Terii’s Cycling Babble

Curse of Cash Card Phones
May 15, 2011, 6:00 am
Filed under: Day Rides

Okay! Hopefully back on track for catching up on posts now that the technical difficulties are taken care of!

Written May 3rd – May 2nd Ride

It was fairly nippy when I woke up.  Around 38 F, so I was quite content to let my husband sleep in as I worked on the blog for the previous ride.  The sun rose in a clear sky and I waited.  Around 6:30 am, I heard sounds stirring from the other room and Jens finally walked out, squinting, to ask if I’d make him some coffee.

By the time I handed him his coffee and a breakfast sandwich, the sun had vanished.  That took a bit of my enthusiasm with it.  Chilly out, looking like it might rain in brutally cold wind?  Ummm.  Yeah.  I could wait in hopes of a bit more warmth.

It was Jens who finally bullied me out the door.  It was quite cool out, but the wind wasn’t nearly as bad as the day before.  Don’t get me wrong, it was still quite forceful and I definitely had learned my lesson.  I was not riding north for anything.  That determination pretty much decided where I’d start.  Nothing for it, but the northern tip of the island at the lighthouse there.  Jens even knew places he wanted to fish along the stretch I’d be riding.

North Point of Öland

The sun started peeking out through the clouds on the much shorter drive north.  Less than 15 miles from our cottage.  Light and shadow played tag over the wind-swept spit of land leading to the lighthouse and waves frolicked on one side as wavelets lapped shyly on the other.  A thick spread of broken clouds ran before the cool north wind that would be at my back.  Very pretty.

Blue and Blue!

On the way in to the lighthouse parking lot, there had been one cattle guard, but my husband was more than happy to stop and wait there to help me get Loke across since it looked like a good spot to fish.

So, off we went!  It was beautiful.  The broken clouds showing glimpses of blue sky above the leaping waters with white caps rushing up onto a beach of pale, broken stones.  Loke and I burned through the first mile.  Less than 5 minutes and that was with a potty break for the furry one and a photo stop.  We flew and it felt like it was all downhill!  What a difference a direction makes!

A Spot of Sun

That brought us to the cattle guard in what felt like record time.  The railings were flat, so Jens just scooped Loke up and carried him over while I rattled across.  Then we both were on our way, since Jens had decided he wanted to try a place a bit further south.

The sun came and went as Loke and I cruised along.  We probably could have done a 9 mph average for the first hour easy at that rate.  If I didn’t stop.  I really needed a bathroom though.  A little further on was an outhouse as the stretch of beach to the west was a national park.  I stopped and made sure Loke, very excited still, wasn’t going to run off with the trike.

I quickly changed my mind after a peek into the outhouses.  People had been using them for garbage cans.  Bags of it crammed in around the seats even.  I suppose I should be happy they hadn’t just strewn it all over the beach since there were no garbage cans in the area.  In that situation though, I’d take out what I brought in.

Öland's Northern Most Burial Ground

I could hear the waves below and the occasional cry of a sea bird over the deep-throated hum of my tires on the less-than-smooth pavement.  The metronome staccato of Loke’s paws on gravel and grass almost made it musical.  It had turned into a beautiful day.

Very quickly, I came to the end of the national park and in the last little parking area with its sign, I spotted our car and my husband fiddling with fishing gear next to it.  I swerved over to pull in behind him.  I didn’t do it just to say hi.  Right past the southern end of the parking lot was a grave field.  Quite a few stone cairns piled on the beach.  Jens took Loke and the three of us went for a short walk among the graves as I took pictures.

Top of Burial Cairn, Waves Beyond

My husband mentioned the waves were kind of unnerving.  The shore along that stretch is very shelf-like.  Almost terraced.  Flat section, sharp vertical drop, flat section, so on.  The tide was just at the perfect height so waves would come rushing up to hit the edge of a shelf only a few inches below water.  The impact threw these high arcs of spray every 3rd wave or so.  In places where he could get deeper, he mentioned, the larger waves pulled pretty hard.  He told me he was going to sit and enjoy the view, make a few casts while drinking a cup of coffee before moving down the same path I was going to ride.  I told him I’d see him in a bit.

One Of Many Starting Points

I passed a couple of older men on my way through Byxelkrok, which by the way is one of the starting points for the Sverigeleden!  It winds through the northern half of the island before one would have to catch a bus to carry their bike over the bridge to the mainland.

