Passing six roller bladers with ski sticks pumping their way along the gloomy two mile long tunnel, no lights, take their lives in their hands. Practice for winter.
Plump fox crosses the single lane road further on. Not the scrawny London foxes but more like a toy fox with fat furry arms, I hoot at him, he looks back, almost smiling at me. The body clock is utterly confused up here. Driving all day through under and over mountains, the sun hardly changing height, hugging the coast. The road surface, absent in large sections as we climb ever northwards, getting worse, the scenery and conditions, getting even better. The intense blue of the skies, rapidly changing clouds. Tomorrow is the longest day of the year, I am be a tankful of petrol away from the northernmost point in Europe.
Pulled over, into a campsite outside Alta, last largish town on the northern coast, cold and exhausted. Rented a little Hutte, basically a wooden chalet with heating, four bunks, fridge,table by the little window with curtains. It reminded me of the cedar wood cabin we rented in Big Sur, California many years ago. It smelt of dusty library, like the entomology library, top room in the corner tower of the Natural History museum, where I hid to find peace, studying at university. I lay on the lower bunk, leaned over and it collapsed under me. It was broken already, Anton, the previous obese biker had scratched his name on the wooden boards above me had deceitfully reassembled the underneath supports to trap the next occupant. I chuckled, levering myself up off the floor of the dolls house.
Several bikes parked outside each Hutte, no British bikes seen -at all, in fact along the way. The German bikers paused chomping on their food at the picnic table outside. I grin at them inanely and they carry on their chomping in silence. This, to many of us travelling are in fact on a pilgrimage. In silence. No one speaks, like on a retreat, avoiding eye contact. This was not apparent at the outset, over a week ago. The huge bonfire, prepared on the beach, includes a wooden bed frame, ready for tomorrow night’s celebrations. Couples walk holding hands, soppy as my wife might say.
I wrap my sweater over my eyes and instantly fall into unsettling, vivid dreams.