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MD Tour of Norway, First Report

Leaving Fagernes, the high mountain pass awaits.

Leaving Fagernes, the high mountain pass awaits.

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Dirck’s grandparents Lewis and Magdalene Knudson on their wedding day. Magdalene was born in Trondheim, Norway, while Lewis was born in South Dakota (his father born in Aurland parish, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway).

My mother was full Norwegian, and I absorbed some of the cultural traits while she raised my brother and me in a home that included her sister, my aunt Florence. When my son Evan asked me to accompany him on a trip to Norway, I couldn’t refuse.

It just so happens that Evan is the most naturally gifted motorcyclist in our family. Riding since he was five, he began testing bikes for MD before the age of ten. It didn’t take me long to decide that we should tour Norway on motorcycles. Yamaha accommodated us with the loan of two brand new machines MD had previously tested and rated highly, including a Super Tenere and an FZ-07 (known as the MT-07 in Europe).

A non-stop flight from California to Oslo, Norway left Evan and I tired and jet-lagged, so we decided to spend the night in Oslo before travelling south to pick up the bikes at the Yamaha dealer in Sandefjord the next day.

We will explore Oslo more before we return to California, but our one day in the capital of Norway was enough to drive home how ethnically diverse it has become, with more than 25% of the city residents international immigrants. We gave up trying to find a restaurant that served traditional Norwegian dishes.

The morning of our second day in Norway, we took a two-hour train ride to Sandefjord where we were met at the station by Terje Bredal, whose dealership has sold Yamahas to Norwegians for decades. He recently added BMWs to his product mix.

Terje and the staff of Speed Motorcenter had prepared the two brand new machines (literally … they each had zero miles on the odo), and offered us everything we needed to carry our gear. Each bike was outfitted with saddlebags and tank bag. We borrowed a large waterproof duffle bag for our shoes and boots, which Evan bungee-corded to the Tenere’s rack.

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Evan packs a saddlebag at Speed Motorcenter in Sandefjord.

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The train from Oslo to Sandefjord gave us a hint of the beauty of Norway.

We left the dealership in a rain storm hoping to make the 3.5 hour trip to Fagernes as a stop-over before entering the heart of the fjordlands the next day. This trip was quite difficult … brutal even. It was already mid-afternoon when we left the dealership, and the tires were also new (never scrubbed in) so we tiptoed up the E18 highway back toward Oslo in driving rain only to discover our waterproof boots and gloves weren’t quite … waterproof. We stopped under a public parking garage in a charming town called Drammen, still south of Oslo and the E16 highway that would lead us to Fagernes.

We stripped off our wet gear in the parking garage, got some coffee, and then continued our trip. The first thing we did was take a wrong turn (courtesy of your esteemed editor), and wasted a half hour, or so, before Evan was able to direct us back to the E18. We had relatively dry weather at this point, and high hopes!

Those hopes for dry comfort were dashed roughly a third of our way to Fagernes on the E16 when it began a steady rain, once again, together with a relentless drop in temperature. Although it stays light in this part of Norway until nearly 11pm in late May, the clouds were thick and it was getting darker as we rode.

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Does your free hotel breakfast include fresh Norwegian Salmon? Ours did.

Roughly two-thirds of the way to Fagernes, Evan and I needed a break and we stopped at a gas station/mini mart to warm up and top off the tanks on each bike.

By now, it was close to 9pm, and we still had 112km (roughly 69 miles) before we reached our hotel in Fagernes. Evan and I began switching bikes, so that we could take a bit of a break from the naked FZ-07 and enjoy the windscreen and heated grips offered by the Super Tenere.

We arrived in Fagernes shortly after 10pm (still daylight) and checked into our hotel room. After hanging our wet gear to dry, we put our heads down to rest up for the following day.

The train ride south from Oslo gave Evan and I a glimpse of the beauty of Norway, but nothing prepared us for what we would experience the next day on our trip over the mountain and into the fjordlands at Sogndal.

30 Comments

  1. DaveA says:

    Great change of pace for MD…can’t wait to read more!

  2. Ernie Henderson says:

    Hope you get a chance to stop in at the Orkdal MC-Klub. Tell Olav I sent you. LOL

  3. Arild says:

    God Tur, Dirck og Evan. Ser frem til å lese om resten av turen.

