Each morning has a festival where the riders and teams check in, local politicians make speeches, local businesses set up tents and displays and the whole own seems to come out to see what all the noise is about. We arrive (there are five teams of seven marshals), get our drops (places where we will be standing to direct the caravan) assigned, then plan a strategy to be in place while the caravan goes by, then pick up the team in the van, then race ahead of the caravan on back or side roads to get in place for the next assigned drops.
This year, I was the designated van driver. I got to be the first person the caravan passed when they went through our marshaling team's area. I would be in place, getting them safely past an obstacle or through an intersection. I would then jump in the van that was parked nearby and drive right behind the police, medical and official team cars at the back of the caravan, picking up my team members as we went past. Then, I got to drive as fast as the van could go to the next marshaling area. All this on closed courses, with police happily waving me through. The highlight of this was a 150 km/hour run between Hinton and Jasper with a 12-motorcycle-strong and 10-police-car motorcade ... with me at the front! Two of the motos would rush ahead when an intersection came up and ensure it was safe for us all to zip through!
Being part of the circus as it goes through is just as much fun as it sounds like. And we get to visit all sorts of places that we might never have chosen to go if we weren't part of the tour. Beaverlodge, Alberta anyone?
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