Sunday 31 July 2016 Day 9 Heia (380km)

We are making a mad dash for Lofoten islands before Gertys holidays run out. A mad dash here is 900km is 2 days. Given our average speed over 9 days has been 53kmph this was no easy feat. Speed limits here are ludicrous for summer they are so slow that a mobility scooter would be a viable vehicle for travel. A lot of the time you are buzzing along in 2nd trying to remain under 50kmph and when you do get to give it a squirt to say the max 80kmph some selfish bastard in a motor home is swerving along at 60 with a strain of pissed off motorist behind it.

Any way we left Kristiansund in sunshine and after three hours and 160km we arrived at Trondheim for a coffee in the old part of town. From there it rained all the way until we could ride no further being limited by the wet and cold. Our bed for the night is in Heia Kro (Kro = Pub) about half way to Lofoten.

View from near our coffee stop in Trondheim.

Saturday 30 July 2016 Day 8 Atlantic highway - kristiansund (150km) 4hrs

A Short day today. Our only real direction is to ride the Atlantic highway. 

But first a quick side trip the the Troll wall a famous 1000m climbing face of loose rock and ice with an overhanging top of the route. Unfortunately the top was in cloud but apparently that's not unusual. I guess it's a cross between nth face Eiger and the hideous Scottish wet winter snow climbs.


Extremely low speed limits 50-60 most of the way made this ride pretty frustrating. The first glimpse of the Atlantic and the "Highway" was the smattering of low lying rocky islets strung along the coast. It's green and pretty and we have bright sunshine. The high way is only about 60km of islets linked by bridges which is impressive but as a motorcycle ride it's pretty lame, soon enough your in a massive tunnel on the way to Kristiansund. It's a bit like the sky bridge between Stanmore tops and Woollongong in Australia, ie looks great in the motorcycling mags but when your on it its not as impressive and it's all over in a øjeblik (eye blink).

Kristiansund was about as far as we could bother so we scoured the tow for a centre. Alas it's missing the town has no real centre and it took us several spiralling laps breaking a few road rules to find an open cafe with wifi. I understand Kristiandsund was heavily bombed during WWII which would account for the lack of charm.

We found great accomodation at place called "Homes" (owned and run by the very talkative Johanas Holmes who lives upstairs). It is a set of rooms in a converted basement for 100auds. It was clean basic and 1/3 the price of anywhere else. Guests also have use of his fantastic garden where we sat and chatted to other travelers before a squadron of myge (midges) descend and lay siege. 

On arrival we noticed a large Turkish presence so expected there might be a great Turkish restraunt. Sure enough right on the waters edge we found one and had some extraordinarily tasty Turkish fare and a bottle of Italian red. 

Friday 29 July 2016 Day 7 Geiranger and Trolstein 192 km

Here we are ready for the motorcycling roads Norway is most famous for. First off Geiranger. It starts off in an alpine glacial wonderland then plummets into Geiranger fjord. From there one climbs out slowly behind numerous motorhomes. (living proof that we "humans" are ultimately selfish). Then it's down to another ferry crossing.

From the ferry it is a slow climb to the top of the Trolstein. At the top I stopped to take the mandatory photo but Gerty (in the lead) completely missed the tourist centre and rode down to the bottom. Realising her error she road back up again to meet me then we continued down together. 

Now the first half off the day was brilliant riding, However, the hair pin bends and loads of slow traffic of the Geiranger fjord and Trolstein switchbacks are not a brilliant ride. Don't get me wrong it is beautiful but it's way too crowded to be a great ride. Gerty however loved Trolstein doing it twice, not so much for the curves but for overtaking recklessly on the straights.

 Day 6 Sognefjellet til Lom (218km 5hrs)

Beautiful day to day with brilliant riding. Sognefjellet is another motorcycling and tourist dream road. I'll just let the pictures tell the story but traffic was light and riding was great.

The start of the day

Stop for another glacier pic

Typical road in the section

Glacier moraine 

Wednesday 27 July 2016 Day 5 Single track to Hoyanger (251km)

HNorwegians body love tunnels. Part Viking part mole they burrow through mountains to avoid long roads. Today's route took us through so many tunnels we lost count. Some small and unlit, some so huge they also containined round abouts at underground intersections. They all felt colder than the outside temperature even though the Beemers temp gauge showed little difference.

We rode in rain from 10am - 4pm with only a couple of coffee stops. Why so long? Well our route took us on an extraordinary single lane road hugging the side of several fjords and gorges. One had to sit in an overtaking bay to allow oncoming traffic to pass. At one stage we rounded a corner only to screech to a halt to miss an oncoming bus that took up the entire road. He couldn't back up as is customary for cars as the was a queue of cars behind him. So we had to. Now for those of you that don't ride motorcycles, they don't go backwards, you have to push them backwards on tippy toes which is extra taxing when the bike is fully loaded.

The scenery was spectacular but the rain and wet roads had me hating it until the scenery won over after an hour or so. Mid afternoon the rain turned torrential and we were now getting cold so it was a little less tolerable. Finally we boarded our first fjord hopping ferry to Larvik where we grabbed a coffee and urgently booked the nearest hotel. 50k later we we showered and fed in a cosy hotel in Hoyanger.

