Day 1 and a bit – Andy – Winterthur to Hamburg

Monday May 13 2019

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Monday 13th May 15:00 The journey started by taking the M3W from Winterthur to Lörrach to board the car and sleeper train for the journey to Hamburg. Arrived Lörrach at 17:00 and joined the waiting line in good company – a 1930 Ford and a TR4. The Ford was heading to the island of Rügen (Germany) to attend a week long classic car rally. Two years ago this car did the Paris – Peking Rally.

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Although I had a 4 bed cabin to myself the adjacent cabin was occupied by a quartet of noisy swedish bikers, so sleep was disrupted! The tain rattled through the night arriving Hamburg-Altona at 07:10, after waiting an hour to de-board the car from the train, I took off through the famous “Reeperbahn”, which was quiet and deserted in the early morning sun. First port of call, Morgan Park West, the Hamburg Morgan Dealer. I was welcomed with open arms and a hot coffee by Lutz Leberfinger and his team. Morgan Park had an impressive display of both old and new Morgan models as well as three M3W’s in their showroom. In addition to Morgans there were a selection of other classics from an e-type, to a lightweight jaguar, as well as some impressive customer cars in for service, an Aston Martin DB5, Bently Blower, AC Cobra and a Weismann amongst others. I spent a happy couple of hours chatting and exploring the showroom whilst waiting for my co-pilot to arrive!

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And from Chas the Co-Pilot..

Monday May 13 2019

Monday May 13th 16:00 – Chauffered by my friend Bob from home to Marmande station to catch the 17:10 express to Toulouse, train was 10 minutes late and as usual someone was sitting in my reserved seat. Arrived in Toulouse to find the station undergoing major exterior roadworks, a lack of signage and absolutely no sign of the bus to the Airport. After a circuit of the station following several signs that led no-where I opted for a taxi. The €35 for a 10 minute trip was slightly more than the €34.60 hotel room at the Formula 1 ‘hotel’! Well Hotel may be a slight exaggeration , it’s more of a ‘capsuled sleeping centre with vending machines’. I checked in and was directed to a room on the second floor, my first encounter in the corridor was a guy in a pair of ‘briefs’ and nothing else with a towel over his shoulder. It soon became obvious that the bathrooms and toilets were a shared experience wrapped around the stairwell.

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The room was fine, clean, comfortable, with twin beds, a small TV and sink big enough to brush your teeth. The decor themed with old travel advert wall paper. I settled in for an early night ahead of a 4;45 alarm call.

Night became day, alarm sounded and I took a 20 minute stroll with my 8kg luggage allowance to the airport for check-in. With usual German efficiency Lufthansa’s Toulouse-Frankfurt-Hamburg routing was uneventful and arrived pretty much on time, the bag was delivered swiftly and I was in a cab on the way to meet Andy at Morgan Park before I knew it.

Google maps won’t seem to let this flight path go through Frankfurt, but you get the idea..

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Hamburg – cars and boats and..

Tuesday May 14 2019

By 11:20 we had met up at Morgan Park West, who furnished more coffee, and offered to store our car and luggage whilst we disappeared off for lunch and a quick tour of Hamburg Harbour. We wandered across from Morgan Park to what must be the largest furniture store I have ever seen, Höffner, where we dined on some German specialities before taking a bus and two metro trains to the harbour. With limited time we found a harbour cruise that took us round the key sites in an hour including the old warehouse district and the new Opera house – the “Elb Philharmonie”.

 

 

 

The sun shone, a time to relax and take in the loveliness of Hamburg’s waterfront and all it has to offer. With Morgan Park closing at 18:00, we made a sprint back to pick up the car and luggage. Lutz gave us a quick guided tour of the facilities and his impressive parts department and R&D facilities that provide customised solutions for M3W’s and other Morgans, from their hand-made steering wheels to customised dash panels and even a long wheel-base M3W!.

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We loaded up the car and Lutz took some pictures for his blog on the Morgan Park web page. After a bit of luggage juggling we got comfortable and headed off on the two hour drive to Travemünde to catch the Finnlines ferry to Helsinki.

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Stopping en route for some quick sustenance, we arrived at the port at 21:30 for a 23:00 boarding and a 03:00 sailing. Whisked straight to the front of the queue in usual M3W style, and positioned with three Finnish bikers heading home after a 4500km trip round eastern europe and Italy.

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Boarding on time, but then we waited an hour to get our cabin which was still being cleaned. A coke (for Andy) and beer (for Chas) killed the time and cleared the road dust from the throat. By midnight the compact and bijou cabin was ready and we bedded down for a night of competitive snoring.

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Day 2 – all at sea..

Wednesday May 15 2019

The ferry from Travemünde to Helsinki takes 29 hours and is largely put over to freight.  The sailing is fairly quiet with few cars and passengers outside the trucking community.  Being a Finnish line, the main only on board activities are a Sauna and copious amounts of food and alcohol.  Thinking of the on board size and weight restrictions of two well developed males in a three wheeler we try and restrict our intake.  People we met in the car queue keep engaging during the trip and it’s an opportunity to start this blog and do some planning for Helsinki and the route beyond.  The ferry ‘meal package’ includes Brunch and Dinner on day one and breakfast before we arrive in Helsinki.  It’s a relaxing day of watching the ocean and the passing ferries and container ships as we traverse the Baltic sea.

 

 

 

Day 3 – Helsinki and a prison visit..

Thursday May 16 2019

As we approach Helsinki the waters flatten and land appears on the horizon.  Bright blue skies welcome us to Finland.

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After finishing breakfast we pack up and get the car ready to leave deck 7.

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It’s a 45 minute drive into Helsinki and our first hotel of the trip – Hotel Katajanokka, an old converted Prison!  Expecting to turn up and leave the car and luggage for a later check-in, we were welcomed by the manager, given private secure parking, a room upgrade and a feature on the Hotel’s Facebook page!  The power of the M3W shows it’s worth again!

 

 

 

After checking in, and a change from driving gear, we headed into old Helsinki for a walk around the sites and waterfront.

 

 

 

Back to the hotel for a pre-dinner shower and change before heading to the excellent ‘Baskeri & Basso Bistro’ recommended by an old colleague.  Really excellent fresh food on small plates with great flavours and textures – definitely worth a visit if you are in Helsinki!

 

 

 

Mileage Days 1-3: 231 km – Mileage to date: 231 km

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Day 4 – A day in Helsinki..

Friday May 17 2019

The first thing you notice in Finland are the hours of daylight!  I woke and saw sun streaming through the curtains, lept out of bed to discover it was 04:45!  Back to bed till 08:00 and a leisurely breakfast in the ‘prison cell’ dining room.  A quick blog update and some research to find board and lodging for Saturday night before heading out for another blue skied day in Helsinki…

Coffee & Cinnamon buns by the sea to start the day – OK, we’d just had breakfast but what the hell..

