Archive for June 15th, 2008

A rest day and visit to Toronto First

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

We decided to take today off of our bikes. A much needed rest day!

We headed into Toronto in the morning to attend the church service at the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto. It again seemed that the minister picked a sermon just for us. His sermon was about “improv” and how life was really about improvising. It truly seemed like it was directed at us and the changes our lives will take over the next year. Thanks Shawn!

After church we walked around Kensington Market and Scott found a place for a $4 hair cut. I was tempted to get my hair cut, but didn’t really find a style that I wanted. I am looking forward to getting back to Ottawa and getting my hair chopped off then. It is much too long for this kind of touring!

After the haircut we went out for lunch, and then headed to the Urbane Cyclists to look at panniers. We still haven’t made our pannier decision, so we wanted to see what alternatives they had in stock. They had a very good selection of Ortlieb bags, and a bunch of Arkels as well, so it was helpful to compare.

We noticed on the walk over to the shop that the sky was looking rather threatening, but luckily, we found the store before the heavens opened up (yet again). So far, we have been pretty lucky in avoiding being caught out in the rain.

We are now back at Johnny and Tina’s, preparing for an early start tomorrow. We need to leave by 8 am, and we are hoping to get to a campground somewhere around Darlington or Cobourg before the “severe thunderstorms” forecast for tomorrow afternoon arrive. I think we may need to rename this trip from “Going Around” to Tour-de-Thunderstorm!

We do not expect to have much access to Internet for the next 2 or 3 days, so you may not see any updates until we get to Kingston (projected on Thursday).

Scott says:

I enjoyed riding the TTC around town – since it was Sunday, nothing was too busy, and we’re a short bus ride from both Warden and Kennedy subway stations, so it was very easy to get around.  I found myself comfortable navigating the TTC, which surprised me, since I haven’t spent much time in Toronto, and virtually none on the TTC, especially in the last decade.  Hopefully this sense of direction will translate into similar comfort in other cities I’m even less familiar with.

It was fun to attend a worship service with a different congregation, and see what was the same and what was different. I too was struck by the sermon, as well as the reading Shawn used as a basis.  It was a poem by Wislawa Szymborska, which I’ve reproduced below.  The thoughts about improvisation in the poem and in Shawn’s sermon struck me, since much of the next 16 months will be about improvisation, and I’ve spend much of my life arranging things so I’m in a happy quiet rut, without much need to improvise outside my comfort zone.  This trip will definitely be scary at times, but certainly an opportunity to stretch myself.

Life While-You-Wait
– Wislawa Szymborska

Performance without rehearsal.
Body without alterations.
Head without premeditation.I know nothing of the role I play.
I only know it’s mine. I can’t exchange it.

I have to guess on the spot
just what this play’s all about.

Ill-prepared for the privilege of living,
I can barely keep up with the pace that the action demands.
I improvise, although I loathe improvisation.
I trip at every step over my own ignorance.
I can’t conceal my hayseed manners.
My instincts are for happy histrionics.
Stage fright makes excuses for me, which humiliate me more.
Extenuating circumstances strike me as cruel.

Words and impulses you can’t take back,
stars you’ll never get counted,
your character like a raincoat you button on the run –
the pitiful results of all this unexpectedness.

If only I could just rehearse one Wednesday in advance,
or repeat a single Thursday that has passed!
But here comes Friday with a script I haven’t seen.
Is it fair, I ask
(my voice a little hoarse,
since I couldn’t even clear my throat offstage).

You’d be wrong to think that it’s just a slapdash quiz
taken in makeshift accommodations. Oh no.
I’m standing on the set and I see how strong it is.
The props are surprisingly precise.
The machine rotating the stage has been around even longer.
The farthest galaxies have been turned on.
Oh no, there’s no question, this must be the premiere.
And whatever I do
will become forever what I’ve done.


Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Way back on June 3, my mother asked if we had mirrors. Both Scott and I ride with mirrors. I have a bike mounted mirror and Scott has a helmet mount. When I see him with helmet and mirror he reminds me of the borg!

Here is a view of Scott from my mirror:

Scott says:

I really like my helmet-mount mirror.  Early on I had trouble focussing on it, since I seem to be right-eye dominant, and I look at the mirror with my left eye, but I seem to have retrained my brain without too much trouble.  With the mirror appropriately adjusted, I can see cars coming from a distance in my peripheral vision, and check across multiple lanes of traffic with a slight turn of my head.

A few times when I’m off the bike, I have noticed myself trying to use the mirror to see something behind me.  Unfortunately, without the mirror I have to turn around instead!

A note to our email subscribers

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Hi everyone,

If you are reading our blog using the email subscription method (right panel), you may notice that when you view the website later, the posts have changed. This is because the email subscription only sends out posts when they are first published. As we find snippets of time on the road, we go back to posts and update them pictures and additional information. Unfortunately, the email subscription utilities does not inform you when we make these changes.

I don’t have a great solution to this problem yet; however, it is something we will look at when we get back to Ottawa. Hopefully, we’ll have the time to find a better way to let you know when things are updated. For now, if you want to see pictures, then please browse back over articles a week or so after they occur.

The alternative is that we wait to post the articles until we know they are finished. Unfortunatley that would mean that you would first see posts 4-5 days after they occurred. I think our families would prefer to see partial posts in a more timely fashion, rather than completed posts later.