Nordkapp, Old Postal Road and an unplanned Iron butt
We spent last summer in Sweden, Anders was working and I was doing nothing. I had become incredible bored and restless from not been out traveling so I suggested to Anders that I could take a couple of weeks off, from doing nothing, and ride up to Nordkapp. I told him that it was only 2000 km one way but it turned out to be around 5000 km return, whoops! Anders knows me to well and knew that I really needed this so he just said that it would be fantastic for me to get away. Love him for that. A few days later, I packed my bike with my little tent, sleeping bag and my camera. I left Södertälje in the afternoon and rode 230 km to Borlänge where I stayed with my lovely mother in law the first night. After a very nice evening and a good night sleep I set off and the weather couldn’t better.
On the way north I took the route along the lake Siljan, which is such a beautiful part of Sweden. I made a quick stop at Ingmar Bergman’s (the film producer) bridge.
Though I have visited Nusnäs before I took the opportunity to make a stop again to see the home of Dalahästar (Dalecarlian horses), which is a traditional carved, painted wooden statue of a horse. In the old days they were mostly used as a toy for children but in modern times it has become a symbol of Dalarna.
I was camping one night outside Östersund. Slept like a baby in my little tent.
I had heard that BMW was having a big motorcycle meet in Arjeplog so I thought it would be a good stop for the night. On the way to Arjeplog the GPS took me on a very straight gravel road.
After two days I arrived to Arjeplog. The weather was fantastic and I just love that the sun is up 24/7. Woke up at three o’clock the first night and thought it was at least 9 am.
I pitched the tent in another a beautiful place next to the water.
The sunset was just amazing. I remember as a kid that it was lots of mosquitoes in the north of Sweden, but luckily I saw hardly any so I could really enjoy being outdoor in the evenings.
I met Rolf and his wife in Arjeplog. I had met Rolf before during a week with Touratech Nordic in Portugal. It was a fantastic week but unfortunately Rolf, although he is a very good rider, he fell of his bike and broke a couple of ribs. It was good to see that he had recovered and was riding his bike again.
Just outside Arjeplog is the mountain, Galtispuoda, which is said to be one of Sweden’s most spectacular viewpoints and I am keen to agree.
After a couple of days I left Arjeplog and rode to Båtskärsnäs, which is just outside Kalix on the north east coast of Sweden. I have spent many happy summers in this part of Sweden as this is the place where my dad grew up.
I found a campsite where I could see the summer house on the other side of the water that my grandma and grandpa had for many years.
When I saw the summer house I became happy and sad at the same time. I have so many good memories from this place running around and playing by the shore. The knowledge that someone else owns this place today and that my grandma, grandpa and my dad have all passed away made me sad.
One evening I took a small dirtroad to the beach…. thought I could take a nice photo of the bike on the beach at sunset…. Of course, I got stuck in the sand and it took me a bloody hour to get back on the track again. As you might see in the photo my face was nearly as red as Donald Trump’s from all the hard work… and I didn’t get any good photos either… However, it feels so good to solve it myself.
During the summer, the sunsets in the very north of Sweden are magical.
When leaving Båtskärsnäs and the campsite I rode through a tiny village named Lappbäcken. When I was little my dad told me that all people living in Lappbäcken had very long faces. I can’t remember if I ever saw anyone with a long face but I rode very slowly through the village and to my big disappointment I didn’t see a singel person with a long face…
I managed to get an infection that needed antibiotics so I had to visit the hospital in Kalix. I got stuck in the town for a few days as I’m allergic to some antibiotics so I needed to stay close to a hospital in case I got a bad reaction…. so annoying. Anyway, after a few days I was still alive and the weather was super nice so I hit the road again.
Before I left Kalix I went to the graveyard to put some flowers on my grandma and granddad’s grave
Arrived to Finland.. not much of a border crossing really.
The day started with nice sunny weather and ended with rain and snow… It was freezing and wet and with boots leaking like colanders, I had to use plastic bag to keep them dry. I might not have looked like the coolest biker but who cares 😉 Now it was only 500 km to Nordkapp.
On the way to Nordkapp I and of course, I stopped to take a photo of the Artic Circle sign.
Finally Norway… and it started to get much colder.
Old Postal Road (Gamla postvägen)
There is an old postal road between Kautokeino och Alta, that I had promised Anders not to take… Unfortunately I am not very good keeping promises like that. I just thought ‘How difficult can it be?’ and I was sure there would be other bikers that could help me out if something went pear shaped…. it turned out that NO ONE was travelling this route. Anyway, it started off with a very good and promising gravel road and with an outstanding landscape. The weather didn’t look very promising though but it didn’t matter as I was in a very good mood and very excited.
I was riding for maybe an hour or so when I came a cross a big patch of snow. I stopped to check out how deep and what kind of snow it was. What doesn’t show in the photo is that it is slightly downhill and I stupidly stopped just in front of the snow. Anyway so far so good 😉 I checked out the snow and knew that I would not be able to ride on it as it was a hard surface and soft under so I would definitely get stuck if I tried. So I went back to the bike to turn it around, which failed big time as I dropped it. So there I was in the middle of nowhere and no people around that could help me out. I tried to lift it with the luggage but that was just impossible. I had to take all of my luggage off the bike, and still I couldn’t lift it, bugger. In the end I managed to turn the bike around so the front wheel pointed in opposite direction then I dug a furrow in the ice/snow with help of a big stone. I could then place the tyres in the furrow and lift the bike … what a fabulous feeling it was. So there I was sweaty, tired and with a big fat smile on my face.
However, about 10 minuts later I got stuck in a ditch filled with water. Once again I managed to sort it out by myself and I continued wet cold and very very happy and rather proud of myself.
Such a nice feeling to get up on the road again.
I saw quite a few birds and this little European Golden Plover wasn’t shy at all
Yeah! I reached Nordkapp
Beautiful place which I certainly will come back to one day.
An unplanned Iron Butt – Check! 💪💪
I have never understood the fun with doing an Iron Butt, and now when I’ve done it myself…. I still don’t understand it…. Anyway, after Nordkapp I was supposed to ride to Lofoten but in Alta I took the “wrong” turn and rode and rode and rode… and after less than 24 hours, 1769 km and no sleep I reached Södertälje where I surprised Anders and my son Simon who didn’t expect me home just yet.
However, doing an Iron butt has its ups and downs. Just to ride in the middle of the night in northern Scandinavian in the beginning of July is just outstanding. During the night I came a cross a reindeer that was standing in the middle of the road. I stopped the bike and there we were, the reindeer and I checking out each other before we move on.
At midnight I reached the bridge between Finland and Sweden. I was there just by myself in the middle of the night watching the midnight sun in total tranquility … something that will stay in my mind for a very long time.
Am going to do an Iron Butt again?…. No, not if I can avoid it
It was between 0.5 – 6 degrees and I was freezing like hell and and wished I would have had a heated vest. In the photo below I am wearing all cloths I had with me plus my red sleeping bag liner around my neck and I was still freezing like mad.
Just before Uppsala I nearly fell asleep several time while riding. I just had to stop for a break and found this little road where I could jump up and down to wake me up a bit.
Not sure why but I have photographed small desolate houses all around the world and this is one from the very north of Norway.