Thursday, July 14, 2011

Riding with Reindeer now an e-book

I am pleased to annouced that on July 1, 2011, Rivendell Publishing NW released the e-book version of Riding with Reindeer. The e-book is available in all formats (Kindle, I-Pad, Nook) for $6.99.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Riding with Reindeer to be published in April

My apologies for being absent for the past year; but, I have been working feverishly with my editors and production team to get Riding with Reindeer - A Bicycle Odyssey through Finland, Lapland and Arctic Norway finished (no pun intended). Review copies are now out. The book will be available to the public through the publisher's website ( starting in mid-April. It should be available in retail outlets by late May or early June. I am planning a number of signings in Seattle area bookstores. The website will post these when these dates are confirmed. We are also planning events outside of the area, and will announce these when confirmed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Riding With Reindeer: The Book

Since returning from my ride, I have been busy writing a book about my adventures in Finland and Arctic Norway. Like the trip itself progress has been slow, but steady. At least in the relative comfort of my study I am not dodging rain storms. I've managed to maintain a fairly regular writing schedule and as of this day I'm about two-third of the way finished with the first draft. The blog only skimmed the surface of the trip. In the book, I provide many anecdotes on Finnish history and culture that were relevant as I made my way through various parts of the country, as well experiences that I could not get into the blog. Through writing the book and reviewing my journals, notes and photographs, I more or less have been able to recreate the trip in my mind. Sometimes I find it hard to believe I actually did it. How did I manage to rouse myself from my little tent eat a few morsels then ride a folding bike through the forest and then the soggy marshes of Lapland for 50 days! It's amazing what you can do if you just snip off a little bit each day. Writing the book has been like that. Writing an entire book is rather daunting, but my goal was to just try and get a few pages down every other day or so. The plan seems to be working and now I have about 300 pages finished in rough form. By mid-summer I will begin the editing process, which is always brutal. By the first of the year I hope to have the manuscript to the editor, and by next year at this time, if all goes according to plan (and it seldom does), Riding with Reindeer - A Bicycle adventure through Finland, Lapland and Arctic Norway - should be in the bookstores.

Friday, August 31, 2007


In the comfortable confines of Helsinki and no longer facing the prospect of packing up and traveling somewhere I've had the opportunity to scan the journal. As anyone who has traveled and kept a journal knows, one sacrifices good grammar, spelling, etc., for the sake of getting thoughts and observations down on paper before they become stale or are lost. Just ask Lewis and Clark. I am indebted to the many libraries that provided a free 15 to 20 minutes of internet time. I felt like I was back in the newspaper business hammering out stories under deadline. Unfortunately, I did not have a rewrite person or a copy editor on the other end to clean things up. Many of these entries were made after I had ridden 50 to 80 miles over bad roads and through storms. I did my best to compose properly, but with the meter running while trying to decipher computer instructions in Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian at various times I wasn't always successful. The keyboards here are different, containing the additional letters, ä, ö and a few Norwegian ones that aren't on this Finnish keyboard I'm currently tapping on. I read a few of the back entries and am slightly embarrassed (but not too much) by obvious errors, the tenses that switch, bad spelling, etc. But because I recorded these impressions as soon as I could I think I've captured the essence of the trip in its naked truth, as well as my state of mind at the time. I really was going mad in North Karelia after being pounded by incessant storms and seeing nothing but forest for weeks, but it's hard to dredge those feeling up now in the comfort of a Helsinki internet cafe nursing a beer, a comfortable hotel room awaiting me a few blocks away. When I return home I will clean them up. But not too much.

And one last thing. I did learn some Finnish. I can probably recognize at least 100 words or so, days of the week, road signs (warning you are entering a military bombing range). I still can only count to one, which is rather limiting. In the time remaining I plan to continue my studies and I hope to be able to count to two by the time I return home.

