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Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Michael Jordan
enjoying a meal at sunset,
Zangskar Valley, India



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  #691  
Old 3 Oct 2015
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Neda hanging out with the dandelions


Catching a breather in the middle of the Norwegian wilderness

We are running a very fast pace with Daniel and Sara! Much faster than we are used to. Before we met them it was like we were walking beside a railroad and now it's like we've grabbed onto the back of a fast moving train as it whizzes past us!


More Icelandic-style scenery


I have a million pictures from this ride, so difficult to pick just a few for the blog


There are hundreds of these tiny lakes, the rain and the meltwater trapped in the wells of rocky terrain in Southern Norway
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  #692  
Old 3 Oct 2015
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Nature-Girl Neda is totally enjoying herself!


Gorgeous scenery!


Conference call

Would have been nice to link up all our comunicators, but since we're all using different brands, every now and then we stop to have a face-to-face "conference call" to figure out where to go next. Well, at least those guys do, I'm just the staff photographer...


Lysebotn Harbour

There's a tourist restaurant at the top of Lysebotn Harbour. We went in to warm up and to see how expensive the food was. Holy crap. €6 for a coffee. That's $10 CDN. Holy crap. We left feeling very poor. On the way out we met some Swedish tourists and we all commiserated about how expensive Norway was. Okay, if the Swedish feel poor as well, then I don't feel so bad. $10 for a coffee. Holy crap!


Lysevegen Road leading down to Lysebotn Harbour. This is going to be fun!


Lysevegen Road: In just 8.9 short kms, you've got 32 hairpins and a vertical drop of 840m! Yeah, baby!!!

Yeah, the Count is a bit wrong because we had already done a few switchbacks before I thought to myself, "Hey... this would make a really cool video..." Love our Sena Prism camera, it makes shooting on the fly so simple!


I found an aerial view shot of the Lysevegen road on the Internet! This is what it looks like from the sky!

Remember the "Carpal" Tunnel? It's that huge drop where you don't see any hairpins because they're hidden underground. It doesn't look like it in the video, but it was friggin' steep! We were basically engine braking the whole way down.

Man, if the rest of Norway is going to be this awesome, I'm gonna explode!!!
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  #693  
Old 6 Oct 2015
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Great post. I love your humour! We will always have pillow gate. Hi from near Avignon. Sara
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  #694  
Old 9 Oct 2015
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/243.html



At Lysebotn Harbour, we have to decide whether to ride for a couple more hours to our intended destination for the night or to camp out here. Although the riding days are long and we are in no danger of running out of daylight, the clouds are getting very dark and threatening rain, and because we've already ridden many hours, we decide to stay here overnight and then do a short run tomorrow.


Then we see the campsite and we know we're making the right decision. Nice!

The rain is imminent now and it's a mad dash to get the tents up just as the first drops of rain are falling on our heads. Then it's time to reward ourselves with a hot meal!


Isn't it good? Norwegian food.

Actually, not Norwegian food. It's food that we've brought in from Sweden. One great benefit of traveling with other people is that you can pool your food and camping recipes together to try new stuff! We dragged a picnic table under the awning of the washroom building at the campsite and had ourselves a feast! Livin' La Vida Hobo!


World-class view at Lysebotn Harbour. Shame it's so rainy here.

It rains 2 out of 3 days in Lysebotn at this time of year, so the weather is not too unexpected. This whole area of Western Norway gets a lot of precipitation because the warm air from the North Sea hits the steep mountains of the fjordlands and as it is forced upwards, it cools, releasing all of its moisture as rainfall. Brekke, a few hours north of here gets 3500mm of rain a year. Three and a half meters of rain! That's almost 10 cms of rain a day. Crazy!


Peering out the tent in the morning to see if it's going to be a good riding day or not

One nice side effect of all this precipitation is that there are waterfalls everywhere on the high cliff walls of the Lysefjorden. This large one just outside our tent provided a nice white-noise effect that lulled us to sleep last night.
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  #695  
Old 9 Oct 2015
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Drinking water is the cheapest thing we could find in Norway


Trying to find patches of sun in the dark skies above us

With the clouds slowly dissipating, we try to get our tents as dry as possible before packing them in. No success at all. It's such a gross feeling packing a wet tent away. It's like putting on wet underwear. Ugh.


Got our wet underwear packed and ready to head out for the day! Bye Lysebotn!


