Across Continents

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Roadhouse breakfast

October 5th, 2011

33MileRoadhouse

There are several reasons to stop at the Thirty Three Mile Roadhouse, a short distance along the Haines Road over the US border in Alaska. Their magnifient breakfasts are one. The other is Gabriela. Warm smile. Greeted me enthusiastically as I wandered into the small cafe.

Gabriela

An elderly chap sat in the corner. Baseball cap, tinted glasses. Couple of bikers, in their sixties, their heavy leathers showing little signs of wear. I took a window seat, contemplating the menu and sipping the hot coffee I’d been given. Which, I enquired, was the largest option? Explaining I’d not had an evening meal the previous day, and had already covered thirty or so miles by nine. I was hungry.

Order placed, I contemplated the road ahead. Thirty three miles to Haines. But then, I discovered from a road sign a little way back, a further five to the ferry port. Thirty eight. Average ten miles an hour if no headwind. Should be fairly flat. Call it four hours. Check in by two. Just after nine now. Needed to be back on the road before ten. Then focused riding.

33MileRoadhouse (2)

Breakfast arrived. Hot cakes, bacon, mini-burgers, eggs, toast, hash browns. More coffee. And, yes, Gabriela explained, she could fill my flask for later. Did I want more to eat? I hesitated briefly. Extra toast would be good. Once underway they’d be no time for stopping if I was to make the sailing.

The day had at least started better than the previous had ended. Still a bit mystified as to who the men in the pick-ups were that had come close to stumbling on my camp. They’d not returned, or at least if they had, I’d not heard them. An innocent episode, or, so close to the border, a small fragment in a wider intelligence jigsaw? But I’d not been able to get the plates, even less a description of the individuals.

ThreeGuardsman

I’d risen at dawn, struck camp and headed for the border. Soon rising out of the thick mist. Discovering I’d spent the night a little short of a decent sized lake beneath the Three Guardsmen mastiff. A few brief climbs but mostly long, sweeping downhills. Soon back below the treeline.

Reassured by Canadian Customs that there was no requirement for an exit stamp in my passport, a further quarter of a mile to the US border post. Greeted by a friendly guard. Purpose of my visit he asked? Sat astride my trusty steed, I explained I was cycling around the world, North America my fourth continent. Cursory check of my documents and I was on my way. Time to find breakfast.

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Thirty three mile roadhouse

October 5th, 2011

Thirty three mile roadhouse from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken finally crosses back into Alaska from Canadian British Columbia. His first stop a monster breakfast at the Thirty three mile roadhouse…

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Three Guardsmen mastiff

October 4th, 2011

Three Guardsmen from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken finally sights the Three Guardsmen mastiff before pressing on south towards the US border and the ferry south from Haines…

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Concealed camping

October 4th, 2011

ThreeGuardsmancamp (1)

Concealed campsite, just off the Haines Road highway, close to the summit of the Three Guardsmen Pass. In Canada’s British Columbia.

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Eerie night under canvas

October 4th, 2011

Eerie night under canvas from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken stops a bit short for the night, camping at over three thousand feet, beneath the Three Guardsmen Mastiff.. Trying not to think about the "Sounds of the Baskervilles"

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Summit… at last!

October 4th, 2011

Summit… at last from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

1944. Or about quarter to eight in the evening. Ken and his trusty steed finally make it to the highest point on the Haines Road.

Caution: Clip contains some terrible humour, or at least what purports to be wit… You have been warned!

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Peggy

October 3rd, 2011

Peggy was from Carcross. Said I’d seen it on my map. Further east, on the road down to the Alaskan port of Skagway. Explained I’d planned to pass through, but instead had chosen to take a more direct route south to the coast. It had a desert, actual sand dunes, she added. I nodded. Said I’d heard this. Apologising for not visiting.

Wrapped up against the constant, chilling wind, only her face was visible. I studied it intently. Warm, welcoming smile. Kind eyes. She was working as a flagger, helping control traffic through the lengthy road works along the Haines Road. Long days as they sought to finish before winter, hampered by recent heavy rains.

A long commute, I enquired? No, she explained, they’d a small encampment a few miles further on. A few bunkhouses, some with their own trailers. A reputable employer, one of the best she’d worked for, that looked after its people. Decent meals, good accommodation.

Obliged to ride in one of the pilot cars escorting vehicles through the works, I’d met Peggy as I’d been dropped off at the end of one section. She’d helped me re-attach all the panniers to the bike. That’d have been generous enough, but she’d also given me quite a few cartons of apple juice she’d spare. As if to emphasise how much I’d appreciated this, I downed a couple in moments, eager for the revitalising natural sugars.

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British Columbia beckons – Part Three – beyond the rainbow

October 3rd, 2011

British Columbia beckons – Part Three – beyond the rainbow from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken encounters a rainbow. No gold at the end, besides he’d much prefer a warm bed… And still a long way to go to reach the ferry south from Haines…

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Over the rainbow

October 3rd, 2011

HainesRoad (4)

Ominous sign on the Haines Road. Links Haines Junction in Canada’s Yukon to Haines in Alaska. One hundred and fifty miles of wilderness riding.

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British Columbia beckons – Part Two – above the bearline

October 3rd, 2011

British Columbia beckons – Part Two – above the bearline from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken closes on the highest point of the Haines Road, the Chilkit Pass. And ponders the possibility of a bear line. Bit like a tree line but perhaps more ambiguous…

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