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-nine - Saint John NB


I missed the "Welcome to New Brunswick" sign when I crossed the bridge from Calais, but this photo offers a welcome of a different sort. It is the mouth of the St. Croix River, from a riverside park in St. Stephen NB. The St. Croix is tidal and, if you can expand the photo, you'll see the tide is low. Which means the speck in the water, which is a boat, is anchored in salt water. The Atlantic! Hello there saltchuck - 'haven't seen ya since Port Moody BC.

I struggled down the coast from St. Stephen toward Saint John. Today it was the wind, which has diabolically been blowing in my face for three days. Not too much of a factor the last two days although I thought the elements were 'piling on' when a gust hit me as I crested a hill. But today it was a nuisance. Another one of these days when it felt like an uphill cycle all day.

The woman at the St. Stephen tourist information centre gave me good advice about using secondary roads whenever possible. I understood from our conversation that I would find lots of motels as I approached Saint John. If that is what she said, I should have asked for better directions. Perhaps I got caught on a new highway instead of the older coastal road but there were no motels. As a result, I cycled far further than I intended today. Into the wind, or did I mention that? The first motel was just inside the city limits of Saint John.

So I don't have far to go to catch the noon ferry to Digby tomorrow. Eight or nine kms maybe.

At one point during the day, I noticed some islands in the Bay of Fundy. They would be, roughly speaking, counterparts to the Gulf Islands. Which put me in mind of my family on one of those islands in the Salish Sea. My nephew Daren, his mate Maija and his mom Carol, who may or may not be there at the moment because she gets around. But at this time of year there is at least a chance she will be in residence, unlike the winter when my astute sister-in-law is always in sunnier climes. My love to you all. I trust all is well, but that goes without saying on Hornby Island doesn't it?

Day 57 mystery solved! The structure is a windmill, now obviously out of service. Hanne supplied proof in the form of a photo from her native Denmark. Irrefutable. How could I have failed to consider this possibility?

Today: 116 kms. To date: 5,792 kms. Total per km pledges "earned": $6,269.84.

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