I woke up pretty early and went for a swim in the refreshing waters of lake Säyneinen. That really woke me up and I was drying myself in the morning sun. Jarmo was up too so we broke camp and decided to ride to Nurmes for breakfast. I changed my bike’s luggage configuration, adding a small dry bag with my clothes on top and leaving the Magadan panniers half full.

Our route took us to Northern Karelia, with the distinctive feeling of leaving the south behind for good. The terrain was very good. Sweeping views of valleys opening up every now and then from hill tops, only to change to lush marshlands. Just very, very good riding.

The roads were gravel and sand. There was a particularly soft section and I was wondering how Jarmo was doing on it. I decided to wait for him to make sure he was okay or if he needed some assistance. Quickly he appeared from behind a bend and was cruising nicely. I started off down the road and took a last glimpse in my mirror. Only to see him do a spectacular highsider and land on the soft sand. I turned my bike around and rode back to see if he was hurt. He replied it was just his ego that was hurt and in good humour be picked up the bike and rode on. The soft sand literally ended 20 meters later. It was funny in a way. The trail liked Jarmo’s bike so much that it just had to have one more hug before parting ways.

We ended up doing a bit of tarmac to get to Nurmes. Our morning ride had been longer than expected so our breakfast turned into a lunch. After people watching and eating we refueled and set off once again to the gravel roads, heading towards Juntusranta where our next fuel stop would be.

The area north of Nurmes was really good riding on sandy roads and trails. My route contained a river crossing, but the bridge was gone so we had to find another route across. This detour threw us on probably some of the best riding thus far. Narrow, overgrown tracks with plenty of ascents and descents. I was stoked out of my mind, feeling good on the bike. The tracks were getting smaller and smaller so I had the nice feeling of not knowing whether this route would have an impassable obstacle or not. Just beautiful stuff, which was starting to feel like what adventure riding is all about.

Some general weirdness in the countryside.

After a couple of hours, I was starting to feel tired and sleepy. We decided to take a break on the shores of Lake Ontojärvi. Before taking a swim I had some sandwiches and took a nap in the sun.

The Behemoth needs a drink.

Refreshed by the waters of Ontojärvi, we pushed on to Ala-Vuokki for fuel. Unfortunately the gas station was closed and the pumps didn’t accept credit cards so pushed on to Suomussalmi. We bought some dinner aka. sausages and beer and refueled. There was a nice camping ground just east of the village where we rented a tiny cabin for the night and settled in.

I did a bolt check om my bike to find that one of the Rally Raid soft luggage rack bottom bolts had screwed itself out about half way. No big deal. I re tightened everything and went on to have a beer and roasting sausages. I slept like a baby that night.


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