66° 33′ 44″ North (Arctic Circle) or bust (Norway)

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Postby chris426f » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:58 pm

The Challenge
To celebrate my 50th, decided to join 6 mates on a 9 day trip to Norway. The loose objective was dreamed up by Hank and Trev 3-4 years ago, wanting to ride to Narvik, inside the Arctic Circle. Narvik was the location of a number of WW2 battles, as Churchill wanted to stop Hitler getting steel out of Norway for guns, ships and U boats.
The Route
We met a few times to try to plan a route, but it was becoming clear that Narvik may be only just possible, due to the distance, the speed limited (low in Norway) and the horrendous fines (£700 for 20km over – 16mph over!!!!). Some of us (me :D )were also keen to see some of the ‘big country’, which is the middle/west of Norway, where the best bike roads (Tony just wanted good roads ;) ) are and some of the best scenery (Europe’s largest glacier too, Jostedalsbreen) . We agreed to just get there, and then head North, via the quickest route and see how far we get, then adjust the route back according to a) our gained experience b) time available. Turned out to be the right move.
The Bike
I sold my last road bike (a Ducati 1098) 3 years ago and had no intention of buying another (happy getting my bike fix’s from the dirt bikes for now). I was offered a couple of bikes to borrow (thanks Phil and Andy) but felt a rental was probably best given we are looking at 3500 miles. After looking at a few renal companies, http://www.openroadrentals.co.uk looked best and had the best bikes with the best deals (when you add up the costs, what I spent to rent, was entirely reasonable, considering the miles and wear and tear, international insurances, recoveries, luggage etc). I strongly recommend these guys, if you want a bike for a few days, just to test, or for a specific trip, or a longer period, these have really good selection of bikes (they pride themselves in supplying 'as new' bikes, prepared and services to very high standards).... If you call them, ask to speak to Paul (he's the owner, rides a KTM EXC too).
I recall riding the 1098 to Spa Francorchamps for the Bikers Classic (worth the trip if you’ve never been) it was painful…. So the S1000RR or the HP4 Carbon were ruled out (though cheaper to rent!!!) Booked the Triumph 800 explorer initially, which soon became the 1200, then it morphed into a BMW R1200GS (complete with panniers, top box and Nav) on the day of departure.
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Kit and Gear.
Everyone told me to pack light, took advice and did not regret it. A pair of trousers, trainers, 6 tops did it. Leathers had shrunk in the garage (must be the cold!!!), so went hunting for some textiles…. Was not convinced by much of it, but found a deal on Rukka gear, £450 for an £1050 suit. Did not regret it, its great gear…. Never hot or cold (we were riding sometimes at 3500 feet with snow on the ground and the next moment temps of mid 20’s) and it never let one drop of water in (it proper pissed it down the first day in Norway). Terra Nova super-light tent (too good for this trip), AlpKIt Dirbag mattress (highly recommended), sleeping bag, stove, pots/pans, chilli sauces , iPad, Motorcycle map (biker routes), wayfarer food pouches (it can be hard to find restaurants at times, plus everything is circa 2x (or more) the price of the UK).
Day 1 (Friday 14th June)
Whilst the other 5 were heading for Harwich for overnight 18 hour ferry to Esbjerg (Norway) , Phil and I were going ‘the long way round’, tunnel, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark … That’s over 900 miles in one and a half days. Looking to Rendezvous with the others at Hirtshalls for the 18:00 Ferry to Norway (Krisiansand). Phil and I were going to up against it if we were going to catch the others (Hank, Trev, Karl, Brian and Tony) in time. We decided that we must get to at least Munster by Friday evening, preferably Bremen and Hamburg would be a major bonus.
Left Royston Herts (openroads base, decided to collect, but they sometimes offer free delivery) around 10pm, for initial blast to the Tunnel. Had a booked time of 1:45 but were hoping to be on an earlier one, around 12:00. The GS felt great….. Really started to think I’d made the right choice, it rides great and it clearly is a bike for doing big miles in relative comfort. Ugly old girl though!!!!!
Stopped for fuel on the M20, well on track for the a 12:00 crossing…. Great. Had noted that my phone had been going berserk in my pocket, clearly its work…. Ignore it!!! As Phil filled his bike, he said his phone had loads of missed calls and texts too….. However, he said that’s NOT usual for his phone so he checked it…. They were all for me!!!!
“Tell Chris he needs to call home”
“Need to get Chris to a hospital”
Oh bugger….. Called home, Daughter answered, “Dad you need to get to a hospital quick, its urgent…. Here, I’ll pass you to Mum”…… Linda, my Wife took the phone, she was in pieces…. (BTW I’m smiling typing this…. It all turned out good)….. “You need to report to the nearest A&E as soon as you can, yesterday’s blood test says you've dangerously high potassium levels in your blood, you are in grave danger of a heart attack” ….. Christ!!!!!
She went on to say that the Police had put out a request to other forces to stop two motorcyclists travelling together heading south, they had put in a ‘request’ into Dartford crossing to stop us (we had already gone through) and another at the tunnel terminal. I had messages from Leicestershire Police too. Linda blurted “the doctors said you could die” ….. It turns out later, that that ‘inappropriate’ comment came after she said she could not contact me and they said all options must be taken to stop us, the blood tests were sky high.
Anyway, I calmed her down and promised here we’re go to the hospital. I guess what she said had not sunk in, or I did not believe it, as I was still concerned about getting the tunnel and saw this as am inconvenient diversion to our mission ‘nearly’ impossible. Fortunately the BMW Nav was intuitive and POI’s showed that there was an A&E (Maidstone) 6 miles from us…. Off we went!
Later, Phil said…. As I followed you, I was thinking…. ‘Wonder how Chris is feeling, being told he could pop any moment. I said…. Actually I was thinking….. I feel fine, but it could be the adrenaline of the ride…. Do I really feel OK…… Yep, I do!!!! Then as we joined the M20 again, I recall thinking, ‘now, if I start to feel funny, head left towards the soft grass verges, not right towards the trucks and cars’. :D :D :D
Got to A&E, parked up (later we were told we’d parked the bikes by the A&E ward exit doors – ooops). Checked in and they got us through triage quickly, took two blood tests, one went in the A&E ‘quick test’ machine, there other went to the lab with a priority 1 hour turn around. Had full medical from a Doctor.
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First blood results back, bang-on where they should be, perfect. Hour later other results… same!!! They decided (as potassium THAT high is a big issue) to get a second opinion from another Doctor…. He was OK too. They said that it was most likely contamination. You can imagine, by this time we’d befriended the staff, they knew what we were up to, the police thing etc and they wished us well.
Phil had re—booked the tunnel for 4pm ….. blast to terminal!!!!
As we relaxed on the Tunnel, we had a right old giggle about the events...... "poor old chap who's got YOUR blood result..... " :doh :doh :doh
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There were some other bikers, who were riding to the German dams via the routes the 'Dam Busters' took, 70 years ago.
France was dispatched quicky and we met a biker gang in Holland at for first fuel stop.... There were about 100 or so of them.... Weird looking bunch!!!
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Next fuel was in Germany..... A nice german couple made comment about my helmet design......
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They could not speak much English and we can't speak German, but Phil seemed to pick up references to the war, the dams and the British air force.... ;) ;) ;)
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Cracked on into Germany..... we called it a day at Munster, our minimum MUST DO distance.... at about 11pm. We were lucky to find a decent Hotel by the main (route 43) road .... Good price too!!!! About €70 for both of us with Breakfast
Hotel montana münster senden
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We both sleep well..... and I was particulary pleased to still be alive :D :D :D
Last edited by chris426f on Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:25 pm, edited 10 times in total.
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Postby bmk » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:52 pm

