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: 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 ( and the Back Pack Health Worker Team (

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

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day thirty-three - Monticello MN

We rode from Little Falls to Big Lake in one day. Not a bad line, and that was the intention. But it is not accurate. Close though.

We sneaked out of Ralph's home early this morning, with his last bananas and apparently without waking him, just as he said we would. What a nice man. Not many would say to two strangers: come and stay at my place, do your wash, take what you need, don't worry about a thing.

The bridge to Little Falls, against the rising sun. If you strain hard enough, you'll see the sign says "Mississippi River". Given that its headwaters are not that far away, it is a river which gathers momentum in a hurry. We crossed it again just before stopping tonight.

On our way out of Little Falls we lucked onto a pretty county road that kept us off the increasingly busy US Hwy 10 for over 30 kms. Breakfast in St. Cloud at 58 kms, followed by an extended visit to McDonald's where, on the strength of 2 coffees, we composed and posted yesterday's blog and caught up with our email. Hanne gets the prize for the funniest comment: "Today you answered my question about your blogging: 'Wonder when Buddy Holly will appear?'". Good one.

With the help of a kind local man on a big Harley, we found a local bike shop and it is worth a few words. Rod of Rod's Bicycle Shop, 28 Lincoln Avenue SE (just off West St. Germain Street - I kid you not), St. Cloud MN 56304, 320-259-1964 is a character. He had no trouble adjusting my derailleurs to make them fully functional, something the fellow at Corydon Bicycle and Sports in Winnipeg either neglected to do or did not do very well. I provide his coordinates because if you know anyone coming this way on a bicycle, they should pay him a visit. Tell them not to be deterred by the "Rod's Bike Shop is closed" sign in the window, as we were the first time we went by. It is Rod's way of keeping his business activity to a manageable level.

The man enjoys his work, and he's proud of being good at it. I'm grateful he is.

Rod also put us onto another county road which kept us off No. 10 for many pleasant kms. We intended to stop for the night in Big Lake but, upon careful consideration of our excellent map, we found a good reason to shift our destination to Monticello. We discovered the perfect local road on which to get into the Twin Cities on a route which will give us a good look at the main sights. It starts in Monticello, which is about 2 or 3 miles from Big Lake. So we did not even see the large puddle, if there is one, although we did cross through the outskirts of the municipality.

The other reason for choosing Monticello? It is bound to have superior pizzas, right? We're advised the best are at a nearby restaurant called Pizza Ranch. We're on our way.

Happy birthday Sahand!

Today: 104 kms. To date: 3,095 kms. Total per km pledges "earned" to date: $3,350.34.


  1. Good work gentlemen! If you are in downtown Minneapolis and in need of a bar, I heartily recommend the inauspiciously named "Lou's Liquor Lounge" (near Target Field). As one of my steel guitar colleagues who was playing there pointed out, it is one of the cleanest establishments anywhere!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Lee's Liquor Lounge...sorry!