I woke up today to find that yesterdays mud situation was somewhat more exciting than I had imagined. Both wheels were covered in dried mud, filling the gap between the tires and their fenders like cement and turning the bike into a very large and unwieldy paperweight. As with a lot of life’s problems, this one was solved by poking it with a stick. Once I had cleared off enough mud to get the wheels rolling again, I set off in search of some way to clean the rest of the gunk off.
With the wheels rattling non stop as they shoved grit against the fenders, I rolled into a nearby town and spotted a petrol station with a large car wash. I was hoping to find a standard water hose, but instead the gas station cashier gave me a token to use inside the car wash itself. I unloaded the bike and wheeled it into the washing pit, where it turned out the token was for operating a high pressure water gun. I loaded in the coin and fired a tentative shot at one of the mud coated wheels. The entire bike was launched sideways and I had to leap to stop it from toppling over. This water gun wasn’t messing around. The token gave me about 2 minutes of water gun action which should have been plenty but now I had to hold the bike with one hand while trying to aim and fire the gun in the other. Half the time the recoil would send the water stream flying off towards the ceiling, and the other half would hit the bike hard enough to spin the wheel wildly and threaten to send the bike careening out of my grip. I somehow managed to get most of the mud off before the timer expired, so I repacked and coasted out of the garage straight into a heavy rain storm, which as with all bad weather, had the foresight to arrive late the one time it would have been welcome. I dashed for a nearby underpass and waited for the bulk of the rain to pass before heading down the valley to Otta.
Otta was a pretty little town with an absurd number of grocery stores. I stopped by the local camp site to cook up a small lunch, then spent the rest of the evening wandering around the town and its various shops. When it got dark I sought shelter in the campsite kitchen, which proved to be a mistake as some German tourists decided to sit down and loudly watch the latest Game of Thrones. Trying to internally “lalalala” out the dialogue, I whiled away the hours on the internet until it was time to head down to the train station. It was actually dark outside at night these days, so cycling through the woods back into town was an eerie experience. The station had a waiting room (which was closed until midnight, hence my stopover at the campsite), and inside I found a number of sleeping passengers. Or so I thought. One of them woke up and explained that everyone else in the room, including himself, were actually just hitch hikers who had found a convenient place to sleep.
I take a small nap until the train rolls up and the conductor pops out to manhandle my bicycle and luggage into the train. I find my seat and settle in for a long ride.