Glaciers and Fjords on the way to Lofoten

Trip Start Feb 02, 2010
Trip End Feb 02, 2011

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Flag of Norway  , Nordland,
Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We left Arne and Lena’s on Friday, sometime after midday, well quite a few hours after midday. The sun was out and it was a perfect day. Fifteen minutes down the road and Nina started spluttering and choking. I was about to get really, really mad but thankfully it was only a fuse playing up. We stopped for the night after only four of five hours riding. We only stopped for a wee break but when I walked across the road and saw what a beautiful little place it was right on the shores of the a fjord we thought we might as well stop for the night. And what a good choice it was. As we were setting up a friendly old fisherman came over and offered us fish. He gave us one he had already caught and then caught another especially for us. So we had delicious fresh fish for dinner. It was so wonderful sitting by the water cooking on a fire under the sunset, the colours lasting hours. 

 In the morning we were almost ready to leave when a German couple who had arrived a few hours after us and were sleeping in their camper van nearby came over and offered us a ‘friendship gift from Germany to Australia’ - a freshly caught and smoked Mackerel. It was so delicious. We spent the rest of the day riding breakdown and trouble-free through absolutely stunning scenery. Huge cliffs and towers of rock, clear fresh water lakes up in the mountains, one which we stopped by for a little wash and swim. And the winding rocky ocean shore, the water so blue and beautiful. We caught the first of the many ferries we would take along the coast road and not long after found a nice little bit of forest to sleep in.

 The next day, Sunday, we had another after midday start and spent most of the day waiting for the next ferry between the short distances of road. Travelling along the coast it feels like we travel as far on ferries as on land. After an hour ride on on a ferry Felix noticed the metal head gasket was leaking a small amount of oil from the pushrod tubes and the valves needed to be adjusted. So this might sound simple enough but three snapped bolts, a few tears, a makeshift new gasket cut in the workshop of an ex-ferry mechanic’s workshop and lots of deliberation - I was ready to give up and go back to Austria, otherwise known as bike disposal land. I wanted to get back there as fast as possible and be rid of Nina. The only trouble, the easiest way back South is to first go further North. I felt so trapped and stupid for wanting to come all the way up here. It is SO far back to Austria. 

 It was so wonderful when she was going but it had only been two days and this incident just reminded me what a piece of shit she really is. I’d had a wonderful two days riding through the most stunning countryside but when little things like this keep happening that shouldn’t and when little things like this constantly turn into big things that take hours and sometimes even days or weeks to fix, really, fancy being stupid enough to keep banging your head against the wall. 

 So at around ten PM we started off again, with a gasket made of ordinary gasket paper, not the high temperature strong gasket needed to seal a reasonably high compression head. Amazingly it lasted us all the way to the next ferry. Again through such amazing places, over a massive bridge and under a fantastically coloured sunset that was constantly changing and lasted for several hours. We even saw three moose, no males with big antlers, but three small young ones, who stood and watched us from a very short distance for quite a while as we rode slowly past them. That was such a highlight, I have been wanting to see some moose very, very much and finally three! Okay maybe I could give Nina a tiny little bit of forgiveness for getting us to a place to see them. By the time we got to the next ferry, the last one for the night had long since gone so Felix took charge of the cooking for a change and made a great delicious potato mixture, which we gobbled as it started to get light again before sleeping in the open next to the ferry dock.

 Monday morning we woke to the sound of a ferry leaving. Nobody seemed fussed about us sleeping where we were so we just carried on, waking every fifty minutes when the ferry came back. When we finally climbed out of our sleeping bags, it seemed we had been very amusing to the ferry crew, a group of them were waving at us from up in the bridge.

