I have now been in Guelph for over a week and a half and am still behind in blog updates. Dad has been keeping me very busy with bike repair. He allows me to fix the ones brought in by customers and keep the money (most of the time). A lady brought in 3 bikes for repair and I earned $100. Another time I fixed a flat. Dad asked for $5 for the patch. The lady gave me $15 so I kept $10 of it. This has helped immensely with travel expenses and I was able to get more safety equipment for the bike. I now have real bike lights for front and back plus I invested in a softer seat for the bike.
On the trip from London I was disappointed to have to abort at Tavistock. The banners on the trailer work like sails on a sail boat, so with strong headwinds, pedaling was very difficult all day on Thursday June 16, 2016. Thus it was late at night when I was approaching Tavistock. Not sure where I would find a place to stay at such a late hour and suffering from fatigue due to the head winds, I decided to set up my tent at the side of the road about 3 or 4 km from Tavistock. My watch had stopped and I had no idea of the time. Once it got daylight, I proceeded the rest of the way into town and stopped at the first restaurant that was open. I had run out of drinks the day before and had stopped at a farm to get water. The farmer filled my water bottles from the barn. I drank some along the way, but it was making me sick, so I had gone to sleep with a very dry mouth. I was very happy to get some fluids into me in the morning.
After a good breakfast, I proceeded to my brothers house. They go to work early, so, as expected, no one was home. I rested on their porch for a short time and was about to leave a card and go on when my brother's wife came home. My brother had been working in town that day and happened to be going by the house about that time. He noticed my bike and stopped in. There was a lounge chair on his back deck and he invited me to rest there for as long as I needed. This I did, and soon fell asleep.
At noon, he was home for lunch and I was invited to dine with him and his wife. I was treated to a very delicious meal. At this point I began to feel muscles getting stiff and thought I better move on before I stiffened up too much. I went first to the office of the Tavistock Gazette were I talked to a reporter about what I was doing. He took many pictures with my bike and trailer. You can see the one he used at https://tavistockgazette.wordpress.com/2016/#jp-carousel-5435. The story is in the current addition of the Gazette, so I hope my brother saved me a copy.
I then went to a local park to hang out and rest. The day was very hot and I was hoping it would cool off. Feeling that I must set out, I began about 4pm, but stopped in the shade of the first tree I found. There I set up my cot and rested while snacking and contemplating my next move. I was considering waiting until dark so I could travel in the cool of the evening. I had not yet fully recovered from the exhaustion of the previous day. The heat of the late afternoon sun was intense. I was afraid if I got too far from shade I could suffer heat exhaustion. I got the cheese and crackers that my sister-in-law had sent with me and sat down on my cot to eat them. I found myself on the ground. The material had ripped and I was in the middle of the frame. Well, I was down, so I ate the cheese and crackers while wondering what to do. It was only a cot, so this little incident should not change anything, but then I thought what a lifesaver it had been when I was struggling against the wind the day before. I was not sure at all if I could make it the rest of the way without having a comfortable seat to rest on when I was taking a break from pedaling the bike. This, along with the heat and fear of sunstroke, made me decide to abort the mission. I returned to my brother's house just in time to enjoy supper with them. My sister had said she would come and pick me up, so I called her but got an answering machine. As we ate, my brother said he would be willing to load my equipment on his trailer and take me to Guelph. Thus it is that I only biked half of my first leg of the journey.
Now, well rested in Guelph, I am eager to move on. I no longer have the time constraints, so if I run into disagreeable weather, I can pitch my tent and wait it out. Thus I do not need to exhaust myself when there is a head wind. (I wanted to attend the 150th anniversary service of the church in Conn that my dad attended as a child. That was the reason I could not afford more time to rest in Tavistock.)
My plans are to leave about Friday July 1st, depending on weather. I will spend a night in Fergus if my sister is agreeable. Next day I will proceed to Egerton, ON were I will attempt to photograph the area were the old lime kiln built by my great, great grandfather is. My sister has told me that it is now all overgrown with trees and cannot be seen, but I will attempt to find some remaining evidence that it was there. I remember playing around it when I was a child. This kiln was built in the mid 1800's by James Cooper, the father of Margaret Cooper who married James McNeish. These were my father's grandparents.
