Across Continents

Ken's Blog

River of Mists

October 10th, 2011

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Towering cliffs and wisps of cloud in the Skeena – River of Mists – valley, between coastal Prince Rupert and Terrace, in Canada’s British Columbia Province.

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Skeena river

October 10th, 2011

I’d followed the Skeena – River of Mists – east from Prince Rupert on the coast, inland to the small town of Terrace. An old trading route discovered long ago by the indigenous – First Nation – people, it cut a straightforward, mostly flat, path through the Coast Mountains towards British Columbia’s Interior Plateau. Today a well made highway and a railway line. Goods trains.

An inspired choice of route. But accidental at that. For it was the only one, save for the ferry south once more from Prince Rupert towards Vancouver close to the US border. I’d been suggested I’d be best heading for Vancouver Island. Better scenery I was told. Maybe, but then I’d end up riding precious little in British Columbia. And I’d not felt comfortable about that.

The river, or the valley at least, had lived up to its name. Frequent rains, rarely heavy, but the air always seeming moist. Not cold, except during the occasional downpour, but little sun until close on the outskirts of Terrace. But none of this really mattered, for the scenery had been quite breathtaking. Wide, gently flowing river. Steep wooded mountainsides. Towering cliffs. Wisps of fine cloud.

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Stumped

October 10th, 2011

Stumped from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

No bears at Ken’s brief lunch stop along the Skeena river in Canadian British Columbia. Just wasps…

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If you go down to the woods today

October 10th, 2011

If you go down to the woods… from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken stops for a short lunch break along the Skeena river, between Prince Rupert and Terrace in Canadian British Columbia.. Peaceful spot. No bears..

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Warning signs

October 10th, 2011

Warning signs from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken discovers a sign warning of bear presence at an overnight stop along the Skeena river between Prince Rupert and Terrace in Canadian British Columbia. But it’s not a deterrent, it’s encouragement. Still to see one of the cuddly critters in the wild… Outside of his tent of course..

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Beyond Prince Rupert

October 9th, 2011

Beyond Prince Rupert from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken starts the next leg of his North American journey

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Final fling

October 8th, 2011

Final fling in Cowpuccino’s coffee bar, a short distance from the hostel. And an eggy breaky bagel for the road. I’d ordered a baa-g-ell but they seemed to understand. Quiet, The Germans, I thought, out on manoeuvres.

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It was Hawaii Day. Paper pineapples, resembling cheap Christmas decorations, on the tables. The staff had plastic flowers in the their hair. A chalk board announced ’Aloha’.

A man wandered in, sporting a bright blue shirt with a bold flower pattern. About to congratulate him for entering into the spirit of the occasion, whatever it was, I found myself stopping short. Suddenly unsure as to whether he’d donned it especially for the day, or whether it was just his normal attire. Time to return to the road.

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Road to Seattle

October 8th, 2011

Road to Seattle from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken plans the next leg of his North American journey. A thousand miles south to Seattle, just over the border from Vancouver.

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Prince Rupert musings

October 8th, 2011

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I’d been a bit harsh. Rushing to judging the small British Columbian sea port of Prince Rupert in the dawn drizzle when I’d disembarked from the ferry. Ferreting around for an ATM so I could buy a warming cup of coffee.

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Found a delightful hostel – the Pioneer Backpackers Inn – on the edge of the equally pleasant, and rather stylish, Cow Bay part of town. Actually, I’d fellow cyclist Amelia to thank for recommending the spot to me, and a bit of a steer towards the nearby Cowpaccino coffee bar. Reminded me a little of Parisian cafes in the summer of 1940. Swarming with Germans.

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And there’d been a helpful dentist. Even a decent supermarket and a chance for proper food – fresh vegetables and fish rather than the inevitable on-road packet rubbish staple. Despite suggestions to the contrary, the prices seeming pretty reasonable. Fair. Well, cheaper than Australia. But where isn’t?

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Marty and Pat

October 8th, 2011

Marty and Pat

Our third encounter. Just as I was about to enter a supermarket in Prince Rupert, they emerging. I’d originally met them back on the Haines Road, in Canada’s Yukon Province, a week or so back. Their large RV – recreational vehicle – parked in a small lay-by. I’d pulled in for a short break, conscious I’d still a fair way to go to make my ferry the next day.

There’d been a brief exchange of pleasantries. Marty and Pat. They had a daughter living in Guildford. And they’d lived in England themselves for a while. But no let up in the rain, so I’d headed off before I got too cold, and they took shelter in their RV. Also heading for Haines, but told there was no space left on the ferry south.

Next day onboard the M/V Matanuska I’d been caught by surprise. "Was I the cyclist we’d met?" asked Marty, for by now I’d showered and changed into more orthodox clothing. "Yes" I replied, adding I always sought to scrub up and use deodorant when amongst people. And, despite advice to the contrary, they’d managed to secure a place on the ferry. Heading south to spend a few days around the small port of Wrangell.

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