 

 

 

another long walk around Helsinki and then a visit to the the rather impressive train station to sort out a repair to the flying helmet with a rather helpful Finnish cobbler.

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followed by the rather impressive Russian Orthodox Church..

 

 

 

 

 

 

and if you want really good coffee in Helsinki track down one of these two shops – well worth the walk!  Brista made with La Marzocca machines – a pretty perfect coffee!

 

 

 

20:30 and it’s time to eat our last meal in Helsinki before an early start tomorrow to head north.  Our second restaurant recommendation from Päivi Laurila, an ex colleague is Farang, an Asian fusion restaurant established in Helsinki for 10 years.  A fitting end to our Helsinki visit.

 

 

 

Day 5 – Helsinki to Vaasa

Saturday May 18 2019

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It’s a 7:00am wake up call and another sunny day in Helsinki.  With two big guys and luggage in an M3W, planning and precision packing is a must.  First thing, Andy goes off to fill up with fuel as when the luggage is loaded you can’t access the fuel tank without a major unloading event.  To hinder rather than help it’s one of those annoying automatic value amount fills, you can only fill with €10, 20, 60 or 120.. Andy uses multiple fills to try and maximise the tank fill without wasting cash with excess fuel we can’t take on board.

After a quick breakfast it’s checkout time and luggage loading before our 6 hour drive to Vaasa.

 

 

 

A six hour assault on the senses

Given the direct cross country route was some 431 km we decided to take a fast route for speed rather than a winding country alternative.  The roads were relatively quiet with a few notable exceptions.  Firstly there was a very friendly biker community who gave us the ‘foot out’ or ‘thumbs up’ sign whenever we encountered them in either direction.  There were a number of American classics,  Corevette, Firebird, Lincoln Continental amongst others, but I was too slow capturing images as the came in the other direction.  We did however a spirited exchange of positioning with a rather nicely restored Ford Capri driven by a young blond guy who was rightly proud of his vehicle.

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With the 20 degree sun beating down strongly and a lot of pollen in the air the combination of heat, wind and the smells on the air were an assault on the senses.  The route had many lakes and was heavily forested, there were many timber trucks on the road, every now and again there was the smell of fresh cut timber.. one of the joys of open air motoring!

 

 

 

We scheduled a pit stop for lunch, fuel and sunscreen in Ikaalinen, but the restaurant we’d chosen was closed so we ended up at a local shopping centre and a branch of Hesburger – Finland’s answer to Burger King.  We pulled into a relatively empty car park and within minutes were surrounded by Finns wanting to know what we were driving, could they take photographs and even sit their kids in the car.  As we finished lunch, the guy with kids asked for an email address as he’d already contacted the local paper and they wanted to get the story of our journey and publish an article with photographs!

So feeling a little rosy round the facial features, we invested in some factor 50 and layered on a liberal squirt before heading on to Vaasa..

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We’d tried to contact the Finnish Morgan Club before our journey but sadly no-one answered our requests to meet up.  As of today we haven’t seen another Morgan in Finland let alone another M3W.

As we got closer to Vaasa the landscape became dotted with more and more traditional ‘red’ houses and farms with the odd yellow one to add to the colour palette..

 

 

 

We arrived in Vassa at 15:30 to check in to our lodgings for the night – the very traditional Hotel Astor, built in 1909 the year Morgan launched the original three wheeler.

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Having checked in and established some secure parking for the car, we wandered off to the seafront for, yes, you’ve guessed it, dinner.. Strampen sits on the seafront and is a popular bar and restaurant with the locals, featuring local seafood and especially their hand peeled shrimp..

 

 

 

It’s been a long driving day, and so an early night is called for before another long drive tomorrow to Kemi..

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Mileage Day 5: 431 km – Mileage to date: 662 km

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Day 6 – Vaasa to Kemi

Sunday May 19 2019

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453 km of trees, lakes, speed cameras, roadworks and Sunday drivers..

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating breaking the speed limit, but I don’t think I’ve been in a country where no-one seems to even attempt it!  I guess the fining system they have which is based on an ‘earnings related’ scale deters even the fool hardy.

Every time we hit a junction or village where the speed limit dropped there was one of these – we must have driven past at least fifty or sixty today on this one journey.

 

 

 

The 453 km we needed to cover today and the limited route options meant that we hit a lot of main roads, much of it under construction, repair or expansion.  At every town the speed limit dropped rapidly from 100km to 80 to 60 and in some cases down to 40.  Andy likes his M3W to sit at around 3500rpm, which means that 60 is in second and 80 is in third, with 3500rpm delivering 85km in 4th.  As I was driving today, I found it challenging to keep Andy and the car happy without constant gear changing which made for a challenging drive.  Throw in the Sunday drivers who liked to pull out of side roads in front of you, or overtake then slow down so that ‘Little Finn’ could video on his iPhone and it wasn’t the most enjoyable days driving.

Rant over…

We rose at 07:30, packed and headed down for what was an impressive breakfast given the hotel had no restaurant.  Buffet style but pretty much everything you could have asked for and more.  I of course had porridge as my body is a temple : )

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Andy tucked into a light breakfast of coffee, eggs, bacon, sausage and two croissant to ensure his blood sugar didn’t drop before lunch ; )

Car loaded, and we headed off with the intention of following the coast as much as we could to at least glimpse the ocean between the trees.  One thing about Finland is that you quickly realise that the trees obscure the view of pretty much everything on a long drive, but Andy snapped away and the pictures below are a pre-lunch collage of views en-route.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stopped for lunch and a fuel fill up in Kalajoki, where there was a garage come supermarket come petrol station open on Sunday.  The youth of Finland seemed to be enjoying a Sunday cruise in some very polished and well presented BMW’s and the like.

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As this seems to be turning into as much a food blog as a motoring one, then it would be rude not to mention the Finnish meatballs with mashed potato and beetroot – yum!

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After lunch and a lip balm and sunscreen application, we fought off the assembled crowds of Finnish motoring enthusiasts and started the second half of the journey to Kemi.

Again, I drove and Andy took the piss photographs – here again are the snaps from his efforts..

 

 

 

We were excited to see the ‘ELK’ Warning Sign and expected the road to be littered with them – sadly not an Elk to be seen anywhere!

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Anyway, as we head into Lapland then we are hoping that the amount of wildlife viewings will increase and we will be able to delight you with exciting photographs.

We did spot these rare ‘wheeled Finns’ who seem to come out on sunny days and propel them selves along with sticks…

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In the meantime here are more scenes from the afternoon trip from Kalajoki to Kemi.

