Norse By Norsewest: TET Finland, Norway, gravel riding and general purpose scenery porn

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by itinerant wool stash, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Awesome! :thumb
    #21
  2. JaredE

    JaredE Grasshopper

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    This thread brings back a lot of memories. I was living in south Finland for a couple years during an apprenticeship in the early 2000's, dirt poor and unable to travel much, and wow do these pics let me know just how much I missed.
    #22
  3. BLucare

    BLucare Inmate At Law

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    Fantastic report! Finland looks like parts of the western U.S., at least a little bit :thumb can't wait to see more!
    #23
  4. jyrays

    jyrays The Wanderer

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    Good work! I enjoy reading people like my native country and find the RIGHT ways to enjoy it!
    #24
  5. cmcteir

    cmcteir Adventurer

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    Awsome thread man!

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
    #25
  6. itinerant wool stash

    itinerant wool stash Inveterate optimist Supporter

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    Glad you liked it, folks, because we ain't done yet. ;) I just haven't found the time to continue updating this thread lately, but lets try to fix that.

    Day 7/8

    Honestly, I hadn't planned much for those two, possibly three days. I had arranged shipping for new tires to a local tire dealer in Alta, so I popped into town to check if they had arrived. You might already guess that the answer to this question was: No.

    No big deal, I thought, because I had budgeted to stay in Alta for at least a day to rest, and there was enough flex in the remaining schedule to make that two or three days as well.
    So off I went to items two and three on the list: Shopping and turning the bike from this

    [​IMG]

    into this:

    [​IMG]

    Remaining day was spent riding back up onto the high plateau south of Alta and hike around there for a bit. No photos from that unfortunately, as I forgot the camera at the campsite while dropping off stuff. D'oh.

    Unfortunately the tires didn't show up the next day either, and a lot of phoning around and heckling the poor support guys at dekkonline I found out that the tire had failed to clear customs in time and would be late one week to Alta, but perhaps I could hook up with them by redirecting the shipment to Bodo.
    So onto the internets and onto the phone I went to line that up, then called back dekkonline. Got told that I needed to arrange the redirection myself with PostNord. That sounded a bit strange, but I called up PostNord anyway. Got told that I can't do that, only the sender can order a change of destination for a shipment (frankly this sounds considerably less strange than what the dekkonline guy told me).
    Called back dekkonline and got them to finally call PostNord, but by the time they managed to do that, the shipment had already been loaded onto a container destined to Alta, and that there would not be a possibility to redirect part of that container's contents until after it reached Alta. Bummer. :doh

    If you know a bit about how logistics work you know that makes complete sense and its hardly fair to place any blame on PostNord.

    Dekkonline, on the other hand ... I admit to having felt a certain ill will towards that company. :boid But of course that doesn't really help with getting new tires, either. Unfortunately there weren't really any suitable tires available locally in Alta, so I would have no choice but try my luck again in Tromso or Bodo on my way southwards.
    #26
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  7. mississippimadman

    mississippimadman Long timer

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    Gorgeous country side, thanks for sharing
    #27
  8. itinerant wool stash

    itinerant wool stash Inveterate optimist Supporter

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    Day 9: Change of plans (again), Tromso

    The original plan for today had been to head back down the old Postal Road, pop over into Sweden, and ride up Kalkkoaivi to camp out there in the wilderness. They say plans do not survive contact with the enemy; in motorcycle touring, they also don't survive contact with the weather.

    I'll let a shot from the coastal road from Alta to Tromso do the talking:

    [​IMG]

    I processed it as B/W image, but let me tell you, the difference to the color version is fairly minimal.

    I didn't really fancy riding either road in this weather unless I had to, especially since I hadn't ridden the road to Kalkkoaivi before and unlike the Postal Road had no idea about its current condition. I knew at least parts of it were off the mobile phone grid, and while I did have a Iridium messenger for emergencies this just sounded too much like a dumb idea for my liking.
    Also pointless, since unless forced to I would not want to wilderness camp in those conditions anyway.

    So off I went down the coast along the E6. On my way down there I popped up the road to Guolasjávri, mainly for two reasons:
    First, one of the last chances to pick up some gravel until at least southside of Bodo.
    Second, because the cloud cover looked like Guolasjávri miiiiiight just break through the top.

    Well, the first part obviously was a success. The second part, not so much:

    [​IMG]

    Parking lot at the top. A bit bleak. Also has some sort of what I suppose ought to be an emergency shelter, though it had obviously seen better days:

    [​IMG]

    The upper part of the road was off the cellphone grid as well, but I knew the road was in good condition so no biggie. Except for the gal suddenly bursting out of the fog, running at me while waving hands - what'd she want?

    Turns out they were a couple Polish people that somehow managed to drain the battery of their car, and now stuck there. Could I jumpstart their car from my motorcycle? Uh, depends on the car, if its a reasonably-low displacement gasoline engine, possibly. A 2.something diesel engine?

