Nordkapp in September, on a '95 BMW F650.

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Thijs_B, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. santos466

    santos466 n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Lisbon, Portugal
    I have a problem! I can't stop reading this! Great pictures, great story!!! :clap
    #41
  2. Thijs_B

    Thijs_B Keeps on dreaming

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    That floaty bit just north of France
    Daily GPS track:
    [​IMG]


    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.

    [​IMG]
    "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:

    [​IMG]
    Finnish people are not that small, we Dutch are just big people :pynd.
    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:evil).

    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:cry. 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:

    [​IMG]
    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.

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

    [​IMG]
    …one started running and they didn't stay for a chat.

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

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    Self-portrait in the water surface mirror.

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    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.

    [​IMG]
    Yep, this place was without a doubt another highlight.

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

    [​IMG]
    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.

    [​IMG]
    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:snore). 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.
    #42
  3. CaptnSlo

    CaptnSlo Derelicte

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,181
    Location:
    VA
    Wow your photos are stunning... :eek1

    Great RR!
    #43
  4. Lambo

    Lambo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Seattle
    You have a good eye,

    Thanks,
    #44
  5. Thijs_B

    Thijs_B Keeps on dreaming

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    That floaty bit just north of France
    GPS track of the day:
    [​IMG]


    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 :huh.

    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.:puke1

    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:

    [​IMG]
    Nice and cozy, sheltered from the wind by some trees.

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

    [​IMG]
    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.
    #45
  6. Thijs_B

    Thijs_B Keeps on dreaming

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    That floaty bit just north of France
    Thank you! I think it improved along the way, but the Norwegian landscape helped a bit:evil

    Why would you even want to leave a country like this?! :D
    #46
  7. Ruan

    Ruan Adventurer to be

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Oddometer:
    81
    Location:
    Portugal
    :clap congrats...:lurk
    #47
  8. caRnaf

    caRnaf n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    8
    Location:
    City of Eilat, Israel
    That is a proper trip!,
    and you even got a glimp of the AURORA, the highlight (...) of the story if you ask me.
    A sort of an old dream to travel this kind of landscapes for the desert travler Im, maybe one day...

    cheers mate,
    lovley wrighting
    #48
  9. Thijs_B

    Thijs_B Keeps on dreaming

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    That floaty bit just north of France
    GPS track of the day:
    [​IMG]


    Luckily the weather had improved overnight, and although it was still drizzling a bit it was not even close to the show-stopping levels of the previous day.

    I think the owner of the camping at Vik has a hobby of collecting stuff, as the camping was littered with various old vehicles, engines and other ‘junk’:

    [​IMG]
    A 1928, 33hp Chevrolet

    [​IMG]
    Various engines, also from the early days of motorized transport near an old fuel pump. The available power of these engines varied between (only) 3 and 10 HP!

    [​IMG]
    Dutch influence everywhere, here with lifesaving rings from the ‘Nassau’ and the ‘Rotterdam’.


    It was not long after leaving I arrived at the first ferry crossing. The ferry was already in the harbor, but there was still a long line waiting. As I queued up a ferry-guy came to me and said the ferry which was normally used had engine problems and was blocking the port at the other side. They had to wait for a towing ship to tow it away, before this one could depart, which could take up to 2 hours.:huh

    As the distance covered the previous day had been so low I was eager to get some mileage in today, so this was a bit of a bummer. But no real problem, the rain had stopped completely so I just put the bike on the center stand and leaned back on it, again reading my book.

    After about 1,5 hours everyone could get on the ferry and the crossing went smoothly.

    [​IMG]
    Leaving the harbor.

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    The view while crossing, in the lower right corner the other ferry with the broken engine can be seen being towed away.

    [​IMG]
    Even though the crossing was a short one, this ferry had a big car deck with a cafeteria upstairs.


    I was glad this was the last ferry of route 17, it would be a while before the next one on the trip. As I got to the last part the landscape changed, and became less ‘raw’, the fjords became more like valleys covered with pinewoods.

    [​IMG]
    First ‘real’ rays of sunshine since the day I said goodbye to Bart & Jasmin :jkam

    [​IMG]
    Lunchtime. A great engineering masterpiece here, the bridge behind it is also nice :evil

    [​IMG]
    Bunch of buoys!


