Days 13-15 - Norway to UK
After having to stay 24 hours in Tromso to sort £1500 speeding fine out, I managed to make up some miles the previous afternoon / night and got to Kalix (just above Lulea) about 2am. Stopped at a campsite which was closed because the season was over. But the gate was open so stayed there anyway.
This was the view in the morning:
Since I managed to make up some miles the previous night, I decided to head back to Norway and do the Atlantic Ocean road. It was 1100km to get there (680 miles). The plan was to spend all day on the road and get as close to the Atlantic road as I can today.
Woke up fairly early (but not too early since I didn’t go to sleep until half 2 last night), and got on the road.
This was the route I did that day:
It was late in the afternoon and I pulled onto lay bay to adjust my chain as it was getting much worse. Because there was a hole in one of the links, there was really tight and really slack spot. Slack spot was so slack that I could pull the chain off the sprocket if I wanted to. Tight spot was so tight that there was no free play at all. I managed to keep going like that for the past 3500 miles. The knocking coming off the chain was really bad this whole time, but now it was much worse that it was getting worrying.
Took few pictures at the lay bay and got going again, as there was not much I could do anyway:
About half an hour or an hour later stopped at a petrol station in Trondheim. There was a group of bikers. One of them came to me and asked if there is something wrong with my chain. Knocking coming off it was so bad that you could see and hear it in the distance. I showed him the hole in the link.
He introduced me to the rest of the group and I spoke to them for a while. They said that they have a spare chain that they can fit in their clubhouse which is 10 minutes down the road.
At first I had mixed feelings because I was very tight with time. It was going to get dark in the next 2 hours and if I was to get new chain fitted, I wouldn’t get far past Trondheim today. At the same time though I didn’t think I would make it back home on the old chain. I couldn’t refuse their offer and followed them to their clubhouse. I said that I don’t have much money with me and need to find some bank machine to take money out. They didn’t want any money but stopped at bank machine anyway. I tried to give them some money later but they didn’t accept it.
It was a nice clubhouse, it was big with a bar and a lot of room. One of the guys had a truck outside that he converted into a garage, which was cool. He had trail bikes and won some competitions in the past. Another guy had classic Honda bike with sidecar. It was funny watching him taking the corners on the way to the clubhouse. Others had custom built cruisers / choppers, and while I’m not really into Harleys, the paint jobs and other details were impressive.
They said that the previous year there was a couple from UK travelling through Trondheim. They had some issues with the bikes and they helped them as well. Massive respect to them. That’s one of the things I love about riding bikes – you can always count on other bikers. I wasn’t even looking for help but they helped me so that I could get home safely.
Just before it got dark new chain was on (it was used chain actually but so much better than my old one). I thanked them for their help and they invited me back if I’m ever back in Norway. Said goodbye and got back on the road.
Wow what a difference! I almost forgot how it feels to ride with a normal (not broken) chain. No knocking, no nothing. So smooth! It felt like new. Now I didn’t have to worry about chain snapping or coming off any minute.
Sun was going down and I still didn’t know where to stop for the night. Checked my sat nav for campsites on route to the Atlantic Road. Not many showed up and first one was nearly an hour away. Decided to go there and check it out. At least I would make up some more miles.
When I got there the gate was closed and there was no one around. I decided to not waste much time and try the next campsite, another 10 minutes away. But I must have missed it as it was dark and it was hard to see anything. Next campsite was about 45 minutes away, on a small island Valsoya (connected by the road). I really wanted to stop somewhere but just kept going for another 45 minutes.
There was no gate so I went in. First there was a car park and campsite was next to it. I couldn’t see very well as it was dark but noticed some caravans so I guessed that’s where the campsite is. It was very close to the main road. Between campsite and the road there was also a lay bay with a bus stop and one car parked there. I sort of ignored that car at first and started putting my tent up in a camping spot – one of the closest ones to the road (and the lay bay).
Then I noticed that man – driver of the car in the lay bay – looking at me. He said something but I didn’t understand so I said that I only speak English (and Polish but I didn’t say that). I shouldn’t have responded at all in the first place. In fact I should have picked camping spot the furthest away from the road, not the closest. He asked if I’m alone and then if I’m not scared. Again I should have kept my mouth shut. He stopped trying to talk and just stood beside his car. I finished setting up my tent and went inside. I was properly creeped out and made sure I had my pocket knife handy just in case.
He was still there for a while but eventually drove off. I couldn’t sleep for a while as I was thinking that he may come back. But eventually fell asleep. It was a very light sleep though – I seemed to be aware of any noises like cars passing during my sleep.
