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

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day forty - Big Rapids MI

The ferryboat ride yesterday was a pleasant diversion but it was disruptive. It got us to a motel later than usual and, having lost an hour somewhere in Lake Michigan, it got us to bed much later than usual. The result was that for only the second time in 40 days (see Day 13 - Cranbrook for the first, as I recall), we were not on the road by 7:00 am. The sky did not fall in but we had a little trouble establishing our usual rhythm. An adverse wind was light and seldom much of a factor. it was sunnier but still not excessively hot or humid. A veritable steam bath is apparently due this weekend, but there was no sign of it today.

The 50 or 60 kms after Ludington finally petered out was all forest. A few homes, mostly modest and surrounded by trees. The cultivated rolling hills and dairy farms of WI were replaced by a cycle through the MI woods. Much of it looking like this:

Some farms appeared when we arrived at Reed City and turned south. We did not see a lot of them because we enjoyed - and I really mean enjoyed - a remarkable ride to Big Rapids on an old railway right-of-way which was mostly screened from any view by foliage, like this:

For one brief stretch, the path crossed some fields and looked like this:

We were fortunate to learn of this path at a gas station in Reed City. It is part of a larger MI program called "Rails to Trails". The surface was generally smooth, the grades were railroad gentle and there was hardly anyone on the trail. We saw maybe half a dozen others in nearly 20 kms. No traffic to worry about and no traffic noise. It was a glorious ride.

Tomorrow: east or south, depending on what the wind is doing.

Today: 102 kms. To date: 3,806 kms. Total per km pledges "earned": $4,119.

1 comment:

  1. Soe Naing and Rod,
    I've so enjoyed my daily,almost,tracking of your endeavor. The photos and especially the blog all very interesting and inspiring. Stay safe.