- There is 1 paragraph per day.
See the .JPG photo files as they're referenced.)
let's get the serious biz out of the way first.
I'm mighty fortunate & grateful to have
received the honor of being the COG (Concours Owners
Group) Over the Pond (OtP) '06 Traveler, following the
tradition of COG honchos Guy, Rick & Linda.
This grand trip to the GCE (GTR Club Europe) Rally
and beyond is dedicated to my mom Ellen, who raved about
her travels in
6/8 my bro Rick kindly gave me a ride to
Schipol airport Marc (the '05 OtP Traveler to the
is generously allowing me to thrash, uh, I mean gently
putt away on his GTR1000.
As far as I can tell the GTR is identical to a Conc
cept it has fairing extenders & slightly diff
A was for me to leave early this morning from his place.
But the bike wasn't ready - it was still getting
new tars & brake pads at his mechanic friend's house,
quite a ways contrary to my planned travel direction.
I had to give myself a "Paulie, cool yer
jets!" 'tude adjustment cause I'm an impatient cuss.
Now I see that the EU pace of life is decidedly
continued taking good care of me by helping load my piles
onto his GTR. He
was understandably sad to see it leaving.
Off to the gas station we went where I discovered
low brake fluid & 35 psi in the tars.
Gotta love that non do it yerself service!
I finally rolled away ~11:30am & joined the
well-behaved but busy ~110 kph traffic on the bland
Marc's GPS came in handy a few times but since I'm
more of a map guy, I didn't use it much.
It's hard to get lost - EU road signs are superior
as long as ya know the name of the next town in yer
hostel had a typical filling continental breakfast of
breads, crackers, jams, cheeses, meats, herring, cereal,
yogurt, fruit, coffee, tea, juice, milk, etc.
I'm gonna be
a 100% tourist today so the GTR shall remain parked.
It's ~4 km to the city center so I took a bus but
unwittingly didn't get off till the end of its route out
in the 'burbs. To
return I needed an express train but the ticket machine
didn't like my CC. A
nice lady that worked at the station shop was actually
gonna loan me the fare but I gave her some US $.
As a matter of fact, just about all the service
personnel I encountered on the trip were most helpful,
friendly, & spoke adequate English.
The fascinating sights of Copenhagen were taken in
by a mix of tourists from all over the world including a
large Rotary convention.
Today made it clear to me that Danes really value
their culture, history, & art.
That nite my 5-bunk hostel room got noisy due to a
few %$#@ snorers. Did
I learn from last summer's Nywaca trip to bring earmuffs?
solution to sleep in a common room didn't pan out when a
manager gave me the boot.
Awright, so folks in this part of the world follow
the rules. Hmmph.
I hoofed it over to the store, kinda like a Wal-Mart only
with better quality and selection.
Back on the road ~10:30am across the bridge to
really gotta see this place.
Baldersnas is a gorgeous ole country estate on 115
rural hectares of well-manicured parkland & lakes.
A far cry nicer than any m/c rally facility I've
ever seen. Primo
food service on the classy patio with the GCEers every
morn for brekkie & evening for dindin & hanging
out. Hans the
Pied Piper led us for >8 hrs down
caught a peek of 2 moose this morning while tearing down a
quiet country road. (Maybe
this was no coincidence considering the rally shirt
was short, only
dragged us around for ~8 hrs &
short but very scenic
the hotel's puter was screwed up, Monica the nice manager
served breakfast to us early departers.
The road got a more alpine look with snow poles
along the sides in a few sections.
They place a handy "i" kiosk just before
ya get to the towns that has a map & infos.
Another unusual thing is many cars have Hugh Jass
aux headlites, prolly for the long dark winters.
gonna be a long one, so I hit the rd ~5am in abundant
sunlite w/ extra layers ready for the 40s temps.
I missed a turnoff in Stromsund & took a
freezing rain at the get-go, but thankfully my route turns
S later this morning. Any
slight discomfort was mitigated by the scenery in
Vesteralen, a place I may wanna ck out another time.
The 2-lane E10 temporarily ends at a ferry dock in
Melbu where I axed around to determine boarding protocol.
otorbikes to the front of the l-o-n-g queue; yeah
baby! The 25
min crossing took me to the magically beautiful Lofoten
Islands where it began to clear up.
Unworldly craggy mountain peaks in the clouds
plummet down steep green slopes to Carribean-looking
beaches with turquoise waters. Throw
in quaint harbors and coves with twisty roads connecting
dinky picturesque villages.
At the tourista orfice I canceled my res on the
fancy-schmancy coastal steamer instead opting for the
ferry, providing a 40% savings & a shorter trip.
Another great thing I found out here is that the
season doesn't really get cranked up for a few weeks yet.
hostel here in A is at the very S end of the islands using
rorbu (fishermen's' cabins) for accommodations with mucho
was solo in a 4-bunk room, a great thing due to all this
crap that I'm ponying around.
~410 km for today, slowed by
a layover day here in purty Lofoten (good call!) so no
riding on the 'sickle. I
set out on a hike that supposedly would lead over the wall
of mtns for a peek at the other uninhabited side of the
sport sandals was evidently not a good idear after a few
km of mud, so I did a u-ey back to the ranch to change
into my waterproof riding boots.
Sections of the trail were cut into sheer vertical
rock with poor footing and a chain to grab.
