into sight of the south shore and kept sight of it for much of the run up the road. The bright blue sky & sunshine added much to the beauty of the day. We are, as I figured we would be, still seeing fields of potatoes.

He ran most of the last 8 or 9 Km from Elmira to East Point. When he rounded the corner on the road that led to the lighthouse and East Point his pace picked up. He was running better than a 12k/h pace and leaving his dad behind (he had driven to East Point, ran about a Km back to meet up with Alex). At the point where the water appeared straight ahead of us the fire truck behind us let out a wail and Alex lit right up. A smile burst across his face and his pace picked up a spring to it I've never seen before. As we approached the lighthouse he grabbed my hand (at this point I had to let go of my camera so I'd have my hand free for the brakes), took of his hat and held it up in his other hand, ran past the lighthouse, the people clapping, through the parking lot and took a left onto a little trail he had seen in an East Point brochure picture, right to the point (luckily letting go of my hand before he hit the little trail). He was absolutely in his element. He greeted me on East Point with a big hug & kiss then ran back to give a hug to his dad. He then went and shook the hand of everyone there, even the little kids. The photos from there really say it all. We picked up our Tip to Tip certificates there and headed back to Elmira where the wrap up was. The BBQ was fired up, a big bowl of punch appeared and our escorts, runners, firefighters and others joined us. The Moughan's from Mass., vacationing in the Georgetown area joined us too. Alex took the miniature train ride with some of the other adults & kids. No party is complete without a cake and a big cake, with Alex on the front in his signature yellow shirt and red shorts with "Congratulations Alex" was presented. The cake was made by the folks at the Harbourview Training Centre and was great.

It was a truly great wrap up to a thoroughly wonderful experience. Alex lived his dream, set his goal and reached it. His focus has shifted from the running to the money now, having he did "his part", at $20/km he figures he ran far enough to raise $6220.00. I have purposely not been tallying the donations I know about. I know of some big chunks that were donated, I know we are at least halfway to our $6000. goal, but there is much I don't know. I don't know how much has been donated at the Credit Unions across PEI. I don't know, except for a grant from the PEI Department of Community & Cultural affairs, how much has gone to the PEI Council of the Disabled since we started the Run 2 weeks ago. Alex is anxious to know so I'll be finding out what I can soon. If you were waiting to see if he could actually do it before supporting the cause, no need to wait any longer.

My focus will shift now too, from the Run to organizing Dennis' seminars in September. I'll also work at labelling all the pictures in the photo albums. I've been contacted by the Guardian to do a follow up story and Alex and I have been asked to be guest speakers at the BMO Prince Edward Island Marathon Health & Wellness Expo in October. Randy brought us the Western Graphic with the article we were interviewed for in Tignish, it has a couple of inaccuracies but is pretty good.

My only complaint is that bit of warm rain that soaked us up west, I'm thrilled that that is all I have to come up with for the "negative" side of this experience. I purposely have not mentioned my own health issues, afraid mentioning how well I was would jinx things. My back (and it's degenerating discs) didn't give me a single problem. I had added handlebar ends that allowed me to sit up straighter if I wanted and between that and a new cushier seat my back was amazingly fine. My MS was evident the couple of times I wiped out and my memory got pretty foggy. I think part of that was from spending my time on the trail very much "in the moment" and switching back to thinking ahead and/or behind was difficult.

I'll have more to say as I reflect....

Day 14 Photos Here

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Run for autism awareness begins in West Prince - West Prince Graphic, July 5th 2006

More Press....
Thanx Randy for saving it for me

The West Prince Graphic, July 5th, 2006.

This interview took place in Tignish, Day 1

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Finish Line


The Souris Gals (& Roger)
Joan, Rachel, Roger, Terri, Alex

The Eastern Kings Fire Brigade

East Point


News later, Day 14 photos here.....

Day 13 Tip to Tip

Mayor Joseph A. O'Keefe & Alex

Day 13

8:00 morning at Selkirk. Ran 250km mark of trail, wetlands, woodlot and detour to Souris. Meet Ryan Doucette a middle distance runner from Souris High take picture. Billboard signs along on street of Souris and ate pizza at Greco. Meet Major of Souris at Bluefin while at supper to check at city hall. 16km to reach East Point Lighthouse, 8km to Elmira Train Stationhope to earning over $6000 and 7 marathons from North Cape.

The day broke clear & sunny. What a beautiful little place to wake up to. We were treated to breakfast at the Sheltered Harbour. I was still full from the meal there the night before. Thank you Ed & Mary Steele. By the time we hit the trail the clouds had rolled in and it was a bit cool. Soon enough the sun was breaking through the clouds and the day was warming up.

It was a day of many short, steep (relative to the trail) hills (more up than down it seemed). We came across the very first missing trail marker, at the 243K mark, only the post is there. Every other Km is marked (though not very accurately on the very end by Tignish). Most of our travel was in the woods today, some very nice woods at that, especially around Harmony where the demonstration woodlot is. Alex runs a race here in the fall. Sara greeted us in Harmony Junction alongt with Ryan Doucette.

We decided to go on to Baltic and finish up our day before going for lunch. Lunch was provided by Greco Pizza in Souris. Thanx folks it was great. On the way to Greco, we noticed the sign at Robin's Donuts said "Run Alex". A drive through town (Souris is a small place) revealed more signs with his name on them. The other side of the Robin's sign said "Go Alex Bain!". Outside the Legion the sign says "Way to go Alex Bain", at the Mall on the big sign it says "Go Runman Alex Bain for Autism". Too cool..

