Alvsbyn – Arvidsjaur 96kms 554’ ascent.
Early up and early off. The trouble with the sun never setting is that there is not time to cool off. Wet tee shirt time for me, even at 8 in the morning. After a very short ride Alan announced that we had completed our first 1000kms (only 6.5 thousand more to go, assuming Al counted them right in the first place). Still a bit of a milestone nonetheless. Coffee breaks in this part of Sweden on a hot day comprises hopping around in the shade of the undergrowth, spilling coffee while trying to dodge the airborne attack of the midgies. The latter having got the better of us, we continued our ride through this rolling boggy land and tried to come up with a more successful strategy for our lunch break. However, the road through the rolling bog land, had a surprise in store – it stopped. Well, not exactly, but some numbskull had decided on road works only there was no road surface (they had finished the surface removal very successfully ) and no works of any sort that we could see. Despite the rocks, grit and odd bits of tarmac, white vanman still drove at lunatic speed creating a dust storm. So now, we were choking as well as bouncing around like Tigger. Rumble strips eat your heart out! Still it did take our mind off the little aerial bug*****s.
After 60kms, we realised that we had, once again underestimated our liquid requirement and we were now hallucinating about there being maybe a drop of liquid in one of the cans carelessly tossed in the ditch. More realistically, the situation demanded a cold calling on some unsuspecting householder and requesting a refill for our water bottle. First, find a house! We did, after umpteen kms. A very old lady answered the door to this alien holding an empty bottle. She may have been old, but she had lost none of her wits and quickly grasped my dilemma and, bottle in hand, went , presumably, into the kitchen from whence came the sound of running water. In the meantime the other elderly occupants of the house had come to inspect the oddity at their door. I smiled; they smiled. Then my benefactor reappeared with filled bottle and ice cubes which I shoved into my pocket and returned with my precious goodies to Alan still patiently holding the bikes. Our thanks to those guys. Will do better tomorrow.