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Old 20 Nov 2008
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: southampton
Posts: 27
Uk - France - Belgium - Netherlands - Germany - Denmark - Sweden - Norway - Uk

Day 1

“Shit”
The bike stalls.
“****”
The bike tumbles onto its side.
Only 100 yards into the trip and I’v already dropped the bike at a junction.
Its 6 in the morning, been up since 5. I am tired and very nervous. That’s my excuse anyways.
I battle to lift the 300kg bike back upright. I just about manage. My riding is terrible. I cannot relax, and I cannot adjust to the extra weight. But as I hit the M3 things start to come together. Clear blue sky. Beautiful, I hope it lasts. I have a 3 hour stint on the motorway to get to Dover ahead of me. Not very exciting. Still as I make my way up the M3. A commute I do every week in the car. I already feel the difference of being on the bike. I am noticing more. The lush trees by the side of the road, the early morning mist, the blue sky, the amazing sunrise dissipating the mist, I feel the fresh air. I do this rout ever week but I am noticing details I have never noticed before. Traffic gets heavy, I filter through. God its nice to be back on two wheels. Three hour pass, I get to Dover… The Shit hole of England. Rows of 70s styled buildings, deserted streets. Everything is covered in dark suit from the forever passing lorries.
Passport control, Ticket control, I park the bike in my lane. First time I am off the saddle in three hours.
My KTM clothing was not delivered on time so I am still riding in my BMW RALLYE 2 suite.
Another biker spots me and comes over:
“Did you get fired from BMW or something?”
I meet him again on board later and we chat for the whole crossing. He is from Ireland and to be honest, I did not really understand what he was saying in most part of the conversation.
After debarking I head straight to Calais. Probably the Shit hole of Europe to be honest.
I set at a café and plan my day. I decide to ride to Bruges, the mediaeval capital of Europe. I set off again in the ever increasing heat and ride through the industrial wasteland that is the north of France. Chimneys and wind turbines fill the horizon. Coming out of Calais, I take a wrong turn and end up riding down an amazing road chasing a river. It takes an hour before I decide to head in the right direction again. But this is what this trip is about. No plans, no rules, just riding and exploring.
I fight against the wind into Belgium. I observe the Belgium countryside… Flat fields. As far as the eye can see. The horizon only broken by church steeples., and criss crossed by power lines. Not forgetting the odd depressed cow, bored of looking at a constantly unchanging environment.
I ride into Bruges. Onto the narrow cobbled streets. I meander my way through the town and park at the main place. The town is packed with tourists. I find a café and tuck into a whole deep friend chicken and fries as I sit under a parasol admiring the truly ancient architecture and clock tower. I set off back onto the motorway, jammed packed with lorries from all European nationalities.
The border town of Antwerp. The nightmare begins. I am stuck in traffic looking for a hotel. The heat rising from the engine is unbearable. I’m exhausted, I need to rest. I cant go on much longer. I slowly make my way down the main strip. I see hotels, but I am confused by the traffic system. Finally I find a holiday inn. It takes me a couple of attempts to find the entrance, but I get there. Finally I can rest. Shit there full! I have to keep searching. I loose the main road after I take a wrong turn. I ride around aimlessly for around an hour before I find the city centre again. Purely by luck! I need a drink. My hand will soon cramp up because of clutch use. Then its game over man. The heat is unbearable. I enter another hotel. No vacancies. Back on with the search. I consider riding to Rotterdam, but its just to far. It would not be safe to ride in this state. I lost my temper with this shitty town hours ago. Who would want to stay in a dump like this. I find another hotel. “Fully booked” is the answer. I cant go on. I stop at a shop and buy a couple of cans to re-hydrate. In the corner of my eye, In a street out of the way I see a hotel sign. I gear up and ride straight to it. I am greeted by a charming and extremely friendly elderly lady.
“Any rooms?”
“Only doubles, no singles”
“I don’t care Il take a double”
I barge into my room, , unload my bag and head straight for the shower. I stand under the cold water for a good 30 min. Damn that feels good. The room is lovely and I have a double bed. Now I sit in bed, writing this, eating Jaffa cakes and drinking ice tea. Drifting in and out of sleep I am looking forward to tomorrows riding. I am especially looking forward to finally getting out of civilisation.

