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Old 08-28-2012, 03:44 PM   #1
freestate OP
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Gravel in Dalarna, Sweden.

I just got back into bikes after almost exactly 10 years of no riding.After spending close to a year trying to decide which bike to buy i went with a DR650SE, rather fitting i thought as my first ever motorcycle was a DR600S . Always loved the old DR and having gone through a whole bunch of bikes off which the last three were KTM's I still missed the DR.

After a couple of months of searching I found a '03 (last year it was imported into Sweden) in great shape and with basically the mods I wanted done already taken care off.


Within a couple of weeks I managed to convince my colleague, C, that riding motorcycles on gravel is the closest thing you will come to heaven while still here on earth. C decided he needed to get a motorcycle after a spell without. However C was heading for a month of driving around the US west coast with his fiancée and ment to start looking for a suitable bike once back, primarily a DR800.
C, never the one to be slow about things instead found a '05 XT600R he fancied during his US west coast trip and once back on Scandinavian soil it was quickly his.


We started talking about doing a week long Norway trip in late September or early October. Due to two factors, namely neither having experience of longer trips on bikes and secondly that the end of September feeling an eternity away we decided we'd go for a shorter trip as soon as we could get away. This way we'd sort out any shortcomings of our camping gear etc, sort of a shake down trip.

The decision was made that we'd leave on a Saturday before lunch and be back Monday evening. We'd leave Stockholm and head north west towards the province of Dalarna. C is very familiar with the province as his family comes from the area and his parents still has a summer place in the region. For me it would be something new though, i had only driven through the province on my way to ski resorts before this trip.
The date for departure was set.


On Thursday, two days before we were to leave I had to go to the ER due to severe pains in the lower back. Four hours later and I was diagnosed with a herniated disc and prescribed some heavy painkillers.
Being asked whether he'd recommend three days of gravel rally by motorcycle the doctor said it could actually be beneficial as long as I'd not indulge in straight out enduro. And as long as I could stand the pain that is.
On Friday I contacted a chiropractor and asked his opinion, I could tell from his voice he thought I was retarded. His advice was not to go as he thought it to be straight out dangerous and result in a cauda equina syndrome, google it and you shall see its not something you wish to contract.
Obviously this wasn't the news I wanted to hear, so I contacted a neighbor who works for the best football team in Sweden as their naprapath. He thought it would be absolutely perfect for me, it would loosen it all up. This being something good apparently.

So, two in favor of racing gravel vs one against!
I called up C letting him know I was on. We decided we would just try it out and see what happened. If I had to much pain we'd just turn back.

My youngest son declared he was either coming along or I were to stay put.


SATURDAY
The prospect of an hour long farewell from the little man made me decide we'd meet up at 7 am. That ment I'd have to leave the house before the little one awoke.
Packed and went to bed. Woke up an hour early, knowing it would be fruitless staying in bed I got up, had breakfast and left for a quick ride in morning sun.


At 7am I arrived at our rendezvous, a gas station in the city.


C showed up forty minutes later. He had only been awake since quarter to five and didn't want to rush reading the morning paper.


After refitting some gear and filling up on fuel and coffee we headed out. As we wanted to get out of the city as soon as possibly we took the E18 motorway for 10 km or so before turning onto small twisty asphalt roads for an hour or so. We then stopped just so I could walk around for a bit to feel how the disc felt. Suprisingly it felt better then it had for days.



We continued our ride and decided to head for Borlänge.
I got a bit carried away on the first gravel stretch we hit resulting in a slight off. I didn't get hurt and the bike managed rather well, only thing broken was the speedometers feed cable. At this point I hadn't thought of writing a ride report and didn't think of capturing my proud moment in the bushes.
Onwards we went. We stopped for fuel and decided to set the GPS on shortest distance with everything but gravel checked as off.
Soon as we entered the forrest a light drizzle started.
We started at a leisurely pace and picked up from there, didn't want to go off again.


We stopped regularly so that I'd take a walk and make sure the disc felt ok.
At one of these stops we stopped at a very nice ruin of an old factory and the waterfall that powered it.





After reaching Borlänge and shopping gas for the camping kitchen we took of towards Dala Floda were we bought food for the evening. Some really nice trails on the way (which I failed to shoot, too busy having fun). Evidently it wasn't only moose and deer you had to watch out for.


Old wooden bridge in Dala Floda



I asked a local guy if he knew of a nice place to camp in the area. He suggested we'd set our sights on a lake called Sången. We made our way over there only to find a cramped lakeside camping place inhabited by a drunk local and his berry picking Thai friends and some dodgy looking Germans.
The local drunk shouted Roll on! at us as we came into the camp. We decided to find something else and started to turn around when we found a little road going off just by the lakeshore. We followed it maybe five hundred meters and found a perfect place.