Chris wrote: Ugly old girl though!!!!!


Often turn out to be a good ride though. :D ;) Thought I'd get in first with that one. :roll:

Anyways, I'm in and waiting for part 2. :lurk
.
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Postby chris426f » Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:25 am

Day 2 Munster, Germany to Hirshalls, Norway.
We'd agreed the night before NOT to set an alarm as we were so tired, BIG BIG mistake.
Bigger mistake was to take time over breakfast... but very nice it was, I do love a bit of German Cheese and Meats for breakfast.... bit of rye-bread.
Also spent too much time talking to the considerable amount of German couples who seemed to be interested in us being there, I discreetly hid my helmet, just in case my 'Royal Air-force Roundel' logo generated more interest :D
As we loaded, I put the sat nav back on the bike and entered Hirtshalls, Denmark...... 500 miles, 7 hours 30 mins....... OK.
Its now about 9:30 and we're still not ready to leave. If we've left by say 10:00, we get there around 5:30, taking into account we can probably out-run the sat-nav pace (although it does seem to normalise to recent progress made), but we need at least three fuel stops for Phil and one for the BM (whopping 300-350 mile range).
It's only then I get the paperwork out and see that the 6pm sailing has a 4:30pm check-in (90 mins before), closing at 5:30.
Shit, shit, shit.

