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Old 08-23-2012, 10:53 AM   #1
kuhjunge OP
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Sauerkraut & Tofuwurst - vegan bikers ride through Finland

We decided to make a test drive this year in Finland to figure out how it is to travel with the dogs on a sidecar, what kind of distances we can take, we wanted to test our equipment. Some of it was supposed (more about this later) to come with on the ultimate ride, and for other stuff like the tent, we wanted to see what size we need so that we all fir in fine. We gathered a lot of experiences on our equipment and some stuff - nevertheless how fency - seems not to work fine for us or milady or me.

12 days - 3250km - plenty of gravel roads
a spooky tunnel, fun and of course mosquitoes

The route (a color indicates the route driven of one day)



The best street of this trip - it says that this street is not maintained and driving is at own risk



Spooky tunnel


A surprisingly fast worn-out backtyre


An attempt to finance the trip - mining for gold


Camping in the middle of nowhere


Trouble with the luggage


Albino - reindeer


Sunbathing

kuhjunge screwed with this post 11-11-2012 at 09:51 AM Reason: pic trouble
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:08 AM   #2
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Day 1 - From Home to Sysmä

Our first riding day started with the usual hazzle before leaving. Watering and fertilizing the flowers, quickly re-arranging plants. Packing the last minute items and so on. I used the space between the sidecar and the pannier carrier system, put a few strings there to create some kind of net and then packed three roles there (see pic). Finally we were ready to go.







The target was to get a feasible distance from home and drive such that we can explore the mystic tunnel the next day. The ride was going pretty well. We drove all the way to Sysmä camping ground via Road 25, Sälinkää and Asikkala - a distance of 196km.

The girls were just sleeping fine went we rode on asphalt roads. As soon as we hit bad roads or gravel roads, they got a little more nervous. I could see Lyra sitting quite often there and watching the surroundings. Hertta and especially Ulpu took it much easier during riding. Every time we stopped and I walked around the bike, the girls knew they will get out and then they naturally got all excited about it.

The weather was really pleasant. It was sunny and temperature was about 25C, what lead to the situation that I left some warm clothes at home which I would have needed later. Well I did manage after all. Ilta's clothes are SO small, that she fits several pants and jackets in the same size as one of my T-Shirt is - a clear advantage of being skinny.

We build our tent right away besides the lake - maybe a distance of 5m with a lovely view. Until the mosquitoes came and forced us to go inside the tent. The nite would have been lovely - just the humming of the bugs and Hertta snoring, if there would have not been the crying baby in the neighbor tent. Even earplugs did not help and so we got up the next morning a little exhausted. Well, the couple came and apologized - even though I think that this happens when you sleep on a public camping place - Still ... no good for mental health and save riding.

The girls were also fine with sleeping in the tent. It took a few days before they understand the concept of a mosquito-net ... the ladies always wanted to go through it.





And so the first day ended.

~ Wolfi
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:17 AM   #3
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Day 2 - the ride through "Pönttövuori" tunnel

The highlight of our day 2 was the ride through the Pönttövuori tunnel nearby Jyväskylä. It's an old deserted railroad tunnel. The track and ties have been removed and loose gravel is left. What a better way to test one's own bravery. I had serious worries whether my better half will manage with the Suzi. The tunnel is about 1.2km long, was finnished in 1918 and used until 1995. Thanx to the BMW GS meeting folks - I had the pleasure to ride this once before.



Inside the tunnel its pitchblack, you have no idea what there will be in the way or in the waterholes. The stones underneath you are moving and make the ride rather wobbly. A few ups and downs have formed over the time ... so enjoy the ride through it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-RyWCvopd0&feature=g-upl


and BTW, I have Xenon lights at my bike - not the old and sad BMW "pocketlamp".

Skippy made it!

Now Africa - you can come! I thought that if she manages this, she will be able to manage anything. She was a bit shaky. It was a good decision to have the break with food afterward the tunnel and not before :)








Before Pönttövuori 






After Pönttövuori






Milady slightly relieved - it's over ;) - well done!





