Mobilize March -- Travel Blog

Day 06 — “Naw, no one will be driving on a Saturday morning!”

Growing up in Port Elgin I always loved Saturday mornings. It was one of the few times I would get to sleep in–Monday to Friday I would have to get up early to go to school and Sunday mornings generally meant getting up to go to church with the family. But Saturday…no, Saturday was my time to shine, to sleep in until 10, 11, or noon if I was feeling particularly saucy. Today was our first chance to sleep in and sure enough, my eyes popped open around 8:30am and my brain refused to cooperate with my sleep-in plans. I tossed and turned for another half an hour before finally getting up and heading to grab some breakfast in the hotel lobby.

After packing up and leaving a little present for Karen the Manager (who helped arrange a bunch of great hotel deals for us), we set off for Kitchener. The sun was blazing this morning and it was PERFECT out for driving. Of course, the day we get the great weather is the day we have one of our shortest rides–just under 10km. Regardless, moments after setting out from Cambridge we had another close call on the road. Some cars were driving past us and I guess the lead car slowed down to take a look at what we were doing and the car following him/her wasn’t paying attention and after some loud screeching tires, nearly got rear-ended. Luckily, the rear car stopped in time and no one was hurt.

Shortly there after we turned on to Maple Grove Road, which turned out to be WAY busier than I had ever, ever imagined. Last night, Peter and I sat down and went through all of our routes again and tried to make sure we were staying off the busy roads as best as possible, which involved changing our route from Cambridge to Kitchener. Low and behold, there are basically no direct roads from Cambridge to Kitchener that aren’t really busy, so we decided to take our chances with Maple Grove Road. I explained to Pete last night that we probably wouldn’t have to worry though because there will probably be next to no one on the road on a Saturday morning. Boy was I wrong! It was so busy on this road that we spent the entire time on the shoulder, bouncing along through the loose gravel and stone. It sucked because the gravel was JUST big enough to send my chair bouncing around, with the vibrations jolting right up the foot plates, through my calves and into my knees. My thighs were pretty tingly by the time we got to Kitchener.

We had another really cute moment along this drive. Just around the Toyota Plant, Pete informed us that he had someone following him along the shoulder. To this point, we still aren’t sure what these people were doing, but after following us for a few minutes they decided to get back on the road, pass us, drive ahead and pull over. We thought they might want to stop and talk to us but as we passed they just hung out the window and waved enthusiastically. So we kept driving and low and behold they started following us on the shoulder again. By this point, it was getting kind of weird and curiosity was about to kill the cat, when they pulled out on the road and drove off. Pete thinks they may have been waiting for friends who they had lost on the busy street, but we may never know for sure.

Jeff dipping his front tire in the Grand River outside KitchenerJust as we arrived at the city limits of Kitchener, Braden (one of our dedicated team members who helped us set this all up), called to say hi. As he was chatting with Sam, Pete and I followed a small grassy/gravel path down to the edge of the Grand River, where I dipped a tire in–drive 3 was finally complete.

The rest of the day was spent cruising around Kitchener and relaxed. We had a nice big lunch (finally got some steak! finally!) and got to check out Kitchener City Hall briefly before checking into our hotel for a little pre-dinner nap. I’m feeling really good today, like I can take on the world–bring on the long drive to Hamilton, bring on the marathon in the north, I’m ready for it!

Another day of rest tomorrow, then back into the fray on Monday! Keep an eye out tomorrow for our VERY FIRST Video Blog entry, which will review, in video form, some of the events of this past week. I’ll make sure to post it to youtube for easy sharing and streaming.

Have a good one,

– 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.