[YEAR 7!] Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding...

Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/245.html

Just a quick update with some thoughts from the road: We're still on our march northwards through the fjordlands of the west coast of Norway. And it's still raining. We've only had one day of sun in the last week. The "Come Visit Norway" green fjords/blue sky travel brochure is falling apart like wet tissue paper at the bottom of my tankbag.

The scenery is gorgeous. If only it wasn't so wet!

Even though the pictures don't show it, there is quite a lot of traffic on the roads in Norway, even though we've made a decision to stay off the main interior highway. Most of the license plates we see are Norwegian. We've not seen a lot of Norwegian travelers on our journeys, but now we know that they do travel, but they just like to spend all of their high-value Krones inside their own country. I guess everywhere else outside of Norway is just too cheap for them! :)

There's only a short window of summer that Norwegians are able to enjoy warm weather and despite the rain, there are a lot of motorcyclists on the road braving the inclement weather. My waterproof gloves are starting to lose their waterproofing, but I'm glad I have large handguard spoilers so my gloves don't get too wet when they're hiding behind them. However, when another motorcyclist rides past us and waves, I experience a brief anti-social twinge because lifting my left hand from behind the handguard means exposing it to the rain and getting it wet...

But I'm Canadian and it's only cold water, so I wave politely and get my left hand all soggy. Dammit.

Oh, and I think my right boot is also starting to leak. :(

The Hardanger Bridge is kind of unique because it's the only tunnel-to-tunnel bridge
in the world, both ends of the bridge lead to a tunnel!

The geography afjords us plenty of opportunity to cross small bodies of water. The last few days have taken their toll (literally and figuratively) on us via ferries, bridges and tunnels. Some of these tunnels are quite long, ranging from 3kms to over 10kms! At every tunnel entrance, there is a sign that tells you how long the tunnel is that you're entering. Whenever I see a sign that reads, "6,184 meters", I smile because it gives us a bit of respite from the falling rain, and most times the air in the tunnel is nice and warm. On the longer tunnels, I stick my left glove out in the airflow to try to dry it out.

Oncoming cars that pass us must wonder what I'm doing. But I don't care. My glove is wet, deal with it.

What the heck is this?

At one end of the Hardanger Bridge is the Valavik Tunnel which is 7.5 kms long. It's so long that there is actually a funky traffic roundabout with disco-blue lighting in the middle with exits that will take you to different parts of the country. Imagine taking the wrong exit? It'll be like digging a hole to China and then breaking above ground to find yourself in Mexico! Damn!:)

Another roundabout

But 7.5 kms is nothing for a tunnel in Norway. Just a bit further north, we enter the Lærdal Tunnel and before we enter, I read the sign, "24.5 km" Sweet!? That's a lot of glove-drying time. When tunnels are really long, you also wonder what kind of weather you're going to get on the other side because often the mountains that they're tunneling under stop the clouds and precipitation from getting to the other side, or vice versa.

Caves inside the Lærdal Tunnel

As we get deeper into the Lærdal Tunnel, we approach these huge caverns, also lit up like a discotheque. It turns out that the tunnel is so long that every 6 kms there is a large space to give travelers a visual break from tunnel vision (literally!) And also, if you realize you're tunneling to Mexico instead of China, there's space to turn a vehicle around and go back.

All that's needed now are huge speakers to pump techno music into these caves. And seedy teenagers in the corners peddling E.

My glove is almost dry as we exit the Lærdal Tunnel and... the weather is dry on the other side of the tunnel! Of course it is, after riding for so long underground we're probably in a different time zone as well!

China? Mexico? Nope, still Norway, however still doesn't look anything like in the travel brochures... :(

"It's Norway or the highway!" Glad we are staying off the main interior highway.

When the road climbs higher, it's so cold that ice forms on the lakes up here!

So pretty! We must stop to check it out.

Reminds me so much of Iceland

More Icelandic scenery up here

I should really be saying that Iceland looks like Norway, not the other way around!

Norwegian/Icelandic Turf houses

Turf houses provide good insulation and you can grow potatoes, turnips and carrots in the attic

Okay bye, Iceland, we have to continue on.

Back to the lush greenlands at sea level

In North America, kids open up lemonade stands and sell lemonade for 5 cents.
In Norway, kids open up fruit stands and sell cherries for... €7 ($11 CDN). Yikes.

We're traveling through a region that produces most of Norway's fruit in the summertime. It's akin to the Niagara Region in Canada. This particular area yields 80% of the cherries for the country and everything we've read about them say that these particular Morello dark-red cherries are supposed to be most awesome, and we're here at the peak time in the season as well. Neda loves cherries and fruits and this was on her bucket list for Norway. But looking at the price tag, we had to walk back over to the bikes and have a huddle to decide if we wanted to spend $11 on a carton of cherries...

So... we're not actually buying these cherries to eat. We're going to put them in a glass case and showcase them in the living room of wherever we decide to move to.

Who are we kidding, those cherries disappeared before our butts got back on the bike. They were good. Not sure if they were $11 good, but they were good.

...and then more money paid to the ferrymen to take us to the other side

Riding into Sogndal

And another ferry. And it's raining again... Starting to get a bit repetitive now.

Hey, I found the Norwegian Lake Louise!