 

 

 

We arrived at our lodgings for the night at around 17:00, the budget Villa Kemi Hotel, where we again enthusiastically greeted by father and son who gave us secure parking for the really cool car when every one else has to park on the main road – M3W power!

After checking in we decided to explore Kemi and try and find somewhere to eat.

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Kemi is a strange place, wide streets, post war architecture and appears virtually deserted, although lights were to be seen through drawn blinds and curtains.  A group of guys circled the town in ‘souped up’ cars – cruising with no-where to go it seems.  We stopped a guy leaving a pizza shop and asked him where he’d eat – he recommended a different pizza place some 500 metres away, so we walked and eventually found an ornate wooden structure on a small hill overlooking the sea.  The pizza was good, but the place reminded me of a run down hotel in the remote parts of China.  The area is obviously poor and looking on Wikipedia reveals some interesting facts..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kemi

 

 

 

We walked around the seafront which although it had what appeared to be a fairly new marina, there was hardly a soul to be seen.

 

 

 

Home to a snow castle in the winter, Santa seems to still have an office here!

 

 

 

Deserted streets, brutalist architecture and street art met us on the way back to the hostel.

 

 

 

And so to bed – tomorrow takes us to Hetta, some 370km North from Kemi.

Mileage Day 6: 453 km – Mileage to date: 1115 km

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Day 7 – Kemi to Hetta

Monday May 20 2019

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Well, I’m not surprised it was quiet last night as everyone seems to get up at 05:00 in the morning.  Sunset at around 23:10 and Sunrise at 03:25 gives a pretty short 4:15 of darkness – perhaps it’s early to bed and early to rise?

So, it’s 5:00am, I’m wide awake, Andy is snoring away at his end of the hostel room.  A pre-booked breakfast basket awaits a more civilised hour.  In the meantime I’m updating the blog and answering a few eMails!

Well I must have fallen back to sleep as the alarm woke me at 07:30, we had breakfast at 08:00 – from the pre-booked ‘breakfast basket..

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Packed again and ready to leave at 09:00, we reached the M3W to find the previous days road dust spotted with rain drops.  The blue skies of Sunday had been replaced by rain clouds and grey skies over Kemi.

 

 

 

As we left Kemi, it spat with rain, but at speed it hardly made an impact.

 

 

 

As we head north, we see more and more timber trucks going in both directions.  A number of vehicles bearing Russian number plates ignored the speed limits and passed us, including a Porsche Cayenne who paced and filmed us, giving us the thumbs up.

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The skies continued to be grey and we feared the worst as we headed north, but the rain failed to materialise in any quantity..

 

 

 

As we reached ‎⁨Juoksenki⁩, ⁨in Lapland⁩, ⁨we crossed into the Arctic Circle………….

 

 

 

and the landscape changed to more Silver Birch trees than Pine and the Reindeer warning signs started to appear.  More importantly blue skies started to appear ahead of us.

 

 

 

Now following yesterday’s ‘ELK warning signs’ we were somewhat cynical about our chances of Reindeer sightings, but we didn’t have to wait long for our first encounter…

 

 

 

The road we took was also noted for it’s Northern Lights, sadly the wrong season for us.  The road however was well maintained, fast and the beauty of the endless trees and lakes was something to behold.

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In contrast to yesterdays route, this was a great road, little traffic, mainly at 100kmph, though you had to keep your eyes peeled for activity by the side of and on the road.

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Andy, who was piloting today, was alert and although we had some close encounters they were at a safe distance and we only had to come to a full stop on two occasions.

 

 

 

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After 371km along a forest lined route of firstly Pine and latterly Silver Birch trees, we arrived at our lodgings for the night, Ounasloma Luxury Cabins.  It is ‘off season’, so only 3 of the 15 cabins are currently booked and we virtually have the place to ourselves.

 

 

 

Each cabin has the essential Finnish facility – it’s own sauna, so tonight after dinner, we will be sweating out the road trip grime before we head to Tromsö, Norway tomorrow.

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Fortunately there don’t appear to be a supply of birch twigs for Andy to get his hands on!

Foodie blog update, after unpacking we went to the local supermarket to shop for dinner and breakfast as we were in a self catering cabin..  when in Finland eat fish – so we loaded the basket with salmon and pasta for dinner and eggs and bacon for breakfast.

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Mileage Day 7: 371 km – Mileage to date: 1486 km

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Day 8 – Hetta, Finland to Tromsø, Norway

Tuesday May 21 2019

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Alarm at 07:30, though yet again I’d woken at 04:50 read the paper on line and must have fallen asleep again.  Put together bacon, scrambled eggs and coffee and packed the car.

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Today we are heading North West, the skies are grey and it’s very cold.  The thermometer on the outside of the lodge reads 5 degrees.  As we hit the road the wind chill kicks in and  it feels freezing, even with lycra under the jacket.  No gloves as I need to photograph doesn’t help.

The Long and Winding Road..

As we join the E8 a long white roads disappears into the horizon, speed limit is 100kmph.

Andy cranks the car up to 5th gear and we use sat-nav to check speed given the accuracy of a Morgan speedometer.  The car eats the kilometers with only the occasional bump or speed restriction through isolated habited areas.  Wow – what a road, kilometer after kilometer of emptiness, with the landscape and skies bringing continual change and interest.  The pictures speak for themselves.

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As it gets colder, and snow appears on the ground we try and stop for a coffee to warm the blood.  Nothing is open anywhere.. it’s too early in the season for anyone to bother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Lapland reindeer appear both in and alongside the road – we need to be alert!

 

 

 

In the freezing temperatures of the arctic circle even the lakes are frozen at these higher altitudes.

 

 

 

The panoramic vistas are simply breathtaking.

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Leaving Finland – entering Norway

From a signpost we see we are about to leave Finland and enter Norway – the choice is to select a set of green traffic light for ‘Nothing to Declare’ or a set of red traffic lights for ‘Goods to Declare.  This is an M3W – we can hardly fit the luggage in, yet alone a gun arsenal, booze, pot or porn.

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The only changes we notice entering Norway are the central road marking lines turn to yellow and the language on all the road signs changes.

 

 

 

The reindeer know no border boundaries and continue to be a motoring hazard.

 

 

 

Snow capped mountains start to surround us on both sides of the road, the skies still grey, the biting wind chilling us to the bone at Norway’s speed limit of 90 kmph.

 

 

 

Andy brings the car to a screaming halt, I wonder what the f@#k is going on as he swings the car round on a gravelled layby and heads back in the direction we came from – ELK!

 

 

 

Our first ELK spotting must have brought us good luck as suddenly we started to see blue skies ahead breaking through the clouds between the mountains.

