From Kamloops to Vernon

by Jonathan Klassen, Vernon

Day 9 – Kamloops to Vernon.  The riders and support crew slept at the Kamloops Prestige, had breakfast in the parking lot, pumped tires and hurtled down the highway in the cold.  We crawled up the Hwy 97 hill to Vernon, and after about 80 kilometers we arrived at the Falkland RCMP detachment where Sedo’s Deli had a fantastic lunch waiting.  The sun came out, showing mountain tops that will soon be snow-covered.  I tried to stretch my sore right hamstring, but it didn’t seem to help.  We clambered back onto our bicycles and set off for Vernon.  My right calf had other ideas.  I pulled harder with my left and hoped the right side would relax.  We flew down the hill toward Westside Road at speeds that are best not to ponder while riding, and then travelled through Vernon to generous honks and waves.

At Vernon’s city hall – and while in Falkland – we were blessed to meet more families that Cops for Kids has partnered with.  Riders often talk about the amazing kids we meet.  I agree.  But I often find myself watching the brave, courageous parents whose hearts break for these kids.  I look in their faces and think about the relentless service, perseverance, sleepless nights and determination that accompanies each one of the kids we support.  It’s love in action.

Being a Vernon rider, I knew this day would be special because I returned home to the family I had missed so much.  But with the joy of reunion came a sad realization that this ridiculous adventure that transformed strangers into a team that traversed mountains through small-town British Columbia was ending – and that the encouragement of seeing these families was about to be replaced by the mundane responsibilities of middle-aged adult living.  So here’s a challenge: may the purpose and effort that we poured into the ride, and the soul-filling sights and friends we encountered along the way, inspire us to continue doing good no matter where we are.

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