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

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    yeah that is right. I love this tent, but it was a little cramped for two people. When i came home i sold it to a friend in Australia. Actually another Adv rider. I bought a 3 person tent of the same brand. If you see a norwegian Helsport tent Down under it was mine :)
    #21
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  2. MrBob

    MrBob On a whim Supporter

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    Growing up in Minnesota and camping in the winter time, I often wished for a tent with a vestibule where I could shed my snowy boots and clothing.
    #22
  3. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    Next morning the sun was up way before us and the weather was perfect. The tent was so much better then the orange one, and I was very happy with my purchase. Rose was a little frustrated by buying two new tents in 3 days. But she is a lady, so I don’t expect her to understand the search for perfect tent.
    Bilde 26.07.2020, 16 15 19.jpg
    This picture is exactly what it looks like. Rose is wiping poop from my backside. I must have been sitting in sheep poop while having breakfast.

    The weather was so good that I had a refreshing morning bath in the river. There is luckily no picture of this.

    Up to Trondheim we did the scenic route with sightseeing up the west coast, seeing all the fjords and attractions on the way. Now the plan was to push north as fast as possible and do the coast going back south. Today target was Mo I rana, more or less 6 hours riding. We did not plan any stops or expect to see anything. Because of this there is very few pictures, but after 4 hours we reached Norlandsporten.
    Bilde 26.07.2020, 21 10 49.jpg

    This is the gate to Northern Norway. We pulled over for hotdogs for lunch, toilet, and selfies in front of the gate to Northern Norway. Then back on the road again.

    We passed Mosjøen without stopping. Mosjøen is halfway between south and north of Norway and is known as this. We pushed on and reached Mo I Rana that evening. We went to XXL to get fuel for my stove. (remember the chain store we bought the tent in?) We picked up the fuel and spent some time browsing. I found a discounted down sleeping bag and I bought it for Rose. Hoping that this would be the final solution for the sleeping arrangements. Rose was not cold or at least she did not complain, but I liked the small packing size. So I bought another sleeping bag. Rose was a little frustrated by buying two new sleeping bags in 3 days for her. But she is a lady, so I don’t expect her to understand the search for perfect sleeping bag. As I was shopping at XXL I received a message from a friend. He was in his car going south and asked where we were. It turned out he was 15 minutes north of our location and we waited for him and sent the 3 day old sleeping bag and a couple of other things home with him. Very convenient.

    We found a expensive campsite in Mo I Rana and set up for the evening. While setting up camp we got a visitor. A Facebook friend that I never meet before in real life had seen my bike downtown and found us at the campsite. He stayed for a hour or so and gave us some route advise for the rest of our travels in North Norway. Most of this we would follow.
    #23
  4. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    Day 7. Woke up to amazing weather. Sun was up way before us, as normal during summer in the north. Daylight was clearly getting longer each day we ride north. Today would be another hard push north. We would pass over Saltfjellet (Salt mountain) and cross the arctic circle. Many foreigners talk about crossing the arctic circle as something spectacular, but for most Norwegians its just a map line in the middle of Norway.

    Crossing Saltfjellet during winter can be a challenge. It will take you to 1751 meters above sea level and very exposed to the weather. The road is often closed at periods during wintertime. We did not think much about this as we had 20°C or more. Sunny blue sky and no wind. The life on 2 wheels was good.

    The arctic circle was just 1 hour ride away and we pulled over for pictures. There is a small café and souvenir shop. I bought myself a t-shirt and behaved like a true tourist.

    The Arctic center Bilde 27.07.2020, 18 32 29.jpg

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    The Arctic center have a few stuffed animals on display. This was my first time to see a polar bear.
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    No, we do not have polar bears wandering the city streets on mainland Norway. But it might happen at Svalbard.

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    Russian memorial at the center. There was a Russian POW camp nearby and several of the roads in this area was built using POW slave labour. One local road is called Blood Road. It got that name after someone used a prisoner’s blood and painted a cross on the cliff, to mark where he was shot.

