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Old 01-31-2014, 12:08 PM   #1
RuckedUp OP
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Arctic Circle (Sweden edition) 11-21 July 2013

I thought I better get a ride report written up since I was looking at photos of the trip today and the time line was starting to blur a bit for me. So here we go.

No particular reason for going to the circle. I was looking around Europe trying to decide where I wanted to visit before I headed back to the States to live for a while. I have been running around Europe on and off since 1988 and had yet to get that far north.
The riders.
RuckedUp on left and Adam on right:


I told Adam of what I was thinking of doing while he was deployed to the Stan in 2012 and he said it sounded good and that he also wanted to take a long ride before rotating back state side.

So the plan was hatched over the course of a few months. I was planning on riding my HD (FXDL) for this trip and he would be on a new GSA 1200 which was waiting on him since he ordered it while down range.

But the more I listened to him rave about how kick ass the GSA was I started to cast a eye toward one as well. The HD had served me well for long rides in Germany but suffered in the hills and did not have all the comforts of the BMW along with a laundry list of other things I wanted on a bike. So I decided to get a 2013 R1200 for the trip. A few of the things I was looking forward to were cruise control and longer legs. I was in luck the Military sales had a bike in stock that had all the goodies I wanted and even the color was right so I pulled the trigger and had the bike delivered a few weeks before the trip. It worked out well as I was able to run it up to the NL. to break the bike in so I could get the 600mile service done. Got back home with 800 on the ODO mission accomplished.


The only time line we had was to be back by the 23rd of July which was the day Adams movers were showing up to box up his house and it happened to be my birthday so that worked out well since the wife wanted to celebrate with me.

General route was to leave Ansbach,Germany on the morning of the 11th and head north. That's about as detailed as we got. We took the autobahn north using A7 all the way up to my mother In-Laws place which is located North of Hamburg by some 100km. Sort of end of the German world up there.

Since I had done this drive many times I knew it would be a 12 hour day with stops for eating and a quick side detour into Hamberg to visit the Tourtech store to pick up a throttle lock for Adams bike that he had ordered the week prior while we were in Munich at the TT store there (they sold the last one in stock 30 min.before we got there, damn BMW rally that weekend lol).
Day one photos:


Packed up and ready to go.

The few add ons I put on the bike were: Head light protector, engine guard, heated gear plug, Garmin zumo GPS, vario side bags and LED rear flashers.

We met up at the Esso in Ansbach and had a bite to eat topped off the bikes smoke break and set off north.





Traffic is Normally fairly light on A7 heading north so we were able to cruise at 110mph for most of the trip. We stopped for gas and had a bite to eat about half way to Hamburg.




As with most big cities I drive thru I seem to get there during the worst times to drive in a big city. We found the TT store and picked up the swag that adam had ordered and were on our way North again to my In-Laws. We showed late afternoon and set about setting up camp in her front yard to shake down the gear we had not used yet and install the swag on Adams bike.




Front yard Hammock set up

The neighbor had a garage full of tools and a place for the night to store the bikes. We had a few beers installed the throttle lock and I put a pair of mirror extenders on my bike which made a big difference while riding for me. We then hit the local Restaurant a few blocks over and had a killer meal after a few beers it was time to call it a night and get some sleep for when the real trip was going to start.

Day 2
Up and at it bight and early. We cycled thru the shower while my mother in law cooked up a killer German breakfast with a slant toward the American appetite. We laid on a good base of food for the day and suited up and headed out.
Mai seeing us off in the morning:




Our plan was to head to Flensburg then thru Denmark and over the Malmo bridge into Sweden. And thats what we did. More road miles but we were looking forward to Sweden back roads/fire trails.


Welcome to Sweden!


Now we just had to find a place to throw up the tents. Good news we were in Sweden just find a clump of woods and throw up a tent and call it good. So thats what we did!!
Here are photos of our first camp site in Sweden. We just tuned off a main road and headed into what looked like farms and pastures until we found a suitable spot with trees Adam could use to string up his cot. Instant nest!!



