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Old 08-31-2011, 09:40 AM   #1
2712 OP
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Belgium
Oddometer: 374
Nordcape rally, 11 country's, 25days, 9900km

I did a daytrip!

I drove from stavanger to kristiansand to oslo to stockholm, to the eastcoast of denmark, to hamburg, to hannover and then over zwollen to amsterdam and then to antwerp in 30 hours of non stop driving!

but i was to tirred to take pictures

I did this trip true 11 country's to the northcape, and the last day i still had allot of km to do, 1200, but after i missed two ferrys in kristiansand and oslo it became +2500 km

Now the whole trip!


Final Preparations!!!

Thursday The 4th of august, Im going to bring my motorcycle to the dealer to get it some new tirres and check the most important things. I took half a day off to be able to do so and when i got there it became obvious that im not even close from leaving Belgium on my way to the North Cape! The owner of the shop walks over to me after they were working on my bike for 30 minutes and he asks “so when are you planning on leaving, saturday morning?” He frowns, stops talking for a minute and tells me to walk over to the bike. When we get to the bike he tells me to grasp the back weel and juggle with it. Omg, it has over a cm of play on it... The shopowner tells me that i cant be leaving before that is fixed. The Final Drive bearing is starting to fail and i can lose my backwheel if its not fixed “right now”.
They prommes me to do the best they can and he will get back to me tomorrow and see if they got it fixed.

Picking up the bike!
Friday the 5th of august; im at work, nervous as hell, even my colleges are worrying with me, when is he going to call, is he going to have good news? I already made allot of arrangements with couchsurfers and if they are going to postpone my start then il have to do it all over again and ask people to host me with a starter of a 3 days notice. Not very nice at all...

Friday 5th of august, 3pm, I missed one call, they left a message on my cell... i listen and... “Hi koen this is meeuwse motoren about your motorcycle, it is ready and you can pick it up whenever you want”.


After work I start driving over to the shop and figure that they did me a huge favour! When i called for an appointment to get new tirres and a checkup they told me that only the tires would be possible becouse of there sceduele being so full, and that was 5 weeks ago! So i stopped at this chocolate shop, got myself a big box of chocolates to give to the shopowner as a little extra for when they are having coffee!

When i get to the shop it appears that they did a full checkup, fixed the bearing and new tirres, obviously i am very very happy! I hope they enjoyed the chocolates as much as i did their great service!










Getting started!

Saturday the 6th of august, 4 am, I just woke up after 3 hours of sleep, it took me up till 1 am to pack all my stuff and arrange it in a “handy” manner on my motorcycle. But adrealine is pumping and im ready to go! I leave at 5 and start to drive to the Belgian Border with The Netherlands, At the abandon borderpost on the highway i stop to make my first picture.



Day one i drove true Germany, becouse my gps gives me the fastest road i end up on the Autobahn! Top speed on my fully packed beast 203km/h, After a while it does not appear to be fast at all, becouse everyone else is going this fast! Then after 6 hours i arrive in Poland, a country that is very diffrent from anything ive ever seen, they do not have highways, from village to village its always a great distance that can only be covered with a 2 lane road that has a speed limit of 90, but every local seems to be going much faster. I got speeds up to 150 following 2 locals at a “safe” distance.

When i finally arrive at my first host “Helena” and her family and ask about the traffic, they say that it is becouse it would take to long to get from one village to another if you kept yourselves to the speed limit. Helena is a very nice girl, She lives in a nice house with a really really big yard with a little lake on it. We agree that i wash up first, eat a little and then we will be leaving for the big festival "Jamboree".



It appears to be the biggest festival in europe, on the camping alone there where hundered of thousands of people. Getting to the festival by car was almost impossibel. At 10 km from the village where it all takes place people stood bumber to bumper with no movement for minutes... So we decide to leave the car and walk by foot as so many others where already doing.


So after a very long walk and short busdrive we got to Jamboree, an awesome festival with great vibes, all happy people!



Driving true Poland!

We left the festival at 12pm, to be home at 4 am, it was a long walk and i was exhausted!


