I woke up among the aforementioned spruces. An unpleasant smell assaulted my nostrils. In other circumstances I could’ve blamed a deceased rodent, but I hadn’t showered for three days, so it was probably just my own stench. Normally I try to shower at least every two days - or if it’s hot and sweaty, I go swimming every day. Some cyclists say they can go a week without bathing, but for me the third day is already a high level emergency. I just hate being filthy. So the first order of business was to find a hot shower.

On the road I felt tired again. My legs felt sluggish and pedalling felt like a chore. I was even slightly annoyed for no particular reason. I knew what that meant. It was a sure sign that I needed rest badly. Clearly I had been on the move too much and required downtime. Two or three days should do it.

The timing wasn’t bad for it - there was a severe rain warning for the area. According to yr.no up to 50-85mm of water would come down in the next two days, and I would definitely not want to be cycling during that. I found a camping ground in Eidsbygda and booked it for three nights.

The night I arrived I tried to take a time-lapse of the sunset turning into a starry sky over the fjord. Unfortunately I underestimated air humidity and the lens fogged up halfway through. But I did see a very bright green meteor, which made it to one of the still frames.

Meteor flash over a fjord in Norway.

It rained for most my stay. Not as crazy as 85mm in the end, but still the second biggest downpour I’ve experienced during my year of camping on bike trips (all tours combined). It wasn’t a problem, though. My tent kept my sleeping bag dry, and I spent much of the time in the warmth of the kitchen doing computer stuff.

I did lose one of my hard drives, however. The 480GB SSD stopped working suddenly. Luckily that’s just a temporary storage and working drive, so I didn’t lose any original photos, just some hours of time-lapse processing. Not a disaster. It’s also under warranty, and after some back and forth with Sandisk about not having a permanent address, I should be able to get a replacement. This does make me want to be more careful with the two remaining 3TB drives.

Besides that, I ate well, slept a lot, and of course enjoyed some extremely thorough showers. Good as new. These regular resets are crucial for physical and mental wellbeing. At two and a half months this is still an average tour length for me, so I feel like I have a fairly good idea of what to expect. But from the fourth month onwards it will be uncharted territory. Later on I may need to learn to take recovery periods of a week or two, perhaps even longer.

So this serves as a kind of reminder to myself to pay careful attention to how I feel, to avoid any minor issues growing into bigger problems.

Post-rain fog and clouds billowing down the mountain.

The camping ground was beautifully located by a quaint fjord surrounded by mountains. Presumably the waters were great for fishing, because there were quite a few boats on the pier. It seemed like most of the other occupants were carrying fishing poles and lures on their way out, and buckets of fish upon return.

One such fisherman was Jan from Holland. I was processing the soon-to-be-lost time-lapses in the kitchen and he walked right over to inspect my photo gear. He was a photographer also, and we tend to be curious about other people’s lens choices. So we started talking. He and his wife Corie (apologies for the probably incorrect spelling) were travelling by camper van and had been to that same camping ground dozens of times over the years.

They were an exceptionally nice and friendly couple, and soon invited me over as a guest. They told me about their history and I spoke about my trip. First over a cup of tea, and then progressing to a glass of wine. The vast majority of random meetings on a bike tour are, while wonderful, rather short. So I was very happy to sit down and talk beyond the usual questions. To the point where I probably missed the first few subtle hints that it was getting late and the evening was over.

Before I left, they even gave me packets of mashed potato powder and freshly caught fish fillet. And I was welcome to visit their home, should my journey pass through the Netherlands. It’s heartwarming to make friends like this while travelling.

After wiping off the rain-inflicted rust from my chain, I continued my adventure. All the joy of touring had returned and I smiled brightly at oncoming traffic for the first few kilometers.

I had the fish with mashed potatoes for lunch in Åndalsnes, and it was delicious!

Cycling into the sunset.