Trekking4Transplants: Day 1-7

May 31, 2012 First day of the trek is underway. Left the house at 4:15am  after a sleepless night of last minute packing and endless, “Do we need this?”, “Shall we bring that?”.  We made our way down to Victoria airport and flew out with WestJet at 7am. A huge thank you to the lady who checked in our bikes (that were so generously packed in boxes by Cycle Therapy) and gear for free after hearing about our trek and the cause! It was a long day with layovers in Calgary, Toronto and Halifax but we made it to St. John’s at 11:00pm. The people of Newfoundland are very friendly and our cab driver took us on a quick sightseeing tour before dropping us off at our friend Rachelle’s place.  After a much needed glass of wine, quick snack and catch up, we hit the sheets. It still hasn’t sunk in that we started the day in Victoria, BC and are now in St. John’s, NFLD. We are beyond excited to start this trek and adventure of a lifetime.

June 1, 2012

Did you know St. John’s is 4.5 hours ahead of Pacific time??? We slept in. After a bit of a late start, we enjoyed a breakfast set out by Rachelle and started putting our Brodie Elan bikes back together.  After everything was in order, Rachelle took us on tour of St. John’s to pick up some last minute supplies and take a peak up Signal Hill. We finished the tour with a traditional plate of Fish and Chips at the infamous Ches’s Restaurant.

We came back to Rachelles, loaded up the bikes and finally hit the road. After a few steep climbs, pannier and chain failure, we caught our first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean, complete with iceburgs! With our excitement level through the roof, we continued on towards Cape Spear, NFLD; the most easterly tip of North America. Our first view of Cape Spear was spectacular! Can you see the iceberg in the photo?

We made our way up to the lighthouse and took a quick peak around before looking for a place to set up camp. After spotting a couple of moose and chatting with local Neufie’s we sniffed out a perfect camping spot on a bluff overlooking the Atantic Ocean. We enjoyed our first of many freeze-dried meals and warmed up to a fire while listening to the talented Jon and Roy.  We’re excited to dip our tires into the ocean and officially begin our trek for transplants across Canada.

Day 1 – June 2, 2012: Cape Spear NL to St. John’s NL – 22km

After our first night of camping, we woke up to the sound of the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the shore. We treated ourselves to a bowl of oatmeal and cup of coffee and loaded our bikes to start our trek westward. The winds were strong, temperature low and it had started to rain by the time we hit St. John’s. Since Rachelle was such a good host, we decided to stay one more night and see a little bit more of St. John’s. Rachelle took us to a delicious Italian pizzaria and we enjoyed our last night with friends before hitting the road.

Total Distance: 22km

Day 2 – June 3, 2012: St. John’s NL to Gushue’s Pond NL – 73km

Thanks to Rachelle’s breakfast of champions, we were fueled up and ready to increase our mileage today. We took Highway #2 towards the Trans Canada Highway and were welcomed with some “lovely” hills and strong headwinds. We took a quick rest stop about 35km outside of St. John’s before continuing onto Gushue’s Pond Family Campground where we set up camp for the night.

We managed to enjoy a campfire despite periodic bouts of rain. Our spirits are high and we are keeping warm.

Total Distance: 95km

Day 3 – June 4, 2012: Gushue’s Pond NL to Arnold’s Cove – 89km

I think we’re getting used to this whole biking thing. ..but not packing up in the mornings! Even after another late start and slow morning, we were able to muster out a personal best of 89km today! 

We stopped for lunch early on at Monty’s Rest Stop to charge our electronics and fuel ourselves for the next 65km to Arnold’s Cove.

We arrived in Arnold’s Cove a little later than expected. With the          temperature dropping and no campground in the area we bunked up in the only  lodging available at the Tankers Inn. It was great to have a roof  over our heads, warm room and the ability to get our first load of laundry  done.  The forecast  doesn’t look good  tomorrow but our fingers are crossed…

Total Distance: 184km

Day 4 – June 5, 2012: Arnold’s Cove NL to Clarenville – 62km

The ride from Arnold’s Cove to Clarenville was hilly but the scenery was fantastic! It’s unfortunate that the weather was so gloomy as we could not take many photos. We would love to come back and see this part of Newfoundland when the sun is shining! We were hungry by the time we got to Clarenville and warmed up with a coffee in Tim Hortons. Little did we know what this stop had in store for us…

Five minutes after sitting down, another cyclist walked in carrying a pannier. We soon found out that him and a friend were on a cross country trip in the opposite direction. As we shared our stories, we began to notice that many people in Tim Hortons were listening in on our experiences. A journalist from Maclean’s Magazine, by the name of Mark Richardson, approached us and asked to interview us all. Ironically, he is doing a cross Canada trek himself to mark the 50th anniversary Trans Canada Highway and the 100th anniversary of the first road trip through Canada from coast to coast! You can check out the story he wrote about us here (http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/06/05/day-2-on-the-trans-canada-gambo-nf/). The bikers, Harry and Will,  started their journey in the Toronto area and were making their way to St. John’s before flying to Vancouver to finish their trek back home. We were relieved to hear that Harry and Will have been biking for the past 6 weeks and have found the last few days to be the worst weather that they have faced. Like us, Harry and Will are novice bikers. They are cycling to raise money and awareness for the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. Watch for the pair cycling through your area this summer!

