Sunday, April 14, 2013



...or lack thereof. 

Unfortunately life on the road can sometimes be challenging, but if trying to find internet is my only issue, then I really don't consider it a problem, just a bit of inconvenience, and a missed post every so often. There's a whole lot worse situations I could be in. If it's not a medical or life threatening emergency, then I feel I don't have too much to worry about.

So I would like to extend my thanks to CITY HOTEL in ROVANIEMI for allowing me to use their lobby, internet and very comfortable surroundings to get my work done.
And as a related aside, their lunch buffet is the best deal in town in this travelers opinion. For 10 Euros you get a huge lunch buffet in their restaurant that I guarantee you will not leave hungry from.

And I'm still here in Rovaniemi, can you believe?.
And I was only supposed to be here a week or so as I was on the way south and east to head into Russia last January. So much for making plans. But the down time here in Rovaniemi has allowed me to get a whole lot of "work stuff" done.

And one of those "work stuff" things is the new 2013 Wherethehellismurph decal......finally.
I liked the 2012 design last year so I kept it the same but changed the title and the year. Heikki, the Karu MC president has just been a fantastic help to me here in town, and introduced me to Anu, a graphic designer with a company here in Rovaniemi called Maippi, and Anu did a great job in putting my thoughts on paper for the new artwork. Thank you Anu. 

I also wanted to do a RideAwayCancer decal for 2013 and this what Anu and I came up with. I just went to the printer with the artwork last friday, so Juha the printer said he should have all the decals by the end of the week.
The decals are 5" wide ovals, or just a little smaller than the size on the screen.  The RideAwayCancer decals are priced at $20, which includes shipping from here in Finland. If you would like to contribute more, again that would be appreciated and help to go toward my travel expenses to visit hospitals and buy presents for children with cancer. 

The sales of the decals are very important to me as they are one of the only ways right now that I can support my travels and keep going, so yes, I need to make money from the sales of them. And don't forget,you also get a free weekly blog posting for the price of a decal too. At least free for you, but not for me to get. The Wherethehellismurph decals are priced at suggested $12 outside Europe and 8€ inside Europe, this includes shipping and related costs from over here in Finland. It may sound like a lot for a couple of decals, but you will be helping to support a struggling traveling artist and writer. By the time I factor in printing, artwork, postage and related costs, it just about covers them with some gas money left over. I'm not going to get rich from them, thats for sure. 

A Note About My Sponsorship.
Even though I do have some company sponsorships, those sponsorships do not extend to or give me any financial support, only equipment that their particular company makes or sells and sometimes parts if needed. So my whole trip is financed 100% by the remains of my ever dwindling savings. So when you purchase a 2013 Wherethehellismurph decal, your money goes to help me keep  posting a weekly blog article for you to red and enjoy every Sunday. I sincerely hope you feel that it's worth the price of admission. 

What I'm trying to do is to become sponsorship free so as not to be beholden to anyone or any product, just me. I appreciate the help and ongoing support from companies who are assisting me right now and have done so in the past, but there's always something that inevitably ends up being an issue or somehow tints my view through the camera viewfinder. I rather just shoot what I want to shoot and write what I feel like at the time and not have to include a company logo just because they gave me stuff.
My weekly blog posts of 40+ pictures and writings are free for all to view, but they're not really free for me to acquire, edit and post, what with fuel, travel expenses, camera gear etc. Every blog post has about 2+ days worth of photography, editing and writing in it, and at the moment, I don't get paid by anyone for my 2 days worth of work. But I love my life now and what I do, so this blog is my labor of love, and hopefully reflects my passion and verve of where I am in life today. If I didn't enjoy this blog, I wouldn't do it, no matter how much I got paid for it.

 I had thought about making the blog a monthly or yearly subscription blog or website to try to help offset some of the costs in putting up a weekly post here. There's tons of other free blogs out there, many of a higher caliber than mine, but not too many with soul and passion and an ongoing near realtime journey, which I hope comes across in my writings and photography, so the subscription idea didn't last too long before it was rejected by the board of directors. Me. 
So the only way/s I can come up with that's fair in my mind is to give something in return for asking you to contribute, and that's where the decals and other Wherethehellismurph item sales come in. Many of you have also already donated money to me without asking for decals in return, and to those of you, I thank you for your continued support. 

There is also a Wherethellismurph postcard that's in the works, the design is finalized and should go to print this week and be available for sale by the first week of May. It will feature four images from my travels, all from here in Scandinavia. I will post up a shot of the postcard in the next post.

Meanwhile, back to your Sunday morning post....

Sunset at Olkkajärvi Laavu, Rovaniemi, Finland.

