Well, I’m finally about to set out from Umeå. I came up here only knowing that my great-grandfather had come from this area in the early part of the century. I thought I’d meet a couple relatives, get a little family history and be on my way. A couple of days at most. Well, no. I got here and it turns out that my ancestor came from a very large family. My grandfather had 44 cousins, and my mother has 134 second cousins. Many of them still live in this area, often in houses where they grew up, or very close by. I’ve been eating for a week and a half, going for dinner and fika (coffee) with many of these relatives and getting family history etc. It’s been really great, and I’m really glad I could take the time to do this.
Anyway, before I came up here, I spent a few days travelling up the coast. Uppsala, just north of Stockholm, is the historic capital and has a lot of great site – I only saw a few of them. I left Uppsala late in the evening and drove on. That night and the next morning I realized that something protects stupid people. I hadn’t bothered to make a reservation or anything, and when I got to Gavle at 9 or so, the hostel’s reception was closed, of course. I decided to keep going, finding camping later. By 11 or so, I was getting low on gas, and in a fairly desolate stretch. And there are VERY few all night gas stations in Sweden. I finally saw a camping sign (Swedish roads are well signed) and went there. Turns out there was a non-affiliated hostel by the campground, so I didn’t even have to do the tent thing.
The next morning I got gas and went to the next big town to get some food. Just as I’m coming up to a gas station I notice the oil light was on. So I pull in and get oil. But what kind? I’d neglected to ask when I bought the bike – I think it’s likely 10W40, but, who knows. Ask if there’s a Honda dealer in town. No go. They say they have motorcycle oil – it’s synthetic 10W40 and costs $27 for a litre. Ouch. So I buy it and put it in. About half of it. Get on the bike – oil light still on. Think maybe I need to ride it for a bit to get it to go off. No such luck. Now I’m in the parking lot of the supermarket – go buy food, pondering the necessity of calling my breakdown cover and taking it to the shop. Come out and the light is still on. Hmm. Maybe it takes more oil than I thought possible. Add more. And more. Most of the bottle – but now it’s too full, and I’ve had it on the side stand. I realize that I have to take some out. I try to do this. Then I think, “oh ho, I should have it on the centre stand to get more out”. Do so. Open it up. Oil gushes out, all over the parking lot. I get a lot of it back in the bottle. And then some more out. Finally try starting it again. The light is still on. And I know there is more than enough oil in there. Hmm. Finally notice a little slot below the oil light that looks as if something can be inserted – a key perhaps. Try that. The oil light clicks to green. I gather some gravel and cover up the oil and am thankful I know no one in this little town who could have witnessed this.
Of course this was before coffee. I should know better than to do ANYTHING before coffee.
Just a side note – there are many good things about my dash that all motorcycles should have. A fuel gauge. A clock. Self-cancelling turn signals. The oil light needs work though.
I then drive on a bit, stopping in Sundsvall for coffee and lunch (at, I kid you not, Wokie Dokie). Wander a bit – there’s a street fair going on, and it looks to be fun to drink beer there, so I decide to stay the night. Went down and drank some of the beer (not bad, but pricy). Stayed up late, woke up late, talked to the person working at the hostel – a woman who used to ride on the back with an ex, and now wants to do it herself. Cool.
That day was grey and between a drizzle and a rain, with some nice wind as well. I rode north anyway, stopping a few times for coffee etc. Actually, at one point, I was so cold and wanting warmth that I was actually promising myself that I could stop at the next McDonalds. Now those who know me know I never eat at McDonalds, ever. But that’s what I wanted, I guess something familiar, where I’d know what I was getting. I had a fish burger, coffee and an apple pie (no fries, cause they’re not vegie).
Anyway, I got to Umeå that night and to the warmth of my relatives.
The next stage is to go north to Norway and ride along the fjords a little, heading over to the Lofoten islands and then head over to Finland, perhaps going to the Opera Festival, and then leaving the scooter in Helsinki and taking a train or bus to St. Petersburg (insurance doesn’t cover Russia) and maybe take a side trip to Talinn as well. Then I’ll take a ferry back to either Stockholm, Poland or Germany, as my insurance doesn’t cover Latvia or Lithuania either. Beyond that, who knows – Paris and Spain are high on the list. It looks now like I’ll be coming back in mid-September, except I still don’t want to really go back to Vancouver.
And now I’m off again – here’s the map to date.
And some other pics.
Bridge in Stockholm – riding along and this is one of the vistas
Parked at the bell on the bastion in Uppsala – note cathedral spires
From the bastion, looking at the castle
Motorcycle parking by the main square in Sundsvall. We should be so civilized
High Coast Bridge – long and windy (that’s plenty of wind, not many turns)
Arriving at relatives place near Umeå
The lake my family lives by
Boating on the lake