Ante and Ann Cathrin.
It's a real great treat for me to be able to do this, spread a little happiness as pass through towns and peoples lives. Who would have thought that you'd be able to give a little happiness to people by giving them a sidecar ride in -12° weather?.
A little over a year ago Cecilia Blom's husband Tommy died of cancer.
He died at home, and left a big hole in their son Isac.
Cecilia showed me pictures of Tommy, her husband, when he was alive and then when he got Cancer. Tommy had told Cecelia that he didn't want to die in a hospital, he wanted to die at home, so Cecilia brought him home and set up a room in their house for Tommy.
She brought out a little compact point and shoot camera that she keeps with all the pictures of Tommy. She showed them all to me, pictures of Tommy at home in bed as he was wasting away from the disease. Isac was there all the time with his Dad and slept with him on the bed at night. From looking at all the pictures of Tommy that Cecilia showed me, Tommy seemed to be a good person. A gentle, caring man, he had a benevolent look to his face. The night or morning that Tommy died, Isac was sleeping with him on the bed, and Cecilia told me that something, a letter I think she said, fell or dropped and woke Isac up and when he woke Tommy had passed. It was, I'm sure, a defining moment in Isacs life, one that not many 11yr olds have to experience or go through.
John Nikas of DriveAwayCancer gave me 3 rules to follow as I travel around the world with RideAwayCancer and one of them was that you never cry in front of the kids.
Well John, I stuck to that rule, but it wasn't easy. Having Cecilia share all those memories of her Tommy with me was a very special moment, one that I feel very honored to have seen.
Isac, it was a pleasure taking you out in the sidecar even though it was freezing out, but you braved it and I hope it was a happy moment for you.
Stromsund Bridge, Dec 1st, 2012.
100 kms south of Stromsund on the E45 is a town called Ostersund, and in Ostersund is where a tent maker called Hilleberg is.
I have been using 2 tents over the last 3 years on this trip,
one is a Mountain Hardware EV2, a great, easy and quick to set up tent that I use for 1 or 2 night stays where I break it down each day.
It's a great tent, but because it's a single skin high altitude tent, condenses easily on the inside. And in cold weather you wake up to a layer of ice crystals on the inside in the morning. But I still carry it and use it today, despite it's shortcomings. With a weight of less than 6lbs, I hardly know it's in the sidecar.
Mountain Hardware EV2, a 2 person 4 season bomb-proof lightweight expedition tent.
The other tent I have is the The North Face HIM35, a 3 person, 4 season bomb-proof shelter. I use this tent if I know I'm going to be in the same spot for more than 3 days and won't have to breakdown the tent each day. I use this one as a base camp tent. In comparison to the EV2, the North Face HIM 35 is a double wall tent, so condensation is not an issue.
However, what both of these tents do not have, and what I have discovered that I need in the course of over two and a half years on the road and living in a tent for approximately 60% of that time is that neither of them have a useable porch. The HIM 35 has a vestibule, but it's not big enough to use as a space for anything other than gear storage. So when I found out that Hilleberg were so close to Stromsund and had some tents with porches, I dropped them an email to see if they would be interested in meeting.
I haven't had a chance to try it out yet as I've been staying in MC's all the way up into Norway where I am as of the writing of this post, but as soon as I set it up and get a few nights in it I will do a report on it.
My thanks to Daniel, Bo and Rolf for their hospitality at Hilleberg.
Meanwhile Ice Speedway Season is starting up soon here in the cold and frigid Northern parts of Europe. The Stromsund MC is playing host to some of the Ice Speedway guys who come here in the winter to practice on Klovsjon, a frozen lake 8 km outside of Stromsund, before the season starts.
View Larger Map
I will have more on the Ice Speedway trials and also some video,
as well as an update on my journey from Stromsund up to Alta here in Norway in my next post.
Thank you all so much for your support so far, it's very heartwarming to read your comments and see you over on my FaceBook page.