Day 2

Iv just finished my Club sandwich that was delivered to me by the pretty room service girl, and now I am soaking in a warm bath. I arrived in this Holiday Inn in Hamburg a couple of hours ago after a very tough day. I set off this morning after a short night. It took me ages to fall asleep as I was worried about leaving my bike outside on the street. I skipped breakfast to save time. I was determined to complete the long motorway slog so that the riding could really start. I sped along the flat and continuously straight motorway towards Rotterdam. The Netherlands country seemed to be completely criss crossed by concrete motorways and railway lines. I seem to have missed entirely the windmills and poppy fields “as seen on TV”. (I did see three windmills). Convoys of trucks, as far as the eye can see role along the motorway network, with hardly a car in sight. I love trucks and I indulge in a bit of truck spotting to help with the monotony of motorway riding.
“Wow” Check out that new Scania”
I also do a bit of Helmet Karaoke to pass the time. In your helmet, no one can hear you sing..
The approach into Rotterdam is impressive. Across a steel bridge, and then modern, beautifully architecture corporate high rise towers as far as the eye can see. After Rotterdam I head east towards Germany. The wasteland of motorways and railroads start to give way to a very flat uninspiring countryside. I stop at a petrol station for a sandwich. The heat is strong. I am starting to struggle. I inspect the map. “Shit”. I am not making the progress I was expecting. Still 100s of miles to go and I am already exhausted and getting aches and pains. I need to make it to Hamburg at least. I am determined. 400kms to go. I am going to do it in one stint. I set off. I struggle with the monotony. My Ipod is out of battery and I have nothing to think about but my pains, tiredness and the damn heat. I can feel the heat from the engine battering me. Every time I pass a truck I am hit by the unbearable heat from there engines. Its not good, I have to stop. I park up on a lorry park. I take off as many layers as I can. Everything. So when I put my RALLYE 2 jacket back on, I am wearing nothing underneath. I open all the vents built into the jacket and only zip it up half way. 220km to go. I set off again, I keep going, mile after mile. The German country side is beautiful. But I can only tell you that from memories of previous trips. I am concentrating all I can on the road ahead, passing lorries, watching out for cars wanting to overtake me. I sit further back in my seat to try to relieve the pain in my knees and my back side. My throttle hand is killing me. I think it is a left over pain from when I fractured it. I get to a traffic jam, I filter through and get to the front. The cause of the jam? A military truck has lost a tyre and is running on rims.
Any speeds lower then 60 is agony because of the heat. I watch the countdown markers go by. 200km, 100km, I start to think I may make it to Denmark… I finally get to Hamburg and see the Holiday Inn and ride straight past it. I can keep going, I know I can. But I cant. Within a 100 meters I do a U turn and park up at the hotel. In my room I feel the fresh air con on my face. Its bliss. I take off my jacket, take a out of the mini-bar and sit on a chair looking out over the canal. I just sit there. I can feel the beads of sweat dripping down my back. The air con feels great. I drink two whole bottles of water. Right time to order room service. I’m happy the bulk of the motorway is done. Tomorrow is the first non-motorway section, then a final section of motorway, and no more motorways until I get back to England. Let the riding really begin.

Day 3

Iv taken a hasty retreat into the tent before the millions of creepy crawlies had the chance to eat me alive. What a marathon of a day. Its 11pm, although you would have never guessed as the sun has yet to fully set. Iv just set up my camp after struggling up a very beaten path, nearly getting the adventure stuck. Not the best of camps this. No water, no food, but it will have to do for now. I will be more prepared tomorrow. I’m finally in Sweden after hours of riding.
Struggling through the traffic and rubbish direction system in Hamburg I reached Denmark at around lunchtime. Finally a non-motorway section. And what section! It is strange. Denmark is in many ways……………………………….......... ...................................

