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Old 10-04-2012, 01:02 PM   #31
Mr Pif
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awsome pics!
this beautifull old BMW may be the appropriate bike for such a trip,excelent choice,

this black river never comes to an end,never gives up.
i'm always getting tired...
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:20 PM   #32
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Keep it coming! Love the pics!

I was up there in july but we had horrible weather the whole trip. Rain, fog and storm almost every day and only 4 degrees up at northe cape.
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:39 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Simplyred View Post
I love reading your reports Thijs, it is just like we are there with you.
And you have posted some astonishing pictures!!

How's the Funduro doing? Is it up to the job? Enough power, can it handle the luggage?
How are prices in Sweden at the moment for things like gas, food, camping or cabins?

Don't feel bad about tipping over or falling with the bike. As long as you yourself are OK, things are good. Things become even better if the bike is also OK. This all goes with enduro/off road driving. I have done A LOT of off-road driving when I was younger, and I tumbled over the earth literally every week. There was always something that got you off the bike .
You learn from it. You learn how your bike reacts, what it CAN do, and what it CAN NOT do. That's good (as long as no damage to person or bike). Most enduro's are build to last and to take the falls. Don't worry about it.
The Funduro is perfect for this kind of trip. The weight of the luggage didn't seem to affect it that much. Because of the weight it was even more stable than without it, both in corners and in straight lines. A bit more power would be welcome, especially on the highways. But in Scandinavia the speed is mostly limited to 80-90 km/h, which is the sweet spot in terms of comfort for the F650. Oil consumption was a bit high, but well within limits. Overall I was very careful with the bike, never over-revving it or riding (overly) sporty, but it never felt like it needed that care.

The only downside of the bike is more specific to me, I'm a big guy and I would like some more space to put the legs. The default seat is also a bit narrow, which got uncomfortable after riding 1.5 hours or so. But to be able to enjoy these trips, I don't think you should ride any longer than that in one sitting anyway.

The camping spot without electricity in Sweden set me back about €18,-, I hadn't really camped a lot before so I don't know if that's expensive compared to other countries. I made the (beginnners?) mistake of taking way too much food with me from home, so that had to get eaten first to make room for groceries. Since Sweden was in the early days of the trip I didn't do any real shopping because of this. Gasprices were comparable to Finland if I remember correctly, around €1,80-€1,90 a litre (which is still very expensive). In Norway the gasprice went up to an outrageous €2,10 a litre

I know falling off is the best way to learn about both the bike and my own limits. In the Netherlands I didn't really gain any offroad experience, I've only done some small forest trails and small sandy areas before. Had fallen a couple of times while riding these, but not yet on the trip with a fully loaded bike. After 4000km+ of riding this one was a bit of a shell shock, and I suddenly felt very far away from home while being stuck under that pannier in the middle of some random forest.

But I got to walk away safely, only the pannier was a bit deformed. After a hot shower and meal all was good!
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:48 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Mr Pif View Post
awsome pics!
this beautifull old BMW may be the appropriate bike for such a trip,excelent choice,

The ol' BMW sure was very appropriate. If there is such a thing as a soul in a machine, I would say the bike was enjoying the ride as well

Originally Posted by Jochen View Post
Keep it coming! Love the pics!

I was up there in july but we had horrible weather the whole trip. Rain, fog and storm almost every day and only 4 degrees up at northe cape.
I remember seeing your RRs when I was dreaming / planning the trip, I think we have been to some of the same places like the Aursjøvegen, Geiranger and the Dalsnibba (which makes sense since you can hardly avoid these going to Norway) More of that later though
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:09 AM   #35
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Thumb Day 10 - The Narvik area

That day I left the cabin late, giving me a bit of the morning off and a chance to sleep in. Since the camping was near a military training zone I woke up to the sound of choppers coming over. As I left I saw some amphibious vehicles being transported on the back of trucks, guess there was a big training going on today.