Return to Helsinki

I caught the intercity train to Helsinki on Thursday. This is allegedly the slow train, but it splits the countryside at about 100 mph. From my window seat I feel like I'm hurdling back through time, seeing areas that took me days to bike through flash by in seconds. The scraggly shrub birch of Lapland is replaced by the giant (they seem giant to me now) birch. It's the spruce that are scraggly now. The land opens into many farms with hay neatly shrink wrapped in white. The bales resemble marshmellows lined up waiting for the roast. We cut through cloudbursts, sunbursts and at last we slow and approach Helsinki. The sun has broken through the clouds. The golden light shines off the Olympic stadium tower, Finlandia Hall and the golden domes of Upenski Cathedral glisten. I gather my stuff and ride to the harbor where I'm greeted by a rainbow framing the bay against a backdrop of tumultous clouds and shafts of sun. And then a strange thing happens. It gets dark. The moon and stars come out, the first time I've seen the night sky.

The ride is over. It's time to go home.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Expedition retreats Rovaniemi

After three days of eating and saunas and laying around the big house I feel like I'm returning to somewhat of a normal state. I do mostly nothing during this period except for an occasional bike excursion and a run to the market.

On Monday I pack up and ride to the the local hotel which doubles as the bus stop. Here, I dissemble the bike once again. I'm getting very good at this. It only takes 30 minutes to get the bike in its case and to dismantle the wagon. The two hour and forty minute bus ride to Rovaniemi covers the same ground I chugged through nearly three weeks ago. It's hard to believe I biked all of this. The reindeer seem to be more numerous, gathering in larger numbers than before.

In Rovaniemi I put the bike together and ride to the camp ground on the banks of the Ounasjoki. I meet a Swedish bike rider, Andreas, who, along with his wife, has biked from the North Cape and plans to continue to Turkey. He's fascinated by my bike, and can't seem to get enough photos of it.

This may be the last night of camping. The temperature at night is now close to freezing. It has been dropping steadily each day. I have also noticed that we now have a real night, with darkness. The sun sets at about 8:30 pm. When I first arrived in Helsinki it set at about 11:30 pm. Each day is noticeably shorter.

In the morning, I am off to the train station to see if I can get to Oulu on the Gulf of Bothnia. I would like to spend two days there before heading back to Helsinki, again, via train.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The last ride

The sun beams through the hut windows. This I didn't expect. I am 40 miles from the village of Sirkka, which is home to the Levi ski resort, host of the coming World Cup ski championships. Each day I seem to have grown more weary, my muscles aching a little more at the end of the day. I have one more ride left in me, and today will be it. When I reach Sirkka I will have completed a grand loop around Lapland.

The route takes me back into the dreaded fells, the high hills in Lapland. But with the sun out they, at first, do not seem as bad as before. The forest here is brimming with reindeer, and they seem to be out in force today to say good-bye. The herd includes an elusive white one that prances like a ghost through the dark woods. By mid-day what had been a nice morning begins to deteriorate. Clouds move swiftly in from the east. To lighten my load I am only carrying a little food. By noon this is gone. I stop the bike and wander into the woods. The forest has a bumper crop of huckleberries, and like a hungry bear I paw through the thickets, eating away.

In the last 10 miles I am vaguely aware that there will be no more big rides with a load. I've done my 2,200 miles. I've accomplished what I set out to do. But it seems as if the cascade of events, the nonstop stimulus of adventures, has worn my brain out. When I ride now I cannot sustain a thought for long; not even a decent day dream about how nice it would to roll back into Helsinki or to sleep in my own bed and not worry about moving every day. My thoughts are scattered fragments, and these are followed by blankness. It is as if my brain is too tired to function. I see the asphalt and trees. I hear only the distant rustle of pine boughs. As Tommy observed yesterday the birds are gone and so are their songs. The tips of the birch have turned yellow. The purple fireweed blossoms are now withered brown seed stalks, the pinks and blues of the lupine are only a memory. Only the hearty yarrow is still in bloom. Every day it gets colder.

When I finally crawl into Sirkka, I know I have done it, but I cannot feel it. The long journey has sucked the emotion away from my body.

I need to rest.

I rent an entire house;, four bedrooms, sauna, fireplace, big kitchen and enough room to rummage around for a few days. It is over. After returning from the store with food and a couple of cans of Karjala beer, I unlock the key to my home for the next three nights and try to put in perspective what has just happened.