Those Canadians, eh?

Trip Start Jul 04, 2013
Trip End Aug 29, 2013

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Flag of Hungary  , Jasz-Nagykun-Szolnok,
Friday, August 2, 2013

I've come to the conclusion that if the Canadians had an official Love Language, it would be "affirmation". (And if you don't understand this statement, please refer to Gary Chapman's excellent book The Five Love Languages). Why else would they end every statement or comment with "eh?". Yes, they REALLY do talk like that. And yes they really are ridiculously nice ("Hear about the Canadian that walked into a lamp-post? First he apologized and then offered to buy it a drink"). And yes, they tolerate all the awful Canadian jokes ("Know why Canadians do it doggy-style? So they can both watch the hockey game"; "Know what a Newfie (Newfoundland) virgin is? Any girl that can outrun her brother") And on they go...and the Canadians politely smile...

All kidding aside, they are making a very nice reputation for themselves on this trip. Good thing, because there are 12 of them, making them the ruling party.

Shanny and Bonny live in Toronto, the Headquarters for Tour D'Afrique. Shanny is originally from a small town in Ontario and has led numerous tours for Tour D'Afrique for 7 years. Bonny is our cook extraordinaire on this trip. When she's not "on tour", she is a schoolteacher, personal trainer and marathon runner back in Toronto. They both have a great sense of humor and work well together and with the other team members to keep us fed and safe on our journey.

Rich and Louise just left us in Vienna and we were all sad to see them go. Rich is a Family Practice physician in Cambridge, Ontario and Louise is a Palliative Care physician at a hospital there. Rich plays guitar and enjoys folk music as well as history. His dry wit was always timely on the trail or in the dinner circle. He plans on doing the Arctic Tour next year (Vancouver to Inuvuk in the Arctic Circle). This was Louise's first major bike ride and she rocked it!! Her musical background shone through on Talent Night when she conducted Beethoven's 9th on bicycle bells.

Liz is originally from Dublin and now makes her home in Victoria on Vancouver Island, BC where she is the press secretary to the Minister of Transportation. Liz is our unofficial Matriarch, a title that she doesn't want but it's obvious that everyone on this trip loves her. Her quick wit, thoughtfulness and initiative have fostered a cohesion in this group that I think everyone enjoys. And her purple touring bike and upright position in the saddle distinguish her on the road.

Lil is from Manitoba where she recently retired from the provincial courts in Winnipeg. She's a strong, earnest rider that likes high-mileage days. She's done the Arctic Tour, the Ride Across Canada and a Habitat for Humanity ride from Nashville to Seattle? She's also the Canadian with the best tan! I've loved getting to know her and hope to convince her to ride a few weeks on Coast to Coast with me next summer.

Don and Evan are our father and son team from Edmonton and Montreal respectively. They are STRONG riders on their Surry touring bikes. Evan was only riding a few kilometers a week when Don presented the idea of doing this ride on June 15th. Talk about rising to the occasion!!
They have been alot of fun and it's really cool to see a 25 year old spending his summer on such a great family adventure.

Lloyd (30 second Lloyd, so named for the amount of time he spends at our rest stops) is our do-it-yourself man - the guy's got a solution to EVERYTHING! And a repertoire of expressions that constantly keep us shaking our heads ("about as exciting as a party at a wax museum"). He completed the Tour D'Afrique, a 4 month ride from Cairo to Johannesburg after retiring from General Motors as a tool and dye maker. He's also a master quilter and plans on entering one of his quilts in
the Harrow County Fair upon his return home to Windsor, Ontario (just across the border from Detroit).

Jimmy is from Ottawa and personifies the expression "nice guy from Canada". He really is incredibly nice, helping many of the ladies w/ various bicycle and non-bicycle- related issues. He is also a very strong rider and shares his love of cycling with one of his daughters who is tackling riding across Canada (as Jimmy has done) during her months of leave from the Canadian Coast Guard.

Maureen has been my very-welcome sometime roommate on this trip. She lives in Banff where she runs the Medical Records Dept of a hospital there. After she completes this ride, she is going to Mongolia for a few weeks then will complete the Silk Route, a 4 month bike trip from Shanghai to Istanbul. She is incredibly organized and I envy her packing skills and traveling confidence! I immediately felt very comfortable with her and always look forward to being her roomie!

Anil has just joined us in Vienna from Halifax, Nova Scotia where he practices Endodontic dentistry and routinely takes off the month of August. This is his first major bicycling trip. He is well-travelled (originally from Uganda, schooled in London) and I look forward to getting to know him better in the remaining weeks of our trip.

So that's our Canadian contingency. I love getting to know the riders on our trip; each day is a mosaic of personalities and experiences that add to the overall adventure.
So at UH-BOAT 7 am tomorrow, we will ride UH-GANE!
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Steve on

The Official Canadian Temperature Conversion Chart

50° Fahrenheit (10° C)

• New Yorkers try to turn on the heat.
• Canadians plant gardens.

40° Fahrenheit (4.4° C)

• Californians shiver uncontrollably.
• Canadians Sunbathe.

35° Fahrenheit (1.6° C)

• Italian Cars won't start
• Canadians drive with the windows down

32° Fahrenheit (0 ° C)

• Distilled water freezes
• Canadian water get thicker.

0° Fahrenheit (-17.9° C)

• New York City landlords finally turn on the heat.
• Canadians have the last cookout of the season.

-40° Fahrenheit (-40° C)

• Hollywood disintegrates.
• Canadians rent some videos.

-60° Fahrenheit (-51° C)

• Mt. St. Helens freezes.
• Canadian Girl Guides sell cookies door-to-door.

-100° Fahrenheit (-73° C)

• Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
• Canadians pull down their ear flaps.

-173° Fahrenheit (-114° C)

• Ethyl alcohol Freezes.
• Canadians get frustrated when they can't thaw the keg.

-460° Fahrenheit (-273° C)

• Absolute zero; all atomic motion stops.
• Canadians start saying "cold, eh?"

-500° Fahrenheit (-295° C)

• Hell freezes over.
• The Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup.

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