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Published: September 10th 2008
Tuesday 9th September
It was always going to be a long day. When I typed in Kristiansand into the TomTom on departing Bergen at 10:15 it reckoned my arrival time would be 19:30. Well cheery. It's only 500km but you have to account for the ferry crossings around Bergen and Stavanger and the fact that there is no Norwegian translation for dual carriageway - let alone Motorway. Still I figured I could beat that geriatric estimate - I think TomTom counts a typical road user as someone on life support on their last journey ever.
Well beat it I did, but not massively - I hit Kristiansand at 18:15. Eight hours straight on the bike, save for 2x20 minute ferry crossings and fuel stops I took no breaks. I even maximised my time by eating on the ferry. I didn't even pause for one photo - which at least makes uploading this blog a far quicker affair.
A word to the wise - Kristiansand shuts at 18:00, not 18:15. And I mean shut - shut like a provincial French village late on a Sunday night shut. And everywhere was full. The tourist office, helpfully shut at 18:00 too and the pathetic Lonely Planet's 4 entries (in the 5th biggest city in Norway - what a waste of time) were all rammo. Pants. I was dog tired and everywhere I rang was chocka and “had been told by the tourist office that everywhere was full”. I had begun the day in naive optimism, thinking I would camp but it was damp and cold and I fancied that about as much as one of Bodge's exes. The last hour of the journey had been wet and I had gradually gotten chilled. And anyway I reasoned getting to the ferry for 7:30 am would be tricky if I had to pack up camp. Still it was now 7 pm and light was fading fast, far quicker than the 500 miles further north I had been a couple of days previous, so if camping was the only option so be it and I headed for the well recommended site in the Lonely Planet guide “... campers are in luck with this well run...” Are they f*ck - the place was completely shut down, I guess since end of August. I didn't care about that, as long as I could pitch tent, but the main gates were bolted shut. B*llocks. I called back one of the hotels who said they may have had a cancellation and they had - yippee. Sorry it was a smoking only room and the price? £130? F*ck off - I would rather doss down at the ferry terminal than shell out £130 to sleep in some asthma inducing flea pit.
So I ended up riding another 30km out of town to find a place in Lillesand, arriving just after a much earlier dusk. Actually this place was fine and I could even get an evening meal here. Fish soup - the chef's speciality followed by pan fried monkfish. Pretty good actually - I even allowed myself a glass of wine. I was still quids in compared with the ridiculously priced smoke pit in Kristiansand.
I was still having screen issues. I rode for about 100 miles with it off today - strapped to the seat. It was better up to about 50mph but above that no better, unless again you stood up. I concluded that the mirrors were creating dirty air just at my head height. The net result was the worst tinnitus I have ever had that evening and I am having to play music to get to sleep to drown it out. It is such a shame that it mars what is otherwise an excellent bike. I am going to buy the BMW taller screen as a last chance saloon measure and as soon as possible. I was not prepared to go deaf for the sake of this trip and it was getting so serious that if the new screen didn't fix it I was considering heading for home - maybe riding back again on my trusty ZX6.
I was dog tired, too tired to type some blog, so this is coming to you the following morning from the lounge on the Denmark ferry. Having strapped the bike down, I thought pretty well (top tip remove the seat and put the strapping over the hard edged frame) Mr Color Line said we (me and German R1150GS rider) needed to strap down two more straps - one each side. Hmm - I was guessing the crossing may be rough. And I was to guess right - its hard to type this in the pitching and swaying of the boat. Far rougher than my original North Sea crossing.
Miles to date 1460. So about 1150 in Norway, if you take off the 300 odd to Newcastle. More tomorrow....
Tot: 2.514s; Tpl: 0.073s; cc: 12; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0582s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb