I woke up and had about half a day to kill before my overnight Ferry ride to Turku, Finland.
So I headed into old town Stockholm for a little coffee and breakfast. Or brunch. As I got up and out around 11am. It was a beautiful morning. A little chilly but the sun was shining.
These days it’s faster then ever to find a coffee shop or someones favorite breakfast spot because of our connection to the internet. No matter where you are.
Between the maps and the reviews you can quickly find a place as a tourist. I can only imagine the amount of work that it would have been even 20 years ago. I suppose you just stumbled into a place, or asked as many people as possible. Now I did grow up in that era but i wasn’t old enough to travel as much as I am now.
After a few hours of wandering I had one last beer in the pub and how fitting it would be to have one from my home town. They were advertising Lagunitas everywhere here. Including one bar dedicated to it.
I thought how cool is this….. I left from Petaluma, bought the shirt in the Chicago lagunitas brewery and I’m now having one in Stockholm, Sweden. The nostalgia was real! The amount of mileage and things I’ve seen on this journey started to sink in.
Oh and I know I know, don’t mind my knitted beanie its saved me from some cold mornings so far in this nordic region. 🙂 You try not having any hair!
I still had some time before the ferry came in so I took a ride around the coast line of Stockholm. As I was riding, I was thinking how close I am to coming to an end riding the Iron camel!? A noble dromedaire!
The bike has been riding so well and I have had no problems so far, the comfort, the maneuverability, whether it be through the city or country back roads I’ve been very satisfied. Moab was the true test of its durability and Paris was the test of my ability to use it decisively.
As the boat pulled in I started to meet some Finnish folks, with their vehicles. A welcomed language that I grew up with. I still can’t speak it much, nor understand it quite fully, but it’s a comforting language among the many different I have heard in Europe.
This is my last ferry, as this will be my sixth I’ve used on the trip. If your thinking about driving or riding in Europe just know most of the surrounding areas islands are excess-able by ferry.
I opted for a bed on this one and wanted a good nights rest before I got to Finland. I had a feeling meeting my cousins will end up for many celebrations. 😉
Pulling away from Stockholm it was looking peaceful…..and it all started to feel like one big blur! 🙂
Saunas are huge part of the Finnish culture and this viking line boat was no exception. I took a Sauna, ate some dinner, and took in a live band on the ship. Ultimately calling it an early night.
I didn’t wake up until I got a knock on the door at around 7am. The staff wakes you up to make sure your out of the boat early enough for them clean up.
Good Morning Turku!
I got my stuff together had some coffee and got out into the 30 degree weather. WOW! what a change as my bones began to freeze!
My destination Helsinki!
It said it was only 100 something miles so I decided to take the backroads instead of the major highway. Even as cold as it was I was trying to prolong my riding. I would eventually arrive by early afternoon.
My cousin Kirsi lives near Lahti which is about an hour and half north of helsinki. So I thought before I ride up to her house I’d explore the Countries Capitol.
Two nights, one full day in helsinki and I did my last stretch of tourism. Wandering the streets and looking for a place called sompasauna. A public Sauna. A place to hangout and enjoy sauna with the locals. Unfortunately it was no longer there, as there were apartments being built. Cover your eyes for those offended by nudity as finns are not as concerned.
Everything is starting to feel so different. As I think about packing my bike for the last time. Thinking about heading to the gas station for the last time. Whats it going to be like when I’m not staring at a map?
As I pulled that morning into the gas station, to make my final ride to Lahti. I thought this is the last one. Then all of a sudden I hear a loud hissing sound and my tire started to deflate as I rolled into the gas station. An immediate sigh, as I thought no way!!!! This can’t be happening!
I hop off the bike look down and see this….a construction key ended up in my tire. Ones that look like they go to heavy machinery.
I just bought that tire in France and it still had some miles left on it. It didn’t matter the hole was too much for me to repair. As my repair kit couldn’t patch up a hole that big.
After using the gas stations wifi, I looked for shops near by. There was a shop with tires, but no repair service. A repair service shop, but with no tires. To top it off it was a Saturday when everything was closing.
After walking to a repair shop down the street, to ask for help, I realized I’d have to stay for the rest of the weekend in Helsinki until the shops open Monday. All I got from the guy in the shop was another repair kit. Still it wasn’t enough to repair it.
After walking back to the gas station, by the way 2 miles each way. I was at a loss. When all of sudden a guy stops to ask if I need help. I said..”possibly!!” At first I just was gauging whether or not he really wanted to help me. So I didn’t say much, but he made a call and said he can take my bike to a shop near by. His friend has a van.
First thing i thought was “yeah right!” But sometimes you have to go with your gut and my instincts were that the guy was ok.
