Summer trip 2016 – Stockholm to Bergen Day Seven – Toten to the mountains

The first taste of mountain hills!

A full day without biking was nice, felt a lot better, even if my feet still hurt, but I stocked up on support bandages and tape during the rest, so hopefully it’ll be ok.
We got up around 07.00am, ate and got ready to leave, snapped a picture of us with my grandmother before we left to.


Departure day from my Grandmother, emotions were visible on the poor old lady! <3

The road we planned was some smaller road, with a gravel stretch before getting back on the asphalt and head towards the small town of Fall, by the Randsfjord, the road we actually checked out when my uncle drove us back and forth between the city and my grandmother, so no surprises there!


The “locals” where hanging around the crossing where the first gravel stretch met the old main road, these young bulls/cow things were so curious and tough from a distance, but two steps closer and they got nervous, sheep are sheep, they ran like, well sheep, poop spreading behind them like no tomorrow!

We had a short stop in Fall, just to drink and use the toilets at the store and what not before we went on with the trip, the weather was pretty ok so far to, and the roads from here to Dokka was pretty flat and fairly nice looking, with the lake and the mountains in the distance.


Randsfjorden with the mountains in the distance, and some church we passed by on the way to Dokka.


Gravel road after the church, nice views and all, stopped to have some sweet rolls and a drink.

 

We got to Dokka around noon, so it was time for a lunch, stopped pretty much at the first and best place we found, called Pit-stop or something, for pizza and Burger I think, something like that at least.
We also checked the maps a little and had our destination planned, somewhere close to Gol.

From here on we would pass what my Grandmother warned us about before, the Tonsåshill, and boy was that a long one for us, but even so, it didn’t feel that bad, or maybe I just remember wrong!
We did get to see a  monument on the way to, Flag Mountain and well, I could not find much info about it but: “Oldest Norwegian Mountain flag in Valdres, painted in 1897.”


The flag mountain, in all it’s glory (you really have to zoom to see it….


We went up, up, up, up the Tonsås Hill, and then it went down, down down towards Aurdal.

We had a longer stop in Aurdal, trying to figure out what to do, where to go, and if we needed to get food for the night here or later.


Our proud workhorses enjoying the evening sun in Aurdal, outside a food store.
What we figured out was that we would aim for Tisleidalen, and see how we felt there, that was about 20ish km away, but we were tired as it was, and it was uphill all the way there, and gravel, and getting late, and cold.
After shopping, eating, toilet and filling of bottles we headed out for the last leg, and got to camp a little later.

This night we had a few beers, I think it was two each, might have been one, and made food before sleeping in the +7° warm mountain air.
Unfortunately I don’t think there are any pictures after Aurdal this day, so this is it for now.

Summer trip 2016 – Stockholm to Bergen Day Four, Five and Six – Border crossing day, road to my granny, rest day.

A long day of small roads and the boarder on the horizon.

We started the morning fairly well rested after sleeping in a cabin, clothes were dry and the weather was looking promising, even with the clouds on display.
We mapped out a road to Likenäs and then up Sysselbäck to Medskogen and over to Norway, with the aim to get a decent camp spot for a shortish trip to my grandmother for a rest day.

Day 4. Going to Norway!

All right, lets get started, we got going around seven, early but we did all the packing last night so it was lock and load.
Started nice and slow on the small country roads out of Malung, some light rains on and off but nothing bad, one puncture for Hannu to fix.
The plan was to follow a road over a “hilly” area to Likenäs, we got told by a old gentleman on the way that we were in luck, there would be more asphalt than we feared, so we started the uphill and enjoyed the slow pace to start.


The road to LIkenäs gave some nice views, including the river/stream under this wooden bridge.
On the way down on the gravel part I lost two 1.5 water bottles that was under my net, didn’t notice it before we stopped for this picture, fun times.

The gravel road ended fairly quick and we got our first insane downhill of the trip, from the top here down to Likenäs was a unfortunately un-smooth asphalt road with some nice corners to ride down, like madmen, until the bikes started bouncing a wee bit to much..


The Iron cross resting close to the food store and some random older house in Likenäs.

After food we started biking up towards Sysselbäck, fairly nice roads and all, a little rain on the way, but nothing major.


Some nice and dramatic clouds biking from Likenäs to Sysselbäck and some strange Swedes on a raft with a tent, waving at us.

We actually made a quick stop in Sysselbäck, even if it was not a far ride, there was a chocolate maker there, with home made gelato to, so I mean, come on!
The place was called Naturpalinen and was worth a stop in it self!

Not going to write a whole lot for the rest of the road to the border, it was nice, we had a really big hill, we enjoyed that, just check out Hannu bellow…


 Hannu with his “I just did a really big hill face” posing for a selfie, this was after Sysselbäck towards Medskogen.

We didnt have much problems getting to Medskogen, stopped for food again at the ICA there and rested before starting a rather nice downhill sections to the border


Getting close to the border, and the nice downhill towards it!


Border Selfie, kinda obvious I guess.

From the border we went on the roads towards Norway, getting more and more hills, I also developed some kind of pain in my achilles, both of them to be exact, not sure what happend but they felt sore and painfull.

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First uphill after the border maybe? and google maps suggestion for a Norwegian bike road (sand to gravel to pavement again)


Chilling on the balcony at the cabin outside Flisa, by the river Glomma

Day 5, The day we go to my granny!

Day five got split up due to my achilles acting up, generaly tiredness and other random excuses.

We got up a little late again, I think we were packed and ready to leave about nine, managed to deliver the key and get the deposit back for the cabin, so thats a bonus I guess, it was raining in the morning, and the weather was slightly chilly.
Already in the morning we decided to bike to Hamar and take the train to Moelv, to skip a boring part and try to give my achilles some more rest.


 Leaving from the camp and crossing the Glomma river, heading towards Hamar.

The road to Hamar was ok, nothing really exciting, but cant always be exciting can it?
There was a short stop for snacks and a leg rest in Löten, but that was it I think.
We navigated ourselves to XXL, a sports good store in Scandinavia, to get some warmer clothes for the mountains, I got some legwarmers and shoe covers, and a couple of energy gels just in case.
Afterwards we stopped by the Viking ship sports arena, where they had some of the olympic events during the Lillehammer games in 1994, a quick photo later we biked to the train station.


The Viking ship in all it’s glory or something and the Hamar trainstation.


