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Words from the Road: Belfast

   Posted by: Dan

Note: I’ll be editing this post later tonight or tomorrow morning with a picture or two, but I’m not sure when I’ll have a chance and wanted to get something up now.

The plane was stifling as it taxied down the tarmac to Heathrow. The airport itself was much nicer, though the roughly eighty security checkpoints we had to go through were interesting.

The flight to Belfast was smooth, and short, and as we landed and stepped out of the airport, we were done and in Ireland at last. More than twelve hours of travel later, the shockingly green grass (is it cliche to say that if it’s utterly true?) was zooming along beside our car as I sat in what would have been the driver’s seat in Canada and drove on what I saw as the wrong side of the road.

We’ve seen of the city, since; the glass dome in Victoria’s Square was not only beautiful in and of itself, but also offered an amazing view of the entirety of Northern Ireland’s largest city – including, off in the distance, Belfast Castle, the beautiful manor we’ll be starting from tomorrow.

It has been stereotypically Irish weather today, ranging from heavy downpour to brilliant sun in as little as ten minutes; my shirt was soaked through in one sudden rainstorm but dry again twenty minutes later from the cool breeze and warm sun.

Time for us to go out and see a bit more – and stock up for our trip over the next few days! – so I’ll update a bit better either late tonight or early tomorrow morning.


On the Road

   Posted by: Dan

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.
Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

–J.R.R. Tolkien

We leave for Belfast today! After more than a year of planning, today’s the first big leap, right across the Atlantic.

Throughout our journey, we’ll be checking in several times:

  • On Friday, September 28th (that’s tomorrow!*), from Belfast.
  • On Saturday, September 29th, from Larne, Northern Ireland.
  • On Monday, October 1st, from Glasgow.
  • On Monday, October 8th, from Fort William.
  • On Friday, October 12th, from Inverness.
  • On Saturday, October 20th, from Perth.
  • On Monday, October 22nd, from Stirling, and finally
  • On Thursday, October 25th, from Edinburgh. It’s possible we’ll do a few updates after we’re in Edinburgh, but at least one saying we’re done!

For these check-ins I’ll be writing as much as my brain will let me – I get foggy when I’m as exhausted as I will be, and I’ll want to do a little site-seeing, too! – and posting a few unedited pictures, assuming all of my technology cooperates.

We’ll also have Twitter being updated by the wonderful Victoria, and Facebook should have our updates posted as well, so keep your eyes peeled.

For now, though, this is it – the last post I’ll be making from Canada until probably November. Looking back, it’s been a long 15 months, with some periods of super-steady daily ‘blogging and some periods of complete radio silence as other things took over. We’ve come a long way since the ‘blog started last summer, and we’ve still got our longest journey ahead of us.

Flight leaves at 6:55pm tonight. Wish us luck, and remember to tell your friends, your family, and your neighbourhood crossing guard to donate. We are still hovering a little under $16,000, and a shiny new number would be a great thing to long on to come October 25th.

It’s time to play the music.
It’s time to light the lights.


Mid-Week Training

   Posted by: Dan

This morning I woke up at my usual time, had my usual breakfast, and then slung 65 pounds of metal over my shoulder for my hour-long commute.

With my unusual accoutrement, I expected the ride to be a lot worse, but people were remarkably polite about my hiking backpack and its accompanying knapsack. Having two bags designed to be worn on both shoulders may sound somewhat awkward, but the reality is it’s a lot awkward.

I’m going to have to find a better way to do this for next time.

For now, though, I have 65 pounds of armour – a chainmail vest, and steel gorget, pauldrons, bracers, greaves and cuisses, all ready to be strapped on for a 16km training walk tonight. Paul and I will be walking from roughly Yonge and Eglinton down to Front Street and back, handing out business cards and talking to anyone who would like to ask about the Quest (and my funny costume).

Care to join us? Check Twitter for our #QtfCTraining hashtag, or just keep an eye on our @QuestfortheCure Twitter account after 6pm tonight. We’ll be updating as we go!

Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook as well, if you’re new to the site.


Join us tomorrow!

   Posted by: Dan

Tomorrow we are doing our second public training walk, where you will have the chance to see how we’re training and how it will feel to walk one of the more-than-twenty days we will be walking just six months from now in Scotland (six months from today we’ll be approaching Scone, getting close to the last leg of our journey!).

We start at 9:00am at High Park subway station and will be walking east on Bloor from there to Dundas West. Most of our eastward journey will be across College and Carlton, taking the pedestrian bridge across the Don Valley Parkway and continuing along Gerrard. We’ll head north on Coxwell like last time and take a straight shot across Danforth and Bloor back to High Park to wrap it up.

Lunch will once again be taken at a pub along the way. We’ll be tweeting along the way to let anyone who would like to join us do so at a convenient time and place.

Rowan, War Dog extraordinaire

War dog Rowan has decided to sit this one out.

Remember the cautions from our last walk:

What should you bring, you ask? If you intend to be with us the whole way, bring comfortable clothing and good shoes – and make sure you’re wearing appropriate socks, too! Your feet aren’t the only part of you that will be sore by the end of the day, but they’ll be the worst off unless you’re very careful.

Bring a water bottle and some snacks – things like trail mix or even just peanuts are great. We’ll be stopping here and there on the way but we don’t want to make too many trips to convenience stores, since every trip will hold up the whole group.

Plan for the weather – if it looks like rain, bring a good coat and maybe a hat. If it looks like sun, a hat is still a good idea! Sunscreen is a good idea too, even though it’s still March.

Finally, bring money for lunch – you’re going to want to eat it, I promise! – and plenty of smiles and laughs. The best part of these walks is companionship, and we’re going to be spreading the word about the Wayfarers while we walk!

We hope to see you out and have a bit of a larger group than last time! Though I hear our vicious war dog will not be joining us this time, sadly…


A True Quest… Square Enix Style

   Posted by: Dan

For April Fool’s this year, Google gave us a great gift – an 8-bit version of their phenomenal Google Maps software.

Half a dozen people pointed it out to us while it was on this weekend, but because of our training and other commitments we didn’t get to it in time to make something of it. Thankfully, our resources are endless… and my friend Brittany is brilliant. She pointed out that it was still possible to use if you knew the browser code.

Here is our Quest and the eight “levels” we’re going to be meeting: Belfast, Glasgow, Fort William, Culloden, Scone, Stirling, Rosslyn Chapel and Edinburgh. It’s listed at just under 500 miles because it doesn’t take into account things like the trip around Loch Lomond and walking within the cities – which will take us well over the 8-mile difference you see here.

So who wants to design us some 8-bit avatars to come on this journey with us?


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