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.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day thirty-two - Little Falls MN

[Day 32 was the 7th, posted a day late due to wifi issues in Little Falls.]

It shouldn't be necessary, but today I was reminded of the restorative force of a good night's sleep. Completely bagged last night when we got to Wadena, we were both in good form this morning. The ride to an early breakfast in Motley was most satisfactory. A functioning wifi persuaded us to stop after only 48 kms and permitted us to complete yesterday's blog, a partial draft of which had been preserved before the motel wifi broke down.

The planned destination was St. Cloud but we quit early. A mild headwind combined with 50 kms of bumpy shoulder will do that to you. The other factor was that St. Cloud was further away than we thought. Although the headwind was not strong, we didn't have the strength to tackle another 55 or so kms against it.

So we stopped at 91 kms and what, at 2:00 pm in Little Falls, were we to do? It was time for the round of golf we'd been talking about since Vancouver. The Little Falls Country Club was conveniently nearby and most accommodating when we found it: no collar required! We then experienced the wonderful opportunities which sometimes unfold on a golf course.

I was hacking around the Little Falls CC back nine and So Naing, concealing his mirth, was integrating the responsibilities of a caddy. We were approached by a local fellow who asked about our cycling trek. He came back a few minutes later to invite us to stay at his place near the course. He also called a reporter at the local newspaper and, yes, they were interested in our story. So I played the last three holes along side the Mississippi River with Ralph Ritchie, after which we went to the 19th hole where we met with Terry Lehrke of the Morrison County Record.

Perhaps I will be able to include a website address for Terry's story in a future blog. Little Falls was, in any event, a very friendly and supportive community. Ralph even insisted we have his only bananas in the morning.


Golfer and caddy: which is which? Nine-hole score: 49. Not bad for a rusty swing and rented clubs. Maybe it was the loafers.


With Ralph Ritchie, our new best friend in Little Falls MN. Ralph advised that Little Falls is the home of Charles Lindbergh, the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

When we said goodbye to Terry, she said she hoped all of the communities we visited would be as welcoming as Little Falls. A very pleasant thought but it is not going to happen. Little Falls was unusual and, besides, we don't have the time to golf every day.

Today: 91 kms. To date: 2,991 kms. Total per km pledges "earned" to date: $3,237.76.

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