Finding Jukka Salminen

Before I left on my journey around the World (safely), I contacted Jukka Salminen to give me some advice. He had been cycling around the World since 2005 and was about to continue  for his unfinished Africa crossing.

It was late winter 2010 when we met for cup of tea in Turku’s student restaurant. We spoke for one hour about bicycle parts, sponsorship and how Asia is for cycling. Just before he left for Africa in spring 2010 we  met once more and agreed to meet again in January 2011 in Patagonia, Argentina.

Jukka’s tour across Africa brought him unexpected knee problem and I lost three weeks waiting for my parcels in Georgia and China. I arrived to Argentina on 27th of January but  I already knew that Jukka won’t be joining me in South America any time soon. He sent me an email saying he needs to heal his knee in South Africa before he can continue anywhere. In the end he decided to cycle across North America first. “My knees are not ready for Patagonia yet”, he wrote.

I arrived to North America in June 2011.  One month later, early July, I met my Finnish friends in New York and we left for Los Angeles by car. By then Jukka had been cycling already good four months from NYC towards the west coast. But as gasoline is much more efficient than oat, it was Las Vegas where we caught mr.Salminen. Or to be more specific, his bicycle.

Bad luck with timing, hotel receptionists and mobile operators, we saw only Jukka’s bicycle outside his motel room in Las Vegas. Jukka left the next morning towards Los Angeles, and we continued to Yosemite and San Francisco. When we finally arrived to LA, Jukka was already leaving for San Diego.

From Los Angeles I had three options as I wrote in the previous post. To go north, south or back to Europe. Going north option would’ve been good, but because of the heavy northwest wind and my exhaustion towards the US I ruled that out. I had two more options left.

After my friends had left back to Finland I stayed three more days in LA pondering which option I should choose (I also did other stuff, e.g. I went for the Conan O’Brien show). Not being able to do the decision before meeting Jukka, I hopped on my bicycle and headed towards San Diego. Jukka had informed me that he will be staying few nights 50km before San Diego in a beach town called Encinitas. He had one friend there, the World Rider, who he had met in Africa and who was willing to host us both. So, on 4th of August in Encinitas I finally met Jukka Salminen.

Making decision to fly back to Europe was hard to make. Cycling one and a half months in Mexico together with Jukka would’ve been great experience. This last week we’ve been living under the same roof and it has been very refreshing. I’m sure there would’ve been many superb moments in Mexico. However, three good reasons sealed my decision. 1) Money: extra insurance, one ferry ride and the flight from Mexico City would’ve eaten my wallet. 2) Time: University year starts in September, and I’m already way behind the schedule. 3) Visa Waiver: I would’ve needed another permit to enter US (even for 4 hour transit in JFK), which I couldn’t have got if coming from Mexico.

So yes, today I’m flying back to Germany and Jukka will continue to Mexico by himself. I wish him good luck.

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2 Comments

  1. Dana Nutter
    Posted August 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    We saw Jukka riding down Mexico’s hiway 1 between Cataviña and Guerrero Negro in Baja California. We stopped and had a quick chat. He seemed OK, but a little tired because of the dirt road we were on and the intense heat. We gave him a gatorade and we said our goodbyes. Keep goin Jukka! Hope you make it with no problems!

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