(15) From Bodo and beyond
Wednesday 27th June
Woke up at campsite, had a leisurely breakfast. Washing and tent was dry, updated blog. We left at 4pm, said goodbye to Silver but were sure we would see him again further south. Soon after leaving Bodo, we came across some road works and in true Tim/Sharon fashion ignored the sign which re-directed us up a hill. After 100m we realised this was potentially a disastrous decision as we were wedged between a metal barrier and a steep drop. We tried to navigate ourselves along and pushing the bikes seemed to work for a few hundred metres. We eventually gave up and took our panniers off the bikes and lifted them back onto the busy highway much to the amusement of the drivers.
After riding for about an hour, we saw 2 male elks (moose) on the edge of some woodland. Fantastic to see them in the wild, they were magnificent animals. We ycled on and found a superb camp spot by the water in a great wooded area. We couldn’t believe our luck as we thought our free camp spots wouldn’t be so good after leaving the Lofoten islands. We watched some fishermen while we cooked and ate our dinner before putting our heads down for the night.
Another great spot south of Bodo
Thursday 28th June
Got up at 8am. Really hot day. Tim managed to pick up a couple of sticks to use as bikes stands as the ones we had, had given up (and were rubbish). We were cycling along and a guy waved hello – Tim stopped immediately as he noticed he had a chain saw. Over the metal road barrier, the kind Norwegian cut the sticks to length for us – wishing us a safe trip.
Bike maintenance in the Norwegian outback
Had a wasa stop in a rest area and asked a Swiss couple for some water for a cuppa as there was none there. Tim whittled the 2 support sticks and by the time he’d finished it looked like he’d shredded a tree. We were just packing up when Silver and his friend Geoffrey arrived! We headed on sure that they would pass us again. We stopped to speak to a Norwegian cyclist when we saw the French guys coming up the hill. With cries of ‘here come the French’ we headed off down the hill at top speed. They caught us up again on a hill next to waterfall and we rode with them down a great downhill to a lunch spot at a campsite. We were jealous of their lunch which consisted of salami, cheese and fresh bread – we had noodles -again. Tim showed off our news bikes stands – it was their idea which we had copied ; ) They both looked suitably impressed. We decided to catch the ferry at Ornes that day – we were told that the last one was leaving at 6.30 so we pushed on. Great riding – gently undulating and little wind. Great to chat with them and have a laugh. We arrived at Ornes to catch the ferry only to discover that the last one had departed at 5.30. We decided to camp on a beach a few kms back the way we came. As we were still in the Arctic circle we decided to have a swim in the sea. It was chilly but refreshing. We had to use rocks to keep the pegs in. Rode 58 miles.
Our bikes on the beach
Friday 29th June
Woke up with water dripping from inside of the fly sheet. Bit of a nightmare trying to pack the tent up as the sand was getting everywhere – even though it was stunning, not a great place to camp if you want to remain free of sand and salt. Rode a mile to the ferry, first one of 3 that day. It was a really hot day, not a cloud in the sky. We had lunch after the 2nd ferry – again jealous of Silver and Geoffrey’s lunch of salami and cheese. You can guess what we had! The 3rd ferry passed the Arctic circle, we unfortunately couldn’t do this by road as we weren’t allowed through a 7km tunnel that passed under a huge glacier.
Got off the ferry ready to look for a camp spot but were nearly out of fuel so headed off on a 4km round trip to go to a shop and petrol station. The road descended down to the sea again which was frustrating knowing we had to climb back to the junction. Got back onto our road with heavy legs. Found it difficult to find somewhere to camp and by this time it had started raining. We ended up camping on a wide grassy verge between the road and a fjord, Goeff by this point had taken a dislike to the seagulls and as there was a small outcrop of rock just off the shore full of seagulls we named it Geoff Island. Rode 51 miles plus 3 ferries.
Saturday 30th June
We woke up and made breakfast, got told off by a farmer for camping on his verge. We were pleased he couldn’t speak much English as he was clearly annoyed. We said we were sorry in English in our best Norwegian accent and packed up. Headed off for about 30 miles with great scenery and passed through a few tunnels.
Tim riding next to the fjord
It was then time to say goodbye to the French guys after lunch. Had really enjoyed riding with them and it was sad to head in opposite directions although we had the tail wind ; )
We met two lovely Norwegian girls on bikes 50m later and rode with them for a while but decided to ride on as we had a big hill to climb, shopping to do and a ferry to catch. We climbed up to 360m from sea level, with the heat and flies increasing. We descended down but were slowed up by road works : ( We arrived in the town and Sharon did some food shopping. While she was in there, Tim was interviewed by a young friendly Norwegian guy and his teacher as he wanted to be a journalist. The heavens opened and soon after the 2 Norwegian girls arrived laughing at getting so soaked. We chatted to them for a while before heading for the ferry.
