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 10, 2011

The second day after - Halifax, officially


The official arrival event, on August 9th. I am welcomed to Halifax on the steps of the Dalhousie Law School, now known as the Schulich School of Law. This is an excellent photo, courtesy of Dalhousie University staff photographer Nick Pearce. Click on it for an enlargement.

So now the ride is formally over, although a final, reunion blog is still due.

To my great delight, in the center at the back on the photo: W. Andrew MacKay, Q.C. Andy was Dean when I started and later the President of Dalhousie. I had the opportunity to thank him personally for some profoundly good advice he gave me in 1970.

In the white jacket at the front of my bike: John A.L. Yogis, Q.C. John was a relatively new member of faculty when I started and he is still on faculty; he has ascended to the lofty status of Professor Emeritus. He was not the only representative of the law school to attend; I was honoured by the presence of Professor Steve Coughlan, Associate Dean Graduate Studies, Schulich School of Law, on behalf of the Dean. But John certainly provided continuity from the days when. He also kindly presented me with a card and produced some refreshment appropriate for the occasion.

To John's right: Tin Maung Htoo, the Executive Director of Canadian Friends of Burma. Tin came down from Ottawa for the event.

In the crowd, to my immense joy, several classmates: 'Black' Bob Covert, Bill Piercey, Barrie Black, Class of '71 President Brian Crocker, Don Clark, Bob Wright.

Also present, the parents of a friend at home: Sheila and Barry Moore. Sheila and Barry have already been extremely good to me here in Halifax, which is probably related to the quality of my friend Jason.

Others: Senator Terry Mercer; John McKay, MP; Howard Epstein, MLA, on behalf of the Premier; Lindsay Loomer, Communications Officer Schulich School of Law; Karen Kavanaugh, Director of Alumni Relations & Development Schulich School of Law; Professor Archie Kaiser, Schulich School of Law; and, Ian Robinson who worked tirelessly to put the event together. Present but inexplicably missing from the photo: Professor Moira McConnell, Schulich School of Law.


Andy MacKay, with John Yogis, Tin Maung Htoo and Brian Crocker, gives me his hand of welcome on the steps of the law school.

Here's the text of a written message from the Mayor, which Ian read to the gathering:

Greetings from the Mayor

On behalf of Halifax Regional Council, it gives me great pleasure to extend warm greetings and a special welcome to Rod Germaine and Soe Naing to Halifax Regional Municipality.

Your journey across the country to raise awareness of the situation in Burma and funds vital for refugee and migrant children on the Thai-Burma border is extraordinary. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge, with gratitude, Just Aid Foundation, for the compassion and assistance in improving the living conditions of the Burmese people.

You are to be commended for your commitment, dedication and perseverance in pursuit of making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Burmese refugees.

On behalf of the citizens of Halifax Regional Municipality - Thank you for going the extra mile!

Respectfully, I remain
Peter Kelly, Mayor

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