Across Continents

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Deadman’s Lake

September 28th, 2011

DeadmansLakecamp (5)

Sunset over Deadman’s Lake. South of Tok, eastern Alaska.

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Towards the Canadian border

September 28th, 2011

Towards the Canadian border from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Mike and Ken enjoy a short break south of the small Alaskan town of Tok, heading for the Canadian border.

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Leaving Tok

September 28th, 2011

Leaving Tok from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Mike and Ken prepare to leave the small town of Tok, bound for the Canadian border some ninety three miles away. Expecting to cross the next day.

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Three bears gruff

September 28th, 2011

Tok (2)

Something was wrong. Mike had his sizeable canister of bear spray resting on his handlebar bag. A young man sat on a large concrete block against which I’d leant my bicycle. I nodded to him as I approached. No response. Harmless perhaps, drawn to the our steads by innocent curiosity. Or other motives, an opportunist thief? There’d been nobody close by when I’d left Mike to look after the kit whilst I went to buy rations inside the supermarket.

Whatever the individual’s actual intentions, the presence of spray spoke loudly for Mike’s instincts. I trusted them, but didn’t want to inadvertently inflame the situation, choosing to firmly recount a tale illustrative of my willingness to take robust and ruthless action with miscreants. An indirect warning. Carefully chosen words. Emphasizing that if I were to draw my canister from its holster, the decision to deploy it has already been made. No hesitation.

Rations stowed, Mike and I headed off. The young man remaining motionless on top of the concrete block. Out of earshot, Mike explained what’d happened. Three men had started to drift towards him, stopping each time he’d looked up at them. Each resuming their steady if slow advance when he’d his back to them. Yes, I explained, there had been three men, one fairly young, the others a bit older, when I’d been guarding the bikes. But there’d been on the far side of the supermarket, sat on a bench, appearing innocent enough. Dismissed them as mostly harmless.

But, I suggested, the situation had obviously changed whilst I was inside stocking up. Reassured Mike it was always best to go with instincts. If something feels wrong, rather than just confused or uncertain, it usually is. Adding I’d learnt this the hard way. He’d guessed I’d realised things were amiss when I’d started to recount my little tale. Did I mean it? Yes, I said, with a grin.

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Short stop in Tok

September 28th, 2011

Short stop in Tok from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Mike and Ken make a short stop in Tok – pronounced Toke – to stock up on rations before the run south east into Canada. Ken also laments the absence of Goldilocks. Very sad individual.

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Sourdough pancakes

September 28th, 2011

A middle aged man at the back had been gently chastised for rolling up his Sourdough pancakes. Not the done thing. A few couples had drifted in, a little after eight, some with their own cherished bottles of maple syrup. I’d been drawn into the campground’s small cafe by the offer of an "All-you-can-eat" breakfast for ten bucks.

I’d waited a while for Mike to join me but he’d eventually decided to settle for his own porridge. I’d found the cafe’s warmth welcoming, the coffee aroma irresistible. Chance to fill the flask for us both. And tuck into biscuits – somewhere between bread rolls and scones – and gravy, reindeer sausage.

But their claimed piece-de-resistance were homemade Sourdough pancakes. Made from a starter – some sort of yeast affair as far as I could ascertain – first made in the forties. Nice enough I thought but no discernable hint of its purported pedigree. Seem wise to keep quiet.

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Sourdough campsite

September 28th, 2011

Sourdough campsite from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Ken introduces camping in Alaska, together with a few thoughts on those ever elusive bears. At Sourdough camp ground, on the edge of the small town of Tok, south eastern Alaska.

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Towards Tok

September 27th, 2011

The previous night we’d been told of a couple of Spanish riders who’d not left Midway Service until gone two in the afternoon. We’d laughed. Only to find ourselves chatting with Jay and Debbie until a little after one. Comforting ourselves with the knowledge we’d at least left before the Spaniards. Just.

Short climb and brief squall. But then mostly downhill towards the small town of Tok. Mike and I had planned to stop for just a coffee at a roadhouse twenty or so miles beyond Midway. Only to find ourselves feeling surprisingly hungry, realising it was by now close on four in the afternoon. Tempted by the club sandwiches. Filling but not too heavy to ride with.

Swift progress towards to the Sourdough campground on the outskirts of Tok. Helped by quiet roads and no headwind, the last twelve miles covered at around sixteen miles per hour. Mike and I in firm agreement. Good team effort, our respective best day in a while. Boded well for our time riding together.

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Moose loose

September 27th, 2011

Moose loose from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

At last, some wild wildlife. Well, a moose. In the distance..

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Later in the day

September 27th, 2011

Later in the day from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Another brief road side stop en route to the small town of Tok. But still no signs of bears or moose. Cue next clip…

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