GPS track:

That day I would have to make the decision if I was going to the Lofoten or not. From what I understood of the weather report, the predictions for the coming days were absolutely not favorable and remembering the weather of the previous day I decided not to go. I followed some smaller roads in the general direction of that region, hoping to get at least a little taste of what I was missing out on.

Beautiful country

Hardly had any rain that day. But since the Lofoten stretch out into the ocean I figured if there’s gonna be rain somewhere it’s definitely going to be there, and probably loads of it. It was hard to make the decision to go south instead of west.

In the area around Narvik there had been a lot of fighting in WWII, and there were memorials scattered everywhere. These provided some nice resting stops, and some reading material on the many battles that had taken place there.

Fire in tha hole!

The E6 runs right through Narvik, the first city-like area I’ve seen since Rovaniemi in Finland, and it provided some variety with busy traffic lights and well lit modern tunnels. Was happy to get out of there though, city riding is not for me.

A bridge just south-west of Narvik.

I following the E6 when I soon came through this area:

It was a fjord, but looked more like a lake.

I remember thinking ‘It would be nice to camp here…’. It was not that late, but this was such a nice area that I found a resting stop on a small island and started to check out the surroundings for the possibility of putting the tent. The ground was a bit marshy, but there were definitely possibilities around. The next section of the route would take me towards the open fjords again so it would be harder to find something there, might as well do it here then. When I came back to the bike there was another one parked nearby, with a strange plate. First thing the guy said to me (in Dutch) was that I was the first Dutchmen he had met in quite a while.

His name is Bart, and he had come riding all the way from China with his Finnish girlfriend Jasmin two-up on a 250cc Yamaha they bought there. They were en route to Oslo and wanted to settle there for a while. They apparently had seen me earlier taking pictures and were kind of chasing me, it was purely coincidence they drove down the same resting area where I was, looking for a toilet break.

We ended up camping there together. There were park benches, and a fireplace near the water’s edge and even a toilet up at the resting area. I’m not sure this qualifies as ‘wild camping’

We put the tents on the small path that was there, the surrounding area was either too muddy or the soil too wet.

While Bart was working on a campfire, I prepared some cheeseburgers for all of us. After the fire was finally going Jasmin made some pasta pesto, which was very salty since she tried to enhance the flavor by adding salt water from the fjord.

The amount of pesto in there was also a bit high, but it was very nice nonetheless.
Again bad focus here, I need some practice in low-lit photography

As darkness came over the fjord we waited up for another chance to see the northern lights, as the skies had completely cleared up.

Jasmin trying to get warm at the fire. Being a Fin she didn’t really understand why us Dutchies wanted to see the lights so bad.

While waiting I played around with some long exposure shots.

Truck driving past on the opposite shore. The interruptions are trees next to the water.

Aircraft on approach to Narvik airport. Even though the area was amazing here we were directly under the approach route, so we had multiple aircraft flying over throughout the evening.

It was nice there with the fire, and some friendly conversation. No luck with the northern lights though, and it was almost midnight so we gave up and got into the tents.

I forgot to check the TomTom before midnight, so I don't have the exact stats. The GPS track is 290 km long though, it was an easy-going day.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:10 AM   #36
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off offf.. very nice pictures..

Motorbike is not old. This is experience bike...

Not: I have a 1998 F650 and now 77.000 km.
F650 Ankara
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:42 AM   #37
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beutifull RR and pic !!!! Thank's for sharing!
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:54 AM   #38
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Talking Day 11 - Start of route 17

GPS track of the day:

Because we put the tents on the path leading down to the water, they were on a slope. I found out my sleeping bag has no grip whatsoever on the air mattress, so I woke up curled up in the bottom end of the tent a couple of times. Means that I got up early

Sunrise, full 360 degrees! Taken by the waters edge, the tents and bikes can be seen about three quarters to the right.

We decided to ride together, and go to the 'famous alternative to the boring E6', route 17 through the fjords. The E6 wasn't boring at all up until then (on the contrary) but the map showed it went inland further south, to become less twisty so it wasn't hard to imagine that it would be soon.