This afternoon I got to the CAP site in Souris and managed to upload the blog entry for the last 2 days and some photos (sorry they're not linked yet).

We had supper at the Blue Fin in Souris where they had a donation waiting for us from the management and staff. We know the Blue Fin from post race gatherings after the Souris Relay, the Turkey Trot etc. It's the first time we ate upstairs in the restaurant. Tonight I saved room for pie... Soon after we arrived we were informed the Mayor would be in to see us. He arrived with a donation from the town of Souris ands we went around the corner to Town Hall for photos.

We then headed to a place I've wanted to go to since hearing about it shortly after moving to PEI in 1979. The Singing Sands at Basin Head. They had just put out a severe thunderstorm warning so Alex was anxious to get back so we didn't stay long. Kids were jumping off the bridge there - that's what Basin Head is famous for...

It started to rain - big drops - then it stopped and we had a beautiful evening, the radio said it was raining in Charlottetown and had poured in Mount Stewart, but it's missing us so far.

We're about 16Km from our East Point finish line. Word is we'll have some company tomorrow and, when we get to Elmira we're getting a Fire Truck escort to East Point. There's a party in the works back at Elmira that I'll tell you all about tomorrow....

Day 13 Photos Here

Friday, July 14, 2006

Day 12 Tip to Tip

Alex & Sara

Alex & the girls from the Take A Break Cafe

St. Peter's Bay

Sign In St. Peter's Bay

Day 12

8:00 morning at Morell Station. A cloudy and raining on trail. Crosses 4 bridges, wetlands, coastline of St. Peter's Bay, rivers and meet Sara and his dog along the trail. Ate muffin at Take A Break Cafe for donation from the customers. Spending 2 nights at Joan's in Fortune. Ate supper at Sheltered Harbour. Ran sixth marathon from North Cape.

Kings County is welcoming us. As I loaded up the bike in Morell I was greeted by 2 moms of ASD kids, Delores & Rosie, with warm wishes & donations in hand. It had rained overnight, then stopped, then just started to spit a bit when we set off.

Again wild roses lined much of the trail today. Had it been sunny I'd have taken a zillion more photos along the way. It is the prettiest section of the trail from Morell to St. Peters, much of it following the banks of the St. Peters Bay. Sara & her dog Keeper ran out from St. Peters to meet us, then ran back ahead of us and took pictures of us as we arrived in St. Peters. A nice treat as you'll notice I have very few pictures of me and few of the front of Alex running. Ashley MacCormack, from the Take a Break Cafe in the old train station, greeted us with a big donation that had been collected over the last week or so from their customers. We stopped for a coffee break (for me, muffin and juice for Alex) and headed on, away from the water and into more woods and wetlands, en route to Selkirk.

The wind was on our faces, the rain picked up and even forced us into raincoats, but not for long. As we ended our day in Selkirk, the rain had stopped (it did shower on and off for a bit). Roger and Jasmine arrived to pick us up and join us here just as we got to the road. From there we headed off to find our lodging, Joan's guesthouse. I'd been told it had the essentials, a shower & bathroom, a double be and a futon, a coffee machine & toaster.... I was told it was upstairs above her husband's workshop. I hadn't been told it was right on the river here, in a beautiful private setting. What a beautiful spot to call home the next couple of days! If all this isn't enough she also had a donation from selling cookies at work. These RoadRunner gals are something else.

Jasmine & I paid a visit to Moughan's, vacationing, as they do every year, in the Georgetown area. Their son Alex is a handful of days younger than Alex (it becomes Alex M. & Alex B. at times like this) and their daughter is a year younger than Jasmine. They have plans to see us in Elmira Saturday and maybe join us in checking out the new water park next week.

For supper we were treated at the Sheltered Harbour Cafe in Fortune. What a little treasure this place is. The food was excellent and the presentation of every plate I saw go by was really something. I had a seafood medley wrap that was full of shrimp, scallops, lobster.... no room at all for desert though Roger managed a piece of lemon meringue pie. The Sheltered Harbour is also treating us to breakfast in the morning. It's very close to where we're staying here and appears quite popular with locals and tourists alike.

The forecast is for sun, sun & more sun. The next 2 days will be in the mid 20's, a nice way to finish things off.

Day 12 Photos Here

Day 11 Tip to Tip

Day 11

8:00 morning at Tracadie. A mix of sun and cloud on trail. Ran 200km mark of trail from Tignish. Ate breakfast at Trailside Cafe. Wetlands, provincial largest river, leaving Queens County into King County and fields along on trail. Reach $5000 mark at Morell Station and ate chesseburger for dinner.

We're in wild rose country now. In full bloom, on both sides of the trail, pretty much the entire day. We finally saw a snake, Scott had asked us way back in Summerside if we'd seen any snakes, this was just a little guy, about a foot long, he slithered away before I got my camera turned on. We traveled along the Hillsborough River on and off, my camera went from being right there in the back pocket of my bike jersey to hanging off my wrist at the ready all day. It had started out overcast but as we approached Mount Stewart the sun came out and the temperature went up.