Choo choo, we are on a train to Moelv, thanks NSB for doing what the w¤%& at SL cant do, accept bikes on the trains….

The train ride was like 17 minutes (35km of biking saved), and we got of really close to the bridge over Mjösa, so we got to bike the 1,5km of bridge over to the other side, and have a slightly boring road with lots of trafik in to Gjövik where the goal was to eat at Peppes Pizza, my favorit Norwegian pizza place, we also got to say hi to my mom’s cousin!


The Mjösa bridge from a far, picture taking from the docks where Skibladner goes from, and up close, with my backside for scale.


Peppes pizza, I always have the Heavy heaven, with garlic sauce on the side, Hannu had some green thing.

After food we started our last twenty something kilometers of biking to our rest day stop, my lovely grandmothers place. since we are now in a city the road to our stop is mostly suburbs, villas and industry so nothing realy to write home about, but we did stop by some rapids/waterfall by something I can only asume was a old powerplant at some point.


The waterfalls in Gjövik, and a special place in my childhood, my grandparents old home, were I spent countless summers when I was young, the new owners has done some interesting additions that I dont care about, but it’s still Bergholm and I remeber it like it used to be.


Bestemor! (Grandmom in Norwegian) this lovely woman took care of us for the day and the next, food and drink and laundry secured, and comfortable beds.

We spent the evening making food and catching up, told my granny about the trip so far, and the plans for the rest, made food (I got my favorit food, Norwegian meatballs) and everything that is needed with it.

Day 6 rest day sumary.

Well, not much to say about a rest day on a bike trip, we did not bike one centimeter this day, but we walked a little and my uncle came and picked us up so we could go to a bath and swim around, have a little sauna and generally just chill, also got some guiding on our route to the mountains, had some other family members come and visit and do laundry.

 

Summer trip 2016 – Stockholm to Bergen Day Two and Three

Lets continue from where we left, in Brattheden.

Things I didnt write about was the people we met at the bathing spot, several of them recommended we go to see the aftermath of a big forest fire a couple of years ago, so we decided on a detour to see that. before heading up towards Malung.

Day two, Brattheden to Fänforsen

Morning started around seven, with some breakfast (apples I think it was) and packing of the camp, after checking the map one last time we headed north and up towards the forest fire site (we decided to head to Stabäck.
On the way we did stop shortly to fill some water bottles and check out the view of some old industry building on a island, turns out it was a oil refinery, and the Island was called “Oil Island


The lake and the oil refinery, nice scenary and still prety good weather..

While Hannu took these pictures I stopped at a small family run Antiquity store, called Ängelsbergs brukshandel, to fill waterbottles, I also ended up buying a dala horse and a table cloth to bring to my grandmother!


The forest fire area, it’s hard to show how big the area was, but the link in the start of this post show’s the wikipedia article about it.

After a brief uphill to see the forest, we turned back and headed towards Fagersta.
We didnt get that far before we stopped for some more sightseeing, this time we found some old steel mill (I think)


The main building of the steel mill, Ängelbergs Bruk


There where tons of frogs around there, probably from the small stream and high grass and all, and the must have picture of bikes leaning against one of the buildings!

Onwards again, towards Fagersta, Ludvika and our end destination for the day, Fänforsen.
The good weather we had was comming to an end it seems, we started on some fairly, I hate to say dull, but it was kind of dull roads up towards Ludvika, and to top it off we got some nasty rain showers, completly drenching us and even forcing us to have a stop in a bus shed.


Said bus stop where we stopped to get out of the rain, I had another Apple, also the clothes I had to try on the top of my tent under the bungeecord net got kinda wetter instead of dry 🙁

After a 20 minut wait the rain seemed to stop, so we started the journey again, only to get more rain after 10 minutes, this time we stopped by a school, put on something more suited for the rain, and went all the way to Ludvika for lunch (Pizza of course), thankfully the rain stopped again and we had decent weather for some time.

The bike road from Ludvika started with some amazing bike roads, there is aparently a paved road going (atleast it seemed so to us) around the lake, according to Wikipedia it’s some old railroad converted to bike path, but we also saw some people with the handcarts on rails in the area (atleast I think we saw them there, might have been that we saw them elsewhere, but I never took notes as we were on the bikes).


The bike road we followed was fairly smooth, and went through a nice forest area with plenty of lake views, thankfully the rain we saw seemed to be somewhere else than where we were going!

We followed this bike path for about 15km or so before we got on to the car road again, all the way up to Fänforsen, there was nothing really exciting to see or talk about on this road, but it went fairly smooth and without trouble so that was pretty nice.

Camp time, in Fänforsen!
The day might have started early but it got fairly “late” before we reached the stop we set out for during the day, I think it was around eight in the evening, thankfullt the Fänforsen resturant was still open so we could fill waterbottles, have a couple of beers and relax somwehere dry before setting up camp.
While setting up camp the weather took a turn for the worse and we got a thunderstorm, complete with rain and some nice wind, thankfully the spot we set up camp had some nice trees to set up our tarps, tents and hammock, there was also a scene in the park with a roof over, with some nice benches and a table so we could cook and eat with some shelter from the weather.
Worth mentioning that while cooking we got company from some motorcyclist going to Falun, so they joined us for an hour or so while they waited for the lightning to stop.


The campsite set up with tarps over the hammoch and our gear, you can see the stage in the back where we had our supper before the night.

And that it seems, was day two done, day three starts soon and as we get closer and closer to the border!

Day three, late start, some more rain and a day of shorter biking

We woke up a little later, or maybe slower, I think it was still around seven am, but packing camp felt slow, the tarp kept most of the rain of the gear and all, but the tent needed a whipe down, and I noticed that my brooks saddle cover was not 100% water proof so the sides of my flyer was now soft and soggy, the weather was thankfully looking better again so I left it in the sun to dry as much as possible before I started to pack, ended up putting a strap around it to keep it from bending, hoping like hell I would not end up with a sagging saddle for the trip, spoiler alert, it went fine!.

The view in the morning was pretty good and Hannu got some more good photos of the river.


The view on the other side of the camp in the morning of day 3, with the calm river turning in to rapids.

Around 0930 we were ready to leave and started biking towards Vansbro for lunch, didnt take to long before the weather goods decided to show us what they could do, but at this point there was nothing todo but keep biking, most of the clothes were still a little moist from yesterday anyway.


