Cecil MacDonald was a familiar figure around Clearwater a year or two ago, Last year he rode his trike across Canada to visit relatives in Nova Scotia. The 70-year-old man now apparently is on his way back to British Columbia.
“He was one of the more colorful characters I’ve dealt with over the years,” said Joe Talbot, owner of Clearwater Trailer Court. “One of the interesting things about him was he is a chain-smoker, even though he is also extraordinarily fit.”
MacDonald first came to Clearwater in October of 2010. He had been the subject of an RCMP search after being reported missing in the Ashcroft-Cache Creek area. A woman from Nova Scotia who was looking for her father had contacted police. After several weeks of searching and multiple sightings from Chilliwack to Cache Creek, Clearwater RCMP found him safe and sound in this area.
MacDonald spent that winter in his trailer park, said Talbot.
He left in April of last year to ride his trike about 5,500 km to Nova Scotia to see his sisters, who he hadn’t seen for more than 30 years.
According to a report from CBC News, he arrived in Halifax in late July.
His sisters, Katherine Dorman and Gwen Murphy, greeted MacDonald on his arrival.
He stayed with her for a while, said Dorman, and then moved closer to where they had grown up.
A few weeks ago the family became aware that he was no longer there but were unsure where he had gone.
Last week the Times heard from Linda, a Vernon woman who had met MacDonald during his trip east.
“In June, 2011, we were traveling from Vernon, B.C. with our truck and fifth wheel trailer and our two trusty beagles when we pulled in for breakfast between Kenora and Thunder Bay, Ontario,” she wrote. “We noticed an older fellow with a white beard riding a trike on the highway. He pulled in for breakfast as well and we chatted with him … he made quite an impression on us and we admired his determined spirit.”
Recently the woman came across a YouTube video that told of how people from the A&W restaurant in Dryden, Ontario, had purchased a new bicycle for MacDonald so he could continue his trip back to British Columbia.
Although the video is unclear in parts, it appears MacDonald had given away his tricycle after his trip to Nova Scotia. For his return journey, he had flown to Toronto and bought a bicycle there. Unfortunately, it proved unequal to the task and gave out when he got to Dryden.
According to a second video, the seat on the bicycle purchased in Dryden broke shortly after the first video was made.
The person who made the video is no longer in Dryden. The people at the Dryden A&W know nothing more.
“I still admire his tenacity,” Linda said. “He left us with quite a memory of a wiry old guy with a flowing white beard under a bicycle helmet, riding a tricycle, with new cowboy boots and playing CBC Radio on his big radio strapped on with bungee cords!”
The YouTube video can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0HNXoOWa_M