From Southern Finland to Arctic Ocean and back – Day 1

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I have a wild idea

The pleasure of driving and enthusiasm is a strange thing. It’s quite hard to describe to a person, who thinks car is only for getting from A to B. What invisible force makes one to sit in a car and drive drive drive until he’s too tired to go on even though he wants to. Many things can lead to such but I can think of two; a spectacular car and fantastic roads. This story is about our trip to the Arctic Ocean and back. A trip that took only 4 days but was 4000 kilometers long.

This story is about madness, beautiful scenery and a happy car – Mini Roadster S.

I was about to get a cabriolet test car – Mini Roadster S. I didn’t have any special plans for it. Maybe some photo-shoot nearby during the test week but nothing more. About a week before I was about to get it, I had a thought about doing a road trip with it. After all, it was summer and my vacation would start at the same time. I was chatting with my friend Marko and at that point, I would have love to be able to see his expression when I wrote to him.

“Hey, i have one wild idea. how about if we go check out the arctic ocean?”

The original time for testing was from Tuesday to Friday but that would not been enough time for such a trip. I was able to make it start already on Monday noon after discussing with the Press office. Usually, when someone does this kind of a trip, you plan the route and reserve accommodations beforehand. Maybe you even plan where you’re going to eat. That’s people that plan ahead.

Our plan for the trip was the following and it was done 12 hours before start. Drive to Arctic Ocean by next Morning, then drive back and take the photos about the car. That means, we should drive to Northern Norway pretty straight and without much stopping. Except of having a short meeting with someone.

First day

I woke up really early on Monday morning but then life happened and I was able to leave home not earlier than 9 am. So the pretty idea of taking the scenic roads from Turku to Helsinki crashed in there and we had to take the motorway. I picked up Marko and headed straight to Helsinki with my Mazda 6 STW. We were half way there and I started to be hungry so we had a quick stop at Ykköspesä at Saukkola and ate sandwiches.

Aamiainen
Canon

I had agreed on another loan so we had to make a stop at Canon premises. We got a Canon Legria HF G25 -videocamera for the trip This would also be a good test for that but unfortunately it had an empty battery so it was left in the box until we got a chance to charge it.

Mini Roadster parked

Mini was already waiting for us at a parking lot at BWM Finland. First glance at the car and it looked promising. Opening the hatch threw us in despair, because it looked very very small and the boot in Mazda was nearly full of stuff. This was with a soft top and that does not steal so much space from the boot as a hard top version. Also this was just a two-seater and the was some space behind the seats. So eventually all we needed to leave behind was two mattresses for camping. We got a rollerbag, hiking bag, a tent, second shoes for both, multiple plastic bags containing snags or supplies, long extension arm for camera and all the camera gear. That is so amazing that they actually fit inside.

I had already driven from Lieto to Turku to Helsinki but I still wasn’t ready to hand down the drivers seat. So I continued as the driver. As far as I remember, I told you on some earlier post about our difficulties to actually take turns in driving because both are willing to continue as long as they can. Stage 1 was done, Stage 2 would be from Vantaa to Jyväskylä, where we were suppose to meet a fellow car blogger.

Mini Roadster side 2
Mini Roadster rear

Our intention was to take the highway 4 and drive straight to Jyväskylä but then after a detour at Vuosaari harbor area, we were unknowingly driving highway 5 towards Mikkeli instead. That meant we had an extra 72 kilometers to drive. Not that it mattered much.

By the lake 1
By the lake 2

We met car blogger Poloinen at Jyväskylä and talked about all things automotive for quite some time. Meeting people writing from same topics is not very often and these things bring more to Road trips. I’ve been thinking that maybe you should always try to meet up with someone while road tripping. If you cannot meet with another blogger, then perhaps a meeting with your readers instead. You could announce where you’re going to be at a specific time and say you are available for a meet and greet. Maybe they could even come and take a photograph with us and the car.

After the meeting, there was just one destination – The Arctic Ocean. We headed to Highway 4 even though it is one of the most boring roads. We stopped to eat at Pyhäjärvi which is about 180 kilometers north from Jyväskylä. It was early evening and it had been raining all day. Because of the rain, we hadn’t even photographed anything. Now sun came out from behind the clouds and as we continued, we lowered the roof for the first time.

Mini Roadster happy
Mini Roadster side

Ah the feeling of freedom when it was the last days of June and we were driving towards Oulu with hats on and wearing winter clothing. Because of the cold, we lifted the roof back up and lowered it back when we reached Oulu. We did a little evening cruise around the Oulu city center. Car was noticed by people walking past but that it had done since the beginning. It was enjoyable moment and the sun was still up too.

Mini Roadster Oulu2

We lifted the roof back up before continuing to Highway 4 again. We were at Ii when we stopped next and that was the point of changing the driver. I had been driving about 800 kilometers so far and Marko had taken a nap before Oulu. I was not able to sleep though, there was so much to see and feel and I didn’t want to miss any of it. Not that I can sleep in a car anyways (except mobile homes).

Kuskinvaihto
Midnight light
Going to Sweden

Marko drove to Tornio and almost continued to Sweden too. The road is leading to border but if you need to head north in Finland, you need to turn before reaching Tornio and that junction we had missed. A little before the border we turned back at a roundabout and then stopped to take a look at map. We were able to find the right road and on that place and time, I mark day one as ended.



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