We stopped for a late breakfast at the Trailside Cafe, a place I've wanted to go to for a while (for years I've been promising myself I'd go there when Ron Hynes is there, they have some really excellent live entertainment there.) As we entered Kings County we began to really be treated like kings. At the RoadRunner AGM in March, I mentioned to the women (the Souris gals) that we were scheming this trip. Joan Lambie immediately offered us her guest house to stay in in Fortune when we're in eastern PEI. The generousity didn't end there. Sara Deveau saw to it that we didn't go hungry - as we got ready to head east I received an email detailing the area restaurants that had offered to feed us, 3 meals a day, every day of this eastern end. Sara & the gals are also putting together the wrap up party in Elmira to celebrate Alex's accomplishment. Sara is also responsible for the article in the Eastern Graphic.

The Trailside Cafe was the first of our most generous hosts. Thank you Doug Deacon and Barb MacDonald. The "bicyclists breakfast" was great - homemade bread, homemade jam.... a pretty little spot, we'll be back.

We left for Morell in the sun. It was looking like we could get baked in the afternoon but, just in time the breeze came up and clouds rolled in and made for a beautiful afternoon. We passed the 200K trail marker and crossed the County line from Queens into Kings County . We saw more wetlands, more woods, lots of diversity and almost always wild roses on both sides. Our day ended at the replica train station in Morell. Supper had been arranged for us at Jonsey's in Morell. Heaping platefulls of food made it hard to fit in their desert (it is a restaurant/deli with fabulous looking deserts), we managed to fit a strawberry tart in though. It was here be got the paper and discovered not only the story I had been told was going to be there but a pretty incredible editorial.

Although we had originally intended to stay in Fortune from Wednesday to Saturday but decided to return home Wednesday night to meet some "friends of (online) friends", Kate and Dan, touring the Maritimes after having been to Autreat. The drive from our house to eastern PEI is through the National Park along the north shore from Brackley Beach to Dalvay, a beautiful drive. The road is quiet in the morning, a car or two, 2 runners and a fox or two. By afternoon cars are lined along the side of the road at the popular beaches along the shore, tourists everywhere.

We're packing up and heading east....

Day 11 Photos Here

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Day 11 - Coming Soon.....

Day 11 was another great day... but a busy afternoon & evening getting ready to head east and stay on the east end of the Island until we wrap up Saturday. Consequently, no blog entry tonight (though I will get it up). Internet access may be tricky too but I hope to post again before Saturday.

In the meantime, we're right on schedule (we have adjusted our schedule to end in Baltic Friday, and begin there Saturday, instead of Harmony Junction) and Day 11 Photos are here. We passed the 200K trail marker and the 250K point in our journey.

There's a wrap up in Elmira Saturday early afternoon (we'll pass through Elmira on the way to East Point and then return to Elmira), if you're in the neighbourhood, do drop by...

Happy trails....

Young man raises awareness for autism with province-long fundraising run

Click the article to read or click here

Alex Bain is on the run - because we made him go - Eastern Graphic, July 12

Click on article to read, if you need larger print, click here

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Woman and son run to raise awareness about autism - Summerside Journal Pioneer

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Woman and son run to raise awareness about autism


When Janet Norman-Bain found out her son was autistic, she felt only happiness.

"I thought great," she said. "(Personally), I thought. . . we're going to lead a more interesting life."

Norman-Bain says autism is not something to be ashamed of nor is it a "life sentencing, horror story, family-wrecking disease."

Unfortunately, she said that is not the view of most people, but Norman-Bain hopes she and her son, Alex Bain, can change that.

Last year, Bain, 18, decided he would be the first autistic person to run the Island tip-to-tip. But he would not be alone. Norman-Bain, who has Aspergers - a mild case of autism - decided to take her bike and join her son on his trek across P.E.I.

Together the two are trying to raise money in order to raise awareness about autism.

Norman-Bain explains their aim is to collect $6,000 so they can pay to have Dennis Debbaudt come to P.E.I. and educate the public on autism.

Debbaudt is a private investigator based out of the United States, who teaches the law enforcers and medical personnel how to interact with people with autism.

Bain and Norman-Bain set out on their journey July 2. They have endured thunderstorms and rain, but they also had some more pleasant company.

They were joined by a man and his son who ran with them from St.Louis to Alma and on July 7 they ran into Summerside accompanied by Scott Clark.

While in Summerside Friday, they collected a $100 donation from deputy mayor Bruce MacDougall on behalf of the city.

From the sidelines Bain's father proudly watched his son.

"I'm doubly proud because she's doing this with him," he said pointing to Norman-Bain.

When asked a question, Bain gave a short answer and with a shy smile and quickly turned away and retreated to a different part of the room. But behind this boyish persona, is a strong athlete with a sharp mind.

Last year, Bain graduated from high school with honours and top marks in math and English.

But Bain can not only talk the talk, he can walk the walk. Bain has been a runner since he was 14. He is a member of the P.E.I. Road Runners and has finished various races with a high standing. But a lot of those traits never have a chance to shine because people can only focus on the disability, Norman-Bain said.

Day 10 Tip to Tip

Alex & Charlottetowm Mayor Clifford Lee

Alex & Jamie Mutch

Alex & Mrs. Blackman in York

Day 10

7:00 morning at Charlotettown. A foggy and hazzy longest day on trail. Meet Mayor of Charlottetown for check and James Mutch ran 4km at UPEI, CBC Station and highways. Mrs. Blackman meet and break at York. That route for half marathon started at Bedford in 2004 and full marathon halfway mark. Cows crossing, trailside campground, bikers and walkers along on trail. Ran fifth marathon from North Cape.