The rain hit hard, and with my soggy saddle we thought it better to stop in another bus shed, for awhile we tought about taking a “detour” to Dala-Järna, but we decided to just man up, put on rainjackets and go to Vansbro

We got to Vansbro around lunch and once again had pizza, the weather was nice again so we had a chance to atleast feel like we dried up a little, we also spent some of the time checking where to go, or more where to stop.
In the end we decided to take a small road towards Malung and stop at the camping spot there, there seemed to be a nice small town with some options to shop, I was considering a second pair of shoes, since my mesh summer shoes was in a constant state of wetness, or even some shoe covers, but more on that later.

The road out from Malung had some nice views, we didnt stop to check them out to much, but Hannu sent me two pictures.


One of many steel bridge in Dalarna county, this is on the way out of Vansbro and then there is the marshlands going over a hill towards Malung.

We got to Malung fairly early, went to get tent spots only to find out that two tent spots where more expensive than a cabbin so we rented one of those, to our suprise there was even a electric drying closet in the cabin so no more wet shoes, we also took the opportunity to do some laundry, have a shower and relax.


The cabin by the river, real beds, no rain or wet tents, generally just nice!

After Laundry and unpacking we walked in to town where Hannu and I ate at a thai resturant that was mediocre by big city standards, but still more expensive, before heading back to rest and sleep, Tomorrow would be the last day in Sweden!

Summer trip 2016 – Stockholm to Bergen Day One

Another summer and another bike trip, after 3 years in a fairly flat Finland the trip this year was Sweden and Norway.

The plan was to head west towards Västerås, go up through Dalarna (the “Valley county) and over the border close to Hamar, have a rest day at my grandmothers place before biking over the mountains and the Rallarvegen road to Flåm, before heading to Bergen via the Hardangerfjord road. In the days and weeks to come I’ll make posts about the trip, starting with the first day in this post

 

Day 1: Home to somewhere north of Västerås.

The day started around 08.00 with breakfast of oatmeal porridge I think, before we went outside with the whole family for a picture and departure around 0900.

Weather during departure was awesome, we had 20 something in the morning and it went on to be close to 35 in the evening, fairly uneventfull journey from home to our first big stop in Enköping and same before Västerås.


Long stretches of country roads in fairly good condition, a nice place to eat a apple!


A small kiosk on the way to Enköping, opened by some people who got tired of working with IT in Stockholm


The roads to and over Ekolsund was random, first awesome road shoulders, then some crushed rocks where what someone said was where the old railway went.


Meeting up with mom and dad and the new RV they bought, for some food in Västerås.

After Västerås came another fairly uneventfull part of Sweden, fields and some forests on the way north towards Fagersta and our camp site just north of Ramnäs in a place called Utomhusbad Brattheden.

We found a nice public bath with a nice beach and floating dock, it even had toilets (outhouse style, no running water) and a patch of forest for us to camp in.


Sitting by the beach enjoying some pasta, sausage, halloumi and stuff!


This was our campsite for the night, nice view with the sun setting

So this was our first day, more to come later, when ever I can get my self to keep posting!

Mini vacation to Åland (and a day at the Beach in Stockholm)

So, we planned a trip for the whole family a bit back and with some help from my mom (economic that is) we booked a boat for six people and four bikes to Åland, and the cabin and tent space in Mariehamn.

Departure was Friday morning (31st of July 06:15 at the harbor)) so we took the bikes and bags to my workplace on Thursday.

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Waiting to get on the boat, passengers to Åland goes in last but out first!
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Breakfast buffet with the view of the archipelago of Stockholm and our view for the next few hours (play room for the kids, so much fun…)

Boat takes five hours, mostly we sat in the buffet restaurant or the big play room, but we also spent some time getting snacks at the tax free.

Åland here we come, Day 1 unpacking, shopping, bathing, chilling!

So, once of the boat we had like a ten minute ride to the camping where our cabin was waiting, a small red thing that would serve as home base for the next 4 nights (Friday to Tuesday). after getting there we set up camp, unpacking and raising tents and stuff like that, followed by a quick trip to the store.

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The cabin from the outside and from the inside, we got room for more than what we ordered, but that’s always nice, and might come in handy..

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The tenting starts, rolling out my ultralight and the the regular self supported two man tent for the boys to sleep in.
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More pictures of tents in different stages, my tent is up, the boys are getting there.

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Some pictures of the area, the main office and cafe/bar/reception and the green service house (toilets and showers).

After store there was time to check out something more fun, THE BEACH!
The girls love the beach, almost as much as me, so that’s always a good way to end a day!

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Going to the beach, don’t mind the ghost around me, just back light and “smart camera”

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The girls enjoying some sun, sand and sea!

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Me and Mathias playing around on the floating deck, doing some jumping and diving.

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Random pictures of family time on the beach, Saga and Viljami digging in the sand, me and Saga in the water, Saga, Mathias and Viljami digging some more in the sand.

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The girls enjoying the freedom of outdoors, going to the play spot with daddy and the big brothers!

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Climbing in the web, Viljami left and Mathias to the right.

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The girls again, this time sitting on the swinging/turning things at the play spot.

That was the end of our first day, and the beginning of the first night, where I slept in a tent with Siiri and the boys shared the other tent. more about that soon™.

Day two in Åland, castle touring and factory sales.

Woke up after a pretty horrible night, turns out Siiri is not ready to sleep in a tent yet.
Oh well, breakfast and packing before heading out for todays 25km x2 (or there about), destination Kastelholm Castle.

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The boys, the girls and me (not pictured) waiting for Elli to come back after getting cash from the ATM.

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A view on the way, I love sea views, like seriously it’s the best!

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Proof that Elli was actualy there and biking, on the bridge with a view and speeding down the last hill before the castle!

The ride to Kastelholm took about two hours, not as quick as I am used to but not bad at all!
The area around Kastelholm has a few museums actually, the old prison museum (we skipped that this time) and the open old building museum that is free to look at (Jan Karlsgården)P1020756Lunch in the gardens at Jan Karlsgården, sandwiches, water and grapes (theluxury)

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The girls and Mathias riding some kind of home made creature

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More riding, this time the big wooden horse by the old stables.

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One of the few picture where Mathias is not trying to strike a silly pose..

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Mathias and Viljami both got to try their hand at Archery, old school style..

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Lots of pictures from around the Castle…..

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There is a place where you get to try on clothes and armors, we all tested something..

