Norway in a figure of 8. Summer 2020

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JohnnyTh, Aug 25, 2021.

  1. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    318
    Location:
    Norway
    A lot have happened since me and my daughter Tea went to Morocco, July 2016.
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/youre-gonna-miss-me-when-im-gone-norway-to-marocco.1161927/
    One month after returning from our ride I left Norway to work in Korea for 6 months. December 2016, I got divorced. My 6-month stay was extended to 1 year, and during this time I meet someone that I married in 2020. This wedding is known locally as the big covid marriage as 1 of my 8 guest was positive and he infected 6 of us. Not the best wedding gift you might say.

    During this time, I was living in Dubai and we returned to Norway to get married. I stayed 6 days in Norway and returned to Dubai alone to finish my project there. Got sick in Dubai but that is another story.

    In May I returned to a Norway in lockdown and this lasted all summer. With the boarders closed and no hope of traveling anywhere I thought that if I’m ever going to do a full tour of Norway this is the best time. My wife, Rose, is from the Philippines but with a Korean passport. She moved to Norway in October 2019, then joined me in Dubai and stayed there up to our wedding. This was a good opportunity for her to see Norway so we started packing. She had joined me for a weekend riding the bike previously, but this would be her first long distance riding. So, I was a little worried she might hate it after a few days.


    End of July we left home, in the south of Norway and set off going north along the coast. My plan was to take her to as many famous places in Norway as possible, and some less famous that I wanted to see for myself.
    The plan was to do Norway in a figure of 8. Going up the west coast as we went north, then push to Nordkapp before doing the coast on the return.
    Bilde 21.08.2021, 12 10 25.jpg
    Ok, i admit it is not a perfect 8. But you get the idea.

    The first few hours took us past Stavanger and towards Haugesund, planning to reach Hardanger. We travel this area a lot so the first real stop we had that was not for food or fuel was at Låtefoss. This is a very popular stop for most people driving this road. Låtefoss is special because it is two rivers that meet in one waterfall.
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    It is a impressive sight, specially if it have been raining a lot.

    This first day we had some light showers and fog, and it continued all day. We reached Hardanger and started looking for a campsite. Took a little while but finally found a simple but nice campsite with a good view over the fjord. I don’t have many pictures at it was mostly wet and foggy all day.

    We pitched the 2 person tent and as we went to bed it started raining heavy. Good thing we got the tent up before the downpour.
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  2. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    Next morning, I wake up with a feeling something was wrong. And sure, enough the tent was wet inside. Wtf this never happened before. I love this tent. I bought it in Uk in 2010 and it have served me well, all these years. The tent is a Vango Tempest 2000. It packs small, not to heavy and perfect for 1 person, two if you are close friends. And I only paid $150. That good value for money. But now it was clearly dead.

    Our first goal on day 1 was Voss. This is the capitol of extreme sports in Norway and I thought that if I need a new tent I will for sure find one here. So, we made a stop here and started searching. After several sports and outdoor shops, I found a tent that looked like it would be usable for motorbike camping. I wanted a tent from the Norwegian brand Helsport, but I did not find it so I decided I would go for this one as I did not want another wet night.

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    I was sad to leave my old tent on top of a dumpster behind the store, but all good things must come to an end.

    With high hopes for a dry night in the new tent we set off. Following E16 North and then east towards Aurlandsvangen. E16 is the main road going to Oslo. This is the road you take if you travel from Bergen to Oslo, but even as a main road it offers some spectacular views.

    We arrived at Aurlandsvangen after one hour and here we pulled over for lunch. Lunch was simple, bought some bread and ham from the supermarket and found a bench.
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    E16 go into a long tunnel after Aurlandsvangen. The Lærdal tunnel is the longest road tunnel in the world. 24,5km long. In the middle it has a rest area with coloured lights that is fascinating, but as we are on motorbike we went for the old road going over the mountains. This road has a steep climb on the west side with many hairpin turns. Taking you to the summit.
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    We pulled over for a toilet and view break at the top of the climb after leaving Aurlandsvangen. A new toilet here is made and it must be one of the toilets with the best view in Norway as it have a glass wall overlooking the fjord.
    Bilde 22.07.2020, 21 47 00.jpg
    Also, the view from the viewpoint is spectacular.
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    Bilde 22.07.2020, 21 44 59.jpg These viewpoints have become very popular in Norway during the last few years. You can find several of these when traveling Norway.