All I can say is that the rest of Germany was a pain.... though we found a nice 911 that became our traffic busting partner..... if he could not shift traffic out the way, he'd pull over and let us have crack at it and visa versa .... seemed to work and I think we both made more progress because of it. Eventually he pulled off and we gave him a thank-you wave.

Crossing the boarder into Denmark, there's a service station just after the (truck?) customs lay-by.... we check the Nav. 220 miles, 3.5 hours. Its 2:30pm.
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We looked at each other and given we'd NOT managed to keep pace with the 'dynamic' satnav estimates through northern Germany (which is not nice by the way, very industrial, very sulphurous smelling....), we were sure we'd miss the ferry. Phil was considering options, with a traditional ferry (not a fast cat ferry) doing the crossing two hours later, taking two hours longer... we agreed just to go for it...... I'd risk white finger from the BM and we'd both risk the fines.

Norway was very dull.... very blurred ...... very dull..... never saw any pigs (danish bacon!!!).......

We hit the outskirts of Hirtshalls still running 3 figures at around 5:25, 5 mins to check-in closing. I'm thinking that its going to take at least 20 mins to navigate through the city and get to the port......

Luck was with us as the motorway goes direct to the port and we rolled into check-in at 5:30..... bang on the cut-off. 900 miles..... arrived at the last minute possible.... Amazing!!!!
The Reunion
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Met up with the rest of the guys, who’d only just arrived 15 minutes ago from their slow boat from Harwich…. From left to right:

Trev – Suzuki TL1000 (also has a 300 GasGas enduro)
Karl – Honda Hornet (works with Hank)
Hank – Harley Roadster (also has a 300 KTM smoker)
Tony (Potty Porter – Phil and I did an apprenticeship with Potty at GEC, ‘Potty’ is a 33 year old nick-name for his bike riding abilities) – GSXR1000 (what else?)
Brian – Harley Custom (Ohhhh the Harley custom…. More of that bike to come, it was always the centre of attention, either passers by looking at it, or 7 guys looking at it…. Wondering if we can ever fix it … AGAIN!!!)
Phil – ZX12 - one of his large collection of bikes that always seem to change, they are mostly green in colour!!!!
Me

We got on the ferry and met Herman the German who explained that we were nuts trying to do what we wanted to do in the time we had (5 days in Norway). He went on to tell us we need to do the Trollstiegen and the Fjords.... and a road up the middle via Voss..... eactly what our bike route map was hinting at.... We ignored him .... well, he's German..... And Trev sounded more convincing ;) ;)
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Got off at Kristiansand at about 8:30 in the pissing rain.
Pulled into nearest fuel station and asked where nearest camping or cabins were (most camp sites have wooden cabins for rent, due to their weather, camping is only an option 3-4 months of the year. A nice female police lady (actually it was a he and a she, he gave directions whilst everyone just stared at her) directed us to some cabins to the west of Kristiansand in a place called Aros, right on the coast. Seemed to be a Datsun classic car thing going on there.
The Cabins sleeped 8, so only needed one (about £20 each from memory).
This was a good location, by the sea, nice facilities, but we arrived too late to use them.... nice outdoor pool too. Dinner was our camping ration packs.... shower and off to bed.
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More rain overnight.... which was to the detriment of Brians Harley.... more of that in the next installment!!!!
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Postby Tonibe63 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:58 am

I'm in :greetings-clappingyellow: :lurk
Thanks for posting Chris :handgestures-thumbup:
Open your eyes and you see what is in front of you, open your mind and you see a whole new World.
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Postby skunkyd » Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:22 pm

Looks a hoot, did you track your route?
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Postby chris426f » Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:24 pm

Day 3 - Sunday 16 July
Nav. says approx. 450 miles (8.5 hours riding time) from Aros nr Kristiansand to Roros in the ‘middle country’. Although there were some biker routes going direct North, you have the ‘Big Country’ to cross, so East towards Oslo then North.
This was the first time we really road as a group, Trev took the lead part way and I lead other parts. As we set out, it was clear that Brians Harley was struggling with the wet weather, it has rained all night and it sounded very very sick… it was back firing with dramatic sight (flames) and sound through the straight through pipes, eventually packing up all together once we got up onto the main Kristiansand to Stavanger road (E39). He and I pulled over as others rode off into the rain unaware of his troubles. We both felt it was clearly rain related, but it was probably not electrical as it was consistently bad, no matter what revs. The air intake and filter hang out, forward facing, to collect water off the front wheel and the rain from all of last night. Got it undercover at the next petrol station and attempted a fix…. And grabbed coffee and breakfast.
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Drained both carbs, cleaned out the airways of water and applied a liberal dose of WD40 to the filter….. Well, thats what we did eventually, once we tried everything else.
Gave us time to grab some breakfast and coffee, I asked for some traditional Norwegian breakfast nosh….. Expecting pickled herring or similar, he gave me a hot dog with, apparently, a ‘traditional’ sauce on it…. “it’s the best seller” …..

