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! Nico 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. (may9th) Guess what.....it'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.