Mobilize March -- Travel Blog

Day 03 — Cambridge Landing

Well it’s day three of the trip and the team’s energy level is running a little low–we had a long drive today from Woodstock to Cambridge, Pete and Sam have already passed out, and I’m likely not far behind. So unlike the last two posts, this one is going to be relatively short (for reals this time, I promise).

We got up nice and early today to hit the road on time after reading the article about the March in the Woodstock Sentinel and reporting in to John Dubinsky at 98 The Beach. Oh! I almost forgot–if you’d like to hear live updates about the trip, tune into 98 The Beach on your FM Dial if you’re in the Port Elgin area OR listen online at:

I will be checking in at 10:00am on:
May 15th
May 29th
June 3rd
June 12th
June 20th
June 23rd

So anyway, we hit the road around 10:30am and made incredible time. It was pretty overcast, although the rain held out for quite some time. The drive today did, however, provide several hilarious moments, most of which involved Sam (sorry Sam). The first happened just after turning onto County Road 4. Huge trucks were whizzing past us at some pretty incredible speeds, so much so they were actually pushing my chair almost off the road…it was like being hit by a baseball bat made of wind…or a wind made of baseball bats…I’m not even sure which. So anyway, after being wind-molested several times I told Sam to let me know when big trucks were coming so I could veer out of the way and brace for impact. Sure enough, Sam informs me moments later that a big one is coming barreling down the road. I grit my teeth, get ready for the onslaught and (insert memorable 300 quote here). Just as the truck is pulling into view, I look into the cab to see the truck driver taking a nice big look at Sam as he pases, including a second glance in the review mirror, finalized by the most comical “ooooh yeaaaa” facial expression I have ever seen in my entire life. It’s at this point that I begin to wonder if all those honks and waves on the first step of the trip were really about the March at all or if it was just Sam.

My suspicions were later confirmed as we were passing a crew working in a field and one of the workers ran out into the road to Sam’s van and gave her a donation. Oh well, I don’t even care if it’s all her doing anymore–she has become pretty profitable!

Shortly after leaving Drumbo, the skies opened up and I was forced to bust out the rain poncho.Jeff wrapped in a giant orange poncho Now, I’m not even going to bother trying to describe this to you, because only a picture can adequately depict how ridiculous I looked (which will be attached to the bottom of this post once Sam wakes up and tells me where her camera is). Anyway, I will simply say there was a giant robotic pumpkin flying around outside Woodstock this afternoon, causing most passing motorists to either stare at me with a look of utter confusion or simply burst out laughing. Pete thought I looked kind of like an over-sized road hockey ball and secretly wished hockey playing Giants would climb out from behind a hill and hammer-time me to Ottawa with one devastating slap-shot. Unfortunately, no giants arrived…only the snide jokes of Pete and Sam over the radio about my flaming orange poncho, which I was unable to defend against because my arms were bound beneath said flaming orange poncho. You’ve won this round Sam and Pete…but just remember who writes this blog you jerks!

I’d also like to give a huge shout out to the motorist who tore past us just outside of Drumbo, laying on his horn the whole way and pumping his fist in the air for a solid block and a half after passing us like he was front row at a Rod Stewart concert. This could have ONLY been better if he was also blasting “Panama” by Van Halen out the window of his car. Regrettably, no music was audible. Regardless, you sir, are an incredible human being. Thank you so much for existing.

The hilarity that was our Cambridge Marathon also had one incredibly touching moment. While driving through Drumbo, a big white utility van TORE past us, cut off Sam and flagged us down a block ahead. A gentleman and a lady got out of the van and explained that they had heard about us on the news and when they saw us pass their house, they just HAD to come out and meet us. As it turns out, their daughter now uses a wheelchair as a result of a car accident and they wanted to tell me how excited they were when they heard about what I am doing and that they completely understand why I’m making this trip and wish me the best of luck. It could have rained cats and dogs for the rest of the afternoon–nothing could have wiped the smile off my face after this moment.

It is for people like this that I have put my life on hold for this mission, people who have found themselves dealt a rotten hand in the game of life and feel like they are all alone in the struggle. Well, I am learning, step by step, kilometre by kilometre, that we are most certainly NOT alone in this struggle, the barriers to accessible transportation are being felt equally by all individuals across this province, regardless of age, sex, race or cree. That’s something really unique about the disabled community–it truly is a great unifier. Disability does not discriminate–it can affect us all, regardless of who we are or where we come from and once you get trapped in the tangled web of socially constructed barriers, like accessible transportation, you will be hamstrung in the exact same way as everyone else. It is from this foundation of sameness, of equal strife, that we can find the strength and the power to bridge the gap of understanding and push for the type of revolutionary change that we so desperately need in this province. By understanding how a devastating barrier like a lack of transportation can leave a population stranded, regardless of who they are, it is not outside the realm of understanding to see that perhaps the other could be true too–people of varying abilities and social backgrounds should have the same opportunity to transcend these obstacles through the support of our surrounding community…if we can be equal in suffering then why not equal in bliss as well?

Just a thought.

Anyway I promised to keep this short and the bathtub is looking MIGHTY tempting right now, so I’m going to end this here. Tomorrow morning we’re getting up bright and early to speak at Avenue Road Public School at 9:30am. I can’t wait to meet the kids and shower them in Mobilize March stickers and buttons (oh yes, we have merch!).

Also don’t forget if you are in the Cambridge area to come out on Friday morning, 11am at the City Hall, for a chance to hear me speak and talk to me afterwards.

Lots of love to Mom and Dad, don’t worry I’m staying dry and warm! A big hello to everyone back in London, I’m missing you guys and gals already! See you real soon, I promise!

– Jeff

By Jeffrey Preston

Born with a rare neuromuscular myopathy, Jeff has spent his life dedicated to advocating for himself and others with disabilities. With a PhD in Media Studies from Western University, Jeff's research focuses on the representation of disability in popular and digital culture. Jeff is currently an Assistant Professor of Disability Studies at King's University College @ Western University in London, ON.