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.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day twenty-five - Brandon

Another good day.

The thunder storm didn't happen overnight. We did hear a storm of thumping base and bad music from the bar of the Elkhorn Motor Hotel until well into the morning hours, as the local kids celebrated their grad. And there was the prolonged din of several CPR trains thundering past our room. But I'm sure I would have been able to distinguish the sound of a thunder storm.

Nor was there any evidence of a thunder storm when we set out an hour earlier in the dawn than previously, it being our first morning on Central Time. In fact, the morning was brilliant, giving us pause to wonder if tomorrow had actually arrived. But it clouded over when we were having breakfast and posting yesterday's blog in Virden. It looked threatening enough to warrant the tiresome preparations for rain.

But we stayed dry and enjoyed a good ride to the northern skirts of Brandon, where we have found an above average cheap motel leaving us to figure out how to get downtown without having to cycle there and back.

We noticed what could have been modest hills as we approached Brandon. And we dipped into a couple of river valleys which required an uphill exit. A welcome change after the endless flatland for the last many days. One of the river valleys was the Assiniboine where highway exits were blocked and one washout could be seen below and beside the highway.

It will be a long day tomorrow to get to Portage La Prairie and then a short ride into Winnipeg on Tuesday. Subject to reasonably favourable weather of course.

Today: 106 kms. To date: 2,204 kms. Total "earned" pledges: $2,385.83 (in addition to donations quantified at https://donationrelayonline.com/JustAid/JustRide2011).

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