Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Island pleasures

November 25th, 2011

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Alcatraz Island, viewed from Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco

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Hans and Vicky

November 25th, 2011

Said they’d half expected to follow a trail of miscreants hanging from trees as they’d approached San Francisco. Jokingly of course. I’d reached the city a few days ahead of them and we’d got together for coffee in Fishermans Wharf, close to my hostel. We’d originally met at Myers Flat in northern California. A brief encounter. Neil was Irish but I’d mistaken his accent for German, partner Vicky quick to christen him Hans. It stuck. Despite my copious apologies.

We’d met again a few days later further south at a State Park campground. Cooking dinner together, we’d watched first the camp host attempt to evict a family pitched unlawfully in the hiker-biker site. And then the State Parks Police. Might have shared a little of my robust take on thieves and other miscreants, especially those who believe that the rules don’t apply. Firm believer you should never reward stupidity.

Hans had previously ridden from New Zealand, through China and Central Asia, back to Ireland. We chatted about some of the places we’d both visited. Urumqi. Bishkek. Almaty. Agreeing the world was now a much smaller place. Vicky listened attentively. She was from Cornwall, this her first long-haul tour. Steady riding. Contemplating where they might go next. Perhaps Yosemite National Park, but concerned about closed roads and snowfall.

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Sixth street

November 25th, 2011

Sixth Street. San Francisco. Shortcut to a local Outdoor Pursuits store. On the map at least. Late afternoon. At one end the local Sheriffs Department, vehicles parked up outside fitted with very visible immobilisers. Next door the Public Defenders Office. Probably not the place to be, but I was reluctant to make a lengthy detour.

Liquor stores, cashiers shielded from customers by heavy glass. A few charity offices offering advice to the unfortunate. Hotels. Of sorts. Nothing more than a doorway. A woman shuffled out of one. Much younger than her ravaged appearance. Her eyes glazed and pitiful. Further down the street a man sat on the pavement. Asked the time as I strode past. I ignored him. I had a watch. And wanted to keep it.

Small groups of men dotted about, their ages varied, bonded by substance abuse. A couple of women sharing the spoils of a purse stolen. No sign of the victim but then this was definitely the wrong part of town.

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Golden brown

November 24th, 2011

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San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. More rusty red?

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First glimpse of San Francisco

November 24th, 2011

Ken catches his first glimpse of San Francisco

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Toilet humour

November 24th, 2011

Ken stops for a short break on his way into San Francisco… Not normally one to camp around toilets…

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Unplanned stop

November 23rd, 2011

Ken is forced to make an unplanned stop on his way into San Francisco..

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Heading for the Redwoods

November 15th, 2011

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South of Bandon I’d stopped at the Greasy Spoon cafe. But opting for the salad. And a chance to reassess my timeline into San Francisco, my next stop after Seattle. Roughly a thousand miles between the two.

I’d a couple of days to catch up if I was to make my planned entry into San Francisco. Had a private room booked for a few nights in a hostel there, chance to securely sort out all my kit, before decanting to a cheaper dorm bed. Knew I’d not be able to shift this right as they were already fully booked.

But I also wanted time to stop and chat to people, to record my travels. Especially the giant Coast Redwood trees – sequoia sempervirens – trees along the southernmost Oregon coast and into northern California. Big blighters that can live for a couple of millennia.

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Mum’s the (final) word

November 1st, 2011

radio

Courtesy of friends at my local community radio station in Somerset, England – www.10radio.org – you can catch up with my regular monthly on-air chats with good friend and neighbour Jon.

In this latest episode Ken talks about his travels through Canada’s British Columbia Province, dental dramas and a chance to ride with an old school friend. But the final word goes to his Mum…. Click on the link below to download the interview.

Download MP3

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Escaping from Alcatraz

October 31st, 2011

Escaping from Alcatraz from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Always a bit ahead of the blog – in this case a thousand miles or so south of Seattle, down in San Francisco – Ken takes a short break from repairing his rabbit ravaged netbook and visits… Alcatraz Island.

Incidentally, Lancastrian Ken generally prefers to avoid tourist traps, but did find a visit to the island well worth the effort. Which translates as about US$26, the freedom to wander around at your leisure, an excellent audio tour, and the queuing to board the ferry tolerable… even if surrounded by garlic-munching surrender monkeys… And nobody asked him if he was Australian…

[Parental advisory: Video contains explicit references to Yorkshire]

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