Day 4

My apologies. You may have noticed I did not finish writing about yesterday. Well I was just to damn tired. So lets catch up with yesterday.
I was saying Denmark was strange in many ways. Just like Belgium, flat, never ending fields, not much to say about it. However there was something different about it. There was something… Something that made it more beautiful, more likable. It was a place where I wanted to be. Everything was neater, for lack of better word. The villages were not littered with barns made of steel. The view of the countryside not spoiled by warehouses. Fields gold in colour, uninterrupted by barbed wires. No mud tracks, no abandoned farmed vehicles, no railway tracks, no random piles of concrete. As I headed east towards Sweden the countryside changed to forests, rolling hills, breathtaking river crossings. Then I landed in Sweden. It left me speechless. The vastness of it all. Fields as far as the eye could see. Picturesque little villages, roads so wide, trucks twice the size of UK ones rumbling down the roads. Volvos everywhere. It really looked, and felt like a different world. Every house, every village built so far apart from each other. You really had a sensation of vastness.
I left the motorway, into the back roads to set up camp. As I rode into the sunset I just couldn’t believe I was there. That I was part of this moment. A moment I had only dreamed of before.

Right back to today. Day 4. I have once again set up camp. But I am cheating slightly. I am in a campsite, and have just finished a hot meal from the restaurant. My first hot meal in two days. I’m not really sure what I had. I didn’t understand the menu, so I just asked the waitress to get me something nice. And nice it was. I was so tired I just couldn’t go on. I did sleep last night, but woke up often. Mostly due to loud animal noise I had never heard before. I set off early. I needed fuel and there simply didn’t seem to be any stations around so I stopped and asked an elderly lady. Instructions weren’t so clear. She didn’t speak English. Another lovely lady told me to follow her and she would take me there. Brilliant. I needed that. I rode all day. Cleared the motorway section early and loved the fast beautiful A roads that followed. I noticed a large amount of classic American cars. Most of them broken down on the side of the road, but still, these roads were perfect for them. The further north I rode the less houses I saw, and the fields soon gave way to forests, lakes , rivers and mountains. The best way to describe Sweden is to compare it to a train set. Everything, and I mean everything seems to have been placed in a way so that it looks good., and fits in perfectly with what is next to it. Every house, every village, every tree, every lake, every pebble has been placed in a way so that the overall effect looks amazing. You can look at a house and it looks stunning. Zoom out look at the village and it looks stunning. Zoom out, look at the whole view it looks stunning. Now zoom back in, look at one tree it looks stunning.
I finished the day on a beautiful road. Zig Zagging around the wooded mountains, over huge rivers and little streams. A great riding road too, but I am to tired to make the most of it. That is one of the reasons why I decide to stop. I want to wake up fresh and truly enjoy the road in the morning. I am just a few km away from the Norwegian border. I only have three days to get to Northkapp. It will be a real challenge. I am doubting it will be achievable. At least today I wasn’t struggling against the wind like yesterday. However the heat is still proving to be a huge problem. I am hoping the further north I go, the day will cool.

