Terii’s Cycling Babble


Wrapping Up Another Year
December 13, 2012, 1:03 pm
Filed under: Misc

Well, it might be a bit premature, but I’m feeling in a bit of a funk at the moment. That sort of mood where you just want to get something over with to start fresh and new. That cold which began as a scratchy throat just hours after my ‘Winter Wonderland’ ride has deeply entrenched itself and the suffering continues. That puts the 800 mile year end goal further and further from reach.

Then, Loke has been diagnosed with an ear infection. He started showing signs of it Friday night before the snow ride and more still Saturday night. Ears kinda flopped to the side which made him look like a white, furry Yoda husky and scratching. Sunday morning, I patted him on the head and he yelped. I’d already planned to go to the vet clinic on Monday, but the yelp threw Jens and I into instant action to find a clinic with weekend hours. We were seen quickly and given treatment, but 5 days into the treatment and there’s been little to no improvement. Last night, Loke started acting sluggish. So, back to the vet we’ll go today. I’m not going to ‘wait and see’ when the bright, lively husky I know and love has been replaced with a furry plodder. On our walk last night, he just walked apathetically along at my side, head low. Not even sniffing or marking. Even offer of a cookie didn’t excite him. It took him almost 5 minutes to finish his breakfast this morning when it’s usually gone in 20 seconds or less.

Frosted Birches

Frosted Birches

So, yeah. I want to be done with the coughing and wheezing and get my puppy healthy to start on a brighter note.

There was a silver lining to the day, I guess. I would have preferred being able to enjoy it without puppy concerns. I’m going to share it as part of my love for Sweden even if I didn’t ride through it. So, get ready for a photo frenzy!

The clinic opened at 11 am, so Jens and I went out for a short ‘business’ walk for Loke before going. We stepped out into a world of fog. A dense misty white obscuring the streets of Uppsala in spite of the 10.5 F temps (-12 C). That’s only been the second time I’ve seen a freezing fog since moving here and the results have been astonishing both times.

The haze was incredibly thick in some places, reducing visibility to 30 meters or less.

We were seen quickly upon our arrival at the clinic. The vet was a very nice woman who quickly confirmed Loke’s rather bad ear infection. He needed his ears flushed clean of the nastiness the infection was building up in his ears which would require sedation. Reluctantly, we left him there for the treatment.

We stepped out into a day that had turned beautifully clear. Every tree with bare branches had gathered varying amounts of frost on the limbs and they practically glowed in the sun. As I sighed at wonder of a frosty winter, Jens suggested we go home to grab the camera and then drive to Wiks Castle to enjoy the scenery. It would be better than sitting at home, fretting about our furry one.

Sun, Snow & Low Laying Fog

Sun, Snow & Low Laying Fog

We were barely beyond the developed limits of Uppsala when we discovered the fog lingered in some places. The scenery of snow, sun and mist was stunning. Every few bus stops, I had Jens pulling over so I could step out with the camera. I went completely mad with taking overlapping photos to blend into panoramas. The views were just too sweeping to allow the beauty and wonder left by the fog to be captured in a single frame.

Stunning!

Stunning!

Jens had endless patience with my camera frenzy. Of course, he was enjoying the scenery as much as I. A little further on down the 55 toward Wiks, we found a wall of fog rearing up from the snowy fields. We were laughing like awe-struck children as we entered the bank of mist tinted a peach or apricot color by the sun shining through it.

Days like this are rare

Days like this are rare

A Swedish Noon In Winter

A Swedish Noon In Winter

At times, it was so dense the visibility was even less than it had been in some places back in the city. It seemed we could barely see past the end of the car hood. One of the worst patches like that was right as we had to make the turn off the 55. Fortunately, those didn’t last very long. It would have made photographing the scenery a little difficult if all we found was a blank, peach colored world.

More Breathtaking Scenery

More Breathtaking Scenery

And More

And More

Tree-Lined Lane To Wik's Castle

Tree-Lined Lane To Wik’s Castle

Even when the fog thinned, we still tootled in an unhurried manner. Loke’s treatment and recovery from sedation was going to take a couple hours and it was just too pretty to rush. All in all, Jens’ idea had turned into an excellent distraction for the duration of Loke’s vet visit.

