|03-14-2007, 12:08 PM||#61|
Joined: May 2003
I grew up in Overhalla which is about 25kms west of there. I didn't have a MC back then but will come back some time with my GS.
Great trip so far.
|03-14-2007, 12:57 PM||#62|
Citizen of the world
Joined: Apr 2005
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
|03-14-2007, 05:44 PM||#63|
Citizen of the world
Joined: Apr 2005
Next day I don't feel so good and decide to drive on the asphalt route following the coast line. That means I will miss the nordic race circuit Mo i Rana.
It is roughly 330 km long
We will meet Thomas' group in Saltströmmen, an interesting place with very strong currrents.
We drive with a decent tempo and Lars Eve is also joining me. We see a glacier on the way.
The road follows Atlantic ocean, is is not raining but not sunny neither
Meanwhile the other group reaches the race track in Mo i Rana.
It is also called the arctic race circuit. It is 3.7km long and 200mt above the sea level. I hear afterwards that Thomas and Lars Olof managed to sneak into the circuit and drive couple of round I should have followed them maybe.
While my group passes the polar circle in a ferry, the other group meets a small monument.
Although Thomas promised me that they won't drive on gravel roads today, they manage to find an old road from 1960s.
While Thomas and Lars Olof are sweating on gravel roads we are having a coffee break. A very relaxed day actually.
Then we arrive to Saltströmmen. It is a some sort of tight water passage area where the tide is very strong. We were not there at the high time but some pictures I found on the internet can explain the strength of the current maybe
Every 6 hours 400 million m3 amount of water passes through 150mt long passage. A paradise for big fish beacuse they just open their mouth and catch small fish. Therefore many fishers are there too. This guy seems to be very happy
About an hour later we arrive to Bodö. A harbour city which doesn't have the charm of Trondheim. I am extra excited today because my girlfriend will fly to Bodö from Stockholm and will be with me for the rest of the trip. Tomorrow we will drive to Lofoten, a very very special place..
|03-15-2007, 01:33 PM||#65|
Citizen of the world
Joined: Apr 2005
We stay in a nice hotel in Bodö. My girlfriend and another biker's partner arrive to Bodö with plane. Next day, we have two alternative routes again. There is a ferry which operates between Bodö and Lofoten or there is a longer ride with a shorter ferry ride. Vivian, my girlfriend, is not very experienced passanger on motorcycle and she can fall sleep on any moving vehicle in record time, including motorcycles Therefore, I decide to take the ferry directly to Lofoten.
I was very curious about Lofoten actually. I read some good words about this place and when Thomas posted the trip on the swedish BMW club, there was an amazing picture of a fishing village at the Atlantic coast. Thomas and Britt have been in Lofoten before and they were looking forward to see it again. When the ferry approaches the coast of Lofoten, I understand why many people talk so positively about this place. It has its own special charm and character. Those high peaks sticking out of Atlantic ocean, the typical cold north wind but great blue sky makes the scene worth so many thousand kilometres.
The weather wasn't great in Bodö. It didn't rain but it was quite foggy. The sky clears up here in Lofoten. Actually, Lofoten has its own climate they say, it must be because of its different topology I guess. After the ferry, we have a short ride to the fishing village where we will stay for 4 days. The sun is shining, we are lucky and happy again.
I really can't explain it well with words, but one really feels far away from home and hectic city life. Kind of being on the top of the world feeling. Very very peaceful.
We will be staying in a place called Njusfjord. A fishing village, used for touristic accomodation since 1950s. The fishing village is located in a natural bay perfectly protected from Atlantic ocean's waves. Fishing huts are standing on long pillars over the water. I saw a picture of it and it was really impressive, so I have high expectations and I don't get disappointed at all!
The scenery is postcard quality. We will be spending 4 days here. A perfect end for a long journey. If I would like to write a book and needed quite and peaceful place, this village would be on top of my list.
After parking our bikes we have a look at our huts. 4 people in each hut. They are not very modern but this supposed to be a fishing village right?
We had a very nice view from our hut actually.