We were greeted this morning, not by a hot sunny day, but by a foggy 17 degree day. A nice cool way to start our longest day. Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee saw us off with a donation. Pat Coady from the ACL was on hand as well as fellow RoadRunner, Jamie Mutch. Jamie ran with Alex on the trail through town, behind the CBC & RCMP buildings on University Avenue (where Alex & I had done our radio interview), past the Market and UPEI, out behind Zellers Mall and out of town. Jamie left us on the edge of town at the bypass highway and ran back.

We soon met up with the main trail and were on our way east. We had seen more people on the trail from the market to the bypass than we probably saw all together so far. Walkers, runners, bikers, dog walkers..... It was a 3 bunny day, saw a couple of chipmunks and heard a lot of birds. Again the trail was lined with wildflowers, daisies and Brown-Eyed-Susans mostly. More forest, more fields (many more potatoes), pasture land and every now and then a glimpse of civilization as we cross a road. Alex has run this trail before in the 2004 PEI Half Marathon.

Very pretty wetlands again around York. Mrs. Blackman, one of Alex's high school TA's welcomed us in York where we sat, ate lunch, and chatted about how the run was going. 10:00 now, the sun had burned the fog off and the day was starting to heat up. It was a beautiful trip from just before York to Tracadie where we ended our lay. Lots of diversity, lots of sounds. We passed quite a few Oak trees, not Red Oaks (like on PEI's flag) but really nice and very plentiful. The last road we crossed today was in Bedford, the starting point of the 2004 PEI Half Marathon and the midway point of the (Brackley Beach to Charlottetown) PEI Marathon. When I first got my bike 2 years ago Alex & I trained on this bit of trail a couple of times. (and if you had told me then that in 2 years I'd bike the trail tip to tip I *never* would have believed you!)

Just past Bedford was a nice little bog. It didn't have the little pink flowers I'd seen in the bogs up west. Between Bedford & Tracadie was a neat little B&B/campground with a sign advertising a canteen & washrooms. We didn't stop but it looks like a nice place for trail riders to stay. They had a massive bike rack so it must be a popular spot.

Although the day turned out to be just 27.88K, it still proved to be our longest day (beating Day 4's 27.54). I'm thinking I might adjust our Friday & Saturday plans to make Friday (our shortest day, 15.5K) longer and Saturday (our last day, 23.8K) shorter. I'll adjust the schedule page if I do.

Kilometres traveled - 228.94 or 142.26 miles

Day 10 Photos Here

Monday, July 10, 2006

Day 9 Tip to Tip

Day 9

8:00 morning at Hunter River. A sunny day on trail. Ran with my father, Roger for 4km to farms. Flowers, rivers, fields and fire fighter training site along the trail. That route for first and second legs of Blue Cross Relay and 10km race out and back at Milton. Detour between Charlotettown and Mount Srewart at Royalty Junction. Ran 200km from North Cape and third marathon.
We're two-thirds there, 201.06Km since we left North Cape. Today was another hot, sunny day. The first part of the day we covered familiar territory - the trail closest to us. I've been on the stretch between Hunter River and Milton quite a number of times, alone, with Alex or with the dog. Roger joined Alex for a little run today, they both enjoyed that, now he's threatening to go with Alex to his next 5K run and run it (The Potato Blossom Run in Mill River July 29th is a 5K & 10K).

Along with the potato, grain and hay fields, today we saw a beautiful big, blue, field of flax in Darlington. Roger's grandparents lived in Darlington. Lots of horses along the way, by themselves or in bunches, we met a bunny on the trail too, first one since way up west. The butterflies are back, as are the wild flowers. We saw civilization as well on the outskirts of Charlottetown. The trail weaves between back yards of houses and we also saw some interesting sandblasting going on in Milton and the firefighters training in Winsloe.

We met up with the trail from Charlottetown, marked as our endpoint for the day but since it's off the road we went the near kilometre to the Brackley Point Road. Tomorrow we'll cover that bit again as we leave from Charlottetown on the side trail and join up with the main trail again and go on to Tracadie. Mayor Clifford Lee will be seeing us off from the start of that trail, at the tourist bureau on the waterfront. We have a 700 start set and it's a good thing, tomorrow is not only our longest day, 28+K, it's also looking to be the hottest day, temperature to be 29 degrees.

Besides the longest day, the next few days will see our shortest day (Friday), our most scenic day (Thursday), our last day (Saturday) and Wednesday, which is looking like it might be a wet day.

Day 9 Photos Here

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Day 8 Tip to Tip

Day 8

7:30 morning at Freetown. A sunny day in countryside. Train station and playground at Emerald known as "County Line" leave Prince County into Queen County. Ran on deep hills, bridges, farms, detour at bridge, 150km mark of trail and blackberries on trail. Break at Fredericton Station near the provincal highest point. Ran end at Hunter River near Central Queens.

We got an early start and finished nice and early, before the heat of the mid-day hit. We were in Hunter River at 11:20, having covered 23.92K. Another sunny day, early morning clouds had about gone by the time we started. The breeze was stiffer today, fine by us, it wasn't in our faces.

The first bit of the day, from Freetown, through Emerald, across the County line and to Breadalbane was pretty flat. From Breadalbane to Fredericton (the highest point on PEI is just up the road there) was a steady, gradual, climb. Just up the road from the (what's left of) old train station in Fredericton, in Glen Valley, is where our first home was. In 1979 we hand built a cabin in the woods and lived there until Alex was 6 months old (and his older brother was 2 1/2). We lived without electricity until 1985 and without a phone until 1987. They were very happy days....