After waiting a while the ferry arrived and we boarded. After leaving the ferry Tim realised he had had scored a hat trick by leaving his helmet on the bench at the other end. He went over to speak to the ferryman who wanted to charge him again for the trip to pick it up but offered to look for it. We decided to cook dinner while we waited for the ferry to return.
On the arrival of the ferry the ferry guy came out holding some else’s helmet , feeling rubbish he then told Tim that two cyclist had three helmets with them and hadn’t left the boat yet ,while Tim waited the two Norwegian girls arrived out of the dark depths of the ferry holding Tim’s helmet , life is good again we said our thank yous and headed off to find somewhere to camp. Because of the rain everything was wet so it took a while to find a place, after about an hour we found a spot just off the road. It looked ok but revealed loads of midges we put the tent up and climbed in trying not to get bitten – it was a good job we had cooked earlier as it would have been a nightmare with all those bugs.
Sunday 1st July
Sharon woke first with the midges at the door but the tent and ground sheet were wet with the rain in the night. After packing up we headed off to Sandnessjoen where we had a cuppa and breakfast. Nothing was open as it was Sunday. We met a couple that we had met when crossing the Arctic circle called Svine and Gleusa. They suggested going via an island called Vega when we get to the ferry when we get to Tjotta 20 miles ride away. We also met the Norwegian girls again who were also doing the same route. We left town and found the road was great with not many hills. We stopped on the way to look at an old church before riding onto the ferry port.
We met a Norwegian couple at the side of the road and rode with them for a while to the port. When we arrived we met Svine and Gleusa and they invited us in to their camper van for tea and sandwiches. We gratefully accepted and spent a lovely hour or so waiting for the ferry whilst chatting about our home and families.
We boarded the ferry and chatted our way through the short journey.
When we arrived at the island it was pouring with rain. Svine and Gleusa drove on to find a suitable camp spot which was about 5 miles away. Tim boldly set up the tent in the rain and we were invited in for dinner and wine ; ) Had a lovely evening with the midges tapping at the mess and the rain falling heavily outside, grateful for their hospitality and company. We shared many stories about our respective travels as the wine flowed. Climbing back into the tent felt damp and a frog jumped out from under the ground sheet! Needless to say we slept well.
Monday 2nd July
Woke to heavy rain on the tent. After 8.30 it had stopped and we got our things together and joined Svine and Gleusa in their van for breakfast. We finished packing our things and put our panniers in their van to go on a tour of the island together. The weather improved and we had a lovely ride – the bikes felt very different without all our kit! We treated everyone to an ice cream on the way back. We said our goodbyes and headed off to the ferry at 2.45pm to continue south. We arrived at Horn to be met by a strong headwind and both felt really tired. We stopped in Bronnoysund to collect some food supplies and made the decision to take a rest day at Torghatten where there was a camp site and a hole in the rock which Alf and Siv had recommended we visit. The ride to the camp site which was 6 miles, felt a lot further as we had really tired legs. We finally arrived and found the camp site to be really expensive. No choice but to stay and enjoy having time off the bikes. We aired our sleeping bags before having a much needed shower and watched a film on the computer and ate chocolate as it started to rain.
Tuesday 3rd July
The rain continued to fall so we watched another film in the tent. We washed our clothes and hung them on the goal posts.
Tim scored by finding a really good washing line – what a result!
We moved the tent to a drier place as it was in a lot of water – had a much better spot. Sharon had a sleep and Tim caught up on emails. We tried to watch the Tour de France on the internet but couldn’t – gutted. We went for a walk to the hole in rock which was awesome. The path continued to form a nice loop back to the campsite where we looked at each other with hungry faces and decided to eat tomorrow’s breakfast. With full bellies we went to sleep after having a well-deserved break.
The hole in the rock
Wednesday 4th July
We left campsite and rode back into Bronnoysund.
We did a grocery shop at REMA Sharon’s favourite supermarket as it’s cheap (!) and replace our breakfast.
Sharon living the dream!
We had to ride another 10 miles north to the head south. We eventually were parallel to where we had camped and could see the campsite across the water. We had great weather all day but along with it came a terrible head wind which slowed our progress. We caught a short ferry from Vennesund to Holm and discovered they had the Tour de France on the TV. We were glued – until the adverts came on, and wondered if we could stay on the ferry back and forth until the end of the stage. They still had a while to ride so thought it would be a good number of crossings before the end and we would get rumbled and have to pay extra! We did discover however that Bradley Wiggens was in 2nd place and Mark Cavandish had won a stage!
We managed 58 miles and found a great camp spot which was a rest area so came complete with our own toilets and running water. We had a good wash and ate dinner whilst fighting off the midges.
Sharon preparing dinner with the midges (notice the special headwear)
Thursday 5th July
Packed up and dried the ground sheet in the hot sunshine on the car park floor. We stopped after 8 miles for snacks and to get in the shade. It was an undulating road but with short steep up hills so couldn’t get into a rhythm – add to this a strong head wind and hot sunshine and it was pretty hard going.