I waited for his friend to arrive and we loaded up the bike. He then asked me where i was heading? I told him Lahti, and at that point he said, “how about I just take you and the bike to Lahti?” At first I told him he didn’t need to do that, but, he insisted and told me it was Sauna time anyway. No one is going to help you for the next two days.
I agreed and was able to contact Kirsi using his phone and let her know I was on my way, but not on my bike, in a van! 😦
Completely anticlimactic! Over 11,000 miles and the last ride I’m pulling up in a van?! All in all I guess it seemed fitting. I had what seemed like, “close calls” but nothing ever serious.
Any type of travel your going to experience bumps in the road. It’s all apart of it and of course just like in life it’s how you choose to respond to it. In a lot ways the faster you can accept something, the faster you can find some benefit from it. It felt weird to be dropped off in a van, but then again it makes for a better story.
I arrived and my cousin kirsi and her husband Ilke were there. A few high fives and hugs later I was thrust into the their world. The gentleman who helped me wouldn’t except my money, the only thing he said was welcome to Finland. YES SIR WELCOME INDEED! WOW! I made it….. not in the fashion that I thought but still what a feeling.
We waited for my other cousins to arrive henric and kaisa who live in Los Angeles, and as soon they did we took off to the Lahti harbor where my cousin kirsi’s ship ‘Haapakoski” is.
Built in 1874. Originally it was used as a tree hauler. It has since been passed down in the family. Kirsi got her Captains license and decided to keep it in her family as apposed to selling it. One of the only woman and youngest out of their boat club to become captain.
Staying on the boat provides a peace and sanctuary like no other. Just like the one in the Netherlands this boat will be hosting many people and parties for the week I’m here.
We stayed for about 4 days on the boat and enjoyed their annual fish market.
A picture of the harbour from years past!
My stay on the Harbour was an eventful one………
View of the Lahti music institute…….
Being resourceful on the Haapakoski with one of the local beers!
Night time in finland is second to none. Fresh air, cool nights, and beautiful skies!
Drone picture from above!
As it turns out we also made the local event newspaper, as they briefly mentioned my trip in this not so flattering pic. They caught us in mid-party mode and If you can read Finnish it talks about my cousin Henric and I.
Many events, many fun moments hanging out with family and meeting new friends.
Below is Kaisa’s little brother Matti demonstrating after I taught him a little tae kwon do. Every lake is as peaceful as this one.
Lol….Henric had no idea the skills he possessed.
I never met My cousins wifes (Kaisa) family until this week and was super impressed with Matti who participated in the 2015 special olympics and won a gold medal in the kayaking races. He was kind enough to show us where he lives and wasn’t shy of showing us all his accomplishments. 🙂
The week in Finland was extended longer as I waited for the shop to take my bike in. The last two days were spent getting the bike trailered into this shop to get it fixed and getting it winter ready.
From the shop I told my cousins I had to get a video of me riding into kirsi’s property like it was the first time. We did a few takes :)….I’ll show it all in the ride video section! Here I am I spent a whole week Mucking it up with them and the we tried to reenact a moment that was pretty darn satisfying. I could not stop laughing!
After getting the Camel back I put the bike in kirsi’s barn where it will be for the winter
I drained the gas and treated it with a fuel stabilizer.
Unpacked all the gear I used on the trip, leaving the stuff I wouldn’t need back home.
Said my goodbyes and jetted off!
Just like that my scouting of half the world (At least for 2016) is over and it’s definitely an experience I cannot forget.
I did the trip exactly the way I wanted to. I rode over 11,000 miles to Finland on my terms. If I wanted to stay longer somewhere I did. If I wanted leave I did.
Would I change some things about my trip? No! Not on this one, but the next time I would like to. If I had more time (of course) I’d spend it in the countries I was enjoying and maybe even more time in countries I didn’t enjoy as much.
I returned home and Craig and Mickey were nice enough to pick me up from the airport…..a celbratory sandwich and road Soda later I was home! ;0
My trip was my trip and people tell me all the time, “your a lucky guy!” Of course I tell them that I am, but I don’t know how many of you would or have done a trip like this, or maybe would do it in a car, on a bicycle, by foot, by plane, boat whatever. It takes initiative, and sacrifice!
No one see’s the sacrifices people make to realize their dreams. Each and everyone of us has different dreams. I will tell you if you want something bad enough, go get it, and no sacrifice will seem to great.
To everyone I met on my journey thank you, and to all those who helped me out along the way thank you. I’ve stretched myself in ways I never thought and I’m looking forward to continue to ‘SCOUT IT ALL OUT!” 🙂 one way or another.
See you on the road!
Cheers! Kippis! Prost! Sante! Salute! Cin Cin! Salud! Proost! Skal!