Traveltales: Eskilstuna- Västerås

Weather: cloudy with chances to rain, +2 to -1C
Distance:~53km , mostly flat city/bike roads.
Highlights: the couple at Skogstorp, police encounter, journalist meeting, camping, good people
Bottoms: bad people, pride is stupid, got a flat in one of my wheels, compromised campsite due to drugusers, rain

Health: Stomach, joints and headache painlevel: 2/10 (the lower the better)
Asthma OK Sight OK Feet OK
Mental health: initially 10/10, 2/10 when the flat happened, end of section: 7/10 (higher is better)
weight: ~100kg sled total weight: ~81kg

After rain comes Sunshine

The stay at the couple in Eskilstuna was very nostalgic. They felt like my grandparents who passed away a decade ago. A warm home from warm hearts.
While waiting for my things to dry up, I had time to review past and future plans. My new post-surgery medication wasn’t doing the trick either, something I was surely feeling and it was affecting my mood, pace and everything.

 

A phone call later with my doctor and new prescription to another drug (which had already failed once before), this time heavier dosage. Anything and everything to keep my Endometriosis to regrow and spread.

Some days later,  I left and the elder gentleman accompanied me half a mile or so. It was almost like walking with my grandpop again, I was happy and sad at the same time.

Cemetery, the police and drugdealers

The phone rang and I had phone company the rest of the way.
Another half mile later, I was just about to take a break, heading for Kvicksund, the last post before exiting Eskilstuna, a car slowly passed by.
We (me and the person on the phone) found it funny as where I was to stop was relatively closely a cemetery. It didn’t take long before a police car met me up.
Apparently the car that passed by me, at the cemetery, thought I had digged up a corpse and was carrying it around 😀
Obviously this was not the case, so me and the policemen had quite the laugh about it. The policemen asked for a selfie, we said our goodbyes and just before they left, one of them said “Hey, do you know you have a flat?”
I looked back and yup, one of my wheels was just dead. Oh the irony.
They asked if I wanted some help, but as I am well equipped, I politely declined…
..just soon to learn I shouldn’t.

From joy to nightmare

There I stood in the middle of the night with a flat tired my equipment couldn’t fix.

So there was only one option left: get a new tire! Luckly I was just in the outskirts of the city and there was a nearby hardware store, except..it was in the middle of the night. I had to call back the policemen and see what we could do.
Yes, this is one of the FEW downsides of walking in the night.

The campsite  I was heading towards was apparently a infamous gathering place for drug-users and drunks. Being so close to the city, campsites are limited and I really did not wanted to bother the nice couple anew. Plus I wanted to keep moving forward. I was advised a nearby campsite on a private area, but allowed to camp by the police. It wasn’t far from where I was but still too close to the road.

For some hours I refused to set up tent and just made a campfire, but eventually I caved it as I was too tired.

The next day I half ran over  to the hardware store and got a pair of new tires, this time flatfree tires. The thing is, I much rather have all “childhood” issues now than later when I am really in middle of nowhere. Another thing is that I had 1 set of flat free tires and 1 set of tires with air. The reason just this.
I have been aware since before that one or the other might fail me, then I would know which set was best for the journey, now this happened sooner than later.

Moving on

It wasn’t just the tired that deflated, my mental status was just at the bottom of the sea and I also felt rushed as I knew more rain was on the menu.
I barely walked 200m and I reached this towing company and stopped for a moment.
Suddenly a thought popped “what if..”
Although the thought of skipping routes really disturbed me, rain disturbed me more. I knew that all this stalling and issues just put me closer to next rain-phase.
Before I knew it, the owner and I had a talk. In short, I was able to grab a ride all the way to Västerås, meaning I was cutting route by roughly 40km or so.
My heart sank a notch. This “cheating”, this weather…

Weather

This is where you wrinkle your forehead and shake your head.
Why on earth go on such march if I am not prepared for rain?
Well, I am, to a certain degree. My equipment and I are prepared foremost for WINTER; snow, cold temperatures etc. Rain is demanding on an entire other level.
The moist penetrates everything,eventually, even in drysacks.
Another reason I really despise rain is my asthma.

One bad rain-season-decision and voila, I am there with a cold. Cold with asthma is just not fun. If I get a cold,walking with heavy load is not an option.

