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Aug 21 2009

Sometimes Mother Nature wins

I thought sleeping in a tent in the rain would be the low-light of the trip…but it turns out that wind is much worse. I learned this on our 2nd night out when our campsite was buffeted by rolling bursts of high winds from the sea. And this was unlike any wind I’ve ever experienced before…you could hear it coming several seconds before it actually hit, and it sounded *exactly* like a car approaching at high speed on a wet road. Even weirder, the buffeting would last about 20 to 30 seconds, and then there would be about two minutes of nearly dead calm before the next blast would arrive.

The tent actually held up very well, Dr. Darling and I…not so much. Because even if you could manage to block the sound of the tent being buffeted, the movement of the walls and roof was more than enough to keep you awake. I’m afraid to think about how little sleep we got…and this in spite of the fact that we even re-oriented the tent in the middle of the night so that one of the narrow ends faced into the wind. This reduced the stress on the tent somewhat, but did not make it any easier to sleep.

By 6 a.m. we were done trying, and decided to strike the tent, pack up all our gear and take shelter in the kitchen/lounge room in the camp’s service building. Turned out a neighboring tent belonging to a nice Swiss couple did not fare as well as ours did. We saw it stuffed in the back if their car on our way to the service building…which is where we found them sacked out on the kitchen floor.

By this time it had started to rain, so the Swede and I took the opportunity to try to catch a few winks in the lounge area while the Swiss couple made their breakfast. It was not an ideal setting for napping, but at least we were out of the wind and rain.

When the camp cafe and reception opened at 10 a.m, we walked up there to check the weather on the free wifi. The forecast was not good, so we headed back to the service building in the hopes the rain might at some point dial back to at least a steady drizzle. By 1 p .m. Dr. Darling was getting antsy…staying another night would mean paying for a pricy cabin, and after the hellish night we’d just had, we both really wanted to get out of there. But there was one big problem…we each only had one pair of shoes, and it was critical that we keep them dry.

On previous bike tours, we’ve addressed this issue with sandals, but we knew it would be too cool to wear them up here above the Arctic Circle, so we left them at home…not realizing that we’d need another option for riding in the rain. The simplest solution we could come up with was wrapping our shoes in plastic bags, but we didn’t have 4 of them that were large enough.

Bound and determined to leave, we rolled up to the service station that was just up the road from the camp entrance and asked the mechanics if they could help us out. Not only did they come up with 4 adequately-sized plastic bags, they also threw in some masking tape so we could seal them up around our ankles. Of course we looked like total dorks, but at least we were dorks with dry feet. And with that settled, we pedalled out into the rain. Blech.

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Feed my ego!

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