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    The summit still had scattered snow patches.

    My next location to visit was Fjærland. I put this on my list as I found out that it was possible to see a glacier here. There is a glacier museum here, but it was closed when we arrived.
    Bilde 23.07.2020, 00 28 54.jpg
    The view from the museum was nice.

    We found a random road with a sign saying Supphellebrren and i pulled over to check it out. After a couple kilometers gravel road we reached the end of the road. A short walk took us to the glacier's foot
    Bilde 23.07.2020, 00 51 53.jpg
    It was interesting and it was the first time my wife saw a glacier relative up close. To be honest it was the closest I also ever been to a glacier.
    #2
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  3. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    We returned to the main road, only to pull over after a couple of kilometers again. This time at Bøyabreen glacier center.
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    In 1972 a small one engine aircraft crashed on top of the glacier. The body of the pilot was brought down from the glacier, but the airplane is still up there. It is now buried in snow and ice and it is expected that the wreck will at some point be pushed into this area. All glaciers is in constant movement. It was estimated that the airplane would be exposed after 25 years, but now the locals have been waiting for 42 years. We had a look for it but did not see any airplane parts.

    We continued driving along fjords and steep mountain sides. There is no way anyone can explain to anyone how beautiful this part of Norway is. Around ever turn there is a new spectacular view. Weather was not perfect. But good enough to give us a good view of the mountains and fjords. With just a few light showers from time to time.

    After hours of riding in this amazing landscape we found a campsite in the village of Olden. Olden is famous for bottled water. The water is drawn from a mountain spring and it is said to come from the glaciers. If you bought expensive water in a nice restaurant somewhere in the world, there is a chance that it was water from Olden.

    That night we camped at Løken camping. Translates to Onion camp. It is a small, inexpensive campsite. The facilities is basic but clean and the manager very friendly and helpful. But the view. Man let me tell you a bout the view. Or better yet I will show you.
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    Here we are looking over Olden lake toward Briksdalbreen (another glacier). All these glaciers is not independent glaciers but all part of the huge Jostedalsbreen. Jostedalsbreen cover 487 km².

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    Dinner was army rations. Not impressively romantic. But to be honest they are good. When you don't have to eat them for days.

    Next day will take us to a few of Norway's most popular tourist spots.

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  4. RidingInTheRainMan

    RidingInTheRainMan Adventurer

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    Location:
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    I traveled many of these roads in 2016 during a European moto trip on my way to Nordcap. Looking forward to following your adventure. What bike are you riding? Cheers
    #4
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  5. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    I ride a Kawasaki GTR1400. You can see it in a few of the pictures. I live in Singapore atm and here i have a BMW F800GSA. I will prob get a 1250GS when i get home.
    #5
  6. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    Waking up the next day I was a little disappointed with the tent. And the weather. The night had been cold, and this new tent had amazing ventilation. Way too much ventilation and cold air was blowing thru the tent like we were sleeping outside. I also realised that I might have been too optimistic when I packed the two light summer sleeping bags. But come on, its July. The wife was still in high spirits and as a former army sniper I’m used to be cold at night. But I also knew that I had to make some changes to my gear, or it might be a short vacation.

    Packing up was now a challenge as my available space was tight.

    After breakfast we set off to explore the valley leading up to the glacier.
    Bilde 23.07.2020, 17 58 04.jpg
    At the end of the valley there is a glacier museum and restaurant. Very nice area and you can walk up to the glacier. But as it was still early in the morning, we were eager to push on.
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    The weather had improved, and we had mostly clear blue sky.


