Day 4: Arden to Tweed

Today saw us up early and out the door to Tim Horton’s for a swift breakfast. We had a deadline to meet at our destination in Tweed, and according to word on the street, there might have been one or two disappointed people if we were running late.

It was a low-key exit from Arden, despite a couple of people who had received a tweet about our adventures stopping by to wish us well before the boys took off. Andrew, Max and Grandpa made excellent time to Kaladar, today’s midpoint and lunch spot. They had great weather, but the trail did offer up some large puddles (hello wet shoes), even larger boulders and some tricky patches of sand, just to keep it interesting.

Lunch was at The Spud Box – something we’d been looking forward to since someone talked it up to Andrew a few months ago. Not only was it amazing food, but it was on the house! This was a very generous gesture, and a true taste of things to come as we approached our final destination of the day. We ate and ran, and the boys jumped back on the bikes, keen to meet the 3pm deadline in Tweed.

Grandma and I cruised into town a bit before the boys were due to arrive and were almost immediately approached by some members of the local Lions Club with cards, donations and kind words, (some of which were that I couldn’t possibly be old enough to be Max’s mum. Thank you, ladies! Oh how I wish that were true!) Over the next half an hour the crowd grew and grew as we watched classes from local St. Carthagh Catholic School march in carrying enormous banners bearing Max’s name, staff from the municipal office, one man wearing a Max’s Big Ride t-shirt, Mayor Jo-Anne Albert, dozens and dozens of locals, and finally, a fire truck!

Meanwhile back on the Trans Canada Trail, the riders were being awestruck by the dozens of handmade signs carrying messages of encouragement lining their path, all made by the students of Tweed Elementary School.

As the riders rolled into Tweed Memorial Park, the sirens on the fire truck piped up and the crowd cheered. It was an overwhelmed Max and Andrew who climbed down from the bike, and I don’t think I was the only one who shed a tear at the monumental effort this town had made to make us feel welcome. There were gifts, speeches, hugs, ice creams (of course), but most of all there was just an incredible sense of community and support for one little boy and the tremendous efforts of his dad to try to save his life.

And if you thought the day ended there, think again. Before the events of the afternoon had even begun to sink in, we headed out to dinner to Vito’s, the local pizza restaurant where we met the wonderful Maria who shouted us dinner and gave Max a magical, bottomless bag of gifts, and even more ice cream!

In our wildest dreams we couldn’t have imagined a day like today, and once again we have to thank Chris Lindsay – the man who helped make it all happen.  It has certainly given us all a huge boost as we get ready for day 5 of the big ride.