I woke up once again to the rumble of Gregg snoring in the front of the tent, I checked the time, 3.45am. The tent was gently swaying in the breeze and there was the now common scratching and buzzing of various insects crawling over and around the outside of the tent. I needed the bathroom so there was no choice but to climb out, trying not to wake up the human earthquake machine otherwise known as Gregg on the way. It’s funny how a zip on a tent at any normal time of day is almost unheard, but at 3am it sounds like you are dragging a metal pole along tarmac! However I managed to get out without waking Gregg and proceeded to walk over to the shower/toilet block. It was cool but not cold, the leaves were rustling, birds were still chirping as it was still pretty light but there was something else, a noise that haunts me now, the familiar yet mind numbing grunts and snorts of dozens of sleeping people in tents and caravans snoring away. It felt like there was a snoring conspiracy being organised by Gregg! I finished the task at hand and went back to bed where I fell into a restless sleep.
A few hours later and I was up and starting to pack up my gear in the tent before going for a quick shower. Once again the hot water was on a timer but there was a reasonable amount of time and enough time to soap up and actually rinse. I got back and the others were packing things up, loading bikes, the usual morning activity for us now. We finished loading then headed over to reception grab a quick photo before heading off.
The day was to be pretty full and would tick some big boxes on the cool list. First stop was a Motorcycle Club event that Arvid had seen a sign for the day before. We were not sure what the deal was or whether we could actually get in but as we rode up we could see tents and bikes parked all over the place. The club had taken over a campsite for a couple of days and it looked like the night before had been a party night by the state of a few of the attendees. Arvid explained to one of the organisers what we were doing and they were happy for us to pop in and take a look around the bikes. There were was a real mix of bikes, from custom to sports, classic to brand new. I felt a bit out of place, most people where dressed up as typical custom bike riders, denim jackets covered in patches, leathers, adorned with tattoos on most exposed areas of skin. I was walking around in a black set of textiles!
We left the motorcycle event and started on our way to Trollsteigen, the Troll Road to ride what is a world famous road that has a set of tight hairpins all the way up into the mountains. I tried to set my camera up to video the ride up and it seemed to be working fine except that when I reached the half way point and we stopped at a viewing area I saw the battery had died within about 30 seconds of starting the ride up, typical. After a brief stop to admire the view and take snaps we rode to the top of the road and stopped at the visitor centre.
As we pulled in to the car park I could hear the roar of V8 engines and at the far end of the car park I could see a load of Corvettes lined up, probably a club out for a drive on a sunny day. We had a brief look around, bought some Troll memorabilia and then headed off.
The ride was back in snowy territory for a short while before heading down again and catching yet another ferry. The next main stop was at Geirangerfjord , one of Norway’s most visited tourist locations and a really stunning fjord surrounded by mountains. We had hoped to take the ferry from there to Stavenger but it was full so instead we had to make do with a short stop to take in the views. The Fjord is a popular destination for cruise ships and is popular with climbers, walkers and kayakers. The tourist area at the end of the Fjord was rammed with people and we opted not to stop, it wasn’t what we were looking for on this trip and the idea of rubbing shoulders with hundreds of sightseers wasn’t appealing.
We rode on and back up in to the mountains and the scenery once again changed to the harsh dramatic rocky mountains. We stopped briefly so Paul could do his business before he died which resulted in an impromptu snow fight between him and Gregg! I just hope Paul didn’t use the yellow snow.
Next on the agenda for the day was something Gregg had on his list of must do’s, visiting a Stave Church. Arvid knew of one on our way at a place called Lom and what a stunning church it was. Built in the second half of the 12th century, the church is a triple nave stave church which are the oldest types of stave church and is actually one of just a very few stave churches of which the original medieval crest with a dragon head still survives. You can read more about it at the visit Norway website.
There was still a lot of riding to do before we would reach the end point for the day, Flåm, a stunning location at the edge of Aurlandsfjord. To get there we had various route options but Arvid had a surprise up his sleeve for us. Roy and Arvid decided to blast on and meet us at a hotel further along whilst Paul, Gregg and myself took it a little easier, only a little. By the time we reached the hotel we had been having a bit of a blast ourselves and we weren’t too far behind Roy and Arvid.
When we reached the hotel Arvid dropped his surprise on us, the quickest route to our destination was to go across the mountains using a privately owned road, Tindevegen Road (“peak road”). The road is a toll road that had only been open a few weeks after the winter snow was cleared from the roads. Even so the road is narrow, windy and bordered on each side by high show banks. The road was quiet and we were able to really put ourselves and our bikes through the motions playing a high speed game of chase, Gregg leading, Paul then me coming up the rear. It was the most technical and fun bit of riding of the entire journey, leaning the bike right over fully loaded with gear all the while trying to keep on the tail of the rider in front. It was an exhilarating ride and when we reached the end of the road we stopped and had digested what we had just experienced with huge grins on our faces.
We arrived early evening and found a campsite, once again without wifi. After picking a flat area to pitch we set up the tents and unloaded our gear. Gregg is a bit of a beer drinker and Arvid had been telling us about a pub 5 minutes from the campsite that had it’s own microbrewery. So Gregg, Paul, Arvid and Myself headed off for our first visit to a pub of the entire trip! Roy decided to stay and have an early night in his tent. The pub was a wooden building, really very nicely done with a comfortable selection of sofas and chairs. There was a circular area lowered into the middle of the room that circled a fireplace, not really needed at the time as the weather was unseasonably warm. We grabbed some drinks, not being a big drinker I stuck to the soft drinks, diet coke, the hard stuff. The place was pretty quiet, a small group sat near the bar, another small group sat around the fireplace and a couple of people were sat the far side of the room, it was in reality almost empty. We sat an on an empty sofa and immediately the tiredness kicked in and I realised how exhausted I was. I had been suffering from slumps half way through the days for the last few days. I’d suddenly get very sleepy, sometimes I’d zone out or my eyes would shut briefly. It worried me but I had no choice but to drink more coffee and keep going! We stayed for about an hour before walking back to the campsite and heading to bed.