As I sit back and reflect on the last few days, its hard to take it all in. It seems more like a month than three days. So much has happened it is difficult to distill it all down to one or two overriding themes.
As much as we’ve been preparing for months and we’ve been away from home for almost a week now, it felt like everything started as soon as we stepped into the Kimount Boys and Girls Club in Vancouver. When we walked up to the front door of the Club there was no way any of us could have imagined the beehive of activity going on inside the modest building, hardly any bigger than the houses around it. As it turns out, the Kimount club was the first club to be built specifically for the BGC in all of Western Canada. The kids were bustling all around the club and Joel, a supervisor, showed us around. Our tour finished in the gym where the kids were anxiously getting ready for a floor hockey game.
|Big welcome & thanks from the kids|
The goalies stretched and the other kids picked out their sticks while Dad was introduced and he told them what we were doing. The support from the kids was unimaginable. They had made a sign on the wall and presented us with a tee shirt all the kids signed with their words of encouragement. We finally got down to business and started playing hockey. Canucks Alumni Bob Murray and I joined one team while Dad went to the other. The competition was fierce and the kids really had us running. In the end my team won. I think it had something to do with our strategy. While waiting for our shift one kid, maybe 11 years old, said to me, “You and Bob play forward next shift.” I said, “Well I thought we’d put all the speed up front?” To which he replied, “Yeah but I have a better shot so pass it to me on the point!”
After the game Dad signed some autographs and the kids all wished us good luck and gave us high fives and hugs goodbye. After spending just a few short hours with these amazing kids it’s easy to see why this ride is so important. Kids need a place to be kids, a place where they have a positive environment to grow and play. It’s amazing how a few nets, some sticks, and a fun game of hockey can bring together kids of so many different ages and backgrounds.
When we woke up the morning of the 25th and got all our gear on and loaded up the car, we were excited to do the Kimount BGC proud. We went to Kitsilano beach and dipped our tires in the Ocean. Some new friends from Visalus and my uncle, along with a few of his friends came to see us off. My uncle is a minister and blessed us for our ride and we were off. We didn’t have much time to enjoy the early excitement, however as 15 minutes into our ride, we were lost. Trying to weave our way out of Vancouver, our heart-warming Father-Son ride quickly turned into frustration before we rendezvoused with Mom. We quickly re-evaluated the route and got back on track. On the open road toward Hope we finally settled into a rhythm and could enjoy the scenery as we headed into the mountains. Even then, we weren’t without challenges. It was chilly and very rainy and a local told us there were cougar sightings in the area. We were quite relieved to roll into Hope and stretch out after our first day of riding.
Erik ( Co-pilot and son)