Arctic (Norway)


Watch part 1 of the full version video of the Scandinavian motorcycle adventure

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Watch part 2 of the full version video of the Scandinavian motorcycle adventure

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Watch part 3 of the full version video of the Scandinavian motorcycle adventure

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Watch part 4 of the full version video of the Scandinavian motorcycle adventure

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Watch part 5 of the full version video of the Scandinavian motorcycle adventure

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WATCH PART 6 OF THE FULL VERSION OF THE SCANDINAVIAN MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURE

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https://youtu.be/PJ_wpNn-Y1o

 

Click the link below to see a short teaser video of our amazing trip to the north cape

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIpHpO02i3U

 

North Cape – The Scandinavian Arctic Adventure

MARCH 4th, 2017

About four weeks ago, Kevin, my good friend from Ireland, who I’ve had the pleasure of riding with two years in a row now (Alaska and Ireland), sent me a text and said he’s thinking about riding up to The Arctic Circle again. But this time through Norway and Sweden! Well, long story / short, we’re not thinking about it anymore,  we’re planning and preparing for it now! We’ve got three months to have everything in place because we start riding June 5th, 2017. I’m usually preparing for a trip this big, about a year in advance, so this will be a challenge. But Kevin and I are a lot alike, planning and preparation is half the fun on a trip like this. I have to admit though, Kevin is doing most of the planning!

I’ll fly out of Denver on June 4th and arrive in Dublin the morning of the 5th, where I’ll rent a brand new BMW F700GS from my friends a Celtic Rider, as I did last year for my Ireland tour (click on the Ireland tab to read about that incredible trip).

I’ll then ride up to Derry that afternoon and meet Kevin at his home. We’ll then ride to Belfast, where we will board a ship that night for an overnight ride to Liverpool. We’ll then ride to Harwich on the eastern coast of England and board a boat for another overnight ride to The Hook of Holland.

We’ll then ride through the Netherlands, Germany, then into Denmark where we will catch another overnight boat trip to Bergen, Norway. Yeah, I’m thinking the same thing you are…I’ll find out how sea worthy I am on all of these sea voyages. Hopefully I won’t spend too much time hanging over the rail of these ships!

From Bergen, the fun really starts. We’ll ride north through Norway to the Arctic Circle, then continue north about 650 more miles to the North Cape, the most northerly point on the European continent (truly…”Til the Road Ends)!

From the end of the road at the North cape, we’ll make our way through Finland, where we hope to reach the Russian border, where in a matter of speaking, the road ends again!

As usual, I plan to update the website daily with photos and stories during the trip as internet availability allows me to. And of course, if you happen to be awake in the middle of the night with nothing to do, you can click the Spot Tracking link on the right of this page to track us live. Or, just wait until you get out of bed in the morning to see where we’ve been that  at 4.

DAY ONE – SUNDAY, JUNE 4TH, 2017

A Wet Day!

I landed at Dublin airport over an hour early at 4:15 am…what airline does that? I guess Aer Lingus does. I got picked up by Celtic Rider right on time. It started raining around 6:30 am, on and off throughout the morning. Loading the bike took about three hours, just like last year. The Celtic Rider guys are so helpful! We spent a lot of time just shooting the breeze.

It took me about 4 hours to ride up to Kevin’s house. The rain really came down in the last hour of the ride. I was treated to another wonderful Shepperds Pie cooked by Keven’s wife Kathleen…once again…and excellent, once again! By the time we left, the rain had stopped.

Kevin and I hit the road to Belfast to catch the boat to Liverpool. Before we left, Kevin asked me…” should I wear my rain gear or not”? The immediate answer from me was…”YES”!!! A few minutes down the road….it poured.

It was a nice overnight ferry ride to Liverpool. Around 2 am, the boat, (which is quite large) began doing some big time rocking back and forth, which woke me up. But I had no evidence of sea sickness! I’m ready to become a sailor now!

On board the ship

DAY TWO – What’s With This Weather?

There is a major storm rolling across Europe right now with heavy rains, extremely strong winds (50 to 60 miles per hour…and gusts even stronger), plus very cool temperatures. And it’s following us (or we’re following it) on our route to Norway! It’s followed us now for two days in a row and it’s in the forecast for every town on our route for the next several days!

