Day 14 – Gilja to Skudenshaven

I woke up on the floor, why? Well the night before Paul had “won” the Sofa in a draw a straw competition so I was relegated to the floor along with a bunch of rather smelly motorcycle boots which after days of hot riding were pretty toxic! The plan for the day was to head to Arvid’s home town where we would be a guest at one of his friends from the local Motorcycle Club. On the way we would visit Lysebotn and ride the 27 hairpins down to Lysefjord and back up. First though a quick shower followed by unpacking the bike, today we ride with no luggage on the bikes as we would be coming back to get it later in the day!

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The “naked F650” and the guys catching up on the world via Social Media!

I walked over to the shower block, the place was dead probably due to it being early in the year. All I saw was a sheep wandering around looking for Gregg, she looked very lonely without him. The shower was going to be very welcome, I certainly appreciated the chance to freshen up as we travelled over the last couple of weeks. As I was about to shower I noticed a strange sign on the wall so I moved closer to read or should I say view the image.

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Now I have to be honest, I was a little surprised, there are many things in life I have considered doing, but never taking a dump in the shower!

I finished my shower and walked back to get changed and unload the bike, oddly there was no sign of the sheep or Gregg at this point! The bike looked tiny without the panniers, tent and other luggage strapped on. We climbed on and headed off for a day of fun riding and exploring, back along the roads we came down the day before. The bike felt light, a bit too light and I struggled to get used to the handling without all the additional weight. I actually found myself not enjoying the ride very much as I was tense and not getting on with the handling. The bike was really snatchy and at speed it was a bit wobbly! (I later discovered the chain was way too slack and needed replacing which did not help the riding at all)

As we headed across the mountains we found a place where people had been stopping and making cairns. We pulled over and took a look around, taking in the view and the clean mountain air. I collected a bunch of stones and made a little dedication to Caroline back home, a bit soppy I know but I knew she would appreciate it! We finished looking around and headed on our way once again, through snow banked roads and stunning views.

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At the top of the hairpins we came across a car park and viewing area which had a café that looked down over the fjord below. We had said we would stop here but Roy was on a mission and clearly enjoying the riding too much. He shot on down the hill whilst we had all pulled in! Arvid volunteered to shoot after Roy and bring him back up.

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In the mean time, Gregg, Paul and myself parked up and used the time to take some photo’s of the view and each other. When Roy and Arvid came back we popped into the café for some tea and cake, may favourite pastime.

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We then headed off down the hairpins, turn after turn down the steep mountainside. I was getting used to the bike again now and although not blasting down I was riding a good pace and enjoying the technical aspects of the riding, until we reached the tunnel that is. I headed into the tunnel and was riding along happily until I suddenly noticed a wall, in front of me! Right in the middle of the tunnel was a U-turn and I had to slam the brakes on hard and lean the bike hard to get it around. After a few moments of pant filling terror I emerged from the tunnel alive if a little shaken and carried on the ride down.

At the bottom at Lysebotn we parked up and sat looking up at where we had just ridden down from. It was a long way up and there was a huge waterfall pouring down the side I hadn’t seen from the top. The view up the fjord was fantastic and I would have happily sat there all day except we had a lot of miles to cover still.

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We rode back up, a bit slower through the tunnel this time, heading back towards Arvid’s holiday home so we could get our gear and carry on our trip to Skudenshaven. The valley we rode through on the way was fantastic, reminding me very much of Jurassic Park. Gregg, Paul and myself hung back to take in the view whilst Roy and Arvid shot off for some hard core biking action.

On reaching Arvid’s holiday home we gathered our gear, loaded the bikes and headed off, the plan was to stop at a shop on route that sold good value thermal gear and compression tops ideal for under the bike gear. We stopped to fuel up and noticed the sky was looking darker, I was pretty sure a storm was brewing but Paul as adamant it couldn’t possibly rain (I should have learnt my lesson by now!) Just as we reached the shop the heavens started to open, there was a rumble in the distance and a sudden panic to get wet gear. To add to the situation, the shop had just closed! We headed off in the rain and I soon discovered my weatherproof textiles were no longer weatherproof.

We rode on for a while and when the rain eased we decided to pull over and put our wet weather gear over the top of our already wet gear! I slipped (struggled like crap to squash into) my Oxford Rainsuit, a bit pointless as I was already soaked but I guess it would help if it rained more (It did rain more.. a lot more). We carried on our way to Stavenger, the roads were damp and my visor was pretty dirty from the spray which made riding even harder. The traffic was building up as we approached the city, something we hadn’t had to deal with since the start of the journey back in Denmark and Sweden. To make matters worse we arrived during rush hour and there were road works! We edged through the traffic and eventually reached the Ferry at Mortivika which would take us across to Arsvagen. It was a short ferry trip so there was little time to relax after the stressful trip across Stavenger. Before we knew it the ferry started to slow and we all started to get back on the bikes. Unfortunately my waterproof gloves have a soft fabric lining which had become damp, along with my cold wet hands the combination did not lend itself to ease of wear. I could not for the life of me get my hands in the gloves and I couldn’t reach the summer gloves which were in my panniers. Suddenly the ferry clunked against the dock, I looked at Roy, indicated that I couldn’t get my gloves on just as the front opened up and the ramp descended. We were all lined up a the front of the ferry and the guys shot off like greyhounds after a hare! All I could do is stuff my gloves inside my jacket and ride, in the heavy rain, with no gloves. About 15 minutes out I was struggling to feel my fingers and I indicated to pull over. I managed to get my summer gloves out and put them on and although not waterproof they did stop the stinging from the rain. Everyone else had pulled over further up the road except Arvid who was so focused on the road he hadn’t noticed we had stopped.

Paul got his satnav out and programmed in a Statoil garage located in Arvids hometown and we headed that way with the plan to get hold of Arvid on route or when we got there. We rode on, riding through a number of tunnels including Karmøytunnelen which had roundabouts in it! This is part of the T-Link that connects a series of islands to the mainland. We finally arrived at the garage and Paul was able to contact Arvid who came and met us. His friend Hans from the Skudenes Motorsykkel Klubb lives literally across the bay from Arvid and offered to put us up in an annex to his house which was very kind. Arvid led us to Hans place and what a lovely location, on the edge of a bay, picturesque wooden houses on each side.

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Hans came out to welcome us and we chatted for a while about the trip and motorcycles. Hans rides a 1200GS and he and Roy had a good chat about the bikes. The next day Hans would be joining us along with a couple of his friends as we head down to Denmark. They are going on a weekend trip camping which neatly fits in with our journey. Arvid invited us around for some dinner and beer later and then headed home whilst we all unpacked and cleaned up.

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We headed over to Arvid’s and met Liv his partner and their huge dog! They had prepared us a lovely dinner and we ate that followed by a beer or two down in the “Den”.

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We walked back to Hans place and headed off to bed, it was a great end to a long day!

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