July 12- 20… The Amazing Homecoming!

I am having difficulty in knowing where to start with my catch up, and will honestly admit how overwhelmed, and appreciative I am with everything that has happened over the past few days.

Monday July 14th
Best way to start is by showing my appreciation to so many  friends  and strangers that made our homecoming so awesome.  We arrived at Owen Sound from Tobermory in the afternoon on July 14th, it was a nice ride, good conditions, and our adrenalin was pumping as we were back to familiar territory.  We had decided on the 13th that if we were early to the Sound, we would leave our bikes in safe keeping at the hospital overnight and spend a night at home.  Kathie was there to meet me and we gave our car to the other members of the team and took the SUV and trailer home to Thornbury for the night.  What a treat to be back home for the night.

Tuesday July 15th
Early the next morning we drove back to the Owen Sound Hospital, and were greeted with a surprise, as a number of staff, management, doctors and supporting cyclists were joining us on our ride to Meaford Hospital and on to the Georgian Bay Club.  What a finish to the first leg of our epic ride.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to greet and ride with us, your support has meant a lot, and is very much appreciated.  Also thanks to the local newspapers and other media who covered our C2C ride and fundraising efforts.  After the reception the team and another 12 riders kept going to the Meaford Hospital where we were again greeted by a large gathering of patients, staff, board members and media, and then invited to share in a toast, and enjoy beverages and food – thank you Meaford for the wonderful welcome, it was very moving.

Our next destination was Georgian Bay Club.

Home- GBCWe arrived at noon to a celebration from family members, including my 90+ yr old Mom, sister Joan, daughter Cindy, grandchildren Zoe, Jamie and Charlie and many other friends … their support for the ride was really overwhelming.

Home- grandkidsThank you Steve and everybody at the Club for welcoming me back to what is usually my summer home away from home.  The Club was the perfect host for the riders that joined in the last leg, and offered the perfect backdrop to enjoy a cold beer, taking in the incredible views of the Bay on the deck.

After speaking to the media, CTV gave us a 3 minute spot on the evening news and friend David French shot a video from his drone (really neat technology!)

Click on the link to see the footage:
CTV Media Coverage

The day came to an end, as we all headed home.  What a thrill to just sit with Kath on our back deck, continuing to unwind from the overwhelming excitement and appreciation of such a homecoming, and of being home… it’s a memory that I’ve banked for good.   Snap to!  Kath reminded me that we were celebrating my birthday and family was arriving shortly.  I was whipped but the excitement of the day and being with family made for a great evening…thanks Kath for a wonderful celebration.

Wednesday July 16th
Woke up after a great sleep, but my biological clock had me awake a little after 6:00 am.  Once remember I was home and my good old morning routine I took in a much missed soak in the hot tub to start my day.  The day was filled with attending to a lot of details and business which was put off while away, but I was working towards a 3:00 tee off time, so that was encouraging!  Just a practice round of golf in prep to the next two days when Hugh and I would be playing in the GBC member guest invitational.  We played 18 holes, and tried to keep our heads high, as our lack of playing sure didn’t produce the best score…  but it was exciting to be back at GBC and playing one of the best groomed courses you will find anywhere.  Thanks Bert and staff!  Wed night was early to bed, as we had to be back at the course a little after 7:00 am the next day for breakfast and a 8:15 start.

Thursday July 17th
After 27 holes of golf, food, more food and drinks throughout the day it was soon time for dinner.  Again, what an amazing day of compliments from so many members and guests. That evening I was asked to talk about our journey and between Hugh and I we highlighted the previous 40 days of our adventurous ride.

So nobody forgot why we were riding, friend Patrick Coulter reminded everyone that if they lived or enjoyed recreation in South Georgian Bay they have almost 100% chance of needing the Collingwood Hospital or the Meaford Hospital. As a result of his talk and generous personal contributions, we raised over $12,000 for the day.  A very special thanks to David Ippolito, a guest of Bill McEwan, who auctioned off a ride in his helicopter, to take in the area and a bird’s eye view of every hole at the club, to be enjoyed the next morning by the highest bidder.  And a special thanks to a dedicated and involved member and supporter of the cause, Kevin Klein, who through his bid made a significant contribution to the evening’s fundraising…thanks Kleiner.

Friday July 18th
David offered me the fourth seat in the helicopter the next morning. Being July 18th, it was an amazing birthday gift, and start to celebrating my big day. Although I have ridden in a helicopter before, but this was very special as David flew us around an area we are so familiar with, yet so unaware of how it looks from up above, a bird’s eye view of an incredible place! The scenery was fantastic and David’s commentary topped it all off.

Home- helicopter

Home- ThornburyAfter 30 minutes in the air it was time to bring it down on the 16th back tee deck, wow, what a great experience….thanks again David. We climbed out and made our way to the dining room for breakfast and our 8:15 tee off.

What a great tournament and as usual Bert McFadden and his staff had the course in pristine condition. Greg, our Director of Golf, and his staff did an outstanding job in organizing the event and made sure that everything came off in only the way our pros do things – razor blade precision. Chef Geof and all his staff made certain that only compliments were made about the food, with the only complaint that I heard being “I ate too much!” And what can I say about Mickey and his staff other than outstanding service.  Mickey has a lot of new best friends – great job everyone.

Saturday July 19th
Saturday was another incredible day, and special thanks for all those who helped to arrange the reception for the team and the HUGE birthday cake to celebrate my memorable birthday.

Home- CakeThanks again Kathie for giving me the time to take on this epic ride and to the other spouses that did likewise …to our drivers Jon Houghton….Bill Dagneau and Bill Stensson. A very special thanks to my riding partner Hugh, as well as John Whitney who provided fresh legs from the west side of the Sault to home.

Sunday July 20th
It is now Sunday evening and we have been preparing most of the day for the next leg of our journey which will end in Newfoundland mid-August, completing a goal and dream. It’s time to sign off as we will be leaving from GBC tomorrow morning at 9:00 am.

Sorry this is so late in coming out, but things were so hectic, and amazing, over the few days at home.  You can expect a more regular blog as we get back into our daily routine.  Thanks for all the encouragement that we have received, it really does make each day’s challenge easier.

Cheers Sid!!

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