Sunday the 7th of august, after breakfast it was time to leave, i had 450 km waiting for me, a 4 hour drive that turned into a almost 7 hour drive when roads got worse and worse. I arrived in Olsztyn -the city where copernicus lived for most of his life- rather late, Anna is my next host, she is a student who lives together with 3 other flatmates.

After my shower she told me that they would show me the city and get some food, polish food! We got into this little restaurant and they ordered “Pierogi” for me, a soft of pastalike doug that they fill with all sorts of stuff from mushrooms to sausage, and boil! Really good food!



After that we went back to the appartment and got some really good food again! A cacao cake with confiture inbetween and coal leaves filled with rice and meat. After the dinner the two guys at the appartment gave me some polish lessons, one wodka at the time, after two bottles we kind of gave up! But i picked up a few cool words!





Im the guy on the left! The girl on the left is my couchsurfing host and on the right are her flatmates and some neigbours.


The girls went to bed and my host slept over with the neighbours, she expected the guys having a little party on our owne, and we did, emptying 2 bottles telling travelstorys and jokes. I felt a bit bad for the guys as they had to get up at 8 in the morning.


Arriving in the balkans

Monday the 8th of august, I leave Anna's and her flatmates to drive to “litouwen” Traffic is special, im not used to this kind of behaviour, for instance, if people think your going faster than them they will move a little to the right, so does the traffic from the other direction; And you will pass inbetween them. Traffic from the other direction will just start to overtake and its up to you to make room on your side by riding on the right line. In the beginning it freaks you out but after a few hundred km its just very handy and easy (and dangerous)



Im 200 km from Riga right now, my ass is hurting like hell from sitting on the motor all day, its the big battle ive to do every day, how do i sit the best without having to much pain, the same for my legs, somethimes i will stand up for 10 minutes and drive like that, or just let my feet hang down 2 cm above the asfalt to give them some stretch.

Im really not happy of not having a host, I dont know what i am going to do, i dont see any accomodations for people with tents and i dont even know if its safe or legal. So i check my couchsurf account just one more time and then i see this message! I click and its an accepted couch for today! And its already 18h45, FUCK maby its already to late, i got her number so i text her “Im 200 km from Riga, i still dont have a couch, i would be VERY happy if you still want to host me, plz let me know something”;

5 minutes pass then this new message “yes ive a couch, your 150 km from where i am” I text back “Il be there in a big hour” and gun for it, my ass and back stopped hurting, i felt energized! I agreed to meet in her hometown “Birzai”, she text me if its ok to meet in the city center. I stop 15 minutes before i arrive in Birzai and try to text her that “its ok” but ive no credit anymore on my cellphone. “Curba!!! i forgot to turn the internet off and now i cant text my couch anymore to arrange the meet up”.

So i deside to drive over there and see what its like, Its a strange place for belgian standards, all the buildings look very old, its very silent on the streets, it makes me think of “the other side of the berlin wall” before it fell, Soviet russia breath was blowing true this streets not so long ago.


So now im in the city square, not able to contact my host; i wait for 10 minutes and still noone is showing up. I see people looking at me, they know im a stranger and they now im lost. I dont really like that. I deside its better to make some circles true the city and then i get this new text “Hey are you the traveler on the motorcycle, i think i just saw you driving true the city”. I turn back, i try to reride my route and then i see this young woman waving at me. “I made it”. , she is very nice and tells me to drop my stuff off at her house, a very large appartment building, she lives on the 5th floor with her mother.

I wash up really quick and i get this big plate of spagetti to eat, afterwards she shows me around in the city, Birzai used to be very ritch, 500 years ago its was a big city on the way to Riga, they have 2 big castels and europes longes wooden bridge (over 500 meters) crossing a manmade lake with a function to protect the castle from invaders.

Birzai alsow seems famous for there beer, its unfiltred, and my host brought a bottle of it in her purse, she sended her mom to the store to get it for her and the “traveler”!

Then we go back to her appartment and i get to sleep in her room. At then in the morning i wake up and get to grind my owne coffee beens, to make coffee! After breakfast i leave for my next stop in Latieva.








Latvia!