Headed to Kristiansand then on the E18 towards Oslo. Although a main road and part motorway, it was not too bad, except it was raining very hard. Another reason the GS is a great tourer, keep most of the rain off. Only thing that got wet was my feet as I forgot to put my over boots on. Turns out everyone else was in a much worse state, wet and cold to varying degrees.
Another stop for the Harley…. Found a nice new car wash next to a filling station to fix the bike and dry out (and more caffeine). The primary drive was a bit noisy.... could not find reason, so cleaned carbs again and pressed on
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Next stop was for fuel, the Hawg was our limiting range, 100 miles between fill-ups.
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Kark and his worlds largest burger (that boy can eat!!!)
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Tony GSXR and his 'high-rise' luggage system
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Trev was proud of his plywood luggage mount and intends to perfect it and approach distributors…. That topbox contained his tea/coffee making facilities only!!!!
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Fuel stop, just North of Oslo on E6…. Now dry
Not entirely sure what Tony has been up to with his latex gloves ;) ;)
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This bad boy leaves a 4" wide track on the road and is ultra efficient at transferring water, from the tarmac and onto Brian's back, rucksack and helmet...... A great piece of design, I can tell you!!!! ;)
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During this stretch, it became clear that Norway is investing in its road infrastructure massively, using its North Sea Oil revenues wisely..... Although the roads were in great shape, with hardly any traffic on them (most of the time), they continue to build tunnels, straighten roads (not good for us bikers) and REPLACE the road surfaces well before they start to deteriorate, when I say replace, I mean replace... Plane off 2 inches and put back 4 inches of top quality tarmac.... No cost cutting resurfacing
here!!!!
Lunch stop at Elverum. Trev fired up his portable kitchen, some got rolls from the garage, four of us went for meatballs, veg and spuds.
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Pulled off the main route (road 3) at Rena, and did some more interesting, direct roads, 28 and 26….
On the right of the road as we pulled off at Rena, was a Ski jump.... (we were east of Lillihammer, the Winter Olympic venue)..... Looked really bazar in the summer, just wooden structures on a bare mountain with a wooden commentary tower that was about 8 story's tall.
Heading still for Roros. Some really great road and although the scenery was not as impressive as what we’d see over the next few days, it was still stunning (in hindsight, I think we took the perfect route, our impressions of this wonderful country were built upon as the journey unravelled ….. it just got better and better each day).
These photo taken on the east side of lake ‘storsjoen:
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These photo’s are on Road 28, lake is called Narsjoen, south (and a little East) of Roros)
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As we approached the Junction of 30/28, right towards Roros, we saw signs (left) for Os (a winter Nordic Ski resport) with accommodation and ‘cabin signs…. The resort was dead apart from what looked like a Scout group or similar, but found some really nice Cabins in Os, with a nice owner (everyone is friendly in Norway) who gave some of the lads a lift to a local cash point. Ordered some beers (something like £8-£10 each) and got the fires going in the two lodges (it became a competition to who could get the biggest flames and most smoke)…. Oh and ordered some Pizza from the owners restaurant (...they were ace)..... Out came the chilli sauces :D :D :D
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I think these cabins also worked out at around £20-£30 each…. But were notable by the provision of ‘disposable’ laundry packs for the beds….. Top tip, if you go, nick one or two of these, for the huts without laundry, better than sleeping in your seeping bag, especially when the residual heat from the evenings fire if keeping the rooms at a steady 30 degrees plus. ...... Phew :oops: :oops: :oops:
Reflecting on the day, it'd started out with heavy rain and OK roads, but as we got near Oslo, the sky's cleared a little (still some dramatic clouds) and we as we headed east of the main road onto to more minor roads, we had a ball. Sweeping roads, top quality tarmac, hills, bends, few villages or towns, lots of water (lakes as opposed to the Fjords in the West).... we were in heaven. :D :D :D :D :D
Tomorrow..... North Norway and the Arctic Circle...... Great night sleep!!!!!
Last edited by chris426f on Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:48 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Postby malcolm penny » Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:47 pm

Great post Chris. :greetings-clappingyellow:
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Postby Tonibe63 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:52 pm

Luvin it :handgestures-thumbup: .
That Harley looks cool ...................... but the GS looks dry :think:
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Postby chris426f » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:07 pm

skunkyd wrote:Looks a hoot, did you track your route?