Fredericton to Hunter River was pretty much downhill, the decent as long and gradual as the climb had been. Although at the beginning of the day there had been many wildflowers lining the trail, here the banks were rockier and there was a fair amount of reindeer lichen growing. The raspberries are ripening and the blackberry crop looks fabulous (Roger makes us wonderful blackberry pies!)

The land rolls in these parts, some of the banks are very steep through here - I can't imagine how they built some of these sections way back when. It's so pretty I took a lot of pictures along the way. There are still fields of potatoes, only instead of extending straight back to a distant hedgerow, they quickly disappear over a hill. We saw many horses and more & more cattle. A dog joined us as we rested in Fredericton, he waited patiently (and unsuccessfully) for Alex to offer him a piece of his sandwich. We met a couple of dog walkers, a couple of bikers and a walker. We passed the 150Km trail marker between Fredericton & Hunter River.

There's not a lot of conversation between us on the trail. For the most part we just point things out to each other, with or without comment. I ask him how he's doing along the way and usually, about once a day, he'll tell me about something, usually something he's read in the morning paper. Today's story was about the Sports Hall of Fame inductions. After he went on a bit it occurred to me he might be repeating, word for word, what he'd read. Then I realized he had so many little facts and statistics in there that no article would be written that way. It's scary the number of facts he has stashed in his head.

We've gone 177.33Km from North Cape

Day 8 Photos Here

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Day 7 Tip to Tip

David Gallant, Alex, Kensington Mayor Ivan Gallant, Elaine Burkholder, Const. Paul Durdle,
janet, Shelly Simmons MacLeod & Tyler

Alex & Tyler

Day 7

8:00 morning at Summerside Waterfront. A hot day on trail. Highway, train station and factories along on trail. Meet Mayor of Kensington, member of PEI Roadrunners ran on road 2km to Kensington followed police. He honoured "Inspiration In Motion" frame from mayor. Ate cheeseburger and fries, drank shake at Frosty Treats. Ran view of train station, countryside, dirt roads and 150km of tip to tip PEI halfway mark. Found headbend for soaking head in bag. Ran first 7 days from North Cape.

What an day! We left Summerside Shipyard Market at 8:00, greeted & sent off by Scott, Brian & friends. We hadn't gone far when we ran into 2 runners, aware we were leaving Summerside at 8:00 but not sure from where exactly we were leaving from. They joined us for a while, one had to go home but Shelly Simmons Macleod decided to run to Kensington with us, called home and got her husband to load up baby & stroller and meet us and just as we met up with them, Mayor Ivan Gallant and a couple of runners (Elaine's name I remember because she has her name on her RoadRunner track jacket and I've learned her face by now so I can usually put the 2 together, David Gallant was the other) met us. They had run from Kensington to meet us & return with us. We kept on the trail until just outside Kensington where we were met by the Kensington police (unmarked) car and Const Paul Durdle escorted the last 2K or so into Kensington to Town Hall. We went right through the red light at the main intersection, lights & siren & all.

At Town Hall we signed the guestbook and a most incredible presentation took place. Don Smeltzer (know his name because I have his card) read the framed certificate before giving it to Alex. It was a wonderful moment. It was so beautifully written, whoever wrote it truly understood what we are advocating. Alex, as you'll notice, is usually quite straight faced but started beaming as it was being read (Roger got it on video). I was probably beaming too, they say "Kensington has heart" being in the heart of PEI, we got a real demonstration of that today.

The town & runners had donations for us and many pictures were taken by Don Smeltzer & myself. Dr. MacKean, who has his office in the Town Hall building, had hoped to meet up with us and check Alex's foot out but was working in the Hospital and couldn't get away. Alex's foot went from "it's ok" the first couple of days it was sore to "better" yesterday and "almost there" today. His pace was good (still run 2K, walk 1K) until we started to feel the heat after lunch.

Mayor Gallant treated us to lunch at the Frosty Treat where we spent an hour or so before heading to the old train station, checking out the railway museum there (watched a bit of video of the trains here in the snow - busting through snowdrifts, getting stuck in them... the trail does not look so friendly in that weather! Back on the road we did the last 9K to Freetown. It was good & hot by then (11:20-1:00) but since we were now out of the woods and travelling through farm fields, we were catching the nice breeze that was blowing. The wind has been blowing mostly from the south this past week, blowing on our side mostly, rarely have I felt it right in our faces.

It was a real treat to be joined today by Tyler (pretty sure & hoping that's his name!). This beautiful little baby boy, happy as a clam out in his jogging stroller, has Down Syndrome. Having his support, and his mom Shelley's, was a highlight. Yesterday I had been talking to the reporter in Summerside about the "cure" for autism being abortion, about the genetic test and the hospital in London wanting to offer families with an autism history gender selection to avoid autistic babies (selecting only female embryos since the autism ratio is 41 boysgirls) and how the abortion rate is around 90% for Downs babies. She asked me if I thought that was a bad thing. My reply was (something along the lines) that diversity was what the world was all about, we accept it just fine in our environment; in plants & animals, it's about time society accepted it in it's members. Deputy Mayor MacDougall, who was nearby & listening, sort of finished that sentence with me. Tyler already has a great start, his parents love him to bits and while recognizing his "weaknesses", there focus (mom's at least, didn't meet dad) was on the wonderful little person he is and the bright future he can have. I wish him & his family all the very best and may you see many happy miles together out on the trail.

