Dash4Dosh – day 11 – Hell to Åndalsnes

Starting Location: Hell

Ending Location: Åndalsnes

Total Distance Traveled (including this day): 4470km approx

Bike Comfort Factor (1-10) :7

“Tired” Factor (1-10) :4

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Day 11 started early.  Chris and I rode back to the “Hell” garage to try to find postcards “from hell”.  I had promised a number of sponsors postcards.  It is amazing the see the difference between Norway and say… most of the rest of the 1st world.  In other places this would have been a theme park!.  Here, we found one rack selling limited postcards in a garage and that was it.

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So, we bought a load of postcards and stamds, rode back to the campsite (Roy and Chris had a cabin again) and got ourselves ready to head on for the day.  Now Arvid was going to be our guide.   He  wanted to get to know his new (and stunning) VFR.  He took a look at my tyres and mentioned about the obvious motorway “wear and tear”.  “We need to get some corners into them” he hinted.  So, corners it would be.

We started on the E6, heading southwest for about 30 minutes, then turned off to a pass that Arvid knew.  The next 60 minutes were a blur of speed and twisties, hair pin bends and narrow roads.  Roy could now progress at the pace he wanted with Arvid and I stuck between that group and the Chris/Gregg couple at the rear.

Now for a slightly sycophantic moment with regards to bike riding.  I can watch a good bike rider all day.  Its not about speed (it rarely is).  It is about control, pace in bends, position, awareness and grace.  There are people I can watch all day riding bikes.  My brother and Sean Cull are just two that spring to mind.  Arvid joined that group instantly.    I don’t even pretend to have that pace, nor do I want to try  all the time.  My chops, so to speak have gone up over the past few years, but this was a different class.   Additionally, Arvid didn’t like to ride for hours.  He puts 60 minutes of “no straight lines” riding in, then pulls in and has coffee.  No 3 hour slogs which was a very welcome relief.    This made things a lot easier for Gregg (naked bike) and Chris (not great over 70mph bike) and slowly over the next few days, their pace on B-roads steadily improved.  Everyone in the group took criticism and encouragement well with relation to skills.  The different styles were apparent, but all riders were of a good standard.

The second half of the day was something special.    We headed west to the coast and rode the Atlantic Road pass in Norway.  *This* is amazing.  The Norwegians had taken their “we don’t do straight roads” and applied it to bridges alongside rises and dips that felt like you were on a rollercoaster.  There we stopped again for coffee and quite a lot of photos.

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Even this road was new for Arvid.  The scenery around felt very “Atlantic”.  Just like west coast of Ireland or Scotland.  As we could see throughout the day, the difference in the landscape by heading a further south was more apparent.  Onwards south with one quick ferry to bypass Langfjorden Fjord  and then southeast to Åndalsnes.  At this point, we were very near  Trollstigen, but it was getting late, so time to find a place to camp.  First stop was a shop to buy food for the night.  Although Gregg had not noticed yet, his bike picked up some adornments.  Payback, as they say, is a bitch.  Luckily they did not stock toilet brushes as that was next on the list.

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We were told about a motorcycle club meetup happening nearby, so decided to pay a visit the next morning.  This was the view from the campsite.  Seriously, photos (especially ones taken by me) do not do it justice.

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There were no cabins available, so Roy and Gregg had to camp.  Gregg again bunked in with Chris (he was dumb enough to bring a 3-man tent!)  We ate, had one beer each and then retired.  I was not in my sleeping bag more than 5 minutes before that lullaby of snoring by the American began, followed by mutterings of bad language from Chris.  Arvid hinted that the next day would be something special.  He was right.

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