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In celebration we decide to stop for lunch!  A simple burger we thought, now we start to understand the cost of living in Norway, 2 burgers, a Coke and a Milkshake cost us €40.00

They were big burgers though, if you’ll excuse the expression..

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So, we are sat there muching away and across the street at the Hot-Dog stall is a guy with a Harley-Davidson, he waves then wanders over.  Nice Bike, Andy says, Nice Bike, he said in reply..  he sits down and chats, and we ask him if he can recommend anywhere in Tromsø to stay as we haven’t booked anything.  I might be able to fix that he says, and gets on his mobile phone and chats away to someone in Norwegian.  We have a ‘Clubhouse’, he says, down by the waterfront in Tromsø, it has 5 beds and we can put you up there.. follow me..

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We follow him the 38km to Tromsø and traverse the sea over the ‘gateway to the Arctic’ bridge and onto the island.  Weaving down back roads we pull up in front of a simple red wooden building.  What we see in front of us is difficult to take in yet alone explain so these pictures will speak for themselves..

 

 

 

 

 

 

That ELK certainly gave us good luck!  Geir was welcoming, showed us the facilities and found us a couple of beds, sheets and towels and said make yourself at home!

We had an appointment at 15:00 with a member of the Norwegian Morgan Motor Club who was at his families Kitchen Manufacturing Company in Tromsø, so we left the clubhouse and headed back across the bridge to meet Petter.  Petter welcomed us, showed us around the factory facilities with the manager and agreed to meet up tomorrow at 10:00am for a guided tour of Tomsø and it’s surroundings.

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We then headed back to the clubhouse via the supermarket to get ingredients for a homemade dinner and fill the clubhouse fridge full of beer.  Later we are due to meet the rest of the Harley-Davidson Garasjen Tromsø who were assembling for a coffee evening.

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We chatted all evening with new-found friends over coffee, sharing travel experiences and technical talk on Morgans and Harleys.  By 21:30 they had all gone home and left us to cook dinner in their kitchen facilities..  a healthy vegetable rissotto!

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It’s now midnight, but in the land of the midnight sun it has not become dark!  So it’s goodnight from him and goodnight from me … and a goodnight from our trusty ride.

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Mileage Day 8: 357 km – Mileage to date: 1843 km

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Day 9 – A day in Tromsø

Wednesday May 22 2019

Bedded down in a bikers dorm tiredness overtook even the lack of darkness and soon the room was echoing with Stäuble snoring.. and I guess within seconds mine too!

I woke at 07:00 and what had been forecast as a cloudy dull day was in fact a blue sky specked with cloud.  Stepping out onto the clubhouse deck, with a towel wrapped around my waist after a shower, made me resist the thought of a quick swim in the lake as an icy chill from a moderate wind made me retreat indoors after taking this photograph..

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It looks like our look is holding and it will be another nice day in Tromsø!  Andy is still snoring so I leave him to get his beauty sleep and get the coffee on.  The clubhouse has a washing machine so I think it’s a good opportunity to get some laundry on and replenish the t-shirt, sock and underwear bag ready for the next stage of our journey down the west coast of Norway.  Figuring out a Norwegian washing machine is challenging and I might be in for a 4 hour wash cycle!

We had planned to go whale watching from here, but apparently it’s the wrong season and there are no whales at this time of year.  My guess is it’s pretty cold out on the ocean so it may not be a bad thing.  We will probably start the next stage of our journey tomorrow or even Friday depending on what Tromsø has to offer.

Andy moves the car into the sun and get’s it ready for today’s adventures in Tromsø..

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We rustle up breakfast before heading out for the day..

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We head over from the island to the peninsula over the bridge known as the gateway to the arctic.  Crossing the bridge brings you face to face with Tromsø Cathedral, an impressive church with distinctive architecture.

 

 

 

We meet Petter Rognstad at his wife & brother in law’s Kitchen Manufacturing site NOVA at 10:00.  Petter has been introduced to us by Knut Fejervimjstad, of the Norwegian Morgan Owners Club.  Petter has been a Morgan officionado for 20 years and has two Morgans, a Plus 8 and 4/4 Seater.  He has come to visit from Oslo as his wife is working at the factory and visiting her mother – it’s a family business established in Tromsø for over 50 years.

Petter says he has a special treat in store for us as we are interested in mechanical things and history.  We head out along the peninsula for Ramfjord.

 

 

 

We are heading for a submarine dock, buried deep in a mountain and accessible from the fiord.  Now too small for todays Norwegian Subarine fleet, it was sold into private hands.  Like many underground military installations around the world it has found a new use.

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As we head into the network of underground tunnels, halls and passing places are full of caravans, motorhomes and boats on trailers.  This submarine dock has become an underground storage facility for expensive hardware that needs to be secure from the winter weather.

 

 

 

We are meeting a friend of Petter who is there with his Motorhome and 42′, 15 tonne Malü yacht.  His health is suffering (bad back) and they are selling the yacht. Sadly no longer made, it’s a piece of Swedish craftsmanship that doesn’t exist in todays world of manufacturing.  It’s a beautiful thing, lovingly cared for by it’s present owners for 25 years and you can see the sadness in their eyes as they lovingly polish it before handing it over to it’s new owners, a couple who will start a new three year round the world journey in it next year after some refurbishment.

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This place is also home to this, looking like a leftover from a James Bond movie, it has docked inside the mountain and laid untouched for two years..

 

 

 

It’s a fascinating place and a still has some of it’s old military fixtures and fittings that have never been removed.  From the submarine mooring rings, swinging dock gate that moves into place to dry dock submarines, to the old military telephones and the photography ban signage.

 

 

 

We leave the secret bunker and head back into town.  Winding our way up through a residential area on the side of the mountain we come to a car park.  Above us sits a cable car – built in 1961 it’s single car makes journeys up the mountain on the half-hour.

 

 

 

The view from the viewing platform is simply staggering and the pictures below are self explanatory.

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There is a restaurant so we decide to have lunch and watch the world go by from a window table.  As we view to world below us a tall ship passes under the bridge to dock in Tormsø.

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After a nice lunch it’s back down the mountain and back across the bridge to the island and the planetarium and science museum.  We are here to see a 360 degree dome presentation of the Northern lights.  As we are now in the period of ‘midnight sun’, we will miss viewing the Northern Lights, so this is apparently the next best thing.  Filmed over a period of eight years by a photographer based in Tromsø, it’s a visual feast of the best of the Northern Lights.

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Petter is packing in the sight seeing and from the Planetarium we head past the airport, across another bridge to another peninsula.

