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 17, 2011

Day forty-two - Imlay City MI

Soe Naing compared last night's motel with the cheapy in which we stayed on Day two in Hope. I think he was unkind to the cheapy. In any event, it was located on the NW skirts of Saginaw. So our first objective this morning was to cycle through downtown. We managed it but not without incident.

Thankfully, it was Sunday morning so the volume of traffic was not a problem. We crossed the Saginaw River too close to downtown to see any evidence of the fishing industry Lefty sang about. Perhaps it is no longer with us either. The downtown, it must be said, looked a little tired.

But we missed our turn. We wanted to take US Hwy 46 and head due east. It is a major road so we are baffled by the miss. Our theory is that we were concentrating too hard on avoiding the potholes.

By the time we figured it out, we were a few miles south of #46. Go back? Out of the question. So we struck out on a local road, thinking we'd work our way to Lake Huron a little south of #46. Couldn't do it. The roads kept pushing us south. So tonight, instead of being 60 kms north of Port Huron (from which we'll cross into Canada at Sarnia), we are about 60 kms west of Port Huron. So much for the shores of Lake Huron.

We spent the entire day on a labyrinth of local roads but, with some luck and directions from folks we approached for help, we did not have to backtrack more than a few hundred meters. Some of the roads were sublime: smooth and devoid of traffic. Some were frustratingly bumpy and too busy. We lucked out at breakfast in Millington when we learned of another Rails to Trails ride: ten miles of smooth, recently paved cycling euphoria.

The weather turned much hotter, creeping into the 90s, and more humid. We were relieved to see our motel at about 3:30.

Lamentably missed photo op #1: yesterday morning before breakfast we cycled by a roadside stand. The sign said "Bake Sale". Two Amish women were sitting beside the stand. Why didn't I stop? The reason, in truth, is that we were really flying at that point, but it is not good enough. Lost a photo and, probably, an excellent chance to spoil our appetites.

Lamentably missed photo op #2: this morning, on flat terrain SE of Saginaw, we breezed by dozens of beautiful old farms. Grand and stately old homes in great condition. Some fine large barns, with a variety of machinery parked neatly around them. Fields of hay and corn and other vegetables we are too citified to identify. Some lovely scenes I might have been able to capture.


Photo op unaccountably not missed. Only a cyclist would think it worthwhile to have another of these images. What can I say?

Today: 117 kms. To date: 4,066 kms. Total per km pledges "earned": $4,403.61.

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