    I had the option to go to the E6 straight ahead, but the 17 still had some more kilometers in it. I saw on the map it wouldn’t be fjords, but I still went for the detour. It wasn’t as good as before with a lot of towns and farms (and corresponding traffic everywhere L), but I can still say I have ridden every single meter of tarmac on the 17, and at the end of it I got back on the E6.

    The E6 then went in the general direction of Trondheim, and I wanted to find somewhere to camp before reaching it. This way I could have a look at the city in the morning, if only the weather would improve as it had started raining again. As always with cities, the closer you get to them the more difficult it is to find a nice spot, especially since the E6 had turned into a fully-fledged four lane highway. It started raining again, so I eventually gave up and tried some cabins in the area. They were either fully booked or closed for the season, so I just kept on going.

    Eventually I passed Trondheim, and as it was 19:30 already I was happy to find an open camping with available cabins about 20km west from the city. The reception was closed however, and I had to wait half an hour for the owner to arrive after I called him. Another low pressure area passed overnight with lots of rain and strong winds so I was happy to be warm and inside.

    [​IMG]
    The surrounding camping was a bit depressing, but I really like the whole Norwegian hytte thing.

    I would have to make a decision the next day, either go to the Atlantic Road to the west or continue south in the general direction of Geiranger. I was leaning towards the latter, because the weather seemed to get worse every time I got anywhere near the coast, and the Atlantikveien is named like that for a reason. I really wanted to ride it though, so I would postpone this decision to the last moment and see what the weather would be like the next day.

    Achievements of today:
    Traveled 415 km, with 6 hours in the seat and 70km/h average. Still 1316 km away from home!
    #49
  10. Thijs_B

    Thijs_B Keeps on dreaming

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    That floaty bit just north of France
    In my road book Norway is divided into several maps, and today I would finally be ‘riding into’ the map of the south of Norway. Not really a milestone, but to me it was marking the border to ‘the south’.

    Personal eccentricities aside, here’s the GPS track of the day:
    [​IMG]


    I would decide if I wanted to go to the Atlantikveien today, and I literally managed to postpone the decision until the last meters before the last intersection where I could still go both ways. The weather was not really the best, and it was quite rainy so I went inland and hope for better weather. This meant going in the general direction of Geiranger, and that I could go to the Aursjøvegen today!

    [​IMG]
    Morning weather


    Had to wait a while for the ferry (Kvanne - Rykkjen), so used the time to take the camera out:

    [​IMG]
    Seagull at the first ferry.

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    Lots of boathouses in Norway, always looking very homely.

    [​IMG]
    Ferry is finally here!


    After this ferry the mountains got higher, and I got back into the fjords. I especially liked the Sunndalsøra fjord. Although the town itself is very industrial the space between the mountains is very impressive and the smoke from the chimneys was hanging in the fjord. Sadly there were no resting areas to stop and take pictures, as they were working on the infrastructure there and there was a lot of construction traffic :puke1

    A small road at the edge of the town led to the Aursjøvegen, which was constructed in the early 20th century to transport workers and materials to build hydroplants up in the mountains. It is still a dirt road, and they even have the guts to ask toll for it. (It is a well maintained dirt road, but still)

    The tarmac quickly ended, and the road started climbing the mountain. The warnings on the signs at the toll booth need to be taken seriously, going off here would mean falling 10-20 meters down in the freezing water next to the road. Up on the mountains edge this would mean an even longer way down...:eek1

    [​IMG]
    Looking down in the valley where I came through, still not very high up here. The power lines went back to Sunndalsøra.


    I had a lot of fun riding the gravel / dirt, the bike felt really at home there. It was a bit muddy going the way up, but up on the high plains it looked like it hadn’t rained in days so I could open up the throttle a bit. The bike never felt unstable or out of control, I’m still very much impressed with it. The landscape was amazing, but I had to much fun to stop and take a lot of pictures.

    [​IMG]
    One of the lakes (maybe it's just one big lake up there?)

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    No trees, not for kilometers around.

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    As anyone knows if they’d seen the movie ‘Trollhunter’, these power lines are actually meant as fences to keep the big trolls out of the populated areas and in their reservations :evil

    [​IMG]
    You can see the road twisting down into the valley.


    I had a major scare using the switchbacks going back down again. It was very steep, still no tarmac and more gravel than earlier. I was putting too much emphasis on using the rear brake because I didn’t want the front to slide out on the gravel, and actually managed to get the rear breaking pads so hot that they went soft. No fun when the cars down below are so far away they like toys!