    After a short ride we arrived in Stryn. This is a small town and there is a few shops. I went searching for a better sleeping bag option and ended up buying two new bags. Hopefully this would make us comfier, but it came with a huge luggage space cost.

    After Stryn we set course for Strynefjellet and Geiranger. I have been here a few times, but this was first time that Old Strynefjell was open. We decided on the spot to check out Old Strynefjell This road is spectacular. Lots of waterfalls and tight corners. Total length is 27km and about half is gravel. This road from Stryn to the summit of Strynefjell will take you from sea level to 1139 meter above sea level in less then 50km. Most of the climb is in the last 15km.
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    Reaching the main road we had to go left and back toward Stryn for a few km before taking right toward Geiranger.

    Along the road to Geiranger we did a detour to Dalsniba. There is a hefty toll road to pay for access, but it should not be missed. The road will end at the top of Dalsniba, 1476meters above sea and it give a spectacular view above Geiranger village and the fjord.
    Bilde 23.07.2020, 21 55 54.jpg
    We spent some time here taking pictures and I spent a lot of time trying to convince Rose to join me on the view deck. But she was not comfortable on the grating section of the view-deck, and she enjoyed the view from the comfort of solid floor. This would not be the last time she faced this challenge.

    During the ride so far, we have been lucky with traffic, but this would not last. Summer of 2020 the borders was closed due to COVID, and every single Norwegian was going to spend his vacation in Norway. Most of them by car or RV’s. We had seen a lot of traffic and heard about traffic jams in strange places like Olden and Stryn. But as I said, so far, we had been lucky. Our luck was about to run out.

    Geiranger is a small, picturesque village, squeezed in between steep mountains and the fjord. And this is where the reality of traveling in Norway when to boarder is closed hit us like a brick. It was like every single person that own anything with wheels was on a road trip, and they all wanted to go to Geiranger. Geiranger have one single road going thru the village and it was a total gridlock. Several cars towing camping trailers did not have enough room to meet, so they had to back up. But there was another guy with a camping trailer behind him. The result was that no one was going anywhere. I never been so glad to be on a motorbike and I managed to squeeze thru. Geiranger did not tempt us enough to stop. It was packed with people everywhere and we just continued to squeeze out way out. After a couple of kilometres, it cleared up and we soon found another viewpoint.
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    The weather was still good and the view was beautiful.

    From Geiranger to our next target, Trollstigen its just 2 hours of riding and a short ferry. The only stop we had was fuel and groceries in the village Sylte before going back up into the mountains.

    Reaching Trollstigen from the south you arrive at the top. I have been here once before and that time we arrived from the north side, and this is more impressive. But its still a spectacular view. Here there is again a viewpoint, toilet, and a souvenir shop.
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    We enjoyed the view and the toilet, before setting off downhill.

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    At the bottom of the hill, we found the famous road sign that mark the start off Trollstigen. To my knowledge this sign is unique. Trollstigen translate to trail of the trolls. If you keep your eyes open, you will find these trolls everywhere.
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    #6
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  7. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    From Trollstigen its just a short ride to Åndalsnes. We decided we would find a campsite here and have an early night. This proved to be a challenge as the first two was full. We got lucky at the 3rd one and found a spot.
    Bilde 24.07.2020, 03 06 19.jpg
    That night I found out by Snappchat that our neighbours from back home where in the same area. All the pictures they had posted was from places we had seen, and we learned that we had missed them by 2 minutes this morning when we turned around at the first glacier museum that morning and they were now camped at a campsite just 5 minutes away.

    The neighbours were in a RV, and I asked if they could take some of our luggage. They kindly agreed to pick up some of our stuff the next morning.

