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Old 01-08-2014, 01:55 PM   #46
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This is some seriously good adventuring! Have you seen that Swedish Army ski rig that attaches to a outriggers, one on each side. Pretty cool. But they would perhaps have made things too easy....and I spy you enjoy a challenge. More, please, sir.
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:19 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Blader54 View Post
This is some seriously good adventuring! Have you seen that Swedish Army ski rig that attaches to a outriggers, one on each side. Pretty cool. But they would perhaps have made things too easy....and I spy you enjoy a challenge. More, please, sir.
Yeah Husqvarna 258 :-) automatic transmission, looks mental
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:49 PM   #48
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where was I?

Ah yes freezing myself in Norways Osterdalen, Now I've been to Norway a few times by bike, and naturally one quite rightly gravitates West to the majesty of the Fjords, (such a shame they stopped the Newcastle ferry, Norway is, in the summer at least a biking must see) but here in the region that seperates Norway from her old imperial ruler Sweden the population is thin, everyone is probably well stocked for winter spells and by and large there weren't many folk out and about, but It felt FANTASTIC! like I had the whole region to myself

The lack of traffic meant I could relax a little too, I've crashed plenty of times at low speed in enduro races and despite the fact I was feeling like a bit of a wimp as my thumb was still split in two and my knee hurt from the crash back in Bristol I wasn't too concerned about it all going wrong, much more concerned someone following me wouldn't stop in time

I had to stop and get a couple of snaps, it was too nice not to

the hint of a blue sky was promising as well, with a bit of luck I'd soon arrive at my next civilised stop in Trondheim with the lovely folk who happen to be a certain Norwegian Ex Girlfriends parents, just a little cruise along quiet roads, blue skies, the crunch of fresh powder under unstudded tyres, what could possibly go wrong?

At least that's what I kept telling myself to distract myself from the pain in my feet which I can only describe as being similar to having a couple of sharp commando daggers pushed right through the middle of them, so long as I didn't move them it seemed to be just about bearable but you knew it wasn't optimal.

Unsurprisingly the Karimoor snow boots I'd bought for a £10 the year before weren't really cutting the proverbial mustard, I'd researched proper boots of course, and for under £150 you can get some incredibly competent extreme cold boots from manufacturers like Sorel or Baffin, and some of these also have some protection about them. but I couldn't afford them, though right now they seemed like a bargain at that price, I took comfort from the pain and told myself it meant the nerves in my feet were still working so I was at least not frostbitten

It wasn't so much the lack of insulation in the boot, the proper snow boots do all feature something these did not, a multilayer removable inner which allows you to dry the boot or in my case to travel with a spare dry liner

On the flip side my £7.99 double walled snow goggles were working a treat, so thanks Lidl for that timely offer, still had to be careful though, as despite using the old trick of taping up the chin vent on my mx lid my natural inclination/habit is to put secure the goggles when at a stop or looking at a map on the chin bar. unfortunately in these temperatures it was effectively blowing ice onto the lens inner, a mistake I fortunately made when I stopped for petrol, the problem is that you cant wipe it off, it might smear a little but then refreeze, all you can do is find a service station, wash them in running water and then totally dry them with the hand-dryer

I had learnt the hard way about misting goggles in the cold whilst off roading in Wales so I had no excuse

The day continued pleasantly enough

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Old 01-09-2014, 01:47 PM   #49
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I've just read this thread from beginning to end, and have decided, after much thought, that you are completely mental. Not just a little bit mental, but completely off the scale mental.
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Old 01-10-2014, 08:40 AM   #50
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You are a Real men. Amazing

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Old 01-13-2014, 02:06 PM   #51
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So as the short day was drawing on I found myself at a little truck stop in a place called Hanestad, The truckstop had a huge car park area for dozens of articulated wagons but at this time there was a solitary truck parked at one end, its cabin heater purring away, and so I was immediately drawn to the far side of the car park.

I strolled into the truck stop and approached a young woman behind the counter

'Hi I was just wondering if it would be ok if I just put my tent up at the back of the car park?'

she nodded and said sure no problem and so I thought I'd try my luck a little more and said 'can I also leave you my phone to charge whilst I go and set up the tent?'

Again no reaction past a mild disinterest and a compliance to my request.

I tried to park the bike in such a way any truck might hit it before me during the night and went about the business of erecting my home from home (or home from the auto store anyway)

Knowing that my phone would need more juice I read a couple of chapters of a book by a man travelling the Pan American highway, it was not very well written in terms of substance, in fact it sounded like nothing much really happened to him, but I enjoyed conjuring up the faraway places in my mind and imagining the hot humid conditions of Panama that he described before saying why his hotel room wasn't very nice due to a lack of working Air con, I wonder if at that time he was secretly wishing for the refreshing mountain air of Norway in winter?

