Monday, July 20, 1998

This is a travel account from a motorcycle trip to Norway, that three of my friends and I did in July of 1998. We all had offroad style motorcycles, except for Lars who was driving a Yamaha SRX6, a kind of road bike from -86 with a 600cc one cylinder engine. I (Claes) was driving a BMW F650, Niklas a Suzuki DR 650RSE and Stefan a Yamaha XTZ 660 Ténéré. Our bikes were also one cylinder machines, so we were all pretty evenly matched. I loaded my bike in Landvetter outside of Gothenburg in the morning and drove about 100 km's to meet up with the others in Vedum, about 10 km's from Vara close to the road E20. I was somewhat late, so our time of departure was two hours later than planned, but the weather was still good, so it didn't matter much (I think).

Before departure, we posed for some photographs as we have done all other years before going to Norway. After that we were finally off taking the closest route possible to the road E6. There we encounter fairly heavy traffic at times. Sometimes we build up pretty big distances between the four of us, so we decide to take it a bit slower with less over takings. Lars on the SRX is leading the pack since he has to stop every now and then because of a back problem. A few miles before Svinesund we stop for a well needed break and to eat our packed lunch. I had forgotten to pack any myself, so
Click for larger photo
 Niklas, Lars and Claes getting ready to get
 back on the road after a sandwich break.
I was kindly given sandwiches and something to drink from the others. That was good because I was at this point rather hungry. During our first Norway trip in 1997, we stopped at Svinesund and walked out on the bridge over the fjord to take some pictures. But this time we simply drove on like your regular commuter. A bit later on, Lars who was with us for the first time, asked if we never stopped as we crossed the border bridge. Then we had to tell him that we sure did that the first year.

The E6 road continues into Norway but the road signs are a bit different from Sweden's, and the middle lines are painted yellow (like in the US). It is not too fun to be driving along straight and congested roads like these. We have stop quite often to strech our legs and try to calm down after seeing more stupid over-takings than we care to see. We were behind a bus a while before the border and the driver was quite incredible, and I mean that in a not so positive way. He passed other vehicles while he had oncoming traffic and he forced cars, RV's and trucks alike out on the shoulder. It is hard to believe the disrespect to other people's lives this driver showed. And his vehicle was not just any vehicle, it was a large bus! You can only hope it did not have any passengers.

After a few more miles we reached the city of Moss. We needed to get some Norwegian money, so we located an ATM. We drove around for a while before we found one so we nearly went around town three times. But that was ok, it is a pretty neat little town. With Norwegian currency in our pockets, we drove down to the ferry terminal and awaited a ferry that would take us across the Oslo fjord to Horten. This is a very nice short cut because you don't have to go all the way up and around the fjord. Instead you can take a well deserved break and get something to eat on the ferry. Or you can eat while you wait. There is a tiny little fast-food type place just by the ferry lines. The crossing is just 35 NOK and takes about an hour. Right by the ferry terminal in Horten we found a Tourist Information. There we booked a cabin for the coming night, a few hours drive away. It took a while before we could get going again, because it took them some time to call around before they found us a cabin where we expected to end up by the end of the day. Meanwhile we almost melted in our motorcycle gear, because it was pretty warm still. When we finally had our cabin reserved, we drove less than a mile before we realized we had to find a place to buy some dinner.

Cabin #1
 Our first sleeping quarters..  
After this the roads got less and less crowded and more and more fun to drive. I have to mention that the road standard in Norway is really good. I can't remember ever having an incident with potholes or other nasty things. The deeper we get into the country the more hilly the landscape becomes, and with that also comes more turns in the road, just the way we like it! Before we knew it, we ran into our first place to stay for the night. A nice little camping with a river running by making a cozy sound. Behind our cabin we see an other group of motorcyclists and we can tell they are also from Sweden by looking at their license plates. After a while they came over to talk and we find out that they live really close to us in Sweden. They are on their way back home so they tell us about where they have been and what they have seen. They had visited an old silver mine not far away from the camping which we thought would be fun to see. Before we go to sleep we take a look at the map and plan a route for the coming day. We are rather short on gas but we still decide to take a little detour that looks promising and just hope that there will be a gas station somewhere along that road.