    Sorry, no. I offered to try to find them a new battery and haul it back up instead -- its only about 15 km or so to the next village, and there's a construction site halfway that might be able to help as well.
    They declined with a "no, its okay, we'll just wait until our friends (in that other car) return from their hike in about 6-8 hours. No problem.". Now, I don't know about you, but I for sure wouldn't be happy to have to wait around that long in those conditions and ignored that part.
    The least I could do was to ask the people at the construction side, because I would pass by there anyway. In the end I didn't even need to drive that far, because after a couple KM I ran across one of them in a construction van, waved him over and explained it to him.
    No, he hadn't actually planned to head up to the uppermost parking lot, but it would only take him maybe 15 minutes extra and he would do it.

    Sorted. With that done, downwards:

    [​IMG]

    Bridge crossing the ravine:

    [​IMG]

    From thereon it wasn't really an interesting ride. Tarmac, shitty weather, no real reason to stop until Tromso except for short hops on the Olderdalen/Lyngseidet and Svensby/Breivikeidet ferries:

    [​IMG]
    #28
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  9. kneeslider

    kneeslider Insufficient privileges!

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    Kiitos! Great report.
    #29
  10. BSTT

    BSTT Been here awhile

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    Thank you for taking the time to bring me up so far North :clap.
    Interesting to hear about the gravel Autobahnen in Finland.
    Very interesting report. Keep on, I'm very interested what else will happen.:type
    Ciao Gero
    #30
  11. neppi

    neppi Been here awhile

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    Hyvää shittii! Lisää!
    #31
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  12. *kartman*

    *kartman* GO Bacon GO !

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    Thanks a lot for your great report Frank !

    I'm also thinking about doing the swedish and norwegian TET this june up until the north cape and head back through norway's famous west (Atlantic Road, Hardangervidda ...). And maybe take some days off there and hike up to the Trolltunga.

    I have no travel partners yet and may will not find any as I'm planning to go for 4 weeks and none of my friends has so much time to spend. How did you turn out riding alone ? I can imagine it can be annoying or saddening sometimes, as you can't talk about your experiences. Maybe even dangerous if nobody is with you to help if something happens out there in the forests. On the other hand you can plan your days as you like and are more flexible when riding alone. It's also easier to get in contact with other travellers and inhabitants when you're alone. So how was it for you, would you do it alone again ?

    Would you think june is a good riding time ? I would hope the snow is -mostly- gone then and it's still not the biggest mosquito-season, also not tourist-season.

    Best, Martin
    #32
  13. itinerant wool stash

    itinerant wool stash Inveterate optimist Supporter

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    Day 10: Tromso to Andoya

    Yesterday marked the last planned gravel for some time, as I was heading out from Tromso to island-hop down to the Lofoten via Senja and the Vesterålen archipelago. The individual islands still offer opportunities to head off tarmac, but most of them (at least as far as I can see) are not thoroughfares: They are dead ends leading to somewhere.

    Unfortunately that just didn't fit into the itinerary, and by all accounts Senja promised to be quite scenic regardless of tarmac. :) . One of my regrets at that time was that I had not been able to plan in an additional day exploring the island, but that kinda is something you need to get used to on a Norway trip anyway:

    No matter how many days you have, even if you skip all the city stuff, you will loose out on some of the most magnificent landscapes Europe has to offer.

    Drawing up the itinerary of any Tromso/Senja/Andoya single day ride is rather easy: The Gryllefjord/Andenes ferry runs three times a day, but if you want to ride around Senja you'll obviously take the last ferry at 19:00. From Tromso to Senja itself you can either ride along the fjords, or take the Brensholmen/Botnhamn ferry. I choose the later ... and promptly missed the 10:45 ferry by 5 minutes, with the next ferry departing at 14:00 :doh

    There are two problems responsible for those crucial 5 minutes:

    One, I am not exactly a morning person.
    Two, the scenery along the way was pretty, even with half of it hidden behind clouds:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With time to burn I rode around the local coastal roads. The area isn't exactly brimming with people:

    [​IMG]

    Pretty though:

    [​IMG]

    Greasy spoon in Sommarøy, first choice of tables. Not exactly a busy place:

    [​IMG]

    After lunch I headed back over to the ferry, and ran into a couple of Germans on Bavarian heavy metal. We swapped stories for a bit, and it turns out that however much time I spent chasing sun spots in Finland and northern Norway, they had an infinitely worse time: They had rode up through Sweden to the North Cape and were on their way down, about 7 or 8 days into the journey. Didn't have a single day that was sunny, or at least not a disgusting, soggy mess.

    Meanwhile, Senja didn't disappoint even in overcast weather:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I would have liked to spend some time more riding the island, or perhaps hike in Ånderdalen National Park.

    Its also not the worst idea to show up in Gryllefjord at least an hour than required for the ferry: As soon as you pop up from the harbor, which is a bit of an eyesore, into the village proper, you are greeted with quite a nice place to stroll through:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Heading out from Gryllefjord

    [​IMG]

    to Andoya

    [​IMG]

    While on the ferry I managed to snag a nice apartment at a bargain price (well, for Norwegian prices that is) a couple km south of Andenes.

