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

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day twenty-two - Indian Head SK

Soe Naing and I were truly looked after yesterday in Regina. The material support: the Saskatchewan Friends of Burma booked us each a convenient motel room and then took us downtown for dinner at the Siam Restaurant. But it was much more than a delicious meal. We enjoyed the opportunity to network with Patricia Elliott of the U of Regina School of Journalism and the Sask FOB, Gord Barnes of Amnesty International Saskatchewan and Rachel who busks and whose ESL teaching has put her in touch with the reasonably large community of Karen refugees now settled in Regina. Patricia has written a biography of the wife of the first President of Burma whose daughter-in-law, Nu Nu, is well known and loved by those of us in the Pacific Burma Roundtable. Nu Nu and Patricia are good friends. The book is called "The White Umbrella".

Patricia then gave us a little tour of Regina, and its pervasive urban park which includes the pretty Wascana Lake. Very attractive. It is tempting to say “who knew?” but that would be too cute. For one thing, all of Regina knows. So must others even if we didn't.

We are immensely grateful to our hosts in Regina.

This morning’s ride was very pleasant despite being slowed by a bit of a headwind across our path. A second day of uninterrupted sunshine! Besides that, the shoulders were broad and smooth until the last few kms. A wonderful breakfast in the roadside “Diner” at Balgonie, featuring potato pancakes served with sour cream and green onions!

Balgonie is where traffic heading east was being diverted and the Trans Canada was eerily quiet for the 44 kms from there to Indian Head. The detour was all the way to Yorkton, a two hour drive at the least, meaning an extra two day ride for us. Not a chance. We persuaded the nice gentlemen from Sask Highways that we would prefer to come to Indian Head and wait for the floods to recede. The plan is no rain tonight and we ford any water on the road to Broadview or maybe even Moosomin tomorrow.

One other adventure to report. We’d just checked into the local motel when I captured a creature crawling on me. We left immediately, informing the proprietor that we do not care to cohabit with bedbugs. We’d left the specimen under a glass and the proprietor tracked us down to prove it was a wood tick, not a bedbug. My first reaction was that I don’t care to spend the night with a tick either, but I should be apologizing because I could have brought the tick into the room. In any event, we are now ensconced in a fine rustic cabin at the KOA.

Indian Head, incidentally, is where they film a television show called "Little Mosque on the Prairies". I've never watched it.

Our abode in Indian Head.

This is it, Murray. Ever since you commented (Day twenty) that you thought you should move to Saskatchewan I have been keeping my eyes open and this looks like the perfect place. I’m not sure what that green stuff is between the sign and the buildings in the distance but I’m confident the field could be converted into an entirely satisfactory golf course. It is located on high ground between Balgonie and McLean so even in the time of the flooding - i.e., now - you won’t have to cope with much water hazard, whether intended or not.

Today: 75 kms. To date: 1,907 kms. Total “earned” pledges at $1.0825 / km: $2,064.33 (in addition to donations)

1 comment:

  1. The rough looks problematic. We'll have to recruit a green keeper with a robust mower!