Thuesday the 9th of august, I head to letland, to this town “ Gulbene” where my host Baiba lives with her family, I felt right at home. They are really nice people, very interested and however we did not speak the same languages it was all very amusing and never akward. 5 minutes after arriving they gave me food, patatoes with chunks of meat and a saus, and bread with home made hunny!
Amazing good food! Baiba had to leave to town for a big hour so i had the chance of writing a bit for my blog. When she came back we rode to the middle of the town and she showed me arround. Then she got a call form her family and asked me if i wanted to go to a sauna! Hell yea!

We drive over to this big wooden shed in the middle of the forrest with a big lake behind it. Before we went to the sauna we ate some food, one of those things we ate was smoked pork fat (no meat) on bread. It actually was really good. Not something i want to eat every day but it tasted way better then i ever could have imagined.


After the sauna we went to see some friends of her. Had something to drink and afterwards we went to the house for a good night sleep!





On my way the roads did not had asfalt, all gravel roads. one time i was doing over a 100 km/h on one of this roads when i hit a soft spot with lose sand, my handlebars went everywhere and i lost control of the bike. How that i managed, i do not know, i didnt panic to much and didnt brake! I got very lucky not to crash.



My room at Baiba's place





Baiba with her mother on the right and my swimming pants on the table






Next stop, Estonia!

Wednesday the 10th of august, The next morning i got this amazing breakfast with home made milk (the parents of Baiba have 30 cows) bread with hunny, meat, cheese, jam... Really really good food! Before i left and right after i packed Baiba's mother incisted that i had some more soup before i left! These are really nice and interesting people. As i said before, I felt right at home!

Then it was time to go, its always sad to leave a host but this was even worse becouse I had some really good chats and discussions with Baiba and i wished that i could have spended more time with her.


I drove in the direction of the russion border and then to Estonia, i took a lot of small roads true really small villages, mostly all gravel roads. I got a bit to optimistic about the road and my drivingskills at one point where i forgot to turn the ABS on after leaving a patch of a good 30 km of gravel, after 5 minutes on the asfalt i miscalculated this twist on a hil and when i came down in the hil i had to hit the rear break, the rear wheel blocked and my motorcycle broke out, got grip again and came back in line HARD, i got almost trown off, next thing i know i have to lean with every thing i got and brake the front brake really easy to make the next corner... Lucky me!


The rest of the road is really nice, its only 300 km to my next stop. Roads get better and i start to pick up some speed again. I arrive at Liis in Karepa, she is a teacher and lives with her family in this house in the forest. They have a 30 year old working horse and 2 two dogs! After i unpacked we went to the beach for a nice walk! Allong the way we pick blueberrys and muchrooms witch we will later frie in a pan with eggs. The baltic sea is really diffrent from the north see in Belgium, No waves (however that depends from the wind direction Liis tells me) and it does not taste salt at all. A little bit, if i ever shipwrecked onto the Baltic i would sure drink it!

After the walk of about a km of 5 6 i go to bed, ive got to get up early in the morning to catch the Ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki.


Hungry after the ride traveler? Lets find some muchrooms;


Russian watchtower looking over the Baltic Sea, my host told me she climbed it once!




Finland!

Thursday 11th of August; The alarm rang at 5 this morning, ive no time for breakfast and i cant seem to find some streaming water. I should have asked yesterday! Everyone is still asleep as i start to pack my belongings and drive towards Tallinn. Its a nice drive of 120 km that i do in just over an hour. Once in Tallinn its really easy, just follow the signs saying “Helsingi” and eventually you'l end up at the ferry. Nicely on time 15 minutes before departure i find myself in a bathroom on the 7th deck brushing my teeth and after that a nice table in the bar and take a nap.


2hours later i see Helsinki and start moving my stuff back to the bike, its raining really hard, a bit like in Belgium, it got allot colder to, only 16°c. I start driving towards jyvakyla and agree on meeting my next host a bar “Yla ruth” where she is just finishing her shift.








Jyvakyla is really nice, its a student city with a few cool student bars and 1 or 2 clubs. In the evening we go to this bar where they have all sorts of beers, even belgians like “hoegaarden” and some geuzes and lambic's, Finnish people can drink! Like allot! And you dont really notice that they are drunk. I had to give up after 5 pints and started to drink water and soda, I dont feel like driving a motorcycle when im hungover.