While we were chatting, the rain picked up, wind worsened and temperature dropped. We decided to call it quits for the day. We were extremely happy to cross paths with fellow cyclists and listen to their experiences and advice. Looking forward to seeing others as we make our way west!

Total distance: 246km

Day 5 – June 6, 2012: Clarenville to Terra Nova National Park (Newman Sound Campground)– 70km

Picture this… You’re pedaling up a steep hill. You can see the road begin to level off in about 100m but can’t look up for too long as the rain is pounding into your face and blurring your vision. Just a few more pumps… You look at your speedometer and your speed is slowly dropping..WHAM you’re hit with a headwind at the top of the climb, forcing you to pedal harder than before to just to remain on the road and continue forward.

Athough this weather may be some of the worst we’ll experience this summer (hopefully!), as we pushed through today, we could feel the air filling our lungs and felt more alive than ever before. Thoughts of Karen who is waiting for a liver transplant, Darvy who received a double lung transplant, Amanda who received a liver transplant, baby Addison who received a new heart at just 2 weeks old, the lady in VGH who visited our booth just 13 days after receiving a piece of her son’s liver, young Natalie in Cobble Hill with Biliary Atresia, and Barry Evans (Kibby’s father) who recently received his transplant, inspired us to keep going… all of these people and many more who have been touched by transplant have motivated us to spread the word about this important cause. Although today may have been challenging, it doesn’t compare to the excruciating days that all of these people  (and thousands of others) have experienced as they wait for or recover from organ transplantation.

After 30km of the toughest riding yet, we stopped at a gas station to change our dripping wet clothes, warm up and build courage to continue. After the rain died down (a little!), we pushed on towards Newman’s Sound Campground in the heart of Terra Nova National Park. A WARM thank-you to the lady in registration who gave us a bag of eggs and fruit and the OK to camp in the heated bathrooms of the park. With thoughts of warm showers and a hot meal, we rounded a corner in the park, and were welcomed by a GIGANTIC moose in the middle of the road just 20m away. We stopped in awe and after a few seconds the moose wandered back into the dense forest. Talk about a wake up call! Can’t wait to see more wildlife on our travels.

Here is a sneak peak of our home for tonight J.

Total distance: 316km

Day 6 – June 7, 2012: Terra Nova National Park to Square Pond – 53km

We were so thankful for a warm place to camp out last night, but the motion-sensor lighting in the bathroom made for an interesting night. We packed up and hit the road early in an attempt to beat the forecasted winds. We stopped in at Mary’s Rest Stop for a quick bite to eat. Thank you to the lovely waitress who served us and wished us luck on the rest of our ride.

We arrived at Square Pond early in the afternoon, but with the winds picking up and no laundromat to dry our clothing at the next campsite, we decided to settle into Square Pond Friends and Family RV Park for the night. Boy did we make the right decision! The staff is absolutely amazing here and even made a donation to the Transplant Research Foundation of BC after hearing our story!

After too many hotdogs, a chocolate banana and warm cup of coco (courtesy of the campground), we tucked ourselves into our tent. With another day of poor  weather in the forecast for tomorrow,  we’ve decided to take our first full rest  day to update our blog, dry our gear,  tune up the bikes and get pumped up for  our first glimpse of (forecasted)  sunshine in Newfoundland!!!

Total distance: 369km

Day 7 – June 8, 2012: Rest day at Square Pond.

We woke up to the same overcast cold drizzle once again. It was a great day to catch up on our blog, tune up the bikes, finish up some  laundry and rest our muscles for the sunshine that is forecasted to arrive tomorrow!

This is Joan and Gerald who operate Square Pond Campsite. We spent quite a bit of time chatting with them while browsing around their shop for treats.

...............................................................

BLOG / Twitter / Facebook

Hello, our names are Kibby Evans and Daman Milsom. In the spring of 2012 we plan to embark on a bike trek across Canada to raise awareness for the need of registered organ donors as well as raise funds for organ transplantation research.  In Canada during 2010, 2,153 organ transplants were performed but unfortunately another 4,529 Canadians remained on the waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant, and 247 patients died while waiting. We hope that our trek will contribute to the increase of successful organ transplants and stimulate research for newly developed treatment strategies, technologies and therapies for those whose lives are threatened by organ failure.

This trek will begin at the most easterly point of Canada, Cape Spear, NFLD and will finish amongst friends and family in Victoria, BC. We will start off the trek at the end of May 2012 and will follow a planned route of over 9000km.  We will be carrying all of our gear on our bikes and camping along the way. Our motivation to complete such a task will come from our friends, family and fellow Canadians who have been affected by organ failure.

By raising awareness we believe that we can encourage at least 10,000 Canadians to become registered organ donors. Also, our fundraising goal is $50,000 and we are confident that with the support of the nation this goal can be easily reached!

Please join us on our trek for transplants as we pedal for the thousands of Canadians that have been and will be affected by organ transplantation.

GeneralRyan Yip