Tuesday, June 26, 2001

Heia, Norway

Friends: A friendly tourist office is momentarily letting me use their computer in case the library twenty miles away isn't open. Just a partly cloudy day today with no threat of rain and none in the forecast tomorrow. I hope the week of sultry weather I endured in Finland is my reward for this and I'm not incurring some debt to be repaid down the road. And the winds remain favorable too. I earned tail winds for the rest of my life back in 1989 while biking the length of South America, as I had to battle unrelenting headwinds for 3,000 miles along the Pan American Highway from the Ecuador-Peru border to just before Santiago in Chile.

The towns are a little more frequent now and there are significant towns off in the fjords, so prices have been relenting. I actually saw my first jar of peanut butter in a super market today, and for just two dollars. So Norway may not bankrupt me after all.

I saw a few pages of porn along the road today. Truck drivers and traveling salesman all over the world are notorious for jettisoning the incriminating evidence before they return home. The roads of Finland offered up a couple of postcards with semi-naked women. The best I ever found was a Spanish version of Penthouse in Spain. I warily smuggled it into Islamic Morocco. It got me out o a jam when some tout, who had led me out of a Kasbah that I was lost in, demanded a gift from me for his efforts. He didn't want money. When I pulled out the Penthouse, he went running in horror.

I've been enjoying fish paste out of a tube on traditional Scandinavian crackers. I grimaced the first time I gave it a try, fearful it might take an acquired taste to enjoy it, like Vegemite, but the version I've been indulging in is sweet and tasty. It has become one of the staples of my diet. I go through a tube a night in my tent.

Not only is the cloud cover saving my sun block, but also my film. In Finland I had to force myself to take a picture every now and then. Here I have to force myself not to take a picture at every turn in the town. With clouds often trapped in the tops of the mountains, they aren't quite so photogenic. Waterfalls abound. There are times when I can see six or more cascading down hundreds of feet.

Headlights at all times is the law in Norway, as in Finland, may be so motorists can keep in practice for the winter months when it is dark all the time. It makes it easy to spot distant traffic approaching from behind in my mirror. Its not all that necessary, as rarely do two vehicles pass me simultaneously from both directions, but when the road is a bit rough its nice to be able to look back and swing out. Only one car in 1500 miles so far has zipped by me close and at high speed. It had a RUS national emblem, the only one I have seen.

My subconscious thought often surprises me with memories and associations. The mirror occasionally transports me to Australia when I was bicycling the Nullarbor Plain on the world's longest, straightest, flattest road. There were no towns for 750 miles, just sporadic road houses and water tanks. When I was bicycling at night I could see tiny headlights in my mirror miles away that took five minutes or more to catch up to me. The mirror also reminds me of Route Two in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the road that prompted me to acquire a mirror. I was continually blown off the road by 18-wheelers on the two-lane highway with a gravel shoulder. They would be upon me before I could take precautions. These memories can go on and on, but I'm being asked to give up the computer.

Later, George

No comments: