Tuesday, July 21, 1998
We got up early in the morning because it always takes a while to get everything
ready to get back out on the road. We returned the cabin key before the
camping was even open for business and left before anyone else. As we approached
the fork in the road where we could take the seemingly more scenic detour,
we stopped and assessed the situation. It would not be good if any of us
ran out of gas out here. But the map reveals a few small towns along the
road, so we decide to take the detour. It is a nice road with a few lakes
down below. Perfect opportunities to take some pictures.
The detour feels longer than it looked on the map and we start getting nervous
about our fuel situation. But suddenly a tiny little gas station appears
by the road. It is the smallest I have seen in a long long time with a really
old pump, one of those with rolling numbers. The gas station manager is
standing outside waiting for us to finish pumping gas. Maybe she is afraid
we will leave without paying. We all fill up gas. One of us had only vapors
left! This was actually the most expensive gas on the whole trip, but it
was worth it.
The trip goes on.... towards Rjukan.
We are aiming for Rjukan but we still have quite a ways to go. Soon we get
into a rain storm which does not surprise us, the sky has been pretty dark
for a while. The drizzle turns into a heavy down pour, but we keep on going.
We all have Gore-Tex clothing so we think it will be fine. The ability to
see gets worse and worse with all the water spraying and with helmets fogging
up. You do what you can to try and make things bearable. We keep on driving
for a couple of hours and I start feeling the water seeping through here
and there. By my stomach and feet it gets wetter and wetter for every mile,
and with that comes the cold. We are forced to some nasty over takings due
to cars driving incredibly slow. Eventually I have had it with driving in
these conditions, so I speed up and take the lead position and then I turn
off the road at the next gas station. Here I pour all the water out of my
boots and I change some clothes. I had put my cell phone in the wrong pocket,
so it had gotten a complete bath. I remove the battery and hope it will
be alright anyway. It is mid day but dark as in the evening due to all the
thick grey rain clouds. Some of the other travelers look at us and probably
feel sorry for us when they see us (me) standing there changing clothes.
It is good that I also brought some rain gear.
Soon we reach Rjukan. The last few miles the rain dies down and it has stopped
completely as we roll into the little town. It is very pretty and nicely
situated in a valley between high mountains on both sides. There is a peak
called Gausta nearby, but today you can't see it for all the clouds covering
it. Rjukan in known for its involvement in the World War II where the occupying
Germans had a heavy water plant. We eat a wonderful lunch consiting og hamburgers
and fries, like most times on our Norway tours. It is both tasty and pretty
cheap. After our meal we go across the street to a Tourist Information and
reserve a cabin for the coming night. We estimate that it will take us another
5-6 hours to reach that camping, but then we do not take even more rain
and even fog into account. The fog is horribly thick and really slows us
down. Sometimes you can only see the rear light of the motorcycle infront
of you and you have no clue about the road ahead. When it is the most foggy,
we are going down a serpentine road and it takes you by surprise when the
road suddelny turns 180 degrees.
On our way down from Gausta.
But before we get inte the rain and the fog, we take the road over the mountain
and touch the Gausta peak. We pass a building where hikers start their hike
to the top of Gausta. It would have been fun to actually climb up all the
way to the top, but we have no time for that. We have to live off our hike
to Galdhöpiggen last year. After the Gasuta road at 1200 meters above
sea level it went down hill for quite a while. And then we hit all that
rain and fog. It is wonderful to get into our next cabin where we can finally
dry some of our wet clothes. It alsmost becomes hot and moist like a sauna
in there with the heaters on full heat and all the wet dripping clothes
hanging everywhere. The rain keeps pouring down all night long so we are
lucky the roof is made out of moss. That makes it less noisy. Maybe that
is the reason for having these moss roofs, but what do I know?
Our second cabin. A welcome sight during all the rain.