    I would say the switchback road going down again reminded me of what I understood the Trollstigen to be like. Continuing switchbacks at a very steep angle. Difference is there was no tarmac here, and there was no nice viewpoint where one could see the entire ride down. I would ride the Trollstigen the next day, so stay tuned for that…

    Down in the valley the weather changed again, and riding along the Langfjorden I could hardly see the other side of the fjord. There are probably amazing views around here, but not in this weather. It was raining like crazy and I just wanted to get to Åndalsnes and find a cabin.

    Found a camping there, and a friend of the owner showed me to a free cabin. A very nice man, he loaned me two shower coins, and I asked him about the weather for the coming days. 'Hmm like this' he replied, pointing to the dark clouds. Crap :eek1 tomorrow would be a big day with the Geirangerfjord, maybe Dalsnibba and more. I would like to have some nice weather for that! But for now I had a nice place to dry my stuff and keep warm for the night.

    Scores for the day:
    310 km with 5 hours riding and 60 km/h on average. 1200 km away from home!
    #50
  11. aquamax

    aquamax n00b

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    8
    Location:
    Innsbruck, Austria, Europe
    Great rr and fantastic pictures!
    Which cameras do you use? - I´m thinking to buy a new one and when I see this pictures, I think this one wouls be a good choice (of corse, you are a very good photographer too) :clap
    Thank you!
    Chris
    #51
  12. Thijs_B

    Thijs_B Keeps on dreaming

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    That floaty bit just north of France
    For quick snapshots and pics while riding I had a Panasonic DMC-TZ6 (a leftover I still have from before the DSLR). The DSLR is a Sony A390, for which I had two lenses with me; the kit 18-55mm and a Sigma 70-300mm DL macro lens. I really like the Sigma lens, that's why I took it in the first place, but it isn't really convenient while traveling because of its size. The 18-55 I could leave attached to the camera, and it was more appropriate for the landscape photography. Almost all of the photos in this report are made with the 18-55mm.

    Both cameras and lenses fit in my tank bag, so they were always within reach. A big plus for the A390 is the 'life view', wich basically turns it into a point and shoot camera. Very handy for taking pics on the road without having to take my helmet off, and the tilting screen made it easy to line up shots close to the ground or while using the tripod.

    For post processing I use Aperture, an amazing program, but with which I admit I went a little overboard here and there:huh.
    #52
  13. Thijs_B

    Thijs_B Keeps on dreaming

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    That floaty bit just north of France
    This is going to be a nice one, if not the best. If the weather would permit it, I had the Trollstigen, Geiranger, Dalsnibba, dirt road 258, and the beginning of road 55 to look forward to today. Let's go!

    GPS track (first part of the day):
    [​IMG]


    The weather was indeed very good as I left Andalsnes. I found the guy who lent me the shower coins to give them back, and told him he was a liar since he told me the day before the weather would be crap. This ofcourse broke the ice and after a nice talk with him and his giggly wife I left to climb the famous Trollstigen less than 20km away.

    [​IMG]
    Looking back from the Trollstigen information stop.


    Approaching the Troll road the mountains on either side started getting higher and higher, then suddenly the famous road was there in front. Not really anything to look at from below, you cannot really see the height and steepness from here.

    The engine was really working to get up the incline, but other then some (now familiar) grumpy low pitched growling there were no complaints. At the top there was a modern visitors centre, but it being around 10:00 on a sunday morning everything was closed, and there were hardly any cars in the parking area. After parking the bike I followed the walkway back to see the sights:

    [​IMG]
    Modern and maybe a bit out of place. For me a fresh variation to the 'regular' Norwegian houses.

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    Looking back to Åndalsnes in the distance, the road in front is one of the last sections of the Steps.

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    Stacks of stones, everywhere and all around.

    [​IMG]
    Taken from the viewpoint, I forgot to put the camera on manual, so there are some stitching issues in this one:cry


    After having a look around in the souvenir shop (the owner just arrived and opened it) I left in the direction of Geiranger.

    Somewhere along the road there was a nice gorge, and because I recognized the the steel beams from other ride reports I stopped and had a look at what all the fuss was about.

    [​IMG]
    The depth of the gorge was impressive, and the color of the water made me feel a little urge to just jump :evil.

    [​IMG]
    ...but I wouldn't really stay afloat in the motorcycle gear.


