Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Games children play

October 13th, 2011

The boys, Karen had explained back in Terrace, would amuse themselves on the family cycle expedition along Vancouver Island by seeing what they could spot discarded on the shoulder or in the ditches beside the highway. Lots of nails. I wondered if they’d also noticed the shredded tyres, sharp wire strands that had cost me two punctures back in Australia.

I’d my own games to play. Waving to trucks my favourite. The tooting game. First wave, arm outstretched, as the lorry approaches, a good few hundred yards behind. Let him know I’ve seen him in my mirror. Then, as he passes, another flourish of the hand, proportionate to the space I’m given. A thank-you. Waiting to see if an uplifting honk or two on the horn will follow.

Others are observational. Couples in recreational vehicles. Often striking differences in body language between driver and passenger. Left thinking Not tonight Josephine…

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Late in the day

October 12th, 2011

Late in the day from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken stops for a short break towards the end of a cold, wet and miserable day. Still following the Skeena river, as he’s done for over a hundred miles.

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Living up to its name

October 12th, 2011

The Skeena river wasn’t one to disappoint. For, continuing my journey along its banks inland beyond the town of Terrace towards the small settlement of Kitwanga, it was truly the river of mists. Cold, wet and miserable day.

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Just a decent, nourishing packed lunch and a flask of hot coffee to keep morale up. Both carefully eked out to sustain myself over the six five miles or so along the highway.

There’d been interludes. A few walkers on the far bank. Wondering how they had crossed, for I’d not seen a bridge for ages. A train. Much shorter than the earlier ones. A large bird on the far bank. A bald eagle perhaps. But otherwise, pushing along the highway, trying my best to settle into a rhythm as the traffic flew past, fine spray coating my glasses.

Whilst my general direct was east towards the large regional centre of Prince George, I’d mountains to negotiate, necessitating a day running north east, before heading south east for a few days.

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Evening mists

October 12th, 2011

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Wispy clouds about the Skeena river, between Terrace and Kitwanga in Canada’s British Columbia Province. Early evening.

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Not so jovial

October 12th, 2011

Not so jovial from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

It’s not always Swallows and Amazons on the road, explains Ken. A particularly wet, cold and miserable day. Just a decent packed lunch and a flask of coffee, carefully eked out, to bolster ebbing morale.

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Teeming with salmon

October 12th, 2011

Teeming with salmon from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Take one river, a tributary of the Skeena river, teeming with Salmon. But still no bears, even if there’s evidence of their presence. Pretty clever critters. Seems they can fashion picnic tables. Even mould plastics…

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Bear reminders

October 11th, 2011

Bear reminders from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Never mind beaver fever – guardia – Ken fears he may have a dose of bearitus – seeing signs of the cuddle critters at every turn. Good job he’d actually spotted a black bear cub the previous day…

[Editors adds: Bearitus – not to be confused with beargryllysitus, an entirely different condition requiring frequent hospitalisation in the local Five Star Hotel. Helps a bit if you’ve got a film crew in tow…]

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Back in Terrace

October 11th, 2011

Back in Terrace from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

After an overnight stop with a family "off the beaten track". Ken returns to the outskirts of Terrace, in Canada’s British Columbia, to rejoin the highway east. Start of a damp day.

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Packed off

October 11th, 2011

School for the boys started the next day. But I’d already got a packed lunch. Fresh chicken sandwiches, banana cake with chocolate chips and a flask of hot coffee. Essential stuff, as much for morale as sustaining turning the pedals. Steady rain and around sixty five miles to cover to reach my next stop at Kitwanga. Not entirely sure what I’d find when I get there.

Travis had returned home a little earlier from his night shift at the local hospital. Karen had made fresh waffles for breakfast. Good sustenance, especially when drizzled with homemade strawberry puree. Chance to chat a little more before I set off, considering it most rude to arrive late and depart early. I’d done neither.

When it came to hitting the road, Travis had already retired, but the boys were eager to wave me off. They’d been on a bike tour with their parents a few months earlier, month or so away, so had a pretty shrewd idea what would lie ahead.

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Family outing

October 11th, 2011

Family outing from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Travis and Karen, Ken’s hosts in Terrace, British Columbia, recount tales of a family outing to Vancouver Island. On bicycles. With three – not five as Ken mistakenly mentions in the clip – young and energetic boys.

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