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Old 09-29-2012, 03:59 AM   #14
Thijs_B OP
Keeps on dreaming
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Joined: Oct 2011
Location: That floaty bit just north of France
Oddometer: 84
Wicked Day 4 - Finland

The ferry would dock at Turku at 07:00, which is a bit early, but ok why not. Finland is however in a different time zone, so that's 06:00 on my 'body clock'. The ship's captain woke everyone at 06:00 local, which was 05:00 'body clock time'. Not really my idea of holiday…

Anyway, here's the GPS track of the day:

Got me some breakfast, and went down to the car deck. In the elevator there were some elderly Russian women. Since I'm a big guy (1,96m), I think they couldn't even reach for the top of my head if they wanted, and all being cramped together in the elevator seemed quite funny. One of them suddenly reached for my shoulders and felt the protective padding of my jacket. I smiled at her, said 'motorbike' as explanation for the padding, but there was no response whatsoever. She said something in Russian to the other women, and one of them said 'da'. Then the elevator arrived at their floor, and they left leaving looking at the closing doors with a feeling of 'wtf just happened' .

We left the ship as the sun came up, and I followed some Finnish choppers to the exit. Markus was behind me, and we would be riding together to the highway where he would turn towards Helsinki and I would go north to Tampere.

The metal on the bottom is the ship's ramp, and the tarmac is 'touchdown' on Finland.

I started following the E63 towards Tampere, where a little mist started to creep up as soon as I left the city of Turku.

Looks kinda nice, for now…

But soon the mist got thicker and thicker, and I didn't see much of the scenery for the next couple of hours. I really hoped this wouldn't be the default weather in Finland, since I could only see the road directly in front of me and some vague tree shapes right next to the road. It got very cold as well, even after the mist had cleared a bit.

In Finland, looking for kids to eat for dinner

But when I got past Tampere things really cleared up, and I left the highway into road 338 to get north. On my Michelin map there was a little green line next to the road ahead meaning 'beautiful scenery', and it delivered. The sun came out, the road was dry and twisting through a beautiful pine forest so I was really enjoying the ride.

Enjoying the sun.

In Scandinavia they are apparently very keen on swimming in summertime, in these countries there are signs everywhere directing to swimming locations. I followed these whenever I needed a rest, and there was usually a small beach or dock to relax.

Another boat ring, on the dock where I had a little 5 min powernap in the sun. Yep, rough times.

View from the dock, with the occasional lumber truck crossing the bridge.

Since I never wild camped before I started looking for a spot very early (I was also on the road since 07:00). There were a lot of trails going into the forest, some of them leading to houses (often marked by letterboxes) and some used for deforesting. I eventually found one along road 77 overgrown with tall grass (so not used recently) and followed it in. The grass finally cleared into the forest and there was a small flat surface where I could put the tent.

First wildcamp! The track would eventually return to the main road and I think was used for maintenance of a small power line nearby.

Some strange green mushrooms. First thing I thought of were the 'shrooms from Super Mario, where these would provide me with 1 extra life.

Sun was setting behind the trees, and the forest became eerily quiet. However the mosquitos didn't, and I got stung a gazillion times.

Daily achievements:
Traveled 435km in 6 hours with 75km/h average. Currently 1760 km away from home, so further than Moscow!

I was now north about a third of the length of Finland, the next day would take me more east, towards the Russian border and to the edge of Lapland.
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