On the way home from Kasterholm we stopped by the Taffel factory shop (Taffel being a large Finish manufacturer of chips and stuff). all the kids got to choose some candy or chips they wanted for the trip.

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Girls and the boys posing with the taffel mascot, after buying some snacks for them selves.

After the trip it was back to the camping for more playing and bathing!

Day 3 – Mall and bath house!

We actually didn’t take any pictures this day, but we went to the big mall, called Maxinge and then later we went to Mariebad.
Mariebad seemed like a good idea on paper, but in reality it’s a nightmare when you have four kids, where one is suicidal!

Day 4 the scenic route south of Mariehamn.

This was the day Elli wanted to go check out Stickstugan a small knitting shop and cafe ten kilometers south of Mariehamn, so we took the girls in the wagon and biked there, the boys got some teen alone time at camp, they didn’t want to bike this day..

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Scenery on our trip to Stickstugan, some amazing sea views and some cute cows!

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Stickstugans cafe, they had good kladdkaka and some nice Ålandish pancakes!

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The girls got Icecream before a little play time in the small sand box at the cafe.

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I had some apple cider (non alcoholic of course), it was nice! to the left is the pancake that Elli had, she said it was good.

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The greenhouse that was built with 100% reclaimed stuff, looked nice, so we went in and took some pictures.

When leaving the cafe we saw the local cat, the girls obviously needed to say hi, so we lured it out for some cuddles!

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Said girls and me, and said cat getting lots of cuddles

Later in the evening, it was time for what we always do, bathing in the sea!
This time the boys found some common jellyfish, it had to be played with (or more like harvested and put in a small pond before released, and anything that they found washed up was showed to the girls to..

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Party time by the water, fun indeed.
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Top pictures: me holding a Jellyfish, Siiri holding a jellyfish, Saga holding a jellyfish and the last one is the jellyfish farm the boys made.

Day 5 – Departure for home day.

Well, it was one of those days I guess, get up early, stress with cleaning and packing and stuff like that, but we got all done in time, and we only forgot three items, two of which we got before leaving!

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The bikes packed and waiting for the short trip to the boat, we stayed by the camping the last hours, for the kids to play and the use of facilities..

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Siiri and me Selfies, oh and I made a new friend, a dragonfly landed on my finger!

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Waiting for the boats, check in is one hour before boat, so there was some waiting, thankfully not that bad really.

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The last boat trip, stacked up and ready for our lunch reservations.

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Two princesses playing air hockey, everyone was a winner at that table o.O and Saga showing of her Silja line seal thing.

That’s it for our vacation, we biked home from the boat, which went good for 2/3’s of the way, then Saga woke up with a vengeance so we enjoyed lots of screaming until home.

Beach day in Stockholm-ish (Järfälla)

Since summer came really late, and was waiting for us when we got back from Åland we took the kids to Kallhällbadet in Järfälla for some bathing.

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Beach day with all that is included!

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Followed by a stop at Max in Barkarby

Summer in Finland, Turku – Nokia – Helsinki

So it’s that time of the year again, summer is almost over (if you can call what we had summer, it’s +13 in the middle of July).

But I’we had another week long bike trip, this time in Finland, again!
It all started a Tuesday morning in Stockholm, around 04:45 we all got up to go to the Viking Line harbor, I left around 05:15 I think and the bike ride through a fairly empty Stockholm took like 45 minutes.

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My bike outside home, packed and ready. and a picture from the line at the Viking check in.

The boat itself was a lot nicer than the other Finland ferries we have taken previously (it’s only two years old so there is that).
Time on the boat was spent as usual, breakfast buffet, shopping, kids playtime and some more food before heading of on the other side, we did get a dinner with a view in the gourmet restaurant to.

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View during dinner, a dinner that ended quicker than it should, due to kids obviously.. 

Right, boat over Finland here we are, and guess the weather, RAIN!


Me at the Finnish side of things, in the Turku Harbor.

I found one of my bike partners, plus my wife and kids fairly quick, and then we headed out to meet up with the last man of the trip.


Me, Siiri, the wife and Sami at the parkingspace outside the harbor.

The rest of the Tuesday was spent getting a couple of beers before bed time (shocker I know).

Day 1 of the trip. Turku to Merimasku.

So day one started around 06:45, getting up and having some light breakfast of eggs, bacon and white bread.
The weather said rain again so we dressed for that, sort of.


We stopped on some bridge for Hannu (not pictured) to take some pictures, it was also close to where Sami studied (Sami has the yellow helmet)

Oh right, this day, with it’s nice rainy weather was supposed to be the parade day, we went through the archipelago, so soon coming up was the first ferry to Nauvo.

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By said ferry waiting to get on board and sail to Nauvo.

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Hannu, the picture taker, rarely seen on pictures…

From here it was a pretty short trip to the next ferry that would take us to another island, Rymättylä.

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Sami and Hannu fixing with the packing, and well, I knew there was something about the boat that said quality, turns out it’s built in Norway!

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Lunch on the boat, the cookies was shared between the three of us, I think Sami ate some more though.. add coffee for reasons.

The Ferry to Rymättylä took something like an hour or so stopping at some old asylum/leper  colony on the island of Seili.
Today it seems to be full of tourists and things though..
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People entering the boat to continue their trip (by bike mostly it seemed) and a side view of the docks at Seili.


Hannu took some better picture(s) of the Seili docks.

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One hour boat rides leads to Titanic feelings aparently…

Right, halfway through day one, or at least about, rest of the day was sunny and fairly nice, we had to take one more ferry and we stopped at research station for fish (Sami works for them) to refill water before going up to our destination for the day.


Leaving the boat at Rymättylä, and some scenery shoot by Hannu.


The big boys on the last ferry of the day!


During the day I think Sami got a wee bit broken, he kept on fighting though, some hills still needed to be walked, I’m just posing on a random bridge somewhere…

The end of the day was spent around Merimasku, which had the smallest shop I ever saw, but we got food and drinks, we also checked in to a place called Taattisten Tila, a nice little farm with some camping options and facilities (WC, Shower, Laundry and BBQ).


Sami lit up the wood fuled bbq and we had some sausages and pork pieces on it, also some corn for Hannu.

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The dinner of champions, Meat, meat, carbs and carbs, with a dash of fat and a side of alcohol, the other is the old house on the farm that now is a camp.


