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Old 08-31-2010, 03:48 AM   #1
NicoP OP
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Location: Duivendrecht, Holland
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A 'non' Nordkapp story full of rain/snow/harsh winds and temps.

Hey there inmates, my first ride report, a bit later then promised but better late then never.

On the morning of the 1st of may i drove off. First heading west towards the Tatra mountains in Slovakia, then North through the Baltics and all the way up Finland and Norway. I don't want to pay for the Nordkapp so i take an allternative route to Gamvik. Following the fjords to Lofoten and back via the innland of Sweden to Copenhagen. It was an amazing tour, 5 weeks, 12500 km, snow, rain, wind, very cold temps and lots of gravel- and dirt-roads.

Let this RR inspire the people who are now bound to their computer at work and break free!


It's may the 1st, yesterday it was the 30th of April, "Queensday" i had to work but it's always nice weather and party but this morning the weather is awefull. Its pouring and cold but i'm dying to take off.
Today is going to be a pretty long day, i want to drive as far as possible, at least all the way through Germany. 800km Autobahn and 109km B-roads in Poland to Jelenia Gora.
The rain stopped just before the border Holland/Germany and the sunny didn't leave me anymore. What a beautifull start of the trip.
I arrived on the campsite in Jelenia Gora around 7 and there were some dirtbike guys from eastern Holland. Every year they come here to do some enduro in the mountains.
After a few beers they invited me to join them the next day, haha, i never drove a dirt bike before but was dying to try. So i'll see you tomorrow ;-)

(May 2nd)

Early start of the morning, they were already preparing a dirtbike for me, a nice green kawa. The engine stalled a thousand times, i couldn't get it running myself and the bike was pretty high. No worries, just follow us :-)
Well after 10 K, lots of fun but also a pretty spectacular crash (i chopped down a tree with my back) we decided that it was safer for me (and the bike) to just take it easy and go back. The other lads drove on and i returned to the campsite and took of on my own Honda Transalp :-) trying to reach the Tatra mountains in the Slovak republic.
I did manage. Lots of rain in the first part but the weather got better during the day. I arrived around midnight and loved the xenon highbeam i added before i left :-).

(may 3rd)
Tatranska Lomnica, this is a little town in the Tatra mountains where i used to come with my parents, also on the motorbike. Last time is was here is 6 years ago, lots of things changed since. Trees have been choped down, new buildings (ugly prefab) have been build and lots of tourists. I planned to stay here for a few days to do some hiking but changed my mind. I woke up with rain and it kept drizzling during the day. The bike was parked dry and i was totally alone on the campsite.
I visited some old spots like a campsite next door wich was the biggest around but now closed and abandoned.

(may 4th)
Rain, rain and more rain. After 20 Km i was completely soaked. I followed the mountain range to the west and crossed into Poland.
From that moment on i would be heading north untill i reach the sea.
On the way i met a guy from the Polish Transalp club.
In Holland we remember the fallen soldiers during the 2nd WW and around 21:00 i stopped for a while next to a graveyard and memorial of Russian soldiers, pretty impressive. It started to rain again and i stopped at a hotel, because i was so wet camping was not an option.

(may 5th)
Next morning it was still raining. I continued north and wanted to reach the Lethuanian border today.
Lots of swamps, deer and little memorial crosses in the ditch. Drinking and driving is very common here.
Once i crossed the border the weather was clearing. Dry and sunny but still cold and windy.
The scenery is changing every minute, from forrest to agriculture and back.
I love the long dirt roads and finaly just before the border with Latvia i find a campsite. It's still closed for the season but the site is like a haunted house scene, big old wooden house with lots of scrap in the garden. The owner is a superb guy who brings me fire wood and a grill for my sausages and an extra blanket because it's still freezing at night.

(may 6th)
After a good night sleep the day starts off beautifully. Sun!! but the tent is all frozen and it's bloody cold.
It's only 20km to the border so before breakfast i'll be in another country.
Today i'm driving al along the coast of Latvia and Estonia and i'll be driving on dirt only :-)
Because everything was still wet from last night i stopped for a while to dry it all.
It was so cold that i taped all the vent holes in my helmet and put on all the clothes i brought with me.
On the same time i made this trip, my girlfriend was in Malawi (Africa) she's a medical student and doing a tropical internship. Once in a while when i had internet connection we called through Skype. Today i found a little white house with an @ on the door. This little village didn't even have a shop but they did have public internet! awesome

(may 7th)
This morning, again, all hell broke loose! Storm, rain and cold as hell. All the way to Tallin. Just 160km but i was completely soaked and exhausted when i arrived at the boat.
I met 3 dude who were on their way to Greece!! yes you have to take the boat to Helsinki first. The boattrip was pretty rough but dry and warm aswell.
When we arrived in Helsinki it was rush hour and still pouring. After 180 km, cold to the bone and wet all the way to the butcrack i called it a day. A luxurious room with bath was mine! Heater on max and drying all the stuff.

