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.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day forty-four - London ON

It was great to see Dick last night. He drove two hours to visit with us. I'm genuinely humbled. AND, he brought some delicious muffins he'd baked, he took us to dinner at the finest restaurant in Wyoming (not soon to be known for its cuisine) and he supplied us with a wifi using his fancy new HTC cell so that we could post yesterday's blog. What a guy! I mean that most sincerely. A superb dad. Extremely perceptive in my view, which is perhaps influenced by the fact that I agree with almost every thing he says. His work in the law is focused on critically important issues so crucial to a tolerant and decent society. Speaking of which, Dick may be the most decent person I know.


This is how it looked at 6:45 am this morning on London Line, Route 22 to London. At that point, we expected the sun to burn off the fog in a few minutes. But the fog settled in and the sun disappeared for a couple of hours. It was cool to ride in but we got nearly as wet as we would have had it rained. We turned on our taillights and pedaled on. Fortunately, the traffic was very light but, still, it got a little tense when the paved shoulder disappeared altogether. We kept our eyes on our mirrors, ready to bail off onto the gravel shoulder if traffic from both directions converged anywhere near us. It only happened a couple of times.

The sun was high and the traffic much heavier when we arrived at the outskirts of London after cycling less than 70 kms. We stopped at a Starbucks to borrow the wifi and get a fix on Mai's home. The next 16 or 17 kms were the toughest of the day because we'd arrived at the NW corner of London and Mai lives in the SE corner. We found only a few kms of the bicycle routes and coped with the city traffic the rest of the way.

But Mai was there to welcome us when we found her place. We are going to take an afternoon and morning off, and maybe get some advice on the best route from here to the Big Smoke.

Today: 86 kms. To date: 4,239 kms. Total per km pledges "earned": $4,588.72 (in addition to the $15,354.30 in donations as of today).

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