No Rob. Was going to use the Garmin on the Triumph.... But when I swapped to the GS, Paul said I could se their Satnav FOC, so my Garmin was unused. I should have turned it on and tracked the route, but never thought to.
If anyone fancies doing a similar trip, I can remember most of the roads and I have a local road map with all the best MC routes marked.
I really is a stunning country, I urge you all to go at some point in your life. Shame they stopped the Newcastle ferry (actually it still runs, but freight only... You can book a space with a bike bit you're bumped off if they need the space for freight).
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Postby Noel » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:38 pm

Just caught up with this, I'm glued after getting snippets from FB, I knew you had a problem heading for the chunnel but didn't realise it was actually you directly involved!
Roll on the big crash!! 8-)
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Postby chris426f » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:42 pm

Noel wrote:Just caught up with this, I'm glued after getting snippets from FB, I knew you had a problem heading for the chunnel but didn't realise it was actually you directly involved!
Roll on the big crash!! 8-)

It was a little bit scary at the time and got a bit out of hand with them trying to get hold of us. Eventually, my mate Gaz, rang spenders motorcycles, as he knew that many of the guys from Fleckney (on the trip), who know the owner.... He contacted a few people, who contacted a few others, who got messages through to Phil.... (One was from Mark Sanders, a club member who joined us in Sutton Bank) need to thank them all for their efforts and inconvenience. In a funny way, it added to our trip, you could not have written it.... Still have the police messages on my phone :D :D :D
Hope you saw the telly interview, it was still on the bbc news website yesterday, or google "Chris vincent ferry" (the embedded video is what they broadcast that night people tell me, some of my photo's were he ones they used in their breaking news item)..... If they had not of stemmed the leak, I'd be famous.... :D :D :D
.... did one for ITN too (as they had setup next to BBC and 'poached' their scoop), but don't think that aired.
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Postby chris426f » Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:18 pm

Day 4 – Monday 17 June
Todays the day we should get to the Arctic Circle, its 483 miles direct, with the Nav suggesting 10 Hours. About right I'd say.... as by now our average speed (in Norway) is around 50 MPH (and 46 MPG if you’re interested!!!) on the GS’s trip computer. We take a nice route up to the E6 (joining just north of Trondheim from memory) then main road (E6) to the northern territory.
Quick breakfast stop and fuel as we go through Roros. I was now filling up every 3rd stop as the GS’s range was over 300 miles.
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Breakfast today was “Bolle” …. To which I was becoming particulary partial to after picking a 6 pack up on Sunday. Bolle means Bun in Norwegian and is sold (freshly baked) in every petrol station, you can get plain, fruit of chocolate ….. one day I found some Daim bar Bolle’s…. I’d pick up some coffee and a couple of can’s of red bull (or the local equiv) for eleven’s (with my remaining ‘buns’)….. BTW…. Just Googled Bolle to find out its direct translation (Bun) and it noted that in Denmark (next door) it means something completely different (f*ck in fact)…. If you decide to do Norway and do it the long way like Phil and I…. Be careful when ordering breakfast!!!
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When we were speaking to the ‘resort’ owner at Os, he gave us some advice on roads to take, he told us to take the road east (route 31) out of Roros and take that up (as it soon turns northwards) to a place call ‘Hell’ (Chris Rea - Road to Hell). Great advice, I do not recall stunning scenery, be we all remembered great roads, REALLY great roads.
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Peeled off into this town for fuel….. buggered if I recall what it was called, will edit later when I remember. One thing that struck me as we turned into these small towns, is how relaxed it all seems, individual communities, church’s, schools, communal buildings, people out on the streets, felt like what I’d imagine 50’s America would be like.
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I think this is on the E6, where you follow the river for some time, with lots of waterfalls, hydro stations etc. …..
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We were clearly making some pace…. Tony and I were busy taking photo’s and the other rode by and carried on to the next stops, we all knew where we were going so no need to ride in a group of seven.
Then, as I pulled round a sweeping bend I saw 3 on the verge….. Immediately I knew Brian’s chop had failed again (as everyone was looking at it)…..
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The regulator had ‘fallen off’ ….. Stupid (American) design, bolted to a bracket, hole in one end, slot in the other (presumably they can’t put TWO holes in it else it'd mean they'd have to be accurate on the frame mount holes AND the bracket holes) ….. One bolt falls out, not long before the regulator drops off. Fortunately it’s got two fat (6mm2) wires going to it so it (the regulator) was not ‘lost’ ….. unfortunately it had been dragging on the tarmac for many miles, most of the cooling fins were worn off and the wires had nearly worn through. The bike was still running though!!!! Ty wrapped it up and rode to the next fuel station (more buns …. Mmmmm)
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Well, we deduced that everything was still working, including the regulator (we had sparks)…. So we asked the garage owner if he had any connector blocks (choc block)…. Better than that, he had two full boxes of crimps, even yellow (big) sizes…. Ace…. He even had reels of cable…. And a crimp tool (can you imagine getting all that in a UK filling station…..). We did a great fix …. had to re-wire the earth straps as could not re-bolt regulator (mount) to frame, we ty-wraped it with some of Tony’s (courtesy of BT) mega ty-wraps. Off we went….

