Life Is A Highway

By Stephen Ewashkiw | July 24, 2013

4556 km so far.

Or at least our ride today is a highway. We are riding from Pärnu to Tallinn over the next two days, and we have not enough time to take the scenic route following Eesti’s coastline. So, this means we are riding along the A4 highway for the next two days.

Highway riding is not fun. Today there is a small shoulder, at least, that runs next to many many large trucks transporting goods between Pärnu and Tallinn. Some of them give us room when they pass, others come scarily close. Cars going the other direction also either don’t see us, or choose to ignore us, when passing, and drive straight towards us in our lane. We have taken to waving to these drivers, hoping it will make them think about cyclists a little more.

Those that see us just wave back.

The Long And Windy Road

I have decided of all the elements we have come across on our trip so far, wind is my least favourite. Today was another windy day, and it came in bursts. A lot of the countryside is forest, but where the land has been cleared for farming, the wind is fierce. Instead of a steady headwind, today we were treated to wind from both sides, the front and the back, with it swirling around us and hitting us with blasts of invisible might. It makes my whole body hurt from the focus and effort it takes just to keep going.

Jane was very good today at taking the lead when the wind was clearly getting me down. Thanks Jane. I don’t think I could do this much touring alone, and tip my hat to those who do go it alone on a long journey.

Street Food

Our dingy campground had more of the infamous, to us, Baltic water. That is, undrinkable. The grocery store near us wasn’t open until 9am, so instead we went to a cafe, drank coffee, and got our water bottles refilled.

We then retired to the local park to have our muesli breakfast. When people stare at us while we are riding, as they often do, it feels strange and rude. Today, as we ate our muesli from our plastic bowls in the park the stares felt justified.

After some intense highway riding, we stopped for lunch by the side of the road. I was quickly swarmed by mosquitos. It has been so windy the past couple of weeks I had begun to think we were out of mosquito country. Not so.

Fortunately, David in Budapest had recommended Avon’s Skin So Soft as an excellent mosquito deterrent and I bought some (thanks to my parents for bring it to me in Poland). I haven’t had much chance to use it yet, but today it worked perfectly. The mosquitos stayed away long enough to have a great lunch of tofu, vegan pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and cucumber slices on pumpkin seed ciabatta. Pretty swish for side of the freeway dining.

Ah, cycle-touring. It’s nothing if not glamourous.

Life In The Fast Lane

Our goal today was to ride until we were within easy reach of Tallinn for tomorrow, so after about 70 km we started looking for somewhere to stay. Pocket Earth showed a campground we doubted existed, and as we passed the road it should have been on there was no sign for it, and no sign of it. However, there was a sign for a hotel up ahead with caravan camping spots.

The hotel, Ruunawere, is roughly 50 km from Tallinn, and has a great set-up for tents and caravans out back. There are showers, a bathroom, a sauna if we wanted to splurge, and several picnic tables and covered areas perfect for cooking and eating.

campground estonia

Our entire lives are in this picture.

We gladly welcome the return of hotel camping to our lives.

We may have to ride along busy freeways, eat where hobos would eat, and sleep out back in the yard of a hotel we choose not to be able to afford, but really, I would not trade this in for much at all.

Travelling by bike is freeing, empowering, and thoroughly enjoyable. I love the simple challenges it presents.

We are both quite good (and getting better) at accepting them and making the best of each and every day.  

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  1. Comment by Cassie

    Cassie August 5, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Skin So Soft was always my grandpa & grandma’s mosquito fix on the farm; glad to know it still works!

    • Comment by Stephen

      Stephen August 9, 2013 at 4:10 am

      It is amazing. I hadn’t heard about this trick before Budapest. Smells so much nicer than actual mosquito repellent!

  2. Comment by Milena

    Milena July 30, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Beautiful you guys!

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