Pic above are my host and friends of my host.
Under is me getting to know a finish girl.


Arriving in Kajaani

Friday 13th of August; In the morning we went to the town market and had some soup at this soup-place, really good soup actually. Then i started packing for my trip to kajaani and left for my next host. I arrived somewhere after 5 after a really really boring ride, the nature and the views were great ofcourse but the road was really straight and good. I kind of started to like the gravel and after 2 days without it i kind of miss it. Its less adventurous driving around here. My new host "Inka" is a really nice girl, she studies geology and is a really positive person. We had some interesting talks about all sorts of things from human rights to how there are 2 diffrent kinds of geologists, you have the hard and the soft ones. My host is a soft one, for instance, she maps springs in the forrest. Her friend is a hard one and works in this mine where they extract ores like uranium, cobalt, zink, copper and so on. In the evening we descided to go to this club. I dont know if this is a “standard” finnish club, but it is diffrent then the ones we have in belgium. They look more like a bar with a seperated dancing area. After the club we go to this burger chain thing called “Hestburger” where i ate a burger that i can not prenounce when sober.







This picture is taken at 1 in the morning, this is as dark as it gets so far up north in august!



Driving to Lapland


Saturday 14th of August, Inka make's me some breakfast and thee, and i start cleaning up my stuff again. As always i want to stay longer but i cant. Ive got to be moving if i want to get in my next stop on time. Its going to be a long long drive, 625km to Ivalo, Lapland. Inka and her friends tell me to go east first and climb this hill with my bike so that i will get an awesome view of how finland looks. However when i see that the short route to Inari will take me almost 7 hours of driving i descide to skip the detour.

Its a nice drive, with really nice roads and almost no traffic. But its not without danger, there are allot of raindeer in the area and they arnt really bright. They will just stand in the middle of the road, show no intention of moving and then at the last moment they will run to a “not so obvious” direction.Tire marks are everywhere, so i guess close encounters of the 3th kind more common then i can imagine.

However im aware of this fact, i speed, more then 50km an hour to save time. Then shit happens under the best of conditions, i didnt hit a raindeer but got cought speeding by an inari highway patrol... They pull me over and im ordered to sit in there van while one of the officers works out the papers; The verdict: I lose my drivers licence for 2 months and a 390 euro fine. Im baffled by my owne stupidity and excuse myself with the officers for my disrespectfull behaviour. After explaining my trip the officers agree on giving me a 2 day notice to leave the country before my 2 months start! Finnish cops are awesome and i am lucky!


I arrive at Nina's place at 8 in the evening. She is a really nice girl who teaches history in a school in Ivalo. Originally she came from the south but her job brought her to lapland. Ivalo is a really small place with not much to do, 6000 people. There are only 2 towns higher up to the north then Ivalo and distances are huge. The next town is 40km north, the second 160 km. If something would happen, the closest hospital is 500 km from here so accidents are a bit more serious up here.


We visit some friends of Nina's, they are all teachers at the school where Nina teaches. Really friendly people. Nina points out that without these friends life would be really hard in Ivalo, it is hard to relate to the locals as they have very diffrent intrests from what a teacher has. As i hear, the locals first intrest is hunting and on the second place drinking. Its not something tipical to every Fin she tells me, but becouse of the big city's being so far away, there is not much else to do around here.

Its a really desolated area, the vegetation is changing fast. Exept for some pinetree's there is not much that grows up here. Its starts to look more like im entering a Taiga area as trees are getting more and more scarse.


Its a nice resting day without any driving, we make a little hike and afterwards we fetch ourselves a nice burger in the local pub. Tomorrow il be heading up to the north cape and stay there for the night. Then il be on my way to the south again, back to belgium! But im starting to get a bit more nervous. Not allot of hosts responded positive and i dont really know where to sleep when on the day itself noone responds. I dont mind sleeping in a tent at all, but after a long driving day a hot shower can do miracles....





Last drive north, i arrive at the North Cape today!

monday the 16th of augustus


Today il be leaving Nina's place and move up to the northcape, but there is no hurry becouse i want to arrive there at night for the nice view and in a hope to escape the toll that they ask to get onto the north cape. 140 nok for the tunnel and 245nok for the northcape itself.