    The gorge itself was nice, with a big stream of water carving through it. I was absolutely the only one there, but I can imagine these walkways being loaded with tourists.

    There was one more ferry before Geiranger, and in the waiting line (which was on a slope) my bike started to roll forward while I standing behind it getting something to drink from the topcase. I rushed next to it and caught it just in time (2nd time this had happened:huh), but in the effort the sole of my right boot decided it wanted to part ways with the rest of the boot.

    [​IMG]
    It was far from really being waterproof before, I would be surprised if it could keep anything out now.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Fixed it with the some ductape. Ready to go! At the next stop my other sole did exactly the same, so then I had two ductape boots.


    These boots were the cheapest I could find new as a student when I started taking lessons for my license two years ago. They have served me well in that time, but this trip proved too much for them.

    Then finally Geiranger. I parked the bike on the base of the platform overlooking the fjord, and while I was taking my helmet and gloves off I was approached by some guy gesturing his wife / girlfriend to take a picture of the two of us with my bike. I went with it, put my arm around him and she took the picture. He said he was from Thailand, but that was all I got out of him as he rushed towards the platform. Reading some RR's before I guessed before I probably would be an attraction out in Asia, being 1.96m with light colored hair and blue eyes, but I didn't expect to be that anywhere in Scandinavia:rofl

    [​IMG]
    The Dalsnibba is towering over the fjord on the left. To give an impression of the sheer scale, the two small white dots in the lower right of the image are two normal size dinghies.


    I've been here before with my family, years ago. It was nice being on 'familiar turf' again. Had some lunch at the water side, and also found some new oil and braking fluid for the bike at the tourist shop. I got visited by a little sparrow while eating and giving the bike some TLC.

    [​IMG]
    Scruffy looking, but very keen.

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    Threw him some crumbs, omnomnomnom! :dg

    [​IMG]
    I put the camera on the ground to get a quick shot before getting back on the bike again. Notice the sparrows little friends arriving in the lower left corner hoping for some more crumbs.


    It had already been a busy day, with lots of pictures, and it was only 14:00 at that point. I'll continue the report for what turned out to be the overall BEST day of the trip in the next post tomorrow. Got too much material to fit in a single post :evil
    #53
  14. Jorik

    Jorik Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    Leningrad (St.Peterburg), Russia
    Your great report and excellent photos remind me 2010 summer trip. I spent the night in that cabin in Vik camping and (funny) camping owner also asked me "Where’re you from, Germany?" in spite of my "NO" he continued speak German to me and showed his car's collection.

    BR
    #54
  15. jmcg

    jmcg Turpinated..

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    449
    Location:
    The Dandenong Ranges, Vic
    Still really enjoying your well-written report and great photos.

    Thank you!

    JM.
    #55
  16. sandgroper

    sandgroper Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,825
    Location:
    Wanneroo, Western Australia
    A great report, thank you. You have a good eye for photography:clap
    Cheers, Ed
    #56
  17. Thijs_B

    Thijs_B Keeps on dreaming

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    That floaty bit just north of France
    GPS track for the afternoon:
    [​IMG]


    After lunch I started climbing out of the Geiranger fjord, and headed towards the Dalsnibba. I was told at the previous campsite the road would probably be closed due to snow, but had a look anyway.

    [​IMG]
    Vertical panorama! Both boots are fixed with ductape…


    Arriving at the beginning of the Dalsnibba road, the text 'closed' was drawn in pen on an A4 sheet of paper, but I didn't let it convince me :evil. The road up the mountain is a dirt road, with chunks of rock everywhere (too big to be called 'gravel'). There was snow on both sides of the road, and it was VERY cold. I eventually got up the road just fine, but was a bit worried how to get down again. Never mind, I'll handle that when I get to that point…

    It was completely deserted up there, and there were gale force winds blowing and a little bit of rain. I put the bike on the center stand head first into the wind and had a look around. The view was amazing, and I found it hard to believe I was just down there in that little town in the distance and almost 1500 meters lower:

    [​IMG]
    It was amazing being the only one there, felt like the king of the world!
    Had to hurry though...


