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.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day thirty-nine - Ludington MI

We traveled much further than 80 kms today. But I must reluctantly acknowledge that I cannot claim to have pedaled across Lake Michigan. And I expect those kind souls who have pledged to give Just Aid so much per km probably had in mind kms pedaled. A pity really, because the 80 kms we cycled were most arduous. The usual complaint: the wind was blowing reasonably briskly from the southeast, which was precisely the direction of Manitowoc where we boarded the SS Badger.

The positive feature of the ride was the roads. Instead of the busy Hwy 10, with its intermittently adequate shoulder, we cycled a series of quiet county roads. If the occasional zigzag added a km or two to the length of the trip, it was worth it. These roads were a picturesque tour of farms and small towns. They are deserving of more colourful or locally significant names than "County PP" and "County JJ". We are very grateful to Dan 'Banjo' Janssen for helping us find them. We met Banjo about one minute after we left our motel; he was out for a ride to nearby High Cliff park on his recumbent. He said it is a beautiful park. Sorry, Banjo, that we didn't have the time to check it out; we had a ferry to catch.


The Codger poses for a possible story in his law school journal. This could have been a perfectly good photograph of the SS Badger.

The SS Badger departed Manitowoc WI 2:00 pm CDT and arrived in Ludington MI at 7:00 EDT. It is a 60 mile (96.6 km) voyage across Lake Michigan from what appears to be a hardscrabble port to a harbour of yachts and a well preserved and attractive little town.


Meet 'Badger' (I kid you not) and Fuzz, two friendly guys who are off to play some golf with their buds in northern MI. They represent the only evidence I can cite for my conclusion that ferry company staff loaded all vehicles aboard the vessel. I wasn't paying much attention at the time, but Badger and Fuzz walked on with us and then passed us in a black Escalade when we got to Ludington. If I'm correct, don't tell BC Ferries. By the way, thanks guys for the beer.


The team assumes the posture most appropriate for a July cruise.

Today: 80 kms. To date: 3,704 kms. Total per km pledges "earned": $4,009.58.

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