A motorcycle diary: Heading to North Cape

Posted on January 3, 2015

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In June 2014 we headed from Haugesund towards “Nordkapp”. This time we travelled by motorcycle, fulfilling another dream of travelling the Norwegian coast by road up north and travelling south with the well known Norwegian cruise ship “Hurtigruten”. We packed the motorcycle, a BMW R1200GS Adventure – carrying the absolute minimum necessary for the 2 weeks trip.

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Optimistically, we brought sleeping bags and a small tent, though eventually we used the tent only once, the first night.

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The other nights we slept in camping-huts – a great Norwegian invention consisting on small wooden huts – which are not too expensive to rent even at the Norwegian price-level and available many places along the road.

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The first night we drove to Sognefjord via Odda and Voss and in the fantastic summer weather, we decided to camp. Technically, everything was working perfectly – though I started having a growing pain in my right hand shoulder – probably due not being sufficiently accustomed to long distance riding. Riding 2 up and a fully loaded bike also added some tension, though the co-pilot was relaxed and supportive.

The bike is made for long trips like this and handled both the weight and the general conditions superbly. The only real challenge was icing on the helmet and windshield when crossing the mountains of Stryn in temperatures close to zero centigrade. It was truly an experience to ride mid- summer in so cold temperatures and with high snow on both sides of the road.

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Approaching Molde we had a prolonged rainstorm. Better to be prepared both for the rain and the cold in Norway even in the summer. Humid, but in good mood in spite of the rain we took shelter at the local NAF (Norwegian Automobile Association) camping and decided to rent a “luxury” cottage to dry up until next morning. Next day the weather improved and from Trondheim, we followed R17 along the cost of Helgeland with a spectacular scenery requiring frequent ferry-jumping along the west coast going north. Here we met lots of other travelers both campers and motorcyclists. On the way we crossed the artic circle before catching the boat to Lofoten in Bodø. We were about 30 motorcycles of many nationalities enjoying the long ferry-ride to Lofoten.

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Lofoten was almost as imagined, windy and beautiful. From Moskenes we continued in direction of Tromsø where we had booked service on the motorcycle at the local BMW-dealer. After a long days ride we finally entered Tromsø at 2:00 a.m. in full sunshine and surrounded by white mountains. Quite magic. In Tromsø, we got new tyres, more warm clothes and gloves for the final stretch to North Cape.

The service at the Tromsø BMW was the most expensive service in the history of the motorcycle (you are well advised to avoid, if at all possible, any service or repairs in Norway – it is simply too expensive). Back on the road again, we headed to Alta where we camped at a cottage, ate a Sami-meal with rain-dear meat and enjoyed a cold bear in a Gamme (traditional tent made of rain-deer skin). This meal was in itself worth the long trip……!

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The next day we reached our goal – via Honningsvåg to Nordkapp – a beautiful winding road with tame raindeers on the mountains! Nordkapp is little more than a huge rock-plateau, but still really impressive. It gives you a feeling of being far, far away with nothing but the Arctic Ocean to the north.

 

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During the next few days, we crossed Finnmarksvidda via Lakselv, Karasjok, Tana Bru to Kirkenes. In Kirkenes we allowed ourselves a stay at Thon’s hotel to celebrate that we finally had made it!

Next day we loaded our motorcycle on Hurtigruten for a fantastic 4 days cruise to Trondheim. After having travelled such a long distance by road, it was now gratifying to see the same landscape, but this time from the ship.

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Arriving Trondheim we drove to airport to attend my mother’s funeral and then continued from Trondheim, via Oslo, Gotenburgh, Copenhagen to Hamburg where caught the train from Hamburg to Narbonne for then to continue our trip, now suddenly in hot summer weather, to Barcelona.

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