Our bikes in front of the camp ground, the large tent is mine (ultralight 2 man tent) the other cocoon is where Sami “slept”

Thats it for day one, here is the route of the day.

Day two, Sami goes for a long ride!

Well, we woke up fairly early, or several times depending on how you see it, turns out that this camp had animals, lots of them, one thing they had was two roosters, they started crowing around 4 am or so, which was nice..

so anyway, we got six thirty or so, started to pack and clean up camp and prepare for breakfast.

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Breakfast being prepared, Pikapuuro (instant porridge) and me standing on the kitchen table sort of..


Another one of the animals, Otto the pig, who came to join us for breakfast, he was mostly after Hannu though (who doesn’t eat meat, guess he smelled his ally or something)


Hannu and the pig Otto, bonding over breakfast!

After breakfast we did the last packing and hit the rough route planned earlier,  through Mynämäki, Yläne and then to Huittinen and then from there find some place to camp.
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Hannu leaving the first days camp ground

The first stop we did as in Mynämäki, we were all slightly hungry again, turns out on portion of pikapuuro is not enough to go on for long…

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Parking lot breakfast in Mynämäki.

Refueled and ready to go again we set course for the sprawling metropolis known as Yläne, a place with two stores and at least two places to dine, one of which we actually stopped at, it was a kebab/pizza/grill place of unremembered name..

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Lunch at Yläne, pizzas and kebabs all around! mine was huge and I ate only half of it..

After Yläne it was onwards to Huittinen where we got supplies for the nights camp, the last night camping for Sami, so a little extra food and drinks needed!


This was taken after stocking up on food in Huittinen, two one time bbq’s and lots of meat, we are heading towards the end of the day (or looking for it, found it not that far ahead to!

About 15 km north of Huittinen we found a nice spot by the river to set up camp, right outside the centrum of Äetsä, at what looked like some local fisherman/boat club place, it had benches and tables, even a fire pit, perfect for our needs.


Resting in camp before starting the barbecue sessions!  


Bacon on a stick, bacon on bread and not pictured was the spare ribs from cow meat!


First and I think only group photo we took, at the camp during the last night, we kept going to around midnight I think, with more beer, cider and snacks!

End of day two, here is the map:

Day 3 – A short, hilly ride to Nokia

Day 3 started with me feeling slow and sluggish, horrible night, was really cold, my tent is not warm, my mattress is not insulated at all and I set up my tent on a spot with a slight down hill to one side. but we got going after an hour or so of packing and tidying up our mess, the planned route was basically to avoid the big roads and get to Nokia by going north of Sastamala to Heinoo and then turning of around Ojala, roughly 50-60km of small paved and unpaved roads.

We started off at a normal sluggish speed but before we got even 10 km or so Sami got some mechanical problems..


Me fixing the bike or at least trying, in the end I had to lock the front derailleur on the biggest ring, but Sami didn’t give up! 

After the bike was fixed it was a fairly uneventful ride to the next stop Sami had planned at Otamus kahvila (Otamus cafe basicly), that place was closed though, but we ended up having atleast some bread and water there (left overs from last night).


Scenery on the way, a old, really old church and some gas station that has been left to rot in a local place.


Sami and me going down a really nice hill, in the bottom was a river and Otamus cafe where we would stop and eat according to Sami, it was closed though…

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This is where we would have had lunch had it been open (we were early)

Less then an hour from Otamus and day three was over, we were at Sami’s childhood home.

End of day three and in Nokia for one bikeless day with the family!

Day 4 – Rest in Nokia and the end of the trip for Sami.

We spent this day chilling, playing with the kids, having saunas and eating, lots and lots of eating. after we came here yesterday we went to deliver Sami’s bike to the place he bought it and after that there was a short stop at a local meat market (butcher, not the place to pick up women mind you). got some bacon (I never got to taste this though), Ribs and some steaks (angus), so without to much more fuzz, here are some random images from the resting day!


Fika first, thats my youngest daughter, me and Sami, then there is a picture of the meat feast Sami fixed!

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Two girls one tub, in the sauna, could barely get them out from here this time, Saunas ftw!

Right enough of this resting thing, time to move on!

Day 5 unloaded to the cabin!

Pekka (father in law) came to get the girls and drive them to the cabin, which was our end destination for the day, I’we never been there so this was exciting!
Since a car was coming we left most of our gear (all the heavy stuff in Nokia for Pekka to bring with the car, and thus commenced the quickest part of our journey, from Nokia to Rautajärvi and the Cabin!

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Our first of three stops on what turned out to be one of the most epic bike roads ever (literally bike paths from heaven!) this is in Matinsaari (it’s between Tampere and Sahalahti).


Not a particularly bad view right after Matinsaari either (the bridge after the Island)

With the roads being so good we hit Sahalahti around 11:00 (one hour before shops open on Sunday) so our plans for a food stop got foiled and we had to keep on going towards our next stop, which turned out to be Luopioinen, here we got something cold to drink and something to eat, plus a few beers and stuff for the cabin. from Luopioninen to the cabin is like 10 km, so this was quick and we took no pictures, so coming up is a dump of pictures from the cabin itself!


Hannu and I got the cabin before the rest, so we could snap some pictures of the girls when they came, thats Saga to the left and Siiri to the right.

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Panorama of the cabin grounds, cabin to the left and sauna on the rights with the bikes.


My bike in some nice light – Saga and her Tosca bun, Siiri, my wife and me in the background


One of the awesome things about the cabin, sauna and swimming, Saga insisted on joining, she regretted that pretty quick though (cold water)


The whole family gathered (-Hannu the photographer)

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Fire started, food cooked, what else then sausages when having a camp fire??

End of day 5!

Day 6 – locked and loaded again, two bike days left!

Day started with the family in the cabin, cleaning and tidying before saying our goodbyes and getting out on the road around 12:00, we had a rough idea where to go, since we wanted to ride through Nuuksio (National Park, more on that later).


Bikes packed and ready for the days riding, all gear packed again..

For the last night I got to borrow Pekka’s thermarest sleeping mat, which he said was lighter, more comfortable and warmer than the one I have, exciting times.
The first part of the ride was to Hauho here we stopped for some light snacks and drinks before heading out on the road again, destination Hämeenlinna for lunch/dinner.


Disaster strikes, somewhere along the way I got a puncture and had to swap a tire, which is boring when you got a full set of panniers on the bike that has to come off.