Normally I don’t mind rain for small hikes or if I know for sure there will be wind, really low temperatures or I am heading somewhere I will be able to dry my things.
If none of that is an option, I just skip the whole rain ordeal.

Hitchhiking and fire department, second edition

After a days wait (and a magazine interview) later, I got the ride to Västerås, where I was dropped at the hospital. Hungry as I was, I ordered food delivery “I don’t have an address, but its ..euhm..entrance XX at the hospital, I am in the waiting room”-well, I got the delivery. While eating I knew I was unable to go where I was supposed to, so I had to last minute urgently fix a new housing over the night.

Without much delay I got a reply from the fire department that they were to fetch me with a truck!
I regret I didn’t take a photo of it all but picture this:
2 cars and a truck from the fire department and a bunch of hunks rolling in to the entrance of the hospital, then lifting in a body sized sled on a wagon into a truck..

Like a princess in distress I was (again) saved by another fire department (PS! I was advised to have contact with them) and here I stayed a while, in wait for my re-supply crate and the rain to pass.

Traveltales: Katrineholm-Eskilstuna

Weather: mostly cloudy, some snow, then evil heavy rain, +3 to -1C
Distance:~49km , various roads, most long flats, car/bike roads
Time: too long..
Highlights:walking by the Burger King drive through, snow,friendly people, snow!
Meeting with the couple at Eskilstuna (very emotional for me), funny encounters..
Bottoms: rude journalist in Katrineholm, RAIN! To have to knock on doors for water, rude people, no good campsites

Health: Stomach, joints and headache pain level: 5/10 (lower is better)
Severe cases of hot flashes.
Asthma OK Sight OK Feet OK
Mental health: initially 9/10, end of section: 3/10 (higher is better)
weight: ~100kg sled total weight: ~83kg

 

It began wonderfully

I bid farewell to the friendly crew at the fire department in Katrineholm then strolled me way to Eskilstuna. By plan this would take around 2-3 days to do.
Just at the outskirt of the city I saw a Burger King drive thru, so well.. I couldn’t resist..
To my surprise, I was very energized so I did 20km in a swoosh. Perhaps was the snow, perhaps the friendly people, either way I was in good spirits. At some point I even ran and sang!
After I passed Valla (outskirts of Katrineholm), it came a short blizzard but I enjoyed it quite a bit. For a moment I felt “this is it!”
The more snow, the faster I found myself walking.
I was invited to sleep over at a hospitality host, although I prefer camping, I just went with it.
The night was good and I slept fairly well but I felt stressed suddenly.The good morale and energy I had from the day before was gone.
At night I moved on. I was exhausted already aver 11km and was moving towards the camping I had planned to camp at.

I had been on tv!

A family had seen me on tv and greeted and invited me for lunch. We exchanged pleasantries and as we spoke, it seems to my demise the camping spot has became private, they offered me to stay at the loft at their barn. Tired and disencouraged, I gladly accepted.
My body has been unpredictable; one moment I am hot, the other I am cold. This night I tossed around madly, I kept pending
between overheated and super cold, there was no between. And the headache was quite annoying.

Hälleforsnäs

Soon it was time to move one, I reached Hälleforsnäs, where I agreed to meet the local news that has been changing their meetup
time for a week now. After the interview, I ate, rested a bit then moved on, just in time for the snow! Barely I had move from the community and I was stopped by a car. A man came and wanted a hug (yup!). He was just listening
about me on the radio just a moment ago and wanted to show appreciation. It was an interesting happy moment.
Soon after, the happy snow turned into rain.

The weather rapport showed snow, so, idiotically, I did not changed into raincoat..

Then another car stopped me, when I took a short break for the loom..
This time was an angry man. He complained about he had seen me from far away then stopped because he thought it was an accident.
When he realized it wasn’t, he became upset saying “you are not visible enough”.
So..he had seen me from afar, yet I was not visible enough?! (I know I am quite visible, confirmed by the fire department).
Anyhow, we went separated ways.

Disaster shower

Sadly the rain never stopped and my shell jacked became drenched of the rain and my sweat. My glasses became foggy and I noticed I started get colder.