When I went back in to the truck stop I took a deep breath and readied myself for the cost of a coffee (which to be fair is something that is semi reasonable in Norway) as I felt obliged to conduct some sort of business with the truck stop in return for their help.

This was a slightly quirky independent truck stop, not some large Statoil affair, underneath the canopy above the fuel pumps was both an old Volvo and some American behemoth, and to the side of the premises was an old Yank truck that wouldn't have looked out of place in a whimsical Burt Reynolds film where people talked about 'bears in the air' and 'big ten fours' All in all there was a definite streak of Hillbilly about the place which was further confirmed by the old american diner furniture in the small seating area opposite the cashiers desk, In the back of my mind I think I heard the faint chords that signalled the start of some duelling banjo's about to let rip

I sipped my coffee slowly to prolong the time spent here in the warmth and as I did so I was approached by a small moustache wearing man who introduced himself as Oystein and the proprietor of the establishment, I didn't have a camera on me so here is his facebook profile picture

He was a very friendly chap and informed me that I could take a shower out back if I wanted, which I certainly did, told me he would be open until 2am if I wanted to spend time inside and showed me some photographs of previous visitors to his truck stop including a Japanese guy who camped under the porch for a couple of days last winter as he cycled his way up to Nordkapp, He invited me to stay at his home across the road if I wanted but to my shame I was a little uneasy/suspicious at this act of generosity and I can probably blame the Banjo player for that, as it turned out he was something of a family man as well as a hub for the outstretched community around him, he just happened to be into the strange American themed subculture that prevails in Scandinavia and his thing was 'big rigs'

I'd first encountered this subculture known as Raggare in Oland Sweden some years before whilst celebrating midsommers, essentially groups of greasers go out in the summer months slowly cruising around town, ideally in a 50's American Cadillac drinking beer and trying to impress the ladies, in fact as I understand it 'Raggare' essentially translates to 'picking up chicks' and so from this culture there are all the various confederate flag, jack daniels belt buckle cowboy boot wearing spin offs that put a little bit of apple pie amidst the pickled herring so to speak

interestingly there is even something known as 'Volvo Raggare' where its cool to have the shittiest looking, tuned to the 9's Volvo, preferably a 240 though 740's are acceptable also

and stranger still there is the option for 16 year olds to drive a tractor on the road, which isn't odd until you find yourself behind a volvo 740 pickup converted to be classed as a tractor revving its nuts off at 35 mph!!

essentially if only using a 2 speed transmission 16 yr olds can drive around in these things, obviously the system is open to some element of abuse re the blanking plate on the gearbox

Anyway after my shower I bought another coffee, or at least tried to, as Oystein wouldn't take my money before returning to my tent to cook a bit of dinner, it was already -23C and dropping

hunkered down in my tent I went about the business of trying to get my trusty Swedish made Primus Omnifuel stove working, except for the fact that it wouldnt work, no matter what I did I couldn't get it towork for more than a few minutes, remember the bicycle pump? well it seems the cold had done a number on the seals in this stove too

Nevertheless the cold was lulling me to sleep, I ate some chocolate and a packet of mixed nuts, far from demanding 'Haute cuisine' I just needed to push calories into myself.

As I started to succumb to sleep I lay on my mat drifting in and out of dreams until I heard a thickly accented womans voice call me from outside

Hello...Hello are you in there, are you OK?

I edged forward from my lair still largely encased in the shiny black nylon of my sleeping bag, sticking my head out of the tent as my warm breath boiled into clouds of ice as I exhaled, a very strange and grumpy dragon emerging from his comatose state

The woman was middle aged, warmly dressed, hopping about to keep warm and unlike me at that time quite animated in general, she spoke with a thick Dutch accent and said that after talking to Oystein in the shop she wanted to come and talk to me about my travel, she took my photograph and told me a little of herself

That her husband was a long haul driver but recovering from injury, so she was going with him on his weekly run from Holland, Flowers to Trondheim, where he would load up with fish for Holland, shed been keeping a journal and taking photographs so she could give a talk to the women of her church group

She very kindly gave me a gift, an apple and some apple wafer biscuits and it was at that point I realised I should thank her greatly, because I hadn't realised until that point that it was actually my Birthday that day, so in a sense the apple biscuits were my birthday cake, unfortunately the apple was only useful as a weapon by the time we stopped talking as it had frozen solid!

