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Kemi – Feb 16

We have a lazy morning. A late breakfast and then hanging out waiting for our 11:45 pickup for the olokolo sleigh ride. It’s not snowing but it sure looks like it is going to. And the wind is blowing. Generally, a good morning to hang out.

We’re head for the lobby at 11:45 and our olokolo guide is already there waiting for us. WE introduce ourselves and head into the van for a short ride to the start of the ride. Which turns out to be the Snow Castle.

I was a bit surprised. I thought that the ride was leaving from where we found the Taxari office because there were snowmobiles and a covered sleigh (olokolo) there. Silly me. Taxari is only a booking agent. The snowmobile company is a big concession at the Snow Castle.

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Kemi – 2/15/2020

Up late. Somehow I slept right through my phone alarm. I’ve never done that before. Barbara heard it and, when I didn’t respond, she turned it off and went back to sleep.

We’re getting a late start but it’s only about 4 hours to Kemi, our stop for the next couple of nights and we should get there by a bit after noon. We’re trying to make it there before 1 PM so that we can do a snowmobile trip out on the sea ice.

That shouldn’t be a problem. If the traffic isn’t bad. It is Saturday morning and though there aren’t many tourists here in the middle of February, every family of super fit Finns will probably going north to find the snow that should be here but isn’t. And the abundance of speed cameras pretty much makes busting the speed limits a losing proposition. Off we go.

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Kokkola – 2/14/2020

We have a long day today. We’re going to Kokkola about 500 kilometers from Turku and we’re trying to see an archaeological dig there.

The alarm goes off at 6:30. Out of bed while it’s still dark. We take showers and head down to the 2nd floor for a quick breakfast.

I leave Barbara in the room and go to the parking garage for the car. The garage is in the basement of the hotel but the only way to access it from inside the building and that access is only available when the shops on the first floor and the basement are open which they are not at 7:45 in the morning.

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Turku – 2/13/2020

It rained on and off all night and we’re still recovering from travel fatigue. Travel fatigue is different from jet lag. Travel fatigue comes from just plain old over exertion while jet lag is caused by screwing up your circadian rhythm where your body thinks it’s night but your eyes are insisting that it is not sleepy time.

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Turku – 2/12/2020

At 6:35 AM, my mobile rings. I’m dead asleep and the first thing I think is that it must be the Red Cross calling for a fire call but by the time I get to the phone, I’ve missed the call though I see the caller ID. It’s not the Red Cross (it says Private Caller).

A few minutes later, the mobile rings again. I answer. It’s Finnair Baggage Services. They’ve missed getting the bags on the first delivery to the hotel and the second will get to the hotel some time between 8 and 11 AM. If that’s not soon enough, they’ll give the bags to a taxi and have the taxi deliver the bags. Yes, please send by taxi.

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The flight to Amsterdam is on KLM and we stop at the Gate to check that our boarding passes are legit. The KLM agent says they are fine but she changes Barbara’s seat from the middle seat to a window seat which leaves the middle seat open, a nice change. We board. I check the Delta app’s “Check Your Bags” function (a nice touch) and it shows our bags being loaded on to the plane which is a new 787-10 (a very nice plane from Boeing.)

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We’re leaving for Finland. I was supposed to do the 2020 Alcan 5000 but I wasn’t needed for staff and although I have a great offer to compete in the rally, I decided to pass for the first time in years. I didn’t have a co-driver, Barbara wasn’t too keen to be a co-driver again and I was really having trouble getting any enthusiasm for driving back and forth across the continent again.

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Sunday, June 16th

While we have a fine breakfast at Kate’s, we meet an English woman who is also staying at B&B. She lives in the south of France, in Provence, She’s about to meet the daughter and American son-in-law who live in the US but are looking for a house in the UK. We have an enjoyable conversation and the leave for Monmouth Beach in Lime Regis.

It’s not far through the back roads and soon we find a parking area. This time we have enough of coins for the parking ticket. Put in the car MOT number and the coins and the machine prints out a parking pass specific to the car that has to be displayed on the dashboard of the car. No passing this ticket to another car.

The only problem is that the parking area is at the top of a high hill over looking the beach and it’s a long way down. That will have to be climbed back up. Grrr. Oh well, we’re going to the beach. Down we go.

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Saturday, June 15th

The day starts overcast and stays that way. Another fine breakfast at The Rookery, pay for the room and pizzas from the previous night and into the Skoda. We’re off again.

The first stop is Durtle Door, another impressive chalk cliff arch with adjacent solitary stacks. This site, however, is that the end of a kilometer long hike. The good news is that it isn’t raining.

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Swanage – June 14th

After a great breakfast and being fawned over by Alan, owner of the Rookery, it’s in the car. We’re off to Corfe Castle.

It’s not far to Corfe but the Skoda’s GPS has a real sense of humor and since it’s set up for the most direct route, it insists on sending us down one lane roads that wouldn’t be roads at all if they weren’t paved. The occasional run in with a car in the opposite direction makes for some interesting driving, rather, squeezing by and backing up.

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