Back on the Canadian Express through Southern Norway! Choo choo!


With all the rain here, everything that can cling to the rocky terrain is so lush and green

We're hanging onto the back of Sara and Daniel's convoy by our fingernails. We can't keep up at with the pace that they're running, so we just let them go ahead and we'll meet them later on in the campsite. This allows us to dawdle at our own pace, and lets me stop and take some pictures too.
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  #696  
Old 9 Oct 2015
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This reminds me *SO* much of Iceland!


Sheep crossing. Getting hungry...


Dinner bell?


Rains create so many waterfalls along the steep cliffs around us. Very pretty, but it'd be nice to have some dry weather

It just keeps on raining without any break, the water bouncing off my tank bag and coming up underneath my helmet. I think my left boot is developing a leak, the tip of my sock feels a bit wet, but I'm not sure if it's just cold or damp. This is not the time to have our waterproof gear fail on us!


Ugh, so much rain!

It occurred to me that for the last two years of our trip we have been followed by rains. But this time it's different. It feels as if we've followed the RideDOT.com rains back to their home and we're on its turf right now. Ugh.
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  #697  
Old 9 Oct 2015
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Ah, the home stretch. We catch the ferry from Lauvvik and it should let us off close to our campsite


Guess who we run into on the ferry? Sara and Daniel! We caught up to them!


Thankfully the ferry staff let us park under this awning. It is *so* wet!

I walked around the ferry as it took us across to the other side of Lysebotn Harbour while Neda paid the ferryman (before he got us to the other side!) They're very organized, walking around to all the vehicles with their wireless credit-card machines, collecting everyone's payment in the short hop from Lauvvik to Oanes.

The toes of my left foot squished in a tiny pool at the tip of my no-so-waterproof-anymore boot. Gross.


Just another half-hour of rain till we reach our campsite

We all pull into the Preikestolen Campsite in the pouring rain. All we want to do is get warm and dry, so we pile inside the camping lodge watching the waterworks outside. My left sock has completely wicked up the water inside the boot and is completely soaked up to my calf and the boot is waterlogged. Ugh. Now we're just waiting, trying to find a small window of time when the rain lets up a little bit to put up our tents, which are also completely soaked in our "dry" bags. Ugh. Camping in the rain sucks.


I hate when people read over my shoulder when I'm blogging.

We've been getting to know Sara and Dan a little bit more over the last few days. Sara is the documenter for their trip, and everytime we find wifi, the two of us are banging out blog entries while Dan and Neda engage in camping gear comparisons/competitions (Isn't it good? Norwegian feud).

I'm a night owl and I'm discovering that Sara is as well. Many times, I'll do my final 2AM run to the washroom before crawling into our tent and I'll see that their tent is softly illuminated from within by laptop light.
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  #698  
Old 9 Oct 2015
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We have to eat outside because we're not allowed to bring our own food in the lodge and everything on the menu is too expensive for us

Why is Norway so expensive? They were actually a very poor country - about 750,000 Norwegians emigrated to the US and Canada from 1825 to 1925 to escape famine, war and poverty. Then they discovered oil in 1969 and have been inflicting famine, economic warfare and poverty onto tourists ever since.


Sara and Neda on the way to Pulpit Rock


Neda, Sara and Daniel do some hiking! Without me! YAY!!!!

One of Norway's most famous sights is Preikestolen, otherwise known as Pulpit Rock. It's a 25x25 metre square outcropping of rock high above the waters of the Lysefjorden and the straight drop is completely unhindered by any railing or safety precaution.

The Pulpit Rock is about a two-hour hike from our campsite. Since I'm suffering from bad allergies (and I hate hiking), I beg off this walk, and I'm so glad Sara and Daniel are hikers so they can keep Neda company.


People do all sorts of crazy things for a picture at Pulpit Rock, but surprisingly,
there has only been one confirmed accidental death here. Lots of suicides though...


About a quarter million people tourists make the trek to Preikestolen annually. It's also a popular place to do BASE jumping.


Neda the Brave, dangling her legs over 600 meters above the waters of Lysefjorden
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  #699  
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Back at camp, we're drying everything out as soon as there is a little bit of sun

Neda's panniers are leaking really badly, just like my left boot, so when the sun comes out, we spread out all of our belongings on the grass around our tent to try to dry them out. Redneck Yard Sale.


