Mobilize March -- Travel Blog

Day 36 — “WAS THAT A FOX OR A DOG?!?!”

What a beautiful day for a drive! We made our hop from Napanee to Kingston today and it was absolutely fabulous out on the road–nice and warm but not a pressure cooker like yesterday. While the sun was shining the whole way and it was pretty humid out, today we had a beautiful wind coming off the Bay of Quinte, which kept me at a pretty reasonable temperature the entire way (except when we stopped).

While we had originally intended to shoot right down Highway 2, we made a last minute decision to swap in a new route that would take us a little closer to the water and hopefully a little further from the traffic. We lucked out and found a really good way into Kingston that would only add about 3km onto the trip, which is relatively negligible when you factor in the time we would have spent on the shoulder on a busier road. I’m really glad we made the switch-up because our route was absolutely beautiful.

Given that it was so warm, today was the first day that I finally broke out the shorts. Now, for those of you who don’t know me I hate the feeling of shorts. They never fit me correctly because shorts were not made to be sat in…ever…they just ride up in all the wrong places or ride so low it looks like I’m preparing for a flood. To make matters worst, when I start driving fast the wind blows into the pant legs and causes them to blow up, like a skirt, giving everyone a nice view of my nether regions. But, this trip is about sacrifices and some sacrifices must be made. Ultimately, my discomfort in shorts was trumped by my discomfort of dehydration. I tried to tuck the pant legs under my thighs as good as possible, but I’m pretty sure I still flashed a few passing cars–sorry guys!

The best part of the trip was down this gravel-y back road called “Doyle Rd,” which may or may not have been chosen because we watched the movie “Billy Madison” last night while going to sleep (O’Doyle rules?). While I try and avoid the dirt roads, this road was about as close to being paved as you can get without pavement. It was a relatively smooth ride and offered some STUNNING landscape. It also provided one of the biggest scares of the trip so far.

As we were driving along, suddenly an animal BOLTED across the road about 100 meters in front of me. Now I didn’t get a real good look at it…it looked a little like a dog but I wasn’t totally sure. To make matters worst, the grass was really tall on either side of the road and I totally lost sight of it once it crossed. The animal did, however, get a nice big glance at me as it crossed and given that it was around noon I had the worst feeling that perhaps all was thinking “hmmm, lunch.” So I picked up the walkie talkie and radio’d to Pete “Was that a Fox or a Dog??” Unfortunately he didn’t get a good glimpse of it either, but he assured me it was likely more afraid of me than I was of it…I find this unlikely. So I proceeded slowly, moving as far to the other side of the road as I could go. All I could think about as we drove by was “What am I going to do if this thing jumps on me?” We don’t have any real “weapons” and I’m not much good in a fight (shocking, I know!). All I could think about was keeping the chair between me and where I saw the thing enter the tall grass and hope I could give it a hard ram with the foot plates, which would give Pete time to run it over with the van…or kick it…or something…to save me, basically.

Wow, I just realized what a great employer I am. When facing a vicious animal attack, my exit strategy is to throw my attendant in it’s way and high tail it out of there. Wow I’m a coward. Having said that, I don’t remember reading anything about wild fox attacks in the WSIB handbook, so I think I’m good to go here.
Sure enough when I came to the point where it crossed I could see it standing about 100 meters from the road, watching us, and it was most certainly not a dog. This lead to several hours of debate between Pete and I over what it was. Pete thinks it was a coyote, I think it was either a fox or a werewolf. The argument was never officially settled, however it came to an end when we passed another open field that was full of deer, who took off running once we passed.

All in all, this was a pretty eventful drive!

Tomorrow is going to be a lot of fun. We’re meeting the Mayor of Kingston at City Hall, along with members of the Accessibility Advisory Committee and the local press. I’m not sure how many journalists are going to show up–apparently one of the Princes of England was around here recently and I’ve got nothing on Harry…or William…or Reginald or whatever his name is…how can I remember his name after seeing those bashful dimples? Speaking of weapons of mass distraction…

Anyway, after the meeting with the Mayor, we are kicking “Operation: Relax Shoulder” into high gear to prepare for our epic drive on Wednesday. I’m actually really excited for it–it’s one of our most scenic drives and I’m kind of looking forward to the challenge. I know…I’m a glutton for pain…but we’re almost there and if I can overcome the ridiculous weather I can overcome anything!

– 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.