Another view of the village from a high ground
Fishers used to and still do dry a fish called sei, some sort of cod. There are thousands of them
According to what I heard and read, in the old times this type of dried fish was a very efficient way of keeping food fresh. When you feel like fish soup, you drop the fish in water and boil it some time. Sailors sailing across atlantic used to use it.
The view of Atlantic from the high ground.
Kind of peaceful but at the same time little threatening..
There is a small restaurant in the village with great food. We have a nice dinner.
Tomorrow, some people are planning to go fishing.
|03-15-2007, 03:13 PM||#66|
Citizen of the world
Joined: Apr 2005
Next day a group of people decide to go fishing. It is windy and chilly outside, so they decide to go fishing with their goretex motorcycle clothes, not a bad idea
Vivian and I decide to take a long walk along the coast. We walked about 4 hours and the landscape looked more like a light tropical environment. It must be the miracle of gulf stream. We saw many different plants.
Let me guide you in the hills of Lofoten
And my assistant guide Vivian
It was a very calm day with no wind
There were some small obstacles on our hike but we passed them easily, my assistant guide in action
I fell in love with this place. It is really a very very special place. Vivian agrees with me on that.
After walking about 2 hours we reached another settlement and decided to go back to our fishing village.
Let's see what our Vikings achieved on the sea while we were away. What can I say, these guys have sea, sailing and fishing in their genes
Hhhmm, I don't know how to cook this fish, I better call my mom. She is from the Black Sea region of Turkey, she can cook anything coming from sea
Well, as you can guess, we all ate fish that evening, and the evening after and after...
Next day, we decide to ride our bikes, we missed them. We drive to a small village/town called Å. Very long name, huh. Great view on the road, as usual.
Some building were on pillars too.
We find a small bakery and taste fresh pastries
Vivian is happy too, she got used to be on the bike. Of course, she falls asleep, regardless how hard I drive At the beginning she was nervous about it but then she talked to other veteran passangers about it and heard that many people do those microsleeps on the bike
The fresh air makes us hungry again. We eat very very delicious shrimp sandwiches. Thomas heard about these sandwiches some time ago. If you are into shrimp sandwiches, I can recommend those in the village of Å in Lofoten
Another nice day passes and we return to our fishing village.
Next day, we decide to take another walk with our housemates Stefan and Agneta. This time we climb high up.
There was still some snow on top of the hills
The lake and the Atlantic ocean in the same frame make an interesting view
While we do more exploration of the area, Kenneth and Dan decide to drive to the north part of Lofoten island to see wales. Apparently, killer whales can be seen during fall/winter time and I would love to see them actually. Maybe next time. I don't have pictures from Kenneth and Dan but I found some pictures on the internet from other lucky people in Lofoten. These wales are super cool.
We had absolutely amazing time in Lofoten. I can strongly recommend this place. Actually, this place is in my top 5 most impressive places list, and trust me I travelled some.
It is time to drive towards east and cross to border to Sweden. Our destination is the national park area Abisko in northern part of Sweden. We will attend the yearly meeting of swedish BMW club.
Our bikes are rested too, ready to roll to Sweden.
We say good bye to Njusfjord.
As I said, I will come back to Lofoten some time in my life time I hope. It is a very special place.
|03-15-2007, 11:03 PM||#67|
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: SF Yay Area
absolutely amazing ride, pics and text!!!
the international flavor of this site is what separates it from all others!!!!
|03-16-2007, 10:03 AM||#69|
Citizen of the world
Joined: Apr 2005
Björkliden and the end of the journey
We left Lofoten early in the morning. We will drive about 400km towards Sweden, The yearly meeting is in a place called Björkliden located in the Abisko National park. A skiing resort in the winter.
A heavy rain welcomed us at the border and stayed with us for the rest of the weekend. We passed the city of Narvik which played a significant importance in the WW2 for both parties.
The hotel we stayed was really nice.
Next day, I join a tour of the worlds largest iron ore mine operated by the state owned company LKAB. Actually, the city of Kiruna was built because of this mine. If we look at some numbers we realize that this mine is huge. The iron ore source is 4km long and 80m wide. Currently they are extracting iron ore from 1045m deep. I found an overview picture of the mine on the internet. The high building in the middle is the headquarters. By the way, the city of Kiruna will be moved couple of kilometers away because explosions from the mine get dangerous for the city. LKAB will pay most of the bill for this move.