Here is the video from when I left Tromso to Trondheim:
I was glad when the morning finally came. Went to brush my teeth and wash my face. Then went to the reception to pay (now I could actually see where the reception was as opposed to when it was dark). Packed my tent and got back on the road. Weather wasn’t perfect – it was raining a little so I was hoping it would stop later.
The plan for today was the Atlantic Road, then Trollstigen (recommended by the bikers that I met last evening) and start heading back home. This was the route I did that day:
1st one is full route: Valsoya – the Atlantic Ocean road – Trollstigen – Oslo – Gothenburg (about 620 miles in total)
2nd one is the Altantic Road and Trollstigen zoomed in: “J” is the Atlantic Road and “C” is Trollstigen.
The rain stopped shortly after I set off but it was still cloudy for the most of the day and looked as if it was going to rain any minute. The Atlantic Road itself was not as amazing as it looks on some of the pictures on the internet but views were still nice and it was worth going there.
Here is the video from when I left the campsite in the morning to the Atlantic Ocean road and a bit past it. The Atlantic Ocean road starts at minute 3 and the bridge at 4:30. I went back and forward over the bridge couple times.
After Atlantic Ocean road I started heading towards Trollstigen. It was over 2 hours to get there but views were amazing for the most of the way.
Somewhere in the middle of the way:
And finally Trollstigen:
At first I wasn’t sure if I can ride through Trollstigen and just keep going, then hopefully end up on some road from where I can start heading back home. I kept riding for a while past Trollstigen then checked the map. Turns out that if I kept going I would need to do a big loop before I would get to the road which would take me back home. I decided to turn around and go back through Trollstigen – the way I came, as this was the quickest way to get to the road “home”. Going down the mountain – wow what a difference from going up earlier. View was clear earlier with some mist in the background, but now I could hardly see one meter in front of me – it was all misty.
Once I got down the mountain it was all clear again.
Here’s the video from Trollstigen. At some point I accidentally pressed some button which changed video quality to much worse, so quality from minute 5:50 is not as good as other videos.
After Trollstigen it was time to start heading back home without stopping anywhere else. It was nearly 4pm so my plan was to get as far as I can and either ride through the night without stopping or stop somewhere if I get too tired.
I went through Oslo at about 11pm. About an hour later I started getting really tired and cold. Really wanted to stop somewhere and decided to start looking out for any camping road signs and hope that there are no gates or barriers at the campsite that I end up. My sat nav wasn’t showing many campsites nearby – the nearest one was nearly an hour away. I decided to check it out. It was near the centre of some town and it turned out to be just a car park (caravan park), not the actual campsite. It was near quite a busy street so I moved on.
Next campsite that was showing on my sat nav was another hour away, in Gothenburg. I was cold and tired but kept going. When I eventually got there, the gate was open and it was full of camper vans. I couldn’t see any tents and it was hard to find free spot. Finally found one spare space (after I probably woke everyone up riding around the campsite at 2am). Quickly put my tent up and went to sleep. Didn’t bother taking air bed out and inflating it so just slept in my sleeping bag on the ground (inside the tent obviously).
The plan was to just get a quick few hours nap and set off early.
…But I was so tired that I didn’t get up until after 8am. Once I got up packed as quickly as I could and set off again.
From Gothenburg I had two options – either take ferry from there to Denmark and ride through whole Denmark into Germany. Or ride to Malmo and take the long bridge to Copenhagen which is nearly 8km long, which then turns into a tunnel (picture from Wikipedia):
I decided to take this bridge. I wanted to video it but my camera decided to stop working!
There was a toll at the end of the bridge and I had to pay around 30 euro if I remember right. I didn’t know about this but if I took the ferry instead of bridge I would have to pay probably the same anyway.
Once I got through Denmark I had to take ferry from Rodbyhavn to Puttgarden in Germany. Luckily ferry was quite frequent and I didn’t have to wait too long. It also meant that I could get some rest while on the ferry.
Got to Germany about 4pm. I had about 570 miles to go to the Calais ferry, and then another 500 miles from Dover to Glasgow (home!). I only had today (Saturday) and tomorrow to get back home as I had to be back at work on Monday. Didn’t want to get home late at night on Sunday as I would be knackered. Ideally I wanted to just keep going through the night and hopefully get home in the morning on Sunday.
So that’s what I did – for the rest of the day I kept going through Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and finally got to France at some point at night to take Calais – Dover ferry.
Got home about mid day on Sunday, absolutely knackered. But with a great feeling of achievement – I made it to Nordkapp, the furthest northern point in Europe (even though it may not be something big to achieve). But it was big in the time span I had. 7000 miles in 15 days, out of which 4 days spent in Poland and 1 day spent in Tromso, so only 10 days on the road.
This was the route from Gothenburg to Glasgow:
Next: Austria, Croatia and Montenegro trip 2017.