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Journal for 11-Sep : Shelton

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.

Got a good early start, beautiful clear sunny morning as I struggled over undulating roads to the Hood Canal Bridge.

Hood River Bridge even more terrifying heading south. Think Mercier Bridge, or maybe Tom Ugly's, reduce the number of lanes to two, double the traffic, remove the sidewalks and thats about it. Oh, and add some angled rails to trip the cyclist. I spent 15 min halfway across waiting for the 90sec gap I needed in the traffic. There was nothing, ad I eventually took a 10 second gap to take the angled rails. Waited another 5 min, and took a 12 sec gap and was only passed by 20 cars and just one truck on the narrow climbing bit. I still can't quite believe I'm still alive.

Took a wrong turn at Silverdale and did an extra 10ks, and some over serious 10% graded hills. I always get lost entering Bremmerton. Stocked up on a range of AAA maps.

Nightmare 5ks on the freeway leaving town. Finally back on the LP recommend route, which I intend to follow quite religiously from now on.

Lunch at the Safeway at Belfair: an orange, a pear, a nectran, two bananas and a bagel.

Nice riding around Mason Lake (though some seriously steep >10% jump ups), having not missed the turnoff this time. AAA Maps proved very useful!

Tried to take a photo, but no dice: flat battery.
Sheldon: A real timber town. Bit of a dump downtown too - this town has been well and truly Walmarted. The Walmart here is the biggest I've seen yet. It still didn't have a cable for my camera battery recharger though :-( . Neither did Radio Shack, much to the delight of the ultra-disinterested shop assistant.

Motel guy a bit strange. Made a point of telling me I had the room for the whole night, not just a couple of hours.

Dairy Queen for dinner :-( . Best offering open downtown.

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