The middle of Sweden
More then one month under way, the reality starts shifting to this kind of life. 10 days living only outdoors with temperatures at night around freezing and during the day around 5°C. I had prepared well enough, so I didn’t feel cold. But the constant wind on a bicycle started wearing me down. I was more and more hungry. My power seemed do degrade and my mood saw some dips.
Snow in may
It was not only cold, a few days with melting snow during the day and even snow during the night were added. To keep most of my thing dry, a precise timing was needed to put up my tent in the evening and stowing it away in the morning. With a bit of luck that succeeded pretty well. As long as I could keep the wet clothes separated from the dry things all would be well.
As the days passed, my requirements only grew smaller and smaller.
The thing that would make me happy in these days was just being indoor for an afternoon. Sitting in a couch, looks amazing!
More to add to the ‘adventorous’ feeling was my cheap self-inflating mat was steadily becoming a self-deflating mat. You know the feeling, when camping, you wake up in the middle of the night just to inflate your mat a little bit…
Speaking of the night, something else that needs a lot of attention, is the little hours of darkness. As I’m nearing June & i’m going north every day a bit further, the sun is waking me earlier every time. Every day, the sun was a quarter of an hour earlier. At the end of these 10 days, the sun came up at 3h45.
While the scenery stayed impressive, an unavoidable setback came upon me. On such a big trip it can be expected that there will be driving in circles, routes that suddenly stop, roads that finish their existence without warning. I was following the cycle route signs that helped me the last days, until suddenly the signs showed a different way then my map. I decided to follow the signs and not the map, that seemed the wrong choice, when after a few road crossings, there was not a single sign pointing me the way. After starting my manual navigation, I made a little mistake. I only found out about this error, when I arrived at the E4, where I discovered that after 40km of cycling my progress was only 3 km.
At the same time the sun kept hiding behind the clouds, so my solar power was limited. The day after there was even less sun and more rain, so even less power. The perspective of a warm shower pushed me forward with an empty battery. The last hours the motor could just stop suddenly, as the battery showed only emptiness on the display. With the power on minimal assistance the whole day there were only few things to do.
One was paddling as hard as possible, the other was hoping for some sun after the rain, or eternal down hill, or other even less probable changes. An other option was to stop somewhere and ask to charge the battery, but that -of course- would not happen as one of the personal goals is to only charge by solar power. As I was staying dry from the rain and getting soaked in sweat, I neared my goal when suddenly at exactly 1000 m from my destination in Umeå, my motor shuts down, so there I was, for the first time, driving the rig all by myself. I have to admit, that is not what I want to do for much longer.