Months together on one bike, and still having fun!

The first ferry! (It's the boat on the right ) Although this was still the E6, and was therefore unavoidable if you wanted to go south, it was not free…

Bart & Jasmin wanted to be in Trondheim by the end the next day, to meet with their couch surfing host, so they wouldn't ride the complete route 17 because of the time needed for all the ferries. Looking at the map, they would have multiple 'escape routes' to get back to the E6 so we just got started and would decide later where we would split.

Finally off the E6, somewhere between Fauske and Bodø.

Then route 17 started, it was very wide there and brand new, it wasn't even on my GPS so I just followed the sign. I noticed the road to Bodø was also recently constructed and not as the TomTom indicated. After the new section was over we got on the 'old' road and it narrowed a bit to make for some excellent riding.

View at one of our reststops.

The weather was absolutely perfect, and combined with the nice riding and scenery this was on of the best days of the trip.
We got to the atlantic coast, and there was nothing but water between here and Greenland since we were still north of Iceland.

Having fun in Norway!

A little bit further the road turned inland for a bit. The area between the mountains was completely flat and provided space for lots of farms, guess this used to be the bottom of some ancient fjord.

Getting the small snapshot camera out again while riding.

We encountered quite a few tunnels while riding, but they weren't that long. Then just before entering another one I got a quick glimpse of a sign saying '7,5 km', wut?! It was long enough to see the ceiling light merging with the road in the far off distance. On the GPS track you can see the tunnel, where the line is broken at the bottom. Sure, the Lærdal tunnel is longer (24.5km, more on that one later) but this one was way colder and more wet, so I just ducked behind the small windscreen to avoid hitting the cold air.

Getting out of it, we saw our first glaciers!

Nice leg stretching break, and we filled our bottles in a nearby stream.

Got chased by dark skies most of the day, but the weather was still great!

Then we got on the ferry to Ågskardet, after which the next ferry would be less than 30 km away. Because it was getting late, and the next ferry would on of the 'big ones' (probably an hour or more to cross, excluding possible waiting time) we wanted to stay somewhere along this section.

After some looking around we stopped at another resting area. This was again one with park benches and a small toilet, so it doesn't really qualify as 'wild camping'. There was even a small lake, so fresh water also wasn't an issue. We only had one (luxury) problem, at first we couldn't decide where to put the tents since there were so many good places

We put our tents between the benches, the sun already set behind the mountain behind us.

My bike felt a bit rough, and sometimes skipped a beat, so I changed my spark plugs there. I also tightened one of the bolts holding my panniers in place, the shaky Rotax single almost caused another one to fall off

Even though the weather was great we saw dark skies closing in, but because we were closed in by mountains on three sides it seemed to stay behind them for a while. Not for long though and when it finally hit, it hit hard, with rain and very strong winds. We got into our tents very early just after dinner, and I spent the evening writing my journal, finishing one of my books, and having a look at possible routes for the coming days and the south of Norway.

Despite of the storm, I slept like a rock that night. Guess the idea of having a dry place, even though it's only a tent, in this kind of storm is a soothing one

Daily achievements:
Travelled around 400km in 6 hours with an average of 70 km/h (including ferries). 'Only' 1725 km away from home.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:56 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by naradalast View Post
off offf.. very nice pictures..

Motorbike is not old. This is experience bike...

Not: I have a 1998 F650 and now 77.000 km.
Mine is from '95, and it's close to 120.000 km now. It's indeed not THAT old, still feels young

Originally Posted by dimitris777 View Post
beutifull RR and pic !!!! Thank's for sharing!
You're welcome!
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:38 AM   #40
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You sir, you are making me miss home, (Norway)... Very good pictures, and I have to say that the northern lights are truly amazing... Safe travel...
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:46 PM   #41
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I have a problem! I can't stop reading this! Great pictures, great story!!!
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:14 AM   #42
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Cool2 Day 12 - Splitting up, ferries and a cemetery

Daily GPS track:

As the sun got up, the weather improved dramatically from the storm we had during the night. We waited a bit before leaving, and when we finally did the sun was shining. During the ride towards the first ferry the roads also dried up, so no worries about them being slippery as well.

