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 12, 2011

Day thirty-seven - Stevens Point WI

Perhaps it is the central Wisconsin culture. Yesterday's experience at the Altoona Family Restaurant was repeated twice today.

We arrived in Stevens Point around 1:00 pm and, following the helpful directions of Andrea who served us at the Neillsville Country Club Bar & Grill last night, we proceeded to the east side of town where we stopped to re-balance our electrolytes at the Hilltop Pub & Grill. Farron, the young woman at the bar, was interested in our trek. Without even being told it is a fundraiser, she advised the beer was on the house.

Then we went next door to book a room at the La Quinta. I gave my usual pitch for a discounted rate. I was asked for some document to confirm our fundraising mission. The press release Mike prepared back in May proved sufficient. The room was comped! Entirely free!

So I reiterate yesterday's injunction: in order to repay the kindness of these generous businesses, all we can do is urge you to patronize them. To enjoy the Altoona Family Restaurant or the Hilltop Pub & Grill, you'll need to visit central WI. But you can stay at a La Quinta Inns & Suites just about anywhere.

Today's ride was enjoyable enough. The weather much cooler and less humid. Rolling hills, extensive cultivation, many fine earthy aromas.

Today: 96 kms. To date: 3,509 kms. Total per km pledges "earned" to date: $3,798.49.

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