I may have a few of these photo's out of sequence, but around now we entered the northern region of Norway, discreetly signposted

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If my memory is correct, this is the exit from an 8.2km tunnel, I think this was the one that was also a reasonably steep hill along it’s length too …. Perhaps 5-10%.... so you start off relatively high say 800m and finish near sea level….. Cool eh!! (many had some interesting features too, bends, crawler lanes and in one, a roundabout junction, more on that one later).
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I pulled over here as I'd taken the lead and we were getting a litlle spread out, we were also getting close to the arctic circle and it only seemed appropriate that Trev or Hank lead us in.....

WE MADE IT
About 7:30PM.... we rolled into the visor centre car park.....
The landscape was very different to just 10 miles down the road.... the Norwegians had cleverly ;) put the arctic circle ( position 66° 33′ 44″ North) high up in the mountains so it was bloody freezing and snow was still around....

Group photo and some (off camera) male bonding......
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Love this photo, the ray of light is almost on the 66° 33′ meridian. Rock piles from previous visitors, the visitor centre, its monuments (of which there are at least three - one a WW2 monument) and the snow on he mountains behind the main North/South highway.
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Interstingly, everyone went off in different directions, to contemplate their own thoughts (or ring home ;) ) .... The place was a little eerie ....
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The Brits have arrived.....
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Now THIS is the proper location of 66° 33′ 44″ ...... We should have had the group photo here, not by the 'no entry' sign .... Doh!!!!! :doh :doh
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Those reflective stripes are effective ......
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Phil on the snow (nearly went A over T)
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Me
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At around 7:50..... when we thought that the shop was about to close we dashed in to buy some souvenirs ..... Hand kntted arctic hat for Linda, shot glasses for the girls.... sorted!!!!
Oh and sent a post-card using the group photo to mun n dad.... (using the bypost app.... if you've not used it, get it, great for occasions such as this)

Right, off to find some digs for the night, Hotel going north or we saw some cabins back down the road (south) in Krokstranda (a little hamlet of probably 6-10 properties)

We went by the first signpost for cabins (heads south on E6) as we'd been told by the lad at the visitor centre that the cabins in Krokstranda were the closes (figure that) AND the owner had some spare rooms at their B&B (he rang them for us).... we got there and they looked a little iffe, so, rather than shooting into the Inn/Restaurant that was clearly the place to book the cabins, we rode back up the hill to the first ones we saw. Nice bit of dirt track for the GS...... tested the ABS front n rear, traction control too..... yep, all works fine!!!! Over a bridge to the cabins..... behind this house
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We never liked the look of those either (no photo's of the cabins)..... I think we'd been spoilt the night before.... we nearly drove on again, but a guy who was in one of them pointed us towards the owners house..... He offered us the house.... for about 1100 from memory (£120) .... He let us look inside, it was great. Sleeps about 12, was his previous family home and had been totally refurbished to a good standard. Got the log burner going, though I was not at all cold...... and had a chat with the owner.....
Been here all his life, his two sons run his haulage company (in the south), he spends most of his time in the North as he likes it here (there is not a lot to do, other than fish, hunt and chop down trees I can tell you)..... He explained that he only rents out the house to 'western' Europeans, if it was not for the fact we were English (and clearly decent chaps), he'd not have offered it.
He got is pressure washer out for us..... He offered us some guns to go shooting (seriously)..... he did not stop talking..... (I guess its a bleak existence in the winter). He even started up some of his vintage farm machinery to show us how reliable it was (we showed a 'small' amount of interest, so it was our fault ;) )
Good job he never demonstrated his logging machines, 30 years old and only 1000 hours use..... These are the things you wheel into the forest and they chop down 100 foot trees and position them where you want them. He was a nice guy..... another example of the friendly welcoming people that we met throughout.
As we never took up the gun offer, dinner was Thai Chicken Curry and rice for me (Wayfarer ration pack).... which was really good, followed by a Wayfarer all day breakfast (well, they are relativly small packs) ;)
There pictures were taken at between midnight and 1:00 AM ..... This is as dark as it gets this far North...... (and the reason way i never needed my 400 lumen LED Lenser torch Birthday present)....

