|Journal for 28-Aug : Moose Meadows|
Before I left I wrote out the names of all the towns I needed to pass through. This worked pretty well. I didn't miss a turn all day, and I only needed to stop & check my maps a few times. It helps that the towns and junctions are 10-20km apart, and not every 1500m as in Germany.
Sweden an absolute joy to cycle in. Hour after hour of great cycling through forests, past the occasional farm house, and every so often a village with a supermarket, and not much else. And the roads were great, and almost completely devoid of traffic. A bit like Canada, but with back roads.
To add to today's novelties, there were some hills, and - joy of joy's - a tailwind !!!
Tried to phone home at Knared, but discovered Swedish pay phones don't accept coins, just credit cards.
As I flew into Ljungby I noticed the time on a service station billboard (these are all over Europe, usually cycling through the time, current temperature) at 11:45.
I found a nice grassy shady area under a tree Next to a church. I had something to eat, started to study my maps, then drifted off to sleep. When I woke up I realised it was nearly 2pm. "Oh my god, I've slept for 2 hours!!!". I then concluded that couldn't be right, I'd seen noon tick over on my bike clock earlier in the day. I must have changed timezones!!! (I was still wrong, just as wrong as that service station clock).
More fantastic tail wind riding (slightly offset by a few moderate hills) on deserted back roads. Had my first diarrhea attack of the trip. Was able to find some forest to crap in pretty easily. Thank heavens that didn't happen in Germany.
Feeling pretty stuffed at Moheda, and I've yet to figure out how to get drinking water in Sweden. I never did figure it out in Germany. Got some dodgy water from a stray tap (these seem to be very rare) from a petrol station when I crossed highway 30.
More hills and lakes through Aby, then stopped at Rottne for apple and blackcurrant juice and oranges (and more immodium!).
Lovely sunny day again. Still 26c at 6:30pm.
After being gyped last night, I thought I'd try wild camping. I'd heard there is a 10,000 Euro fine for wild camping in Germany, and I can believe it. Here, people are guaranteed public right of access for overnight camping, so long as you don't camp in someone's vegi patch or burn the forest down.
First track I tried had a letterbox. The second lead to a stretch of old road which lead to a small farming community. After seeing hundreds of spots all day, it took 10km to find where I'm camped as I write this.
First 200+km day for the trip, thanks to tailwind. First bush camp too, nearly started a forest fire when I knocked my burner over.
Started about 9, delayed by much needed campfire.
Straightforward riding to Cassier hwy jtn. No remarkable scenery (by Canadian standards, would be a standout in Oz ).
Alaska hwy - since it's most recent rebuild - is not flat, but is level. Huge earthworks to keep the visibility good.
Pancakes & syrup for "breakfast" (11am).
Cassier hwy immediately more beautiful.
30ks hard/fun/cruel undulations, then good road. A bit dull after reaching Dease River (no river views, just flatish rd and trees).
Cycled a good 70ks before a light "lunch". (apple danish). Rode well after stopping to buy my "I cycled the Alaska hwy" bumper sticker", photograph the BC border, chat to other cyclists, pump up softening rear tyre, pull my pants up etc.
Decided to try for "Moose Meadows" campground on the strength of their flyer offering hot showers and free firewood. Another 80ks over hilly terrain with less than 5hrs daylight remaining. No worries!
5ks later had to change my rear tube.
Met Gordon & co and he (again) offered me water -- this time accepted and agreed to meet up at Moose Meadows.
The valley closed in spectacularly and I started climbing as it started raining.
Some savage little jumpups, so unlike yesterday (where i kept putting my raincoat on and taking it off 10 min later) decided just to get wet and dry out. 10hrs later it's still raining!
Spectacular mountains, valleys, lakes, gushing waterfalls rushed passed me as i struggled to ride with enough effort to keep warm. I desperately needed to stop and eat, but i was too wet and it was too cold!
Probably should have stopped at Jade City (truck stop) but I had an appointment to keep, so I pushed on.
Last 25ks gentle and sometimes not so gentle downhill. I later learned I'd come over a 1050m pass. Faster, but colder. Rain seriously stinging me. I could see the mountains, rivers and lakes, but struggling to see the road. Progressively lost feeling in toes, feet, ankles, fingers,hands (struggling to change gear) then fore arms.
Even though totally buggered, and probably with hypothermia, the last 10ks out of the saddle sprinting at 35kph to try to keep warm.
Made it to Moose Meadows and jumped straight into hot shower. Only took clothes off first because i didn't think to jump in fully dressed. 20min soaking in hot shower.
Ran to bike to get dry clothes pannier stark naked.
Camp sites indeed covered, and place even nicer than promised, but still bucketing rain, so hired a log cabin with wood stove.
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