Day 5

I am sitting on a small sandy beach inches away from the water, looking at the mountains in the distance. The sound of the seagulls and wavelets is soothing, the gentle chilled breeze is calming and the sand between my toes is relaxing. I sit here, having just made a difficult decision. I have to say goodbye to Nordkapp before even getting there. It is clear the distance to be covered is just too great. I simply do not have enough days left. I am exhausted (As I am typing this I realise I keep saying I am exhausted every entry …. But I really was…. And It was getting worse every day 27/07/08)
Riding 8 hours a day I simply cannot go on at this pace. Tomorrow will be my last day heading north. One final push to reach the arctic circle. Then I will start heading back to Bergen to catch the ship home.
I set off early this morning and finally entered Norway. After years of dreaming and 4 difficult days of pain, heat and miles after miles of riding. Was it worth it? YES! It sure was. The beauty of Norway is outstanding. If Sweden was a hand made train set, Norway has a beauty only nature could create. The grandeur of it all! The man made parts were also irresistible. The lovely wooden houses, The towns built along one main high street, just like the ones you see in American movies. Oh! And the roads! Meandering there way over and around the mountains, following rivers, crossing small streams and giant lakes. Wide sweeping bends. The best day riding I have ever had and probably ever will. Until my return of course.
The heat has dramatically come down. In fact snow was still present on some of the bear mountain sides. Tonight I am at another campsite. I find myself to tired after a days riding to find a wild place. The days of riding are catching up with me. Yipee is now covered in dirt, insects and I have now dropped her numerous times. Yet she rests at night beside my tent, eagerly waiting for tomorrow. By far the best companion I could have asked for..
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Old 20 Nov 2008
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: southampton
Posts: 27
Day 6

Well my journey north is at an end. After 6 days of riding , covering 3000 miles, I did not reach my goal Nordkapp, but I have crossed the Arctic Circle. An achievement I am very proud of. It has been a very rewarding end. The road remained extremely enjoyable all day and the scenery breathtaking. The turquoise blue Fjords, the white waterfalls, the snow on the mountain tops.. That’s right, it is mid July and I walked in snow..
Each bend of the road I rode I was taken aback by the scenery beyond it. Clearly I was not the only one to think so. The E6 was a bike magnet. Every mile I waved as I passed other bikers on there BMW GSS’, and other touring bikes. All having an adventure of their own, most in groups, others like me, doing it alone.
It is a strange feeling being alone so far from home. As I woke this morning to the sound of rain on my tent canopy and thunder echoing in the valley I felt great. Top of the world. Now like every evening I write this I feel alone and down, wishing for the people back home. But as I set off tomorrow I will feel on top of the world again.
Although my journey north is at an end, my trip is not over yet. It will take me three days of riding to reach Bergen. The city I will catch a boat to England from. Those three days of riding are very daunting. Since the trip began distances have changed. I do not know if it is the conditions of the roads or me but I remember when a 100km meant I was getting close to a town. Now a 100km feels like a very long way. My goal tomorrow is to set off from this crowded tourist campsite, head back through the desolate landscape over the Arctic Circle and arrive by nightfall to the town of Tronheim. To a nice Hotel room maybe.
P.S: It is cold here. I know I have been complaining about the heat for the whole trip, but I am now riding with as many layers as possible, winter gloves and heated grips. But now I am toasting warm in my sleeping bag. Just what I need after a long day…. But I need a way.. Its cold out. Mmm right, where is that empty bottle…

Day 7

Well this is the start of a new journey. The journey home. I want to make it a quick one. I am drained physically and mentally. I don’t know how much further I can ride. Not even a nights sleep helps me recover. Distances seem longer. The pains start sooner, The mistakes more frequent. Half the time I don’t even know how to be in the right gear anymore. Today was a long stint. Hopefully the last. It was a fast one too. Just retracing the steps from yesterday so nothing to see. Fast speeds, often probably more then it was safe. Overtaking everyone. No bikes were keeping up with me today. Leaning my way into the bends, powering my way out.. 80 - 90 -100, then braking hard for the next bend. For 6 hours! Its less fun than it sounds. Obviously I did not have time to observe anything today apart from the petrol stations which I have seen so much of over the last week. Nice places actually. Relaxing, quite, nice food,. Other bikers napping on the grass. Not the Chav magnets we get in England.
Two things I have observed over the last few days in Norway are train stations and skiing. No, the two are not related. First the train stations. Small wooden buildings in the style of the old west, with a small clock tower. Often by a river with snow topped mountains in the background. Straight out of a Disney film.
The second thing is skiing. The Norwegian get to ski pretty much all year. You would think that for the couple of month were they cant they would find something else to do, like cycling. Plenty do, the roads are perfect for that. I have seen numerous cyclists, luggage, tent etc on the back. But still there are some that have to ski. The number of people I have seen on specially designed wheeled skies riding along the pavement! (Skiing with no snow. I must say im not fully convinced by that concept! 28/07/08)
Anyways I cheat a bit! This was actually written tomorrow….. I fell asleep pretty much straight away once the tent was up… But now is tomorrow. Or actually its two weeks ago by the time you read this, but on I go to write day 8.

