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pip_muenster 07-06-2010 01:42 PM

Let's find those vikings
Set sail and head into unknown waters. Leave everyday life behind.

It is the summer of 2009 and the weather hasn’t been friendly with me in the last weeks. Will it be better up in the North?

I’ve had enough of everyday life in the office, drinking coffee and pushing the mouse around. My job allows me some traveling, but now it had been a complete week at the desk. It was time for a break.
There had been little chance for riding in the last months, so first I checked the battery. It had dried out and died while on the battery jogger, good start.
Apart from that my trusty CB750 was fine, so I just needed a day for some last minute laundry and packing my stuff. My idea was to ride fast through Denmark & Sweden towards the north and then slowly back along the western coast of Norway, just what you would do between oil changes.

The first day brought me to the Baltic Sea where I visited friends. I also stopped at a bike shop, since the bike’s mileage was critically bad. The mechanic immediately pointed at the tank switch which was spitting gas all over the place. Ahem, that’s embarrassing … I should have seen that myself.
Before the tour I only had checked the oil and replaced the battery. Should I worry about the bike’s condition? Ah, no, it’s a Honda, right?

Anyway, that gave me another day at the beach. Also, my friend Tania decided it was better to spend the afternoon with me and have a BBQ than to work. Hurray.

pip_muenster 07-06-2010 03:07 PM

Due to the prices in Scandinavia there’s a 4-storey liquor shop near the ferry in Puttgarden. To keep the weight down and the spirits high, I got me a bottle Tequila. Others used a forklift to load their vans with beer. That’s something you may see daily at your local Walmart, but in Germany it’s a fairly unfamiliar sight.

With the ferry from Puttgarden to Rødby and then from Helsingør to Helsingborg I arrived in Sweden, where I immediately almost crashed when exiting a roundabout. Someone had just put a solid layer of gravel on top of the asphalt. Well ok, everybody comes to Sweden for the gravel roads, so there’s no point complaining …

This night was my first night in the new tent and I wanted to see how it would compare to my old dome tent which I loved and which had toured with me since 1994. In the night I learned to hate its tunnel design, as I had to use more and more pegs to keep the canvas from buffeting.

The next two days I was driving through the forest. Not many hills, a lake here and there. Barely a bend in the road and a foreseeable speed trap on each intersection.
Things immediately changed when I turned away from the coast near Lulea and met this guy on the road.

It was my first reindeer, so allow me some excitement. And it only took 10 more kilometers to get a different view on them: “Oh yeah, reindeer, they’re a plague up here.”

Further north in Finland a rusty structure called for a photo of the bike. (By the way, that huge top box was almost empty, I kept it for groceries or locking my jacket when away from the bike.)

Then it was getting colder, so I grabbed my stuffed rain coverall. Now while it is comfy and warm, they should have sold it together with some yoga exercises. Getting in required some flexing. If you’ve ever find yourself in one of these tiny rest room cubicles where the toilet paper is located -behind- you, you’ll understand what I mean.

In the evening I started looking for a spot to set up my tent. Only when I stopped to pee, I noticed the midges all around me. I hate them! So I decided to ride on northwards, speculating that eventually they will disappear in the colder climate.

GB 07-06-2010 04:14 PM

That's some reindeer... makes the deer around here look like dwarfs!


pip_muenster 07-06-2010 05:33 PM

So I kept on riding. I found me a car in a hurry and followed it, thus frequently exceeding 100km/h (at a speed limit of 80) - and hoping it was a local who knew the speed traps.
And then I saw it, I was almost there:

(You'll probably know about the tunnel and the entry/exit fee etc. so I won't bother you with details.)

It was getting late in the night and quite cold, but here it was. It was almost 12 o'clock, so there in the distance, that was the midnight-sun.

Been there, done that.

At midnight, there were hundreds of people here: Germans, Italians, Japanese ... but after an hour everybody was gone except for an Australian GS-rider and me.

Since I was still freezing and very tired, I found me a quiet place and build my home.

svizzerams 07-06-2010 09:09 PM

Excellent a thread that includes both Vikings and the midnight sun.....:clap

BusyWeb 07-06-2010 10:59 PM


pip_muenster 07-07-2010 11:57 AM

I had probably done almost 3,000km in the last 5 days - including a day on the beach - but felt like the interesting part was still to come. From now on I wanted to follow the coast and explore the Lofoten islands. <o:p></o:p>

It was still cold with some rain here and there. The sky was full of clouds, a perfect match with the intense landscape.

