Across Continents

Ken's Blog

South eastern Alaska

September 26th, 2011

Alaskan map

Conscious that not everyone’s as familiar with the geography of south eastern Alaska as yours truly – nor should you be – a brief resume of the route so far, and the road ahead.

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From the town of Palmer, a little north of Anchorage, I’ve been following the Glenn Highway eastwards towards Glennallen. The Alaska Range to the north, the Chugach Mountains to the south. Former best known for Mount McKinley, at over twenty thousand feet, the loftiest peak in North America.

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Steep sided, wooded valleys have quickly given way to more open ground, tundra. Bleak. Further east, beyond the small town of Glennallen, lies the Wrangell-St Elias National Park. Mount Drum providing a fine backdrop at over twelve thousand snow capped feet.

From Glennallen, the Tok Cut-Off runs north east towards the equally small town of Tok – pronounced Toke – meeting up with the Alaska-Canada Highway – the Alcan. Then south east to the Canadian Border at Beaver Creek in the Yukon Province. About 600 miles all told.

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Pulled over

September 26th, 2011

"Was everything ok" he asked? I’d not seen him pull up behind me on the shoulder. Despite his flashing lights. "Yes" I replied, slightly startled, curious as to why he’d stopped. He asked if I could move off the highway. "Of course Officer" I said, moving the bike further over. He returned to his patrol car and drove off, returning my wave as he went. He did the same when I saw him a little time later.

I’d stopped to chat with Rocky, a new found friend from Palmer, Alaska. He was heading north towards Delta Junction to help his brother with some construction work. He’d spotted me on the road and pulled over. The highway was fairly quiet, and wide, but, explained Rocky, a few cyclists had been killed by protruding mirrors on passing vehicles. The State Trooper was just being helpful.

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Book at bedtime

September 25th, 2011

Took about an hour or so to read The Constitution of the United States. The small pocket edition Chris had given me the previous day also included The Declaration of Independence. A tirade of abuses purportedly inflicted by the King of England on the Peoples of the New World. Some very emotive language. Waging war, plundering the seas, ravaging the coasts, burning towns, imposing taxes, obstructing the Administration of Justice, dissolving legislative bodies. You sensed the Founding Fathers were a bit disillusioned with Blighty.

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But much more interesting, revealing, than the Constitution itself, or the apocalyptical Declaration of Independence, are the various Amendments. Some familiar ones. The Second. The "right of the people to keep and bear Arms". Doesn’t specifically mention suppressed fire grenade launchers, assault rifles and the like, but there again it is a pretty broad brush document. The Fifth. "nor shall.. (any person).. be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself". The right to silence.

Less well known ones. The Eighteenth. Ratified 1919. Later repealed in 1933 by the Twenty-First. Prohibition. Thirteenth. Abolition of slavery. 1865.

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Glennallen

September 25th, 2011

Glennallen from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

The small town of Glennallen in south-eastern Alaska. Blink and you’ll miss it. But do admire the snowy mountain back-drop.

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Wandering into the woods

September 25th, 2011

Wandering into the woods from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

The rains having finally stopped, Ken pulls over for a short coffee break on the side of the Glenn Highway, bound for the small town of Glennallen.

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We the People

September 25th, 2011

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Behind the counter lay a couple of charged magazines, the sort you’d use with an automatic rifle. Casually stacked on some paperwork, as if forgotten. Chris was an ex-cop. Now running the Grizzly Country Store, west of the small town of Glennallen on the Glenn Highway.

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He thought the riots in the UK were "everywhere". I suggested it was just a small, opportunist minority. But what was this jaywalking thing, I asked? At home, we took a fairly practical stance. If you walk out in front of traffic, be prepared to get run over. Tough, I explained. He pointed to the Israeli flag flying outside, beneath the Stars and Stripes, and questioned the British Palestinian Mandate. I didn’t pursue this, instead side-stepping the issue by suggesting all nations had history they might be less than proud of.

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Chris was a passionate advocate of the US Constitution. Sensing my interest, he gave me a copy, explaining he’d handed out over five hundred in the last year alone. I smiled, thanked him, promised I’d read it, adding that whilst almost all of the UK’s Constitution is written down, it simply wouldn’t fit in your pocket. Instead, strewn across various Statutes, the Magna Carta, legal precedents and conventions. But we did have one.

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