Day 8

Iv just realised I left my rucksack at campsite reception couple of hours ago. Its still there. I hope no one had a look inside. It still has a bottle of piss in there. Really got to get rid of that thing. On the walk back to my camp I spot a couple of German bikers on their BMW GS. Two German guys . One has the best moustache I have ever seen! We chat about my trip, there trip, the bikes, panniers from Touratech. It was nice, Just because I ride a bike and he rides a bike we can just chat. Him, like the other bikers I have spoken to in the last few days are impressed by my trip. Then when I tell them how long I did it in, there speechless. Anyways back to today’s riding.
Left this morning in good spirit. If all goes well this is the last day of heavy riding. I decide to take it slow. I am covering new ground today. I want to take it in! I thought the journey was over when I hit the Arctic Circle. This was just the ride home. Boy, was I wrong! Today I was blessed with the best riding and scenery I have ever seen! Twisty mountain roads, hairpins, fast sections, slow sections, uphill, downhill, and the country! I thought the further south I went, the more inhabited the place would be, but no. It was in fact the least populated place Iv ever been too. Miles and miles of forests in deep valleys., with long thin waterfalls from the melting ice 1km up. Then up mountains to vast expenses of nothing but rocks and ice. Not a human being in site. I suddenly have to stop to let a sheep and lam crossing the road. There was a warning sign about just that about 1km down the road. Temperatures changing dramatically As I travel high up and back down again, crossing over small wooden bridges and imposing steel ones to pass vast lacks and fast rivers. Then there was the 28km long tunnel. Like a weird dream, watching the lights above, a very hypnotic feeling. Judging speeds and distances almost impossible as all visual clues are removed.
But the beauty and riding conditions can only keep me going for so long.
“Bergen 260km”
“Shit” I don’t think I can make it. Iv had it! Everything hurts, I’m tired. So damned tired. Iv reached the end of what I can ride. Iv lost all clutch and throttle control. But I got to keep going. Yipee is with me. A twist of the throttle lets me know she will keep going. Iv reached a point where I’m to tired to rest. I get stuck behind a bus! “COME ONE”! I make a dodgy overtake, I get away with it. I keep riding. The sky is grey. Please don’t rain now! Finally Iv done it! Iv reached Bergen. I see a campsite. it’s a good one. Its over! No more riding. Not like the last 8 days anyways. Now I sit at camp writing this. Iv had a coke and some food. I’m tired its 20.30. Today was the longest day of riding. Not many miles, but very twisty slow roads. Yet Yipee is right in front of me. She has taken it all in her stride. She is ready to go on.
I have three days left before my ship arrives at Bergen harbour, so I can be a tourist. Visit the town, relax, eat, who knows. But best of all I can ride.. Ride some more!
“What?” I hear you say. “I thought you had enough”. Well yes I have. But things are different now. I am not moving camp anymore. All the gear has come off the bike. Looking mean, looking for some fun. She has regained her speed, her agility and I regain her control. She has lost all the bulging panniers and tank bag and she now looks slick and powerful once again. She means business. Everyone that walks past is noticing her. Its not just some big bike anymore. But a mean looking animal unlike anyone has seen before. So lets go find some roads tomorrow. Only for a couple of hours mind. I got nowhere to go. No targets. I’m just riding for fun. Lets go show those Norwegian bikers what a pair me and 1000cc of beautifully designed horsepower makes.

