This has been a rather weird day. Also the first day starting and ending in Sweden! Now it’s gonna be pretty hard not doing that. It’s not like I would end up in Norway by accident, or take a shortcut there.
Shortcut might be the word my gps was aiming for, again, today. Everything started rather well, I left the B&B and the small village it was in, rallied the nearby small town, and was set on a very nice bike lane for 5kms. It all seemed good. Except the lane ended on a small road that itself ended on an industrial complex (chemical maybe). There was strictly no way in : fences, barbed wires, signs, alarms etc. but the gps really wanted me to get through, and there was no way I was doubling back. I don’t know what’s the big idea with this long bike lane, maybe it’s for the people working in the complex.
So I went all around, on a dirt road, and rejoined the planned path. But it didn’t look so good. I was aiming straight for the heart of the forest. The dirt road was becoming less and less used, then only by horses. Being alone in a forest far from anything, in a different country, is insettling. I mean, what’s the status on wolf population in Sweden? Would my small pepper spray help?
The dirt track became an unused grassy path, and from the looks of it, I was still miles from finding a real road. Thanks again google maps! At this point though, there was a clearing on the right, with was looked like a tended lawn. I aimed for that, and reached a group of empty buildings that was probably a refuge for horse riders. I was back on a dirt road, and sure enough, I encountered a couple riders some time later. I even got back on a paved road, went through a golf course, and found the road again.
On a couple more occasions later, it seemed clear that g-maps had no knowledge of the bike lanes in Sweden, for the most part. It was offering strange detours from the main road, to gain maybe 200m, while there were nice lanes parallel to the road. So I stopped following the path, and was all the better for it.
Strangely, again, I reached Markarid in good time. I thought I would have lost much more time in the forest. I even saw a moose right before the city. The idea was to stop there and check that the hostel I was looking for, 12kms further, was indeed there and open. New issue : there was strictly no data coverage – and maybe there’s none outside of large cities. Hopefully, a bank was projecting a free wifi, so I found the info, called ahead, and it was all good. I made a break in what was perhaps the only eating place opened there (it’s a Sunday), then covered the last bit of the day. When you’re not in the wood for wolves, you can appreciate the great outdoors, which reminded me of Missouri.