(may 8th)
The morning starts dry, still the sky is gray and you could wait for the rain to fall but for now it's better than yesterday.
Everything was dry except for the boots, so after 20 km my feet were cold and wet. The little-plastic-bag-trick does the trick.
In Finland i'm trying to use only dirtroads, wich is not difficult because they've got them a lot.
Ofcourse it starts to rain again around noon, and it stays wet until late that night.
In the end of the day i start looking for a hostel or some cabins and see a sign; cabins turn right, so i turn right :-) . after 10 km another sign pops up; cabins turn left 8 km. It was still raining and the dirt road was slippery and pretty exhausting to ride. Finally ariving at the cabins they turn out to be luxurious family cabins :-) way to expensive for me and closed anyway.
All the way back to the "main" dirt road and 10 km further i found a school wich also rented rooms. I was the only guest but still the owner heated up the sauna :-) i love the Finnish people. This is going to be a very good night.

Guess's raining again :-) and the first bits of old snow show up.
The problem with rain is, ofcourse everything gets wet but not only that, you just don't stop for a nice lunch or to make some beautifull pictures. You just sit on the bike and hope that you find better weather after the next corner but you don't.
I did find something else after a corner though.
A Grouse, it tried to fly up just in front of me but didn't make it out of my way in time. It hit the bike on my left indicater and splashed into my air intake and on my panniers. Quite a impact.
Today, again only dirtroads.
Despite the rain i still enjoy the riding very much.

NicoP screwed with this post 08-31-2010 at 05:47 AM
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:17 AM   #2
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I'm hooked on to this.Bring it on I say.
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:32 AM   #3
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May 10th

It's dry!! Even the streets are drying up.
I'm getting higher up North, and it's getting colder and there's more snow next to the road and ice on the big lakes.
The petrol stations getting less frequent and old fashion, some of them don't show prices, just litres.

When i started the trip i knew i had to change my rear breakpads on the way therefor i brought some spairs (at least i thought so :-S ).
At one of the fuelstops i checked the pads and found out they were already completely gone! steel on steel! oops, no worries i got my spair pads....not?
After a complete shake down of the bike i concluded that i left them at home! Crap, in the middle of nowhere on dirt without a rearbrake. I drove back to the biggest city (because further north there is nothing) and found a skidoo shop with a honda logo. They let me use there workshop and even adjusted the brake pads because the once i needed were not in stock.
One hour later i'm on the road again, in the cold snowy rain.

That night i slept in the kitchen of a closed campsite, put the stoves on max and it was pretty cosy. Later that night i small red car showed up at the reception, it turned out to be santa's wife. Santa Claus is actually living there, it's his second office. Awesome!!
That night it started to rain again (ofcourse)

(may 11th)
I'm waking up on the kitchen table :-) thats warmer than on the concrete floor. I put on all my clothes and head off, north again, into the 'mountains'.
More snow, ice and extreme cold wind.
The dirtroad i'm following stops dead in its tracks after 30km because of the snow, it's not cleaned any further. No other option than the same way back.
By now i'm very wet and cold and stop at a sami bar for some reindeer stew with mashed potatos! :-)
After a pretty short day (347km) i find some cabins near a big frozen lake. All wet and cold i'm drying my clothes and take a nap. When i wake up the sun is shining through the windows and i go for a walk before heading to bed. :-) can't wait for the sun to go down, it's never getting dark around here.

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Old 08-31-2010, 06:54 AM   #4
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may 12th

The weather is not that bad, it's dry and the clouds are pretty high.
After 100km i crossed the border into Norway and at the same time the sun came out. The road turns into tarmac and the mountains are getting bigger.
Lots of snow but the roads are clean.
It's turned out to be a long day, the 'wow'-factor was so high that you just keep on driving. After lunch and dinner you just lay down for an hour or so en than continue again. 24 hours of daylight is not that bad :-).
The weather was so good i could pitch my tent again. I drove all the way to Gamvik.

(may 13th)
The weather is still beautifull and the scenery is awesome! the track between Isfjord and Borselv is highland. Snow and cold winds still rule there in may. But when you get down to the fjords the temp is much more comfortable.
I found a deer skin on the road just outside Alta :-) it now keeps my ass soft and warm.
Deep in the fjords it is still freezing and there is lots of snow.
Another night in the tent.

