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Journal for 12-Sep : Mt St Helens Visitors Centre (Seaquest State Park)

Slept for 12 hours. Lay in bed for an hour waiting for the rain to stop. It didn't, but the wind picked up.

Very hard cycling down the Finish side of the Tana river. Road bitumen, but very narrow, and as this is (almost) salmon fishing season, it was pretty busy.

Very scenic at times. Crevices in the cliffs still harbouring snow and ice. Lots of wind (headwind of course), ups and downs, traffic, a terrible road surface, rain, cold with occasional scenery. This must be New Zealand!

Café hot chocolate and doughnut at the boarder town of Nuorgam, with the prices both Euro and Norwegian Kroner (NOK). Purchased some silicone spray and coated the tops and main sides of my panniers.

Rain eased off and I grabbed the chance to ride on. Two amazing things happened within 3km of crossing the border into Norway (no guards, but a system of cameras records who enters and leaves). Firstly, the sun (sort of) came out. Secondly, both the wind and the road shifted, and for the first time since two countries ago, I had a tailwind!!!

Very easy 20 or so Ks to Tana Bru, and returned the daily average back to 20.

Poked around Tana Bru for a while. The site of pay phones very welcome. The fact they don't take coins, only cards (which the local shop was out of) was a problem. Very keen girl in the tourist office a big big help. Let me use the phone to book the ferry. I now have two and a half days to ride the 180km to the ferry port at Kjøllefjiord. That's one more than I need, but I'm going to be early to Alta as it is.

Went to the library to use the free internet.

Checked out the campground, affiliated with the town's only hotel. A massive dump. TV room locked and used to store old junk. Tiny amenities block with a single pay for use shower. Kitchen a single electric pot heater in a disused toilet. Not even any grass to camp on, just muddy gravel. The asking price? AUD30.

I'd heard Norway can be expensive, and a trip to the single supermarket confirmed this. In Finland every town big enough to have one supermarket - and that didn't need to be all that big, generally had 2. Even Utsioki had 2, and I was able to buy my favourite pear cider for the same price I first purchased it for back near Turku. They did stock cheap French style bread, and none of that awful black Finnish stuff I'm glad to see the back of. Most disappointing is chocolate is expensive :-(. Cold meat was expensive and the selection pitiful. I just had to settle for the cheapest sandwich filling I could find: smoked salmon! (about 2/3rds the price in Oz)

Cycled out of town, found some low scrub to camp in. Ate the last of my Finish chocolate.

Foggy morning, even foggier glasses.

Big pancake breakfast at Elma, sent home a few useless things.

Fast flat riding mostly on deserted back roads with a lovely tailwind. Low clouds/fog burned off and for a change I was riding in beautiful sunshine with bear arms!

10ks from Centrailia "clunk, clunk, clunk" and a very unstable feeling coming up my left side. It was not my hip (yet), but my left pedal. It had been clicking since day 3 (indicating something not right in the bearings) and making the occasional clunk (bearing getting jammed), but now would not rotate at all. Percussive maintenance required.

Wasted an hour in Centrailia looking for the bike shop & getting replacements. One thing about small town America is you are never far from a really big small town.

More great tailwind riding, especially south of Toledo, where the LP recommended deviations were really well worth it (but impossible to follow in the reverse direction ).

Bought a mountain of fresh fruit at Toledo, only to find my panniers still full of the fruit I was supposed to eat for desert last night - before Dairy Queen put me off all food.

Made the detour to the Mt St Helens visitors centre (uphill, into the wind), but it had closed by the time I got there.

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