Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Roadhouse breakfast

October 5th, 2011


There are several reasons to stop at the Thirty Three Mile Roadhouse, a short distance along the Haines Road over the US border in Alaska. Their magnifient breakfasts are one. The other is Gabriela. Warm smile. Greeted me enthusiastically as I wandered into the small cafe.


An elderly chap sat in the corner. Baseball cap, tinted glasses. Couple of bikers, in their sixties, their heavy leathers showing little signs of wear. I took a window seat, contemplating the menu and sipping the hot coffee I’d been given. Which, I enquired, was the largest option? Explaining I’d not had an evening meal the previous day, and had already covered thirty or so miles by nine. I was hungry.

Order placed, I contemplated the road ahead. Thirty three miles to Haines. But then, I discovered from a road sign a little way back, a further five to the ferry port. Thirty eight. Average ten miles an hour if no headwind. Should be fairly flat. Call it four hours. Check in by two. Just after nine now. Needed to be back on the road before ten. Then focused riding.

33MileRoadhouse (2)

Breakfast arrived. Hot cakes, bacon, mini-burgers, eggs, toast, hash browns. More coffee. And, yes, Gabriela explained, she could fill my flask for later. Did I want more to eat? I hesitated briefly. Extra toast would be good. Once underway they’d be no time for stopping if I was to make the sailing.

The day had at least started better than the previous had ended. Still a bit mystified as to who the men in the pick-ups were that had come close to stumbling on my camp. They’d not returned, or at least if they had, I’d not heard them. An innocent episode, or, so close to the border, a small fragment in a wider intelligence jigsaw? But I’d not been able to get the plates, even less a description of the individuals.


I’d risen at dawn, struck camp and headed for the border. Soon rising out of the thick mist. Discovering I’d spent the night a little short of a decent sized lake beneath the Three Guardsmen mastiff. A few brief climbs but mostly long, sweeping downhills. Soon back below the treeline.

Reassured by Canadian Customs that there was no requirement for an exit stamp in my passport, a further quarter of a mile to the US border post. Greeted by a friendly guard. Purpose of my visit he asked? Sat astride my trusty steed, I explained I was cycling around the world, North America my fourth continent. Cursory check of my documents and I was on my way. Time to find breakfast.



Thirty three mile roadhouse

October 5th, 2011

Thirty three mile roadhouse from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken finally crosses back into Alaska from Canadian British Columbia. His first stop a monster breakfast at the Thirty three mile roadhouse…



Pie A la Mode

September 24th, 2011

Chickaloon. Another small roadhouse. Open expanse of windswept gravel outside. Inside a bar to the left. A sign said "If assholes could fly this place would be an airport". One customer. A rotund man, white beard, Stetson and braces. I went to the right. Small cafe.

I grabbed a self-service coffee. Couple of dollars. The cinnamon rolls looked tempting, as did the Pie A la Mode, but pricey. A middle-aged couple, early fifties, were sat by the window. Italian perhaps. Tourists definitely.

A lady appeared from out the back. She’d passed me earlier she said. Had I waved, I asked hopefully? Yes. Could she see my posterior? Slightly taken aback, I agreed. Some padding, I admitted with a smile.

Grateful of a rest from the saddle, I was intrigued by the eclectic nature of the cafe. Welsh dresser in the corner, strip of replica posters, National Parks mostly, pasted around the walls where a picture rail might have been. Stainless steel bar stools in on corner. Comfy padded benches.



Roadhouse blues

May 19th, 2011

Seems I’d just missed them. Few days. Weeks perhaps. Dozen or so Kiwi cyclists. Women. Riding north. Camping overnight beside the roadhouse. Striping off their sodden kit beneath the water tank’s tap. Manager’s husband concerned for their welfare. Worried they were undernourished. Checking on them. Frequently.


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