I started to get nervous. He lowered his head, his eyes locked on me.
Ok, ok, so it wasn't a Bull Moose, just a case of operator error. But the Bull Moose story sounded better.
Anyway, the official version is that the sidecar tire caught in the snowbank above, and as I rolled on the power to try to recover and ride out of it, the 2 Wheel Drive pulled me into the bank more and more and ended up burying me nose first in the ditch. Luckily, snow is soft.
And luckily Hekki was ahead of me, so when I didn't show up after a few minutes he doubled back and I had my tow strap already tied to the back of the outfit and ready to be hooked on to his trailer hitch.
Which road would that be then?.
Reindeer skin has remarkable heat and insulation qualities thanks to the hollow hair follicle of the animal. Reindeer hair is hollow, like a tube, so the air becomes trapped inside and becomes warm when close to the body. Air is also trapped by the long thick fur and is doubly insulated. I used to use a Thermarest air mattress under my sleeping bag for ground insulation and for a while there, it did it's duty and performed quite well. That is until I crossed over into the Arctic Circle region and started to experience on a daily, and nightly basis what it's like to live, and camp in -20° and below all Winter long.
The Thermarest is now for sale if anyone's interested. Cheap.
Reindeer skins have been and are used by indigenous cultures like the Sami culture in Lappland, Finnmark in Norway and the Evenk culture in Siberia, Russia for a long time now, for food and clothing.
So the third skin, which was a gift from Eva Bjorkli in Alta in Norway, I used in order to make a pair of wind deflectors for my legs when riding in sub zero temperatures. I had considered getting a pair of Gerbings heated pants, but I just didn't want to have a whole bunch of electrical clothing that can eventually cause issues. I already lost one heat controller for my heated jacket liner, and thanks to Tom at Gerbings, they shipped out a replacement to me in Norway. But I prefer more natural forms of staying warm in colder climes.
Besides, I've always favored the ingenuity and look of homemade improvements on well traveled bikes and sidecar outfits. Necessity is the best mother of invention. Most of the improvements I've made to my outfit so far have taken me quite a considerable amount of riding time in all sorts of weather conditions, getting soaking wet, or in this case getting the tops of my thighs freezing cold in order for me to come up with a solution of how to make something that keeps that from happening.
I would be lost without Ari's help. Ari can do anything, a great craftsman, a super cool guy with a fantastic garage that he lets me use, and with superb musical taste. Not only do I have the use of his very large heated garage with constantly playing and piped in blues music, but Ari's been invaluable with fabricating up what I need to get the job done. Ari fabbed up the 6mm frames for me to lace the reindeer skin onto for my leg wind deflectors. Thank you my friend.
No, not my dog. That's Ronja, Ari's dog, but she loves me, and I love her too. She's a great help in the garage, keeps me company. Wish I could take her with me on my trip.
Ok, so I'm not going to endear myself to PETA or any tree-huggers reading this post, but the man with the trailer selling all the different animal skins on the way into the reindeer track had a beautiful Sealskin jacket that he said like a furnace inside, and that, truth be told, I fell in love with. It was a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. And yes, those are traditional Skulla boots he's wearing too, of which I have a pair of also. Skins and furs may be politically incorrect in a lot of places, but not up here in Lappland.
Above the Arctic Circle they have been used for centuries as much needed insulation and warmth against the frigid temperatures, as well as the animal being a necessary food source.
I never did like top cases much, the supplied brackets always made the case sit too high and make the bike a little top heavy if you carried much stuff in it. But I also didn't like how I had my Pelican case attached either. I used ROK Straps to tie it down, similar to a bungee cord, but stronger and thicker. Which meant whenever I had to open the case to get out a camera I had to undo the straps to get the latches on the case open. Which is normally not a big deal. Until you ride in -25°, then it's a chore. Plus the fact that anyone could come along, cut the two straps going over the case and boom, it's gone. So I didn't like the impermanence of it. So while over in Ari's garage one evening we put our heads together and custom made a set of Pelican Camera Case support brackets specifically designed for my bike.
Take a look.
We started out with a piece of custom handpicked wood from Ari's woodpile out back. 2" X 6" for inquiring minds.
Luckily we found a pair of 2 be 6's, so after determining the angle of the cut needed and cutting, set the Pelican case on top and BOOM !!!. Perfect.
Guaranteed not to rust either. If you want to build this for your very own BMW GS Adventure I'll send you the plans. Just mail me a self addressed envelope along with 3 easy payments of $49.99, S&H inc., and I'll send you an exclusive set of blueprints right to your mailbox. Seriously.
Offer void where prohibited by law.
That's it for this week, but wait, there's more.
I finally, FINALLY, got to photograph my very own Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights that have eluded me for so long here in the frozen north. It took me over three months of nearly stalking the night sky to get these shots. AND I very nearly froze to death too. It's not easy holding a metal bodied camera in -20° with no gloves (I can't shoot with gloves on), after 10 minutes my hands were numb. NUMB.
Next weeks post will have the images from that nights shoot, plus some out and about in the Karu MC and Rovaniemi.
And there'll be more accessories too. WARN just shipped over some goodies to me last week, the WARN XT17 Portable Motorcycle Winch being one of them.
Myself and Ari just spent the weekend installing and it looks killer.
Meanwhile, I believe I mentioned last week that MotorTrend are flying a film crew over from the US to shoot the Pt II to the Pt I, A Man, A Motorcycle & A Mission they shot last year in CA, so I'm very excited about that and can't wait to see the final edit.