We are at or past the halfway point now having traveled 153.41Km. Tomorrow we’ll cross the County line from Prince County into Queens County and get into hilly terrain.

Day 7 Photos Here

Friday, July 07, 2006

Day 6 Tip to Tip

Alex & Scott Clark

Alex & Deputy Mayor of Summerside, Bruce MacDougall

Day 6

8:30 morning at Wellington. A sunny day on trail. Workers, airplane from air base and power lines. Ran 100km mark of trail from Tignish. Stop at Miscouche, daily bar at Linkletter, meet Scott Clark to check from Clark's Toyota and ran out and back of 1/2km Summerside beach boardwalk. Walk to City Hall, meet Major of Summerside to tour, signing and photo on newspaper.

Sunshine & blue sky in every direction today. The humidity of the last few days was gone and, as always, a gentle Island breeze was blowing. The temperature must have been mid to high 20's C. We saw people today too, most strangers said they'de seen us on TV.

We set off from Wellington after taking a picture just up the road of a long farmer's fence with an old boot or shoe nailed to the top of (almost) every fence post. Wellington to Linketter (on the edge of Summerside) is the straightest stretch of trail there is. When they built the rail bed the contractors were paid by the mile and not given a specific route so going around obstacles (hills, valleys, water) was doubly advantageous to going straight. We would have a shorter tip to tip trek if we took the roads.

For all the wetlands we've been through we saw our first water lilies today. Never saw a yellow bird today but heard a lot of different songs being sung.

A very big army transport plane (Hercules?) was flying very low circles over us for a while. I saw them drop wind flags but nothing else. Roger had watched them dropping stretchers on target when he was working in Slemmon Park on a job. Slemmon Park was once CFB Summerside.

We passed the 100K trail marker before stopping in Miscouche for a picnic lunch. There we met a trail officer (not on duty, just walking by) who had been talking to the CBC reporter who had told him about my not having my helmet (and his filming of me without it). We saw our first couple of bikers there, a guy by himself and later a woman hauling her baby behind in a bike stroller.

In Linkletter we met Scott Clark as we crossed one road, then took a detour to the Dairy Bar to wait until 100, our planned departure time from there. Scott gave a Alex a cheque from Clark's Toyota then the two ran on to Summerside. Scott pointed out when we were at the narrowest point on the Island. We stopped at the Shipyard Market on the waterfront and, with time to kill until our 200 City Hall arrival, Scott and Alex ran down the boardwalk and back.

We were met a City Hall by Deputy Mayor Bruce MacDougall and Brian Hawrylak and given a tour of City Hall. We were interviewed by the Journal Pioneer. We signed the guest book & Deputy Mayor MacDougall presented Alex with a cheque. A couple of people came by to see us and plansd were made to leave Summerside where we had left the trail tomorrow at 8am. Scott may join us again as well as others. Mayor Ivan Gallant of Kensington will be running from Kensington at 830 (with others?) and meeting up with us and running back. I hear we are getting a Police escort & all...

Day 6 Photos Here

Day 5 Tip to Tip


8:30 morning at Ellersile Station. A mix of sun and cloud. Ran south to Wellington. We arrived in Richmond at 10:40 and ate 3 pancakes and bacons for breakfast. Ran 100km from North Cape like ultra marathon. We arrived in Wellington at 12:20 afternoon. There are train car, river viewpoint, building and go back home in Oyster Bed Bridge.

There's a road beside the trail where we ended Day 5 and started 6 called "Hutchinson Rd". Significant because my best friend, through high school and beyond, is Sally Hutchinson. Who was there to greet us?..... Sally the Salamander. Roger first spotted it, thought it was a toy, just tiny - shorter than my finger (Roger's fingers are in the photos with it). I expect I'll be corrected as to what this little lizard was, salamander to me. (note: thanx Ralph, it was indeed a Red-Spotted Newt) (Sorry Sally!)

Another rather perfect (for us) overcast, warm, breezy day. Still, except for the trail crew we met no one. There were not near as many flowers along the trail, possibly mowed down by the trail crew. Still, Ma Nature does a wonderful job of landscaping the ditches and sides of the trail. Lots of ferns, a couple of types, some far bigger than the surrounding wild rose bushes. We're still in potato country (I suppose I'll be saying that in East Point too...) and saw many fields of them. Saw a horse tethered in a yard & a herd of cattle. Ran alongside Canada Rd for a while in Northam.

We stopped for brunch, trailside in Richmond at Nacho Mama's Cafe. The food was good, Paula, our waitress was friendly and I enjoyed the photography displayed on the walls there.

Arriving in Wellington was a treat - the river runs under a bridge on the trail right there, seemingly hidden from view in town except for there on the trail. The water is deep, dark & clear. Through the trees from there you can see a red caboose, restored as a craft shop. That's about as close to a train as you're going to see on PEI.

My car was waiting for me there, we had left it there in the morning then Roger took us back to Ellerslie. We came home! Nice to be back to familiar surroundings if not quite familiar routine (the routine of laundry & dishes couldn't be escaped though). A "sameness" fix is just what we needed.