And Neda says "hi" from the road

Getting close to our destination for the evening

Updating the blog in our "campsite" in Moskog, our tent just outside and the cottages in the background

There is nobody tenting in the rain when we arrive in Moskog. Everyone has rented little warm and dry cottages in the campsite, but they are four times more expensive than a tent site (which is expensive to begin with!) So when we head into the washroom/kitchen building that the tenters can use, we realize that absolutely nobody comes in here because they all have their own private washrooms and kitchens in their cottages.

So we totally set up inside the communal kitchen just like it was our own living room. We now have our own dry and warm private cottage for a quarter of the cost!

LOL! We are such hobos...


Gene, I understand about riding in the rain. It was on a short ride but when I got home my hands were dyed black from the gloves and I had to empty the water out of my boots. Stop and put all of my rain gear on and be soaked while I did it or just ride home? Either way I would be soaked when I got home. I sold the bike and kept the rain suit. Everybody needs a reflective orange and black rain suit, right?
Carry on.
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Murphy's Law seems to have a special subsection regarding when to put on rain clothes.

Too early and it won't ever rain, and you'll be sweating so much, it'll be as wet inside the suit as if you rode in the rain anyway.
Too late, and... well, you know.
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/246.html

Another rainy day ahead of us. This is not awesome at all. We're continuing our northwards march through the fjords.

We ride by so much water from the fjords at sea level, to the lakes at the tops of the passes
where snow still lies unmelted even in the middle of summer

The conditions are gross and I can't help imagine how beautiful it would look if it was sunny

Neda tackling the serpentine mountain passes, up and over the fingers of land that reach out to the North Sea
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Rivulets of rain and meltwater create waterfalls, small and large, all around us

We approach our first sightseeing spot of the day - Geirangerfjord!

The Geirangerfjord is another one of Norway's most visited tourist sights. People from all around the world come in to see a picture-perfect example of Norway's fjords: snow capped mountains and steep cliff walls leading into a harbour that can be seen from all the roads above. Then a slow descent through multiple switchbacks to finally hit the gift store at the quaint village at the bottom.

Selfie overlooking Geirangerfjord

Guess who we ran into at Geirangerfjord? Dan and Sara! I knew we'd see them again!

Steep cliffs at Geirangerfjord

Lunch at the town of Geiranger

There is a visitor centre in Geiranger right at the harbour of the fjord. Huge cruise ships come in and purge their bowels, dumping their load of tourists out into the town and then just as quickly swallow them up only to defecate them back out again at the next popular destination on the brochures.

Which brings us to lunch.

We are not allowed to eat our own food inside the visitor centre, so while the rich Norwegians order their $10 coffees and $20 pieces of pie, we break out the groceries which we've been lugging since Sweden and huddle outside in the cold and wet to prepare our budget lunch. We flaunt our yummy cucumber and mustard sandwiches through the glass at the Norwegians inside! It looks like our cheap Swedish supplies are running low and we're going to have to replenish them at a Norwegian grocery store soon. Now is a good time to apply for a bank loan.

Each cruise ship carries 2000-3000 people. There must be tens of thousands of people coming in everyday on these cruise ships!

Leaving Geirangerfjord on a staircase of roads, we can see the harbour from the other side

Looks good from this side too!

So dark, wet and gloomy. Gross.
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Just north of Geirangerfjord we take a ferry to get to Linge instead of going the long way around the harbour

Hey this ferry's almost empty! And the sun is slowly peeking out from behind the clouds!

We're taking a lot of ferries to hop between all these fingers of land out in the western coast. It depends on the length, but on average we're paying about 50 krones per bike each ferry crossing, so about $8 CDN each and we're taking at least two ferries a day at the pace that we're going.

At another town further north, we gas up and watch more tourists unloading

You know, for a country that made its fortunes in oil, gasoline prices are pretty high here. The price at the pumps is about $2.50 CDN a liter (I think that's $7.25 USD a gallon). Someone's pocketing some krones here... As we are draining our wallets at the pump, a cruise ship couple approaches us and starts a conversation. They recognized our Ontario license plates because they're from Canada as well! Funny, we are meeting the most Canadians in Norway.

The visitor centre at Trollstigen

We are just crossing off all the tourist sites on the brochure today! Trollstigen is a picturesque mountain road, its steep switchbacks giving a great view of the valley below as you descend past the rushing waters of several large waterfalls. There are many mountain climbs in Norway over the fjords, but the Trollstigen is the most prettiest.

The name Trollstigen means The Troll's Path in English

In Norwegian fairytales, trolls turn to stone in the sunlight and in the dark they spring to life to scare little children.
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We walk down to the overlook to get a good idea of the kind of road that we're going to be traveling down

Sweet! Can't wait to ride this!!!

We're lucky to catch a break as the sun has come out just when we hit the Trollstigen. The mists cling mysteriously to the sides of the steep valley walls as we descend and many motorcyclists go up and down a few times, almost all of them still clad in their rainsuits, just like us! The Trollstigen doesn't disappoint, I love riding so close to the waterfalls and sometimes right through the mists as they hit the rocks below. Here's some onboard footage from the Sena Prism camera, see for yourself:

Trollstigen Mountain Road! Awesome!

Whew, what a road! Like most of the motorists here we did go up and down a couple of times! :)

Our campsite for the night just outside of Andalsnes

The rain is off and on as we reach our campsite. This time there is no cosy kitchen/washroom building that we can take over and we have to wait for the sprinkles to subside before we can put up our tent. Although we're enjoying these terrific rides up and down and over the fjords, it's cold, it's wet, my boots are leaking and everything is so oppresively expensive. I'm sure it'll pass.

If only we could see some sun...