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MD Tour of Norway, Second Report

After Fagernes, The Mountains Loom Ahead

After Fagernes, The Mountains Loom Ahead

As Evan and I rolled out of Fagernes the morning of Day 3, we were still a bit shell-shocked by the difficulties we encountered the prior evening. We would later find out that we were experiencing the coldest May weather Norway had seen in nearly 40 years, so uncomfortable days were to be the norm.

Bundled with nearly all of our layers, and carrying our nordic blood (who knows, it may have helped), we began our trip to our apartment in Sogndal on the coast of the Sognefjordenhe. The weather was mostly dry, with occasional light rain, as we headed north on the E16 highway.

We quickly saw the snow covered mountains we had to pass through to reach the valley beyond. One of the most beautiful, yet ominous, sights I have beheld. We rode on.

The scenery was impossibly beautiful, as if from a story book. We saw young children walking to school so casually, laughing with one another, seemingly oblivious to a roaring waterfall charging off the mountain just 50 meters behind them. In my helmet, at times, I was astounded, but the residents were in harmony.

If the land wasn’t covered by snow, rock or water, it was covered by green and bright wild flowers. I commented to Evan that nothing growing around us, although untamed, seemed like a weed. It was all so pleasing to the eye.

Borgun Stave church and newer church used more frequently by community. Bell tower in middle.

Borgund Stave Church and newer church used more frequently by community. Bell tower in middle.

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Borgund Stave Church built in 1180 AD

We crossed through the mountain pass, and although very cold (I would estimate 35 to 40 degrees fahrenheit), it wasn’t more than 20 miles, or so, before we began to drop down to sea level. Evan and I again swapped bikes to warm our hands periodically on the Tenere (with the grip warmers pegged to max). I didn’t take photos in the pass because I didn’t know how long we would stay at that air temperature. I wanted to get back down near sea level and temps in the high 40s.

Back down in the valley, the scenery changed but was just as beautiful. Surrounded by the steep walls of the mountains carved by glaciers, waterfalls were everywhere. It reminded me briefly of the much warmer Na Pali coast in Kauai. Green and lush, but the sun was still playing peek-a-boo with rain clouds.

I wanted to see one of Norway’s famous ancient Stave churches, and the Borgund Stavkirke (built in 1180 AD) was on our way to Sogndal. The visitor’s center was warm with hot coffee. The warm cups were appreciated by our hands.

This church was built at the end of the Viking era, and has Dragons’ heads on the roof to draw the Vikings in. The tiny church couldn’t hold more than 30 people shoulder-to-shoulder, but is magnificent from outside, where the native wood, only partially restored, has stood the test of time in this harsh climate in part due to a coating of tar (a Norwegian traditional method) as a preservative.

A ferry ride across the fjord brought us to our comfortable apartment at Sogndal. We were too tired to spend much time admiring the view out our front window of the fjord and the snowy peak on the far side.
We needed rest for another day on the bikes.

From Sogndal, we could quickly reach dirt roads that scaled the mountains at the water's edge.

From Sogndal, we could quickly reach dirt roads that scaled the mountains at the water’s edge.

20 Comments

  1. John says:

    I think this church was in an indie movie I saw a few months back. A kind of strangers on a train thing, rapist guy follows the girl and she ends up killing him in this church and leaves him in the snow. Or at least, it looked very similar.

  2. Hot Dog says:

    You Cali boys would probably pay a kings ransom for electric clothing right about now. Mine never leave the gear bag but I live in Dakota and it gets used frequently. It looks like a beautiful place to ride, take too many pictures and share with us.

  3. Neil says:

    How does Evan like the FZ07 as a touring bike? I would think the seat would get thin pretty fast. But with the right number of stops… – The Super Ten is supposed to be a great machine. A friend has one and has nothing but good things to say. It is his preferred ride over all the bikes in his Yamaha Kawasaki dealership.

    • John says:

      I think the FJ07 will arrive in time to be a 2016 and looks a lot more tour oriented.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      The seat wasn’t bad at all. Much more comfortable than it looks (it looks too thin). Needs more wind protection, of course, but the coming FJ version (as rumored) should address that.

  4. Arild says:

    Flott Norgesreklame!
    Ser frem til de neste delrapportene. Synd våren har vært så kald iår.

  5. jonnyblaze says:

    My sons are still small now. But I already dream of father and sons bike tours like yours.

    Hope Yamaha will be kind enough to loan me three Teneres.

  6. Scott the Aussie says:

    Great stuff – the place has been on my list for years but with the stopping of the Newcastle-Bergen ferry its made it a much more difficult place to get to.

  7. MGNorge says:

    Stunning!

  8. Bohica Bob says:

    My paternal grandfather Olaf Burans (1853-1930) was born in Oslo, Norway so a tour of Norway is high on my bucket list for sure.

    BB

  9. Lonerider says:

    Great, just great report. I put Scandinavia on my to do list when i was in high school. Your pictures explains why.

    Thanks

  10. Blackcayman says:

    Great pics!

    • mickey says:

      I agree. If that doesn’t make you want to hop on a motorcycle and go touring, you are dead inside.

  11. Provologna says:

    Fantastic reporting, even better images.

    Wife wants to drive around Ireland. If we ever get to Europe, I certainly want to visit Norway. One friend is a University teacher in Oslo. Another industry acquaintance there too, both thanks to the ‘net.

    I’ve ridden in snow storms with my hands almost frozen, even on a K75RT with heated grips. Can hardly imagine how you two are riding those particular bikes in those climes.

    Stay safe!

  12. Jeremy in TX says:

    Great pics and commentary. What a beautiful countryside. Keep it coming.

  13. Vrooom says:

    Stupendous photos. Would love to see a map of some of the roads posted. But complaining about temps in the 30s and 40s, you guys really need to see what the folks outside of California ride in daily! Keep up the reports!

  14. Curly says:

    What amazing scenery and photos. Thanks Dirck! Also from the road grime inside the bags it looks like the FZ-07 could use more rear fender or a hugger, a problem with a lot of modern bikes.

  15. Dale says:

    Fantastic! Guess you should have packed those glove liners and electric vests!

  16. GearDrivenCam says:

    Fantastic. Love your writing. Keep them coming.

  17. Bob L says:

    Looks like an awesome trip, so far! Keep the pictures coming. Ride safely, guys.