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, August 5, 2011

Day sixty-one - Kingston NS

Up the wonderfully picturesque Annapolis Valley I continue to chug, undaunted by the headwind. My pace has slowed but my focus remains fixed on my destination. If all goes well, two more relatively light rides and I will be very close. But don't tell anyone because the arrival event is scheduled for Tuesday at 5:00 pm. That is when I will arrive, officially.

Today was Debbie and Bruce day. I've alluded to my immense good fortune to have so many talented and interesting friends. Here are two more.

They treated me to a fine dinner in Annapolis Royal last evening. Susan and Nat joined us to make the evening even more enjoyable. It was great to see Bruce looking well and behaving as feisty as ever. His 'never back down' strategy in any argument remains intact. Eric, who dubbed him "Lefty" many years ago in London, will be delighted to hear it.

A short ride this morning to Debbie and Bruce's farm in Paradise NS, where Bruce showed me around their 23 room, 9 bedroom farmhouse. Bruce then cooked me a delicious omelet breakfast. We caught up over that breakfast and, when Debbie had returned from an errand, they gave me tour of their spread. Over a hundred acres on both sides of Hwy 201, running up the South Mountain where Robbie's Rock is plainly visible from the front yard (Paul's Pond and Kendra's Cave are also on the property because the children are treated equitably in all respects). Robbie's Rock is notable because it provides a view of the valley as a reward for those who ascend to its location and it is kept clear for that reason.

The extent to which Debbie and Bruce construct additions and modifications is truly impressive. They've just finished building a second stable for the horses, closer to the house to make it easier in the winter. On my inspection, they do excellent work. Bruce, who has all the tools a handyman could want and more in his sprawling shop, is also busy with some renos in the kitchen.

The grounds are extensively landscaped, trees (including a majestic row of beautiful old elms - I think I recall that correctly - and fruit trees), bushes, flowers, fences (including incredible stone fencing along the highway), etc. Have I mentioned the swimming pool, tennis/basketball/road hockey court and horses?

Some views of D&B and their place:





It is comforting to know where your friends are when they come to mind. After way too many years, I now have that sense of Debbie and Bruce, along with a sense of awe at the work they've done and must continue to do to maintain and develop their home in the manner they wish. I am compelled to forgive you, Bruce, for all the puns involving "Paradise". You're entitled to them. May the both of you continue to be rewarded by the array of benefits and pleasures you derive from your amazing home. And I reiterate by sincere gratitude for your ample generosity last night and today. Best wishes always.

Here are two more residents of the Valley:

Mya and Aylissa were shouting "get your water and stuffies here" to every vehicle that passed them on the eastern outskirts Middleton. The "stuffies" consisted of stuffed teddy bears, their castoffs I suspect. I was their first customer of the day, gladly paying 25 cents for a glass of water even though the water bottles on my bike were far from empty. What else could I do?

Today: 58 kms. To date: 5,897 kms. Total per km pledges "earned": $6,383.50.

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