    The weather was clear now, but it was getting colder so we zipped up the tent and got into our new sleeping bags as soon as it got dark.
    #7
  8. RidingInTheRainMan

    RidingInTheRainMan Adventurer

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    When you get further North I highly recommend Alta River Camping just off the E6 on E45 near Alta. That was my last stop before the Nordcapp. At night they had a large TeePee tent for dinner. Very good facilities for camper. If your route takes you by there and you don't already have other plans. Cheers, John
    #8
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  9. RidingInTheRainMan

    RidingInTheRainMan Adventurer

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    I purchased a used 2020 1250GSA and it is the best motorcycle I've owned.
    #9
  10. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    Thanx for the advise, but sadly im not on the road. This report is from last year. I'm just a slowpoke.
    #10
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  11. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    I did something very silly. I had my F800 serviced here in Singapore and they let me take a brand new R1250 out for a test ride. It was brutal and now i want one.
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  12. dickosaurus

    dickosaurus Geezer Coalition Supporter

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    Enjoying this ride report including your photography. Looks like a fun and interesting time.
    #12
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  13. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    The next morning, I was not a happy camper. It was 4°C that morning. It was misty and cold. Everything was wet from condensation, including inside the tent and my feeling for the new tent was shifting from disappointment to flat out anger. I sent an aggravated email to the store where I bought it, to shared my feelings. I spent over $400 on that tent, and I expected more from it.

    I was sitting outside the tent, waiting for the wife to wake up and for the sun to come up over the mountains and reach the tent site. The sun was slowly creeping up and heating more and more of the wet wally. I could watch the ground start to steam as the sun reached new areas.
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    I have been in this situation many times. Sitting early morning in some sniper position, cold and wet and waiting for the sun to come up. But this was vacation. And JULY! Norway is not famous for hot summers, but this was ridiculous.
    Bilde 24.07.2020, 15 23 12.jpg I have a suspicion that Åndalsnes can be windy.

    Rose was still sleeping when the neighbours pulled up in the big warm RV to pick up the extra stuff we had. We had a quick chat before they set off to visit some local attractions.

    The sun finally got up over the mountains and the wife got up too. We cooked a solid breakfast and discussed what to do. Our plan was to go southeast towards Dombås, and there we had to decide. We could just go on southeast and go to Oslo and home. That route we could be back home in 2 days. I was tempted to just call it quits because I was afraid Rose was not enjoying and I knew that it could be even colder if we decided to break north at Dombås and continue. If we did go north, it would been at least another week on the road. Rose was in high spirit, and she was eager to go on.

    We had a solid breakfast and then packed up. After sending some stuff off with the neighbours the packing was a lot easier.

    Our first stop was Troll wall. The Troll Wall is the tallest vertical rock face in Europe, about 1,100 meters (3,600 ft) from its base to the summit of its highest point.
    Bilde 24.07.2020, 15 44 09.jpg
    It is popular with climbers and was also popular for base jumpers. Base jumping has been banned since 1986, after several serious accidents. It is a spectacular sight, and you should not miss it if you are in the area. First time I was here there was a big rock-slide right after I got out of the car. I did not see the rock, but I heard the sound and could see the impact zone. This time it was peaceful.

    This road go down the beautiful Romsdalen and this is the home of the mountain Mannen (The man) This is probably Norway’s most monitored mountain and is frequently on TV.
    Bilde 24.07.2020, 16 02 36.jpg
    The rock is very unstable, and it is expected that it will fall at some point. 100 million m2 is in risk of sliding down and if that happen it will block the road, railroad, and the river. Several times there have been movement in the rock and the buildings have been evacuated and the railroad traffic stopped. But so far only minor landslides have occurred. Sometime the parts of the rock formation moves up to 60cm a day.

    The weather was clear, but cold. My trusted Daytona boots that I had for 10 years was showing signs of letting some water inside and my right foot was slightly wet and very cold, the left one only cold. We pulled over at a Kleivfossen, waterfall. I found souvenir shop where I bought some silly expensive handmade Norwegian wool socks intended for tourists. But at least my feet were happy.
    Bilde 24.07.2020, 16 28 07.jpg

    We reached Dombås and found a bench to have food. Dombås is not particular fascinating, but there is a beautiful old church. Sadly i did not get a picture. There is also a national guard training school here, so its a familiar place with anyone related to the them.
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    If you google Dombås attractions, you will see the church and mountain hiking, with the chance of seeing wild musk ox.