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Old 08-31-2010, 07:18 AM   #5
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may 14th

07:00 rain and storm in the fjord :-) time for some more sleep.
11:00 i wake up and the weather is better, the first fisherman is already on the water.
No hurry, i've got plenty of time. The sun breaks trough the clouds and the temp is rising.
I've got some bratwurst for lunch and today it's realy fjord hopping :-) one fjord in the other fjord out. I pitched the tent in a fjord and enjoyed a beer and a little campfire. The scenery is so beautifull! just see the pics!

May 15th
Today the road got me to Tromso, a pretty 'big' city still with a blanket of snow. I took a ferry and crossed a huge bridge.
The plan was pretty different though.
I wanted to take the ferry from Gryllefjord to the 'Vesteralen' but it was out of service for seasonale maintenace! damn, a pretty big detour. Pitched the tent in Sjovegan, on a campsite for a shower :-)

May (15th)

After a short (145km) but very beautifull trip i end up in Harstad for some maintenance. A bolt of the exhaust is broken and i have to tighten and lube the chain. Nice sunny weather and i would love to wear my sunglases :-) but i wrecked them on the second day with the dirt bike crash :-)
Tomorrow is a national holiday here in Norway, so i'll be staying for another day.

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Old 08-31-2010, 07:51 AM   #6
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Brrrrrrrrrr... Makes me think about the changes coming to the riding weather around here in the next few months. Thanks for sharing - great photos!
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:00 PM   #7
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may 17th

May 17th is a national holiday, it's sort of a independence day.
I went in to town to check out some parades. Just a day off the bike.

(May 18th)
Guess what....the rain is back :-S
I went shopping for a new rear tire but they only sell street tire here. I'm taking another day off, don't want to start in the rain and the forcast for tomorrow is better!

(may 19th)
On my way to Vesteralen, dry, sunny and warm. Perfect day on the bike.
It is so quite up here, this time of the year. Most of the ferries are empty, noone on the roads, specialy the dirt tracks.
I followed the coast line of Andoya and Langoya, and spend the night in a fjord.

(may 20th)
03:20 hey, what happend with the never fading light? it's dark.
You're damn right it's dark, and it rains and storms and we've got some lightning. The weather gods found me again, what did i do wrong?

next morning i woke up with a very intense view, wich will set the tone of the day (and the days to come).
Lofoten was my next goal, i saw some beautifull pictures and heard some amazing stories. To bad that it was raining the whole day, again.

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Old 08-31-2010, 12:26 PM   #8
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OMG! You got lucky with the weather

Nice trip, nice pics!
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:29 PM   #9
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may 21st

The Lofoten are beautifull, today i'll be driving all the way to the most southern point, A, and then back to Mosnes and take the ferry to Bodo.
To bad the ferries doesn't run until 21:00 and takes a bit of a detour via some other island. I'll be arriving around 03:00 in Bodo. But it never gets dark so, who cares :-)
I've been sleeping some moments during the day, not that the weather was that good, but good enough to chill out so now and then.
Aroun 04:00 i found a nice place to pitch the tent, but was so tired that i dropped the bike :-)

Above is 10 oclock in the evening
Below is 0300 at night.

(May 22nd)
Today was a short one, 190km but with 4 little ferries. And ofcourse rain, it started after 10km and didn't stop. Even at night when i fell asleep it kept raining. All of the pictures were taken in the first 10 km :-).

(may 23th)
It's been raining the whole night. I textet my brother back in Holland to ask him where the good weather front was. It seemed to stay on the line trondheim - Ostersund. (about 400 south of me). The disission wat made, i'll try to reach the good weather today, off to Ostersund.
The moment i crossed the border into Sweden the clouds break apart and the sun starts shining, how magical! A ran into a very friendly dude who's building super luxurious cabins somewhere in the woods. He offert me a cabin for less to nothing :-) awesome!

(May 24th)
My god what a night in my little palace! And waking up with sunshine is even better!
I found the 2 things what i was missing in Norway, Gravel and sun. All the roads are tarmac in norway, the gravel roads lead to nowhere. But here in Sweden lots of trough roads are gravel, lots of fun.

(May 25th)
Today was a day full of hot and dusty roads :-) nice forrest dirtroads and a bit of a fuel issue :-) i'm cooking on the same fuel as i'm driving so the 2 litres of cooking fuel came out handy. The second photo is a mermorial for the women who are hunted down and burned alive on suspected witchcraft in the midevil times.