The last thing I want is to catch a cold. I tried to rush to the campsite I had planned to reach.

Unfortunately it was uphill and the rain intensified.
I was forced to walk in to the closest house in the premises..
..the household was friends to the one I stayed on the loft at. I was offered shelter in their barn, but my sled had no room there. Needless to say but it was a nightmare.
I was unable to change to dry closes or shoes and I didn’t even access to toilet of some kind..
..meanwhile I was sure to keep in contact with people on socialmedia and my hospitality home at Skogstorp( Eskilstuna).

Time passed and hours later I was getting pretty cold. Unable to lay down, set camp no nothing I was stuck.

It was violently pouring outside. I felt so defeated and dumb.
My hosts at Skogstorp were worried, they were discussing to come and get me by car.
First I felt stubborn, what is a cross-country hike/walk if I am taking shortcuts by car?
We discussed it a bit then I had to prioritize my health and well being long before pride.

This wonderful elderly   came , we demolished my poor wagon, packed in the sled then went to their place. It was late, perhaps around midnight or a little later.
I was so ashamed on so many levels and tired. We unloaded the very necessity, I took off everything that was wet and the kind elder helped to sort everything up for dry.
They had been expecting me so they had already prepared a room for me to stay at.

Like a beaten homeless pup, I went to “bed”.
Despite the chaos, I was still somewhere in my heart happy.
Happy over my network was working, happy I am so blessed to encounter these amazing people.

Traveltales: First day out

Start: 2017-11-14 00:01
Weather: Clear skies, +1 to -9 C
Distance: ~24 km (10 km past), mostly uphill
Time: 17+hours (7 hours due)
Highlights: Wildlife calls, Meteor shower, the air, “pink” Sunrise, snow, cold,
very friendly hostel hosts at Sikargården
Bottoms: Initial stress caused negligence in strapping the straps properly
causing a wheel splinter to snap, negligence in eating/drinking/resting, walking
further/longer than my day limit.

Health: Stomach, joints and headache –> Regular painkillers OK
Asthma OK Sight OK Feet OK
Mental health: initially 7/10 (higher=better health), end of day: 2/10
Weight: ~103kg sled total weight: ~85kg

Around midnight, I began my 1500km/1000miles journey.

All excited I pulled away fiercely towards the small trail behind my home building..

..only to walk around 50m to already stop and fix some floppy loose bindings.
Also to take some painkillers to be on safe side as the pain kept growing.
The rest of the night proceeded quite calmly with some highlights of clear skies,
meteor shower and a lot of hills to climb.
I didn’t walked fast, it was steadily a slow pace, especially considered
I was constantly walking upwards.

Eventually morning came and it was beautiful. Both the night and morning reminded why I wanted to do this.
They joy of being able to appreciate to local surroundings!

That joy became however short lived, as when I left home in a hurry I neglected how I wrapped the bindings meaning I strapped on the frame rather than the wagons.
It resulted in one of the wheels key-ring snapping due to the unnecessary tension.
Stressed by this and the hours passing by, not to mention I began to become quite hungry,
I took a break at a farm that was just nearby. Sadly there was nobody home, but I couldn’t be on the small road either. Knowingly I had trespassed, I quickly
fixed the straps and the splinter/keyring, then set up for getting something to eat.

At that very moment, the local tv-news crew, in which I was to meet up
for breakfast at the hostel, showed up. I was taking too long so they decided to meet up.
Instead of eating up, I just packed up, had the interview and then continued to walk.

I suppose that I don’t even need to mention the consequence of walking 10+ hours without a proper meal..
My pace started to slow down even more, morning became noon and I was exhausted. Near the end of the noon,
when I soon arrived at the hostel, I met up with this kind widower who admired my effort to the journey, especially suffering from asthma like his wife had. 

We spoke briefly and I let him help me the last tiny uphill before getting in the tunnel under the highway.
The last 300 m was excruciating to the degree the hostel owner even came to my aid with a     four wheeler and grabbed the sled.
At the hostel I was shown around and to the room I was to stay at.
I was too exhausted to even eat, so I feel asleep fast and profound.

A big thank you to the elder I met at the highway for his kindness and also the hosts at Sikargården in Simonstorp/Norrköping.