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Journal for 25-06-2007 : Ivalo

Kept awake much of the night by the wind flapping my tent and flies around

Campground lady delivered on the weather. I was hoping that a change in the weather might also bring about a change in the wind. I suppose it has gotten a bit stronger.

Had to wait for the banks to open in town, and managed to fall asleep instead. Took ages to break camp in the wet.

Left Sodankyla at 10:45 at 8C in light rain, and that bloody endless headwind.

Every time I think I'm about to find the *real* remote wilderness of Finland I'm disappointed. Today all I managed to find was the tourist trail. Some signs calling it the "Santa's Highway".

Flat, boring, windy, rainy riding for hours out of Sodankyla. It's like the Nulabor, except there is rain, much more traffic and less to see.

Stopped at a pancake/souvenirs stall to revive my freezing feet. Owner tried to sell me more socks.

Lunch break a coffee and doughnut (plus some yummy Finish rice & bread pastries) at Vuotso.

The bloody f'ing wind picked up even more, and a few hills didn't enhance my progress either. Light rain falling again by Saariselka.

Road here like an American highway. Lots of earthworks to keep the carriageway level, a modest amount of paved shoulder, and lateral cracking caused by ice. All of these have been extremely rare in Scandinavia.

Had to park bike out in the rain at Saariselka. Sat inside eating a stodgy meal of potato bake with salmon (not bad), pork (actually bacon, not too bad either) and reindeer (overdone and pretty ordinary).

Back in the road I thought I'd try to find somewhere to camp, but the trees all disappeared and I was down to 10kph pushing into a gale.

Went over some pass, the rain got heavier and I descended for several Ks at no great pace into thumping wind and rain. Got completely soaking wet, and now only a hot shower would do.

Pushed on to Ivalo, now raining solidly. It seemed warmer than up on the pass, confirmed by the service station signs reading +7C.

Campground a dump. No cabins available. Fortunately I was so dripping wet the manager waived the formalities of me filling in my rego card. I'd have soaked her desk had I tried.

Nowhere sensible to set up the tent, just sandy mud, deep puddles or gravelly hills.

Set up camp in the camp kitchen, bringing the bike in with me. No shower as the shower block was so far away I'd have wet a set of clothes getting back.

Cooked a meal, then put all cookers on to heat the room. Tripped the circuit breaker. Traipsed about in the freezing rain wearing short pants I found the fuse box and discovered it was all fuses (about 40), with all the descriptions in meaningless (to me) Finish. Lots of other blown fuses scattered about. Went back into the relatively warm (and definitely dry) camp kitchen to wear dry my clothes.

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