    But at the exact moment that I looked left I saw a big cloud rolling over the opposing mountain, speeding in my direction, causing a complete white-out along the way. I quickly got back to the bike, which was bouncing back and forth in the fierce winds, jumped on it and got back down as fast as I could. The road was very steep, but the descent wasn't as difficult as I thought, and it wasn't long before I was down again and the top was enveloped by the cloud. Explains the improvised 'closed' sign… :eek1

    The 'touristic route' followed the 15 east, but instead I turned west and used road 258 over the Strynefjellet to get back to the 15 again. This meant going through some tunnels, which were very dark and dusty due to construction work, but the resulting road was well worth it!

    [​IMG]
    Enjoying the view looking back while ascending again.

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    A surreal location with some frozen snow, and the water was unimaginably blue. A deserted ski resort on the right side. These are depressing by default, especially in this weather.

    [​IMG]
    This was the road. Wet, very cold and like riding on ice. The potholes are things to avoid, as they are at least 10cm deep with steep edges, but sometimes I had no choice as I couldn't zigzag very well on this surface…

    [​IMG]
    Having fun though!

    [​IMG]
    This landscape was amazing, if only for the low hanging clouds…

    [​IMG]
    …but the sight in the distance was promising. IN SEARCH OF THE POT OF GOLD!!!

    [​IMG]
    Didn't find an actual pot of gold, but the sight of open skies made up for it though. The color of the water makes this lake look like poison, I'm curious why it looks that way…


    It was a nice road to ride, but because it was so slippery that I couldn't get my speed over 30km/h. I was happy to get back to tarmac again, and follow the 15 towards Lom.

    This road was very nice to ride. The skies opened up and I was cruising along at a steady 90km/h, leaning back on my luggage roll and enjoying the curvy road and the crisp and dry tarmac. There were villages every few kilometers, separated by pine forests. The road was following a river all the way to Lom. I stopped there for a break and to have a look at the local Stavkirke (Stave church).

    [​IMG]
    Not the largest, but certainly the best looking one I have seen on the trip.

    [​IMG]
    Was very 'Viking-like'.


    After that I continued on road 55, which was apparently highly recommended. It had gotten a bit rainy again, but after 3 nights of (expensive) cabins I thought it was about time to toughen up not use the cold and wetness as an excuse to look for another one.

    I found a nice resting area, with plenty of space next to the river to camp.

    [​IMG]
    Inner tent before throwing the outer sail over it. Nice and sheltered by the trees, and the forest floor was very soft.

    [​IMG]
    A lot of mushrooms around. In Scandinavia these are not inhabited by gnomes or elves, but by little trolls…

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    Macaroni, with some added cheese. No 'shrooms though. I find it mouthwatering to look at now, that was some good stuff!:dg


    The rain had stopped completely, and as it started to get dark I gathered some dry wood and started a fire to drive away some of the cold :kumbaya

    [​IMG]
    It was nice and warm, and I spent the evening sitting in my chair next to it and reading my book.


    This camping spot was absolutely perfect, and this fire was the icing on the cake of an almost perfect day!

    Daily stats:
    240 km traveled, in just over 4 hours in the seat averaging 55 km/h. 1110 kilometers away from home!
    #57
  18. Thijs_B

    Thijs_B Keeps on dreaming

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    That floaty bit just north of France
    GPS track of the day:
    [​IMG]


    Today would take me more and more south, but I would get more cold than I have been up until now.

    [​IMG]
    The river I camped next to, the Jotunheimen national park was on the other side.


    I'm not really a fan of long exposure water shots, since they do not really reflect the force and 'coldness' of the water. But I found they are fun to take, while balancing on the slippery rocks:

    [​IMG]
    Makes the water look like a blanket, but it was extremely cold. It actually hurt my hands when I filled my bottles up.

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    The resting area I camped at, with modern park benches next to a narrow road.

    [​IMG]
    It wasn't long after I left that I came onto this view. Autumn was really going strong here, and the cold was in the air.

    Then the road twisted through some misty valleys, and it started raining a bit. It got a bit cold, but nothing my suit couldn't handle... yet.

    [​IMG]
    Looks like a haunted road.


    I followed route 55 going higher into the clouds and into the snow. This was not like the old frozen snow I've seen day before, this seemed fresh and maybe only a day old.

    [​IMG]
    The road was clear of it though, and it wasn't very slippery.

    [​IMG]
    It was amazing to be here, and to be able to ride through this landscape.
    Remember all my panoramas are clickable!:D


    Going down again the mist got very thick. I couldn't see anything over 50m away, so I couldn't enjoy the landscape which was without a doubt extraordinary.