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Old 08-31-2010, 01:10 PM   #10
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May 26th

Beautifull day today, sunny and warm taking it easy.
Lots of twisty dirtroads and nice chill spots near lakes. And...a magnum gold :-)
Last night 3 germans on brand new KTM's arrived by boat. New tires, panniers, BIKES!! and a follow up car. They are going to take the highway to the Nordkapp. Nice nice...with such a bike i would take a little more adventurous route.

(may 27th)
Are you guys bored yet? the pics all look the same but the scenery never gets bored when you are on your bike.
Oh, btw KLOTEN means Nuts/balls in Dutch :-)

(may 28th)
The day started with mighty sunshine but ended in a mighty thunderstorm.
I also reached a mile (km) stone. I arrived at the campsite in a nice sunny weather pitched the tent and went shopping for some food and a beer. When i walked back to the bike i spotted something on my rear tire, i thought it was a chalk or something (they were repainting the stripes on the tarmac) but when i looked closer i saw it was canvas!! :-S my god, i need a new tire.
I already felt the back sliding when i took a corner on gravel but didn't know it was this bad. So i went to Jönkoping, found a Moto Guzzi shop and a good new tire.
When i left the shop all hell broke loose (for the ....time this tour) thunder, lightning, hail, storm and ofcourse rain.
The campsite was straight on the other site of the lake, and i was driving into the thunderstorm, at the end of the lake i turned 180 degrees and drove again back into te storm.
Lightning struck our campsite, and it was one of those hyper modern sites. Everything electric. Locks, showers, cooking :-) so it was back to basic, no problem for me....but it was for the spoiled camper folks.

Today i had a new game, dodging the thunderstorms. From top of the hills you could see the storms coming and observe what they were doing. Sometimes with a bit of extra throttle sometimes with a bit of waiting, i could dodge them all. Didn't get all day!
I took a awesome forrestroad, got stuck for about half an hour and had to unload the bike. Also got my first flat tire. But without a centre stand i thought it would be a bit of a struggle, but it wasn't.

Yes i live in Amsterdam ;-)

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Old 08-31-2010, 01:20 PM   #11
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May 30th

Today i visited my grandparents, they were on holiday in Sweden aswell.
Nice surprise :-)

Sometimes it takes about 4 pictures to make 'a picture' :-)

1 to see if the graphics are right.
2 to see if the tripot angle is right.
3 because i'm to late.
4 click, that's him. :-)

(May 31th)
Today i had a short ride to Copenhagen and meet up with a friend who i haven't seen for a long time. We met high in the Swiss alps and shared a bivaque for 3 days in a snowstorm.

Now i spend 3 days in Copenhagen having a blast!! Drinking beer, visiting friends and little festivals and ofcourse touring around in Suzy...a Suzuki Kamikaze....
The last part was 800km Autobahn back to Amsterdam. Boring!

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Old 08-31-2010, 01:46 PM   #12
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What a great RR, and awesome pics!

Re: Kloten

combine that with the "Magnum" wrapper, and...

Thank you so much for this adventure reading, Nico!!

PS The sunglasses picture just had me howling, LOL
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Old 09-27-2010, 02:55 AM   #13
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Autobahns are boring indeed!

Originally Posted by NicoP
The last part was 800km Autobahn back to Amsterdam. Boring!
Goed verslag Nico, bedankt! Jammer inderdaad dat in het fraaie Noorwegen bijna alle wegen geasfalteerd zijn. De Peer Gynt weg is nog wel aardig, maar verder is het zoeken.

Jouw rijvoorkeuren, incl. je motortype keuze, komen aardig overeen met die van ons vriendenclubje. Misschien een idee om eens met ons mee te rijden? 6 en 7 november doen we met een paar man een allroad ritje, lekker prutten met transalps en africa twins.

Nogmaals dank voor je RR!
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Old 10-08-2010, 06:55 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by wimj
Goed verslag Nico, bedankt! Jammer inderdaad dat in het fraaie Noorwegen bijna alle wegen geasfalteerd zijn. De Peer Gynt weg is nog wel aardig, maar verder is het zoeken.

Jouw rijvoorkeuren, incl. je motortype keuze, komen aardig overeen met die van ons vriendenclubje. Misschien een idee om eens met ons mee te rijden? 6 en 7 november doen we met een paar man een allroad ritje, lekker prutten met transalps en africa twins.

Nogmaals dank voor je RR!

bedoel je DE transalpclub(je) van nederland? ;-)
sorry voor de late reactie, 6/7 is nét geweest. Wie weet een andere keer.

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Old 10-09-2010, 06:06 PM   #15
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I like this story
Too bad you got that much rain But this is how it works in Scandinavia I think. I do believe it must have been freakin cold there
(I was there some years ago in July, pretty cold.. let alone in May!!)

greetings from poland
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