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Old 03-14-2007, 11:57 AM   #62
viatormundi OP
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Joined: Apr 2005
Location: Mallorca-Spain
Oddometer: 644
Grong - Hemavan

The hotel in Grong was really nice. We could have stayed one more day but our schedule is tight, we have to move on. Today's route takes us very close to the Swedish border and therefore we will stay in Sweden tonight because it is cheaper than Norway. We know little about the road quality and have a short alternative route bypassing the tunnel. Today will be the toughest day of the trip for me.

More detailed view of the antitunnel alternative route, of course the gravelfreaks team takes that route

But we didn't follow the rest of the route much, thanks to Thomas' curiosity combined with his GPS skills and a nasty recommendation we got from a local person, caused us to do offrad driving full of sweat, swearing, some snow and a lot of mud

Actually the day started quite easy and nice. Nice weather, great roads and nice views as usual.

We are only 4 people in the gravelfreaks team. Thomas, myself , Lars Olof and Lars Eve. All of us except Lars Eve have GS. But he keeps up well with his K75 on gravel roads. We should give him an honorary GS driver certificate Well, he owns a very nice GS now as you can see in previous pictures. The more towards north we drive the more the nature becomes wild and I feel myself more free. Parking our bikes in the middle of nowhere and drinking some coffee makes us feel special and simply happy.

We make some very small and shallow water passings. I think myself "this is good training for me". I have no idea that in about 3 hours I will have to make a 40 cm high water crossing

Who says K75 is an asphalt bike, it is all up to the driver

We make a lunch break in a small swedish town. The owner of the restaurant/cafe/teater/church combination looking building tells us that there is a snowscooter path close by and it can be worth trying. We get excited about this idea. After the lunch we decide to take a look at it. I should have realized that there was something wrong with this great idea when I saw this guy's sneaky smile when he sees our bikes. The beginning of our small adventure starts OK actually, the road or let's call it a simple enduro track, seems to be managable at the beginning. But after 5 or 10 minutes, we have to drive on some stones as big as my head or even bigger. Thomas and I are little ahead of Lars&Lars and finally we can't drive further. The track is really steep and there is actually no track but a field of large stones. We have to push the bike two persons on the side. A lot of burning tire smell and those damn mosquitos, billions of them, are trying to reach my brain cells We fight a while and drop bikes multiple times. I think we spent about an hour like this and sweat a lot. Finally, we come to a flat part with less stones but wet grass. I must have been really tired and I drop the bike twice there. Soft landing with no damage on the bike or myself. Then we come to a water crossing. Thomas checks the depth and it is about 40 cm high or higher or lowe I don't know it looked really deep. At that time we realize that Lars&Lars decided to return back, wise choice. Thomas has more offroad experience than I have and crosses the water. Now it is my turn! Well, I have no offroad experience and did start driving on gravel on this trip. He tries to explain to me the way to do it. "Stand up, look up, keep the speed and don't hesitate", it isn't so easy. Well it is easy to say. I get some sort of a mental block. It takes me about a minute or two to have the courage to turn the throttle. Wow, it is super slippery and I feel like I am losing the control but Thomas screams at me and reminds me to keep the speed. I manage to cross but it was scary actually. We continue to drive and the track gets steeper and we come to a higher ground. We are at the edge of a high hill and suddenly there is a large section covered with snow in front of us Hold on a second, which month is this? August right? Great! What are we going to do now? Thomas thinks that it is a very thin layer of snow and tries to drive on it. But the snow layer is about 30-40 cm thick and imagine the track is at the side of a hill, lets say at least 30 degrees inclination. He slides down and drops the bike. OK, some weight lifting again. I wish I was as strong as Naim Suleymanoglu (the turkish weight lifting champion, who could lift 3 times of his weight ) There is no way to drive back, no way to drive further, when we manage to lift the bike it is sliding down. There is only one option, we can try to slide the bike on the ice/snow section until the end and drive the bike back. We stand on each side of the bike and try to slide it down. At the beginning it goes well but then the bike gets some speed on snow. OOopppss, this is completely out of control, we must have looked like idiots. We try to slow it down by pressing with our feet but not much success. Finally, the snowy section ends and we are still alive. We have no chance but go back, there is no way to cross this snowy section. It is good that we return back so I can a have chat with the guy who recommended us this track

We have only one picture from this whole afternoon. You can see I got quite red of workout. We started to drive where the lake is.

We are upset that we had to turn back and it was quite a work to drive on those big stones again. But as they say "if it doesn't kill you, makes you stronger"

After reaching the asphalt, we try to call some members of the team to tell them that we will be really late but mobile coverage in this part of Sweden is not so good, unless you have the state owned mobile operator's subscription and we don't have it.

We make a short stop at this small waterfall to take a picture and try to call again.

While we are trying to reach Hemavan, the asphalt team is already there and enjoying their coffee.

While we are driving quite fast we come to a small village with some hills around it. Thomas starts jumping on his bike like a happy monkey and pointing to me those hills. I realize that there some skiing slopes and then I see a sign. Welcome to Ingemar Stenmark's hometown. The legendary skier from Sweden. Thomas and many other swedes respect this guy a lot. I would say ABBA, Björn Borg and Ingemar Stenmak are still very popular in Sweden.

Finally, we arrive to Hemavan. I am super tired. My GS is quite dirty, but as they say a real GS is a dirty GS!

We will stay in this facility which is used by students, skiers etc. I go to bed early, my muscles hurt a lot. Another great day with some challenges.

Tomorrow we will drive to Bodö and my princess will join us
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