4422 km so far.
The wind doth blow again today, but at least the day began without any rain. We are at the coast of the Baltic, which seems to mean wind. We need to ride alongside it for at least another two days, regardless of the weather, so we packed camp and headed out.
This is one of the problems with doing things like booking ferry tickets for specific days, or setting up yoga classes for that matter. It sets us to a schedule. And one thing cycle tourists love is the lack of schedule. However, we now have somewhere to stay Tallinn and we have ferry tickets booked for St Petersburg from Helsinki, so our next couple of weeks is more or less mapped out.
To Bike Path Or Not To Bike Path
We decided before we left camp to head straight to the freeway, bypassing the 101 Bike Route that runs closer to the Baltic than the freeway, as we assumed the bike path would have more wind, and would likely be a dirt road.
For some reason, as we got to the turn for the bike path, we decided to take it. For the first 6 km this was fine. It started out paved, and soon gave way to dirt. It was smooth, hard-packed dirt and led us past old farm houses and new summer homes. It was quite pleasant. It was also separated from the sea by a small forest just big enough to cut the wind.
Then we came to this sign.
Yes, look carefully at that picture. It’s a bike portage for one kilometre. Not really into carrying 60 kg of bike along the beach, we opted to head to the freeway, 3 km away.
This is when our nice dirt road became a washboard-ridged, bumpy as all get-up, deep, sandy, touring cyclist’s nightmare.
This 3 km of road nearly did Jane in. It turned a sunny, if windy, morning into the ride from hell for her. Half-way along I thought she might pack it in and camp right there.
Fortunately, she found the strength to carry on, and we made it back to asphalt.
The freeway was busy, and most of the cars were filled with post-Positivus youth heading back to Rīga. This meant our side of the road was less scary to ride on than a few days ago. However, lots of large transport trucks were still going our way, and their bulk going by at 70 kph makes the wind ten times worse.
By the time we stopped for lunch we had only made it 38 km, which is not a strong morning for us. By this point the wind was much worse and we needed shelter. So, we stocked up on groceries in Salacgrīva, the town that hosts Positivus, and then found a restaurant.
Like any town that hosts a festival, Salacgrīva was crawling with the zombified bodies of young adults who have consumed too much alcohol and not slept for three days. All of them were weighed down with sleeping mats, sleeping bags, tents, and backpacks as tall as they were. They were quite entertaining to ride past. I wished out loud that we had several hours to run around shooting post-festival portraits to properly capture it.
We pushed on. And before long, we left Latvija and entered country number 10 of the trip. Hello Eesti (that’s Estonia to you). I was hoping we would cross the border and magically the wind would stop and the sun would shine. Sadly this was not the case. In fact, the weather got worse. It started to rain. And this made the temperature drop.
So, not far into Eesti we started looking for camping. We passed several campgrounds, all set in pine trees and close to the sea. Then the rain really started, and with the wind still whipping around it was time to stop.
We decided to splurge and rent a small cabin at Mini Kemping, instead of pitching our tent in the cold and the rain. We still had to cook outside but we had a small porch, which kept the rain off. Nothing could keep the cold wind away, which made cooking a challenge.
We wrapped up Season 1 of Homeland in our sleeping bags on our luxuriously large bed, doing our best to keep the blood flowing all the way down to our toes. With the tap tap tap of rain on the roof, we were glad to be inside for the night, as we headed off to sleep. ♥