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.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day fifteen - Fort Macleod

So farewell, then, British Columbia. We got to know you all too well: your ups and downs, the shoulders (if any) of your southern highways, your travellers' motels, your southern mountain passes and your frequent rain storms.

For the benefit of my family in Singapore, allow me to say that bidding goodbye to BC means we are over the big mountains. The Coast Range and the Rockies are behind us. There will be many hills but no more mountain passes.

Alberta! It is about time. We're about 4 days behind the schedule I created so innocently back in February. We're not half way to Winnipeg but we're half way through the time I expected to take to get there. But things should be different now. Not only are we out of the mountains, our legs (and backsides) are stronger. As long as we get some weather, we should be able to make up some time. As we demonstrated today.

Nothing but rain in the forecasts when we left Sparwood but we suffered no more than sprinkles until the afternoon. The more pressing problem was the cold. With the windchill factor in Crowsnest Pass, it was harsh. There was no lingering after the obligatory photo at the border. A stop at the Crowsnest Visitors Centre to warm up. And then a fast ride down into the foothills, interrupted only by a pause at the Frank Slide. The strong westerly pushed us down the hills, past the rows of wind turbines and into cowboy country. Suddenly we were at Pincher Creek, our intended destination for the day at 82 kms. It was only 11:45, and the Creek was 3 kms off the highway. Hmmm, that would mean 6 unnecessary kms and if we pedaled those kms on Highway No. 3, Fort Macleod would be only 42 kms away. What the hell! Of course it started to rain 10 minutes later, but there was no turning back into that wind.

So hello Alberta. We love your broad, clean shoulders (so far) and your tailwinds (keep it up). And your rain is nothing new to us.


Me and the Sparwood tourist attraction


Yes!

Two leftovers.

First, the website address for Susan Dancer's previous documentary is http://riim.metropolis.net/research_policy-dissemination_output.html, at which you click on the image of the young girl.

Second, for those with the stomach for it, here is the website address of the Cranbrook Townsman story on us yesterday:
http://www.dailytownsman.com/article/20110615/CRANBROOK0101/306159995/a-trip-to-help-the-invisible.

Today: 130 kms. To date: 1,145 kms. "Earned" per km pledges to date: $701.31.

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