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Old 03-14-2012, 03:17 PM   #91
AlpineGuerrilla OP
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There is something about this air that makes me sleep like a baby. Or maybe it's because sitting around on your bike all day IS tiring after all. My sleeping-times are out of sync for a few days now, so it's noon when I finally get up. I hastily pack my stuff and hit the road. Too hastily as it seems, 200 km later I notice that I left my point-and-shoot in the hut. It's a tough decision, but I abandon it and decide not to ride all the way back through the rain. Since I just got my first DSLR, I hesitated to take it out and shoot a lot of pictures in the rain, hence not everything got photographed what I would have liked to from now on.

Riding south from Larvik, I'm getting close to Finland. Town names are in both norwegian and finnish, most of the norwegian names are painted over.

Crossing the border to Finland is easy. You just have to sit on your bike, hold on to the handlebar and ride like it's a normal stretch of road with nothing but signs.
Because it is.

In the border town of Karigasniemi I take a right onto a gravel road. I found this route somewhere on ADV when preparing, so I thought I should follow it. 120km through the nothingness of finnish Lapland along a calm river. A few houses seam the road in the Sami village of Angeli.

These gravel roads are different than what I've ridden before. With firm clay as foundation, this provides some surprisingly good traction, although the gravel on top keeps it interesting in curves. I try my luck a few times on straight stretches going over 100km/h, but give up when a local blows past me with a 4x4 at insane speed.

That looks quite good.

Being not that much a fan of game, I still thought I should give Reindeer a try. And I'm surprised. Boy is this some good meat.

Can you say "Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische"?

A mandatory shot. Not that easy as I had to find out. Somehow they learned an important lesson: as long as you are riding past them, no matter how close, they don't care about you. But as soon as you stop, they sense danger and leg it.

Yes, that's how crossing EU borders look like. I'm not that much used to it, because the swiss borders are still being policed.

Heading towards Kiruna, Sweden.

My view from the camping spot. I almost forget how mosquitoe-infested this place was looking at the picture now.

Walking on this underground with bare feet is amazing. Somehow, a sea shell made it here.

Another day, and I am riding towards the coast again. Having had problems with adjusting the chain for myself, I look for a mechanic in Kiruna, but only car mechanics are around.

On the way to the Lofoten, I follow two locals on sportbikes going slightly too fast. After a few minutes of following them, they aknowledge me behind them and wave me past. As soon as I am past them, they stick to me and seem to have fun chasing me. This is good. Adrenaline is rushing through my veins. Left turn, right, right, and left again. Getting closer to the asphalt and flying through the landscape, I feel alive.

We part our ways at an intersection after about half an hour riding together. These two blokes were good travel companions, I think. Having never spoken to them, heck, not even seen their face, we wave goodbye like we knew each other for ages.

This makes me realize, that the only words I spoke in the last days were to clerks at gas stations and in super markets. Having more than small talk is difficult, it really is a difference. Here I am only another tourist.

Beautiful Lofoten. What is there to say?

The Lofoten are at the perfect latitude. Sunset fades seamless into sunrise. It's no wonder I can't stop riding, enjoying lonesome roads through these mountains protruding out of the ocean.

It's 4 AM when I finally decide to get some rest and sleep under the moon. This place is a dream.

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Old 03-14-2012, 06:17 PM   #92
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It does look like a dream.
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:32 PM   #93
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and it doesn't get much better than this Thanks for sharing your outstanding ride, report and pics.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:05 PM   #94
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absolutely stunning
Adventure begins when your plan falls apart.
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:16 AM   #95
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Fab pics. Reminds me of my trip to the Lofoten Islands last June. No doubt the jewel of Norway
" its better to have lived one day as a tiger, than a thousand years as a sheep "
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:55 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by AlpineGuerrilla View Post
The Lofoten are at the perfect latitude. Sunset fades seamless into sunrise. It's no wonder I can't stop riding, enjoying lonesome roads through these mountains protruding out of the ocean.

This one really captures what it's all about. Thanks for sharing your amazing trip.
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:21 AM   #97
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Wow! Many thanks!!
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:18 PM   #98
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Great trip & nice report, makes me want to ride in Russia!
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:39 AM   #99
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... whoa.

Every bit of this journey looks amazing. I'm going to be around Scandinavia around July this year and I might just give Murmansk a go.