Day 8 continued.

As I am lying flat on my back on the damp grass watching the clouds go by. The sun is starting to disappear. I’m getting chilly, but I am to relaxed to move. The odd mosquito landing on my sunburnt nose. I think back about my trip. Its only been 8 days. Just two days ago feels like a lifetime away. Day one is like a vague childhood memory. it’s a very strange feeling. Something that happened only a week ago already seems a lifetime away. What will it feel like when I get home? Rain drops on my forehead. Time to head in.

Day 9

I open my eyes. Look at my phone. 8.00am. Wow! What a lie in. But its ok, no rush today, No miles to cover. No target to meet, no place to be. Awesome! I stick my head out of the tent. Bright sunshine once again! Perfect. Today I plan to visit Bergen. Apparently a world renown city. But the city guide book highlights the leprosy museum and knitting industry museum as some of its attractions.
Actually Bergen turned out to be just lovely. Its mixture of old and new architecture blends in perfectly with each other to create a nice open city with the charm of small cobbled streets. The mountain backdrop adds to the city’s beauty. Although copping very well in keeping to its roots, Bergen is a major stop for cruise ships and so is inundated with tourists everyday. I hate tourists! They shouldn’t be allowed anywhere. They take away all of a place originality. For example if I go to the fish market I want to see Norwegians buying fish from Norwegian fishermen. Not Americans, Italians, Brits buying fridge magnets and “I love Norway” T-shirts. But the Norwegian life style is still present. Although very busy, it is a very relaxed and trendy city. It is also a very musical city. Artists performing at numerous locations in public places, and guitarists working on there next song in the parks and Cafes. Walk off the main streets however and Bergen starts to show some problems more common with modern cities. Immigrants, people with obvious learning difficulties and physical disabilities, walking the streets aimlessly begging. A young girl around 10 asks me for some change. In some strange manner these people remain in the small side streets where nobody goes. Never to be seen by the millions of tourists who visit. A city’s problems swept away under a rug. Still, don’t get me wrong. These things can be seen in every cities of the world, to a much greater extent. But they are out in the open, part of everyday, not confined to dark alleys.
(back in the main areas 29/07/08) Ice cream in hand I sit by a fountain. Taking in the sun. I decide to head back to camp. With the bike unloaded I blip the throttle in a tunnel. 40 - 60 - 100 -110... I chuckle inside my helmet.
Now I lay on my back. In the grass in front of my tent. It is mid afternoon and getting hot. Just what I needed after this journey. I feel recharged. Ready to ride again. I look at the map. Where can I go from here? I want to set up camp somewhere else. But its all over. Just two days to go before the ship arrives. There is nowhere to go.

Day 10

A massive bumble Bee has just landed on my pen. I lift it up to my nose. It looks just like the ones in the Winnie the pooh books. It flies off, So I can keep writing this. Not much to write today. Went for a short ride. Not a great rout however. To many damn tunnels. Had a good view of a couple of Fjords. Stopped over for what had to be the world’s biggest burger. Except it wasn’t. This was just the medium size. There was one even bigger. And since then to be honest I have just been sleeping outside my tent in the sunshine, sipping on ice tea. I have a strong suspension that tomorrow, my last day here will pretty much be the same. Then it’s a 26 hour boat trip from Bergen to Newcastle. And the last ride of the trip from Newcastle to Southampton. My last blog entry will be on the 12th because im pretty sure that nobody wants to hear about Newcastle, Southampton and the 6 hour motorway journey in between. I can already feel in my stomach Mum’s dinner that will be waiting for me and the water and soap from the long hot bath. Then its back to reality as I get up at 5 to head for work. Its strange I cant wait to get home, however today I have already planned my next trip. I cant wait for that feeling again. That rush I get when I leave on the first day of a trip. The rush I get every morning, knowing I am so far from home, doing something I love, and I cant wait for that feeling of coming home again.
So what is my next trip you ask? Well it will be a circumnavigation of Iceland. A much shorter journey mileage wise. But with much colder temperatures and very difficult road conditions it will be a much more challenging and lengthy journey, and before you ask, the date is set for April 2009.
Now its time for the fun part of the evening. The campsite starts to fill up very quickly, and I sit and watch as people try to beat each other to the best spots like dogs over a bone.
Actually before I leave you for the day. I also managed to fix the visor on my helmet that would not open and close. With a pen lid, a coin and some electrical tape. Its got real smooth action now….