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We pass the final resting place of Tirpitz which we can actually see from our Clubhouse accommodation. On 12 November 1944, British Lancaster bombers equipped with 12,000-pound (5,400 kg) ‘Tallboy bombs’ scored two direct hits and a near miss which caused the ship to capsize rapidly. A deck fire spread to the ammunition magazine for one of the main battery turrets, which caused a large explosion. Figures for the number of men killed in the attack range from 950 to 1,204. Between 1948 and 1957 the wreck was broken up by a joint Norwegian and German salvage operation and so today there is nothing to see.

We carry on along the peninsula to Rystraumen where people fish from the shoreline and the Maelstrom (tidal current whirlpools) for from the strong currents.  We are too early in the day to see the maelstrom, but the coastline is beautiful as the pictures below show.

 

 

 

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Traditional fishing hut with a grass roof plays host to a nesting seagull.

 

 

 

Elk have visited the shoreline!

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Sadly the sight seeing has come to an end in Tromsø and we have to head back for a dinner with the 14 members of the Harley Club who have played hosts to us for these past two nights.

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We also need to fill the M3W with fuel, pack and be ready for a 7.00am departure tomorrow.  We have two ferries tomorrow which only sail twice a day, so timing is important and we must make locations on schedule.

It’s an early night and happy dreams of our days in Tromsø – it’s been spectacular on all levels from hospitality to scenery and history, we’ll be back to the land of the midnight sun!

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Mileage Day 9: 20 km – Mileage to date: 1863 km      (We used Petter’s car for the day)

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Day 10 – Tromsø to Langvassdalen

Thursday May 23 2019

The Highway to Hell

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It was an early start 5:45am, not that that really mattered as I’d been awake since 04;10 as the sun streamed through the bunkhouse window.  The ritual of making breakfast, packing and loading the car every morning is now down to a fine art.  Breakfasts become more leisurely affairs as the efficiency of packing improves.  Today of course we also had to strip beds, empty the dishwasher from last nights dinner and leave the clubhouse in a generally tidy state.

Outside it was 4 degrees but the clouds were light and the sky clearing even at that time of the morning.  Andy spotted seals or sea-lions heads bobbing in and out of the water off shore, but they were too far away to identify or photograph effectively.

 

 

 

With the car packed, we locked up the clubhouse door at 07:15 and left Tromsø out past the airport, over the bridge and took the coastal road to Hillesøy to catch the 08:45 ferry to Botnhamn.  As we were approaching the final leg of the journey, the road surface deteriorated and pot holes and bumps abounded.  We mistakenly took a wrong turning and encountered a friendly farmer with a flock of sheep who pointed us in the right direction.

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As we retraced our route, we found Andy’s oil reservoir bottle from the breather pipe had dislodged on the bad road surface.  Fortunately he’d emptied it the night before so we didn’t leave an oil slick across the road.

Arriving at the back of a queue of cars we were the last to board the ferry.  As has come to be expected in Norway where a M3W is a very rare sight, not only did the passengers crowd round but all the crew, including the Captain, came to look too.  This is fast becoming the most photographed car in Norway!

 

 

 

We had to leave the car deck and go the the salon to buy a ticket and watch the world around us from a new position at sea.  It was choppy, but not rolling as we made our way to Botnhamn.

 

 

 

Now the issue with visiting Norway ‘off season’, is the restricted schedules for public transport.  Our next ferry was due to leave Gryllefjorv to Andenes at 11:00am.  Google maps said it was a 1hr:36 drive across the eastern route and 1hr:55 across the western route.

Andy’s Garmin sat-nav wouldn’t give us a route at all.  By the time we had got off the ferry we had 1hr:30 to do a 1hr:36 minute journey or wait 8 hours till the next ferry!

With me trying to navigate by iPhone and Andy pushing the boundaries of legality across a deserted island we attempted to recreate the Isle of Man TT in Norway and made the ferry with 10 minutes to spare.

To make matters worse the road surface was poor, pot holes, repairs, loose gravel and what can only be termed ‘waves’ of tarmac came towards us with increasing regularity.

To add to the drama the wildlife started to add ‘Mario style’ challenges to the driving.

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Given the violence of the ride, the luggage started to slip so I had to put one arm over my shoulder and prop it up as there simply wasn’t time to stop if we stood any chance of making the ferry.

It was the first time for both of us that there was a level of tension in the air about timing, route planning and what was supposed to be a relaxed trip.  With the iPhone being used for Sat-Nav, there was no chance to take many pictures until we were reaching the end of the journey.

 

 

 

I rushed off to use the public conveniences as I’d nearly wet myself on several occasions with Andy’s driving style skills (he made me change that).  I returned to find Andy in deep and meaningful conversation with two very attractive 21 year old French medical students from Nice.  This certainly took his mind of the last hour and a half and by the time we boarded the air of camaraderie had returned.

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After convincing the Stewardess, or whatever they call female ferry operatives, that we were indeed driving a three wheeled motorcycle, we negotiated the cheaper ferry price and sat in the salon to relax.  ‘Should we go and talk to the French girls’ said Andy!  I thought this was an ideal opportunity to catch up on my French Lessons that I’ve been missing on this trip ; )…

They seemed threatened by two older men in sheepskin helmets and decided to decamp to the open deck to sunbathe.

The scenery around us continued to impress, mountains, snow, white capped waves and blue skies.

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The journey took 1hr:45 and we arrived in dock to be saluted off the ship by the crew who lined up to wave us goodbye.

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Now we could relax a little as the panic was over, we had an AirBnB booked in Langvassdalen, available from 15:00, so we took our time as we headed along the coastal road and tried to find somewhere for lunch.

The scenery was just stunning, in many ways it reminded me of New Zealand, every crest of a hill or bend in the road brought a new vista that never failed to impress.  With restaurants plugged into Sat-nav, we passed one after another that were closed.  By 13:30 we found somewhere with lights on – it opened at 14:00!

 

 

 

We decided to carry on until we reached Sortland, which was 20km from our AirBnB in Langvassdalen and where we had been told the nearest supermarket was.  We needed fuel, and the Esso station sold 98 octane as well as a rather good hot-dog and coffee.  Andy’s blood sugar levels began to rise and his human side started to return ; )

Whilst the sales lady tried to persuade me that shrimps in my hot-dog were to be recommended, the garage forecourt filled up with more M3W spotters and photographers.  In the end she called the manager who insisted I try the shrimp ‘free of charge’ and he’d be sure that I’d buy them on my next visit.

Of in search of the supermarket to buy dinner for tonight and breakfast for tomorrow, Andy spots a garage with a car lift and wants to replace his ‘Crank case breather pipe reservoir PET bottle’ or for those German speakers who don’t know what I’m talking about, ‘Kurbelwellen gehäuse entlüftungsschlauch auffang behälter’!