    Best regards from Norway

  4. tla says:

    wow, the norsefolk know how to eat breakfast. i can’t imagine anything healthier than salmon! ok, oysters…

  5. Vrooom says:

    I know the coastline is incredible. Have looked at maps and dreamed, and been over there for business a couple of times, but not with a bike unfortunately. Looking forward to the next segment.

  6. Blackcayman says:

    I hope you get some Sunshine and Dry Roads for great riding and amazing photos.

    Safe travels to you both,

  7. MGNorge says:

    What’s so bad about this post is that it is so far off topic here and doesn’t belong. Secondly, it’s just simply in bad taste but some people can’t help themselves. As Americans we’d like to pride ourselves on being fair and open minded. But comments like this show that many of us have a very long way to go! Almost makes me feel ashamed to say that I’m an American, not for myself but for the slinging of do and actions of others!

  8. azi says:

    How long are the daylight hours right now? Must be great having the extended daylight for riding during the summer months.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      It is reasonably light from 4:30AM until 10:30PM. If the weather cooperates, you have a long day of riding.

  9. PatrickD says:

    Cinderbob – keep it shut, eh?

  10. Tom says:

    And what, exactly, is wrong with there being a large number of Muslims in Norway? Muslims may like motorcycles, and fjords, too.

  11. Dale says:

    Fantastic

  12. GearDrivenCam says:

    Great start Dirck. My grandfather was from Norway (Risor). Hope to visit at some point. It really does look like a spectacular place to ride. Kudos to you and your son for doing it.

  13. Bubba Satori says:

    What do a gallon of gas and a bottle of beer cost in Norway?

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Everything in Norway is quite expensive. Norway is oil rich, but gas is roughly twice as expensive as in the US. Haven’t priced beer, but can’t buy harder liquor except from state operated stores that close at 5:00PM.

    • Fastship says:

      The view is free – everything else you PAY FOR: Big Mac ~ $12, take away Pizza ~$25 and ~$12 for a beer. Proper food in a restaurant is frighteningly expensive. Speed limits are low and are DRACONIAN in the way they’re enforced with almost unlimited fines, typically ~%10 of your annual income.

      A fantastic country, fantastic scenery, fantastic people but utterly avoidable for bikers sadly.

      • Breva750 says:

        I’d disagree its avoidable for bikers – you just have to approach it in the right frame of mind. For instance I have found when touring I don’t need to eat out 3 times a day, water and homemade museli bars are a better lunch than a lot of stuff you can buy. Camp or stay in the camping huts.

        It can be done.

        • Hot Dog says:

          Is a “camping hut” a tent? In my perfect little world, nothing beats waking up in a tent. I hope you guys are camping and getting lost a lot.

      • Stuki Moi says:

        High fines and low limits are one thing, but my experience from Europe (not Norway), is that police officers don’t stop you unless the way you ride can at least is some fashion be construed to be dangerous. None of the grown men hiding in bushes playing gotcha with their state issued radar guns nonsense that’s so fashionable over here. But, as I said, I don’t know about Norway.

    • Vrooom says:

      And a gallon of beer?

  14. Artem_T says:

    Interesting. I thought, strangely, americans lives mostly where their parents came from.
    Let say, Wisconsin, Minnesota – mostly from Sweden and Norge – north.
    Other states mostly from Britain.
    South – French.
    It is ok that everything is changing in the right way.

  15. xLaYN says:

    sun in the first photo? you sure that’s Norway??
    Norway orography it’s a treat to the eye, enjoy it!!

  16. Jeremy in TX says:

    Sounds awesome. Scandinavia is one of the places I never got to ride while living in Europe. I hope to remedy that some day. Looking forward to the updates.

  17. Peter says:

    It is always good to return to the land of your ancestors. But Dirck, please, you make your living as a writer. “she raised my brother and ME”, not “I”.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Thanks.

    • Tom K. says:

      At least he didn’t write, “On the way back to Oslo, we passed three Volvos, a Toyota and a Fjord”.

      Hard to believe you couldn’t get some authentic lefse, Dirck, but you may want to avoid the lutefisk (my old man used to love the stuff, along with sardines and beercase cheese). About time you took a vacation – but if you’re writing about it, is it really a vacation? Have a great trip!

  18. karlsbad says:

    Please let us know the waterproof boots not to buy. Looking forward to the rest of the story.
    Cheers

  19. Curly says:

    Wow, sounds like one of those trips of a lifetime with your son. Enjoy it all (wet and dry)and have a safe ride!