Friday, May 24, 2001 (5:00pm EST) --
Life would be a lot simpler if we did not attempt new things. When presented with a unique challenge, itís pretty easy to shrug it off and say itís not possible.
It has been my great privilege to work with an incredible group of people over the past eight months who were prepared to accept the challenge of rowing across continental Canada. Over this period, we have come to know each other like family, as we enjoyed this bizarre challenge together.
How do you prepare for an endurance record using a prototype vehicle that marries up two technologies and involves the energy of over 40 individuals and companies? Like anything, the project needs to rally around a deadline. So we got ourselves one of those to call our own. Then against all odds, as a high functioning team, we met it.
It became obvious about two months out from that deadline that we had completely underestimated the time and effort required to create our RoadBoat. Everything else was fairly straightforward (ie permits, uniforms, logo, website, training, etc.), but we were dragging our bums on the building of this thing. It is embarrassing to admit that we imagined it a simple exercise, but without the fantastic good fortune of having Daryl Musselman, Hunjar Purwanto and Eric Goss aid us for the last 8 weeks, there would have been no RoadBoat. The very fact that it moves at all is a tribute to these fine gentlemen.
The fact that we built our tripís objective around a machine that had yet to be built must be viewed as overly optimistic at best. However, our group specializes in optimism, so fully aware of the risk, the team bought their airline tickets and headed to Halifax.
The start of such an adventure has a certain magic and intensity that defies any explanation I could report. Suffice it to say that all the emotional buttons are fully pressed as the team hustles about in last minute preparations. The first stroke is finally taken, 11 minutes late from a schedule made many months earlier, and the trip is underway.
From there, whatever happens is a new thing. The preparation and belief in the trip
metamorphosis's into forward motion. The planning and theory is past. It is now a time of action and adventure into brand new territory.
In our case, the adventure soon turned into the harsh reality of realizing we have been more optimistic than advisable. It was soon obvious that even though we had a highly tuned and impressive vehicle, we would not immediately be able to get it up to the speeds we had predicted. Our testing on it during the days before had given us huge confidence, but further testing and training on it were going to be necessary.
So the trip turned into a testing period. During the second travel day, the kinks having been ironed out, the RoadBoat glided across the pavement covering over 120 kilometres without any mechanical issues. It seemed fully tuned after only one dayís use and officially became a hard-working member of our team allowing us to cross Nova Scotia for first official land rowing crossing of a Canadian province!
We learned many useful things, not the least of which is that we believe more than ever that the RoadBoat will travel across Canada. But we still intend to travel this great country under this unique form of human power.
We have dropped the RoadBoat at Deanís place in Toronto since he has the space for it, and we will begin afresh with our training very soon. It is unknown about how many of the original crew will be able to attend the next attempt, but we all know that it would not be possible without their efforts on this one.
It would be simpler to not attempt the second crossing, but we are not people concerned about making things easier. We are people who enjoy rising up to a challenge, trying something that has never been done before, and accepting all the risks that entails.
It will not be easy, but it is very, very possible. Stay tuned.
"Follow Your Dreams"
Wednesday, May 23, 2001
(2:15pm PST) -- The first ever attempt at crossing Canada from Halifax to Vancouver in a 5 person, human-powered RoadBoat is over. After
traveling through the province of Nova Scotia it was determined that the record would not be broken due to
lack of averaging an adequate speed to complete in record time. Subsequent to the first day mishap which resulted in a minor accident, the RoadBoat was unable to achieve the necessary average speed, safely, to complete the crossing and it was therefore decided to end the journey early. The remainder of the trip will be spent leisurely
traveling across the country in the two motorhomes with the anticipated arrival date being Friday, June 1st.
The crew would like to thank everybody involved in the creation of this amazing adventure and especially want to thank all those people around the world that have been watching and supporting their efforts. A more detailed report will be prepared and e-mailed out shortly.
Monday, May 21, 2001 (3:00am
Halifax, Nova Scotia -- Ricky Toor reporting live with the crew)
Like an army regiment preparing for battle, the crew of Rowing Across Canada awoke adamantly at 3 a.m. in preparation for the launch of its voyage across the country.
The sleepy-eyed soldiers, err, support staff, were meticulous in their movements, despite blistering cold conditions and an uncompromising wind chill in the early morning hours in Halifax.
Many stood patiently with knapsacks and luggage slung over shoulders, patiently awaiting their turn to shove personal belongings into any available nook and cranny in the already overstuffed recreational vehicles.
Those who weren't lucky enough to sneak in a couple of hours of sleep spent the night on guard - literally. Once final adjustments were made to the RoadBoat, it was transferred to city hall where three crew members kept watch throughout the night. Additionally, some others spent the night either tying loose logistical ends or preparing themselves mentally and physically for the long endurance test ahead.
By 4 a.m., the team had fully assembled a post at city hall and the building excitement/fright/joy was evident on the faces of the majority of team members. Final preparations and meals were being administered as a Global TV reporter scurried around, interviewing rowers for the current day's newscasts. The commotion of the hustle and bustle caught the attention of a number of youths, most of whom were palpably still drunk from a long night of partying. They showed their support by offering to lend a helping hand - an unsteady one at that though.
As dawn broke and the pre-determined departure time of 5:30 a.m. drew nearer, moods turned serious and the RoadBoat was eventually wheeled into the street. Craig Pond christened the boat with a bottle of Peller Cuvee Niagara Brut and hugs and well-wishes were passed around as the rowers climbed into their respective positions.
At precisely 5:41 a.m., the convoy took its first row and the voyage across Canada commenced.
(Ricky Toor, reporting 100 km out of Halifax, 7:05 p.m., Monday, May 21, 2001)
May 20, 2001 -- After an entire
weekend of fine tuning and testing the RoadBoat is ship-shape and
ready for action. Everyone is pumped, primed and as ready as
they will ever be! ... Launch time is 5:30am Halifax time (1:30am
Vancouver time) !! ...
May 17, 2001 -- Finally! ..
Arrived safe and sound in Halifax! ... Friday, Saturday and Sunday
will be spent putting the final touches on the RoadBoat and
packing the motorhomes ...
May 16, 2001 -- Allez! allez!
allez! ... RiviŤre-du-Loup this morning ... Fredericton tonight!
May 15, 2001 -- Bonjour! ... Les
jeune fils have now arrived in Quebec City! ... Ooh-la-la! ... how
May 14, 2001 -- The kids have
arrived in Kirkland Lake for the night, which is just north of
May 13, 2001 -- Kevin and Jane
report in from Thunder Bay, Ontario and right on schedule.
May 12, 2001 -- Kevin and Jane head
out in one of the motorhome's with the RoadBoat in tow from
Vancouver to Halifax.