Never one to be backwards in coming forwards, Andy drives straight into the car bay and positions the M3W between their 4 arm car lift.  As he’s surrounded by mechanics, I escape the embarrassment and go off to the supermarket to do the shopping, bearing in mind it has to sit on my knees for the rest of the journey.

Now, I don’t know whether it’s cultural or not but the Norwegians seem to lay their supermarkets out very differently to the French or the Brits.  It took me ages to find anything but eventually came away with ingredients for tortillas for dinner and eggs and bacon for breakfast.  I of course had to buy a pot of shrimp now that I know you can eat them with sausages!

Walking back to the tyre shop, the M3W is still up on the lift, but Andy is finishing the job and there are 4 guys watching him and discussing the car.

 

 

 

It’s lowered, bonnet replaced and then we have a group photograph outside the garage that they all want a copy of!

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We wind our way out of Sortland across the bridge and past a Norwegian military vessel of some kind.

 

 

 

Messaging our AirBnB host we agree to meet at 16:00.  He’s waiting by the road with a blue van, boat and trailer so is easy to spot.  Our wooden lodge sits on the edge of the water, with a decking balcony and wood fired sauna.  We even get separate rooms tonight, so if the doors are soundproofed, we might not keep each other awake with snoring.

 

 

 

Our host explains the facilities, and in return for helping unload his new boat and upload his old one, we get free use of the contents of the fridge and larder, as well as a new pack of logs for the sauna.  I could have skipped the shopping!

Andy decides to clean the car after the ‘gravel shower’ on the rough roads, so strips it down vacuums and washes it, cleans the upholstery and removes the roadkill from the engine and air filter.  She’ll be good to go again tomorrow.

 

 

 

I light up the wood burner in the sauna for later and we spend a couple of hours planning the route over the next few days and booking more accommodation and another ferry for Saturday morning.

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With the sauna at temperature it’s time to sweat out the road grime and stresses of the day.  A quick shower and then into the ‘shepherds hut’ style sauna that has spectacular views over the water and mountains beyond.  It’s a great way to relax and man talk – Andy mentions a French girl in leggings.  I suggest it’s time he jumps into the lake and cools himself down ; )

 

 

 

Post sauna it’s blog update time and I’m typing this as Andy cooks dinner.  It’s 22:30, the sun is still up and casting shadows over the mountains across the lake.

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Our host has said that Elk come and eat the new shoots on the trees in front of the lodge, so if we hear anything during the night, not to worry.

It’s been such a day I’m expecting not to hear a thing.

Mileage Day 10: 298 km – Mileage to date: 2161 km

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Day 11 – Langvassdalen to Moskenes

Friday May 24 2019

As I hit the pillow last night with the sun still streaming through the transparent curtains, I was dead to the world.  Silence, no snoring, no wake-ups till I came round at 06:00.  Coffee in hand I step on to the terrace to check the temperature and for signs of potential rain…   umm…   a tad nippy at 4 degrees but again not a cloud in the sky.

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Water laps at the edge of the property, the spring shoots on the trees have survived the night and Elk onslaught, not an Elk dropping in sight although Andy spotted hoof prints!.  I savour the view and the sound of the early morning bird call.  At 4 degrees it is however a little nippy for a T-Shirt.

After the M3W’s spring clean Andy hooked it up to his trickle charger over night to ensure the battery condition didn’t deteriorate in the cold weather.  She’s looking bright and shiny in the morning sun as she did in the midnight sun!

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Our AirBnB host, Viggo, told us that this weather is unusual in the extreme and normally at this time of year you can’t even see the mountains across the lake for low lying cloud.

We are feeling very privileged by the good fortune we have had and hope that the luck continues.

We’ve booked another AirBnB in Moskenes for tonight, but due to a mistake on my part it got booked twice (Thursday night in error, Friday night for when we needed it).  AirBnB is great until something goes wrong and a lesson is learnt in check and double check before you click.  Our host says it happens all the time with them and they’ll support our refund claim.  We are now in the AirBnB refund system awaiting a communication.

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As we have a leisurely drive today Andy requested a wake up call at 08:00 when we’ll consume the bacon and eggs from yesterdays supermarket shop.  (Chris, honestly I searched high and low for porridge, but those Norwegian supermarkets…..).

After we’ve packed up the car we will visit Viggo to drop off the key as he’s invited us to partake in coffee and home made cheesecake.  He wants us to take a look at his campsite and 15 cabins in case we want to return with a bigger group at some point in the future.

Car loaded and ready for the off, it’s my turn to take the driving seat this morning.  We head off to Viggo’s camp site which is 11 minutes drive on the route we are taking to Moskenes.  Viggo has a cafe at his camp site, and hot coffee and home made cheesecake awaited us.  Set right next to the lake it’s a beautiful position and he deserves every success in his enterprise.

 

 

 

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As we are about to leave a group of Polish bikers roll into the carpark, attracted by the M3W.  Our quick departure is delayed with more chat and photographs of Viggo & Siri with the M3W and our our Polish Biker friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we finally get to leave the bikers follow us in convoy as we head towards Moskenes.

 

 

 

As we head west, it’s like entering Tolkein’s Middle Kingdom.  Towering mountain ranges and lakes, you could almost expect to see Tree Beard striding across or road or hoards of Orcs.

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The natural landscape that was Lofoten has been ‘modernised’ for the sake of tourism and local transportation, with an extensive infrastructure of tunnels and bridges going through mountains and under or over lakes and fjords.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though it is ‘low season’ the roads were littered with Camper Van, in peak season it must be a nightmare.

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You can begin to understand the need for infrastructure improvements but accessibility has brought even more tourists and made the traffic situation even worse.  Our choice of timing for this trip has been rewarded with good weather and reasonably light traffic.

We drove 3hr:30 today and the surroundings just kept delivering stunning vistas – here are just a selection of scenes snapped from the M3W as we drove – just wonderful.

 

 

 

No matter where you go in the world there are always car enthusiasts – even on this remote Norwegian Island within the arctic circle there are guys whose passion is cars.

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Now here is a question for you – what is this?

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Along side the road millions of fish are drying on racks – we smelt them before we saw them!  Stockfish – unsalted fish, especially cod, dried by cold air and wind on these wooden racks (hjell) along the foreshore.

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After 237 km we arrived at our AirBnb in Moskenes, after checking in and dumping the luggage we headed back up the road to ‎⁨Moskenesöya⁩, ⁨Reine⁩ Harbour, ⁨to fill up with fuel grab some lunch in the local bistro and do the shopping for tonights shrimp risotto!

Parking up in the harbour reminded me of Padstow in Cornwall when I was a kid, although there were never ‘art installations’ like this Stockfish drying rack.

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Back at Gul, our AirBnB, we update the blog and prepare shrimp rissotto for dinner.

