Woke up and noticed that the 2nd and 3rd tent poles had cracked once and twice, respectively, too. The tent was now virtually unusable. After the first pole had died back in Eidfjord, I’d ordered a replacement in Germany from the shop I had bought the tent from. I found an email in my inbox today telling me that they’d ship it approximately 2 weeks from now.
Checked into a cabin, frustrated.
Decided to cycle on tomorrow, and stay in cabins until I’d find a new tent. Ordered replacement poles from the tent manufacturer, too.
Went to town to check with the outdoor shops about a tent repair kit that’d fit my tent, but to no avail. They didn’t have any affordable replacement tents which I knew were good and would buy on short notice either.
Conditions were slightly better than yesterday. Still I rode about 173km until I finally found Umeå’s campsite.
Met another Swiss couple there who had more or less just started their one-year cycling journey. They were about to head north towards Luleå.
One of the tent poles cracked a second time. I was out of repair stuff as the pole had cracked before, in Eidfjord. I managed to put the tent up with some help by the Swiss, but I need a better solution quickly.
Horrible ride along the E4 to the north towards Umeå. Most of the time there was no designated cycle path available, nor an alternative road. So I had to cycle on the highly frequented and sometimes frighteningly narrow E4.
At other times cycling on the E4 was not permitted and a marked alternative route was available. While that route went through picturesque countryside and over roads with very little traffic, it was quite hilly and about 30% longer than the direct route over the E4. Stopped exhausted and annoyed in Docksta after 150km.
We cycled together for about 50km or so before Jonas and Aline turned south and I went on eastish. It was still raining during the day, but the rain stopped in the evening when I arrived in Sundsvall after 155km of cycling.
Crossed the 10.000km mark today (since Madagascar).
The weather was very unsteady again and it rained often.
In the afternoon I met a cycling Swiss couple, Jonas and Aline. They were looking for a place to pitch their tent and stopped at a lake near the village of Säter. I joined them tenting there and we had an interesting evening chatting. I’ve ridden 103km today.
The weather wasn’t great today and I crossed into Sweden in pouring rain. Had a look at a meteorite crater. The road has now considerably fewer climbs and, on average, gradually descends towards the Baltic Sea. Reached Hede after 148km.
Took the ferry to Sandefjord in Norway. Yesterday I was quoted 76 Swedish Crowns, today I had to pay 190. Apparently yesterday the bike wasn’t included. It’s more expensive than a person because it can’t shop aboard.
The ferry was boring. Everyone was just shopping tax free… haha.
The boat arrived in Sandefjord around 4pm. I cycled out of town and dismissed the first campsite for it was too cramped and full with campervans. The second one didn’t seem to exist.
Had to climb the first hair pin bends today. For some reason I find the countryside here in Norway much more scenic and idyllic.
Eventually, after 52km, I stopped at a non-public camp site and tried to ask a lady about staying there. She didn’t understand me and so we both babbled along at each other – she in Norwegian, me in English. Found someone else with a better command of the English language and got the OK to pitch tent.
Shortly after Sandefjord the clock showed 8000km since Madagascar; 750+km since Trelleborg.
I missed the dry spot this morning – the time between waking up and the start of the rain – to pack everything, and decided to take a day off. Strömstad is not spectacular and seems very touristy. Norway is close, by both ferry and road. Also, it was a holiday (midsummer something?) so there was not much to do besides laundry and reading.
It was a stormy and rainy night. At least the rain stopped around 10am and I left about an hour later. For quite some time I had a nice tail wind. The last 40 or so kilometers were less fun.
Arrived in Strömstad after 128km. The first campsite I cycled past was close by the sea, but parted in two by the main road. The one I’m at now is directly at the main road, too, but on a hill or big rock which helps keep the noise down. At least I can see the sun set from my tent.
However. It is way cheaper to stay in a hostel in, say, downtown Auckland than to camp in Sweden. And this one is officially the most expensive campsite I’ve been at so far. Yet you have to pay an extra 5 crowns for a 3-minute-shower. Time counts from when you insert the coin and it doesn’t matter whether you actually use the water at all. I almost died entering the shower for it is so bloody slippery. Also, the place is full of Norwegian bus-sized (as in greyhound bus) camper vans. Everyone here is 75 or older. Does nobody tent camp anymore???
Midsummer night festivities start tomorrow. That prolly explains why so many people from the neighbouring country are here. It’s so much cheaper here. Looking forward to Norway.
Woke up early and noticed another tent and bicycle some hundred meters from mine. It was a German guy on a six-day-tour around southern Sweden.
Left at half past 9 and changed plans en route. Originally I wanted to go to or near Vänersborg, at the lake Vänern, Swedens biggest lake. It turned out a bit difficult to find a direct route that avoided highways, so I decided to go more westish, circumnavigate Göteborg, and then go even more to the west onto some islands (over bridges, and tomorrow by ferry).
Today’s roads were quite diverse. From single-file-only hilly dirt tracks to massive main roads and cycle paths next to autobahn-like highways. Through beautyful valleys, close to a water fall, through some of Göteborg’s poorer and richer suburbs.
Close to Stocken I noticed a statue of a uber-sized deer with a Kangaroo head at the road side. I wondered why anyone would put it there. When cycling past I saw from the corner of my eye that the statue moved. I’d seen my first elk.
Reached Stocken on the island of Orust after 162km.
Left the mosquito-infested place around noon and decided to take another half a day off. Cycled only 51km to Örby, pitched the tent and read and slept in front of it in the afternoon sun. Later it started to rain and I went to bed around 8pm.
After finishing the previous post another cyclist arrived, Mili from Sweden. We chatted until late and had a 2-hour-breakfast together this morning and then left in different directions. He is headed for Portugal.
The campsite I originally wanted to go to wasn’t a proper campsite. Only a place to stop with a camper van in the middle of a village. So I cycled a bit further to Ullared, 128km in total. From cycling through town it looked like they have more shopping centers and supermarkets than inhabitants. The campsite was full of biting mini-mosquitoes.
Slept in today (the tent’s too cozy) and left around 11am. The idea was to go to a remote campsite north-north-eastish of (but quite far from) Höör. Rode some dirt roads today. They don’t deserve the name, though, they’re almost as sleek as tarred roads. Amazing, compared to Madagascar, Australia or Germany. At 6pm, after only 80km, I decided to call it a day and stopped at the campsite in Markaryd. There’s only one other tent here. Everyone else, mostly old people from Germany and the Netherlands, has a camper van. They have free wifi and a coffee flat-rate here, too.