We set up camp and started with dinner. C took his bike over to the cramped campsite we passed through to try to score some dry wood. He managed to buy some from the drunk dude for way to much money. As the true scouts we are we doused the wood in a pint of gas and let it rip.
Note the placement of my helmet in the tent.




We sent some pics of the campsite to my wife and to our workchat.
Both yielded the same response.


As C put it, "Hollywood ruined every chance for straight men to share a tent without ridicule".

After dinner we relaxed with some beer and coffee. I went to the tent to fetch my headlamp from my tank bag. As I reached in to the by now dark tent and grabbed my helmet to get to the bag I felt something on the bottom of he helmet, felt like snails lime. Very ewwww.
I brushed it off and started opening the bag when I felt even more yucky slime. I lit my cell lamp and shone on the bag and helmet. There was a pool of slime on the bag. The back of the helmet was covered in it as well and it reaked of gasoline. Me and C tried to figure out what had happened but never quite understand the cause. From my recollection the helmet or the top of the tank bag had never been in contact with gas.

It had been a long day on the bikes and after sitting in front of the open fire the whole evening I slept like a baby. I woke up once by which time the heavens had literary opened.

freestate screwed with this post 08-28-2012 at 05:14 PM
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Old 08-28-2012, 04:49 PM   #2
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SUNDAY
I awoke at 7am and stepped out to clear sky, a painfree back but with a severe headache. I had left the helmet and the tank bag in the tents abside and it reaked of gas.
After breakfast and some painkillers we took a morning bath before we decamped. The surroundings were absolutely stunning.










I took my helmet down to the water to try to rinse some of the gas smell out of it. When in took out the inner lining I saw what the slime was.




I started to piece together what had happened. When we arrived the night before i put my helmet on the back of the bike. It must have sat partly atop my slightly leaking plastic extra tank and the gases must have set of some weird chemical reaction which caused the plastics to melt.
This meant we had to try to find an open place to buy a new one. This being a Sunday and the area being very rural meant there was little to no chance we'd find an open motorcycle shop.
After spending some time calling around and asking on a Swedish gravel forum we realized there would be no new helmet this fine morning.
We decided we would try to take it a little easy during the day till I could buy a new helmet on Monday morning.


We packed up and let the GPS decide which roads to take.
The sun was out in full glory and we rode through some beautifull small communities. The gravel and small Tarmac roads we did in the morning were however so so.

The clouds started to go dark sometime before 11 and we decided it would be a good time to fuel up and eat lunch in a small little town called Furudal. We also took the time to plot a nice stretch of gravel, around 100km to do after lunch.
While we ate it started to rain fairly heavy and looking around the skies it looked dark everywhere.


After maybe forty minutes it appeared as if the sun was about to break out north of the town. This ment we didn't have to re plot the GPS as it was the direction we were heading.
We rode quite hard for a long time, looping back at times as we saw fit.
We were treated to everything from open full speed gravel roads to single trails. Not many pictures as I was busy enjoying myself.








We stopped by a river and had coffee whilst sorting out were to head of next.








After the break we got on our bikes and continued with the fun.
About an hour later we were quite fast on a pretty open stretch when I entered a left hander with to much speed. I found myself out of road fairly soon and then I was proper off roading. Luckily I managed to keep from falling the 10 meter steep drop into the forrest below. Would have likely caused some major damage to the bike as well as made it a true adventure to get it out again.
So much for taking it easy with the broken helmet. The only damage to the bike was my left saddle bag that got ripped.





After a swift brushing off of myself and the bike and checking I still had a functioning front brake we set off.
Cut down on the tempo for awhile.






We headed towards Övre Gärdsjö, the village were C's parentes have there summer place. We spoke to them for awhile and decided we'd show up early next morning for a royal breakfast. Also we scored some dry wood for the evening.










We left and reached the lake Ensen were we found another brilliant place to camp. Angry bird, my bike, wanted the lakeside spot.





C set up camp whilst I got the food going.




The food was fantastic as was the beer. As night time entertainment we had a bunch of drunk German tourists in canoes trying to find one and another on the pitch black lake. Lots of hallo, hello, yuhooo etc were heard.
Having learnt the lesson of why you shouldnt keep things soaked in gas in the abside the hard way we gave my trashed helmet a tent of its own.

freestate screwed with this post 08-29-2012 at 12:32 AM
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:07 PM   #3
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MONDAY
The following morning we rode back to C's parents place and ate a grand breakfast. My back was still in great shape, didn't feel anything wrong with it at all. After breakfast we headed towards Rättvik. The way there consisted of mostly sandy trails. Great fun.



Coming around a corner at full speed we were faced with this.




The carcass of a burnt out caravan, luckily we managed to stop in time.
We went to the top of a ski sloop in Rättvik, fantastic views.



Whilst refueling shortly after I noticed this driving up a road close by.



