Chris' 1994  R100GS/PD ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650

Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

July 28, 1999 -- Where to begin?!

Lattitude:   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 (46F = 7C).   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 clear/sunny day.

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 Don't be fooled, the sun was only out for 5 minutesincrease 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 us.

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 aTodd and Martina 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 6633'00".  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.

Happy Anniversary!   The Arctic Circle


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