The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hi from Lapland, Finland.

Hi again:

I have been riding through southern Finland for the last several days. It is a land of lakes and forests, and the topography is almost as flat as a pool table. I am sure that if you flew over this country, all you would see would be trees and water.

Fishing an logging seem to be the main activities here -- that and taking saunas. I see logging trucks all the time, and I saw a train with car after car of logs the other day.

I have been traveling with a married couple from Germany. He is Peter, and he works with heavy machinery and wants very much to visit Caterpillar in Illinois. Her name is Esther, and she comes from Nigeria. They met when Peter was working on machinery in Nigeria. I don't have a picture of them alone, but I do have a picture of the three of us in the dining room of a Russian woman in whose home we stayed overnight.

The Russian woman's name is Olga. She lives in Finland now, hates Obama, is divorced, and isunhappy about it. She flirted with me shamelessly, and then proceeded to make us a delicious meal (even though we had already gone to the store, bought our own food, and cooked it on the barbecue grill), She talked incessantly, and brought out a bottle of vodka which she kept pouring into glasses for us to sample. I think she drank two for each of our one, and, that bottle dry, she popped open a bottle of whisky.  Quite the drinkers, these Russians. Thomas, Esther and I quit the liquor long before she did.

I have not been taking many pictures because the scenery here is just like Minnesota with its many, many lakes and its mile after mile of pine trees. Don't get me wrong, though -- I do like Finland (I would like it better if only it would warm up and quit raining).

One of my favorite memories of Finland is going to be finally getting a new chain for my motorcycle. The old one had been making a terrible racket, popping and cracking, and I had been looking for a new one for weeks, stopping at about every motorcycle shop I could find. I finally found one, thanks to the help of a very kind Finnish man (He was a travel trailer salesman. I stopped to ask him directions, and he spent about an hour on the phone calling around, and even more time doing an internet search). He located one at a motorcycle supply house, and even got me a 30 percent discount. I had to drive about 150 kilometers to locate the supply house, and then I found I had to have a special tool to put the new chain together with. The next morning, I located a motorcycle shop that very graciously put the new chain on for me at a very reasonable price. And it makes all the difference in the world to ride with that new chain on, I can tell you.

I am camped in Rovaniemi, Lapland tonight. It is a beautiful town and I am planning to stay here several days waiting for the summer solstice which happens Friday. The people here plan a big party that night (the sun will not go down at all, so I bet the party goes on long after I go to bed. It should all be a lot of fun.

 Thomas and Esther are camped right next to me. They don't plan to stay here for the summer solstice party. We are only a few kilometers from the Arctic Circle, so I think I will ride up there with them in the morning, then see them on their way to Nordcap, the most northern point you can ride to on a motorcycle in Europe.

But first, have to go to the grocery store to buy tonight's supper.

Shopping would probably be a lot easier if I could read Finnish. What do you suppose this is?

Sometimes you can't be real certain of what you are buying. On the other hand, sometimes it is pretty easy.

It is almost midnight now. Supper is over, but the sky is daylight bright. I have blinders I wear when I go to bed. Time to go put them on.


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