We ended the day in Leppävirta after riding some 280km small roads and gravel roads. At Leppävirta camping ground the owner had a new type of accommodation - permanently build Laavu. Really cozy inside.
















The laavu had even with electricity and a proper light :)


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Old 11-10-2012, 06:03 AM   #4
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Leppävirta - Ruka (640km in two days)

Rain already announced itself in the evening in Leppävirta. So next day was a day in riding in more or less pouring rain. When we stopped to agree the next break another biker with a frightening looking mask stopped and asked whether we need any help. No, we did not. Anyhow we must have looked miserable, so he showed us the way to next gas station and invited us for a cup of coffee. That was very welcome since we were starting to get cold. So we went and then he told, that his nickname is Waltsu. He is a member of the "Blue Knights", a policeman and he has a Goldwing with sidecar. Time flew and we needed to go on. Great guy :)









This is Waltsu




and his Pingu








Obviously the summer already ended in Kuhmo, as the camping place was already closed, so after some long 30+km more, we found a warm cottage to stay over night.








An attempt to dry our stuff








Lonely roads in Finland




















and the first reindeers



The next day was much more friendly and plenty of gravel roads were calling us when we rode to Ruka. Our standards got higher with the weather getting bad and the temperature falling. So we rented a cottage in Ruka with own sauna - it was a luxury place compared to the other places we have been so far.








Mökki in Ruka


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Old 11-10-2012, 06:07 AM   #5
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Most stunning road - or shall I say forest-way

In Ruka I realized that my back tire wears off really quickly when riding my sidecar on the gravel roads. It was seriously time for a new one. Of course it was Friday and no tire in Kuusamo area before Monday. We did not want to hang around for an entire weekend in Ruka because of the tire. So we thought whether we can continue more north in hope to get a tire there off the shelf or - if ordered - the tire would be there by Monday. Good plan and then reality hit. I called some shops in Inari and Sodankylä and the answers were always similar. If ordered today, the tire would be there for mounting earliest Wednesday. What a disappointment!




Worn out back tire

So we turned West and checked the situation in Rovaniemi. Great they had one tire for me in the shelf, so I reserved it. We made it to the shop 10 minutes before closing and I got my tire. Now the only problem was to get it changed. Remarkably I just bought all the tools from RM Heino so that I would be able to change a tire by myself. However, I left all those tools at home, since I though that the tire will last this trip. Porkana!


Lucky for us, Petri & Petri (one Petri is Ilta's friend) had rented a cottage in Rovaniemi and granted us some shelter in their 5-star deluxe cabin. They also had good connections to other folks in the town and they tried really hard to help us. All the best intentions did not open up any shop, always the same answer - come back on Monday. So not much difference to Ruka. Then they found a friend who had a big metal work repair shop and there were plenty of tools, so Jussi became the hero of the day as he sacrificed his Saturday morning and help changing the tyre. It was quite an act to get the tyre of the rim, the rest was easy. After two hours the new tyre was mounted and we were good to go. It felt great to be back on the road without worrying about the worn-out back tire.

BTW - the profile on the back tyre was negative when we changed it. I could see the carcass




Petri & Petri - ready to go out



On the way from Ruka to Rovaniemi we found the most stunning gravel road. It was marked grey in the big street map of Finland (1:800 000) and when we came drove there, we saw a welcome sign




Unmaintained street - driving at own risk

The road was really nice, narrow and peaceful - check the video clips:

http://youtu.be/VVzWdjFCi8c and http://youtu.be/FzEay6R4NAo



In the evening we arrived at the deluxe mökki and girls were so dead :)




Tired girls after a day's hard ride

kuhjunge screwed with this post 11-10-2012 at 06:12 AM
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:55 AM   #6
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Subscribed, as they say. But what that Porkana! means? Should that read ***kele?
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:15 AM   #7
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Another great finish report . Keep posting please !
-zie egret.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BothniaBiker View Post
Subscribed, as they say. But what that Porkana! means? Should that read ***kele?
Yes it should
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:22 AM   #9
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Looks good

your first post has some pics missing..

