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, September 28, 2011

Reunion BlogWrap

It is time to put the final wrap on this account of my ride.

The class reunion was a fine event. It began with a reception and dinner at St. Mary’s Boat Club on the Northwest Arm on Friday evening, the 12th of August, followed by an outing to Lunenburg the next day, with a boat cruise for those with the stomach for it. Then, on the Saturday evening, a spectacular barbeque at the nearby country gentleman’s farm of one Mick Ryan. The photos will convey the cheerful enjoyment of the 45 or so classmates and partners.


Gerry Scott and Dave Wallace on the left. Peter Milliken and Tom Boyne on the right, with Tom's wife Deborah Conrad - also a lawyer but not a member of the class - between them.


Barrie Black surrounded as usual by attractive folks, in this case by the spouses of his classmates, from the left: Ginny Clark (Don); Sandra Ryan (Mick); and on his left, Judy Kline ('Blond' Bob Covert)


Don Clark and Jim Axler, with Jim's wife Christine

Due entirely to mode of travel to the event, the organizing committee invited me to address the dinner on Friday evening. I was honoured to be one of only three who were so invited. But I insisted on being the first to speak; I was not interested in following the acts of either Peter Milliken, who was a member of the class for one year, or the beloved Eric Rice.

I managed to get off a couple of lines but mostly I made a shameless pitch for Just Aid. My classmates responded generously. They were largely responsible for the final bump in donations which pushed the total raised over the $30,000 mark and, in fact, pretty close to $35,000. Heartfelt thanks to them all.

After my speech, the erstwhile speaker of the House did his thing. Most regrettably, Eric Rice was unable to attend. But the major attraction throughout the entire evening was the MC: Doug Moores, aka the Plumduff. He was predictably superb. Over the years, I think, we classmates have collectively elevated our skill at deciphering his enigmatic dialogue. Indeed, I am confident that most of us comprehended at least half of what he said. And we could not have loved his performance any more.


The one and only Doug Moores, MC Plumduff.

On the Saturday, knowing my stomach, I declined the risk of a boat ride and, instead, spent the afternoon with a man I revere: Veryan Haysom, of the class of '72. I had visited him and Val two days earlier at their charming and gracious home in Mahone Bay. It was truly wonderful to see them both and to spend a little more time with Veryan on the Saturday. I deeply regret my failure to take even a single photo.


Don Clark, Barrie Black, Mick Ryan, Don MacKimmie and Bob Wright. If you were to remove Don MacKimmie from this aggregation and insert 'Black' Bob Covert, Brian Crocker and Bruce Outhouse, you would have the reunion organizing committee: good work you guys!


Classmates all, from the left: Don MacKimmie, Pat Caldwell, Doug Moores, 'Blond' Bob Covert, Ken Delehanty, honourary class member Derek Wells, and Leroy Lenethen.

So, now, the end. Six weeks later and I’m still enjoying my recollections of the people and the sensations. These days I tend to capsulize it this way: no injuries, no breakdowns and certainly no regrets. I had to do it and it feels good to have done it. But, assuming I'm still around, I won't be cycling to the 50th anniversary reunion unless in the meantime I've moved to Sackville.


To prove the Codger actually participated: that's me on the left in black. Behind me, over my right shoulder, is prominent Nova Scotia lawyer Marjorie Hickey, not a member of the class but married to one Bob Wright. Class President Brian Crocker on the right, Bill Sutherland and Leroy Lenethen to his right. Leroy's Pat in the middle between Brian and me.