Saying goodbye to Russia, I entered Latvia for short ride of only abut 100 miles onto Lithuania and Poland. Within 10 miles of crossing into Latvia I was off road. It was quite a shock, I wasn’t expecting any off road here, I thought my off road endeavors had ended when I crossed the border but apparently not. Maybe it’s just being maintained? But there was no road work signs, evidently this was ‘the’ road. Maybe it’s just a short stretch? But it continued for on miles. Not to worry, it was a lovely day and the off road surface was actually pretty good, not too much loose gravel or sand. Fifteen miles or so later the paved road reappeared, excellent, thought. The lovely black ribbon weaved its way through the beautiful Latvian landscape: lush green hills with trees, rivers and old wooden farm buildings. Then the paved road then ended, again, and I was greeted, again, by more ‘fire road‘. This continued the whole way through Latvia: sections of paved road divided by long sections of good off road tracks.
This was good fun, just enough off-road to make it challenging and interesting but not so much that it would make it an unenjoyable chore, I call it the Goldilocks measure. The scenery just got better and better and just like other moments in my trip I was really in the zone. I felt at one with my bike with everything falling into place perfectly. I couldn’t tell where my hands ended and my bars began. I was the master of my ride and my destiny, I was limitless. I truly felt at peace in the saddle. It was a liberating and numinous, the closest I’m ever likely to come to a religious experience, and as an out and vocal atheist that’s saying something. I felt good. I stopped two or three times to take pictures and the off road track, flanked by trees reminded me of what I would likely have encountered on parts of the Road of Bones to Magadan, had I gone that way. Latvia would have been a beautiful place to camp and I would have loved to spend more time here, especially the by the river, which was warm and inviting, I’m a real sucker for the water. However, I had a destination in mind and the road was ever calling me onwards. I think Latvia will be somewhere I’ll be returning.