Days 13-15 - Norway to UK

08/09/2016

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:

Kalix – Lulea – Trondheim – Valsoya campsite

Full map: click here

Nothing interesting happened for the most of the day. Spent all day in the saddle and was only stopping for fuel when I needed to.

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.

(I’ve posted this picture in one of the previous parts before but here it is again):

This picture was taken when I first noticed it, about 3500 miles ago. It was much worse now.

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:

09/09/2016

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. 

10/09/2016

…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.


36 Comments

Marco · November 18, 2018 at 11:57 pm

Amazing

Sandeep · November 19, 2018 at 12:29 pm

Wow. So, when do you write ?! During your rest time?

    cbr_roxy · November 19, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    I did this trip 2 years ago (date is in the post), just trying to write about my previous trips when I’m home. I’ve got another 3 trips to write about: Austria, Croatia & Montenegro 2017, Greece & Italy 2018 and Spain & Portugal 2018. Setting off on a round the world trip in April 2019 so hoping to finish writing about my previous trips before I set off.

      Sandeep · November 19, 2018 at 2:32 pm

      Ohh. I strangely ignored 2016!! You are doing a great job recording this. I love the clarity of your post. And, to say the least, I envy you for being able to do all that you are doing with your trips. I wish you well for your upcoming trip and look forward to reading your experience. Cheers !

IQ · November 20, 2018 at 11:16 am

Some epic riding and awesome shots!

calmkate · November 20, 2018 at 9:50 pm

Epic ride is right, that is clocking up huge kilometres just on the road without stopping to enjoy … not my way to travel but you obviously had very limited time!

You are so right about other bikers helping … my longest ride used to be to visit my parents and even if I was just changing a spark plug the guys would pull up … so I would ask first one to wave the others on otherwise you could spend hours just chatting 🙂

Johnson · November 21, 2018 at 12:30 am

Wow ….What a fine?….. Love your nice scenery pictures.

    Serendipitous Stepmom · December 9, 2018 at 3:37 am

    Also, I would have been totally surprised had I traveled along that entire bridge and tunnel to be greeted with a $60 U.S. toll!

parikhit dutta · November 21, 2018 at 4:45 am

This is so impressive! 🙂 I am mystified.

The Alchemist · November 21, 2018 at 3:41 pm

Love your pictures and looks like you are having a beautiful adventure!

Mark · November 22, 2018 at 1:54 pm

Great posts Roxy (I’ve just started reading them, and though they are a few years old, they’re very exciting : I’m just now getting BACK into travel blogging so hopefully I’ll learn some things from reading yours) Enjoy the road (and glad your chain got fixed 😎

Mark · November 22, 2018 at 2:12 pm

Great writing (riding) Roxy !

Azura · November 25, 2018 at 3:48 pm

Amazing. Wish I were as brave as you! TY for sharing your journey.

Robbie F Pink · November 26, 2018 at 9:47 pm

Wow, amazing! What an adventure and I’m sure great memories, too!

Rupali · November 27, 2018 at 3:14 pm

Amazing ride. You are very strong and brave.

iandikhtiar · November 28, 2018 at 3:49 pm

Really liked your blog!

Lance Wingfield · November 29, 2018 at 12:47 am

I know I’m echoing some previous comments but this is amazing. We travel and tent camp a lot here in the States but use a truck, not a bike. I’ve ridden bikes a quite a bit in my life and dream of taking some of these trips. What memories. Keep it up! http://www.clearskytexas.com

Tracey Bacic · December 3, 2018 at 8:56 am

What a trip! Looking forward to hearing about your round the world adventure.

Michael Scandling · December 6, 2018 at 5:09 pm

What an amazing story! I thought it was only the Swiss who were noted for a lack of sense of humor. Apparently it’s the Norwegians too. At least the cops.

rubysilverwing · December 7, 2018 at 11:50 am

You are absolutely amazing, It was so interesting reading your post.

tommy19512001 · December 8, 2018 at 8:50 pm

Love it.

Serendipitous Stepmom · December 9, 2018 at 3:34 am

What an amazing trip! And an equally amazing account of all your experiences along the way! This was a beautiful surprise of a read! 💖

teresam61 · December 9, 2018 at 3:44 am

I’m extremely impressed by your courage and strength to tackle such a trip all alone !! Very interesting reading.

Boten Daddy · December 9, 2018 at 10:17 pm

What a beautiful place to ride!

Morning Pawffee · December 10, 2018 at 1:55 am

Great travel story with beautiful pictures!

kerbey · December 11, 2018 at 8:54 pm

Goodness, you are so adventurous! You make me feel like a mom, telling you to be careful and don’t let creepy men hurt you. What fun you have.

Nick Rowe · December 11, 2018 at 11:30 pm

Cool trip and write up 😊 Good luck for the 2019 adventure.

koolits adventure · December 12, 2018 at 7:39 am

Can i go?

ourlittleredhouseblog · December 12, 2018 at 6:25 pm

Wow, what an adventure…thanks for sharing this. Your story and photos are amazing.

collectingcoffee · December 14, 2018 at 1:34 am

Wow what a trip you are on. beautiful pictures..

Denise · December 14, 2018 at 3:35 am

Wow! Great writing, makes me feel like I was on the road with you. The guy by the car creeped me out. Glad you were ok. Amazing adventures, thank you for sharing your journey!

artfromperry · December 14, 2018 at 12:32 pm

?what is the name and model of your tent? It looks quite interesting and useful. artfromperry

    cbr_roxy · December 14, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Vango Helix 200, it lasted me well and there’s still a lot of life left in it.

    cbr_roxy · December 14, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    I will be buying another Vango tent soon for my round the world trip next year – Vango Mirage Pro 200. Both of them pack small and are lightweight, but Mirage Pro can be set up anywhere, while Helix requires pegs to set it up. Sometimes I found myself wanting to set my tent up at a service station or somewhere where ground isn’t soft enough to put pegs in the ground, so Mirage Pro will be perfect.

      artfromperry · December 15, 2018 at 9:26 am

      Thank you! I’ve used the minibus 33 , which I love but it is a much larger tent. That sounds like a great tent, the Mirage Pro 200.

Manja Mexi Movie · December 14, 2018 at 7:52 pm

Oh my, talking about eye-opening. And I have second thoughts about doing 777 km from my Slovenia to (now) my Italy or vice versa, on my own, by car, in one day and actually refused to do it by myself so that I don’t get stuck in traffic or worse. 😀 And I normally call myself brave!

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