On the way to our next overnight boat from Harwich, England to The Netherlands, we stopped near London to pay a quick two hour visit to my Uncle Ted. He cooked us a great lunch and we were back on the road again.

Not only did we battle the storm on the way to the Harwich docks, we got stuck in a huge traffic jam from an accident which closed the highway for hours. I had my first taste of lane splitting (riding through the stopped traffic in between the cars) and after about an hour, Kevin and I made it to the front of the traffic jam where we got a head start after they opened the highway.

Lots of motorcyclist waiting to board the ship. We had a slight break in the rain while we waited.

DAY THREE – The weather keeps Getting Worse !

Welcome to Holland…

The boat to The Netherlands was huge and very nice. There were some rough sea’s on our over night trip, but the big ship seemed to handle it well.

We had no opportunities to do any sight seeing on this trip yet. The winds and the rain were even worse today. We couldn’t even stop along the side of the road to take a couple of scenic photographs here and there as I’d hoped to.

We battled driving rain and got blown all over the Autobahn riding through Germany today. My rain gear wasn’t enough to hold back all of the water as it seeped through my gloves, pants and jacket.

We’re staying in a nice little Gaestehaus in Flensburg, Germany tonight. I’ve got all of my gear spread out all over my room in attempt to dry it out so I can get it all wet again tomorrow!

With all that said, we’re still managing to keep smiles on our faces and enjoy the trip.

Stay tuned and we’ll see what tomorrow brings us. We’re riding from Flensburg to Hirtshals, Denmark where we’ll catch another boat to Bergen, Norway!

Day Four – The Sun! (Thanks Mel)

I woke up in a great little guest house this morning in Fensburg, Germany, afraid to open the curtain. I just knew I was going to see driving rain and heavy winds again as the forecast said. But when I peaked through the curtain…there was sunshine and beautiful blue skies.

Somehow, while Kevin and I were riding around the area taking pictures this morning, we got separated. Also, for some strange reason, our helmet intercoms stopped working at the same time. Kevin had gone left at the end of the road and I had gone right. I figured that perhaps he started on the route towards Denmark. So, I rode that direction, which only separated us even more. I pulled over after several minutes of riding without finding him and tried to call him, but the calls wouldn’t go through. I was beginning to feel like the little kid in the grocery store who lost his mom!

Finally, someone who was also staying at the guest house drove by and said that Kevin had asked them earlier if they had seen me. So, when they saw me on the side of the road as they were driving into town, they suggested that I wait there. I finally connected with Kevin in a text, and we met back up and hit the road for Denmark!

The weather was getting even better as we approached the German/Danish border.

As we were walking back to our bikes after taking the two photos above, I decided to take a short cut and hop the little ditch across the street. Bad idea…I fell in the ditch, right in front of the border guards. Guess who got pulled over and questioned as we crossed the border?

Me, right after I picked myself up out of the ditch. Kevin warned me not to jump it!

Our ship to Bergen, Norway was huge! And very luxurious. Probably one of the best buffets I’ve ever seen. And well prepared foods.

Tom0rrow morning our boat Docks in Bergen, Norway, where we begin our ride through the mountains and fjords, on our way to the North Cape. It was quite an accomplishment to get this far in the trip…and quite a challenge too.

Day Five – Norway…WOW!

As our ship passed through the fjords approaching Bergen, Norway. We were amazed by the beauty. Then our ship docked and it started pouring down rain. But it didn’t matter. Every mile we rode, had something we wanted to stop and take a picture of. Norway is stunning and that’s an under statement.

