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 5, 2011

Day thirty - Mahnomen MN

Hallelujah! A superb day. The wind was gentle but precisely what we wanted: from the NNW. We were heading South and sometimes slightly SE. Sunny but not hot.

The result? The pleasure of bicycling was restored today on US Hwy 59. For most of the day the shoulder was minimal but sufficient. Traffic was moderate, the drivers were courteous. The only issue was a slow-moving farm vehicle with an elaborate superstructure which passed us rather too closely; I'm sure its wing was over my head as it chugged by.

Breakfast at Thief River Falls, 58 kms from Karlstad. We were there by 10:00 am and it would have been sooner but for two events. First, the absolute necessity of a photo-shoot when we encountered the pink flamingo 4th of July parade. I kid you not; the photo will confirm. Second, a rather long interruption for an interview with Mizzima News Agency based in New Delhi. The caller, Te Te, was very thorough, speaking mostly with Soe Naing in Burmese.


This roadside item was irresistible but it tested the capacity of the iPhone camera. These represent most of the parade participants, but the grand beginning did not come out well enough. The parade started with a "Happy Birthday America" sign held by two rather large flamingos,followed by a giant pink flamingo parade marshal. Stunning really.

When we arrived at Erskine, where US Hwy 59 intersects US Route No. 2 heading east, we had a decision to make: go east or go south. The immediate issue was how far we'd have to cycle to find accommodation and dinner. South was longer than we would normally want to do, but the wind was still with us. And South gives us more options. Perhaps it was the promise of a night at the Casino!


Our abode this evening: rather unlike our rustic cabin in Indian Head SK (see day twenty-two), but less expensive.

Today: 155 kms. To date: 2,769 kms. Total "earned" per km pledges: $2,997.44.

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