794km down: 5,431km to go.
Thankfully although the weather forecast had said rain all day there was no rain when we set off. We had a good flat and gentle climb once again through forest. The rain played games with us all day – the sun would come out then the sky would go dark and the rain would spit, we would stop and put on our wet weather gear then the sun would come out and so on ……. All day must have changed 6 or 7 times!
We went through the border to Latvia at 43k – no border control, just the Estonia flag and the Latvia sign together. Immediately though the condition of the road deteriorated!
Mostly the ride was flatish with a few steady climbs, 10k before lunch it was a dirt road again but not too bad. When we got to the lunch stop we were joined by a drunk elderly Latvian man on a bike who had a long conversation with us.
After lunch we continued the “rain versus sun and changing clothes” game. We saw another storks nest, but in this one 3 young fledgings were practicing flying. They were rising up and down on the nest but not actually going anywhere.
The ride seemed to stretch on and on today, I was very pleased to get to the last turn off the main road – unfortunately it was my old friend a gravel road again for 6k. This was really dreadful – the bike wheels kept losing traction, a number of people came off and it seemed to take forever. Finally turned into the camping ground which is very nice.
Today was also meant to be a tent day but convinced Shirley, Walli and Daphne to come in with me on our own villa at 11euro each – a bargain with its own toilet and shower – and no tent to pack away again in the morning, or rain to worry about overnight.
Tomorrow the weather forecast is rain but thankfully we have 95k to Rigga and we have a rest day the next day to look forward to. I am refusing to think about how the only way out of here is back along the same horrid 6k stretch of soft dirt!
676km down: 5,549km to go.
The rain that had started during the night unfortunately did not stop in the morning – taking down tents and packing up in the driving rain is an experience I could happily live without repeating. We all huddled under the awning and ate breakfast. There was a horde of Mosquito who also wanted to have breakfast on us – I had one have a big drink on my forehead before I realized it was there.
We set off and for the first 10k the rain had stopped and we had a flat road with a good surface then we hit the dirt track – I had thought it was only 10k but it was actually over 30. It was not pleasant as it was soggy and we got stuck often, by the time we got out we were covered with mud but happy to be out of the dirt. This happiness lasted for about two minutes until the rain started – it pelted down! We took shelter in a shop and hoped the rain would stop. I was standing under a warm vent thinking it is amazing how you can be so happy about such a small thing.
A group of us waited for about 30 minutes but it was clear the rain was not going to stop. We set off again and rode in a glum convoy to the lunch stop where we huddled under the awning again. The rain tricked us and the sun came out so we road off feeling quite hopeful but five minutes later the rain came back and pelted down.
We road for about 40 minutes and then today of all days Daphne got a flat tyre – back tyre of course. We looked for a safe spot off-road to change it, we walked up a drive and met an Estonian who was building a house there and he showed us his barn so we could change the tyre in there. Off we set again with rain still pelting down, by this stage it was after 2:30pm and we still had 70k to go. The lunch truck came past with one seat offered to Daphne or Shirley but they decided to keep going. I thought what the hell I know I could ride another 70k but in this rain why would I want to so I packed my bike on top, jumped in and rode to camp.
The good news of the day was when we got to the camp there were rooms available so I did not have to put up the tent. As the place is a cross country skiing site in winter there were lots of rooms – I got a 4 bedroom bunk room to myself for 5 euro! It had a shared toilet but hey it was inside! Also there was a drying room where we managed to dry out all our wet gear and tents, cleaned and re-lubed my bike. Have to say – I slept the best so far this holiday, only woke up once.