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Old 11-11-2012, 09:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
Looks good

your first post has some pics missing..

Thanx for the hint - need to pay more attention to those links
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:08 AM   #11
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Camping wild

Improvized change of tyre




Thanx to Jussi who spend his Saturday morning changing the tyre with me.


It was Saturday morning and after the tire change, it was time to hit the road.
We took a couple of bigger roads, to get still some mileage done this day. Our plan was to stay overnight in Ylläs. We found a place with a free cottage and then surprise surprise - NO DOGS

What a disappointment and the owner gave a pretty lame excuse why dogs are not ok in their cabins

Well, the hint to some neighbor did not lead to anything either and so we just drove on until we found a suitable place in the middle of nowhere.





Camping in the wild

Note: About 1.5l of water are required for a quick wash.

The next day we went to Inari. Skippy's chain started to become troublesome now and required frequent adjustments. Of course we had again plenty of gravel roads in between and this seems to require significantly more maintenance in respect to greasing and cleaning the chain (Folks - remember I am a "shaft" guy (Kardan), never have owned a motorbike with chain!)







Maintaining Skippy's chain besides the road






Reindeer's are everywhere and sometimes they pop-up surprisingly. Luckily they are not quite as jumpy as a deer.






"Albino - reindeer"




The two Petris did move north also in the meantime and they arrived at their camp nearby Saariselkä. Since the distance between Saariselkä and Inari is about 70km, we accepted their offer to come and stay at their place. This would also allow us to have one resting day which we would use for finding gold and gems ....


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Old 11-11-2012, 01:34 PM   #12
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Day 8 - digging for gold and gems

It was time for a day of rest. Since we had the invitation from the two Petris to stay at their camp, we decided to stay for two nights and join them in their mining activities. The campsite had all sorts of peculiar devices and warning signs





Special mining devices


Girls had a lot of fun. They could be running around free all the time. Plenty of things to sniff and explore.


The mining happened where-ever. The mud is carried in buckets to those water cleaned in those sluicing systems. Pretty impressive for a first-timer.



Watch the video with the sluicing system in action:

http://www.youtube.com/v/0WHgBIy6_-I

Gold panning


Lyra guards the kitchen


The creek was very idyllic and chilly





Sunset


That was a great experience. In the evening we went to Sauna to the neighbor's place at "Rainbow's end" in Saariselkä. We had our first warm wash since Rovaniemi

Rainbow's end "main office"



By the way ...

... please don't think that we found anything remarkable during that day .... it was still fun
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:46 PM   #13
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Risks when riding on gravel roads

I guess it's time to share with you the little accident we had.

Besides all my best efforts to have the luggage secured and tight to the bike, one bag got loose and fell off. Of course, it was the bag with all the kitchen gear in. To make things real bad, the bag remained hanging behind the bike on strap. Instead of just falling off and waiting to be picked up, I dragged the bag with few for several hundred meters before I noted it. The results are here ...

This is how a bag looks like after pulling behind the bike for several hundreds of meters.


Eating pots were banged together and it took raw force to pull them apart


Even the coffee went


totally demolished Winnie the Pooh SIGG bottle - still tight! (it contained rum to give my new kuksa a proper start)


banged and leaking gas cartridges


Dismantled mixer


Plenty of more went totally or partially broken. All together the damage was far over 400EUR of value. An expensive and good lesson for me

Of course, Milady tried to hint me that the bag fell off and waved heavily (so she said). I did not noticed a thing as I was focused on the street. Well, since she was waving, she had only one hand on the steering bar and this is not too healthy when riding gravel roads. Now she knows that also. I only look occasionally into the back mirror and if I do not see her, then I stop and maybe I go back to look for her - as I did in this case .... still pulling the bag behind me
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