After eating and shopping in Hämeenlinna we set course for Loppi, where we would check the internet for information about camping and ask the locals to. While I was in the store Hannu found a local beach area that looked promising (it was!) so we headed there, the clock was getying close to 21:00 and we were pretty ready for the stop anyway!

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The view from the camp area in Loppi, not bad really!


Checking some social media and chatting with the wife while waiting for food to be done (Sausages, mushrooms, pasta in tomato sauce!)

That was the end of day 6 and the last night of camping before Helsinki, so here is the daily map:

Day 7 it all ends in rain.

Woke up and felt pretty good, the thermarest mattress worked like a charm (guess who is on the look for a new inflatable mat…)
But thats where the good stuff ends for now, before we even managed to pack camp it started raining and I had to pack my tent wet (it was hung to dry asap when we got back so no damage). but breakfast was cooked before we headed out to our destination, a small town called Salmi just north of Nuuksio.

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Pikapuuro and banana for breakfast, again..

Due to last day and tiredness we didnt take much pictures, but on the way to Salmi we found a local farm sale place, they had vegetables from the farm and a baked goods for sale, so we stopped for some carbohydrates and caffeine!

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Where stopped – Heikki Mikkolan Suoramyynti and what we had, pulla and coffee, I also bought some local sausages (pepper) and a loaf of dark bread to bring home!

We had a quick pit stop in Salmi to, at a s or k market (cant remember which one) and then we found Nuuksio’s route 2000 to bike!
I think we had about five minutes of pleasantness in Nuuksio, the rain hit so heavy that we were soaked in two minutes, and the dirt roads were small streams, but we managed to get through.

Once done in Nuuksio we headed for our last planned stop, Iikkas forge in Kirkkonumm.


The forge and the Smith.

After maybe 30-40 minutes here we biked the 30-40 km back to Helsinki.

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Hannu giving notice of us being really close and my bags, packed and washed inside, a sign that the adventure is over for this time.

End of day 7 and the last map of the tour.

For those who want the whole trip in one map here that is to, the merged 7 day trip route:

Other stuff happening during vacation

So the bike tour is over, but I did spend another week in Helsinki, I didn’t go for many bike rides though, I cleaned my bike at Pekka’s workshop, I had some clams at Sami’s place and I had coffee with Jorina, I ran a little (shocking I know), oh and I biked to Porkkala and back!

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Poor Gennie getting a bit of a scrub, rub and oiling, all that mud from Nuuksio is gone!

Porkala (and back)

Right so first things first, I wanted to see this place last year but never got around to it, so this year I was doing it “no matter what”.
Started from eastern Helsinki with the ambition to get some scenic views on the way out of the city center (from Ruoholahti and on wards) which with the amount of road work, combined with some horrible signing made for plenty of detours, but I managed to get out of there, and then biked through parts of Espoo before getting on the road to Porkala, I didnt take many pictures during the drip (didn’t get interesting before the last 10 km anyway). But I’ll post them under this text..

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This is the Porkkala Marina, nice view with the water and all!

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My Genie resting while I had icecream before Porkkala and on the right at the Marina.

I tried looking for some shoreline that didn’t have a cabin but gave up after 30 min of zig-zagging around the gravel roads, so this picture is as close as I got:

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It looks like my bike is really big, but it’s not, It’s on a ledge and I’m below it…

Map for the Porkkala trip:

Thats’ it, summers over!

Vacation is here!

Last(ish) post before heading to Finland with the boat, but I might put one small one up later, because one of the things I was supposed to show was my Genesis after service (it’s gotten a new back wheel and drivetrain parts, but the store had the opening hours wrong on their page..)

So with that said, I’we ridden my old Poison for soon two weeks, it’s sort of working after swapping the chain and cassette, still needs new chain rings on the front though, but 10 speed is better then no speed.
I also took my old trusty cross out in to the forest for a spin, as shown in this totally awesome video I made…

What else, oh right, I don’t like the Continental Cyclocross speed tires, they roll nice and all, but I had like 8 or so punctures in two weeks, so thats a no go for me, probably get some Vittoria’s when I’m home.

Hmm, last thing for now, goals!
I set two goals, one for distance biked and one for weight and I achieved them both, I biked more then 2000km before the trip and I’m under 120kg (118 last weighing, that’s down from 138kg)

goal_before_trip_2015_donegoal_before_trip_2015

 

Thats it, on Sunday I might update with a picture of the bike, might even be a picture of the bike loaded!

Long overdue post from 2014, Järva with mom

Right, this has taken a wee bit longer then it was supposed to.
Mom visited sometime (well august 2014) and well, joined for a ride around Järva, with the kids (all three) in wagons or by bike, so here comes pictures and maps:

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Siiri, with Saga in the wagon sleeping, going to see the petting zoo at bög gård

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Siiri with Grandmah and Siiri with Granddad (I mean the goat).

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Saga actually woke up to see some animals to!

After Bögs gård we started biking towards the old mill.

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Mom on the borrows bike and on the second picture one can see Viljami.

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Boiled sausages in bread at the mill, I got to use my trangia kitchen again!

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Saga doing what she does best, eat, first at the mill, then a little later at Säbygård.
From here we went to some play spot before home called.

Incase you are curious about the route, it’s about like this:

Tour de Finlandia 2014 and more

Wow, where to start, I guess from home?
So, I left from home on a Sunday evening, I guess around two a clock I think or maybe it was one a clock? who cares (not me, I made it to the boat with a lot of time to spare!)

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My Genesis all loaded up with stuff, ready for adventure!

The boat ride went as it usually does, eat, watch kids play, sleep bad in crap beds under car deck, but well, Monday came and off the boat I went, to meet up with Elli, the kids, my mother in law and my bike partner for the trip, Hannu.

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My bike waiting for me to  ride of the boat, and the two adventures, eagerly awaiting the train to our starting location, Joensuu!
Oh and the trains had a system for hanging bikes that I found rather clever!

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So this is how you put your bike up for travel with VR in Finland, neat!

Not going to bore you (who ever you are) with details about the family stuff, we arrived late on Monday, we saw Elli’s Grandmother on Tuesday morning, our trip started in the evening!

Day 1 of the our mini tour, Joensuu – Savonranta

This was supposed to be the “little” edge, to make the rest of the days shorter, we could squeeze in maybe 50-70 km, or so, turns out it’s not as easy as I expected to find a good lake viewed camp site, but well, we got to Savonranta without much issues, did some grocery shopping and kept going for another 20-ish km..