    Then the mist cleared away and the clouds opened up, and I came to the very best sight of the entire trip. I can hardly describe this vista:

    [​IMG]
    Notice the tiny bike to the left, and the road twisting up the mountain to the right. The cloud on the right was climbing up from the valley and approaching rapidly.


    The next section twisted down again, and at the bottom I started climbing the road that can be seen in the panorama, towards the Tindevegen. This was a toll road, and is apparently one of the hidden gems of Norway. I couldn't really enjoy it, there was just too much mist and rain there. The Tindevegen ended in very tight switchbacks down into Øvre Årdal, and I enjoyed my lunch in the fjord.

    [​IMG]
    A somewhat 'normal' landscape, with 'normal' meaning 'very beautiful' in Norway in regular english…​


    There was a little water stream coming from the mountain where I snapped some more moving water shots:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Same shot, different shutter lengths. The right one is obviously more artsy fartsy, but I'm still not sure which I prefer since the left one reflects the 'rawness' of the water better...


    Then I came to the Lærdaltunnel in the direction of Voss, which was the longest in Norway with 24,5 km (and second longest road tunnel in the world). I originally planned to take the old mountain road, but I was already in it when I realised this was the tunnel. Never mind, at least it was dry and a bit warmer for a change.

    [​IMG]
    There were three well lit resting areas in the tunnel, spread evenly. This one is about halfway in, so 13 km of solid rock in both directions!


    I wanted go up the Stalheimsvegen, which was the 'old' road used before they made a tunnel. There was a brand new sign on the road towards it telling tourists it was closed for traffic going up, and only open for traffic going down. So after I grudgingly used the tunnel that screwed up into the mountain, I came at the top end of the road. It was very cold and raining again, and the sign said there was a decline of 19 degrees. I didn't really enjoy switchbacks going down in the first place, and riding 19 degrees down in this cold and rain with slippery tarmac is not my idea of fun. I still remember my overheating brakes on the Aursjøvegen, and I chickened out and got back to the main road.

    At Voss I tried to find some new motorcycle boots, but the closest I found were fishing boots in a sportshop. They looked nice, and promised to be warm and waterproof. They were however almost 3000 NOK (so a little under €400), and if I was going to be spending this much money it'd better be on some top tier dedicated motorcycle boots.

    No further delays in Voss, and I started going towards Geilo. There weren't a lot of towns on the map on that road, so I thought it wouldn't be difficult to find a camping spot there. The road started climbing however, and it got very cold. I hoped it would go down again, but it kept on climbing.

    [​IMG]
    Very beautiful area though, a pleasure to ride here... when the sun was shining...


    The road was crossing the Hardangervidda national park, and there were signs explaining it could take up to 40 years to grow back some of the vegetation due to the harsh conditions up there. Camping was therefore 'strongly discouraged', so I kept on going.

    The sun dropped behind the mountains, and it got very VERY cold as well :vardy. Because it was getting late I didn't stop. No way I was going to wild camp here, the cold started to seriously hurt me. I found some small cabins at a resort in Geilo, and when I finally got off the bike I couldn't feel any of my limbs. I saw my legs moving, but I couldn't feel them do so.

    The receptionist tried to get me in a 6 person cabin, for (with a dead serious look on her face) 2350 NOK, wut?!:loco "What about the small ones out there?:huh" "Oh those are our budget family cabins, for 500 NOK a night" Still a lot, but I couldn't feel my fingers typing the pin to my creditcard so it would have to do.

    It may be a bit expensive, but I had a private bathroom, a double bed, television (watched some Top Gear!) and breakfast was included so I think it was worth it after all.

    Daily stats:
    310 km traveled, in 5 hours and a little under 70km/h on average. Now only 990 km away from home, finally closer than 1000!:deal

    Tomorrow I would decide if I wanted to go directly to Oslo, or first go south some more
    #58
  19. Ruan

    Ruan Adventurer to be

    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    Oddometer:
    81
    Location:
    Portugal
    [​IMG]

    LOL. Had the same problem in Marrocco in April. Are your boots Alpinesar? It looked like this:

    [​IMG]

    Keep up the excelent report...:clap
    #59
  20. Thijs_B

    Thijs_B Keeps on dreaming

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    That floaty bit just north of France
    Must've been nice with all the sand over there:lol3.

    Mine were Forma boots, and the cheapest I could find at the time. But I think this may be a universal failure between boots were the soles are glued on:evil
    #60