<link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/SAYANP%7E1/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/msoclip1/01/clip_filelist.xml"><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:DoNotOptimizeForBrowser/> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><style> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} a:link, span.MsoHyperlink {color:blue; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {color:purple; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} @page Section1 {size:612.0pt 792.0pt; margin:72.0pt 90.0pt 72.0pt 90.0pt; mso-header-margin:36.0pt; mso-footer-margin:36.0pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style> While I rode along the coast I suddenly realized that 8 of 10 vehicles I had seen on the road since yesterday evening were either RVs, cars pulling caravans or bikes.
It seemed like the RVs were mainly driven by elderly couples or school teachers in woolen pullovers while the bikes were most often Gold Wings and BMW RTs. Maybe I should have waited another 20 years with this trip to fit in.

DC950 07-09-2010 01:15 PM

I am really enjoying this. Please continue.

pip_muenster 07-09-2010 03:53 PM

There's lots of work to do right now, but I think I'll find more time next week.

indianscout 07-09-2010 05:58 PM


pip_muenster 07-15-2010 09:53 PM

Sorry, I had to fight a little with jetlag in the last days, but here's the next installment.

A little bit tired I took my way South along the coast. Frequent photo stops helped me to warm up from time to time. I still wore my stuffed coverall all day long and I had heated grips and warm gloves, but you'll still lose a lot of heat over the day.

The scenery kept me awake by changing between wetlands, mountains, cliffs, fjords ...

Finally I crossed the bridge onto the Vesteralen islands. The sun warmed me and from time to time I actually thought about dropping that coverall now.

In the evening I looked for a nice place to set up my tent, when I came across a camping site near a beautiful lake. Having a fresh shower sounded better to me than wild camping and a jump into the cold ocean.

When I put up my tent I re-met all the RVs again and was invited for a coffee by an elderly German couple. A guy in a Norwegian pullover came along and introduced himself as a school teacher, being on his annual summer vacation with his mom. Maybe I should go back to wild camping again.

pip_muenster 11-26-2010 03:40 PM

Wow, a 4-month delay on the report … embarrassing.

I have spent the last months more on the road than at home, riding some 10,000km through Europe and flying crisscross over Mexico and the US … not much leisure time for writing.

Anyway …

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The next morning I headed towards a ferry port which should bring me further south onto the Lofoten islands. When I got to the port I had to realize that there would be no ferry in the next hours.

So I went back and headed north to the harbor of Sto instead, where I wanted to check on the whale safari tours. The landscape was only getting better and better.

I am the king of the road …

When I showed up at the safari people I was told to reserve some weeks in advance. Not really an option for me - I had decided to come here only hours ago …

So I shrugged and turned around.

On the most southern Vesteralen island I decided to take the long way and follow the coastal road along its west coast. At some point the road changed from asphalt to gravel, consisting of sharp, recently shredded stones. I continued carefully, testing the grip of my Battlax BT21 – non-surprisingly there wasn’t much. Nevertheless, after a while I found myself happily cruising in 3rd
and 4th gear, trailing a cloud of dust.
About 20-30km later a road sign indicated road works ahead. What had I just left behind me, then?

The road ahead didn’t look any different. I continued, and even if there was still enough gas in the tank, it was getting late. Time to look for a nice place for the night. (I must have been pretty tired, otherwise I should be able to find some photos of that episode.)

In the end I set up my tent behind a hedge, next to the road. The last thing before I went to bed was a quick check on the bike. I would swear that last 50km of gravel had cost me at least 1mm of rubber.

The next morning I woke up early and immediately hit the road. I stopped in a small fisher village to get coffee and some bread for breakfast. Then I arrived at the ferry port to the Lofoten islands. While waiting for the ferry there was time to chat with some other bikers. Also I was again invited for some coffee by the people in the RV next to me, Germans in a woolen pullovers.

On the ferry

Approaching the Lofoten islands

MustTourEurope 11-27-2010 11:01 AM


Originally Posted by pip_muenster

With the ferry from Puttgarden to Rødby and then from Helsingør to Helsingborg I arrived in Sweden, where I immediately almost crashed when exiting a roundabout. Someone had just put a solid layer of gravel on top of the asphalt. Well ok, everybody comes to Sweden for the gravel roads, so there’s no point complaining …

My version of Kronborg Castle in Helsingør...and it's big guns :-)

arres 11-27-2010 11:08 AM

Excellent photos. Thanks for sharing:clap

Jedediah 11-27-2010 11:11 AM

pip muenster,

Glad you are picking up on your ride report.

I find this all very facinating and appreciate the time it takes to post. So please continue. Great pictures by the way. It looks cold and lonely in places. Great place to clear your head?

I have two questions if you do not mind:

1. You changed tents. How did the new one work over all?

2. In post 4 above, you stated: "(You'll probably know about the tunnel and the entry/exit fee etc. so I won't bother you with details.)" I would love the details on the tunnel and fees :-)

Thanks again for sharing. I look forward to more installments:thumb



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