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The proud, nay brave adventures ready for the road, then the same ones enjoying some cold refreshments in Savonranta!)

After said grocery shopping we started looking for camp sites, not wanting to pay for our first night, we thought it would be ok to get a lakeview for free and we did get some views, just not camp sports

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Starting to see a sunset, the Genesis looks stunning in the scenery, even with all the stuff attached to it!

We kept looking for some time, only to give up in the dusk, and settle for some uneven forest patch a little way from the road..

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Tiredness hit after camp was set up, but food was consumed at least!P1000989
The tent being illuminated by a lamp, not long after it was pitch black outside..

In the end, this is the map of day 1:

Day 2 Savonranta – Sulkava/Oravanpesät (Squirrels nests, in Finnish)

Woke up, or gave up sleeping, not sure which, but hey, lesson learned, 120kg of man needs more then 0.5cm of foam to sleep on!
I think it was something like 4 am, and we had run out of water, well more like forgot to refill the day before, so the 1.5 liter of breakfast water was used to make porridge and then drink the rest, oh and the mosquitoes was bad, incidentally  I might have forgotten to close the tent and slept with my feet outside, they got bitten, a lot!

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Camp site breakfast from our trangia kitchen, I am looking awake and dashing with my bug net over the head!

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This is to give you some idea of where we camped…

Around six we where on the road again, heading towards Savonlinna, with a stop for supplies and water in Kerimäki (or so the plan was according to the map atleast).
Without much water consumed and nothing in the bottles it felt sluggish to ride, I’m guessing the nights lack of sleep didn’t help either..

But we made it to Kerimäki, got some extra breakfast and water refilled from a K-market store. and headed around the town a bit (there was a church and a nice beach, but the best part comes after that!)

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Hannu enjoying the morning, and the best part for us atleast, the toilets we stumbled upon, with running water, real toilets and all!

 

Before leaving Kerimäki we had a toilet break, complete with a hobo wash and some tooth brushing!
From Kerimäki we started out towards our midday destination of Savonlinna, a town maybe 20 km or so away.

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The pizza at PIzza Capero in Savonlinna tasted like heaven after the biking, mine was full of meat and grease, just like it should be, also got a nice view of the castle in Savonlinna! (Hannu went in while I watched the bikes).

The rest of the day was mostly spent getting to Sulkava, a small town 40 km west of Savonlinna, only to find that apart from the grocery store, there was nothing much there, and the campsite from google was actually a school, but a friendly lady told us about Oravanpesät campig, great idea, but further away then expected.

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The road was long and winding, from Sulkava to the camp ground!

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Our humble lodgings at the camp, the surface was so smooth and flat! walking down towards the water and the showers where just by the lake!

P1010034 Said lake, with a sign saying, no jumping, it was rather shallow so I guess it’s more of a warning then anything else.

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The wood fired sauna, here I sat sweating before getting a skinny dip in the lake, another stamp for the book of me turning Finish!

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Simple campground cooking, my sauna smoked sausage and mushroom noodle pot, and Hannu doing some freeze dried vegetarian stuff. 

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Mood pictures, sun was setting, had to take some pictures!

P1010046Feels rather peaceful, my mind was probably elsewhere! 

With day two at a end, here is the map of this one!

Day three, Sulkavan Oravanpesät – Imatra, race day!

With day three ahead of us, we (read I) realized we could make it to Imatra before Elli and the kids left from the spa hotel, so race day it was!.
We packed up camp around 8, and we arranged with the camp owners that we could get a ride from the camp and to the asphalt roads, from here destination was Imatra, a small-ish town almost at the Russian border (check the map at the end of this day).

Forgot to take any pictures on the trip really, but we followed something called Vihreän kullan kulttuuritie, or the Green gold culture road, a fairly long, hilly and curving road of green forrest and fairly good roads, one part was so epic that the memory will be with me for some time, sadly, we forgot to put on the GoPro for this, or take any pictures, but it was downhill, it curved, the woods on both side let in just the right amount of light, it was just EPIC!

We stopped about halfway in the small town of Puumala, had some cold refreshments and took headed towards our destination, another short stop before we got there in Ruokolahti to, we made it with one hour to spare, so had a nice little time with Elli and the kids.

Hannu and me decided to find a cheap hotel and get some rest, our hotel was the soviet era, russian occupied Hotel Anna Kern
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On our way there we saw the big dam, and someone told us they would soon open it, so we quickly dropped of our gear and went bac!

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Empty canyon and closed dam, and me posing, like the poser I was!

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My bike unloaded and wobbly, seriously without the weight I felt like I would fall over! and the dam, just opened, before the valley was filled to the brim with water!

After our touristy sightseeing and a shower, it was time for food and alcohol!

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Today was Chinese food day! pretty good for a decent price!

We did some more walking about in Imatra, nothing major happening, I saw our Imatra branch office and we had a few more beers/ciders.

End of day 3, here is the map of the day!

Day 4 Imatra – Elimäki, Epic bike road, epic fail in navigation!

So, after Imatra, we realized that we might have taken a slight detour, or the lack of planning made the trip longer, so it was time to push on!
Today’s goal, at least 130 km!

Imatra, Lappenranta, Kouvola, these where some of the major places we where aiming for today, and between Imatra and Kouvola we found some of the best bike roads we ever saw, and I mean bike roads, not car roads at all, they snaked through the landscape following the big road number 6 (one of the main roads between Russia and Finland, sadly though, it’s not got a 100% coverage, and stupid as we where we decided to not follow number 6 when our road ended, costing us a couple of hours of epic fail on some railway service roads and other unmarked roads, but in the end we came back to road 6, at around 120 km we stopped for some cold refreshments in Kaipiainen, it was allready around 5 pm, so not many hours left of light
A refreshment later, and we got the last 50 km of today’s journey done, by random happening, we stopped at Alppiruusu in Elimäki, a small dinner/local produce market/gas station by the highway, Hannu asked if there was any camp sites close by, and we where allowed to camp next to a barn they had, surprisingly enough the land was fairly flat and comfy!

P1010079 Me doing a selfie while waiting for my Scan burger, tasted good after 160 km or so!

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Todays camp site, close to a main road, but still secluded enough to feel safe about it.

Thats the end of day 4, a map (I stopped the gps a few times when we went of track, so there is some distance missing in total).