    The living conditions in the camp was poor and many died. The youngest prisoners was 12 years old. One of the camos was Botn-camp. This one was run by SS. It held a total of 900 prisoners, only half survived the war. This area had 7500 POW in a total of 18 camps.

    I was hoping to reach Narvik today, and when we did, we where still in high spirits and we pushed on. Before Narvik there is a ferry.

    Bilde 27.07.2020, 23 51 17.jpg
    The 20-minute break we had on the ferry and the hour at the arctic circle was the only stops we had today and we managed to go all the way to Setermoen. Here we found Bardu camping.
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    Bardu camping had very generous opening hours and was still open at 10pm. We checked inn and started looking for a spot. Sadly, the opening hours was where the good thing ended. This is the worst campsite I have been to in Norway. Probably the worst anywhere in Europe. And is was also so far the most expensive one. The restrooms was clean but in need of restoration.
    The playground looked dangerous with rebar sticking up at random places. And the small patch of grass we managed to find was covered in cut grass that would stick to everything.

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    If you ever ride past Bardu camping, make sure you ride past it. I wrote a review on my Facebook page, and funny enough the campsite owner commented and accused us of being abusive to his wife that was in the reception. He also ranted about how good his campsite was. Some people should be denied access to social media.

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    The famous north Norwegian mosquitoes came to say hi. These are so big that it feels good when they suck.

    Rose cooked dinner and we went to bed, trying to get some sleep. At midnight it was still not dark. Its strange what these long days do to your energy level.
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    We are getting closer to the goal. I believe we only need two more days to reach Nordkapp.
    #24
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  5. thirsty 1

    thirsty 1 Rider Supporter

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    Beautiful Country!! Fantastic!
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  6. sages

    sages Been here awhile

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    Are the animals really tall or is Rose 'petite'? :D
    #26
  7. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    I am in lockdown in down under and enjoying your RR. I am glad for Rose seeing your beautiful country. One day hopefully she will appreciate the OCD in many bikers in perfecting the equipments.
    Nordkapp is on my bucket list. Which month would you recommend for foreigners like me to ride Norway and nordkapp taking into consideration (i. e. avoiding) the weather, traffic, tourists, school vacation, expensive peak season price and mosquitoes (I know what it’s like with the many flies in our outback!)?
    I also heard the exorbitant hotel price in Norway. I am not keen on camping. So is there a way there to find cheaper hotel or motel. Here in Australia the pub accommodations are cheap. Or I would use Booking.com to get 10% off motel or hotel. Thanks and have a good day!
    #27
  8. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    Both :)
    #28
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  9. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    I would say August. You still have good chance of good weather. Kids are back in school and most tourists have gone home. But its a little late if you want to experience midnight sun. In the north there is not so many tourists so july should be fine, but in the south you might find it very busy. Peak season ends mid august. Mosquitoes you wont get away from. Unless you come here during winter time.
    Hotels are pricey here. One option is camping cabins (hytte). they will be fairly cheap compared to a hotel. Most campsites will have this and if you travel outside peak season you should be able to find them easily.
    #29
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  10. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    The sun did not let us sleep long. At 5am the sun was already high, and we woke up. One thing was for sure, we did not have any problem staying warm in the new tent. The temperature dropped to 18°C at night, and the sun was shining all night.

    We had a quick breakfast and set off. Our first goal for the day was Skjold army base.
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    Skjold is at Øverbygd village.

    I spent 1 months here in 1993 serving my military service. This was the first time going back. Skjold have to army bases, Maukstadmoen and Holmen leir.One is small and the other is a small one. Maukstadmoen was famous for having the worst food in any camp in all of Norway, and Holmen was known for having some of the best food among the army bases. My unit was a combat engineer and we belonged to Holmen, but because there was no free room there, we were assigned to barracks at Maukstadmoen. Guess I did not win that lottery. The best and worst food I can confirm. The food was so sad sometimes that I did not eat even I was hungry. Lost several kilos during my time there. Maybe I should go back for a few months… In 1993 I was 20 years old and skinny. Now 20 years later not so much anymore.
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    Maukstadmoen camp

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    Holmen camp guardpost at the bridge is to me the coldest place on earth.