    My feet were warm. The sun was getting warmer, and the weather looked good. We slowly was getting warmer as we had our lunch in the sun, so we decided to go north and follow our original plan.Knowing that this was where we had to decide. Turning north from here would add 1-2 weeks to our ride.


    From Dombås vi followed E6, which is the national main road going south to north. But as a main road its still offer some impressive views. Taking you over Dovre national park. To the right is Rondane national park.


    My goal for the days was to reach Trondheim, but mother nature was not sharing my goal. The weather forecast said there was a massive rainstorm moving in from the north. This was not tempting in cold temperature.

    In Oppdal there is a hotel that have something as rare as a stuffed muskox.
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    A muskox is from the same family as goat and sheep. But it is a lot more savage looking then a cute goat. Norway used to have muskox, but was extinct 30 000 years ago. The muskox that we have now was introduced from Greenland between 1031 and 1953. There is now known to be 249 muskox living in Dovre national park.

    We pulled over to have a look and without Rose knowing I booked a room at this luxurious hotel. We had only done 2,5 hour of riding and it was just 2pm.
    We spent the afternoon resting and did a short walk in the small town. Again, I found myself in a store looking at tents. But I did not see anything I liked. All restaurants where closed so our dinner was bought at the supermarket and eaten in in hotel room. Luxury room with basic food. Rose took advantage of having a private bathroom and did our laundry, while i checked facebook. I feel it is fair. After all she is resting on the back of the bike all day. She even sleep back there!

    I also received a reply on my tent complaint. They could not understand I was not happy as it was the most popular tent they had, but they offered a refund.
    #13
  14. SlowlyGettingThere

    SlowlyGettingThere Slowing down but will ride till I die.

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    Awesome ride report, thanks for this.
    #14
  15. MrBob

    MrBob Long timer Supporter

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    Such incredible beauty. Even better than my home in Colorado because there is the sea. Touring Norway has been a dream of mine. Other reports I read talk about how expensive it is to travel in Norway. Was this true for you?
    #15
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  16. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    Generally i have to say yes. Traveling in Norway is expensive. Specially 2 things is expensive, eating out and hotels. If you do your own cooking and camp you cut the cost a lot. Even campsites normally start at around $20 and up for one night. But Norway also have a law that say camping is free for all. As long as you are more then 150 meters from any house and you can not stay more then two nights. Also you can not camp in crops. Basically if you use your brain, and don't bother anyone you can camp anywhere. Any attractions you want to do is also fairly expensive.
    I don't know how much we spent, but we kept the cost low, restaurants at a minimum and camping as much as posible.
    #16
  17. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    This morning we had a lazy start. Enjoying the luxury of a hotel room. Breakfast was good, even if there where strict covid restrictions.

    We set off for Trondheim, rested clean and full.

    Our first stop in Trondheim was XXl. This is a big sports goods retailer with stores all over Norway. Here I bought my 2nd tent for this trip. A 2 person ultralight Helsport Sarek. And it was on discount for $500. My next stop where the post office where I sent the other tent back to the store in Voss.

    Very happy with the purchase I set of for Trondheim downtown to do some city sightseeing.

    Trondheim have an impressive cathedral, Nidarosdomen and it is a nice old city. Not so big, but it has a big city feeling.
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    Constuction of Nidarosdomen started in 1070. I was badly damaged in fire in 1531 and left as a ruin for over 300 years, before restoration started in 1869. The last stature was installed in 1983. 114 year of restoration work! Nidarosdomen is the burial place of King Olav the holy, but the exact location in the church is not known today. Kong Olav was made a saint after his death and the church is dedicated to him. Nidarosdomen is the only cathedral in Norway.

    I was hoping to see the crown jewels that is on display at Ark bishops farm near Nidarosdomen, but sadly the exhibition was closed for the day. Well better luck to me next time.