A solitary cuckoo's cry echoed across the lake
sounding spookily like Nelson's (from The Simpsons)
may have been intended for yers truly 'cause I lost the
durn trail at the head of the lake, despite a long hunt
into the valley. Back
at the hostel a Finnish marine biology student was getting
ready for a long ride on her rented bicycle, so I glommed
onto her & had a
morning the weather got kinda sucky so I mostly hung
around, read, & repacked the GTR for the afternoon
Moskenes ferry trip. It
was a nondescript 4 hr chug to Bodo (pronounced Boodah),
where I eventually found the cramped hostel & walked a
few km to the modern downtown mall.
My usual drill was to buy breakfast, lunch &
dinner at the grocery & skip restaurants.
At nite & layover days the cold stuff is stored
in the hostel kitchen's fridge, otherwise in my small
cooler in Marc's top box.
More World Cup on the teevee - it's a huge draw.
Only ~25 km on the scoot.
option I considered for today was to take route 17,
reportedly 1 of the finest, most scenic roads in Norway.
That would require more time due to its longer
length, slow twisties, & 2 ferry crossings.
Unfortunately things started out icky, rain &
fog in the 30s, so I bundled up.
When ya add to that to my usual ~47 trips back
& forth to repack the bike, getting out qwik didn't
then ground to
Today will be ~510 km, but it oughtta be EZ & warmer
to the S so no rush to git goin.
The Trondheim area had the only significant
motorway I rode in Norway, but where it returned to 2
lanes I got entangled in a bicycle event.
This was frustrating 'cause many vehicles were
reluctant to pass the riders despite having opportunities.
Today will be ~510 km, but it oughtta be EZ & warmer to the S so no rush to git goin. The Trondheim area had the only significant motorway I rode in Norway, but where it returned to 2 lanes I got entangled in a bicycle event. This was frustrating 'cause many vehicles were reluctant to pass the riders despite having opportunities.So I overtook everyone, prolly risking a big fine. Radar detectors are illegal &
reason I picked Andalsnes as a destination was nearby
famous twisty 63, Trollstigen.
The morning started out ugly, 40s rain & fog,
but this is my day to ride it, weather be damned!
And just as I'd read, it really was ~1 lane wide,
& them switchbacks were tight & steep.
I was glad to be going uphill!
The ferry to Eidsdal took me to the renowned
Geiranger, but poor visibility hampered fjord views.
The village seemed to be 99% tourists, so I
hightailed it to Grotli to pick up 258.
Most of it was narrow well-packed gravel, and I had
a few close calls at lo speed with oncoming cars that
wouldn't skootch over a few cms.
Like 17, this was a scenic Tourist route, and I
prolly expected too much driving skillz from em.
Lakeside 15 was nice - I even saw a rare GTR coming
the other way. 2
more wet ferry crossings on E39, the 1st made enjoyable by
good conversation with a group of students, the 2nd more
tolerable by a free pass possibly due to my smiling at the
cute toll-taker. I
took a short detour to Alesund to catch a glimpse of the
North Sea & the interesting downtown buildings rebuilt
after a fire in 1904.
All told a ~500 km slow, wet loop.
threatening early on, today cleared up like a champ, brite
& clear in the 60s.
I took a walk to town for shopping before climbing
aboard the GTR Express. Unfortunately
the machine developed a case of "won't idle without
up the wazoo on E136, then scenic 55 at Lom, with its
famous wood stave church built in 1150.
Only ~250 km to Boverdal, which left time for a
nice hike before dindin.
A sign across from the hostel showed
took off up the mtn rd this morn & wouldn't ya know
it, there was a car blocking the opening around the toll
gate. A lady
came out of the booth & axed if I wuz gonna ski, hike,
or just take pix. I
smiled, chose the latter & got a free pass.
Up, up, & away into Jotunheimen National Park
with a view of the
purpose of the bicycle was to take what the Lonely Planet
guidebook sed was the most famous ride in Norway.
Gotta give that a shot, eh?!
The usual dealio is to take the bike aboard the
train to Myrdal then ride downhill for ~20 km.
Don't need no stinkin' train!
I took off on this sparkling day following a rd
that didn't seem to be climbing much.
That's cause I went ~10 km the wrong way, to
doubling back to Flam I got on track and slowly overtook a
group of young cruz ship crewmen walking their bikes.
Eventually I was doing the same bit up the grade.
This turned out to be 1 of the hardest things I've
ever done, especially the last few kms of agonizing steep
rocky switchbacks. But
wow, what magnificent scenery!
Thankfully I had enuf food & drink along,
replenished at the Myrdal
towards Voss on another beaut of a day, 13 was a delight
of narrow twists & nice scenery.
I plunged thru countless tunnels, all lit &
was really surprising that I've run into virtually no road
construction or closings, considering the rugged,
convoluted terrain & harsh climate.
They prolly know the "right" way to build
em over here. Waiting
for the ferry to cross the Eidfjord were 2
been swell but it's time to say so long to Norway on the
early ferry to Hirthals, Denmark.
A 4.5 hr crossing then
split to do his thing today with his GF, so I puttered
around scraping bugs off the GTR.
In all I put
to the modern Amsterdam airport via Marc's car early this
stunningly beautiful Martinair clerk had me flustered a
little, but there was time to recover with Marc as we
chilled awhile before I had to get to the gate.
Farewell & appreciation to him, a key player in
the OtP '06 scheme. The
long flite back homey was aided by chatting with Gunther,
a custom m/c builder from Belgium.
mom wasn't particularly fond of my m/c shenanigans, but I
think she would've approved of this fantastic trek.
I am honored & humbled by the great folks of
COG & GCE that allowed me to take it.
My deepest thanx to all, & hope we get to meet
down the road. Enjoy