Cross Country

By Stephen Ewashkiw | August 5, 2013

4771 km so far.

Our wild camping spot turned out to be perfect. No one bothered us all night, and we weren’t woken by anyone in the morning yelling at us to leave. Finland has a brilliant law which allows anyone to camp anywhere, as long as it isn’t marked no trespassing, or near a building. Our spot on the shore was beautiful and we awoke to amazing views over the lake.

toy pig next to a lake in finland

Piggy likes swimming in the lake.

I brewed coffee on a large granite rock looking out over the lake, we had breakfast, and hit the road. We planned for a long day of riding today, as we’d like to be on the west coast tomorrow evening. This will put on on track for our next scheduled event, which is a yoga class I teach next Monday in Stockholm at YogaShakti.

Made For Cycling

Much of the ride today was on beautifully paved biked paths, separated from the main road by a verge. We even got to ride under a few underpasses which had been specifically made for bicycles, so that we didn’t have to cross the road.

tractor in a field in finland

Golden fields abound in Finland.

In America, road repair is often used to boost the economy. They could really kick-start the economy if they decided to commission bike paths like these all over the country. We dream of coming back to Los Angeles in a few years, and it would be amazing if they used some of the vast swaths of empty land to put in bike paths that cover the sprawl. It’s the perfect cycling city, if only someone would build the infrastructure.

We rode to the town of Fiskars, where the knives and scissors come from (although they now make them in China) and had a look around. It has many plaques posted telling tourists about the history of the town, and had a couple of bus loads of tourists wandering around reading them.

Much of the town now revolves around selling locally made wares to tourists. Since we weren’t buying anything, shops like the locally made clothes shop, the glass factory, and the paper shop (which was closed anyway), didn’t really hold our attention.

historic building in fiskars

Another historic house, Fiskars.

We did have delicious Finnish cinnamon rolls (a national specialty) and tea while we got online, plugged in, and updated the blog. Two things missing in free camping are WiFi and power plugs. This is probably a good thing.

The ride after our tea break was challenging, but in many ways perfect. For the first 20 km only one car passed us. It got a bit busier for the second half of the ride, but was still no busier than a small country road. The roads wound their way up and down hills, around granite boulders that had proved too big for the road builders to move, and past tranquil lakes. The roads took us through pine forest carpeted with blueberry bushes that reminded us of the Baltics, and past a “closed for the season” ski resort.

Pocket Earth, the offline mapping app we are using for our trip, is amazing. Sometimes, like in Slovenia when it sent us to an impassable border crossing, it leads us astray. Mostly though, it is an amazing tool. Tonight it was fantastic.

Cabin In The Woods

We had mapped our way to a small lake which we hoped to camp beside. Turning off the main road, we ended up on a dirt country road which wound past a few farmhouses. We even got a quizzical look and a wave from a farm lady. Pocket Earth then directed us onto a dirt track that, if we didn’t know any better, we would have assumed was only for use by tractors working the fields. When we got to the end of the track, there was a small cabin with a path leading down to a dock on the lake.

We knocked on the door but no one was at home.

After a quick scout around we decided we could pitch our tent down at the lake edge, make dinner on the dock, and take a chance that the owner wasn’t coming to the cabin later tonight. It was already 7:30pm on Monday night, so the odds were with us. As always, we will be very tidy, pick up after ourselves, and unless they show up early tomorrow to go fishing, they will never know we were here.

stephen on the dock in finland

Dinner at sunset, on our dock for the night.

Oh, also, we rode 111 km today. This is the longest distance we have covered in a single day. We were both very tired by the end of the ride, but the countryside was so beautiful, and the roads so good that the first three quarters passed us by without us even realising how far we had gone.

We had just enough energy for a meal and a swim, and were in bed before the sun, listening to the lake lapping the shore a few feet from our tent.

Soundtrack: Chris T-T and The Hoodrats, The Bear | Common Prayer, There Is A Mountain  

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  1. Comment by michael moldofsky

    michael moldofsky August 8, 2013 at 6:40 am

    I can’t keep up with all this blogging but don’t stop.

    call if you need bail money…

    • Comment by Stephen

      Stephen August 9, 2013 at 4:04 am

      Don’t worry – we will call you. You can make things happen!

  2. Comment by Taina

    Taina August 7, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Oh, you had the cinnamon rolls! Yum! :)

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane August 9, 2013 at 2:16 am

      Yum. We leave Finland today, but hope to get another hit of cinnamon roll before we go.

  3. Comment by Kimberly

    Kimberly August 7, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Absolutely stunning pics and compelling narrative as always. Thanks for sharing and when I read your posts during my work day I have trouble focusing on my work and find myself dreaming of bike touring someday too. Namaste!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane August 9, 2013 at 2:13 am

      I know what you mean Kimberly. I was the same way reading other people’s blogs before we left. So glad we can entertain you at work and maybe inspire you to take off on your own adventure, too!

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