I’m a bit of a minimalist when it comes to carried equipment. I was more or less happy with what I had but I would be riding solo in a few days so I decided to ditch some of the kit. Here’s what got mailed back home from the Salla post office:
- Leatherman holder.
- Fleece jacket
- Small tarp
- Three nylon straps
- Two T-shirts
- Sealskin socks
- One pair underwear
- Gaffer tape roll
- Short rope for tarp
- Road map of Southern Finland
- Waterproof top bag.
Also, my back tire was getting pretty worn. It was clear that it would not survive the whole trip. I called around Northern Finland. Not TKC-80’s anywhere, but I managed to find an Enduro-3 in Rovaniemi. Too bad it was a bit off our track, but hey, the Hobo rolls where he must. Not before some great trails further up north though.
This was another day I had been expecting. We were headed for Tuntsa, a large wilderness area. We had a long way to go so we were riding the tarmac slow on shallow throttle to save fuel. The route would be 315 km and according to my calculations I would have enough fuel for 330-370 km depending on the throttle. We would be riding on fumes before the next petrol station but we should make it.
The beginning of the ride was extremely dull and we stopped at Tuntsan Pubi. An outdoor activity center of sorts with accommodation, food etc. I asked the owner if he had any fuel to sell and we were in luck. We got a few liters each and had now enough to surely make it through this leg.
I was super happy and we even had a cup of coffee before leaving. The 690 was feeling really nice with the smaller luggage.
The road to Tuntsan Pubi had been very boring but just beyond it the fun started. Once again in perfect weather and now we didn’t have the fuel issue to worry about. It was time to drop the hammer and blast though the excellent roads. The keeper of Tuntsan Pubi had warned us about reindeer calves which were moving at this time. I remembered the horror stories he told and kept a wary eye on any bushes close to the road.
Pushing through the route we found some reindeer gates, a normal sight in Northern Finland. Be sure to close them if you find them.
The roads were very dusty hard pack, covered with loose marble sized stones so you had to ride with confidence. Fast and on the pegs worked for me. I noticed that my confidence in the bike and my riding skills had improved in the last days. I was thoroughly enjoying tearing through the empty roads in the back country. Jarmo was keeping his distance or just not keeping up. I totally understood as the dust cloud I left behind the 690 was massive.
I was in a real flow state, riding very confidently. I stopped to wait for Jarmo and took a call while waiting. Jarmo caught up and passed me. After finishing the call, I started after him thinking I’d catch him easily. I was dead wrong. All my confidence was gone as well as the magic. The road just felt loose, slippery and dangerous. It’s a funny bit of kit the human brain, eh?
The lovely road soon spat us out on some boring, wide and straight dirt road. We took a brake by a river and Jarmo took a swim. After that we continued on a smaller road and the magic suddenly came back. Very nice high speed cruising. We hit tarmac after 200 km on dirt and decided to ditch the rest of the road and take the fast route to Sodankylä. We had some lunch there, before the last fast leg to Rovaniemi.
Every time I visit Rovaniemi, I always stay at The City Hotel. They are biker friendly with MC only parking, a free wash site and have a nice terrace too. Highly recommended. It was nice to be back in civilization and we enjoyed a few well earned beers.