Day 57 – Woodstock to Oromocto, NB – 122km

I spent the morning replacing parts on my bike. I put a new rear tire on as well as a new drive train. This is my third drive train. I’ve gotten about 3,000km out of each one. It’s an uncommon sight to see someone taking a bike apart in a campground. I turned our picnic table into my work bench. I had my portable bike stand set up. At one point, one of our camping neighbours, Murray, curiously asked me about my bike and what I was doing. I told him a bit about Kilometres for Communication, but I didn’t give him the whole spiel. I try not to overwhelm people with information.

A little while later, Murray’s wife, Linda, walked over and congratulated us on our efforts. She had heard from Murray what we were doing. While we were talking about Kilometres for Communication, another person in the campground, Brenda, one of Linda and Murray’s friends, arrived. We learned that there are many members of one side of her family who either have died from ALS, or who have been diagnosed with ALS—also a very scary scenario for those young family members who haven’t been diagnosed. Many people who have ALS lose their speech before they die, sometimes years before. It’s critical for them to retain a way to effectively communicate. Other parts of their bodies (hands and fingers) may not function properly, so simple forms like writing and typing may not work. This is where eye-gazing, head switches and various other forms of accessing a communication device are used.

Anyhow, my mom and I had a nice conversation with these people at the campground. People often seem a little impatient when we say what our campaign is about (Augmentative and Alternative Communication is quite the mouthful and an overwhelming earful), but after a brief explanation, most people totally get it, and become quite engaged with what we’re talking about.

I got on the road quite late—around 1pm. The sun was shining and the wind was at my back. There were lots of hills, so the wind wasn’t nearly as effective as I would have liked, but I can’t complain. After cycling over 230km yesterday, I was relieved and sore to finish after just 120km today. When I finished, there were some perfect strawberries and tasty fresh picked peas from a produce stand that Linda had recommended to my mom. Thanks Linda! Thanks Mom!

We ended up driving by a baseball diamond on our way to the Provincial Park we were planning on staying at. The baseball diamond was surrounded by forest and there was a nice big grassy parking lot. It was a strange place for a baseball diamond; in the middle of a forest. Free is good. That’s where we stayed. Right next to where we were parked, there was a huge burnt spot of plastic and a metal frame. A nearby tree was scorched about 7 feet high. There were leaves on the tree, but they were all brown or yellow. The tree was dead. The fire had happened recently, since the tree had its leaves for the season. We could make out the word “Wash” on the melted banner. There was a perfectly good, but soggy towel on the burnt ground. It all seemed quite surreal; even eerie. Sometimes when I stay in remote, rural places that aren’t so scenic, it doesn’t take much to get my mind thinking scary thoughts. I have to admit, my eyes were scanning that large burnt area for traces of human remains.

The mysterious burnt area

Good night. I’m tired enough that creepy scenes will not be keeping me awake. Any murderous psychopaths trying to create a nightmare will be turned into a sticky goof covered in chrysanthemums in my surreal dream…and ferrets, deer, and Wiener-dogs will be chasing this villain, trying to eat the flowers.

-Skye

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