    Approaching the apartment complex:

    [​IMG]

    Uhmn ... now I never served in the army even though Austria still has the draft -- instead opting for social work at a children's hospital -- but that does look like the entrance to what used to be army base to me.

    [​IMG]

    It even still has some old equipment standing around. And it indeed used to be, but nowadays it is mostly used as an apartment hotel for people on fishing trips.

    [​IMG]

    Some of them apparently are quite good at it -- or at least someone else is good at photoshop ... ;) :hide
    #33
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  14. itinerant wool stash

    itinerant wool stash Inveterate optimist Supporter

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    Thanks, even though Frank ain't my name. ;)

    I'd definitely recommend making room for some hiking. Trolltunga itself is a day trip in the sense that a decent hiker can easily do it in a day, but unless you are very fast it'll be all you'll do that day. The road up from Tyssedal to lake Ringedalsvatnet also offers a scenic camping spot in form of a bluff above the gorge cut by the water draining from the lake; we camped there in 2011.

    Regarding North Cape, it obviously is a popular destination and perhaps a "checklist destination", but frankly the amount of tourists it attracts makes it difficult to get anything more out of it. So if you want to visit the North Cape in order to have been there, to have "gotten it out of the way", by all means do so. However I encourage you to go some place else on the northern coast of Norway, some place less traveled; there are a number of options available.
    You may be less far north than at the North Cape, but I can almost guarantee you that you will have a more enjoyable and personal experience; ultimately I think this is what counts, not the latitude counter on your GPS. ;)

    Riding solo for 4 weeks depends a lot on the rider: For some persons solitude is an experience entirely separate and distinct from loneliness; to others, there is little difference. How easily striking up conversations and swapping stories with people you meet on the road comes to you.
    Personally, I can appreciate the peace of mind and thought solitude can bring you; and when I longed for conversation it was never really difficult to find one with fellow travelers or locals.

    Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat, and regardless of in a group or solo. :)

    Safety-wise, yes, there are certain precautions that may be wise to take. However, Finland is a developed country where it is surprisingly to get more than 100km road distance away from the last vestiges of civilization, and you can therefore fall back on basic alpine risk management: As long as you retain on-foot mobility, sense of direction, water and a couple good old "emergency muesli riegel" you can just walk it out in a day or two. It may not be fun but it isn't a source of danger. (though regardless its probably a good idea to at least know how to fix a flat or affect other minor repairs/jury rigs)
    Loosing mobility or becoming incapacitated is where the true danger lies, but in that regard the only question is how often someone will pass by. If you break your ankle or hit your head one of the more remote hiking trail in the Alps that sees half a dozen people on a good day is about as dangerous as being 80 km into the boonies, and the solutions are again similar:
    You ward against loosing mobility by having a means to call for help (satellite messenger, if you want to make sure), and you can help mitigate becoming incapacitated by carrying a GPS tracker. Have folks at home check it once or twice, and work out a protocol with them about when to sound the alarm if there's no movement and you aren't responding to communication (calls, phone texts, satmessenger texts).

    Modern communication technology cannot eliminate the risk entirely, but it can reduce a whole lot if it. :)

    Depending on how far north you want to go June may be a bit early, but I'd guess it could also be fine. Maybe ask a native Finn or Scandinavian about it? :)

    As for mossies, I am afraid the very factors that'd contribute to a good riding June would also contribute to an early mosquito season. Tourist season you can disregard completely if you mostly head to the more remote places, or at least not those in the mainstream tourist guides. Few of them loose themselves in rural Lapland. :)
    #34
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  15. Kyler

    Kyler Geezer

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    great read and superb scenery
    #35
  16. jmcg

    jmcg Turpinated..

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    Great RR and pics!

    :thumb

    Thanks!

    JM.
    #36
  17. carbclown

    carbclown That shit looks deep

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    Very interesting. Thank you for the write up
    #37
  18. get_a_mc

    get_a_mc Adventurer

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    Good pictures! Nice and interesting text.
    :clap
    #38
  19. neppi

    neppi Been here awhile

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    Water, energy (müsli-bar), knife (puukko! Go for a Mora, 2€ at the K-Rauta), matches and a cell phone! That's the survival kit for Finland...

    There's cell phone coverage in Finland, that makes any other country look like the third world (especially NZ! HA!). It might not be right there, if you happen to be in the middle of nowhere, but if you're able to walk - climb the hill / fjell / "mountain" that is right next to you and half way up your phone goes "beep".

    Like said, you're allowed by law to camp almost anywhere (except someone's front yard) and most of the nature's water is drinkable, so in an emergency, just set up your camp and hang out!

    Survival trick:
    What does a Lapplander (guy from up north) do if he get's lost in the wilderness?

    - He makes a fire, then coffee, then goes home.
    #39
  20. BelgardaBuddy

    BelgardaBuddy Adventurer

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    Skåne, Sweden
    Thank you for sharing this well writen and entertaining ride report!
    I hope you will continue this RR someday because It is so interesting.
    #40
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