We rode past many nice waterfalls
After 20 miles we stopped again for wasas and shade only to find a shop about 200m round the corner!! With bread on special and ice creams in the freezer we had a short break an restocked supplies. We rode on to find a beautiful waterfall where we stopped for lunch. Sharon had a sleep while Tim froze his feet off in the water.
Sharon relaxing after a hard morning at the office
By the time we had packed everything away the temperature had fallen and the road became easier.
Scenic views along the way
We had a few nice descents into a town and treated ourselves to a carton of apple juice and picked up cereal for the next morning. Sharon found Tim taking photos of Cowburt riding a quad bike….
We went on and find a flat farm field – went to ask the farmer if we could camp – he said no problem. We found a good spot only to find that the midges were terrible. We managed to cook but they were driving us mad!! We had to eat our dinner in the tent which was really hot – we felt trapped!! Sharon laughed, watching Tim running around the field flaying his arms whilst cleaning his teeth. It sounded like it was raining but it was the midges trying to get in – we must have smelt delicious to them : )
Friday 6th July
Woke up to a cooler day, the midges were stuck to the fly sheet and the inner porch was littered with dead ones stuck to the fabric. The live ones weren’t so bad but we decided to ride along the rode a bit to find a nicer breakfast stop. Found a bench, made breakfast and a cuppa. We were thrilled to find we had a tailwind.
We descended into Namsos and found a REMA : ) Picked up water and had lunch. We asked about a library to use the internet and it turned out we’d been sat around the corner from it. The libraries in Norway usually have free internet access so we checked our emails and had a cuppa before heading on. As we headed out of town we stopped to say hello to a cycle tourist. Odd was Norwegian and didn’t speak any English. As our Norwegian is not fluent yet (!) we had a great conversation using mime and our Lonely Planet dictionary. It turned out Odd was from near Oslo and had cycled from home and was heading to Nordkapp – he was 71! Tim told him that he was 72 but I don’t think Odd believed him – he did find Tim’s sense of humour highly amusing however!
Odd (71) and Tim (72)
We stopped in a town and decided to have tea before riding on to make the most of the tail wind. The road was lovely – we were riding alongside a fjord with cliffs up to our right. The landscape was beautiful which helped us keep peddling. We rode 66 miles which was our longest day to date – it shows what a difference a tail wind makes! Found a ‘just about’ suitable camp spot on the side of the rode and fell to sleep.
Saturday 7th July
Woke up in our camp spot off the side of the road – the trees clinging to the cliffs on one side and a fjord on the other. Feeling hot and no sign of the midges going away, we rode a mile to a shop and had breakfast outside on a bench. We didn’t pick up any supplies as we thought there would be more shops further along the road. We continued riding on stunning roads with the wind on our backs.
After 30 miles and no sign of a shop we stopped to chat to 2 friendly Norwegian ladies and went on to find water. We approached a house where the guy gave us water and told us there wasn’t another shop for 20 miles. As the following day was a Sunday where the shops are closed law, we were slightly concerned as we were running low on food. We stopped for noodles and a dip in the river as it was 30 degrees. Tim put his head fly net (a very valuable piece of our equipment due to the midges) on a rock and watched in horror as it started floating down the river. With Tim in pursuit with bare feet – Sharon watched on, highly amused. Hat (if you can call it that) number 4 was nearly a goner.
The beautiful scenery made the climbing feel worth it
We continued on and headed up a steep climb. We reached the top then descended a bit, climbed again then descended again. This continued time after time. We were pleased to stop to chat to a German couple who were riding a cool purple tandem from Trondheim to Tromso.
We warned them against touching the Tromso palm. They told us it was only an hour’s ride to the ferry to Trondheim which ran late into the evening so we decided to do this. There would also be shops open there. We were at 180m and thought we would get there a lot quicker than an hour. By the fifth ascent, we finally ‘bonked’ – a sporting term for running out of energy – and ate the remainder of our bread and chocolate spread. It’s amazing how much chocolate spread you can fit onto a small piece of bread. We climbed the last of the hills before a long steep descent to where it levelled off and followed the coast, where we could see the ferry coming in. Unsure if we could make it to the ferry we rode fast, working together to draught each other. We turned the final corner to see the ferry mooring up and rode past the waiting vehicles straight onto the ferry which was free to cyclists – even better! We enjoyed our victory, knowing that there was a campsite just off the ferry. We found out that the nearest shop was 6 miles away. Tim took the panniers off his bike and whilst Sharon set up camp, Tim armed with his wallet, a list from Sharon ; ) and hunger pains rode into town with a strong tail wind. He caught up the other cyclists that were on the ferry and one of them showed him where the shop was. Tim picked up everything on the list plus crisps and chocolate and headed back with a heavy bag and headwind. The camp was ready and kettle boiled so we ate a hearty feast and went to bed with a full food bag, full bellies and clean bodies on the outskirts of Trondheim a day early. We had ridden a total of 1,319 miles to date from Nordkapp.
To be continued……..