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Journal for 26-06-2007 : Utsjoki

How can you tell it's night time in the arctic? The rain is colder.

Slept for an hour or 2 on a bench seat in the camp kitchen. Woken when I got too cold. Noticed it wasn't raining quite so much, so I finished packing up, put on all my warm clothes, and cycled off through Ivalo at 4:30am and 6C.

A few hills, a fair bit of rain, but some lovely lakeside riding too. Best of all, NO F'ING BLOODY HEADWIND !!! It makes such a difference when applying force to a pedal sees me go forward rather than just not slow down.

Made it to Inari at about 6:30am. Put on some more clothes (civi's over the top of my bike clothes) and waited for the service station/café to open at 7.

Hot chocolate, a doughnut and a nap and it was 8 and time for the supermarket to open.

Rode over to Kaamanen. More hills and lakes. Had "hotel" breakfast. Still very touristy. Lots of trinket shops, would be theme parks and English signage.

At the hwy 92 (the most direct way to Nordkapp) I ditched pretty much all the traffic. At last I think I've found the Finland I've been looking for. True wilderness, hardly anyone around but a great (deserted) road.

Road climbed steadily (1-2% grade) up to a low plateau covered with shallow lakes, gushing streams and midget beech trees. Road built like Stuart Hwy: all long slow curves, no crests, no blind spots. Fantastic cycling.

Once over the top of the climb I could see what's left of Finland stretch out before me, and just before plunging into a river valley I could see the snow capped peaks of Norway towering over low lying Finland.

Picked up some undulations and some local tourist traffic as the road sped me down along next to a rapidly flowing river that should be bursting with salmon. Lots of fly fishermen about, not many fish being caught.

Cooked dinner in the campground camp kitchen with all the fishermen cooking sausages. They tell me this summer has been too cold, and the salmon haven't started their spawning runs yet.

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