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.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day fifty-four - Lennoxville QC

The grey lines on my Shell station map have all been paved roads. Until today. Fortunately, a road crew explained it was gravel ahead before I got very far along. As a result, I was unable to follow the most direct roads; my progress east was a zigzag pattern: south, north, south and finally north again.

Beautiful countryside of rolling hills (not all of which were gentle), farms, old houses and attractive lakes. Stopped for breakfast in Magog and captured about half of the downtown high street with this:


I've been talking about turning south from Magog for so long that I forced myself to concentrate when I left. I went east and north to connect with a bike path I learned about from the tourist information centre in Magog. I was trying to decide whether to take the path from North Hatley or simply stay on Hwy 108 for a direct route to Lennoxville but in the end I had no choice. This spring's floods washed out a bridge on 108 so it is closed.

Then I missed the turnoff to the path and wasted a couple of kms cycling. Here's a fine piece of machinery on the farm where I had to turn around after missing the path:


When I found it, the path was not paved but superb nevertheless. Hard clay with a few small pebbles, and the ride was great. Another old railroad right-of-way judging by the grades. 'Looked like this:


Then I missed Lennoxville. I assumed I was to keep going after the path, but it seems the path ended on the north side of the town. I continued cycling, looking for Lennoxville and wound up in Sherbrooke. So I really cycled 88 kms today, but cannot claim to have traveled that far. I will depart from Lennoxville tomorrow, after Murray has kindly transported me back to about where I emerged from the path.

Today: 80 kms. To date: 5,224 kms. Total per km pledges "earned": $5,654.98.

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