Jesse bags are very handy around the camp site. Instant table and chair.( I told Adam to bring a fold out but only now did he see the wisdom of that item)


I love living off a bike!!


View thru the trees. I was half expecting the farmers to stop and ask WTF you doing camping in my filed but they hardly looked our way, starting to feel the good vibrations of Sweden after leaving the stress place they call Germany.

Day 3 Hit it!! Lots of rally type trails to play on here and all day to do it. We were slowly making our way NE toward Stockholm to spend the weekend checking out the town.

A few shots from that day. One thing I forgot to tell Adam to bring was a camera. I was the Cam guy for the whole trip so we should have had double the pics but hey what ya gonna do.
I have cam video also but that's still in Germany.
Bubba the travel mascot ready for day 3. My wife sneaks him into my bags every time I leave on a trip to be found at some point. Still don't know how she gets him into the bags with me not suspecting a thing.


Heading out.

Morning views.




We spent the day riding thru the woods and trying to stay on dirt as best we could but as we got closer to Stockholm we gave up and beat feet to town before dark and got set up in our hotel and got Bier.

I love the smell of bier in a foreign country, you know that smell! Smells like Travel!!


That did not take long. Thats what I like about big cities always a Irish pub or two about!

Our park garage first on the left.

Hello Stockholm





This spider tells me we have been in Stockholm to long time to roll!

Here is the first three places we stopped to get a photo op on the way out of Stockholm. I'm glad iPhoto logs the GPS data I was starting to forget what came first.


We started to get a taste of what the weather was going to be like for the next week, little did we know it was only going to get worse, much worse!!
We stopped here to get a coffee and score some bug repellent I forget the name but it comes with a roller ball to apply the stuff and I think it is the best I have ever used; better be for the money we paid for it.


Dirt time!




Next stop Rattvik heading down the hill into town!




We had a bite to eat in Mora.

Further on down the road we started looking for a ICA for some supplies. To camp for the night near the city of Ostersund!






Camp site before the rain gets us. The one thing that I have to remind myself is that its not getting dark early Ruck and I have been riding for 12 hours now! Time to find a camp site kick back and have a drink!
While riding down a trail I spotted a old hay barn and with the rain starting to come down I pointed the ol Panzer down the grassy hill with my street tires on and well you can guess what came next!




As luck would have it the barn was empty. It was missing the front door but the tent and hammock went up easy, so we had a nice dry place to kick back and watch the sun go down sort of. I stayed up till midnight so I could see how light it was out and took these photos.



Another bucket list item, midnight sun seen!

In the morning we loaded up and soon realized that in our haste the night prior we had driven the bikes down into a bowl of sorts with wet grass as high as the bike bars. This will be fun getting out. We were both able to get up the hill after getting a run and the hill a few times and deactivating the traction control ahh ya thats the ticket now.
Adam getting a running start.




It took me a few runs at it but I was able to get out without dumping the bike.


Soon after we got on the road the skys opened up and we had rain for the rest of the day. Hard driving rain, but hey we were headed to Norway who gives a shit keep rollen.


Adam wanting to get some beach time.




He sure makes that bike look small. For the record Adam is 6'8" and did not do much to the bike to get it set up for this long trip. Lower pegs and taller wind screen along with a set of bar risers were ordered on his return from the ride. Its one way of doing it, go ride a bike 4k miles and that should point out things you need to change:)
Next stop Norway!!


Getting to this spot we used a dirt road that was swamped out again not having the best tires for the job made it slow going but we just kept moving forward and we made it thru.



After our border crossing into Norway. He kept heading West toward the coast we pulled over for gas near the town of Verdalsora.