View from the hotel

Tuesday 26 July 2016 Day 4 Heroes and Hardangervidda (954km)

M Ryukan, is the scene of the famous "Heroes of Telemark" WWII sabotage mission. A squad of UK based Norwegian commandos parachuted into the wilds of the Telemark region to destroy a heavy water plant at the Vermok power station and thus delay the German nuclear bomb research program. Their xc ski based approach and daring entry to the powestation to blow up the heavy water apparatus directly is legendary. But that was not the end of it as they got word that the Germans were quickly rebuilding the plant. They we then tasked with a second mission to destroy all stockpiled heavy water that was being transported by train. The best option was destroy it on the ferry that took the train across a fjord and it worked but at the cost of the lives of most of the civilian passengers.

Today is very special for me. I have whatched and read so much about this mission and today I got to visit the Vermok power station. Whilst the heavy Walter factory Section had ben destroyed and demolished after US bombing the  power station  was in perfect repair and is now a meuseum. It was fantastic visit not only for e war history component but the power station itself was interesting. As soon as I walked in it smelt like a hydro station and bought back memories of my time working in the Snowy Mountains Hydo. When this station was built in 1919 it was the latest in the world. 

Basically an its an engineer/xcskiier and war history buffs wet dream.

Our afternoons ride was across the aplpine area, the Hardangervidda. This is glorious alpine country reminded me of the lake districts, Scotland and even parts of the Kousciosco national park. It's a xc skiing dream with little lodges every where. And, as seems to be the tradition here  most of their roofs were covered with grass. This is ist here an ingenious traditional thermal insulation approach or a bone idle approach to maintenance.

We made a brief stop coffee stop at Geil, a huge ski resort bristling with Lycra clad Noweigians in salomon shoes and running jackets. From there it was a short ride to our destination Eidfjord where we took a cheep room at a camp ground as it had started to rain again. This last section took us through our first tunnels. The Norweigans bloody love tunnelling. One tunnel today corkscrewed its way down and down as a means to get us to the valley floor. 

We stayed in the attic pictured here

Monday 25 July 2016 day 3 Rjukan rain

Contrary to weather forecasts it pissed down last night. Seriously tropical rain that tested the tents mm rating with a few drops getting through. Consequentially it was a very late start rain stopped at 10. Tent dry and chicks away at 12.

Curvy glorious wet roads and oncoming camper vans taking up 2/3 of the road made it a little uncomfortable, but an hour or so saw us in our first real coffee shop denoted by three motorcycles parked out side. The coffee was great so we stayed for two and recharged our devices un aware more rain was on approach. As we left it started bucketing down again. Visibility was bad and water on the road was deep enough in places for a bit of aquaplaning.

 Gerty had a little complain about me riding slowly but it was I that had to peer through the rain, meet head on traffic and estimate unmarked tight corners all she had to do was follow my tail lights and avoid the flaming wreckage should I  stuff up. ( not many tight or decreasing radius corners are marked here as there are too many)

Around 4 we checked into a budget guest house in Ryukan to dry out and soon after went out for a Norwegian attempt at Chinese, which turned out not too bad at all. 

Rjukan is in a valley which in winter has no sun whatsoever. An enterprising resident has designed and built 3 sun tracking mirrors atop the mountain to reflect a patch of sun light at 80% original strength onto the town square. This provides a patch of 60 square meters of sun for the residents to catch some Vitamin D.

Said mirrors

Sunday 24 July 2016 Day 2 DK to NO 245km (+3.5hr ferry)

We said our fairwells to Anne at around 6am then rode the hour or so to the ferry terminal at Hirtshals. The trip lasted 3.5 hrs so I took this opportunity to catch some ZZZZs on the deck along with hundreds of others sunbathing on the helideck.

We arrived at Langsund at 1:30. What a contrast to Denmark with steep rock walls rising out of the water right from the ferry terminal. Straight off the ferry we rode the scenic route to Dalen in 26 deg sunny weather. There are very few straight roads here and by Dalen we had seen fjords, mountains, typical Norwiegian houses dotted a about said mountins and had started to wear the sides of our tires (which don't get much of a work out in Denmark)

We checked in to a campsite in Dalen, sorted the tent etc and headed to a little cafe on the fjord for a sensational steak and alcohol free beer. NOTE: The Norwiegian blood alcohol limit for driving is ZERO so they have very good alcohol free beers which are also much cheaper the the usual 20AUD for a .5 litre draught beer.

Waiting for our first of many ferries

Scandies catching a few rays while they can

Our first camp

Gerty sampling the first of many non alcholoic beers

Saturday 23 July 2016 Day 1 Kolding til Hou(Hals) 241km

Today marks the beginning of our 3 week motorcycle tour of Norway.

The usual fannying around and last minute purchases saw us having a farewell coffee at our fav Kolding coffee shop at around 1 pm. That's 3 hours later than planned. From there we squirted up the freeway to stay at a east coast seaside town by the name of Hou. Gerty had arrange for us to stay with a colleague of hers, Anne. Anne was great, offering great hospitality, great food, great walks around the area and a great person for Gerty to discuss academic stuff (this is a role I cannot substitute for).