Monday, 28 July 2008

I'm in Avista for lunch

Despite a lot of rumbling thunder yesterday afternoon, I am now edging into the second week of lovely cycling here with blue skies, melting tarmac on the road, and gentle breezes - no rain yet.

Yes, I should splurge on a T-shirt or two... rather than wearing the Icebreaker wool top, although this is surprisingly comfortable to ride in in the 30° heat.

In fact I've settled on a routine of rising at 0400 and riding until breakfast time (0700), then stopping for a siesta in a wood (inside the tent to keep insects at bay), emerging at 1700 for a bit more riding. This has been working very well for me, I'm clocking up 100 km days by riding in the two cool periods and of course the already quiet roads are even emptier in the early mornings and late evenings.

The slight downside is that there's nowhere to take a shower, and I could do with carrying even more water than the five liters already distributed around the bike. However the ICA stores I tend to shop in often have a fresh fish counter, and staff are generous with their ice on request.

Incidentally, I'm impressed at the variety and freshness of the produce for sale here - even more choice than I'd find in equivalent shops in the UK. The Swedes obviously take their food shopping seriously!

The scenery is just beautiful here - the suggested route may have been penned by someone with an obsession for hiding out in the woods, since it doesn't seem to pass through any places large enough for a shop, but I can work around that by diverting to a large town after breakfast each day. The scale of the map I have is 1:500 000 for this region, which makes route finding hit and miss - I spent three hours on a gravel road winding through pine and birch forests and long lakes last night after leaving Sala, before groping my way back onto the tarmac road I should have been on, which ran mostly parallel to the alternative. I am glad to have the compass and a GPS with me; I envisage some serious back-tracking at times on the smaller gravel roads. Fortunately the terrain continues to be very gentle, and traffic has not been a problem at all.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jerry,

Found your trip blog via your old piece on Tentipis. I'm in the pre-purchase phase of indecision, so wonder if you can help me? I'm after a great family basecamp tent for car camping, then as the boys get older, for boat and canoe camping, so the Varrie/Safir 7 in canvas looks great. I just wonder about the floor in the wet - we mostly camp in Scotland and the floors don't look like a "boat construction". Also midges - you must be testing midge exclusion on your Scandinavian trips. Very grateful for any advice. Happy travels - Magnus

Jerry said...

Hi Magnus!

Good news - the Comfort inner tent performs really well at keeping out midges and mosquitos. The drawstring net at the top of the tent is alive with activity here in Sweden, but it is all outside. As for the floor, this is a bit more subjective... the four zips are covered on the underside with thick nylon webbing, but water would come in if you put the tent on boggy ground. I've found it fine on any surface that doesn't squish when I stand on it though. In terms of thickness, the floor is fairly thin - a thorn would puncture it. I also have a thicker tentipi groundsheet which would be more thornproof but ís heavy (for its size) at about three kilos. Too heavy to take unless you have a car also I think. Hope this helps!

Jerry said...

One thing to note ... the outer tent is not midge or mosquito proof if the cap is open - there's a compromise made here to stop the heat rising from the fire from damaging the material.

Actually I suspect that the mosquito-proof netting on the vent holes and doors of the outer tent is not midge proof either because the holes are conventional mossie net size, not "no-see-'um" size.

So - it pays to get an inner tent (or to make your own, if you have the time - I made bits of mine very succesfully).