Day 5 Photos Here

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Day 4 Tip to Tip

Day 4

8:00 morning at O'leary Station. It the longest day. Ran 27km to Ellerslie. 2km run and 1km walk of sore foot. Birds, swamp, trees, ponds and sites on trail. We arrived in Ellerslie at 110 afternoon. Dad pick up to O'leary and drinks 7-UP and chips to campground. Ran 2nd marathon from North Cape and 1/4 of PEI. Rest moved to Green Park Provincal Park. Josh, he is autistic visited The Bains and take a pictures.

What a lovely way to end a long day.... Green Park Provincial Park, here on the Trout River, is beautiful. Again we've been assigned what looks to be the best site in the Park (#24), beach front (note the many pictures of the sun setting in the photo album).

This morning the rain began, lightly, as I took the tent down. Then it poured.... right up until 7:55am, we only got spit on a bit once today. It was perfect weather, mostly overcast, warm, breezy. Alex did his first 20K running 2, walking 1 then finished the day 1&1.

Aside from the trail maintenance crew, the only person we saw on the trail today was a man eating his lunch at a shelter 1K or so from a road. Saw a lot of butterflies, dragonflies and cattails. Heard bull frogs. We went though a lot of wetlands today, really pretty, there was a bog just before Ellerslie with a walkway out into it. Little pink flowers throughout it, they looked like little orchids.

It was nice to have Roger pick us up in Ellerslie, take us back to the car and then come to the Park with us.

It was also nice to see Missy, someone from the autism community on PEI I know more online than off though we have met a couple of times. She brought Josh to meet Alex and we met Julie and Noah too. I think I first met Missy just before Noah was born.

Tomorrow night we're going to forego the camping and go home when we reach Wellington. It's been really nice, but a little too much at times balancing all I'm trying to. I'm sure Alex will enjoy not having to kill the mosquitoes in his room before he goes to bed. Roger and I will drop a car in Wellington then he'll take us to Ellerslie to start our day.

Day 4 Photos Here

Day 3 Tip to Tip

Day 3

8:00 morning begin at Elmsdale Station. Sunny when we left. 1km run and 1km walk of sore foot. Arrived in Bloomfield Station at 9:40. Rain started to right away. Beaver house, trail crew, farms and lot a potatoes. We arrived in O'Leary at 12:40. Future Tech West and went on computer for hour. Milkshake at Daily Royal, swimming at pool, came back to the tent, nap, pasta, hot dog on fire, stop raining at 3:00. Ran 18.6 today.

Wore my helmet and gloves today.... good thing, I hit the dirt twice. Nothing serious, just barely scraped my knees and left no marks on my face when I planted it. Both times I was biking back to get the car, the 1st time from Bloomfield back to Elmsdale (Alex waited at the shelter there (covered picnic table) and had lunch), the 2nd time from O'Leary back to Bloomfield (again Alex waited at the shelter and had a snack). The rain was not in the forecast, I got soaked on my way back to the car the 2nd time.

We found the Cap site at Future Tech West where I was able to plug Alex's notebook into their highspeed and zap up the photos from the last 3 days (not today's) look at my huge pile of email.... answered one, sent one, and replied to Ivan Gallant on the RoadRunner message board (Randy had alerted me to the message their yesterday. Ivan is the Mayor of Kensington and wanted to escort Alex into Kensington (Ivan is a runner too) with a Police escort and all. The trail runs along the road for a bit there so we'de have to come off the trail and run the road for a bit. Today Alex's plan to deal with his sore foot was to run 1Km then walk 1Km then run, then walk.... That seemed to work for him. He's says it "ok" when I ask, that means it's sore but not too sore. He assures`me he'll make it to East Point. He may end up actually "running" half the Island but he'll cover it all. I don't know how long he'll do the run 1 walk 1, it doesn't change our daily plan any, it just might make timing Friday (in Summerside at 200) and Saturday (in Kensington at some point late morning) a bit more complicated. I think we can accommodate Alex's foot & our commitments with a bit of careful planning.

It's a lot nicer when it's not raining. They're calling for showers again tomorrow... Tomorrow is one of our longer days. It starts bright and early with tearing the tent down, stuffing everything into, the car, and being in O'Leary at 8:00. O'Leary is very close, the shortest drive to our start point yet. I started feeling a little overwhelmed by everything I had to do being that I am my only "support team", as well as active participant, head Boy Scout at the campsite (there's a photo of the lovely fire I have going...), mom and with my need to focus on Alex's sore foot and how he's doing, I called Roger and asked him to join us tomorrow. He should be able to meet us at the end of our day in Ellerslie and take us back to the car in O'Leary and from there to Green Park Provincial Park for the night. If I get to O'Leary before the Cap site closes at 4 you just might see this.

We saw many big fields today, potatoes and grain. Big farms, big elm trees, a big pine, a lot of yellow birds, another chipmunk with a house in the trail. We crossed over a number of clay roads. We encountered quite a few mosquitoes.... The only people we saw on the trail were the trail maintenance people... in the pouring rain, with their lawnmowers wondering, like I was, where the rain we were getting came from.

Thanx to Cheryl and the Aquaplex folks over at the Rodd Mill River Resort (next door to the campground) for giving Alex a pool pass for yesterday & today. A swim, slide, soak in the hot tub there was just what he needed and he thoroughly enjoyed it. See you again for the Potato Blossom Run the end of the month... Two years ago we came here and camped the night before the Potato Blossom Run, anyone surprised I chose thew same spot this time? In the woods.... in the far corner... I appreciate there are fewer mosquitoes and more sunlight out in the field part but I guess I like my privacy too much. Those folks are probably used to looking out there house windows at neighbours so it's no different here. I don't look out my windows at neighbours, just trees and fields, so I'm not about to go looking at neighbours from my tent.