So far we had been very lucky with all the ferries, the maximum waiting time had only been something like 10 minutes at max. For this one though, we had to wait for about 40 minutes. Not really a problem, the weather was perfect so we could just hang out and enjoy the morning sun watching fish in the fjord.

This was one of the big ferries (Jektvik - Killboghavn), so the cars were put below deck and the people could go into the cafeteria on board.

"I don’t think there’s enough room for all passengers in there!"
I found out later this ferry actually crossed the arctic circle (well, at least the coordinates 66° 33′ 44″).
Even though we didn't know at the time I still like the idea of having done this with friends.

After another section of nice riding we came to the intersection between route 17 which went south-west, and route 12 which went back east to Mo I Rana. This is where we would split ways, as Bart and Jasmin were getting back to the E6 to get to Trondheim on the same day. I wanted to follow and finish the 17. We exchanged phone numbers, promised we would try to meet up in Oslo (which we did later), and Bart set up the camera for a group pic:

Finnish people are not that small, we Dutch are just big people .
Jasmin and Bart would go the left here, I would turn right.

I remember thinking, in neither a positive or negative way, ‘so, we’re alone again’ (Even though the bike has no name, and I don’t talk to it or something like that, I tend to think of doing the trip as a ‘we’, e.g. ‘We made it!’, ‘We need to find fuel’ etc.). I never felt lonely during the entire trip, in a sense that I needed company or someone to talk to. But it still was nice to ride with someone else and share the experience while it was happening, instead of only telling about it later and show the pictures (which is still nice, that’s why I’m doing it here).

Another ferry was coming up at Nesna, and I got some groceries and fuel in town first. After that, the waiting time turned out to be almost one and a half hour. Not really a chore, since the weather was amazing, so I just put the bike on the center stand and laid back on my luggage while reading my book.

After the crossing the landscape opened up, and I started looking for a place to sleep. There were fenced lands everywhere, but I eventually found a resting area at the remains of what I at the time thought to be some kind of Norwegian-Soviet prison camp. There were stones with Russian names carved in them placed on the ground, and a statue with the communist hammer and sickle was standing there as well. The place in general reminded me a bit of a concentration camp I had visited in the Netherlands some years ago, because outlines of buildings appeared visible.

I didn’t take my camera with me while checking it out, so sadly no pictures. I wanted to come back in the morning for that, but that didn’t work out as I’ll explain in the next entry.

This 'camp' was not very far from the sea, and I found what turned out to be a cattle track going around it. I followed it and ended up pitching my tent between the camp and the sea.

This place was amazing, definitely another highlight of the trip. I’ll just post the pictures:

Not too close to the 'prison camp' to feel uncomfortable about it, and still slightly covered by trees but with a great view of the coast. Had to watch my step though as there was manure everywhere.

These sheep visited as soon after setting up camp, and there were no fences between me and them. So when I got spotted…

…one started running and they didn't stay for a chat.

Normally I’m not really into black and white, but is seems appropriate here.

Self-portrait in the water surface mirror.

I think I kinda like these black ‘n white edits (these were taken in color), so I’ll try to do it every now and then from now on if it seems appropriate.

Yep, this place was without a doubt another highlight.

The shallow water between the stones was mirroring the skies amazingly.

As it got later I got another visit from some more sheep, these reminded me of a Dutch sheep race, the ‘Texelaar’.
They were not afraid at all, and just passed by grazing.

The sheep were passing by, but some bad weather was approaching.

These dark rainclouds were coming straight for me so I quickly prepared and ate dinner. The winds picked up and soon became stormy, so after securing everything I got into the tent.

