Hi Conrod and Motordude,
Sounds a great idea, the North Cape trip. I tried to do it myself thirty years ago, in a Bedford CA van with extra seats.
There were six of us, we crossed from Ramsgate, then through France, Belgium, Holand, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and finally, Norway. It cost us £40 each for the five weeks we were away and that was for green card, all the ferry crossings, camping, food, and fuel. Fuel, diesel, was 10pence a gallon in Denmark, though I expect it might have gone up just a bit since(!) We filled up the van and two jerry cans in Denmark though we weren't supposed to and that helped with the fuel costs a lot. The Hovercraft from Ramsgate to Calais was £10 because, ater taking the bumpers off the van we were in the same fare bracket as a Mini- I kid you not!
Anyway, we didn't manage to get all the way to Nordkap, we had a wheel bearing go and we only got as far as Bodo. The nearest Bedford dealer was in Andalsnes and they let me do the work on the van myself, they lent me all the special tools and let me use their hydraulic press to get the old bearing off. I'd never used such a monster before, the bearing just would not budge until I finally put on all my weight on the lever, and the bearing released its grip with a bang like a rifle-shot, it scared the hell out of me, my first thought was that I'd broken the press, I didn't know whether to laugh, piss, shit or cry. If you're a traveller in a bit of bother it's astonishing how nice people everywhere can be.
Anyhow, I found it extremely difficult to find out about Norway before going there for the first time, and I didn't know anybody that had been there. (No internet or HUBB then!) It bothered me that I didn't know what weather to expect, the thing was, we would be going well up into the Arctic. As it turned out, We had warm weather all the way, (July/Aug) it was 80 Degrees Far or 26 C in Bodo. Hardly typical Arctic weather we thought, but, then, the sun was shining for 24hours in the day so we were very pleased with that.
TAKE PLENTY OF INSECT REPELLENT, or else the little buggers will bleed you dry. Most times I ate my meals standing in the smoke from the camp fire it was that desperate. I remember my mate Roger climbing a tree to eat his meal to get away from them, don't remember if that worked, though.
As you'll be coming back at tourist speed, you will not be missing the fjords, well, they are unmissable if you're going via Bergen, after all. I went to Norway five times with the van in the seventies and used to go and see the Jostedal glacier up the valley from Olden (or could it have been Loen? they're near to each other) I've got some pictures taken over the years and there's a dramatic difference over the period in the size of the glacier. In the first couple of years the glacier is massive, it comes down to the lake, and the last one shows it having receded, and hanging high above the meltwater lake. Sure looked like global warming to me. Frightening.
Have a look at the old road out of Aurland if it's still open, (it goes past a hotel that looks like Bavarian schloss) but be prepared to have the wits frightened out of you! Spectacular.
I've pretty obviously rambled in my reply, all I was really was going to do was to say that we pretty well always had warm weather, though one trip was wet a lot of the time, perhaps global warming has had an effect over the years since?? Either way, I still love Norway, and I hope my ramblings have been of interest.
Motordude-would you happen to know which glacier I'm on about, and whether it's receded any further?
[This message has been edited by John Roberts (edited 06 July 2004).]