Day 7 – Penticton to Oyama, British Columbia – 95km

I started early today. Surprisingly I wasn’t as stiff as
I thought I would be after cycling for 9 hours the day before. I didn’t find it
a challenge to get out of bed—this astounded me. We had an event to attend north
of Kelowna at the Easter Seals camp in Winfield—I had to be there by 12:30.

Just south of Kelowna, BC

I got on the road by 8:30am. The road was flat between
Penticton and Summerland. Then the road was forced to leave the water’s edge
and weave into the hills and mountain bases. The weather was co-operating. The
rain was just holding off, and there was little wind. I made decent time. What
stunned me was the immense size of Lake Okanagan. It’s not the widest lake, but
its length stretches all the way from Penticton to Vernon (about 140km). It was
quite beautiful to cycle beside—experiencing the fusion of water, with
mountains, desert, forest, and burnt forest (from previous forest fires). The
heavy low-lying clouds also enhanced the scenery in addition to shading me from
the sun, which never did make an appearance today.

The real story today was the event at Camp Winfield. The
Cool Communicators had made a vinyl banner for us to take across the country.
On the banner are the handprints of the children and teens that made it. Inside
each handprint is the name of the individual and the communication device he/she
uses. It really was quite touching to accept that banner. Terron, Luke, Taylor,
Connor and Connor, Jordan, Caleb, Tyler, Elan, Justin, Cordell, Andrew,
Francis, Ethan, Lucy, Jacob, and Blaise—thank you. I’ll take your handprints to
the Atlantic.

About three times a year, the children and youth in the
Interior Region who speak with AAC meet for a social event at Camp Winfield.
This was one of those days. They have ice-breaker activities, they mingle, and
at the end they have a scavenger hunt. The unique part of today was that Kerr
(my brother) connected with everyone at Winfield on Skype from Toronto. The
computer was hooked up to a 50” screen TV, and the AAC users today took turns
going up one by one and asking Kerr questions. Unfortunately, the connection
failed after a while, and a lot of the Cool Communicators had to leave early to
accommodate their bus driver’s schedule. It was quite wonderful to see Kerr’s
face for the first time in weeks, in addition to seeing the youthful AAC
speakers’ keen interest in getting to know Kerr.

I’ve had slow internet or no internet, and crammed days,
so I haven’t had the chance to Skype at all—nonetheless make many phone calls.
I miss the rest of my family. I don’t have too much time to sulk about
nostalgia of family home life, but it does bother me a little when I’m trying
to go to bed at night.

Anyhow, to all the Cool Communicators who were at
Winfield today, and to everyone who was there, your greeting was much
appreciated and will be remembered. To Kathy and everyone who helps to organize
these tri-annual gatherings: keep it up. It’s a great thing you have going and
I know your hard work results in a fun, significant, and memorable experience
for the AAC speakers who attend. I’d also like to thank Terron and all the
other Cool Communicators who collected pledges to fundraise $275 for Kilometres
for Communication.

He's not grinning because his team won the night before. Terron presenting the fundraised pledges. That was a great moment.

Justin and I

It’s been a long and busy two days. I’m feeling a bit
drained about now. I only have to cycle 25km to Vernon tomorrow because I got
ahead of schedule. I have a rest and event day scheduled in Vernon for the 27th,
so I have back-to-back rest days as a reward for hauling derriere the last two
days.

A huge thanks to John for all the photos!

Until next time,

-Skye

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