Tunnels, Bridges and Ferries I guess I should pick-up where I left off so you don’t think I’m still above the Arctic Circle frozen into 24-hour darkness. To the contrary, my ride south was blessed— or cursed, perhaps— with dimly lit nights, long days, a lot of rain, changing skies and delightful moments, at times hours, of blue sky and sun. These notes were jotted down around August 8, 2018. It was quite obvious to me the Norwegians were not thinking of motor travel when they decided to build their fishing villages on the bumpy, vertical side of the Scandinavian peninsula. If there isn’t a big rock in your way then it’s a river, fjord or bay. The Norwegians don’t take a drive in the mountains. They take a drive THROUGH the mountains. I’ve lost track of the number of bridges, ferries and tunnels I used to travel the few degrees of latitude south I covered to get from Alta to my next stop, Tromso. Now there are long tunnels in other places, though 5-6 km is not unusual in Norway. But I went through one tunnel that had two roundabouts inside of it. I went through tunnels that had two-way traffic but were only one “truck-width” wide. I went through tunnels that had rest stops inside of them and little cut-outs where one vehicle could pull in so the approaching vehicle could pass through. I believe their longest tunnel is 27 km end to end. This country makes a model railroad set look like…well, a toy. Although I did not leave with much of a travel plan, before I left the U.S. I received some great routes from Snakeboy on the HU forums. Despite his being on a round-the-world ride, he sent me some downloaded Googlemaps while taking a brief layover somewhere in Brazil…to do his laundry or get a divorce or something. He helped me piece together smaller roads and ferries that had me hop from island to island back down to the neighborhood of the Arctic Circle where I could ferry to the mainland and keep heading south. Snakeboy warned me to be sure I had a reservation a day in advance for the boat from Moskenes to Bodo when leaving the last of the Lofoten islands. Unlike the short hops on most of the boats I took between the Norwegian islands, this crossing is quite a bit longer and departs only once each day. Without reservations, you take your chances and might have to wait overnight. Everyone seems to know the reservation number and the agents speak perfect english. If it's not up and down it's around and around Despite the warnings, there are few alternatives to the E-6 when heading south from Alta toward the islands. The dearth of population resulted in few heavy vehicles unable to keep up the 90 kph speed limit. I hit the road after a campside breakfast of fried eggs, reindeer meat, and excellent gas station bread rolls washed down with a liter of chocolate milk. I stopped for fuel and bought a liter of oil to top up the TransAlp. I may not have calculated the exchange just right, but I think the oil cost me about $16 US! And I bought the cheapest stuff on the shelf. I told myself it was my personal contribution to the Norwegian oil trust fund that will take care of all their baby boomers for the next 35 years while Americans wonder where their savings went. The main highway itself squeezes into a small piece of real estate between the snow-capped mountains and the sea. In places, it’s cut right into the rock face that falls into the Atlantic, twisting like a serpent as it carves around fjords or launches you into the air on one of Norways many long arching bridges. I found myself frequently stopping despite the misty day, just to gaze at the incredible scenery unfolding through my face shield. Going faster than 90 would result in this beauty passing too quickly, so I relaxed into a comfortable pace up and down and around and through really long holes in the mountains. Where did the clouds go?! Oh. Here they are Prime spots at Tromso go to RV's. Tenters have to hike into the woods The campground at Tromso was a bit hard to find but still in the city over a bridge from the center. The tent sites were woody, uneven damp, creek-side locations but the sauna was outstanding. And Tromso is the home of the Mack Brewery. This suggested the possibility of a warm pub on premises. A look on my phone at the Brewery Passport and TapRooms apps proved this to be the case and even "GPS'd" me to the door. Mack has operated since 1877 and claims to be the northernmost brewery in the world, a claim cited on all of their beer bottles. Although a Norwegian legacy brewery, they work to market themselves a “craft brewer" and have refused to sell out to the major international beverage conglomerates. I can support that! The start of hard rain as I explored Tromso on the bike "forced" me to pull up in front. I sampled the products to make good use of the time. Congenial location and a tasty brew. Mack Brewery at the edge of downtown Tromso The last thing I want to tell you about this day of riding occurred at a gas station where I stopped because of a construction back-up. Thought I’d wait it out with a cup of coffee. Six or seven heavy motorcycles pulled in with Italian EU registration plates. One of the riders pulled off his helmet and yelled my name! Incredibly, two of the group were Italians I had met in Cairo in 2015 during the Cross Egypt Challenge motor scooter rally. They pulled a thermos of espresso out of a tail box and some carved Nordic cups. They had been to Nordkap the same day I had. Their trip would end in a couple of days and they had arranged to have their bikes shipped by truck back to Italy while they flew home. They extended an invitation for me to come to Italy and ride the Alps. Thank you Gaucho and Ottavio. Sounds like next summer’s divertimento!