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.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day fifty - Gananoque ON

Last night: this trek has introduced me to many super people. The latest: brothers Jim and Sam Patel who operate a spic 'n span motel in Napanee called the Fox Motor Inn. Here it is in the rain this morning:


Jim and Sam were suitably impressed with my ride and its purpose. They gave me a good rate and considerately accommodated my needs. For example, when I said I wanted coffee earlier than they serve it in their common lounge, they delivered a coffee machine to my room. When I asked how far I'd have to go to get a banana, they gave me one. And they made a donation! There was more, for all of which I say serious thanks. Needless to say, if you're ever in Napanee, there's only one place to stay: the Fox Motor Inn!

I have had a long spell of dry weather. It came to an end this morning. Not only was it raining when I set out, thunder rolled in the distance. "The distance", I said to myself, "no problem". Within half an hour the lightning was flashing nearby. I really wanted to keep going, knowing I would get cold if I stopped. But I promised the one who is more important to me than anything in this world that I would get off the road if I encountered lightning. So I took cover in what I could find, which was the entrance to a dilapidated barn beside the road, where I amused myself with this admittedly mundane shot:


When the thunder receded, I returned to the road despite the rain. I took an unusually early breakfast in a place called Odessa. When I got to Kingston, the sun was out. But I wasted it. I was so engrossed in liaising with some folks in Ottawa that I failed to notice either a penitentiary or a university. All I saw was the extensive CFB Kingston which, it seems to me, has more than enough land to create at least one golf course and probably more. (No apology to Stephen for this casual regard for our military.)

The ride to Gananoque was uneventful. I was looking forward to the 1,000 Island Parkway bicycle path which starts in Gananoque. Nancy in Calgary emailed me about it, saying she was confident I'd done my research but wanted to be sure I did not miss it. This forced me to admit the source of my knowledge of this pathway was not good research. A wild man on an old bicycle told me the route to Quebec was "Hwy 2 all the way but make sure you take the great bicycle path from Gananoque to Brockville". I met him on Queen's Quay West in Toronto, where he cadged $5 from me.

So I approached the pathway with much anticipation. As I did, the skies opened up again. I took cover in a motel entrance and heard the distant roll of thunder. "Distant", I said to myself, "better not take any chances". A good decision; it has been pouring but, as a result, a regrettably short ride on the day.

Today: 72 kms. To date: 4,744 kms. The total per km pledges "earned" to date(re-adjusted after consultation with a kind soul and very generous supporter): $5,135.38.

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