Across Continents

Ken's Blog

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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Larger than Life

October 3rd, 2011

Yukon-BCborder

On the border between Canada’s Yukon and British Columbia Provinces.

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British Columbia beckons – leaving the Yukon

October 3rd, 2011

British Columbia beckons – leaving the Yukon from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken crosses into British Columbia. First impressions, of the weather at least, aren’t good… And there’s still quite a way to go to reach the ferry south.

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Haines Road

October 3rd, 2011

I’d planned to take the ferry south from Skagway. Why, Rick had asked whilst I’d being staying in his cabin near Haines Junction? Haines was closer, and the next port of call for the ship. And I was a bit pressed for time. So I’d decided to take the Haines Road due south and ride for Haines. About one hundred and fifty miles. Day and a half to get there.

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A steady climb out of Haines Junction. Flatter sections around Kathleen Lake, past Klukshu First Nation village. And then lengthy uphills, insidious rather than steep, past Million Dollars Falls. Over the southern boundary of the Yukon into Canada’s British Columbia Province.

HainesRoad (3)

Next the Chilkat Pass, highest point on the road at over three and a half thousand feet, on beyond the Three Guardsmen mastiff, its tallest peak more than six thousand feet. Then the descent to the US border and a return to Alaska. Fifty or so miles into Haines, a further five to the ferry terminal.

The plan was simplicity itself. Push as far as I could on the first day, as close to the US border as possible. Wild camp before I lost the light. Rise early. Into Alaska, find the roadhouse I’d been told about and refuel with a decent breakfast. Then press on to the ferry.

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Parting company

October 2nd, 2011

A chance meeting at a roadhouse had led to a week or so of riding together through the final stages of Alaska, and down into Canada’s Yukon Province. Some great shared experiences for Mike and I. Both the better for it. But now time to part company.

He was heading east for Minnesota whilst I was turning south, back into Alaska and the sea port of Haines, picking up the ferry down to Prince Rupert, in Canada’s British Columbia.

There’d been a final hearty breakfast in a cafe in Haines Junction. I joked he’d never look at a mini-donut in quite the same way again. If only I’d found a way to capture the consequences of devouring them, I’d have had a self-perpetuating stove.

Rations replenished in the town’s only store, we shook hands, promised to keep in touch, wished each other safe travels, and went our separate ways.

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Haines Junction…the movie

October 2nd, 2011

Haines Junction from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken takes a brief look around the small town of Haines Junction in Canada’s Yukon Province.

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Yukon Man

October 2nd, 2011

We’d needed a rest day, however impromptu. Chance to dry out wet tents and damp kit. And have a shave. My feeble attempts at growing a beard were no more. Actually, it resembled little more than a few days stubble, but was still uncomfortable to remove with a razor. I’m sure it would have blossomed, but I’d decided the Yukon look probably wasn’t quite me. It had to go.

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In the past there’d been strict rules for this sort of thing. No beards. And always making a point of never dating a woman with one. Just like poor lip-synching, I find it a bit off-putting. Under-arm hair I can live with. Quite like the French.

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Rush hour on the Alcan

October 2nd, 2011

Rush hour on the Alcan from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken describes the Alaska-Canada Highway – the Alcan – filmed during one of its busier moments

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Dodgy waters

October 2nd, 2011

Dodgy waters from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Mike recounts the events of the previous epic day…

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Cabin fever – time for a tale

October 2nd, 2011

Cabin fever – time for a tale from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken discovers Rick’s cabin is closer to Bear Creek than Haines Junction. But close enough. And then time for Mike to shed some light on the ending to the previous day…

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