Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Two years on…

September 2nd, 2011

Ken with map - medium

Two whole years on the road. Across Europe, northern Turkey, Central Asia, China to Hong Kong. Down Australia’s entire east coast to Melbourne. Three continents. Bit ahead of the blog, in the midst of my fourth and most challenging. North America. Already ridden through Alaska, the Yukon and presently heading south towards Seattle through British Columbia.

Approaching the Azerbaijan border

There’s been a few dramas. Detention by border guards. Bouts of illness. Loneliness. Oppressive heat and humidity. Bitter cold. The odd cyclone, flooding, even a couple of minor earthquakes. And coming up in North America? The search for Grizzlies. Wild camping in bear country. The odd crippling dental abscess. Glaciers. Tough mountain passes. Night spent in an old bus. And a genuine French crêperie in Canada’s remote Yukon Province…

In China!

So, if you’ve enjoyed the story so far – all absolutely true of course, as faithful an account of life on the road as I can make it – please do think about making a donation to The Outward Bound Trust – just click on the Donate tab to do so safely and securely. Help yours truly and Emma, my trusty steed, mark two years on the road in suitable style!

ThreeGuardsmancamp (1)



Another winner..

August 28th, 2011


And the winner is…. Mike Harcup. Soon to be the proud owner of Wallace the Wallaby after leaving the wittiest comment with his donation to The Outward Bound Trust:

"Wallace says that after Skippy saw the Doctor the advice was that Skippy could go blind due to his habit so I had to buy him a pair of boxing gloves"

Mike’s a regular correspondent and, thanks to his sharp wit and eye for detail, a frequent contributor, albeit indirectly, to the website. And I have to confess his comment had me thinking. Can’t really ride with boxing gloves on so best I stop picking my nose…. And you were thinking of Captain Pugwash…



Lonely hearts

August 11th, 2011


"Cuddly wallaby seeks new home. GSOH. NS. Domestically trained."

Wallace the Wallaby is feeling a bit unloved. Just one donation with a witty comment. Bit over my head – something to do with Skippy being obliged to wear boxing gloves. Presumably prevent him picking his nose – perhaps I’m being a bit naive, but I blame my years in the Girl Guides… Actually, I used to live at a Girls School. No, really, I did! North Hertfordshire.

So, please do consider a donation to The Outward Bound Trust and with it, a suitably witty comment. Click here for more details. Closing date for entries 22 August 2011.

[With thanks to Mike, great source of dry wit that never ceases to amuse me. Suspect he’s a secret contributor to Private Eye magazine. And hugely knowledgeable ornithologist]



For a good cause

August 7th, 2011

Don’t think I’m giving too much away if I say my Dad really likes visiting the US. Might sometimes have teased him that other countries are available. But I’m beginning to get it, to see the attraction. At least in Alaska, for, as ever a bit ahead of my blog, that’s where I now am. Remarkably friendly people. And very generous, in so many ways. The full story will start to unfold in a little while, once tales from Australia are complete.

Been in Alaska for a little over a week, and already received a substantial donation, entirely unsolicited, for The Outward Bound Trust. A gift from friends – and I do mean that rather than simply acquaintances – at the Bent Prop Inn Hostel in Anchorage. Had me speechless, albeit briefly.

Avid followers of the blog may remember I’ve been carrying two mascots along the entire east coast of Australia. Wallace the Wallaby and Skippy the Kangaroo. They’re now on their way back to Blighty, destined for good homes. Skippy off to live with Mandy Bool, as she kindly made the largest donation during my travels in Australia. And that wasn’t her first.


Wallace, however, may be obliged to sell The Big Issue for a while, until such time as someone makes a donation – no matter how big or small – with a suitably witty comment. For full details click here. So, please dig deep and help The Outward Bound Trust continue it’s great work with young people. In the meantime, I’m off to sketch out some Sarah Palin jokes…



Message from the Management

May 22nd, 2011


You may have noticed a little humour creeping into the blog. Or at least, stuff that amuses me. Persevere. Like those annoying garden weeds, good chance the cold will kill it off. Soon. Starting to get nippy here. But, until then, some insight into what tickles my proverbials. What sort of one-liner might secure Wallace the Wallaby for you when I complete the Australian leg. Give it a go. Get donating – click here to find out more.



Looking back..

September 1st, 2010


“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams” – John Barrymore

Sailing past the vast wind farms south of Urumqi had put me into a reflective mood. A quarter of a century ago, an expanse of time I find difficult to conceive of, I was in the final throes of The Outward Bound Trust’s flagship three week “Standard” course at their Eskdale centre in the English Lake District.

The timing was perfect. In the intervening years life I don’t think I’ve shied away from challenges, grasping opportunities to improve myself. And yet nothing has ever come close to influencing the path I’ve taken as much as the course. Inward learning in the great outdoors. Doubt I’ve ever discovered so much about myself in such a relatively short space of time.

Sometimes wonder what I’d have made of it if, twenty five years ago, someone had said to me that one day I’d be cycling around the world to raise funds for the Trust. Not sure. But I am quite certain I’d not be spending tonight above a petrol station somewhere in Western China if it hadn’t been for those three weeks back in 1985. Course E341.

[The Outward Bound Trust relies on charitable donations to help young people, from a wide variety of backgrounds, to have the opportunity for similar life influencing experiences. Please consider making a donation to help with their work – simply click here to find out how to do so securely]

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