The men, one riding a bike and the other walking one, both gave me startled looks and waved as I passed.

I must say, a Monday on this part of the island in the off-season is quite peaceful for cycling.  I think on my whole ride I saw less than 10 cars.

I followed the Sverigeleden through a small residential area on the south-west end of Byxelkrok.  The signs pointed me down a tiny road following the shore line.  I was somewhat familiar with this stretch since we’d driven it after my previous ride.  It wound through pine woods with beach beyond or over wind-swept grass/scrub with beach beyond.  Most of the west side of the road was national park land, but the east side was dotted with small houses and little summer cottages.

Blå JungFru (Blue Maiden or Virgin)

Across the water, a large mound of an island sat, with bare rock bright against the darker green of plant life.  On one of our drives, Jens had wondered what island it was.  I’d told him I didn’t know.  But as I watched the view of it change subtly with our progress along the shore-line, it came to me.  After looking at my map book for so long, a small splotch of an island had engraved itself on my memory.  Blå Jungfru and I also recalled there is a boat out to it.

Blå Jungfru translates to ‘Blue Virgin’ or ‘Blue Maiden’.  It’s really just a hill sitting in the middle of the water.  The whole thing is a national park.

There were a number of cattle guards along the road, but they were no problem.  Off to the side of each was a paved section, made to be gated when animals were present, but all the gates were open.  The ones lacking the paved strip, had small wooden bridges to one side with a gate held closed with strong springs.  Those two, I had to stop, untether Loke to lead him across.  Then I’d clip him to a tree, ride across and on we’d go.

Cliffs. If Only Light Had Been Better.

I was in view of a line of red cliffs when I noticed it was time to call my husband and let him know the dog and I were just fine.  No answer.  I tried once more and thought little of it as I took the picture of the cliffs.  They didn’t come out very well since the light angles threw them into a dark shadow.

The next time I tried to call Jens, I started feeling a bit stressed when I got a notice that the amount on my phone card was very low.  It also occurred to me he hadn’t passed me.  I have an annoyingly fertile imagination, but I pushed the worrisome thoughts back and kept going.  One thing was certain, Jens would have to call me as it seemed best to save what little phone time I had left for emergencies.

Loke's New Stylin' Socks

He did call and said he hadn’t heard his phones ringing in his pocket over the crash of the waves as he stood thigh-deep in water.  Completely understandable.  I’m certain the only reason I knew to answer my phone was because it was in the little belly pocket sewn into the front of my cycle shirt.  I felt it vibrate and never would have heard it over the roar of wind in my ears.

Though I’d only been out for less than 2 hours, Jens came to get me since my phone was so low on time.  The plan actually had been to check out a couple other spots he wanted to try and I’d start cycling anew.

It didn’t work out that way.  Instead we had a driving adventure over very rough roads I wouldn’t take the trike down if I could help it.  Big rocks everywhere just waiting to ambush my rear derailleur.  It was a jouncy ride, a bit hair-curling at moments as I could look out the window and see the road edge some 3 feet away or less dropping into a 10 foot fall with jagged rocks for us to crunch onto.

We did find some interesting sights though.  An old quarry close to the water.  Öland used to be famous for limestone it seems.  The entire island is made of it.

Sweden's Only Wind-Driven Scubbing Mill

An old scouring mill was really interesting to see as well.  It was a very tall windmill.  The lower parts were open frame made of bent tree limbs.  It drove flat blocks of stone in a circle to scour limestone flooring slabs smooth.  Apparently it was invented by a man who lived on Öland.  It replaced the horse or ox driven scouring mill which an example of lay on the other side of the road.  I’m not surprised someone on Öland invented the wind driven one given the island is mostly limestone and wind. *chuckle*

VERY long explaination and history if you click the mill’s thumbnail.

We bumped along that road for the better part of 2 hours.  By then, we decided we should shop for dinner and go cook it.  Both of us were quite hungry.  We also recharged my phone’s time while at it.

So, not a long cycle, but a good day.  Right now, I’m waiting to see what the weather is going to do this morning.  I woke to 28 F and gray.  Not something I want to ride in.  To think, my last ride close to home, I was overheated and soaking down Loke’s ears.  Summer was muscling in on spring’s time.  Now, it seems winter is trying to shove spring away.

Come on temps!  Get to upper 30’s at least.  PLEASE!


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