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, July 31, 2011

Day fifty-six - Kingfield ME


Not another one! Yes, and you knew it was coming. Not many more.

"The north woods of Maine" seems a familiar phrase. A partial line from a bad novel? A soundbite from a mediocre horror movie? Whatever. I had a delightful cycle in those woods this morning.

It was clear and sunny but cool this morning. No humidity. The road's shoulder was smooth and broad enough. Wind light but at my back. The traffic was also light and, in contrast with Quebec, the drivers were courteous. But most of all, the gradient was generally, mostly downhill, following a river valley for more than 80 kms.

No sign of the mountains Lynn and Michel, Deanna's friends in Sherbrooke, warned me about. Perhaps tomorrow on my way to Bangor. Or maybe they were talking about yesterday's sommets.


And little sign of any habitation for over 30 kms. Just a downhill road through the north woods of Maine. Sweet.

Murray delivered my gear to the Herbert Grand Hotel, a charming old structure built in 1916. It is being restored and they're pretty serious about an authentic look. The light bulbs in the lobby are Edison replicas. My bathroom is about the size of my room in last night's motel in Saint Augustin de Woburn.

Today: 83 kms. To date: 5,395 kms. Total per km pledges "earned": $5,840.09.

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