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Tomorrow is an early start with a 05:30 wake up call, 06:15 ferry boarding and an 07:00 departure to Bodø.

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It’s a 3hr:15 crossing, which takes us back to the mainland and the next stage of our journey.

Mileage Day 11: 237 km – Mileage to date: 2398 km

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Day 12 – Moskenes to Bodø to Brekkvasselv

Saturday 25 May 2019

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A comfortable nights sleep in Gul, although it’s a while since I’ve slept in a top bunk!

Apparently when my head hit the pillow at 10:30, I was asleep and apparently snoring loudly within 2 minutes. Andy struggled to find us accommodation for Saturday night on the internet.  My snoring kept him awake for an hour when tiredness overtook him and he gave up his search.  We had mailed several places earlier in the day but no response – another issue with low season, many places are not open or are operating on a skeleton staff and self-service entry and exit.

The alarm was set for 05:30, but I awoke at 04:30 and checked the mail.  One lodge had emailed back at 00:22 to say they had a cabin and we could pick up the keys in the local shop, but we needed to complete the booking and credit card details on their Norwegian website.  It took me 35 minutes of trial and error, as even Google Translate struggled with their website.  In the end I got a confirmation email so hope that I ticked all the right boxes.

Gull is a small cabin attached to the owners house, has four bedrooms, Red, Yellow, Green and Blue with a share bathroom kitchen & lounge.  It’s 600m from the ferry terminal so used a lot by people catching the early morning ferry.  By 5:00am I heard people up and about so went down for a shower and coffee.  A young guy from Poland on a hiking trip was cooking breakfast.  I woke Andy at 5:30 and went down to cook the 6 eggs we had left over for breakfast.  The ferry that arrived overnight was already in dock.

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Andy packed the M3W whilst I washed up and stripped the beds.  We left at 06:30 sharp and drove down to the ferry, taking our place at the front of the ‘reservation’ line – no-one else seemed to have booked given it was low season.  We didn’t think it was worth risking not having a ferry place given only two sailings a day and the NK100 charge.

As we sat in line, a familiar face came along-side – it was one of the Polish bikers we’d met at Viggo’s campsite yesterday.  Paul Szwed, from Krakov in Poland is on a two week trip with 4 of his mates.

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‘I have lots of great video from when I followed you yesterday’ he said, give me your email address and I send you photos and videos by wetransfer.  What a great guy!  I might have to pay the upgrade fee to add video content to the blog!

We chatted for a while, he’d bought his new KTM 5 months ago and was very happy with it.  They had been to Nordkapp, it was -2 and raining so we were glad we’d decided not to waste the three days it would have taken to include it in the trip.

 

 

 

The ferry guy arrives with his mobile terminal scans the eTicket from my phone and ushers us on to the ferry.  The loading technician looks confused as we will obviously not fit in the assigned motorcycle slot and directs us to the lower deck.  Pole position again.

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We head to the lounge and find a table to work at on the 3hr:15 minute voyage.  We need to update the blog, get the sat-nav prepared now we have accommodation for tonight and plan the route for Sunday.  Andy is hungry again as it’s almost an hour and a half since he last ate and heads off to the cafeteria for a ham & cheese roll, cheesecake and coffee!

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Paul Szwed comes and finds us, I’d never have recognised him with his gear off, much younger than we expected.  He’s a very engaging guy and we share experiences on the road.

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The ferry heads to Bodø, the skies are blue, the white horses dance in the water.

Life is good

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As we approach Bodø, cloud cover increases..

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Exiting the ferry there is still blue sky scattered with cloud

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We are greeted with Norway’s Road Toll system, which Andy has registered for.  It reads your front and back number plates and send you a nice surprise Krona bill by email.

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Our hopes of a quick journey to Brekkvasselv are dashed, Camper Vans & Rain!

 

 

 

Fortunately it’s just a few drops but the skies look increasingly threatening as we drive further south.  My goggles stream up with the change in humidity and temperature.

 

 

 

As we climb to 692 metres above sea level, we encounter the first signs of snow.

 

 

 

We head out of the arctic circle, passing the ‘Arctic Circle Visitor Centre’ which looks closed and abandoned for the winter months.

 

 

 

The cloud and snow merge on the horizon of this high plateau National Park – Saltfjellet.

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The plateau seems endless in the bitter wind, it is difficult to capture it’s strange beauty,  it took us almost 30 minutes to cross it.

 

 

 

The E6 is a fantastic ‘drivers road’, however, as more tourists come to the area, Norway is improving the road infrastructure.  For the next two hours, great sections are being refurbished or new roads created – some 35km in all, according to a sign by the side of the road.  There is a danger that it will become a soulless highway for Camper Vans, albeit in a stunning landscape.  Massive amounts of machinery and plant are moving millions of tonnes of rock, changing the landscape for ever…

 

 

 

RAIN STOPS PLAY..

Well stops photography and slows driving speed..

 

 

 

Just when our confidence is rising, the skies darken again and it starts to rain, enough to stop photography and for the water rivulets to cause havoc with the sat-nav touch screen.

Andy shouts (he always shouts, as he has earplugs in whilst driving) ‘put your goggles over the sat-nav’, f@#k you I said, knowing he wouldn’t hear me, but obliged for the sake of getting out of the freezing rain with a working sat-nav functioning for the rest of the trip.  If you’ve ever driven in rain in an open car then its like someone pushing needles in  your skin.  I suffer in silence ; ).  It turns out that he actually said ‘gloves’ and I misheard him in the howling wind and pissing rain!

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Driving an M3W in rain and especially standing water requires caution as you can loose traction either at the front or back wheels.  The last thing anyone wants is an accident so caution gets priority over speed, even though we have a tight schedule to meet.

Suddenly the clouds break, blue skies appear and the world looks a little better.  The wind dries off most of the dampness, but the cold lingers and a hot shower calls.

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We arrive at Brekkvasselv bang on 18:00 and go to the shop to retrieve the keys to the cabin, get sheets and towels, which we have to hire as they are not included in the price.  What time do you close I ask.  Now, 6.00pm, the assistant says.  Would have been nice to know I thought, but it was probably in the Norwegian terms and conditions I couldn’t read.  Have I got time to buy some food for dinner?, she nodded and I rushed round the shop and made a rapid selection for dinner and breakfast.

Andy drove up to the cabin and I walked as my seat was now full of bedding, towels and food.  Within minutes the lady owner arrived with her daughter to greet us and see the ‘really cool car’.. photo opportunities taken and she sends us pictures of her 1953 classic Chevrolet which is undergoing restoration, but not yet complete.. it is a beautiful thing.

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I’ve forgotten to get sugar so ask Janne our host if she has a few cubes we can have for Andy’s coffee, she disappears of to the shop and comes back with a 1kg bag!

