The idea for a brewery themed hitchhiking tour – just as any good idea – formed in a pub.
I was enjoying a fine summer weekend with my childhood friend Joona when we had a beer so amazing that it took us to completely new spheres. This absolutely stunning candy sour beer from a previously unknown brewery “Mallassepät” got us thinking. We had already planned a hitchhiking competition against my little brother and his friend. The kiddos were not highly amused of the idea, so we started wondering how to do things differently if they decide to skip the competition. Having a local pint in each destination seemed like perfect side quest for two thirsty highway hobos on a longer trip. And come on, “One on the Road” was already named for a mission like this.
In the end, things escalated in mere minutes. When my brother turned down the idea for the earlier planned competition next monday, we decided to start our journey right … NOW! Joona packed his bags and drove to my hometown Forssa, while I was researching breweries. Our new gods, Mallassepät in Naantali, were not open in early week. Instead, we decided to do a one hilariously long detour to Northern Finland for the shits and giggles. The original plan was to go to Rovaniemi in Lapland and back.
After five days, we had done 1 500 kilometres by hitchhiking and visited three breweries and a craft beer festival. During some brutally long and challenging days, we had to change our plans a couple of times mid-way. Our 21 rides were one more interesting than the other and took us all the way to Oulu and back.
Here’s how it all went:
DAY ONE – 235km From Forssa to Muurame
Once Joona got to Forssa, we got a ride to Autokeidas gas station right away, since it was already quite late. We were armed with some extra clothes, sunscreen, a portable bluetooth speaker, sleeping bags and our new hammocks that were cheap and shitty, as always. All full of energy and hype for our epic plans, we were expecting to stop a car right away. Despite being in such a perfect spot, it took us an hour to get a ride.
Our first ride was a middle-aged, somewhat of a bosslady, who had spent years working in different jobs in childhood education. It was an interesting hour to Hämeenlinna talking all about teenagers’ problems with and without narcotics and life in general. We got left in a fine spot from where we walked to an old bus stop next to a small lake. Weather and the Finnish nature was picture perfect, as seen from below.
We were soon picked up by a father-daughter duo. For some thirty kilometres Joona and the father talked about apartment investing that this guy did for living. This father-daughter duo was all fun and full of nice attitude for life. Together the family had also driven through Europe all the way to Turkey a couple of times, which also sparked a nice conversation.
We left the ride next to a roundabout in this small town called Tuulos. It was already evening, so the small road was all quiet. At least we were at a one beautiful countryside kind of a spot once again. Even if I assumed we might be stuck for hours, we got a ride pretty easily. One of the very few cars picked us up and took as all the way to our final destination of the day: Muurame. The driver was an elderly woman on her way far up North to a family meeting. She was quite an adventurer herself, as she talked about her past experiences of life abroad, jobs at archaeological excavations and her love for travel books.
It seemed like we made our way to Muurame with ease after all. The longest wait was an hour at Forssa Autokeidas but we made it to Joona’s girlfriend’s home in no time, despite starting so late.
The whole day we were totally pumped up on the road. Even if part of the people looked down at us like we were garbage, we couldn’t give less of a fuck. We felt like doing something very different and adventurous after such a long time. And different it was, indeed. All our drivers were highly amused of managing to pick up hitchhikers after not seeing any in years. Even a high percentage of the people driving by showed us amazingly broad smiles and thumbs up. Many of them were signing us witht heir hands that they will only drive closeby to explain us why they ain’t stopping.
That night we didn’t feel like hobos at all. Instead of test driving our hammocks or sleeping in a trash can, we went to sauna and chilled out for a while before going to sleep. I’d call that a pretty good start for the trip.
Luckily, to make things more interesting, desperation is to come later on this trip.
See the events of day two right over here !