This is where I noticed ol Adam having a hard time smoking a cig, his hands were shaking so bad the could not take a drag, I asked him whats up. I'm cold. This is when I find out that that nice custom suite he is wearing does not have the liner installed. I ask where is the liner? In Germany comes the reply. He says "I left it there because it iiiissss July and tttthoughtttt it would be warmer thannnnn it has been.
I make the call we are getting a cabin for the night no way I was going to have him try and camp is the pea soup we had been riding in all day. As luck would have it not 2 miles up the road there was a cabin cluster with 4 still open. Just grab a key and let yourself in. Heated rooms to dry out in. Hot plate for chow and can you believe it freaking WI-FI hell ya. Score!!

View from the shower cabin. Hot shower saved the day.



Even bubba is ready for a shot of jack after this day.

Day, what day is it? No matter pack it up and hit the road. This nice cabin we stayed in cost us 40 euro for the night and I never did see anyone who ran the place. We just put the money in the can and went on our way. Ah I love this part of the world.

The weather outlook was not good for the coast of Norway. It was driving rain for the next 300 miles as we worked our way to the NE toward Jokkmokk. We discussed heading to the North Cape but also wanted to check out Finland. We decided on Finland and that we would catch a ferry out of Helsinki so we did not end up covering the same ground twice. Well that was the plan and as all good plans they must change due to new info. More on that later.

Now that I look at the Google map it seems we did a Marathon day to get to Jokkmokk. I don't remember it or I was just wanting to get away from the cold and rain. I was seeing temps in the 30's with hard rain. You will see in a few photos Adam has a new over coat to keep the rain off off him. After he spent 300 euro (ouch) on a Gtex shell he was feeling much better about the rain.
The ride thru Norway was still awesome.

The route as best as I can remember is. I remember thinking thank Thor I hooked up a BMW with heated grips. And with the wet mountain roads I was feeling sure footed the whole way.
Photos from the long day.












We made Jokkmokk late afternoon. After topping off the bikes we scrounged around for a camp ground and as luck would have it scored another cabin.


We settled in nicely and after unpacking and a quick shower; it was off to the fire house for biers and snacks.


Pit master

I was so spent after the ride I told Adam if he wanted a fire go for it but I aint moving till I get drunk.



The next day we had one more stop to do before we headed over to Finland.

Mission Accomplished! Bucket list photo taken!

Shameless plug


We took a short day this day and headed over to Finland the round about way.


Mandatory border crossing pics.


Then we headed South and found a cabin for the night. We were getting used to this cheap cabin life.
Place we found in Tornio.

Man that tent is getting no use the last few days :)

This place was not my cup of tea, to many people with kids running all over your typical family go camping spot, but nothing a few drinks can't help.


Now the number crunching starts after we head out the next day we are thinking Helsinki for the ferry ride Not we get around to doing a price check from there to Rostock, Germany. 1000 euros. Ummm screw that thats gas money for another trip. So on our way down to Helsinki we detour over to Vaasa. We made this decision after riding in Finland for a few hours and said this blows flat and boring straight roads so back to Sweden it is..
It took half a day down to Vaasa and when we got there we find out that the ferry is booked solid for the first time ever in its history so we would have to wait another day and camp it out till Saturday morning.
On the way to Vaasa Adam has a oil light come on, he just was low so we pulled over to a gas station and put the closest oil they had for his bike in and called it good, wrong oil is better than no oil. Off we went.


So we camped two days got up and got ready. I have no idea why I did not take photos of the camp ground but there you have it. The only pics I had from our stay in the zoo they called a camp ground is us getting ready to mount up after paying our bill.


We loaded onto the ferry for the four hour ride back to Sweden. I too the opportunity to get a few hours sleep. By this time we were talking over the possibility of riding straight thru back to Germany that way Adam could finish his first 1000mile Iron butt ride. We decided that we would get south of Stockholm and make a decision on how we felt.
We were in go go mode after we landed in Holmsund, Sweden.

Here is the route we took. We got off the Ferry from Vaasa 1200 noon on the 20th of July and made it back to Ansbach on the 21st of July at 1700 local.