The cabin is well equipped, sleeps six, has two bedrooms each with bunks and two single beds in a loft space.  We take a bedroom each with the knowledge that the snoring competition will be postponed for another time..

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Andy ‘garages’ the M3W under the terrace in case of further rain tonight and carries out the end of day maintenance tasks.

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I try and get the internet to work so we can communicate with our loved ones and the outside world.  I fail and email Janne who comes back to me to say that it hasn’t been activated after the winter shutdown.  We agree the sugar is adequate compensation.         I have a Glocalme router with me so we hook that up for internet access and all is fine.

Dinner is prepared again, blog updated and we plan an early night and a late start after the longest drive we’ve done in a day – some 458km and 12 hours on the ferry and road.

Tomorrow we head for Åsen, some 2hr:40 and 200km away, a walk in the park compared with today’s epic journey.

Let’s hope we wake up to blue skies and sunshine!

Mileage Day 12: 458 km – Mileage to date: 2856 km

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Day 13 – Brekkvasselv to Åsen

Sunday 26 May 2019

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I woke at 06:00, the gentle sound of snoring filtering through the wooden walls of the cabin.  Eager to see the weather I stepped outside on the terrace to check it out..

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No rain overnight, so the ground is dry.  Looking south the cloud is breaking up and blue skies are starting to peek through – there is hope that we will have a rain free journey.

Breakfast at 9:00 and away by 10:15, when we depart cabin 2 the temperature reads 4 degrees.

 

 

 

We head south on the E6 keeping a careful eye on the skies as we eat up the kilometers

 

 

 

It starts raining … but it’s light and brief and soon the skies start to brighten again..

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As we weave our way down the E6 it’s a constant change of skies, with occasional spots of rain, cloud and blue skies.  The land becomes more agricultural with crops and domesticated livestock, we see horses, cows and sheep.

 

 

 

As we drive into ‎⁨Ranemsletta⁩, ⁨there is a garage by the side of the road with a load of rusting classics outside

 

 

 

And what looks like a pre-renovation version of the car we saw yesterday..

 

 

 

The same village houses a pretty stone built church, rather than the wooden ones elsewhere.

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We drove past this bus stop / mail box centre and had to turn back and photograph it when we realised the Christmas trees were growing out of the grass roof!  Classic.

 

 

 

It must have been cycle race day as we drove past two separate marshalled events.

 

 

 

Farms, lakes, fjords, fields .. the scenery constantly delivers visual delights.

 

 

 

It rains again, this time I get it right ; )

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So, we are 20 minutes away from tonights cabin, and the shit hits the fan!  Engine cuts out and we coast to a stop at the side of the busy E6.  Andy tries to start the car again, it’s turning over but not firing.  We jump out and start to push the car towards a bus lay-by.  Andy sees a guy on a Harley heading in our direction and waves him down, within seconds we have the name of a Harley Garage and the number of the manager.  They are working, even though it’s a Sunday, at a Bike exhibition in Trondheim.  Our first priority is to get the car off the road as we are causing traffic jams, both because of the restricted width of the road, but also because virtually everyone is slowing to take photographs!  The bus lay-by is 100m or so away, but the M3W is easy to push, especially with two of us.  We get to the lay-by and begin diagnostics, can it be fuel I say?  Unlikely say’s Andy as we should have another 80km in the tank.  We take of the cam-belt cover as a cam belt failure is common on the S&S X-wedge engine and we have a spare and the tools to change it.  It’s fine.

A car pulls into the lay-by, to take photographs!  We decide it’s worth trying the fuel option before calling the garage mechanic.  The guy and his wife offer to drive me to the Shell garage 500m up the road to buy petrol and then insist on bringing me back.  Whilst I’m away Andy reinstalls the Cam belt cover and puts the tools away.

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Fuel can in hand, we unstrap the luggage to access the petrol tank cap and put 5 litres of the  best 98 octane in, praying that it is nothing more serious.  We give the petrol pump a prime and the M3W fires up first time!  Panic over – and the whole exercise was less than 30 minutes due to some very helpful people and the close proximity of a petrol station!

We head for the cabin to dump the bags before heading off for dinner at a restaurant that’s been recommended, but that closes at 18:00.

The cabins are unmanned as it’s pre-season and they’ve left the key in the door of number 11 for us.  We empty the car of it’s luggage and the newly acquired spare petrol can.  There is no time to check the facilities, and we are now tired and hungry!

The ‘Pick-Up Café’ is 4.6km from our cabin in Åsen, on the E6.  As we arrive it seems it’s quite a tourist attraction.  Originally a candle shop the guy who owns it collects Americana and has turned it into an American diner.  Andy drives straight under the canopy of a repro vintage garage and we look like part of the show!  We head inside and order burgers as they don’t seem to serve porridge!  Thankfully they are small … ; )

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our seating overlooks the car park so we see a steady stream of people go and photograph the car.  When one lad decides to sit on the luggage rack Andy goes to point out the error of his ways!  Most people are respectful, but some need a shakedown when they over-step the mark.  We finish dinner and take a few snaps ourself as it’s quite a setting.

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We head back to the cabin and make ourselves at home, enjoying the evening light..

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Mileage Day 13: 253 km – Mileage to date: 3109 km

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Day 14 – Åsen to Molde (‎⁨Elnesvågen⁩)

Monday 27 May 2019

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Morning folks!  The alarm was set for 7.00am and neither of us woke till it went off.

A greyish light filters it’s way through the rather see-through curtains so I hop off the top bunk (well more of an aged climbdown) and pull back the curtains…  it’s raining : (

 

 

 

We log on to our favourite weather site, yr.no and check the hourly forecast for Åsen..

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It doesn’t look great, light rain for the rest of the day.  We check the forecast for Molde, our destination for today and where we will spend the next 48 hours in an AirBnB.

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Well, it’s better than here which has to be a good thing, but for sure part of our 4hr:25 drive is going to be wet.  Loading the car in the rain isn’t fun and so we will fortify ourselves with a hot shower, eggs for breakfast and another cup of coffee.  After breakfast we will layer up with the thermal underwear, sweatshirts and waterproofs and face the elements!  Bon courage!

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Andy starts the car to warm the engine, whilst we ftidy the cabin and clean.  His exhaust wrap gives off an impressive steam display as the water evaporates!

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We abandon the sat-nav and I wrap my iPhone in a zip lock bag to take photographs and check the route if we need to.  It’s raining as we leave, but after 5.6 km it stops and shortly afterwards, the roads appear dry.  It’s an opportunity to take some snaps along the route.  Traditional red farms and barns litter the landscape, we see more cows and sheep.  Each bend and turn in the road brings a new skyline and a different colour sky!