Day 11

There is something I love about the tapping sound of rain on the outer lining of a tent. Feel so close to the rain yet I am nice and dry as I look outside. The first “day rain” I have seen since this trip began. I feel bad for the couple I sat with yesterday and enjoyed a coffee. On a 6 month cycling trip I promised them it would be good riding weather for them today.. Oopps, well as long as it stops raining when I pack up camp in a few hours. I have been in the same spot for three days now and it will be nice to be moving again. All be it, very slowly.. Across an ocean. And it will be nice to be in a proper bed, with a proper shower in my private cabin for the 26 hour crossing, I hope it is a stormy crossing, I love that. Oh, and joy of joys I have music again for the first time since day 2 of this trip. After the solar panel charger I had turned out to be a total piece of crap that couldn’t charge shit!
But I found a net café in town and was able to charge my ipod. Still two days before I am home so I am rationing the listening.
I have just realised I have no idea what time it is. I have had no real concept of time since I landed in France and I know the time on my phone is pretty much out. So I called myself and left a message. Called my answer phone and it told me what time the message was received. Magic.. Now to get a few hours sleep before I set off.
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Old 20 Nov 2008
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Day 12

Well the penultimate day, and the final journal entry. Time to say our goodbyes. I have only been on the road for 13 days. But by the time I get home I will have sat on the bike for 4000 miles, passed through 8 countries, crossed the Arctic Circle, ridden in temperatures from 35 to -1 and spent the night at 10 different locations. My face is sunburnt. My lips bleed whenever I smile. Parts of my skin has been rubbed raw on my hands and knees. I have bites all over my body and I feel so damn tired. But I am happy. Very happy. I could not have whished for a better trip. Of course some things went wrong. The total miscalculation of distances and costs. There was a lot of low points, especially on the first two days, in the heat and traffic fumes.
Norway was by far the most amazing place I have visited., and I am glad I took the effort to get there. Although I have seen the whole of the country I have missed out on a lot of there way of life and activities the country has to offer. I feel I will have to return in the future. I wish to return and learn what make Norwegians live so far away from civilisation and so close to nature 100s of miles away from major cities.
I am glad to go home, but I will miss the trip. As I sit in my cabin I am well aware that as I fall asleep tonight I will be slowly creeping away from Norway and edging towards home.
Finally I must mention the 990. The real star of the trip. Never tired, never weary, always ready. Admired by all who set eyes upon it, even photographed by some. It made the journey almost feel easy. I don’t feel I could have done it with another bike. A true masterpiece of engineering and soul. A true travelling companion.
But anyways how is the penultimate day going? Well pretty damn good. Well.. It started a bit iffy. Unable to get any sleep at all I got up and packed a wet tent back into the bike. A 30 min ride to the docks. My last ride in Norway. And what a beautiful ride. The sun low in the sky, mist rising from the still water of the lacks, fresh air biting my face. Followed by a three hour wait in the rain to board. I ride onto the boat. I tie Yippie down. (Amongst around 50 other bikes. A real scramble of bikers 05/08/08). I head for my cabin…. A bed! A real bed with a mattress! And a duvet! And a real pillow! Not a pair of dirty trousers that smell of unleaded! But a real pillow! And a shower! With shower gel, and a clean towel. I cant wait for tonight to take that shower and slip into bed. . I unload my gear and head for the café. Warm croissants and freshly squeezed orange juice. Perfect. Then the rest of the day was pretty much spent in a deck chair watching Norway disappear in the distance. Now it is time for bed. When I wake up I will be a couple of hours away from England and the final ride home. So goodnight and goodbye.

