Dash4Dosh – day 12 – Åndalsnes to Flåm

Starting Location: Åndalsnes

Ending Location: Flåm

Total Distance Traveled (including this day): 4963km 

Bike Comfort Factor (1-10) :4

“Tired” Factor (1-10) :8

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In every trip there is at least one thing that stands out.  If you are lucky there are a few.  In our trip, there were lots.  Most of them happened this day.  In short, consider this day a biker’s dream.

We woke up later than usual (about 9am).  At this point I hinted that the bike will be inserted into Gregg after the tent poles for keeping us awake last night.  Roy was good enough to get us coins for the showers.  You need 10Krone coins.  These get you 2 minutes of hot running water.  Of course I thought the clock would start when you started the tap.

I was wrong.  Insert coin, see countdown starting, curse and try to get undressed and into the shower.  Wash quickly.  You know the time has run out when the water turns polar ice cold. Lovely.

After the “shower” we packed up and headed on our first trip of the day.  There was a MC club meet (Motorcycle Club) near the Troll pass.  We decided to pay a visit.  As ever, we were made feel most welcome.  This is a bunch of folks you would typically want to cross the street to avoid.  10am and drinking.  Loud, obnoxious etc.     Arvid told them what we were doing, they wouldn’t take any money to enter and gave us patches/stickers and made us feel most welcome.  We wandered around looking at bikes, scenery, trikes, scenery, and just simply scenery.  Apparently when the MC club leaves, you would barely know they were there.  

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We wandered around the hundreds of bikes of various ages and shapes and sizes.  But then, out of all things, Gregg’s dream was fulfilled by seeing his dream vehicle.

A fucking ford mondeo.

Gregg had been on a “Top Gear” hunt since getting to Europe.  Being a huge fan on the TV show, he was trying to see the cars that appear in it all the time which are not available in the USA.  A mondeo was top of the list. I spotted one and had the camera ready when pointing it out.  Folks, this is a very happy Gregg (although somewhat disappointed when he saw the car for what is was, which I found most entertaining).

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Then, it was time to leave.  And on we went to the Troll Pass.  An infamous road at the best of times.   A narrow road rising up a mountain, hairpin bends with waterfalls to one side and sheer drops on the other.  Not to mention also caravans, cars and every other type of tourist going up and down it.  Was it twisty?  Well, this was the view from Tom Tom.

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The reality is that from a biker perspective, it was a *very* slow road due to the traffic and sheer narrowness of the turns.  We went slow and simply enjoyed the views, even stopping half way up to take photos.

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 At the top, there is a tourist shop, so we bought our tat and made a plan of where next to go.    We *could* do the same road back down, but Arvid suggested we try heading over the mountain and south via Geiranger.  So we stayed high on the mountain and headed southeast to the fjord.  We got to the edge of the Fjord about 30 minutes later and could look down and see the inlet.  Note the cruise ship.

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To get around the fjord, you follow the road, downhill.  It was perfect biking architecture.  Dry, empty and very very twisty but wide enough to take at a good pace.  A panic filled screamfest of fun few minutes later and we were at ground level and stopping to empty our boots…  The town is very touristy, so we ploughed on to the next place to eat.  This took us back up the mountain along the fjord and back into snow (I swear we were in and out of the snow line 6 times this day) and eventually at this random restaurant in the snow, miles from everywhere.  Obviously built for tour buses, it was empty so we ate.   Afterwards heading southwest along the 55 until we got to Lom.  Noted for one of the last remaining Stave Churches, we took some pictures.

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It was approaching 5pm already.  It had been a long day, but Arvid had a few more boxes to tick.  Roy was bored with the pace into Lom (there was traffic and many of us were in group riding mode) so he and Arvid went ahead to the next meetup.  We agreed to go on  the 55 to the Turtagro hotel and meet there.  The 55 at this point is not the best road in the world, with unpaved parts and monumental twists.   Gregg and Chris were getting faster and faster so we upped our game to a few shards below “nutter” mode.  By the time we met Arvid and Roy, they could hear us long before seeing us (The benefit of never going higher than 3rd gear).  Taking a short break, comments like “I think I pee’d myself” and “we’re alive!” were liberally added to the manic laughter and nerves.  Excellent!.

 But of course, it wasn’t ending there.  Arvid had another trick up his sleve.  The quickest way to Flåm was by leaving the 55 and riding the Tindevegen Road (“peak road”).  You know when Arvid is warning about the road, that it’s’ gonna get interesting.  This is a private road over the mountain range, therefore has no obligation for safety signs, lights or typical road-warnings.    All there is is snow poles on either side of this anorexic twist lane.  And you get to pay for the honour of doing this, half way at the top of the snowy mountain pass.

They went ahead, we followed.    You *need* to be awake on this road, on a pushbike, car or motorbike.  It is smooth(ish), fast, bendy and almost empty.  The pace was brilliant.  The scenery is stunning.   At the half way point, Arvid was there to make sure that our credit cards were ok on the toll bridge (automated because *nobody* is around).

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 It was freezing. We were sweating.    The second half bit was downhill, but apparently much narrower and shorter.  Arvid and Roy went on, but then Gregg moved ahead of me to take lead.  What followed was about 20 minutes of  hairpin, 180 degree turns downhill with Gregg in front, me about 2 metres behind him and Chris behind me.    There was no time for  Gregg to check mirrors, but apparently all he could hear was my IXIL exhaust crawling up his arse.  An American had discovered corners!  We got down the bottom just behind Arvid and Roy with a combination of exhilaration, wild joy and the desire to be the Pope and kiss the tarmac.  Gregg’s GoPro was on for the trip, so when I get time I will publish a video.  It was already 9pm.  We had another 120 KM to go to Flåm so we set off.

Again, we kept the straight line pace very fast.  Averaging 80mph or higher (even in a 18km long tunnel).  Chris was doing 100Mph overtakes in a tunnel on a bend. Hilarious!   We made it to a camp site for 10pm.  No cabins, so tent setup time began.  We got setup, apologised to our bikes for the day (my tyres were starting to look a tad old) and 4 of us headed to a local micro-brewery for  beers.  Gregg and Arvid are big beer fans.  Chris doesn’t drink much but makes us laugh.  I had two pints of beer and felt shitfaced.  Time for bed.  Collapsed by midnight after one hell of a day.

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