This is the boat we were trying to catch. Early morning.

Road all day headed south and thru the night watched the sun come up again; I love seeing that when I'm on the road reminds me of other adventures in my life that were not so fun in far away lands. We hit Gedser 90 minutes before our ferry left. As we were the first in line I put the stand down and threw my jacket over me and fell asleep next to the bike.

Bikes load first so we got on quick went on board and just found a corner in the lobby and crashed out for a hour. Woke up as we were docking fired up the bikes and rolled home via A9 autobahn. As you can see it was freaking blazing hot in Germany go figure I leave and they have a heat wave. Hind sight I should have gotten a room and waited till Monday to ride home as the bahns with the weekend traffic are just insane anymore. Avoid at all cost if you can traveling during the weekends there.

Back in the garage after some 4k miles.

Good shake down on the bike no mechanical problems, but I do need to put a set of risers on the bike. My shoulder was killing me a few days on the longer rides. Also lower foot pegs are in order. The side cases are fine for road and light off road riding but I need to look at a set of Jesse bags. I was very impressed with Adams set. I like the flip out lid for a table of sorts while stopped on the road then they turn into camp table and chairs. Very handy as well as strong Adam went down on his and kicked the dirt off and on his way.
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RuckedUp screwed with this post 02-04-2014 at 05:39 PM Reason: more pics
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Old 01-31-2014, 05:34 PM   #2
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Fantastic ride Thanks for sharing all those pics and taking us along on your arctic circle adventure
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Old 01-31-2014, 05:46 PM   #3
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Fantastic ride Thanks for sharing all those pics and taking us along on your arctic circle adventure
You are welcome. Its down and dirty but in line for the sort of trip it was. I mean it is European roads and all ;)
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:54 PM   #4
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Great ride report.............I have been to the Artic Circle, but up the Dempster Highway in the Yukon, Canada. The terrain look a little different but the latitudes are the same..........
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Old 02-01-2014, 06:54 AM   #5
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Beautiful ride with some crisp pictures to complete the story

Thanks for sharing
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Old 02-01-2014, 10:57 AM   #6
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Thanks for the kind words. I would say the "easy" way to see the arctic circle is via Sweden. Roads are well maintained. The one thing that wears on you is the speed limit. 90km in most places but jumps up to 110km up north. I think the reason for this is partly that some of the roads are one way in and out. If ya get in a wreck there is no way around for people using that road. Just my .02 take on that.

We only saw two police cars and a bike duo the whole trip so we just stuck with 110km most places up north.
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Old 02-01-2014, 11:42 AM   #7
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Great ride report and photos, thank you for taking the time to write and post!



All the Best,

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Old 02-02-2014, 06:11 AM   #8
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Nice! Now if it only could be summer soon...

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Old 02-02-2014, 08:34 AM   #9
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Thanks for sharing your trip, it's given me some ideas for a trip up north for summer 2015.
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:55 AM   #10
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Thanks
Better hurry as there are big plans for cutting the European foot print down big time.
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Thanks for sharing your trip, it's given me some ideas for a trip up north for summer 2015.
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:57 AM   #11
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I found out the hard way in Norway that its hard to tell when its summer even in July.:)
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Nice! Now if it only could be summer soon...

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Old 02-02-2014, 10:31 AM   #12
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I found out the hard way in Norway that its hard to tell when its summer even in July.:)
Yepp, it's more of a green winter sometimes, but as long as the roads are free from snow and ice, I won't complain...
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Old 02-02-2014, 05:33 PM   #13
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Good stuff. Thanks for posting.
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Old 02-03-2014, 07:32 AM   #14
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I used to work in Sweden and Finland

And this report was spot on. The pictures looked just as I remembered it - I think I just found my next adventure trip!

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Old 02-04-2014, 11:52 AM   #15
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Great report, fabulous photos.

I especially liked the Spendrups toast - a well deserved cool one!
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