 

 DAY SIX – A Thousand Waterfalls, 50 or 60 Tunnels and Five Ferrys.
I would use the term….”There’s a spectacular sight around each corner”, but that would be incorrect. The spectacular sights NEVER stop in Norway!
We started off this morning in Helgatun, Norway. It was cool and….very rainy, once again!We’ve gotten very used to those conditons, although some of my camera and electronic gear didn’t like it at all and will end up in the trash after this trip!
 Within 10 minutes of leaving Helgatun, we were on top of a foggy, snow covered mountain range. The lakes were still frozen over and there was 10 to 15 foot piles of snow along the side of the road in places. Kevin and I booth felt as though we were in Antarctica. We both loved it!
We continued north and took the sight seeing ferry through the Geiranger fjord. A must for anyone traveling to Norway.
When traveling through Norway, we came to the conclusion that the Norwegians prefer to travel through the mountains rather than over them. We must have ridden through 50 or 60 tunnels today alone. Some were over seven miles long.
We also rode on 5 ferrys today. That’s the only option when traveling the route on the western side of Norway as we are.
We ended our day of riding today in Farstad, on the western coast of Norway.
Kevin and I both agreed that we thought we would never seeing anything as amazing as we did in Banff and Jasper National parks (Canada) two years ago when we both rode to the Arctic Circle in Alaska. The fjords in western Norway are by far the best scenery I’ve ever seen!
Enjoy todays photographs….(I still wish I was a better photographer!
DAY 7 – A Nice Dry Day
No weather issues today! It was cloudy all day until we arrived at Steinkjer, Norway. Then it was sunny and warm. I must admit though, the pictures make it look much colder than it really was. As we continued north, we saw the mountains become less dramatic and more tamed looking. But still just as beautiful.
Tomorrow is a big day on the trip. We will make our way to the Arctic Circle!
A side note from today, well worth mentioning…about an hour ago while Kevin and I were sitting in the hotel restaurant eating dinner, an elderly man sitting right next to us, began choking on his food and could not breathe. Kevin jumped up and performed the Heimlich maneuver and after about three tries, the food was dislodged and the man started breathing again. Even if we were to fail reaching the North Cape on this trip, it was worth coming to Norway and saving a mans life. I know Kevin is very humble about what he did, but he deserves a huge pat on the back. The man was very grateful!

 

DAY EIGHT – The Arctic Circle

We left Steinkjer, Norway this morning in the rain. It came down harder as we progressed north. Then after about 3 hours, the rain stopped and gave way to partly cloudy skies by the time we reached the Arctic Circle. Two more days until we reach the North Cape (the northern most point in Europe)…and the main goal for this trip.

Enjoy todays photos….

DAY NINE – Not a Cloud in the Sky

The weather today was perfect and literally not a cloud in the sky all day long. We truly thought the magnificent scenery was going slowly fade today as we continued north, But the views became more and more majestic. Every minute of our ride today had a dramatic view. We were hoping for some less dramatic scenery, because it’s really slowing us down as we stop constantly, to take pictures. But that’s a good thing!

Today, on the one and only ferry we had, we met a great couple from Norway. We had a long conversation with them about how Kevin and I met and our travels the past three years and they told us about their travels too. They were a really fun couple to talk to.

Tomorrow is the big day…The North Cape (Nordkapp, Norway). “The end of the road”