Day 3 Photos Here

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Day 2 Tip to Tip

Day 2

8:00 morning drizzle at Harper. I meet Randy Allain with his son Dylan about fundraising. Randy ran and Dylan biking to Alma. Sore foot and walk. The CBC guy at detour to Alberton and video interview about tip to tip. Sun came out in Alberton and rain out. We arrived at church of Elmsdale on 1:00 afternoon and car parked from Harper by Randy. Spent two nights at Mill River Provincal Park, the pool with waterslide, hot tub, they give pass to me. Take a nap, ate pasta, chipmunk hole in trail, saw bridge and ran first marathon from North Cape.

We went to sleep last night to the crashing of the waves on the beach... were awoken sometime in the middle of the night by the crashing and flashing of another thunderstorm. I'm liking my tent and the fact it's taken quite a pile of rain in it's very short life and is perfectly dry inside.

My first wish for today was that it not be raining when I had to tear down the tent and pack everything up and be in Harper at 8am. I got my wish. However, just as we got to Harper to park the car and head off it started drizzling. It did that, heavy drizzle by times, until 11am, just as we approached Alberton. Backing up though, my day was made by the first familiar face we've seen, as Alex mentions, Randy and his son Dylan joined us in St. Louis and accompanied us to Alma. Randy is a fellow Road Runner and his son has run a few races too, but today he was on his bike leading the way. Not only did Randy join us, he tipped off the local press (yesterday's interview) and moved my car from start point to finish point for me today. Randy's wife was out too, she took some pictures and helped Randy get to and from my car to move it. Thanx for everything you guys!

As we approached Alberton, there's a short trail that forks off and dead ends at the old train station. We took a photo at the fork then, as we were about to set off on the main trail towards Elmsdale I spot a guy running up the trail from Alberton.... waving his arms..... it's CBC 6:00 news.... we took an hour off and did an interview.

Ok, so back in Harper when I was patting myself on the back for gettingt the tent down before it began raining, stuffing everything in the car and getting to Harper at 8, I managed to totally forget my helmet and gloves. Now I have NEVER biked without my helmet and gloves but I was a few Km down the trail before I got enough rain in my face to wake me up. I decided not to go back for them and for that I got CBC and their camera to catch my mistake. Listen up, helmets are mandatory on PEI including on the trails. Not only that but they protect your brain should you crash (likewise for the gloves and your hands). I won't be making that mistake again...I do hope we get a chance to see the CBC piece. There's no TV in this tent....

Alex has a bit of a sore foot so he walked a bit today (ran all Day 1). He says its "alright" so we'll see. My bike computer tells me we went 25.05 km today (a bit of back and forth for the TV camera but no real extra there). It appears tomorrow may be shorter than expected. It was nice to see the sun come out and stay out and hear we are in for a couple of nice days. I think we're both ready for a nice dry day to take our time and enjoy being out in.
Since yesterday was Sunday and today is a Gov't holiday, I've not been able to use the CAP site to get online at all.

More Photos here

Day 1 Tip to Tip

Day 1

We left North Cape at 8:50 morning. Tide were in, sun were out. Windmills spinning, houses, people honking and waving. Nausea from Power Bar and arrived Tignish at 10:14. It was cloudy in Tignish, meet newspaper writer about autism. Beginning at 0km mark of Confedation Trail out rain. View of first bridge, train wreck site, pond and yellow bird. I saw cat on trail. Order pizza all meats to provincal park. I took 3 hours rest, took shower and laundry. Drank hot chocolate to keep warm at night. Rain stopped at 3:30

Mother Nature greeted us here yesterday with sunny skies and warmth. As we put up the tent, the sky got dark and opened poured.. then stopped, then, on and off for the rest of the evening, we got an incredible light show, with sound effects, over our ocean front view. Alex was not impressed, not liking thunder at the best of times....but we all survived and somehow managed to be in North Cape only half an hour behind schedule this morning. I left my car in Tignish and Roger drove us and my bike to North Cape to see us off. Quiet spot.... only the Irish Moss harvesters out checking the shore. Quiet road from North Cape, few vehicles, about half had licence plates "from away". We only have rear plates so tourists are that much easier to spot coming at you. We were doing wonderfully well until Alex took a bite of his Power Bar while running, just coming into Tignish. He was fine though and ran into Tignish to the head of the trail where the car was and had a good long rest. We'd been there less than 5 minutes when the guy from the local weekly paper arrived, expecting me. We had a long rambling chat and he took a couple of pictures. We are known by a number of people, a few have said they heard us on CBC. The rain in Tignish chased everyone from the park at the trail's head to the Legion, we left Tignish at 1:00. just as the (soon to be soggy) parade began. We did the last 4K of our day, the first 4 of the trail, in increasingly heavy rain. I left Alex there, adorned in a rain poncho and biked back to Tignish (in the still ever increasing heavy rain), jumped in the car, found my way (directly) back to Alex. From there, heater cranked, back to Tignish for a pizza then back down the coast to Jacquier Park. His statue is just a couple of "sites" away. This morning's weather was just about perfect, this afternoon's made up for it. Still, while I'de hate too see it rain everyday, I can handle whatever nature chooses to throw at me, Alex appears quite up to the challenge as well.

Day 1 Photos here
Photos of Canada Day here