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.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day fifty-eight - Baileyville ME

[Day 58 was August 2nd. The blog was posted a day late due to the absence of any internet connection at my motel.]

My friend Dennis cycled from Vancouver to Halifax sometime in the 70s. He was accompanied by our mutual and missing friend, Peter. When they arrived in these parts, they did the sensible thing: they took the ferry from Bar Harbor ME to Yarmouth NS. That required a relatively short ride south from Bangor and, presto, they were delivered to NS. I would too if I could. But the ferry they took no longer operates. The nearest facsimile is the one I’m going to catch in a day or two in St. John. It lands me a little closer to Halifax but requires a much longer cycle to the ferry, including the ride I did today.

Hwy 9 from Bangor to Calais where I will cross into New Brunswick tomorrow is known as the Airline Road. Some say that is because it is the shortest distance from Calais to Bangor, but I have a different theory about the label. In any event, I always knew I would take this route. What I did not know or anticipate is how bereft it is of amenities.

Google told me it is 102 miles (164 kms) from Bangor to Calais. Then Google told me not to expect any motels along the route. So I had to gear up for my longest ride of the journey. Fortunately, it has a good shoulder or, as they say hereabouts, “emergency pull-out lane”. It also has an endless series of hills, some long, some steep and some both. It is to these hills that I attribute the “Airline” brand.

Nevertheless, my progress was good all morning. I had clocked 80 kms by 12:30; I was halfway there. Then the mist turned into rain and then the rain got heavy. I was soaked and cold by the time I heard the familiar sound of distant thunder, with nowhere to run or hide. Before too long I came to Crawford, home of the Hilltop Café & Deli, one of the very few restaurants on the Airline Road and the only business I could detect in all of Crawflord. Since there was no sign on the highway, I learned I was in Crawford from the locals in the Hilltop, and that name will explain why I was also out of breath when I arrived.

Contrary to the alarming prediction of the locals, the rain eventually let up and I got back on the road. But I abandoned my objective. Exhausted by the soaking, the chill and the Airline Road, I took refuge at the first motel I encountered. I’m told that I’m five miles short of Calais.


The view from one of my rest stops - before the rain.

Who said numbers don’t lie? It appears my estimate of the total kms I will travel was a little shy of accuracy. I suspect the calculations leading to the original estimate used the number of miles in Maine without adjustment. We’ll see, but I still have to cycle an indeterminate number of kms to St. John and the estimated 210 kms from Digby to Halifax. Btw, all of the figures are the distance from place to place, and exclude the additional kms I’ve cycled for one reason or another, like doubling back to a restaurant, cycling off route to a motel or to buy bananas. More about this in my final blog.

Today: 146 kms. To date: 5,676 kms. Total per km pledges “earned” to date: $6,144.27.

1 comment:

  1. Great Ride! I worried that you may have had to resort to your internet bereft tent for lodging last night wand was glad to hear you found a traditional and bear proof lodging. Keep peddling your destination is at least metaphorically in sight
    Murray

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