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    The court yard of the Ark bishops farm had a medieval marked. We enjoyed watching the different displays before wandering the city street for a while.

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    This is the statue of the founder of Trondheim, king Olav Trygvason, he was king of Norway from 995 to 1000, the kings did not last long those days. He was a successful viking, before becoming king of Norway and brought home a lot of gold from the Brits. . Some sources claim he is forefather of King Olav the holy, but this is unclear. The old kings family ties was sometimes a little creative.

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    Our next stop was only 45 minutes away, but we had a short stop in Hell. No joke. Hell is in Norway and it freezes over every year.
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    After a picture of the Hell sign (that I can’t find) and getting groceries we arrived at Hegra mountain fortress.It should be Rose and me in front of the sign but had to take this one from google street view.

    Bilde 25.07.2020, 23 33 57.jpg

    This fortress was built to protect us from the vicious Swedes, but as they never attached us it was not used until 1940 when the fortress was attacked by the Germans. It was surrendered after 20 days of heavy fighting.

    We spent a few hours exploring the underground hallways, trenches, and gun positions.
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    The fortress had a no camp sign, so we set of searching for a place. I was planning to do wild camping to save a few dollars. After all we splashed out $180 on the hotel last night.
    #17
  18. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    Norway
    Before leaving for this ride, I learned that we have something called government forest in Norway. They have set up cabins and camp areas that is free for anyone to use. A Facebook friend recommended one close by and decided that this should be explored. He warned me that the road might be rough, but I should be ok


    I followed the instructions to my best ability, but that was not enough. I thought I found the junction he told me to go right and bravely I did. The road was gravel at first, then sand, then sand and rocks and going uphill. At this point I know I had made a wrong turn, but there was nowhere to turn around. So I went uphill to find a place to turn around. In the middle of this steep hill the road turned to grass and mud. It was at that point I wish I had a different bike, or at least different tires. I found a place to turn around but did not feel brave looking down the muddy road. I kindly suggested to the wife that she should maybe walk, and she got off. I set off down the slope and made it down with nothing more to help me then my incredible off road capab… luck, I mean. Anyway. I made it down and we set off to find the right road.

    A couple of kilometers down the road we found a new junction that matched my friend’s description. Close to the main road was a toll gate. We paid by phone and the automatic gate let us pass.

    This area was beautiful. The road was smooth, but mostly loose gravel but not a big challenge. We explored the area, and this was a true gem. The government forest service even had a shelter, with boat and fishing equipment for free use at one of the lakes. After a while we found a perfect campsite. But it was bullshit. The ground was covered in cow poop, and we could not manage to find anywhere with enough clean grass to pitch the new tent.
    Bilde 26.07.2020, 01 52 31.jpg
    The road was blocked at the border between two municipality's, apparently you are supposed to pay at the entrance to either side. But i manage to squeeze thru
    We where close to give up, but as we got near the gate on the opposite side we found an amazing camp-spot. There was another tent there and we asked if they mind if we pitch our tent near them. He said not a problem at all, but his kids was loud and he recommended a spot 100 meter down the road. And what a spot it was. Clearly our best campsite so far. Smooth grass. Level ground and a clean river nearby.
    Bilde 26.07.2020, 02 33 31.jpg
    We pitched the new tent for the first time. This was something else. Easy to pitch and I had high hopes for this night.
    Bilde 26.07.2020, 03 06 51.jpg

    The weather had improved greatly. Sunny and warm, but still a little cold at night. But hopes where high for a comfortable night with a new tent.
    #18
  19. SlowlyGettingThere

    SlowlyGettingThere Slowing down but will ride till I die.

    Joined:
    May 8, 2020
    Oddometer:
    60
    Location:
    Western Canada
    The new tent has no floor?
    #19
  20. MrBob

    MrBob Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    25,146
    Location:
    .
    It has a Vestibule.
    #20
    SlowlyGettingThere likes this.