Day 3, Thursday 14 June:
I got off to an even earlier start today! 8.45! Still feeling good, knees not too sore at the end of each day, and they feel fine in the mornings!
Now was the acid test of my route planning! Soon afer leaving Karkku there was one short stretch of the way that internet route planners just would not cover (see big circle on the map).
There's clearly some kind of track, but you couldn't call it a road (the dark blue is my addition, showing my intended route). A route planner would send me northeast to Iirola, then left on route 11. But I wanted to keep my route as short as possible, and do only one side of a triangle instead of two. When I arrived at the "edge of the unknown" I could see that certain vehicles have used that track in the past, but it was just a dirt track with wheel ruts where it's soft, and where there are ruts there are pools after rain, and we hadn't long had some rain!
The heading into the inknown started well, but after a few dozen metres it was too soft and wet and muddy to even attempt to pedal through it on a trike; it (and I!) would have just got plastered with mud, and I would have ground to a halt!
Sorry about the fuzziness!
So I had to unload all my bags and carry them 50 metres to the other side of the wet stretch, then go back for the trike, which I also carried (it's only 16 kilos unloaded).
And that was that! The rest of that unknown section was trouble-free, and I soon came out onto a gravel road again. It was the turnaround loop of a forest road. Not far from that loop I came upon habitation, in the form of a reindeer smallholding - right here, in the middle of Southern Finland! There was some kind of paddock, and on the other side of it through the trees I could make out a building or two. In the paddock near the fence on the far side there were three or four reindeer.
It didn't take long to get to Eskola (see map again) and the tarmac surface of route 11! It had been quite an adventure! I guess it wasn't long after that that I texted home: "Too much gravel road but back on tarmac again, 22 kms behind me already!".
Eventually I reached Lavia (a place that always makes me think of Latvia with a spelling mistake!) and started looking for a place for lunch. I didn't fancy the bar/pizzeria, but then I spotted Apusiskot's Kitchen! They specialise in home cooking, and at reasonable prices. Again I should have made notes on the way, as I no longer remember what I ate, but it was good and it filled me up!
When I planned the route I also checked what geocaches might be do-able and not too far from the road. Luckily summer days in Finland are very long, which allowed me time to digress and spend some time looking for caches. So a 10-hour day cycling included 2 to 3 hours looking for caches. I found 5 caches on the first day, 11 on the second, and 7 today. This third day was also the longest so far, 81 kms by the time I arrived at Matti and Kaija's towards 6 pm! You can't imagine the feeling of elation when I got there! After three days on the road, along a route that I'd planned myself, and found my way with the aid of the GPS of course! Now I could relax and rest, amongst friends, whom I hadn't seen for quite many years!
We had a lot of catching up to do, some of it in the sauna, and some over supper.