Sunday, July 10, 2011

(Day 27) On ferry rides and making friends along the way...

The day began at 5:30 AM with a coffee and a crumpet and a hug from Irene.  In short order I was on the road and quickly off the 401 zigging and zagging on some of the best roads Ontario has to offer.  Why people spend so much time on the 401 is beyond me!!

Skirting around Guelph I dropped into Fergus and rode down the main drag.  Fergus was the site of the 35th General Coucil of the United Church of Canada in August of 1994.  I must admit that the Scottish in me was tickled by this sign.  What a pleasant town!  Yellow brick seems to have a charm all its own.  And if it had of been a little later in the day I am sure I would have had to stop at the pub!!

More zigs and zags - no straight lines here = something like life I thought as I rode...  we seem to think that the most direct route from point "a" to point "b" is the best one... high school, university, job, family... and so on and so on... but life doesn't happen in linear fashion.  We zig and zag, loop and turn, get lost and find our way again.  These county roads I was travelling mirror the life of twists and turns, with little detours and dips, and we make our way forward, maybe not as directly as we could, or as quickly as we would like, but we are the richer for it... at least I can say that is the case for my life!

As I travelled north at a steady 90/95 KM/H I remembered a saying, "Motorcyclist know why dogs ride in cars with their heads stuck out the window."  Wow!  The smells!!  Sensory overload: fresh cut hay, smouldering campfire smoke, pungent cedar, skunk, blooming canola, cooking bacon...  as each odour assails the sense the eyes are drawn in, looking for the source!

Too quickly I arrived in Tobermory... I've been this way before but didn't remember a thing!

After a breakfast of pea-meal bacon and eggs and hash browns and toast (in honour of what Irene wanted to cook for me this morning) I went for a stroll around the compound where I met Judy and Goldie.  Goldie is a Huskly/Lab mix and I got my daily dog fix.

As Judy and I chatted I found out that she was Clerk of Session of the Capreol United Church.  Brian her husband soon joined us and Brian and I chatted about computers and motorcycle trips across the country, sharing with each other stories of the goodness of people we have met along the road.

Loaded on the ferry with the bike secure, I found myself a chair and enjoyed the sun and the scenery and began to muse about the place I found myself and people I have met along the way:
It is a curious thing to find yourself travelling over one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world and to realize that there are many in Canada (mainly First Nations peoples) that are without safe drinking water!  It is even more curious that we live on one of the largest land masses of the planet and yet we condense our populations in urban centers that ceaselessly demand resources to sustain an ever increasing urban population. 
What would it be like if city sizes were limited... guided by the principle of self sustainable growth?  Is it possible that we all might become better connected to the land?  To each other?  To the people who live next door?  Might we begin to crave less, be more creative, more resourceful?  Might there be less crime?
The neighbourhood my Aunt lives in is a prime example of all that is wrong with over zealous urbanization.  What was once prime Ontario farm land is now a sprawling sub-division in which people are for the most part isolated from each other and out of touch with the land they live on.  On Friday night I sat in the driveway cooking supper on the BBQ.  Two different people walked by looked me all over and when I said "Hi," and waved, they kept on walking.  I'd be willing to bet that the only people that interact on that street and many others for that matter, are the children.  Watching MacKenzie and Alannah play with three of their friends in the neighbour led me to ask what children have to teach us about building community... Trust?  Play?  Laughter?  Sharing?  Love?  
Enough of my musing and back to the boat ride...  Needing a snack I headed to the cafeteria and there I met Doug, a fellow biker who was in the line behind me waiting to board.  Doug is a lawyer and rides each Friday or Saturday up to Manitoulin Island to spend the weekend on his boat.  We got to talking about why we ride and he shared that he was a cancer survivor and that riding is the only way that he can smell anything anymore - "The smell gets forced in and I can smell again!"  His wife was not with him this weekend as she is with her sister who is dealing with her own cancer diagnoses.  With this news I shared with him some of the challenges my mother-in-law is facing and we just sat there quietly for a moment - acknowledging the pain and struggle as we awkwardly try  to hold hope for those we love.

As the ferry docked I was the first off and I didn't look back... and didn't stop until I reached the swinging bridge where I shared a conversation with an OPP officer as we waited for the bridge to swing back after letting some sail boats through the channel.

Off the Island it was onward to Sault. Ste Marie.  I know this road pretty well!  With a quick stop in Iron Bridge for fuel and even quicker stops at Driftwood Dr. and Breton Rd. I pulled into Tom and Norma's driveway just as Tom was taking the steak off the BBQ.  What an awesome meal.  Potatoes, spinach salad and marshmallow/fruit salad and cherry cheesecake for desert (It was really really good Joel... you should come home more often!!).  With my belly full I went and freshened up as Norma had invited Percy and Evelyn over (Percy was the chair of the Personnel Committee when I was minister there).  Unfortunately Evelyn wasn't feeling well and only Percy came.  As we were visiting with Percy the phone rang and it was Betty - can she and Ed and Joyce come over? Sure I said, inviting them to a house I was a guest in!!  And when they arrived, Claire was with them!  We had a great chat and in the midst of it called Anna and they all had a chance to say hello.

Thanks so much Tom and Norma!  It was great to see you and the others!!

With good-byes said it was all of ten minutes later and I was headed to bed myself... I was pooped...

On the Sabbath Road...

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