500 miles completed.
After an aggressive first day of filming, we camped out in Swift Current at the Day's Inn. Our Director, Ramsey traveled to the hotel after dining with "The Eh Team" at Ralph's in the town of Medicine Hat. Ramsey went to bed the first day with a severe migraine and nausea. He woke up on Day 2 feeling worse…
With five hours rest, the team showered, ate breakfast and hit the road. First, we made a much needed pit stop at Wal-Mart for some inverters and power splitters for the RV. Unable to repair the CB, we remain in the dark with the other teams. What would we do without cell phones?
One of our volunteer medics, Dr. Lisa Campfen, provided Ramsey with some medicine and instructed him to lie down and hydrate to break his fever. And so he did.
Meanwhile, Jay and Johnny suited up and took the Spyder out to follow "The Eh Team's" six hour ride. The remaining crew members took the RV ahead to setup some shots with our secondary camera, Canon 7-D. We pulled over at a local Co-op. It was seriously in the middle of nowhere.
Ian and I hopped out of the RV and walked a ways down the desolate road to setup the shot. In order to get the Spyder out of our shot as the riders peaked the hill, I parted ways with Ian and went into the Co-op to see if I could borrow a bicycle to travel two miles to cue the Spyder to pull over. Not having a bicycle for me to borrow, front-desk Linda told me to take her car…."The keys are in the ignition," she said. "Just have it back by five o'clock for when I get off shift."
Are you kidding me?!?
This woman didn't even know me and she gave me the keys to her '87 Chevy Sprint hatchback. I borrowed it for one hour and kept my promise delivering it back to her well before five. When I met back up with Ian he told me of a man who pulled over asking what he was doing "out here". When Ian told him what we were filming, the man handed Ian a $20 bill to go towards the Project. There are certainly angels along the way.
90 minutes setup for one shot.
When we returned to the RV and Ramsey was up and moving. Refusing to stop, he reassembled his shot list for the day/evening shifts.
Our next destination was the sunset transition with "The Followers of the Road," led by Captain, Tom Ebbern. They were to ride 6 hours, ending at midnight.
En route to the transition, we pulled up to the scene of fallen riders just over the train tracks…
We met up a few meters up the road with the Jay and Johnny who were setting up their jib shot. Ramsey, Ian, and I raced out of the RV to intercept the riders to capture what happened with the fall. Unable to stop in time, the lead rider caught the tracks with her front tire and proceeded to fall over. Four riders behind her proceeded to tumble over too.
Shockingly AND fortunately, nobody was seriously injured. In good spirits, the team pulled down their riding gear exposing their self-proclaimed "battle scars".
Ian rode off with "The Eh Team" and Jay and Johnny remained out on the Spyder. We pulled over to pick them up around 7:30pm. Once they were aboard, we then made our way to Wayburn where team FOG, formerly SIUBC, had a hotel for two hours of rest before their midnight ride. Ramsey asked me to join up with Laurel's team to film a birthday surprise Peggy and the team were planning for her as they started their midnight ride. Unbeknownst to her birthday surprise, I called Laurel and asked if I could bunk with her team for the two hour rest at the motel. Of course she said "Yes".
Ramsey provided me with a shot list and I was excited to be on my own. It was good to see him eating soup and feeling better too. I think after one more nights rest, he'll be right back to normal tomorrow.
I arrived at 9:45pm. Laurel, and volunteers, Rick and Gregg were already lying down atop the covers for a rest. I stayed with them in the room for when their alarm went off at 11:15pm. Already in her cycling gear, Laurel sprung up and began adding on her layers. Laurel dressed her helmet for the second night in a row. This time it was a headband with devil horns.
She winked and said, "Ya know, for the little devil in me."
Rick turned on The Weather Channel as he sipped the rest of his cider and Laurel chuckled as she read 6 degrees celsius in the forecast. A winter storm warning was coming over the report too.
Gregg entertained the four of us with stories and jokes. Where these volunteers and riders found their energy was AMAZING. I may have been working a 22 hour shift, but I was not preparing to ride six hours in 6 degree weather….
We exited the motel and I met the rest of Laurel's team for the first time. They too were running around and packing their luggage into their transfer vehicles. I had the privilege of riding with them to the midnight transition. And what a ride it was. Haha. That team sure had some energy at midnight. Learned some more team secrets I was asked to keep. Lips sealed.
On the way they whispered their plan to surprise Laurel.
At the transition "The Followers of the Road" rode in with frozen water bottles. They relayed their struggles to the team riding out and provided their best advice to survive the night ride.
At the stroke of midnight Peggy and the team came out of the team motorhome with lit sparklers and cupcakes. The group serenaded Laurel singing "Happy Birthday". Just as my camera battery was dying and my memory card was filling up, the birthday surprise shot was captured.
So as the team I was following headed out, I hitched a ride with a car full of volunteers driven by Shaine. We were heading to the casino and hotel on the Native Reservation, Bear Claw in the town of Carlyle. Volunteer Fred somehow managed to score eight free rooms and meals for the riders and volunteers. They must have known it was his birthday, too.
The ride with the volunteers was an interesting way to end my day. Shaine handed me her iPhone and told me I was the DJ for the trip. The five us belted out Shania twain duets and X-mas music for the two hour journey. I think I may have even played a Shaggy song.
When I shared the story about how a passerby gave Ian $20 to put toward the project, Ken looked over at me and said he encountered a similar story on day one. Another passerby curious about what was going on gave Ken a $20 bill too.
Really?!? I told them that I hope our own ambassadors of the U.S. are going to be so kind to our new friends from the north. Ken then told me he plans to personally deliver it to the Dempsey Center when he arrives to Lewiston on day ten.
At 1am, we passed several oil fields igniting their flares. What a sight. As has been the past few days, you can see for miles and miles. Just when you think you are getting closer to a light, it pulls further away.
Shaine and Ilene told me that in Saskatchewan you can watch your dog run away for three days.
I believe it, too. I cannot wait for these riders to experience the hills of New England.
Well, its 2am now and I was just dropped off at the Casino where the rest of the film crew are breaking.
I am anxious to get some rest but I am also excited to see what day three brings.