Next I will proceed to Molesworth were John McNeish and his wife Margaret Mitchel first settled when they came from Scotland. These were the parents of James McNeish and another set of great, great grandparents to me. When they were living there, Margaret had a brother living next door and another brother living across the road. Many of the Mitchel's still live in Molesworth and know much of the history. I will talk with those I find and also try to get pictures of the gravestones of relatives who are buried at Molesworth. This research will be used in a future book about my family.
From Molesworth I plan to spend two or three days heading back home to London. I will try to get as much publicity as I can as I pass through each town or city. I am not yet sure of the exact route I will take. I am leaving as much as possible up to the guidance of God. Taking one step at a time, I will see where He leads me to go.
author of THE ALTERNATIVE
The Fugitive Slave Chapel Preservation Project (FSCPP)
Sunday, June 19, 2016
My first day venturing out on my bike tour proved to be a challenge. I set out at 2:15am and after travelling about one hour, I realized I forgot my wallet. On my way back home the bar on the trailer broke. It took me about two hours to make a new reinforced one. I am pulling an estimated 200 lbs of equipment and tools.
About 6:15 I set out again. The sun came out and it began to get warm. I removed my jacket and moved on, but immediately a slight rain began. I found some shelter at Argyle mall as the rain got heavier. It tapered off to a drizzle so I set out again. Morning traffic on Dundas st was building. Rain went between a drizzle and moderate. I was happy to get off Dundas St. when I turned on to Nissouri Rd. I was getting rather damp from the light rain and found shelter at the greenhouse place. Once inside, the rain got heavy. I had a sundae and a hot chocolate as I waited out the rain. One employee bought a book and the heavy rain suddenly stopped.
I set out again, turning east on Evelyn Rd. This would be the main stretch of the first leg of my journey. I fought a strong headwind all day and was exhausted when I reached Tavistock. More later
Monday, June 13, 2016
Subject: Welcome to my Travel updates
You can see where I've been, find out where I'm going and invite me to speak at your event. I will arrive by bicycle. Leave a comment and let me know where you saw me.
George McNeish, Author of THE ALTERNATIVE, Begins Bike Tour at 64.
George McNeish knew from an early age that he was destined to be an author. What he didn’t know is, at the age of 64, he would be learning how to market his first book with no money to invest. This calls for thinking outside the box and coming up with strategies that have never been tried before.
McNeish has been extremely blessed. Although not with material means, he has a healthy body and is able to endure much physical activity. Therefore, using a bicycle that was given to him and a trailer made out of scrap parts, he has decided to pedal his book. Having also been gifted with an ability for graphic design, he has had banners printed and will be hitting the road on Wednesday June 15, 2016. You may have already seen him biking around London with his trailer behind him. He needed to test out his equipment and build his endurance while getting used to pulling a trailer. The worst problem is wind resistance. The 3 foot banners on the front and back act like sails, which is great if you are traveling with the wind, but when pedalling into the wind it feels like going uphill all the time.
As past chair of the Fugitive Slave Chapel Preservation Project, McNeish was inspired to write about the people who built the chapel. While researching he found many interesting facts. The Abolitionist, John Brown, spoke at the chapel in 1858, the year before his ill fated raid at Harpers Ferry. When reading about the devastating civil war that this raid triggered, McNeish began to wonder if things could have turned out differently. Thus sidetracked from the history, his first book became an historic fiction. The book about the Slave Chapel is still in the works.
His first book, “THE ALTERNATIVE, Is There an Alternative to War,” looks at slavery and how it lead to civil war. His fictional characters took on a life of their own and struggled to change the outcome of history. More about the book is at http://www.alternative.9li.ca/.
McNeish is also looking into family history and will be researching that during his first trip. He is planning to take about two days to reach Guelph, Ontario. There he will visit his 90 year old dad and help him fix bicycles. He will then travel to Conn, Ontario for the 150 anniversary celebration of Knox Presbyterian Church, the church his father attended as a child and one often visited by the family.
Taking small steps, McNeish will test his endurance and gradually widen his sphere of travel. He thinks that Ottawa and other Ontario destinations may be realised this year. If all goes well, he may attempt a cross Canada bike tour in 2017 when he will be 65 years old. By then he hopes to have a couple of more books added to his repertoire.
George McNeish is willing to speak on many themes revolving around World Peace. His book revolves around a theme of cooperation versus competition. His is always ready to talk about the merits of a cooperative society.
This is where you can find out where George McNeish, Author of THE ALTERNATIVE, is going. You can leave comments, say were you saw him and invite him to speak at your event. He is travelling by bicycle to various places in Ontario.