I'd almost forgotten my own birthday, so I state this in writing now so if I ever forget anybody else in the future I can refer back to this in my defence!

And so with a nibble on my apple biscuit I retracted back into my sleeping bag and passed out

only one more day and I would be in Trondheim, what could possibly go wrong? it was a comforting thought
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:12 PM   #52
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Aw shucks....and here I thought it was going to be the young woman from inside the truck stop who wanted to cure you of hypothermia! Great stuff...just gets better and better!
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:14 PM   #53
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I'm in. I'm not a fan of cold weather riding, and try not to be out if the temp goes below 4C, but I am drawn to the solitude and challenge of your trip. Thanks for taking the time to write down your story and bring us along on your adventure.

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Old 01-13-2014, 10:20 PM   #54
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This was a most amazing ride, stickysidedown. I would have lost some digits.
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:31 AM   #55
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That is hardcore, fair dues to you.
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Old 01-14-2014, 08:08 AM   #56
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K, I have a confession to make.
I wasn't going to read this thread when I realized you were riding a "scooter". Bikers don't wave at scooters and all that BS....
Well, as I sit here in my ice hut, warmer than you, i'm glad I did.
Adventure has nothing to do with the mode of travel.
Your a nutter, on level with Brokentoof, and i'm not worthy
Thank you for a great RR so far. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

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Old 01-25-2014, 06:25 PM   #57
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May I have some more please, sir?
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:08 PM   #58
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Sorry Gents, Ironically given the cause of my journey last year I've just had to deal with the passing away of my stepfather after a battle with cancer, and my immediate family had to take priority over my motorcycling family

Will be back on course soon

So anyway the rest of this thread (and the Mongolia thread I had started) will be dedicated to the memory of Gregory, a man who carried his injuries in service, physical and mental, with a strength I could only hope to, and with the grace, humility and kindness to my mother that will be remembered by me as his legacy
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:12 PM   #59
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I'm very sorry for your loss.

Your writing style is outstanding and I admired your cause and how you paid tribute.
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Old 02-19-2014, 12:26 PM   #60
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I awoke to snowfall, relatively light but persistant, I was glad It hadn't started earlier in the night, Definite drawbacks of such a cheap tent include brittle fibreglass poles and in this case a crossover pole design that make an X shape, it's a common design as it maximises internal volume vs the weight of the poles, but you'll find a different layout on a proper mountain tent as it leads to a broad flat top and relatively poor strength when it comes to the matter of snow loading

Already mine was bowing with just an inch of powder on the top so I brushed it off quickly and went back to the tent for another hour Oystein had told me that he would reopen at 10am and I had a little wait

I strolled over to the services, Oystein was diligently whizzing around the car park in a tractor with a snow blade, He stopped for a chat, turns out he came in to work on my account!! the weather was not good or set to be good apparently and so he wasn't going to open until 1pm, but he came to hang out there in case I needed anything, incredible guy!

Embarrassingly I didn't really, but I suggested a coffee would be good, he hopped out the cab and opened up the shop on my account! give me 5 minutes he hollered and climbed back up into the cab

When he came in we both had a coffee and then on his insistence I agreed to eat something, I didn't realise he would set to in the kitchen and cook me a cheeseburger for breakfast

Oystein was a legend, if anyone is in need of a chrome airhorn for their Peterbilt and is in the neighbourhood he'll hook you up I'm sure but even if you are just in the vicinity just go and say hello, I know I will and I shall be sure to try and get a little Jack Daniels across the border for him to express my gratitude for the kindness he showed me!

Far from home!

(as of last week this truck stop now has a complete tractor unit on the roof to draw your eye in!)

So it was time to go

Once more into the breach, the road had been passed by a snowplough so it was pretty clear of snow but pretty icy

At first it was fine and dandy, I was actually enjoying skidding and skiing my way along, but the snow kept coming and as I headed North I was gaining elevation, it was getting colder and to make matters more interesting I discovered that at the boundary to the next district or 'kommune' the snowplough had stopped and turned around, so the snow got deeper for a while, it certainly made the handling interesting at times, luckily the other side of the pass saw the roads reunited with the plough

one thing I hadn't considered was the way the leading link forks of the c90 would affect the handling in the snow, if you applied the brake at all the effect was the front wheel would sort of rise up out of the snow, and if you weren't careful it would feel like a very inneffective ski, luckily there was little call for the front brake

I crashed three times, but I was able to mostly either hit soft snow or just cuddly sheet ice and it was only tissue damage and anyway I was fairly sure I would have lovely clear road soon enough as we rejoined the E6
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