The Arctic Circle Part IIPosted: September 3, 2014
Sunday 31st August
Leaving Iisakki Village was a bit of wrench for all of us. We’d been made to feel so welcome (and warm!) that another 250 miles south through chilly Finland felt like the less pleasant option. But push on we did. Steady main roads for the main part now as we head out of Lapland and on towards Helsinki.
Monday 1st September
It’s tough to know how to start writing about a day like today. It’s one of those that you plan for but hope with all your heart that it never happens. I had joked with the guys on several occasions about always checking in my mirrors for their twinkling headlights and the gut wrenching feeling when I couldn’t see them – of course it was always because they were behind a car, around a bend or just dropped back a little. Until today.
I had just checked the mirrors, seen everyone and then about 20 seconds later, checked again only to find that there were no lights twinkling reassuringly. I was right next to a concrete strip between the carriageways so I went over and started back down the motorway.
The first thing I saw was bits of broken bike along the wide grassy central reservation and then all three team mates standing up. I struggle to recall the last time I felt such relief. As long as everyone was standing up, no-one could have been hurt that badly and everything else, as complicated as it might get, was secondary.
As it turned out, an animal had run out in front of Mark, who had managed to avoid it but then caught a wobble which was unrecoverable. Our first concern was making sure Mark was OK and we were ready to go to the hospital with him. The paramedics took Mark to hospital, just to be sure he was OK. Unfortunately, the Triumph was not rideable and we needed to get it recovered to the nearest dealer. It was on his insistence that we carry on – his words were along the lines of ‘It’s pointless you lot waiting around for me at hospital. I can sort myself out and you can finish.’
With Mark in the hands of the experts and the police happy that nothing could have been done to avoid what happened we ensured the bike was delivered to the local triumph dealer and we made the call to continue the trip with the full support of the rest of the team not least by Mark himself. So we go forward, one team member not with us in person but certainly with us in spirit and should those spirits start to lag I’m sure we’ll all discuss some of the very funny moments we’ve enjoyed so far when Mark was with us. We all wish him a speedy recovery and safe trip home.
Tuesday 2nd September
Yesterday, incredibly enough, we’d managed to reach our ferry in Helsinki, over to Estonia with 20 minutes to spare. As you’d imagine, all our thoughts today started with those for our missing team mate. He’s on his way home and safe.
Today was an huge contrast, from the ordered, calm of the last few days riding in the North we began the day in Estonia which was in stark contrast to the other countries we’ve seen so far, less dramatic in terms of scenery but still with its own rustic charm, from Estonia into Latvia, or as I had christened “The Land Time Forgot”…..it was just so far removed from Finland, Denmark and Norway, those countries were design led – this was functionally led and then into Latvia…. It was mayhem, chaos and madness all rolled into one! Cars, Trucks and people all converging on each and every gap that appeared in the road irrespective of the direction they either wanted to go to or where they came from….and we were in the middle of it all – what fun!