Its a long drive to the north cape, about 500 km and it takes around 7 hours and very tirring, you constantly have to be looking for those raindeers that walk over the road. But ofcourse the sun is really low above the horizon in the north west, the direction i am going. So its all over my eyes and i cant really see much in the distance. It gets so bad that i have to keep my left hand above my eyes to aprove my vision a bit. If it wasnt for my end goal i would have turned around. This is crazy and not safe.


So i arrive at the northcape tollbooth somewhat before one, i take my creditcard and show it to the lady behind the desk and she responds “im very sorry sir, im just done with my paperwork so just drive on and dont tell anyone” NICE !, When i get to the platform, i am really exited, cant stop smiling! I take some pictures and get my pictures taken by some tourist who are waiting for the sunset.


When im about to leave it gets really obvious that i am very very tired cos i get to drop my bike for no reason, i guess it was time to go to bed! I drove a few kilometers back off the northcape and found myself a nice spot to put up my tent. However wind was blowing so hard that i could not do it on myself! So i tryd to make a windscreen with my motorcycle and gear and i slept behind the motorcycle under the stars! It was horrible, the wind would keep me awake and it was already getting light again.












Mission Accomplished!





Heading South, back home!

Thuesday the 16th of august,


I woke up at 6 am and felt shipwrecked, i could not make a fire to cook something becouse of the wind and above all i forgot to take a spoon to eat my food! Atleast i bought a nice redbull on my way over to the northcape, that is pretty much a breakfast before a 650 km drive.

I started to drive south again, towards Tromse where my next host lives. It was not easy to find the place and i almost took the wrong ferry. The problem here is that if you for example take the wrong turn and end up at the other side of a fjord. That could very well mean a detour of over 100 km.
But norway is beautifull, the senery is just amazing!


I arrive at my host a bit after 6 in the afternoon, ive been driving over 10 hours straight, it it was worth it!


My next host lives close to Tromse in a (for me) tipical norwaigian house. Im very tirred so exept for some talking and listening to music there is not much left to do for the day. My host tells me that there are allot of people visiting. Most of them stay longer then one day like me. If i want i could come back, spend some time there and maby help her with some work around the house. I think its a nice way of getting stuff done. And when you are in a vacation mood the working is so much not working at all! ;)/

Nina provided me with some snack that turned into a breakfast, chocolate with fruit flavour!










You can stay if you find me!

Wednesday the 17th of august,


I slept up till 11o clock, and i feel like i could sleep some more but ive got to go, today im traveling towards the lofoten to this host who joked “you can come if you can find me”... And it turns out he was right, its not that easy to find. The town is not on the maps or on my gps. It apears to be a very desolated little town. Its 25km from the last road youl find on the map. It used to be a village for many years but then everyone left and it became a ghost town for a very long time. Then some germans found it and started to rebuild it. It feels like an escape place with a great atmosphere. I cant really discribe it but it feels like you are on the edge of the world.


Anton, my host is really nice, he works there during the summer in this little restaurant. After he is done with working i meet him and his friends at someones house and sit there for the rest of the evening. Just talking and making some music. I could spend months here, if you want to escape life, this is the place to go!








Crossing the polar circle on my way south

Thursday the 18th of august,
I start my day by walking up the mountain. I want to check out the view, and its amazing. For the rest of the day i wont do much. Walking true the harbour, drinking some coffee, talking to the locals. Thats about it. I meat this artist “Paul” and in the evening we drink some beers in his gallery. The weather is getting worse, i hope it wont be raining tomorrow.

Friday the 19th of august,
Its raining... but ive no time to sit it out, ive got to go, ive 480 km to do today.
Its not as relaxing, driving in the rain; you have to adjust your speed, there isnt any margan for error. On top of that the road im driving is covered with oil, big patches where the road has all the collors of the rainbow. It freaks me out. I hate this so much.
After 100 km i enter my first ferry 5 minutes before departure... i guess i got a bit lucky here. 68NOK and im on the boat. I buy myself a coffee and wait. Locals told me a few days back that ferry's are not the best way to travel, they are expensive and slow. Especially for a motorcycle that only uses 5 liters per 100 km... so we will see. I actually dont know if this is a shortcut, i didnt think, it was about to leave and i just got on!