 On the ferry we did an interview with someone for his business studies. After disembarking we rode ninety one kilometres to the next ferry. We had to ride so slowly and carefully with the head gasket leaking, the paper gasket had completely blown out and burnt. Luckily Felix had noticed this immediately after it happened and smartly adjusted the carburettor to dump as rich a fuel mixture as possible to reduce the risk of the head overheating and help to cool the valves. Even riding on one cylinder with a fully loaded bike, Nina was using only 6.6 litres per 100km, much better than the rated 7.5l - 8.2l fuel economy for a 650cc Ural, and this was with decent rolling hills and a few small mountains! As we pulled into the ferry dock, the boat was just pulling out. Aahhh I hate missing it by so little! I was fuming for a while when I realised the next one was almost three hour away. I calmed down a lot though when we started cooking, that took up quite some time and then it didn’t seem like so long to have to wait anymore

 We had on more ferry ride for the day after which we rode almost all the way to Bodo. We rode through absolutely stunning places, the biggest mountain in Norway so far and even past the Svartisen Glacier, which was mind-blowing, it was like something from another planet. Four hundred square kilometres of ice, sitting there year after year on top of a plateau, so blue and cracked. The plants and surrounding landscape is so Summery looking and then just planked there is a massive glacier, slowly carving away at the mountain. I can’t believe we got so close to such a thing. It really made my day, even if we had to wait three hours for a ferry and it rained earlier in the morning. The grand scale of it all was breathtaking and for Felix it felt almost intimidating to look up at such a monstrous mass of ice way above us perched above the uncannily light blue waters of the fjord in the craggy grey mountain peaks, it was not moving visibly but it felt very alive and almost creepy. Around midnight we pulled into a little place off the road and made a bed in the open on a soft dry natural mattress of moss.

 In the morning we limped into Bodo and after quite a search finally found the BMW motorcycle shop we had been told about. We were hoping that being a BMW sales and repair shop and BMW’s being what a Ural was copied from they might have something we could make a gasket from. The man there was curt with us, even unfriendly and unhelpful, directing us down the dock with a gesture in a rough direction and no other information to another shop. We din’t find the shop, so went into a boat shop where we met another of the kindest most helpful men around. He was a collector of old cars and racing motorbikes and very knowledgeable on the subject of old engines and their gaskets. He directed us to the same shop the BMW man had pointed to but this time with much more comprehensive directions.

 We found the shop this time and bought a piece of copper, aluminium and high temperature exhaust gasket paper. When we showed what we had collected to the man in the boat shop, as Felix had also thought, all thee pieces were unusable for various reasons. The boat man was not going to give up on us, he spent the next hour calling many different people, mechanics, Ural owners he knew of and people who knew Ural owners. Then when it seemed all possibilities had been explored and no gasket was available,  in a case of ‘right time and place’, a man from another branch of the company came past and suggested we try this gasket silicone he had. He used it all the time in snowmobile engines, which run much hotter and with higher compression then a Ural’s boxer engine does. So we took Nina a little down the road to the Yamaha shop. The man with the silicone gasket was such a gentle, kind and helpful man. We were outside his workshop for hours and anytime Felix wanted some advice or a tool or an extra hand he was happy to help, he made it seem like it was absolutely no bother at all.

 When Nina was finally back together all the staff from the shop had long since gone home. Felix wanted to leave the silicone to cure as long as we could so we went into Bodo to get some motor oil, and check the ferry times to Lofoten for the next day. We had to walk all the way to the other side of Bodo to find the right oil for Nina, Felix snuck into a Biltema by the skin of his teeth right after closing hour, paying cash to a friendly staff member as he was closing the doors. On the way back we found a cinema and craving a piece of the normal life, we decided to stop for a movie. We saw ‘Inception’ which we both found very entertaining. After the movie, we sat by a small harbour eating a kebab and using some free wireless internet in the dusky night. After one AM we started up Nina and rode out of town to camp. We had consulted the ferry timetable and visited the ferry waiting line so had decided to try and catch the three O’clock ferry to Lofoten.

 This morning is finally the day we will make it to Lofoten. We packed up our camp and rode back into town. We did a quick food shop and revisited a second-hand shop we had spotted yesterday to buy a cheap fishing rod. We had to be in line an hour and a half before departure time so we had a nice little wait in the sun and met some friendly Harley Davidson riders and had some funny German men taking pictures of us. And now finally we are on  our way to Lofoten, unless the ferry sinks we will be there in a few hours. I’m feeling a little seasick from looking at the screen so that’s enough for now. I can’t believe we have actually made it.
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Stine Sannerud on

What a sceenary! Like to read about what's going on! Luck to you!!!!

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