Monday, 23 December 2013

Day 11 - Umea to Bjasta 134km

I successfully woke up at about 7am despite last night and felt fine. After wandering around and failing to find a toilet that was unlocked I had to make do with a portaloo. When I came back the others were getting up/getting ready. I started to repack my pannier bags properly and get everything together. We then got a visit from the campsite owner. Thankfully he wasn't annoyed that we'd let ourselves into the little cabin - Kinza explained that she had pre-booked to camp here (although in tents, not in the cabin). He had a chat with us about the trip and simply told us to come over to the reception and pay when we were ready. Once I'd got all my stuff together I went outside to unlock the bike. I couldn't find my key for the bike lock. I checked on the floor, under the beds, emptied my pannier bags again but no sign of them. This was delaying everyone leaving so they helped with looking. Chris then found it after a couple of minutes down the side of one of the matresses. Panic over we paid the campsite owner and left. We set off probably an hour later than planned. Anyway we soon came across a supermarket. After yesterday's over-spend on food and the party boat I only bought a plain baguette. We had a breakfast food session outside the supermarket before setting off properly. The lack of sleep kicked in around mid afternoon and this along with being back on the boring E4 again made pedalling a struggle. Chris needed a poo at one stage - we were kilometres away from the nearest services. Of course he didn't have any toilet roll with him. I had some somewhere in one of the pannier bags. It was buried so I didn't find it immediately. Kinza had some baby wipes handy so Chris opted for then rather than waiting for me to find the toilet roll, and walked off into the bushes. A few minutes later he was done and we pushed on. A bit later on I also needed a poo. I wasn't too desperate so was able to hold off for a while. No toilets presented themselves and I was starting to feel the strain so pushed on a bit ahead of the others to get to a toilet quicker, telling them that I would be at the next services. A few kilometres later there was a restaurant on the other side of the road. I waited uncomfortably for the others before shouting for them to come over, and rode to the restaurant. None of us wanted to buy any food so I walked in, used the toilet and walked out. The girls had ridden on. It was a nice afternoon and there was a nice grassy area outside. We got some pannier food out and ate for a bit. I felt more awake now but the lads were up for a snooze, so they had a sleep whilst I faffed around with cable ties and bungees on my slaggy bike setup. After maybe an hour or so I woke them up and we got going. Maybe three hours later we reached the outskirts of Bjasta. We had caught up with the girls now (they weren't best impressed when we told them about the snooze earlier). Whilst riding through some road re-surfacing works I felt something go on the extrawheel - one of the bolts had come adrift. I pulled the bike to the side and cable-tied it back together before coasting over to the others who had stopped in a McDonalds just ahead. The others went in and got a meal whilst me and Tom sat outside and got out the pannier food. We only had a small distance to cover now and it wasn't too late :) . After McDonalds we carried on. We were going along the E4 still but it was quiet. I was ahead of Chris and Michelle. At one point they called out so I stopped - apparently they had seen a 'No Cycling' sign so they wanted to find an alternative route to our campsite which was ahead. Me, Kinza and Tom wanted to stay on here as it was just more of what we had been cycling on all day. Chris and Michelle chose a different route and me, Kinza and Tom carried on. Maybe about half an hour later we got to the turn off for the campsite and made our way down this narrow undulating country lane. The campsite was a kilometer or so down the lane. There were a few caravans at the far end of the campsite but otherwise we had it to ourselves. It was overgrown and there were mosquitoes everywhere so we knew it would be a case of slag up the tents as quickly as possible and keeping the doors zipped shut. We went into the reception. It was an old German couple that owned the campsite so Kinza whacked out her German skills to liase about the price. It was expensive and priced per tent. To avoid paying the full amount we said that two of the tents were for the stuff so we shouldn't have to pay for these (lying of course). The owners went along with this and we paid for 3 tents rather then 5. After getting the tents out of the way we went all squeezed into the compact kitchen area and got the food out. We had to use our mess tins for cooking as there weren't any saucepans. After a generous portion of macaroni cheese consumed with the spork and once the others had finished we went back to the tents and actually got to bed at a reasonable 11.30pm with an early-ish start planned for tomorrow.

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