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    I have a lot of memories of good food from this mess. Also some memories about peeling potatos...

    Holmen leir camp means island camp. The camp is on a small island in the river. And man I tell you, during wintertime, before the river froze up it was cold… When the river froze up it was better, because the humidity dropped. The coldest temperature we had here was minus 32°C. That is -26F for you US guys. That is also the coldest I ever experienced in a tent.
    That cold is just a memory now. Now it was sunny, 25C and no wind. Perfect condition. That is more then I can say about Road 87 from Øverbygd and back to E6. At first glance it looked fine, but it was bumpy. So bumpy that I had to slow down to stop Rose from complaining too much.

    Bilde 28.07.2020, 19 13 11.jpg
    We reached E6, shaken and not stirred and moved on. I hoped to reach Alta today. This is none of the larger city/town in Finnmark district. If we could make it to Alta it would just be a couple hour riding to Nordkapp tomorrow. The busy and crowded roads filled with RV and other tourists in th south was far behind us. The roads was clear and I noticed that the speed was generally higher here. Well above speed limit. Norway have very strict fines for speeding. You can easily end up paying well over $1000. The speed traps are frequent, so most people drive the speed limit. But up here north it seems that the long distance between the settlements make people more relaxed. And our progress increased.

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    Rose needed a nap on the way to Alta. I spent the time on Facebook and taking some pictures of her and the scenery. She might be 14 years younger then me, but it don't always feel like that :)

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    Nothing to see here, just a reindeer going to town.

    With Rose fully charged, good weather and perfect roads we arrived in Alta way earlier then I expected to do. We found a pizza restaurant and sat down to have dinner. After waiting a long time to order I finally got the attention from one of the waitresses. She apologized for not seeing us and we made our order. After waiting for a fair time, the waitress came back and apologized for having lost our order and needed to ask us what we wanted again. I was getting sightly annoyed, and we ordered the pizza all over again. After waiting way to long we got the pizza. Only to find out it was not the one we ordered. At that time, I gave up and we just ate what they served us. When we asked to pay, they could not find our order and asked what pizza we had. At that point I had enough and said I had no idea. You gave us a pizza we did not order so I don’t know, but we had two coke. I think she could see I was getting severely annoyed, and it ended up with paying only for the cokes.

    It was still early and with the belly full of free pizza we thought we might as well just push on. When you tell people in south Norway that you are going to Nordkapp they will tell you that it is very far. Looking at the map I also know it is very far, but close to Nordkapp on the map is Alts. But even if it looks close it is 3,5 hour of riding from Alta to Nordkapp. We talked about it would be fun to see the midnight sun from Nordkapp And decided to see if we could make it there.

    Bilde 29.07.2020, 03 13 18.jpg
    Towards Nordkapp

    3 hours later we arrived at Nordkapp and paied 100kr to enter. We walked to the marker and this is it. From her eon we would be going home. The view here is amazing. And the weather even better. Personally I have always thought Nordkapp was over rated. Its not even the northernmost point of mainland Norway. There is another cliff a few hours hike to the west that is even more north. But the view here was something else.
    Bilde 29.07.2020, 05 22 45.jpg
    #30
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  11. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    Bilde 29.07.2020, 04 58 10.jpg
    It is very rare to have good weather here. If it is hot it is often foggy. Its not possible to be more lucky with the weather then this.

    Bilde 29.07.2020, 04 53 35.jpg

    Bilde 29.07.2020, 04 50 41.jpg
    This is the real northern most point of Norway, Knivskjelodden. It is 1600 meter farther north then Nordkapp. It is a 5 hour hike back and forth.

