- for Mike Woodard and his response when I first asked him in July 2012 if he would be willing to join me in cycling across Canada. He said, “I can’t give you an answer right now but if we do this we need to do it for a cause.” Eventually he said yes and together we found a cause: Global Aid Network (GAiN) and formed cycling4water.
- for Bill Blainey and Dennis Fierbach of GAiN who from 2013 through 2016 believed in us and allowed us to partner with them in promoting and fund raising for their “Water for Life” Initiative.
- for the original team of Mike, Richard Blaschek, Timo Itkonen and Jacquie Bird who in 2014 accomplished the awesome feat of cycling across Canada in 54 days and raising around $285,000 for the drilling of 33 wells giving 33,000 rural Africans clean drinking water for decades to come.
- for our 2014 sponsors, Columbia Cabinets, FamilyLife Canada, Fraiswerway RV, GAiN, Home Hardware, Meridian and Prairiecoast Equipement, who covered all our 2014 expenses ensuring that every dollar given went to GAiN and the wells.
- for the four 2016 sponsors who again covered all our expenses but chose to remain anonymous.
- for Timo Itkonen who accepted not only to loan the use of his and his brothers’ RV from July 26 to Aug 16, 2016 but also for accompanying me over 2000 km on the bike for this second leg of cycling4water.
- for Alain Dupont who accepted to be our 2016 support vehicle driver.
- for my wife, Anne-Marie, Mike’s wife, Karen, Timo’s wife, Marjatta, and Alain’s wife, Georgine, who blessed us on our way and supported us in the accomplishment of this dream.
- for Peter Kotelles, Jennifer Mullen and Bill Vexavanis of GAiN who gave many hours and hard work on phoning, promotional material and web site development.
- for every one of our hosts (couples or individuals) who welcomed us into their homes, their lives, fed us and helped with many other needs. I wish I could name everyone of you but that would take a long time both to write and to read. In 2014 there were over 40 of you and in 2016 you were 14.
- for every meeting organizer that allowed us to speak to their group, church or gathering.
- for every donor, no matter how small or large the amount, you are the real heroes, the ones making a difference in providing the clean drinking water.
- for the hundreds of people whom we met along the way again both in 2014 and 2016 who made the adventure so interesting.
- the beauty of Canada and the privilege of being able to see it from coast to coast from the slow vantage point of a bicycle.
- for the 1000’s of photos that recorded or 2014 and 2106 trip.
- for the scores of people who followed, commented aon and like our blogs and Facebook posts.
- but my greatest thanks goes to God who created me with a passion for exercise and in particular for cycling, who inspired the dream to cycle across Canada, who gave me strength and stamina in my legs, who gave me the will and to do the work, who provided a team and friends along the way, who inspired the donors to give, who gives vision and great people to GAiN, who lifted me up when I was injured, who spoke to my spirit when I was down and who gave me perseverance to continue the dream,
- thank you, thank you, thank you!
Samuel, who works with GAiN out of Montreal, met us in Quebec City and treated us to a celebration supper. It was the first time we ate in a restaurant other than Tim Horton’s the whole trip thanks to our many hosts.
Then it was on to a meeting with a group of Paul’s and Samuel’s friends – a final opportunity to speak about the GAiN wells and community development programs.
They made it special with balloons, a poster made by Paul’s son …
and a ribbon cutting ceremony!
Many, many thanks to every single person that gave to supply clean, drinking water to needy people. Giving water, gives life. At this point I am aware of close to $16,000 in contributions (not all of this is recorded on-line). We may not have reached our goal but about 2000 people will have clean water for the rest of their lives thanks to our donors. Plus 100’s of people are more aware of GAiN‘s wonderful water for life initiative.
Today it rained almost the whole day but it was a welcome relief from the heat of the previous 2 days. We finally left the province of Ontario behind. We aren’t too sad to say good-bye to Hwy 17 though, which has been our constant companion over the last 14 days. There were many places with wide shoulders in northern Ontario. But east of Mattawa there were frequent rumble strips and no shoulders. It’s scary being in the same lane as traffic going by at 100 km/hr.
It is hard to believe that 2½ weeks ago I boarded a plane and flew over 2000 km to Winnipeg and now I am here having covered the distance by bike in 14 days of cycling.
Alain was pleased to be back in his home province as well and took the first opportunity he had, in Shawville of eating poutine.
My cell phone ran out of power so I missed getting many shots of favorite spots with Timo, though he got some and will post a few on Facebook. I also forgot to take it with me to our meeting tonight at Église de Jésus Christ à Ottawa. Many thanks to Pastor Amé and his congregants who warmly received me and listened attentively. Many took donation cards to make a gift towards the wells.
Tonight I get to sleep in my own bed but the stay at home is short lived as we continue on to Deux Montagnes tomorrow to wind up in Quebec City on the 16th.