Trondheim

Arriving in trondheim i got the most beautifull view from any room a surfer can imagine! My host and her friends are very kind and i end up staying 2 days hanging around!



The trip after i head for a host in a student dorm close to Geirganger, i stay there for 2 days aswell.
While my host leaves for work, i leave for some riding among the most beautifull fjords ive ever seen!










Then it all gets a bit blurry, Im getting tired, the tempo of my trip is high, to high to write at the same time. I end up telling my starting story about the longest ride of my ride. The pic below is taken after 18 hours of driving in Germany when the sun is rising.


My mom insist on taking a pic after my 30 hour ride, At the time i was to tired to think about taking pictures.
But im happy with that last picture! Its a nice ending, i look tired but happy


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Old 08-31-2011, 12:02 PM   #2
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amazing pictures of amazing scenery, thanks...
Some front page candidates there too
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:53 AM   #3
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amazing pictures of amazing scenery, thanks...
Some front page candidates there too
Thanks, it was an awesome travel! i couchsurfed the entire way, living with the people that are from the place you are visiting. I really enjoyed it and cant imagine me traveling any other way!
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:47 AM   #4
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Hey man

Cool pictures, The landscapes are so beautiful. I can see it only in the calendars or post cards.
Congratulations for your trip.
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Old 09-04-2011, 06:34 AM   #5
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amazing ride in a beautiful part of the world
wish i could have been with you
thanks so much for sharing this experience with us
excellent pictures
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:22 PM   #6
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Nice pics!

I see you drove up to the top of Dalsnibba. Really nice view from up there!
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Old 09-06-2011, 02:12 PM   #7
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AWESOME! beautiful pics.
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Old 09-07-2011, 05:34 AM   #8
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Nice pics!

I see you drove up to the top of Dalsnibba. Really nice view from up there!
Yup its really nice!

I had luck with the weather.
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Old 09-09-2011, 02:26 PM   #9
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rlly nice pics! should post some of them in the front page candidates (if you won't I will )

but why only 30 hours? I mean did you just rode on and did this in 2 days or did you 30hours of riding on your entire trip?
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Old 09-13-2011, 02:07 PM   #10
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so as I had no answere I took the liberty to nominate my favorite pictures
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Old 09-13-2011, 02:27 PM   #11
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Amazing pictures, thanks for sharing.

My favorite were the sunset pictures, simply awesome.
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:08 AM   #12
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rlly nice pics! should post some of them in the front page candidates (if you won't I will )

but why only 30 hours? I mean did you just rode on and did this in 2 days or did you 30hours of riding on your entire trip?

I rode 130hours over the 10 000 km total trip. however with 2 days left on the trip (being in stavanger) i realised that i only had until 10pm the next day to deliver my tax report to the gouvernment... So i started driving with the intention that if i was tirred i would take a nap. i left stavanger at 1pm and arrived back home the next day at 5.45pm. I almost drove constantly during those hours with only around 2 hours of fuel and coffee stops making it back home before the due date of my tax report!

It was crazy driving for so long without propper rest! however they say its good for the engine to have a propper heatcycle! 30 hours should be sufficient.

2712 screwed with this post 09-26-2011 at 10:26 AM
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Old 09-26-2011, 11:26 AM   #13
the darth peach
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This is a fantastic shot!
Lots of great pics! Thanks for sharing..

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Old 09-28-2011, 12:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the darth peach View Post
This is a fantastic shot!
Lots of great pics! Thanks for sharing..

Thanks for the complement!
All the pics are taken with a simple ts3 point and shoot camera with auto settings.
I just take allot of pics and filter the 1% of really lucky shots
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:04 PM   #15
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Wow! Awesome pictures, awesome landscape! This year I went about 3000km in Austria, Italy, Germany (check my blog:-) )... in two years (after I get Bachelors degree) I wanna visit my class-mate from Norway and visit Nordkapp as well... So nice report and inspiration for me and my GS 1150 :-)
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