    We also realized that we could camp right here. For the 100kr parking fee you can park 12 hours. There is potable water and toilet. So we found a spot to pitch our tent and a herd of reindeer was running in our direction and one of them almost ran into the tent. Rose shouted. I don’t know if it was scared by Rose or if it changed its mind, but he changed course in the last second and missed the tent.
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    We went to bed at 1am. The tent was extraordinarily hot but we managed to fall asleep.
    #31
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  12. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

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    Thank you for the awesome RR.
    #32
  13. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    Next morning we woke up even earlier. The tent let in too much sunlight, and it was broad daylight outside, and inside. We made a simple breakfast and had a last look at the view before setting off south.

    Bilde 29.07.2020, 14 36 36.jpg
    Packing is a lot more easy now with this tent. This show the tent packed next to a Exped sleeping mat.

    Bilde 29.07.2020, 15 52 35.jpg
    It is always a special feeling to reach the end goal of an adventure and turn around. From now on every minute on the road would take us closer to home. When you go the other way its like every minute take you deeper into adventure. I had this feeling of the adventure ending even if I knew it was far from the truth. We had been pushing north hard for the last 3 days, now the plan was to slow down and do a bit more exploring.

    Bilde 29.07.2020, 16 10 54.jpg
    Reindeer everywhere along the road.

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    Lookin gfor a gas station we found Honningsvåg. I have hear about this small town, but i don't know anything about it. And i still don't. Must be a fascinating place to live. So far form everything.

    Already after 1 hour of riding it became clear that 3 or 4 hours sleep was not enough. Rose and I was already feeling sleepy. In fact, Rose was already taking naps on the back of the bike. So, we pulled over near a small creek and found a patch of soft grass to take some rest.
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    Both of us fell asleep in the soft grass and hot sun. I have no ide how long we slept but I guess one hour or maybe a little more. We both fell a lot better and after a refreshing sip of fresh water from the creek we got back on the bike.

    Bilde 29.07.2020, 17 18 08.jpg
    Today we had no goal or plan. We still had lots of time available as I had no work planned. The covid lockdown hit me hard and cancelled all my work, with no expected date for start-up. I did not know it at the time, but it would be 8 months.

    Finnmark don’t offer a lot of options for traveling. If you are going south, you have only one option, and that is E6. We followed E6 for 6 hours, seeing all the scenery in reverse, and stopped in Olderdalen to board a ferry. Here we would deviate from the route we took going north. The only stops we had after taking the nap was getting fuel and some groceries in Alta.

    Bilde 30.07.2020, 00 50 47.jpg
    The ferry ride was short, and we just stayed on deck to enjoy the scenery.

    Skjermbilde 2021-09-15 095411.jpg
    The mountains here is called Lyngen alps. And the locals claim it is the most beautiful scenery in Norway. I am very close to agree. It is absolutely amazing.
    #33
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  14. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    As soon as we where back on wheels we started looking for campsites. This proved to be difficult. We found a couple of campsites, but they were packed with people.

    Bilde 30.07.2020, 02 38 43.jpg
    We found a gravel road leading up into the mountains and followed if until there was no more road.
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    A few places were tempting, but the amount of mosquitoes put us off, so we kept on searching.

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    As you can see this is not a good road for a Connie...

    Bilde 30.07.2020, 03 35 42.jpg
    A little while later we found this amazing place near a small village. A young German couple with a car had already pitched a tent here and was probably already sleeping as we did not see them. We set up camp and had sausages for dinner.
    Bilde 30.07.2020, 03 46 50.jpg
    This had been our 5 day with more then 20 degrees all day. I did not expect this when going north. I was getting messages from home that i should just stay there as it was heavy rain and cold all over the south. Guess we finally got lucky.

    Attached Files:

    #34
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  15. MrBob

    MrBob On a whim Supporter

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    I hope Rose is enjoying herself. This form of travel can be pretty demanding if it's new to you.
    #35
  16. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    She is looking forward for our next adventure :) She just need a few naps along the road :)
    #36
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  17. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    Next morning we woke after a good night sleep. We still had sunlight all night, but managed to get a few hours more then we had the last few nights.