Note the turf roofs..... very traditional up north.....

As dark as it gets in the middle of the night....

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As dark as it gets in the middle of the night....

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Well, mission accomplished ..... Phil and I have ridden over 2000 miles in three and a half days... When you consider the 'incidents' and breakdowns along the way, that's pretty good going.


Two hard days riding (in Norway) to get here, we have have three full days to get back, going down the slower west coast, with its fjords and the 'big country'..... Bring it on.....


Some good story telling around the fire....... and a good nights sleep (after some of Trevs moonshine)
Last edited by chris426f on Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:35 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Postby chris426f » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:45 pm

Day 5 – Tuesday 18 June

Plan:
Head south towards the big country, and take it from there. Suspects include the Trollstigen and the Atlantic Highway…. Almost no chance of getting back to Kristiansand via the western roads, through the Fjords (Bergen and Stavanger and the tourist routes), due to the number of ferrys and Fjords in our path…. You need approx. twice the time to cover the same net distance as the roads zig zag around the Fjords. At least it leaves something unseen for another trip ……. Including Pulpit Rock (google it…)
Awoke from our night that was never quite night…… Our host had left early, so left the key in the door and got on the road. Sat Nat set for Trondheim then Oppdal. From memory, most of this (if not all) was down E6, but all the traffic (what there was it it, not much) heads towards Oslo (the better, less ‘interrupted’ roads).
Again Tony and I stopped to take photo’s whilst other made good progress. It was not an issue doing the road in the opposite direction (only time we rode the same road), as you get a completely different perspective going the other way. Again, if anyone wants to do Norway, I’d recommend our route, all of it.
As you’d expect the railway follows the route of the road (or visa versa) most of the way from Trondheim northways)…. Come to think of it, never saw many trains…..
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Look, sun….. good roads, great bends…
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Water everywhere, you get bored water falls, that would otherwise be spectacular (spectacular comes tomorrow)
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Keep stopping for interesting rivers, then a better one round the next corner
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The ugly duckling is fast becoming a bit of a swan (in my eyes…. Everyone else seems un-convinced)
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Oh dear, stopped for tea…. Only one thing can cause is to stop with such a tight schedule, Brians Bike!!!! It had been playing up, for the last few miles but give it a rest and it’d work again (so long as we pushed it…. Battery was almost flat.
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We used for differing stoves (boys with competing toys) to make 7 cups of tea and Karl had some ‘Sodd’ ….. (don’t ask)
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Phil’s solid fuel method – shit in the wind
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Trev’s meth’s stove….. his strapline was that it was genuine army surplus and used by the SAS (hard to argue that one …. He wins)
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Karls ‘not so compact’ stove …..
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My (actually my Daughters) ‘much more compact’ MSR pocket rocket with a £3.50 aluminium wind shield from a lady called ‘Julie’ in China (delivered with a nice storage pouch and securing pegs -good old eBay).
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We called HD international rescue out….. They sent a man from the local Fiat Garage…. Before he got there we’d diagnosed the fault. I’d calculated (simple maths my friend) that the 15-20Ah battery would only last approx. 3.5 hours we the headlight on (60w), assuming a full charge….
When our friendly host the night before lent us his pressure washer and Brian had accidentally blow the connections apart that we’d made the day before. We disconnected his headlight, but not enough juice in the battery to run the ignition…. Mr Fiat lent us his multi-meter and the terminal voltage was confirmed at < 7 volts. He had a battery booter thing that got it going and we drove (20 miles or so) to his garage….. Battery back up at >13 volts volts when running just under when stopped…. Sorted!!!!
We cracked on and it worth noting that by this time, the noises from Brians Primary drive were not good, anyone with any amount of mechanical sympathy would cringe just listening to it start or idle….. it was a painful sound…. We did not know what it was or what we could do about it.
Headed around Trondiem and down towards Oppdal, roads were good, scenery getting more ‘over-sized’ ….. Could not stop thinking that many views reminded me of Walt Disneys representation of the big outdoors in his theme parks….. sounds daft thing to say and yes, I’ve seem lots of places (such as Yosemite), but it seemed so perfectly proportioned at times.
As we got towards Oppdal, I think we’d spread out a little…. As I said before, we realised early on, it’s better to ride in smaller groups than all together, you simply make more progress. It was starting to get cold and we needs to find digs, not many ‘cabin’ signs around and the one or two hotels (more like lodges) seemed to have little activity.