Day 13 (06/08/08)

Well Iv been home for a few weeks now. I really miss being on the road. As I sit in my truck outside the hospital waiting to go mobile again after dropping off a patient, I open my notebook, pick a day at random from my tripe and read the journal entry, bringing back all the memories of that day. A great way to get you through a difficult day.
People usually take photos of there trips. I’m not a big fan of photos. Unless you are a professional with £1000s of equipment you will not be able to capture the moment. You will not be able to capture the emotions, the feelings, the smells. A photo shows a beautiful view. But how did that view make you feel? What where you thinking at the time? How many times have you looked at a photo and thought. “Now why the hell did I take a photo of that?” and binned it. Well maybe it was something simple that made you feel good at a low point… With the photo now in a bin, it is a feeling forgotten for ever.
That is why I choose to write instead of take photos. I really recommend it. Whether it is an adventure or a holiday. Just write it up at the end of each day. After years have passed, you will read through it again and remember your trip like it was yesterday. You will close your eyes and imagine yourself there all over again… You cant do that with photos.
I hope you enjoyed reading my journal. Originally I only posted it for close friends and family members, but it turns out it got quite a cult following haha…
Originally hand written of course. I had to type it up before posting it. I decided to post it completely un-edited. Grammar and spelling mistakes included. It is not the best writing Iv ever done, but I thought it would be wrong to re-write it. It represents exactly what I was feeling at the time, what was important to me. I may create a fully edited version in the future but I don’t know.. I don’t have that much time.

The last day of the trip was pretty good actually. The boat ride was a great end to the trip. It needled its way through fjords to reward me with some of the most beautiful views of the whole trip. Met a few bikers and spent hours chatting. I couldn’t help laugh at a large group of manly Norwegian bikers on a trip to England. When asked where they were going. “Heartbeat country” was the answer. Apparently it is a very popular show over there..
Then after a night sleeping like a log I sat outside to a beautiful sunshine reflecting off the water. As expected the ride from Newcastle to Southampton was…. Ermmm…. Not much to say about that. Actually I tell a lie. The riding was boring but the countryside was actually quite nice.. Yes.. Quite nice…..
And that’s it. No more to write. I hope I didn’t bore you to much. I hope I inspired you to write, and I hope I inspired you to try something different for your next travel. Instead of hotels, holiday resorts and friends. Go test your limits.. You’ll be surprise what you can do, and how it makes you feel.
It’s back to racing for me now. Starting in October with the Cubrian rally. I’m sure I will post some write up if your interested. Other wise see you all in April for my next trip…. Circumnavigation of Iceland…
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Old 22 Nov 2008
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Hey, well done.........great read. It's also nice to read about something that's close to home and can just be done, albeit you've still got to plan and prep etc. We overlook what's on our own doorsteps far too often and as a result we miss out. In fact, my brother's wife is from Mongolia and she's always saying " Why do you find Mongolia so fascinating when you've got all of this right here?". It's the going somewhere different I suppose.
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Old 8 Dec 2008
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Looks like a great ride! You've inspired me. Maybe I need to inspect Canada this Spring.
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great write up
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Old 17 Feb 2011
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Arctic Rider

Brilliant write up. Great insight into what to expect. My trip begins June 2012 and your experiences will help me no end . Im lucky that I have a lot more time to complete my trip.17 countries, thro Arctic Norway , home thro Eastern europe . I am raising cash for breast cancer on the way with web site Solo Bike Tour for Cancer with Julians Restaurant, Hoylake . But I also intend to keep a written dairy and maybe compile a regioal cookery book on the way. Thanks again for sharing your story.
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