I just love the old DR's so I went after it. They were stopping for a break and we chatted to them for awhile. Turns out they were heading towards the Norwegian border for a week of gravel in Norway.
The guy who owned the BMW used to have a DR650 and had competed in four day enduros and the like with it. Pretty damn hardcore.


C plotted a new course towards Borlänge were I had found the helmet I wanted. 60km of fantastic gravel we reached the shop with huge grins on our faces.





The wooden horse is a "Dala horse", a trademark of the region.
I bought a Airoh S4 and off we went.


Right after passing a bunch of cars and finally a truck C overtakes me and starts waving with his hands pointing me to the side and towards the back of my bike (we're to cool for intercom).
I looked back just in time to see my extra fuel tank skidding across the asphalt.
We got off the road and I fetched the tank. After pouring the fuel in my tank I found a bin and dumped it.


Time was running late as we both had to get back home before 6pm. So we went full speed ahead on towards Hedemora where we had decided to stop for lunch at typical Swedish "grill". This one is called Lappen and supposedly it's the best in sweden.
We ordered a Swedish classic, a tunnbrödsrulle. Sausage (in this case a chorizo and a simple grill sausage), mashed potatoes, salad, onions and mayo/shrimp mix all wrapped up in a flatbread. A truly epic dish, sadly this particular one wasn't up to my standards.




After lunch we got up and did he last 150km on the highway to get back in time. Arrived tired it happy just before 6.
In total we had managed about 1200km over the past three days, mostly gravel and trails. The camp gear and set up seemed to hold up fairly well. I felt i could push well with the gear on, didn't hinder me at all.

The weekend left me with a great sense of wanting more of the same.
Late September we head out to Norway.


For you who took the time to read the RR, sorry about the poor spelling and more importantly the photos. Forgot to bring my proper camera and all shots are from our cells.
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Old 08-29-2012, 04:13 AM   #4
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Haha, great to see that other people do the same kind of real adventure touring here in sweden as i like! Those so called "adveture days" in säfsen are just putting a smile on my face: heated cabin wirh sauna, drying room, fully equipped kitchen... Three course dinner in the restaurant, followed by an evening in the bar. Group rides w 30 other people... Where is the adventure? Did i miss something?

We are doing the REAL adventure days!

If you need more inspiration, check out my hp att www.nordicbiker.se. Mostly in german, but i thing you can still understand most of it!

Hälsn fr stockholm
Kai-uwe / nordicbiker
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Old 08-29-2012, 04:22 AM   #5
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Envy you ah, I was from China a cross-country lover

Quote:
Originally Posted by nordicbiker View Post
Haha, great to see that other people do the same kind of real adventure touring here in sweden as i like! Those so called "adveture days" in säfsen are just putting a smile on my face: heated cabin wirh sauna, drying room, fully equipped kitchen... Three course dinner in the restaurant, followed by an evening in the bar. Group rides w 30 other people... Where is the adventure? Did i miss something?

We are doing the REAL adventure days!

If you need more inspiration, check out my hp att www.nordicbiker.se. Mostly in german, but i thing you can still understand most of it!

Hälsn fr stockholm
Kai-uwe / nordicbiker
Envy you ah, I was from China a cross-country lover
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:42 AM   #6
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Coming around a corner at full speed we were faced with this.




The carcass of a burnt out caravan, luckily we managed to stop in time.



Was Top Gear doing a show in that area?
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:55 AM   #7
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I envy you.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:42 AM   #8
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decamped, What a great word.

Great report and really cool photos. The one of the red house is very nice.
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Old 08-29-2012, 02:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nordicbiker View Post
Haha, great to see that other people do the same kind of real adventure touring here in sweden as i like! Those so called "adveture days" in säfsen are just putting a smile on my face: heated cabin wirh sauna, drying room, fully equipped kitchen... Three course dinner in the restaurant, followed by an evening in the bar. Group rides w 30 other people... Where is the adventure? Did i miss something?

We are doing the REAL adventure days!

If you need more inspiration, check out my hp att www.nordicbiker.se. Mostly in german, but i thing you can still understand most of it!

Hälsn fr stockholm
Kai-uwe / nordicbiker
Camping is where it's at. Nice site as well.
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Old 08-29-2012, 02:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Riteris View Post
Coming around a corner at full speed we were faced with this.




The carcass of a burnt out caravan, luckily we managed to stop in time.



Was Top Gear doing a show in that area?
Either that or some local hillbillys trying out the meth trade.
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Old 08-29-2012, 02:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hair View Post
decamped, What a great word.

Great report and really cool photos. The one of the red house is very nice.
Thanks!
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:38 AM   #12
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Najs ride, wisch my englisch vas that good.
I vas raised in Mora, so thats my necks of the woods...

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Old 09-17-2012, 08:10 PM   #13
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Outstanding pics

Honest thanks for posting

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Old 09-17-2012, 10:21 PM   #14
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Great ride report so far!
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:08 AM   #15
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Very nice, Sweden looks like northern Minnesota.
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