This is Trev’s ‘I am tired, cold and want to sleep’ look …… Whilst we await the arrival of the others. It was around 9:15pm, everywhere was closed here (10Km North of Oppdal), but the fuel pumps are on 24Hr (via plastic card).
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We waited here for about 20 mins then 2 other range to say they stopped for fuel and eats 10Km back, food was good….. we had 20 mins before it closed…. Back we went. As we rode back (rushing to get eats before it closed, the other three rode past….. gesticulated ‘turn around’ and pressed on. Best burger a chips I’ve ever had….. The Norwegians have a spice mix they shake on chips, its ace!!

Once full, all agreed that we need to stop at first place we could to camp. Trev wanted to camp on the village green, I wanted a shower ….. About 5Km after the place we previously stopped (and about 3km out of Oppdal), we found a camp (just a Km after a little Forrest we diverted into as Trev was still keen on an au natural camping experience (I wish he’s told me to stop being a ponse over the need for a shower).

So…. camped near Oppdal…. Just turned up, pitched tent, paid in the morning…. About £12 each (tent)…. We all had 2 man tents, perfect for you and your gear… This is my Terra Nova Superlight, which is far to good for a trip like this, got it for back-packing and specifically for Amy to use when she did DoE gold a few years back. Top tip... take steel pegs.... I always have 4 to supplement the titanium ones in this tent, this country is built on rock and stone..... A lump hammer between us would have been handy too. :D :D
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Phil's two man vango was perfect, and Brians (I need more space) one man.
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Great night sleep…. First time I used my AlpKit Dirtbag mattress …. Much better than my previous experiences of roll-mats our ever ‘thin’ thermarests.
Last edited by chris426f on Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby chris426f » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:55 pm

Day 6 – Wednesday 19 June


Today we decide to head for the Atlantic Highway, read much about it, stunning and varied views and the iconic bridge, then do Trollstigen and see how far we get. Running down the west coast Fjords is finally confirmed as pretty unrealistic.

Wonderful morning….

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We take route 70 to Kristiansund (on the coast), then take route 64 through the Atlantic tunnel, then down over the atlantic highway (not many photo’s), the landscape is weird and varied, with the main road hopping over islands.

These are taken on road 70 to Sundalsora (breakfast stop and fuel):

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This is heading towards Kristiansund (still on 70)

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Arrived at Kristiansund….. More problems with Brians bike…. Sounds like a sack of 6” nails….. Feels like its not going to make it…. Stopped just before the bridge onto the island to agree routes and see what options available for Brian, tried looking for HD dealers, but not any close, so decide to press on and hope for the best.

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Just after the tunnel…. The only time we paid a toll…. As we head onto the Atlantic Highway…

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Pictures of the iconic bridge:

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Route 64, around the Fjord to Andalsnes (you can see the cruise ship in port)…. This is a cruise stop to see the Trollstigen…..

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Heading towards Trollstigen

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Trollstigen….. were about to ride up it….. check the viewing platform on the top, gives you an idea of the scale of this climb and the scale of the waterfall

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You can see the viewing platform towards the top of this photo… gives some scale (about 2/3rds up at this point)

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Impressive views from the top

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Someone had some fun and lost some rubber…

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Cliff Hanger…..

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View the other way…. Gets cold up there…..

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Visitor centre and paddling pool (seriously)

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Up and over the other side of the mountains....

Small community Hydro station…..
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Headed towards Stranda for the Ferry

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Did some shopping in Stranda, first and only time in a supermarket ...... picked up treats.... beer..... munchies ...... and some bread and eggs for breakfast....

We find some nice cabins in a place called Tomasgarden (route 60) near Grodas…. More dirt tracks for some stand-up ‘off-road’ riding on the GS…. (again, we just fell onto these, their are loads around and well marked with a 'house' logo.... No owner present on site, but a notice board (message says owner lives behind the red farmhouse in the white house) ..... I was volunteered to go back down on my 'dirt bike' to see the owner.... negotiated a little and we got a good rate 1200 for two huts (£130 - less than £20 each again). BTW... these places all have TV, showers, cooking facilities etc...

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Next: Will the Hawg make it home..... mad time limited dash to Kristiansand (for tomorrow mornings ferry to Norway)
Last edited by chris426f on Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:44 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby bmk » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:11 am

Enjoying this. :handgestures-thumbup: Thanks for taking the time to post Chris - much appreciated.

:text-thankyoublue:
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