It will be a long ride.

Rod Germaine
On the steps of his law school in Halifax (Nick Pearce photo, courtesy of Dalhousie University)

The Codger has done it. His crazy journey ended on August 7.

This is the blog of Rod Germaine’s bicycle ride across the continent in 2011. Accompanied by his good friend, Soe Naing, Rodger the Codger left North Vancouver on June 2nd. He did not stop until he got to Halifax where he attended his class reunion. It was the 40th anniversary reunion of the Dalhousie Law School class of ‘71.

Among other things, the ride was a fundraiser for the Just Aid Foundation: www.justaid.ca. The total raised was close to $35,000. Germaine is genuinely grateful to all who donated so generously.

It is worth mentioning that none of the donated funds were used to pay expenses. Germaine paid for the ride with his own money. And the long succession of cheap motels and mostly mediocre meals cost some real money. He did not keep track but a member of his family did; the cumulative total was well over $8,000. Soe Naing was more frugal but he also spent a few thousand dollars of his own money by the time they got to Toronto. Covering the costs out of their pockets was consistent with the policy and practice of the Just Aid Foundation. It is maintained by volunteers; expenses are limited to accounting fees, a modest honourarium for the bookkeeper and the charges imposed by online service providers and credit card companies. Subject to these unavoidable costs, all funds raised by the Foundation are used to support the Mae Tao Clinic (www.maetaoclinic.com) and the Back Pack Health Worker Team (www.backpackteam.org).

Germaine extends his thanks for all the support he received from friends and family, from new friends he made along the way, and from Burma activists in many towns he visited. Four individuals deserve very special thanks:

  -Soe Naing, without whose company and assistance he may not have made it to Toronto;
  -Bob Blair who cheered the team, carried the gear and guided the ride through Southern Alberta;
  -Murray Clemens, whose company and assistance through the Province of Quebec must have cost him a small fortune but was immensely appreciated because it was especially timely and great fun; and
  -last but most certainly not least, his angel Adeline, who transported his gear up the first big hills on the Hope Princeton so he could cycle on a light bike, and who worried constantly but patiently tolerated and even supported a project she considered completely crazy.

The daily blogs follow in reverse chronological order. The blog on the top was posted only recently and it is the last. Earlier blogs are accessible by clicking on “Older Posts” at the bottom of this page. You can contact Germaine at info@justaid.ca.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day twenty-one - Regina

Ok, how many knew that Gainer the Gopher is the mascot of the Saskatchewan Roughriders? Me neither. I had a suspicion; the clue was the Roughie flag draped over the roadside sign we saw yesterday about Gainer's home. I confirmed it in the Heritage Inn lounge last night.


An industrial site north of the highway, beyond waterlogged fields.

And now here we are, in Regina, the home of Canada's most revered football team. How revered? There was another sign more than 40 kms before we got here featuring a huge photo of Ron Lancaster dropping back to pass. Under the photo, a reference to his passing record, explaining the total yards he passed as a Roughie was the equivalent to the distance from the sign to Mosaic Stadium where the Rroughies play. As a Leos (& Seahawks & 49rs) fan, I won't be going out of my way to see Mosaic.

Fog. We can't tell you what the landscape out of Moose Jaw looks like, although we suspect it is not unlike either yesterday's scenery or what emerged from the gloom when the fog lifted at about 8:30. The best that can be said of the ride this morning is that it was short. Another granola bar breakfast. And, in addition to the fog, there were the bumps. Every few seconds a thump, as you cross a repaired crack in the road. But, it seems less attention is paid to the shoulders; the cracks often remain on the surface and the thumps are frequently a solid little jolt. It is not easy to relax when you're preparing for the next jolt. And when you take a peek at what's ahead, all you see is a straight road. Dead straight. Straight to the horizon, cutting through the soggy fields, many of them submerged in broad puddles reflecting Saskatchewan's "friendly skies".

We're taking the afternoon off. We need to catch up with some accounting of donations we've collected and we need a rest. We also need to ascertain what lies ahead for us. If the fields are soggy hereabouts, it is nothing compared to the flooding in the southeast of the Province. There are rumours that the Trans Canada Hwy is under water in places between here and the Manitoba border. The last thing we need is a long detour.


The all-too-common sign supplement (in brown).

Emanuel, the young man I met on the Sunday Summit on day 4, took the Okanagan and Rogers Pass route to Calgary, where he rested for 2 or 3 days. He's on his way home to Montreal so he's taking Hwy # 1 all the way, and we've seen him three or four times the last couple of days.

Today: 74 kms. To date: 1,832 kms. Total "earned" pledges to date: $1,983.14.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I for one had no idea Gainer was the Roughrider's mascot. Heck, he's even got a Facebook page...
    Have you guys chosen a mascot? You've got plenty of fans, and a pretty healthy Pageview (3587, at this count).
    This blog could be up (and popular) for a while to come; perhaps you should consider adding google ads.

    I'm sure proud of what you're doing out there!

    Hang in and keep the rubber side down.

    Dave

    ReplyDelete