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-four - Elkhorn MB

The Weather Channel phenomenon - the weather is important to us. We have only a vague idea of what's going on in the world but we're on top of weather forecasts. Every morning we've been in Saskatchewan, the forecast has been the same: very problematic today for one reason or another but good weather starting tomorrow, which we have construed as another lesson that tomorrow never comes. And so it was today. The Weather Channel said rain stating in the mid-morning in Broadview and a threat of severe thunder storms in southern Manitoba, which was precisely our destination.

So we packed for rain and set out early with a grim resignation. But it never happened. High clouds. Not too hot but a lot of sunshine. The air was still all morning; nary a zephyr. A few breezes in the afternoon; no big deal. Expecting the predicted precip, we pedaled on to take advantage of the conditions while we could. Breakfast after 72 kms in Moosomin, where we hoped to meet Kevin Weedmark, who is the local newspaper. We couldn't connect with him so back on the bikes to beat the thunder storm to Manitoba. No problem. The locals here in Elkhorn say the storm is coming tonight. Perhaps it will be gone by the morning. Could we be so lucky?

All in all, a fine ride. What a difference a day makes, to coin a phrase. We're within striking distance of Winnipeg and, weather permitting, we'll have no trouble making our rendezvous with Adeline and Teresa on Wednesday.


One quarter of the downtown of Moosomin SK, including the office of the World-Spectator. It is the all-white building.


The scenery didn't change.

More information from a friendly local: for the first time in over fifty years, no crops have been seeded by the farmers around Elkhorn. The spring was simply too wet and it is now too late because the frost comes as early as mid to late August. Very sad.

The missed meeting with Mr. Weedmark bears comment. He is the Editor and Publisher of the Moosomin World-Spectator - what a great name for a newspaper! He's also a former student of Patricia Elliot at the U of Regina. Patrica had told him we were coming and he was willing to do a story. But we gave him such short notice there was never really a chance for us to meet. Complicated by the fact that today is Saturday, the real problem is we just never know how far we're going to get when we set out in the morning. The last three days are illustrative. First, the flooded highway slowed us down. Second, yesterday's adverse conditions wore us out prematurely. Then, today, brilliant conditions and a great ride.

We had the opportunity to spend the afternoon in Moosomin waiting for Kevin to finish his Saturday agenda. His invitation to chill at his place promised an enjoyable rest. But the conditions were right for a ride and we couldn't waste them. We got 38 kms closer to Winnipeg (and Halifax), which may prove valuable at some point down the road.

In sum, to all those calling for us to clarify our itinerary in advance, we have to say we're doing the best we can. We want more publicity (and the extra funds it may generate) and we understand that entails advance appointments with any media people we might be able to interest in our mission. But we have a destination to reach within a limited time. In order to make advance commitments, we would need to plan more time in our schedule for unexpected delays. If it turned out we did not need the time, we'd be waiting for an appointment instead of bicycling. In other words, we would have to allow more time in the itinerary, more than we have.

PS on Sunday, the 26th: communication is another problem, as the inadequate wifi of the Elkhorn Motor Hotel confirmed last night. After supporting a couple of emails, it shut down on us. Another form of unexpected delay.

Today: 110 kms. To date: 2,098 kms. Total "earned" pledges at $1.0825 / km: $2,271.09 (in addition to donations).

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