66° 33' 00"
The Arctic Circle
-- Story by Chris --
As I sit down to type this, a bunch of things are running
through my mind, and yet I don't know what to write. OK, first off, for your
benefit, we are at the Arctic Circle and it's a wee bit chilly (46°F = 7°C).
Secondly, my bike's odometer just clicked off 22,180 miles, bringing our trip-tally to
just over 8,000 miles. Thirdly its still raining.
And lastly, today is our wedding anniversary. So, where to begin . . .
Erin and I were married on July 28, 1996 -- That's 3 years
ago! It may not seem like a lot to some/most of you, but I've never been married
before, and these things must start at some point. Although we are both pretty good
about remembering important dates, the weather and lack of a set schedule threw us off as
we almost forgot today's significance.
Fortunately, Erin remembered as we were finishing lunch, and we decided we'd celebrate
with a good meal in the evening. I won't bore you with the details, but surfice it
to say we spent twice what we normally spend for dinner, and had one of the cheesiest and
least appetizing meals of the trip so far -- guess that will make it more memorable.
Anyway, we polished off a bottle of wine, played some pool
(we each won 1 game), and dashed back to the cabin during the downpour -- Happy
Anniversary! Actually, we're not complaining, we're 10 weeks into our journey and
we're fortunate for this opportunity. I just wish it would stop raining.
Oh, did we mention The Rain. I don't know about
everyone else, but where I grew up in New York, even a quality rain never lasted more than
2 days. After 8 weeks of relatively good weather, we departed in the rain from
Bergen (Norway) almost 2 weeks ago. The rain has been constant as sunshine in
Hawaii, and a conclusion is nowhere in sight! What's truly amazing is that this is
still one of the prettiest areas I've ever seen. The fjords are simply incredible!
Every day we see enough great views to fill a postcard rack -- Did I mention it's
been raining for 2 weeks?! I can hardly imagine how spectacular this would be on a
The only real issue the rain has caused is in our sleeping
arrangements -- we've stowed the tent and we spend our nights in the small cabins which
dominate this area (gee, I wonder why). Packing up a tent and gear in the morning
while it's still raining is a drag. The increase in camping cost is minimal, and truthfully, at
$20-$25 a night for a cabin, they're really pretty cheap. The trick is to make
reservations in advance. We picked up a map with a list of campgrounds/cabins from
the tourist office, call 1 day before we arrive, leave our name (no credit card deposit
required), and voila -- We arrive at our destination, knowing a dry shelter is awaiting
Tomorrow is July 29th, exactly 10 weeks into the journey.
I never put much thought into how far we would travel, but we've just crossed the
8,000 mile (12,800 km) mark. We've managed to slow the pace down a bit, but we still have a little less(?) to go. Last
weekend, we had 4 days straight without riding the bikes while we attended a friend's
wedding. We did the overnight-train/plane/car thing from Trondheim (Norway) to
Garmisch (Germany) for a wedding, then reversed the process on the return. The
journey was pretty harsh, but the wedding was lots of fun and worth the trip -- check out
the Wedding Photos
Which brings us to the Arctic Circle -- Lattitude
66°33'00". This is not the northernmost point of Europe or the globe, but it's
pretty close and certainly pretty far north. Although we've never been this far
north before, it is exactly as we both imagined it would be: flat, barren, and
chilly. We're glad we've arrived, took the required photos, and now we will head
southeast to Sweden and (hopefully) better weather.
| The Arctic Circle