Our leisurely puttering with many stops finally brought us to the narrow little lane that leads to one of the most stunning, if small castles in this part of Sweden. Of course, that’s just my opinion, but Wiks really is one of my favorites. I didn’t get any pictures of the castle itself. Still being quite sick with the cold and my right knee quite painful after the ride the day before, I didn’t feel much like hiking up a slippery hill for the photo. I didn’t really think the fog would have done much to it any way.

12-09 e Lane & Fields to Wiks Big

More Pretty Winter

Overlooking Mälaren Lake & Fields

Overlooking Mälaren Lake & Fields

Lovely Surprise While Leaving Wiks!!

Lovely Surprise While Leaving Wiks!!

I did get out to walk to the small deck at the end of the parking lot though it meant walking through knee deep snow. I wasn’t dressed for that at all, but it’s just one of the sacrifices I made. Oh the suffering I endured.

Yes, I mock myself. It was quite cold though. While 10.5 F in Uppsala, the car was reading temps of 1 F (-17 C). It didn’t feel that cold. I’ve been out in 30 F temps that felt much, much worse.

On our way back down Wiks’ lane, I spotted something across the field to the south. Three deer prancing along through the snow with the sun as a golden back drop. They were moving quite quickly and I didn’t really have time to swap to the telephoto lens. I snapped what I could and hoped for the best. It didn’t come out too badly I think.

Lovely. Just Simply Lovely.

Lovely. Just Simply Lovely.

Reaching the end of the road to Wiks, we decided to take the back way on our return to Uppsala. I’m quite glad we did!

Following the curving country roads the wended through a world of white, gold and blue, I spotted something at the tree and rock flanked sides of a snowy hill. “Moose!” I yelled gleefully. Jens, carefully but quickly, swerved over to the side of the road. There was a bit of field between the road and the hill side and, unlike the deer in the open field, the moose were harder to see against the dark trunks and low conifer limbs around them. Yes, them. Two in fact. I had no choice. I needed to take the time to change to the long lens.

Jens told me to calm down. The moose were only watching us and even glancing away to browse on the smaller trees around them. They were still there as I zoomed out and snapped a picture of first one then the other. Since they remained in place, calmly watching us, I decided to make a panorama of the pair  with a bit more hill. As I did that, I spotted yet a third animal through the view finder!

THREE!!

THREE!!

I’ve seen a pair of moose once before, years ago as Jens and I drove through the northern reaches of Sweden. We stopped the car as cow and her calf trotted across the road to be followed less than a minute later by a white, furry dog who came up to the car to say hello before moving on. Loke, only a year old, went completely nuts for both the moose and the dog.

So, three at one time was a first. Out side of a zoo at least.

Not cycling, but I simply had to share the breath-taking beauty of one of these incredibly rare winter days here.

To further update, Loke went to the vet again today. In spite of 4 days of treatment, his ears didn’t seem to be improving so I headed off as soon as the new clinic opened. I’ve not abandoned Niclas, but it does’t feel productive to change vets in the midst of treatment. The same lady vet who saw Loke on Sunday was there again today. They had gotten initial results back on the samples they took, but told us nothing more than ‘bacteria’ rather than ‘fungus’. The culture results for exactly what bacteria hadn’t returned.

She took a peek into his ears and said it was worse. She didn’t flush them again, but swabbed them out with cotton pads and antiseptic. Given that they were just flushed Sunday, the sheer amount of ‘ick’ she got out his right ear was disturbing. I cleaned Loke’s ears a little yesterday, but I didn’t go nearly as deep. I’m not a vet so I don’t know how deep is too deep and don’t risk it. Reluctantly, she decided we had to give Loke strong, broad-spectrum antibiotic pills. She had hoped that if the drops we had didn’t work, we’d have the results back and be able to give him something target specific. We didn’t dare wait.

I haven’t picked up the pills yet. Loke’s been scratching so furiously at his ears that he needs close watching and/or the Elizabethan collar. That means he can’t be left alone. I’ll take him to Jens’ parents when they get home from running errands. They’ll watch him for the half-hour or so it takes me to run a couple errands.

As for my year end stats!

Mileage – 763.5

Churches – 39

Runestones – 31

Castles – 11

Burial Ground/Mounds – 1

Cultural Sites – 12

Silver Mine – 1

Snow Rides – 3

If I shake this cold and the weather stays above 20 F and we don’t get another 3 ft of snow that will stop even the Sprint, I might collect at least 1 more church and certainly a few miles before New Year. Well see. Right now, I’m just focusing on getting myself and Loke healthy.

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