 DAY TEN – The North Cape
Another beautiful, clear day in Norway. However, most of today’s ride was high in the mountains where it was cold sitting on top of the motorcycles. There was still a lot of snow on the mountain tops.
We arrived in Nordkapp (the North Cape) late in the afternoon. From Derry, Ireland, we rode 2,649 miles on the bikes and traveled 600 miles by ferry to get to the North Cape in the last 10 days. Kevin and I both feel pretty good about that.
Tomorrow morning, we head southeast to the Russian border through Finland. It should be an interesting day.
DAY ELEVEN – The Russian Border
We left the North Cape this morning in some cold, damp weather. Very fitting for 650 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The route to the North Cape and back, requires riding in a 5 mile tunnel that goes under the sea.
We made our way through snow covered mountain tops once again, then dropping down into Finland, where we made our way to the Russian border and took a few pictures. There were lots (that’s an understatement) of Caribou along the way.
Tomorrow morning, we ride from Saariselka, Finland to Kestila, Finland.
DAY TWELVE – Making Our Way South
The ride to Kestila, Finland was with beautiful, warm weather. About halfway to Kestila, we stopped at the Arctic Circle. Now Kevin and I have been at the Arctic Circle in three different countries…Alaska, Norway and now Finland.
Todays ride was over gentle rolling hills and through thick pine forests. Very relaxing.
We’ve had multiple problems with our electronic gear throughout the trip. my power converter blew up, Some of my camera equipment stopped working, our helmet communicators went haywire on day three and several days ago I left my brand new iPad on the back of my bike and took off down the road. After realizing it a few miles later, I came back to a destroyed iPad in the middle of the highway. Grrrrrrrr!
But even with all of that….we’re still having a great time.
Tomorrow, we riding to Helsinki, Finland.
Enjoy todays photos…
DAY THIRTEEN – On to Helsinki, Finland
We stayed in a great little farmhouse B&B last night…very scenic. The red barn in the picture above was converted to rooms.
The ride into Helsinki today was mostly pine forest, lined highway, dotted with some occasional farmland here and there and mostly flat as it was yesterday. Lots of lakes too!
We basically have tomorrow off, because the boat to Stockholm, Sweden doesn’t leave Helsinki until tomorrow at 5 pm. It’s another overnight boat trip which should allow for some more relaxation. I’m looking forward to that because this trip has been quit challenging, but well worth it.
We did get our helmet intercoms back to working order last night after speaking with somebody from Sena (the company that makes the devices) last night on the phone for about 45 minutes. So, we’re back to being able to talk to each other while we’re riding!!!! That’s a big plus. You wouldn’t believe the kinds of problems not being able to communicate with each other caused us the last several days.
 Here are a few photos from today…
DAY FOURTEEN – Helsinki and Boarding the Ship
We had enough time today to take a little tour of Helsinki, Finland on our bikes. I found some of the architecture here very interesting.  Once we boarded the ship, Kevin headed straight for the gift shop to look for refrigerator magnets. He collects them. A few minutes ago, he tapped on my cabin door with a smile on his face and a bag full of magnets. He’s been collecting them every where we’ve gone on this trip. I think his bike weighs about 20 more pounds than it did when we left Derry, Ireland where Kevin lives.
Enjoy todays photos…
DAY FIFTEEN – Stockholm to Denmark
Today was a long riding day…for me! Not so much for “Iron Butt” Kerrigan! On Kevin and Jim’s Alaska trip, they rode 1000 miles in one day to join the official Iron Butt Club. There really is a club for that for those of you unfamiliar with motorcycle “stuff”. I’ll pass on joining that club.
All the way through Sweden, and about 100 miles into Denmark today, we were on the Motor Express Way. You don’t see much when on the highway unfortunately.  But, here’s a few pictures from today….

Stockholm, Sweden

Odense, Denmark

Odense, Denmark

 DAY SIXTEEN – Denmark, Germany and Holland
It was a long hard push today to make sure we arrived in time to catch our boat in The Hook of Holland, which will take us to Harwich, England by morning. The weather was excellent all day long.
We stopped in a beautiful little village in Denmark called Christiansfeld.  What a classic Danish village!
Then we pushed through Germany. Stopping a few times to rest here and there. I was doing most of the resting!
We then rode through Amsterdam. I was amazed at the amount bicycles. They seemed to outnumber the cars, 20 to 1.
Enjoy…
DAY SEVENTEEN – England, Wales and return to Dublin
This morning we rode our bikes off the boat from Holland into England. The weather was once again, perfect. As we rode through England, we stopped at a marina where the “Long Boats” (which travel through the narrow canals throughout the country) dock and also go through the locks. I’ve seen and read a lot about them and I was thrilled to finally see them…
Then we rode through Northern Wales on the way to the boat that would take us to Dublin. I know I’ve mentioned that driving on the motorways causes one to miss a lot, but driving on the motorway through Wales was very scenic. It’s a beautiful place. Unfortunately, it’s hard to take photos from a motorcycle at 70 mph!
It’s hard to believe this adventure has come to an end. Much of it is kind of a blur in my mind, because we’ve done so much and seen so much in the last 17 days. It seems as though we were constantly on the move 24 hours a day. We had a great time. We rode nearly 5,500 miles on the bikes and another 1200 miles (I’ll verify that with Kevin) on water.
It was definitely a challenging adventure in many different ways. I’m so glad I did it!
See you next trip!