We escape Norwegian poverty by eating food smuggled in from Sweden. Thank you, Abba!

Abba, other than being a 70s pop group, is also a brand of canned seafood that we picked up while doing cheap grocery shopping in Sweden. We have developed a liking to salted herring, so our favorite lunchtime meal is herring sandwich. Yum! Other than campsite fees and gas, I don't think we've spent any money in Norway. Can't afford it...

Money, money, money, must be funny, in a rich man's world.
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  #700  
Old 14 Oct 2015
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Updated from Jul 20 2015: The Church of THOR!



We putter around the Preikestolen Campsite, taking our time before leaving. I like that the days are so long up north that we can wake up and start riding anytime we want - which is late! Daniel and Sara are early birds and have left while we are eating breakfast, we'll catch up to them at the next campsite.


First ferry of the day. Get the wallet out, Neda!

The day starts off without rain, so we're very optimistic that we'll get a chance to experience the fabled Norwegian summer that's on all the travel web sites and brochures. You know, the ones that feature all those green-covered fjords towering over impossibly clear blue skies?


We start heading north

There's a route that travels right along the western coastline of Norway through Stavanger. But going that way requires a very long and expensive ferry to get to the next fjord north, so we opt for the inland route instead. Our chosen road curves around a myriad of inlets and lakes. Nice. And very scenic as well!


If you like riding past water, you'll like the west coast of Norway!


If you like riding through tunnels, you'll like the west coast of Norway!
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  #701  
Old 14 Oct 2015
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Stopping for a photo opp


Loving Norway now that we are warm and dry!


Riding carefully, lest I wake up the troll underneath this bridge

Traditionally, Norwegian trolls live in rocks, mountains and caves. Later on, they were associated with landmarks and I think it was the Three Billy Goats Gruff fairytale that was the first account of a troll living underneath a bridge.


When the road rises high enough, you get spectacular views of the inlets below


Roadside flowers bloom in the middle of a Norwegian summer
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  #702  
Old 14 Oct 2015
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These steep cliffs were cut by glaciers!

A fjord is created when glaciers extend to below sea level. The deep grooves they carve into the bedrock underneath are exposed when the glaciers recede and are then filled with seawater creating inlets, channels and fjords. Pretty cool that all of these geological features we're riding around were created during the last ice age 10,000 years ago!








We roll into the campsite at Kinsarvik in the late evening and the sun is still hanging high in the sky. I love traveling in the north!
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  #703  
Old 14 Oct 2015
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Our neighbour Dan sizes up Neda's cooking gear and is deciding whether to start another camping gear comparison showdown or not...

Sara and Daniel have planned a pretty long riding day tomorrow and we've got a different schedule so I think this may be our last evening with them. It's been nice having company for a while and I'm sure we'll run into each other somewhere, sometime! The world seems so small when you're riding around it on a motorcycle!


Raining when we visit Borgund

Well, the good weather lasted all of one day. The rain is back in the morning and the air is cold with mist hugging the sides of the mountains. We ride to our first site of the day, the Borgund Stave church but it's too wet to walk around, so we duck into the visitor's centre to wait out the rain.


Stealing free wifi

The wifi may have been free, but the staff at the visitor's centre were giving us the stinkeye because we had occupied a table for over an hour without buying anything. So we bought some really expensive cake from them. Too ashamed to say how much we paid... Ouch. Norway is expensive!


During a break in the rain, we literally ran out to see the church

Stave churches are built in the middle ages and are made entirely of... Norwegian wood. Isn't it... no, too easy. There used to be a lot of them built all over north-west Europe but today, most of the surviving Stave churches are only in Norway. The Borgund Stave Church was built in the late 1100s and is the most well preserved and authentic stave church.


The church is surrounded by a cemetary
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  #704  
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The wood has been heavily treated with tar which gives it a dark appearance


Christianity? I always thought the Norse religion involved Valhalla, Odin, Thor, Hulk, etc.


Inside the Stave Church


Great detail inside the church. You can see the dragon motif repeated everywhere.

There are runic inscriptions on the wall inside and one reads, "Thor wrote these runes in the evening at the St. Olav's Mass" No kidding!


The cemetery outside Borgund Stave Church
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  #705  
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Dragon motif on the roof pointing off to the sides. Similar to the ones on the bow and stern of their ships


Overlapping tiles of the roof look like the feathers of a black bird


Tombstone in the cemetery
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