My friend Jarmo would be joining me today. I got an SMS from him early in the morning stating that he was on his way. It would be a couple of hours before he’d be anywhere around where we had made plans to meet so I was in no hurry to get going in the beautiful morning. I started off at around 1045 and refueled before taking off to road north.

After the initial tarmac section, I was riding on similar gravel roads as yesterday. Very nice stuff in perfect weather. At some point I sent Jarmo an SMS informing him of my plans to ride to Virtasalmi to meet him. I finally made it there, but there was no sight of Jarmo. I checked my phone, but there was no communication. I thought about it for a while and decided to stick to my original route and headed north east on gravel roads.

I stopped in Varkaus to refuel and managed to get hold of Jarmo on the phone. He was far away, enjoying the nice riding on good roads. We agreed on a general direction where we’d meet and decided to check back in two hours. I continued NE and called him. In the end after the two hours we were within maybe a 100 km of each other and we decided to meet in Keihäsniemi, which was only 40km away from where I was.

So I continued there, parked and had a bit to eat. I was feeling a little tired so I took a nap in the sunshine, leaning against the front tire of the bike. About 45 minutes later Jarmo arrived on his KTM 990 Adventure. He was travelling a lot heavier than I was, which is okay for the 990 I suppose. He had three hard boxes and a large waterproof bag and an extra fuel can. I’m more of an enduro guy so I like to keep the bike as light as possible with just the soft Adventure Spec Magadan panniers. Anyhow, it was great to have the team in the same place finally.

The team finally united.

We took off in good spirits and headed north east. After ten minutes we got off the tarmac and hit gravel. I was interested in seeing how the big 990 would perform. Jarmo has much more experience in motorcycling than I do, but it’s mostly road riding and not enduro. I was equally interested to see how he’d do on gravel. He was in for a bit of a rough start as we hit very loose sand immediately. The heavy 990 is not the optimal ride for that kind of terrain and Jarmo and the behemoth went down. I turned around and rode back to give him a hand getting the bike on it’s feet.

There really is a huge difference in weight. Anyhow, Jarmo seemed a little shaken up since dropping bikes was probably a new experience for him. Us enduro guys spend most of the time with bike on it’s side than the rubber side down. Having said that, I must confess that the 690 has not taken a fall yet. Anyhow, the bike was fine with some scratches on the crash bars and luggage to give it some credibility.

We kept pushing NE on excellent roads and dual tracks before deciding to call it a day and start looking for a suitable campsite. There were some interesting spots nearby and we decided to go and have a look. We arrived at Lake Säyneinen and the location was incredible. We had a small beach, soft terrain to pitch tents and even a fire place with chopped firewood. And not a punter in sight.

We parked the bikes and started cracked open some warm and well shaken beers. No matter, it was still good. I was feeling sweaty and hot after the ride so I decided to take a swim. The water was cold but very refreshing. Boosted by the cool waters of Säyneinen I pitched my tent at the end of a small peninsula and made a fire.

It was midsummer’s eve but we didn’t get into the whole typical Finnish drunken mayhem that most people do on that night. Instead we enjoyed some roasted sausages, a few beers and Jarmo had brought along some cigars and even a bottle of cognac. A peaceful evening in an incredible setting with some well earned luxuries. It didn’t take too long for Mr. Sandman to appear and we retired into our tents in the quiet midsummer’s eve.

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