The rain soon started, and kept going strong throughout the night. In combination with the strong winds the tent was violently shaking back and forth, but again I had no trouble falling asleep through this (I always have difficulty sleeping at home, so I’m still surprised because of this). Because rain and winds had been common almost every night so far, I wasn’t really worried about the next day…

Daily stats:
Because of the ferries I only traveled 200km, with 02:30 in the seat, averaging 80 km/h. Currently 1620km away from home.

When I got home I found out the 'camp' was actually a Russian war cemetery with over 7000 dead. There were hardly any signs or anything, you would think something like that can hardly be overlooked and would be better explained on site. Or maybe I just missed it, which could easily be the case after a day of riding.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:27 PM   #43
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Wow your photos are stunning...

Great RR!
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:47 PM   #44
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Great Photographs

You have a good eye,


Support Mental Health or I'll Kill you.

Ironically, Chuck Norris’ hidden talent is invisibility.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:48 AM   #45
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Location: That floaty bit just north of France
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GPS track of the day:

It turned out that nice little rain cloud from the last picture of the previous post was the front of a storm coming in from the ocean, and it was finally time for me to repay a part of my debt for all the good weather I’ve been having on the trip .

When I woke up, the rain was still pouring down. Not as strong as the night before but I still waited a couple of hours for it to pass, sleeping in and having breakfast in the tent. It still didn’t look like it was going to change, the sky was bad in all directions so I just got going at the end of the morning. I didn’t go back to the cemetery to take pictures, the weather was totally crap so any pictures wouldn’t turn out good anyway and I didn’t want to take any camera out in this storm.

It was about 10 minutes riding to the first ferry going to Forvik, and the engine wasn’t even properly warm when I got there. Had to wait half an hour for the ferry to come and got completely soaked because there was nowhere to take shelter. Luckily there was a cafeteria on board, and the crossing took almost an hour.

The next section was not very long either (only about 15 km) until the next ferry, and I had to wait there for another 20 minutes. Needless to say there was hardly any dry fiber on me left. When you’re riding in the rain the wetness only comes from the front, and you can take some shelter behind the windscreen. But this standing around when it was pouring down was a complete disaster, my gloves and boots felt were like they had been submerged. The area must’ve been beautiful, there were mountains all around but they disappeared in the low hanging clouds so I couldn’t even enjoy the scenery.

I took shelter from the wind behind a shed, and I remember a moment then where I saw the bike rocking side to side on the center stand with waves of rain coming over it again and again, thinking ‘to hell with this’. So when I got across I started looking for a cabin.

I eventually found a nice one near Vik on a campsite at the coast. The owner must’ve thought I was German, since he kept talking German to me even though I only replied in English. I got that a lot in Scandinavia (“Where’re you from, Germany?”), maybe my appearance or accent? Anyway, the cabin was a bit small and I could see light coming in between the door and the frame, but it was sheltered behind some trees and the heating worked so I was not complaining. It was still only 14:00, and I used the afternoon to enjoy the first shower in days and just in general take the rest of the day off and relax while the storm was raging outside.

I did not take any pictures that day because I wanted to keep my camera out of the storm, but overnight the weather had improved enough to be able to shoot some pics around the camping the next morning:

Nice and cozy, sheltered from the wind by some trees.

A small harbor, didn’t risk myself on the weak looking wooden planks though.

I think they processed fish here, the stench was nasty. The troll silhouette on the side can be found throughout the south of Norway, and reminded me of the owner.

This had been the worst day of the trip by far, and it took my boots until around 10 that night to get dry-ish. There was a small television in the cabin, and the weather forecast told me the entire coastal region (also in the south of the country) would be rainy for the next week. I felt like I had been stretching my luck with having almost no bad weather on the trip, and sincerely hoped I wasn’t out of luck. I was looking forward to more highlights like the Atlantikveien, Trollstigen, Geiranger and more...

Daily stats:
Travelled only 92 km in 02:30 with 39 km/h on average (I left the TomTom on while on the ferries, so these include the ferry sections). Currently 1560 km from home.
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