Starting Location: Giljastølen
Ending Location: Skudeneshavn
Total Distance Traveled (including this day): 6015km
Bike Comfort Factor (1-10) :6
“Tired” Factor (1-10) :5
Day 15 started with animal noises echoing throughout the cabin. We walked outside to see and hear sheep ambling past us with bells tied around their necks. One of the sheep looked like she was doing the walk of shame. Gregg looked happy. I decided not to query this situation. Our trip today would take us to the southwest coast and the holiday town of Skudeneshavn (Arvid’s home town). But before that, there was a serious ace up the sleeve of Norway. Lysebotn.
The Fjord of Lysebotn lies to the north east of us. The plan originally was to ride to the edge of the Fjord and take the ferry to Forsand. Unfortunately (or actually fortunately!) they ferry was full. So.. “ride there and ride back” was the solution. This meant we were passing by the holiday home en route to our next destination, so we decided to go naked.
Heading NorthEast we headed up toward Sirdal and then north and northwest on FV986 “narrow” road up the mountains. Back over the snow line it got cold quick. For all of us, after riding with all that weight for 2 weeks, the bikes felt, well .. weird. I had to relearn my bike that I was so comfortable with because I wasn’t punishing it with all the gear.
At the very top of the mountain pass, we stopped to take photos and build our own little stone mounds.
Moving onwards, we headed down the side of the mountain pass to get to the famous bit of the road. Arvid instructed us to stop at the cafe at the top of the Fjord so we could take photos before taking the route down to the waterline. Roy was in front and didn’t see the cafe so continued to plummet downwards. Arvid followed him. Gregg, Chris and I stopped to wait. Some funniness ensued.
This was the view from the top of the fjord to the bottom. I stole the picture from dangerousroads.org ‘s review of the route
When we left the cafe, I asked Tom Tom on my iPhone what was ahead. It positively puked.
In under 15 minutes of mind numbing hairpin bends, we were at the bottom. Not only were there hairpin bends, but there were also tunnels with hairpin fucking bends. A slightly buttock clenching moment when having to slam on in a dark tunnel because you need to do a very tight left. We got to the bottom and took a photo of the cafe at the top where we were a few minutes before. (look up and to the left). And yes, that is a waterfall going all the way down.
Insert obligatory stunning Fjord photo here…. really.
It was time to head back the way we came, so we go to do the road again, except uphill! Arvid and Roy went ahead while Gregg, Chris and I followed. Getting stuck behind German campervans on the narrow passes did not help. Also oncoming German cars on narrow roads that took that secret middle lane left me inches from a wing mirror at one point (Apologies to all Germans including my friends from Germany. I love you all, but there was a common theme in Norway to do with inconsiderate driving. Sorry). We got back to the camp site at about 4pm and now packed up the panniers and started the trip through Stavanger to Skudenshavn. It was very warm and the clouds were dark. This did not bode well for us. After 20 minutes the sky unleashed a downpour combination of heavy rain, thunder, lightening and hailstones. At this point, some fairly obvious elephants on my bike were becoming an issue.
1. – My rear tyre was bald.
2. – My boots were falling apart. After many years of service, this trip, including the constant changes in the weather (extremes of heat followed by cold/snow) were the last straws. Don’t believe me?
3. – My RST all weather gear was no longer all weather. After 5 years of service, the trousers were split on the inside and water was pouring in and down to my boots.
After the rain stopped, we all pulled in and decided now was a good time to put on our rain covers (after the horse had bolted!). We put on the gear and then headed through Stavanger. Which, on a normal day is fine. After this trip it was so alien to be riding in heavy traffic through a city. We hadn’t done it in thousands of miles. And the weather did not help. We muddled through and made the ferrybus from Mortivika to Arsvagen. Arvid was hilarious on this ferry. Simply put, we were to ignore any directions and ride to the front of the ferry and put our wheels against the ramp. This meant that we couldn’t reverse and we were at the front. It worked. We bolted out the other side and rode on. For about 15 minutes following Arvid we headed along a dual carriageway until I saw some commotion behind me. We pulled in to realise that Chris didn’t have time to put on his wet gloves and was riding for 15 minutes bare handed. Uncomfortable and dangerous. Most of us hadn’t noticed and the poor lad’s hands were blue. Unfortunately because we pulled in we had lost Arvid. So, enter sat-nav mode in the rain. I headed towards a Statoil in Arvid’s town. This brought us through a monster tunnel (21km). This, in itself is amazing. The batshit insane part of this was the roundabout in the tunnel. Yes… a roundabout in the tunnel. Not a small one. A full sized dual carriageway roundabout. The video recording on my sportsvue actually picked me up saying “who puts a roundabout in a tunnel while laughing manically”. Anyways, I digress. We made it to the Garage, called Arvid and he guided us to his friend’s house. Hans is part of the local Skudeneshavn motorcycle club and insisted we all stayed in a house that he owned that was vacant. We parked up and then Arvid invited us to dinner his house, where we met the lovely Liv (his partner). They fed us food and beer, and we walked back to our place. A great, welcoming night was had by all. Chris and I took a room. Gregg and Roy the other. Sleep came very quick.