In the U.S. it would be called an Adirondack. Here in Finland they're called Laavu, or lean-to. They both serve the same purpose, which are wilderness huts or temporary shelter for skiers or hikers to rest in, or in an emergency you could probably, albeit rather uncomfortably, stay in overnight. 
They're not really designed for overnighting as they're usually a 3 sided structure with one side completely open, but anything's better than nothing in my book. I haven't had to use one for an overnighter yet, but I'd be ok with it if I did. 
Unless it was -30. But a tent would be much better if you had to overnight in -30. 
A good -25 sleeping bag with a couple of reindeer skins under inside a Hilleberg Tent and you'd be fine. I'll let you know when I have to do it.

All the laavu's I have encountered so far here in the Rovaniemi area in Finland have a fireplace or firepit with a grill of sorts to be able to cook on them. Most also have a woodhouse beside them, which is usually stocked with wood by the city that it happens to be in.

The woodshed.

I love what they've done with the place.

This particular laavu also had toilets, not usual at all for these types of structures.

I really only discovered these laavu's a few months back when Heikki, the Karu MC president, arranged a Sunday Snowmobile trip for me, and our 25+ km snow-scooter ride took us up to the Kuninkaanlaavu or The Kings Lean-to.

Mmmmm, I really Luhuuuv snow.

Heikki and his daughter Sanna.

The woodshed at the Kuninkaanlaavu. The frozen Kemijoki can be seen in the background.
It's pretty cool actually to see all the winter activities on the frozen Kemi river, thinking that in summer it's a flowing moving mass of water. I wonder what it sounds like?. 

The view of the Kemijoki in the background from the Kuninkaanlaavu.

This is the view from the Kuninkaanlaavu in the summer when the Kemi river is flowing. And THIS is the GPS location of the Laavu from the metadata on the photograph.

Should you find yourself up here in Lappland and specifically in Rovaniemi, 
here's a list of Laavu's or Lean-to's also. 

And speaking of flowing spring is now in full swing here in Finland. Snow and ice melts are already in progress which is already making driving a very very messy and wet affair. I've already removed the spikes from all three of my tires in preparation for spring and summer riding. They were a fantastic help all the way up through Sweden and into Norway. In fact, without the tire spikes I wouldn't have made my way through a lot of roads as they were just a sheet of ice.

Hard to believe, but there's  _ _ _ _  spikes in that pile.
The reason the amount has been left blank is because this shot will be featured in an upcoming contest, so pay attention in the next few posts and on my FaceBook page.

And yet again another version of a front fender that doesn't soak me in wet weather has been made. 
What idiot told me that I didn't need a front fender anyway?. 

Matti was my guy on this fender, prototype # 5 or #6 I think this version is. Kiitos Matti.

Ari fabbed up a fender bracket for me. Kiitos Ari.

So lets see if this version does the trick.

 I went to an ice fishing event last Sunday on the Kemijoki, probably one of the last ice fishing events before the ice on the river melts and it starts to flow again. 

Hmm, I wonder if my outfit could pull a sleigh like that?. If it had some sort of top it could serve as a very comfy and dry place to sleep in a hurry.

Competition was fierce, competitors turned out in full force that morning.

Catch of the day. All we need is a few loaves and we can feed everybody.

Ahh, look. A snow shovel. Why would Heikki have a snow shovel at an ice fishing event?.

Well, the reason Heikki has a snow shovel at an ice fishing event was to help dig my outfit out after I got it stuck in soft snow. I know it doesn't look stuck, but it is. The snow was much much softer than it appeared at first glance, and the outfit proceeded to sink deeper and deeper the further I tried to ride.

So we had to pull it out backwards. Took over an hour of shoveling and pulling.
But at last we were free.

Reveling in our new found freedom, we set about exploring and photographing with abandon, two of the things my sidecar outfit and I do best.

I'm really going to miss these winter scenes here in Finland. A lot.

I know everyone that I speak with here in Rovaniemi can't wait for the winter to be over and done with. "It's too long" most of them say to me. "And only two months of summer is all we have" they add. 
It's why they call Rovaniemi "The City of Eight Seasons".

Me, I'd be happy if were winter all year long here. If I needed some sun and a taste of summer all I have to do is remember my years in Florida, and that's about the extent of summer I need. For now anyway. We'll see if I still feel like that after a 6 month trek across Siberia.

If you are not already a member of this blog, please take a minute to join up and show your support for me in my writings and photography. It only takes a few minutes and is a small favor to ask. Also, head on over to my FaceBook page and become a follower too. It all helps me tremendously.

Thank you all and have a great Sunday.


Wherethehellismurph is looking for advertisers for the 2013 year, so if you are a manufacturer of motorcycle related products, a seller of motorcycle or related products and/ or have any associated products or services 
that you would like to advertise on this site, just send me an email to with your available services.
Wherethehellismurph also has advertising spots available on the sidecar outfit that can be purchased for a 6 month or 1 year term.
When you advertise with Wherethehellismurph you also help support RideAwayCancer and all associated costs, and donations can be written off as DAC is a registered 501-3c Non-Profit.

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