Might listen to some russian tapes first though :/.
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:20 AM   #100
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Keep it coming
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:34 AM   #101
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Great RR , loving it.
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:24 PM   #102
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After only a few hours of sleep, I awake in the scorching sun. I quickly pack my stuff and ride to the ferry back to the mainland, stopping only for a pic at this town's sign.

After a nice ride along the coast I arrive in Jekvik, where I can see the ferry leaving. The journey takes 1.5 hours one way and there's only one ferry going in both directions. Looks like I've got some time on my hands. I climb a small mountain and enjoy the amazing view.

I also find the time to call the owners of the hut where I left my camera. Also, an inmate from Norway gives me some route advices and his whereabout so we can meet later on.

While on the ferry, the captain starts to mumble something into the the mic and everyone gets on the deck.

Apparently, we're crossing the arctic circle.

Nice sunset over the ocean.

I have a good conversation with this nice chap from the Netherlands while on the ferry.

Tonight's campsite is at another beach. Burning skies and the sweeping of the ocean are my entertainment. Who needs a television?

This time I am awoken by the rain dripping on my tent. It rains the whole day, combined with fog and strong winds. The SV has enough and decides to protest by running on one cylinder only. When riding in rain for extended periods, water and dirt seems to find its way around the spark plug and kill it. Too bad I've had this problem before, so I have a spare one with me.
Still, the mechanical beginner I am, it takes me almost 1.5 hours getting the old plug out and the new one in. At least the coffee is free, as the gas station clerk seems to have pity with me working on the bike in the cold rain.

After the storm comes sunshine. Not exactly sunshine, no. Way better! I sit there for half a while absorbing this view.

Another day, another gas station encounter. Motorcycle school.

What frightens me is how riding the bike would feel if the pillon can influence throttle and braking.

Norway has interesting weather. Weather is very local, it is possible to ride through a short tunnel or over a hill and you're changing from winter to summer in five minutes. Makes for some good spectacle in the distance.

But beware of their expensive gas station food! Pretty much every gas station sells fresh burgers and I get hungry every time I enter. Delicious but expensive stuff.

Famous bridge on the Atlantic road.

Waiting for the ferry in the rain to be brought to the other, sunnier side of life.


Freezing cold, I start looking for a hotel. Everything is booked, it's the main season in this touristy region between Trollstigen and Gerianger. I catch the last ferry to Geiranger, where I meet Joe from Switzerland. We find the last room with two beds and decide to share it. He's got some food and I provide us with beer and both enjoy good company. We talk about a lot of stuff, almost anything and everything. Except motorcycles.

Riding together over Geiranger.

Crowded place, lots of buses and cars.

Do you see the road on the left riding up through the cloud? This is torture. Riding this great twisty road through thick fog trapped between cars going no more than 30km/h.

We part ways, Joe riding towards Oslo and me taking the route south. Kjøsnesfjord invites me for a stay.

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Old 03-19-2012, 03:13 PM   #103
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That's that Bridge to nowhere yeah?
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:26 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by AlpineGuerrilla View Post
Fuel coverage was my main concern when planning this trip, having no idea what to expect. I found this site listing all gas station, but not only directly along M18. If I remember correctly, the farthest stretch without any gas station (or other facility for that matter) along M18 was around 220km after Medvezhyegorsk (Медвежьегорск). No idea though what is the case away from the M18.

One last suggestion: if you want to eat good and cheap Shashlik in Monchegorsk, here's a good place:

There is an amazing ride report on here of some guys riding almost non-existent dirt tracks around Murmansk and Kola peninsula. Can't seem to find it right now, but it's worth a read.
Thanks dude. I think, on balance, since this will be my first bike trip outside of the UK and Ireland I'll probably go up through Finland. I love the idea of going through Russia but the additional paperwork (visa, insurance, etc) and the fact I'd be travelling solo with literally zero mechanical knowledge (including changing tyres - think I'm gonna learn that before I head off!) going through Russia would be a step too far for me at the moment! Your trip, and the other ride reports you mentioned, have me waaaay interested though - so it's on the list for future trips. As it stands though I have enough on my plate finding out about wild camping across Eastern Europe!
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:52 PM   #105
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So beautiful! More please!
North 69° to South 54° Americas

If you can't play nice - play Roller Derby!
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