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: 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 ( and the Back Pack Health Worker Team (

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

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day nine - Castlegar

The full night of rain stopped just in time for us to get started on our last huge ascent. This time, with no angel or good samaritan in sight, both bikes were fully loaded. Happily, until the last few kms, the gradient was not as steep as I'd encountered on the Hope-Princeton or the Anarchist hills. Four and a half hours later, about a third of which was spent off bike catching our breath and allowing the heart rate to settle, we struggled up to the Paulson Summit. The sign conveniently offered something an answer to the unasked question: why are summits signed in feet on the Hope-Princeton and meters on the Anarchist? It provided the elevation of the Paulson Summit in both measurements: 1536 m and 5036 ft.

Why is this man happy?

Exhausted but elated, we made a dubious video for tomorrow - Saturday - night's Burma Night for the Lady (which you should attend if you're free: a Burmese meal, a performance by the talented T. Nile and much more - it is at the Oakridge Centre Auditorium, 6:30 to 10:30, and tickets are available at the door).

Back to the ride: pretty much all downhill for 40 kms from the summit but all thoughts of pressing on to Nelson today were washed away by heavy rain starting 17 kms from Castlegar. So we're tucked into the Flamingo Motel where our hostess, Deborah, kindly contributed to the cause when we negotiated the tariff. The Black Rooster, a most suitable venue for watching Game 5, is a five minute walk.

Dan's comment on yesterday's blog demands appropriate recognition for his participation in the ride on Day One. His point is irrefutable; it got a mention in the first blog but it was not adequate. He was the first associate Just Rider, and we extend our gratitude and admiration to him for getting out there with us on such an ugly morning. No change will be made to the Keremeos blog but Rob was the second guest Just Rider. We pay tribute to both.

Dan the Man on Day One, preparing to launch the ride

Today: 71 kms. To date: 624 kms. Total "earned" pledges: $363.48 (in addition to donations)


  1. Congratulations! My memory of that portion of the route was, as you experienced, a long uphill slog. I'm trying to guess when you will hit Southern Alberta.


  2. Rod and Soe Naing... way to go!!!! you are my heroes. We eagerly await your footage for Burma Night!!!!