With these large drilling machines they place explosives and detonate those every day around at 23:30. Before they do it, they control if everybody left the mine. Therefore, every employee has a special access card which logs in and out. If an employee forgets to log out, the whole explosion is cancelled and that employee is searched. They sounded extremely serious about this procedure. When the explosion happens, it can be felt by the city population. They actually joke that when they feel explosions then it is time to brush teeth and go to bed. I think it is good that these explosions don't happen very early in the morning, then the population of the town would explode. (you know the early morning train joke )
It is possible to visit the mine as a group. They took us down with busses
The mine has 40km long asphalt roads, yes you read it right, 40km!!
Our guide is explaining to us some facts, currently we are 500mt below the ground.
He tells us that most of the mining operation is done from distance using unmanned vehicles operated by people sitting on the surface. I found a picture of this set-up on the company website. It looks really like a sci-fi situation.
And these machines are huge, look at the size of the ladle (I guess it is called so)
The extracted core is transported with a train to Narvik to be further transported to the rest of the world with ships. This train has the worlds strongest locomotive because..
it pulls 52 of those wagons and each of these wagons weigh about 20tons and carry 100tons of ore. In two years the total number of wagons will increase to 68.
When we come back to our hotel and sit down to eat our dinner, we hear very beautiful news. Anders and Carolin got married in the city hall of Kiruna that day and wanted to share their wedding cake with us They met in another BMW club trip before.
Next day we drive to the area where the famous ice hotel is located. This hotel is a marketing miracle exemple in my opinion, it should be tought as a marketing case in schools. Kiruna is not a very attractive place in the winter for many people because it is very cold, around -15 or -20 C even colder and very dark since it is so up north. But Kiruna people managed to turn these disadvanteges into business opportunities. Most car manufacturers test their cars against harsh winter conditions here in Kiruna. The area is considered as a space center candidate for European Space research and finally some smart people came up with the idea of building a hotel from ice and making money out of that. Every year when the spring comes the hotel melts down and rebuilded again in the winter. Since we were there summer time, we couldn't see the hotel of course but there was some information etc. I put some pictures from the internet so you can get an understanding of it. I would like to have a drink in the ice bar, zipping absolut vodka (also Swedish not worlds best vodka but best marketed vodka) in glasses of ice.
This bed looks quite comfy
When we visited the hotel, only some piece of furniture was left
I actually have a plan. I read in a swedish motorcycle magazine that two journalists drove from little north of Sweden to Kiruna with their bikes in the winter time, one 1200GS and one 990 Adv with spiked tires, and they stayed in this hotel. I want to do the same in the coming winter. I hope I report it here.
Vivian flies to Stockholm from Kiruna, she doesn't want to sit on the bike for two more days and this part of the ride back to Stockholm is not so exciting but long, about 1250km. On the way down, we pass the polar circle again. It rained a lot on the way down. God bless the person who invented goretex
Next day, we are roughly 250km away from Stockholm and Lars Olof pulls to the right. He jumps off his bike and tries to find something in his package. I wonder if there is something wrong with his bike. He pulls out a bottle of whisky and says "time to celebrate!". Celebrate what? My bike did 100000km, he says. I can tell you that he drives a lot. At that time that bike was only 2 years old or less.
At the exit to Stockholm, I say good bye to Lars&Lars and they continue to the south of Sweden. So, a long but fantastic journey ends. I drove about 10000km, saw magnificient places, had great fun but most importantly got to know new friends.
I hope you enjoyed reading this report. It took some time for me to finish it because of hectic business travels but now it is done. If you ever come to Scandinavia, don't hesitate to contact the gravelfreaks (grusbus) team, who knows, we might guide you on great gravel roads.
I wish you all a lot of curvey roads.....
|03-16-2007, 11:38 AM||#70|
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: Zug, Switzerland
Amazing trip report with beautiful pictures from such a gorgeous country. Thanks for sharing!
Tourer, commuter, adventure rider dreamer. Here for the pics and stories!
|03-16-2007, 05:00 PM||#71|
Joined: Nov 2005
Location: Oslo, Norway
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