    Maybe because it was so cloudy.
    Bilde 30.07.2020, 13 51 20.jpg

    The young German couple was packing the car and we said hi. I guess if they where on a motorbike we would have had a long chat. It sure is different to meet other bikers on the road then it is to meet random people. I had a refreshing, very refreshing bath. It looked warm but it was not. I guess the melting snow in the mountains cool the river down all year. I managed to stay submerged in the water long enough to feel refreshed and clean and started the normal routine with breakfast and packing.
    Bilde 30.07.2020, 15 08 46.jpg


    It was only a few minutes to the ferry stop and we had about half hour to wait here.
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    The ferry ride was more of the same impressive scenery, and we just stayed on deck and enjoyed it.
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    We arrived in Tromsø after just 45 minutes and my first sop was a tire shop where the bike got fitted with new tires. This was a car tire shop and they did not have any motorbike mechanics, but they lend me tools so I could take the wheels of myself and put it back on.
    Bilde 30.07.2020, 18 32 15.jpg
    Notice the car wheel bolt? They did not have an allen key big enough to fit the Kawasaki, so i used a wheel bolt and wise-grip pliers. The owner was so impressed that he gave me a discount :)

    After new tires we found a parking spot in downtown and set of to do a bit of city sightseeing.

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    Tromsø is known as Paris of the north. I have been here before, but never in weather like this. Tromsø have 75 000 inhabitants and is the main city of the north. We had early lunch in a nice restaurant. Used the the bathroom before we got back on the bike and set off to find a shopping mall. I can’t remember why we went there, but it ended up with me buying a double Exped sleeping pad. This was even more compact then having 2 separate pads. So a little more luggage space saving.
    #37
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  18. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    We were recommended to find a camp site at Sommerøya. This translates to Summer island and I understand why.
    Bilde 30.07.2020, 23 26 30.jpg
    Bridge to Sommerøya. On the other side of this bridge there was more people then in the city...

    The whole island was packed with people. There were literally tents up the mountain sides. All campsites fully booked and not a patch for grass anywhere. Clearly the northerners were out and enjoying the good weather. We abandoned this idea and decided to head off to the next island.

    We arrived early at the ferry stop and backtracked to a small supermarket where we got some groceries. We sat down and had a sandwich each before going back to the ferry stop.
    Skjermbilde 2021-09-18 100434.jpg
    Picture from Goggle maps.

    The ferry ride is 45 minutes and we enjoyed some rest before docking at Senja.
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    I did not know much about Senja, but the friend that came to see us at Mo I Rana told me that if I had the chance I should see the west side of Senja. And om man was he right. Its like a different world. The jagged cliffs and spectacular fjords.

    Bilde 30.07.2020, 23 35 22.jpg

    The road hugging the cliff and winding its way along the mountains. This is something you should not miss if you are in this area. Absolutely one of my most memorable days on this ride.
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    It was getting late as we started looking for a place to camp and this proved to be hard. We did not find anything but we found a lot of no camping sign along the road in some areas. I guess this is a popular place for a lot of people.

    Bilde 31.07.2020, 02 47 49.jpg
    I have some doubts about the legality of signs like this. By law you can not deny anyone camping for two night anywhere more then 150 meter from any house.
    We did not challenge them and moved on.

    Between the mountains and valleys there was a few beaches and they where totally packed with people and tents. Giving up finding a camping site we backtracked a little to try our luck at one of the beaches. The parking lot was packed with cars, but we found a place to pitch the tent. And what a place it was. Rose says this was her favorite spot on the whole ride. The beach parking also had a public restroom.

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    From the tent we had a perfect view of the midnight sun.

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    Not my legs.

    We where little father south now, so the sun came out from behind the cliff, dipped just down to touch the sea and then back up again.
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    Tomorrow will be the famous Lofoten.
    #38
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  19. CanadianRocky

    CanadianRocky No Bucket List... a Bucket full of Lists

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    very nice report... just wondering the total kilometres and how long the trip was... I am contemplating a ride in Europe in a few years, and am in the planning stage.
    #39
  20. JohnnyTh

    JohnnyTh Been here awhile

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    Thank you. I'm glad you enjoy it. We spent 3 weeks and 6000km total.
    #40
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