Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day 84: PEI Birthplace of Confederation…The Gentle Isle

By on Sun, Aug 4, 2013 at 11:47 AM

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Up early we are joined by 5 other Charlottetowners as our escorts along the 62km stretch into the city on the Trans Canada. All these riders are jocks and we make great time swooping up and down the hills on the wide shoulders. At times we ride side by side and get to know each other snatching a sentence or two when we can. Our first stop is at the organizer's sports store, John Horrlet. From there we ride in a gaggle through residential districts and through parks, setting up a few times for photo ops for reporters from the local newspaper, The Guardian. Finally we are greeted by applause by several townsfolk as we swing into a seaside park to a gazebo, exactly where the Fathers of Confederation first met to draft up the constitution.

A cool band is strumming some old hits and volunteers are hustling about preparing hot dogs and setting up for the rally. After welcoming speeches by a city counsellor and an MLA, Gin and I tell our story. The sun shines brilliantly this afternoon, some buy books and t shirts, some from the mental health community approach us and tell their stories. For those with no money, we give a copy of Choosing Hope. This nice affair ends by 2 PM and John takes us to the local community college where he has kindly set us up with a 2 brd. apartment for the night. He has kindly invited us to dinner, so after a siesta and a whistle wetter, we are picked up at 5:30 in a two car escort to John's coastal seafood restaurant, about 20km out of town. The place is bustling with diners as many have summer cottages nearby and there is a huge campground close by. Licence plates are from all over, Vermont, Virginia, Tennessee, etc

The restaurant is set at the end of a picturesque bay and we have two tables reserved on the wooden patio. The idyllic scene is overthrown in minutes as a black thunderhead screams overhead and unloads on the bay. "Just a day on the island" as they say and we continue with our drinks inside, standing shoulder to shoulder with the patio folks as the lucky insiders order their meals. Twenty minutes later the storm blows over and we are reinstated on the deck. The Islanders joke that PEI is where 3 weather systems converge. "Says, one, ever see The Perfect Storm? We're not far from there ya know". "The conditions are totally unpredictable. The weatherman uses a rock, puts it outside and if it's wet, that means rain, if it's white... snow, etc."

Of course we have the lobster and although we've had it before several times, we have never eaten with Islanders. Detailed instructions on how to suck the meat out of the tiny legs, on how to pry open the body and go to work scooping the hidden meat out, eating the green stuff and eating the roe, a delicacy. The place is totally authentic, home made rolls, local entertainment on the deck, guitar and fiddle with the wife coming by once in a while to join in,coach and GM (now commentator), Doug McLean from Summerside paying his compliments. Home made pies from a lady down the road, lemon meringue, pecan, coconut cream, and everyone orders. As the clouds darken the sky, we roll home with John who fills us in on life on the Island. It been a superb day and we tuck in, soaking up our rich visions and experiences.

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