Day 5 Elimäki  to Helsinki, final day!

Woke up from another restless night, really need to get a air mattress, anyway, started our ride home, only planned bigger stop was in Porvoo, a old medieval town outside Helsinki, with some cobblestone streets, wooden houses and other old things by a river/lake.

Biggest problem this “late” in the tour was saddle sores, not nice to sit down, but despite that, still went fairly ok.

P1010086 Somewhere before Helsinki we came upon the kings road, the same one we did from Turku to Helsinki the year before, it continues from Helsinki to Russia.

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Two pictures from Porvoo, so you get some idea of what it is, it’s kind of small though, and if you been to Bergen, Stavanger and other old parts of Norway, you wont see anything spectacular 😛

After Porvoo, it’s a fairly short ride back to Helsinki, and we got a surprise stop just outside, turns out Pekka (father in law) came to meet us and take some pictures, and it was easy to find us since Hannu had live tracking on his phone (Endomondo I think), I’ll add som pictures of that later.

Back in Helsinki we got a reception from our family, with some gifts!

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Hannu got some green platter with fruits and stuff, I got some meat! (ribs and chicken drums!)

P1010127 Siiri got some ribs to, she, like her dad and little sister is a true carnivore!

Apart from the meat goodness I also got some Finish shower soap, with added Sisu!

The end of day 5 map:

It’s been a great trip really, no major problems of any kind, one puncture on Hannu’s bike, some loose screws on my rack and one lost on Hannu’s, but I had spare ones, so to round of the trip here is a complete map of our tour:

After the tour, rest of vacation

I’m gonna keep it short, so here goes, from Saturday, to Thursday I didn’t do any biking, but I saw some old friends, with new kids and generally spent time with my wife, the kids and her family, on Thursday though, I did what I think of as “day 6” of my tour, and the last weekend was spent out with some more friends, walking about Helsinki and checking out the Restaurant day.

Day 6 of touring, solo ride to Evo and the fishy research place!

I spent some time the same Saturday we came from Joensuu to Helsinki with Elli’s cousins, and agreed with Sami (Elli’s cousins husband) that I would visit his workplace, check what he does, have a BBQ, do some fishing and some more Wood fired saunas and bathing!

I think I left around 6:30 am, and it took about 5 hours 30 minutes of biking (6 hours including the stops I had). I only took one picture before arriving

P1010211 This was from some memory marking, somewhere before Lammi, and Lammi is just another place I biked through..

Well there, and after a shower and change of clothing, I watched the people at Evon Riista- ja kalatalouden tutkimuslaitos (thats the name of the place) count, weigh and measure the fish they caught in the nets, this so they can control how healthy the lake is!
After work, it was time for shopping, fishing, BBQ and Sauna!

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I caught a fish, or actually two, small perches and when we got back Sammi warmed up the grill for some beef and Sausage!

P1010227 The house to the back is the wood sauna, the river is where we bathed, this picture is from the day after, we where not done in the sauna before past midnight and it was dark and full of naked men, so picture would not be safe for life!

I really had a great day with Sammi and the people at the research station, and the next day I got a ride in the car, to get closer to Lahti, biked 25 km and took a train to Helsinki!

The ride on Thursday looked like this:

That’s it, that’s my bike vacation of 2014, Next year who knows, maybe Sweden, maybe Norway, maybe nothing.

Lazy June and a little bit of July!

I cant really say that I remember to blog all that often, but I guess it’s time again!

We’ll start with June, and the weather..
Summer was late, that’s for sure, not much sun, barely touching the high 10’s (Celsius) and grey, really grey.
Fear not though, there are sunshine stories

Genesis “Gennie” Croix de Fer, touring mode!

I already posted pictures of my Genesis, now I have more pictures, this time with some more touring items on it (dressed for success you might say, at least that’s what I’m hoping for!)

Genesis_croix_touringThere she is, my Croix, that I’m more and more thinking of as a Gennie (pronounced Jenny, and yes it’s a she, it would feel awkward to ride around on something else).

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A picture showing something I was worried about, heel strikes, but well no worries there, and a fancy picture of my pricey, but awesome Klean Kanteen.

First couchsurfing, now Warmshowers, where will this end?
(Hopefully not with us knife murdered by strangers in our own home)

So, a few weeks (months I guess, technically) we had our Frenchie over, JR, and it was really nice, since then I started using reddit (not much, but still) and found out about Warmshowers.org, and promptly made one account there.

Results came quick and one, not to sunny Saturday morning our first guest came, Matthew “Matt” Dollive, who came fron England, via France and all the countries in between there and Denmark, Through Norway (from the town of Bergen) over the Mountains before crossing Sweden to stay with us for three nights.
And then on Sunday came our three Americans, Mike, Mike and Bill.

Needless to say, our 3 bedroom apartment got rather filled up (we are 6 people living there), so the boys had to sleep on mattresses in our room, the Americans got the boys room and poor Matt got to sleep in the living room.
Another thing I never thought much about before, the amount of food that is used to host this many people, I think I counted 104 eggs and 8kgs of white flour, because well breakfast is pancakes (American kind), scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, croissants, and stuff like that, but I really enjoyed it, and everyone seemed to be happy and fairly full!

Warmshower_foodThis is us, eating breakfast on Monday morning, one of the Mike’s left to see a girl, the other Mike is taking the picture, the picture doesn’t show the copious amounts of food, thanks to the appetite of Matt 😉

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Some more pictures, courtesy of Matt’s flicker page, shows more of the food then the previous ones 🙂

We also got to ride around the local area a bit, checking out Lake Mälaren at Kalhäll’s beach, and eat like a lot more (three dinners, Chicken rice curry, Lasagna and a pizza night).

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Our little gang of people biking in the Järva area and then the whole family and the Americans together before they depart, our oldest daughter loved all the attention.

Come July, come summer and sunshine!

July has been warm, so biking is made all the better, and some days you just have to stop and enjoy it, like today, going to work

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First picture just next to Ullrikesdal Castle in Solna, by some of the barn looking buildings, second is in Norra Djurgården, by a little lake (/ large pond), it was already more then +20 in the morning, sweet.

wpid-20140708_065312.jpg JJ Abrams style lens flare selfie #nofilters #nomakeup (#lolhashtag)

So that’s that then, I got three more weeks of work, before I had to Joensuu for three days, followed by a bike home!

Enjoy the summer, catch you later!