Staff Training and Route Setting

After my weeks of travelling, it was back to normal today with some Staff Training at Cannington Outdoor Centre in the morning and putting holds on the wall in the afternoon.

Fortunately being an agricultural college we have a lot of useful toys at our disposal, so the use of the MEWP (mini crane thing) made that a lot easier than hanging about of ropes to fit holds.

Back in The Shire

Back Home after a painless ferry crossing. It was taken over by 200+ bikers with The Chopper Club on their way back from a meet in Germany

Only 250 miles needed today but after an epic 5500 miles (even google maps can't show it all on one plan and doesn't account for some of the extra roads I did - this just shows the shortest possible route) I am back home, tired but happy. Going to Nordkapp via motorbike has been one of my goals for some time and it did not disappoint.

Of course, being on the M25 at 8am was a bad as expected with a lot of filtering and sitting in queues.

I have ridden through England, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. I have experienced cold (4 degrees), horizontal rain, gales (50mph + crosswinds on bridges) and heat (28/29 degrees).

I have spent over 110 hrs on the bike, used 12 ferries, over 200km of tunnels and spent 13 nights in a tent.

Roads were a mix of motorway, A roads, B roads, unclassified and deep gravel in some of the road works. I have had Reindeer run across the road in front of me (better than sheep on Dartmoor)

The highlight of the trip however was meeting a huge number of bikers from many different countries all of whom shared the passion for motorcycle touring and made my evenings on campsites and time of ferries very enjoyable.

Would I do I again? - Not in the timescale I had, I would prefer more time on the next trip as some of my days were very long but yes potentially although I fancy going south next time for warmer weather.

I will write a full review of the bike over the next few days and also will edit the video I have taken but it is back to normal work mode from Thursday on and my summer holidays are now over.

The bike is all clean now ready for the next adventure wherever that may be!

Boil in The Bag

After saying I was looking forward to warmer weather after my time up north, it was 29 degrees today and I felt like I was a Boil in the Bag meal. I had 600km to cover today and although I did most on the motorways, I did come off for a few hours through The Netherlands for some fun.

Back on the motorway, was horrendous traffic and I must have filtered for best part of 50km until I arrived at the ferry port in Hook of Holland.

I was very pleased to have been able to dry my tent this morning so one less thing to do when I get home tomorrow.

It is fair to say that I am pretty worn out now, I have covered well over 5000 miles and have spent over 120 hrs riding the bike.

I will be sleeping on the ferry tonight (no more tent for me for a few weeks) and then should be home by lunch time tomorrow.

The Tiger: The Tale of Three Countries - The Sequal

Another three country day today and 600km. Breakfast in Sweden, lunch in Denmark and tea (dinner) in Germany.

What a lovely morning in Sweden so I chose to take the bridges to Denmark rather than the ferry. Shame the weather changed about 10km before the crossing and it was a wet and windy experience to say the least. That weather continued through most of Denmark along with congestion and roadworks so I just stuck to the motorway to get it done. 

However, just before Germany it started to clear up. Now Germany is one of those countries that I have driven through a lot on the way to Italy, Austria and at the start of this trip and always on the motorways so as soon as I was over the border, I stopped, shed a few layers as it was up to a nice 23 degrees, hit the "curvy road" button and had 2 hours of amazing back roads (inc a small ferry). I even got the bike into Sport mode for the first time this trip which firms up the suspension and gives me power more quickly. It was good to prove that not only is it a capable mile muncher, it can be thrown around as well. to get to my campsite which is just here north of Neumunster.

Now I had a mini crisis as I stopped for a second lunch in Germany which I had not planned for and ran out of peanut butter!! Tomorrow I will have to buy lunch somewhere instead.

This is my last night in the tent as tomorrow night I will be on the Hook of Holland to Harwich ferry. I will dream of having a dry tent in the morning.

At the Seaside

Around 550km done today using the "curvy roads" function of the GPS. I woke up this morning cruising into Stockholm past another groups of islands and rode off the ferry at 6am straight through the city before rush hour and so had plenty of time to play with today.

Some fast A roads and some very twisty C roads gave me a great journey as I headed down to Kristianstad though I really had no idea where I was most of the time as I really was in the depths of the countryside. The blue route above follows a major road that I crossed a few time so was in the right vicinity.

I am staying here on the coast tonight and had a little paddle but it was too cold to swim. I think it is called the Baltic Sea for a reason.

Three more days riding and I will be home. This part of the journey is just about getting to the ferry port but if I have time, I can play in the twisties and enjoy it as much as I can.

A Ferry good night to you all

OK, I will be honest, I have no idea where I went today.

Last night after I had blogged I was joined in the campsite by a German couple who were also on tour and we had a good chat about our respective routes

With plenty of time to get from Kokkola to Turku for my ferry, I used the "curvy roads" function of my GPS and I was generally heading south. I have made a map on google maps from the places I remember but I certainly wasn't on any big roads. Most of them had 3 or 4 numbers but it took around 8 hrs and covered about 450km.

I went to a place called Nokia just because it was only a small detour and I remember the 5210 fondly (that is a phone not a road number).

Anyway, a quick visit to a bike shop to get a couple or circlips that either I had lost or never had. Awesome, as they didn't charge me anything and then it was onto Turku to wait for the ferry. Great to meet a couple on a Tiger 955i at the ferry ports. I had one of these some time ago (the bright green one Mum).

However, not so great to find that no straps or any method of tying down the bikes is offered on this ferry. Just two red wedges that to be honest look worse than useless. Hmm. Could be interesting dreams I have tonight about dominos.

I am going up on deck to enjoy the view as we leave so I may add some additional pictures later.

Additional Post!

We are steaming through an amazing archipelago in order to get to the open sea. Islands everywhere. Just can't stop running from side to side of the ship to look.

Some Sun in southern Finland

I heard a rumour it was warm and sunny in the south of Finland so today, I just jumped on the E8 and made progress. The rumours were true. About 15 degrees, wandering around the campsite in a T-shirt and was too hot on the bike. Thermals will be packed away now then.

Only about 340km done today to get me to Kokkola which seems to be pronounced just like the drink and down some straight roads and even dual carriage way at times so no pic cam pics. Some great stop offs on route though.

However, Finland, you have a few inconsistencies. For every roadwork sign there were a set of roadworks so that would be 100% success. For every Moose sign, there was none so that is 0%. Come on, get your act together. Mine you coffee for 1 Euro made a nice change.

Once on the campsite, I met a great group of Finish bikers who had ridden their motorbikes to Kokkola to hire push bikes and cycle round the city. Only 1, Sammy spoke English but that was enough for some interesting conversation both about my long trip and their 3 day jolly

Reindeer and Roadworks

Reindeer and Roadworks were the them for today. 550km done today. 100 odd km in Norway and then another 450 km in Finland. Don't worry, I haven't got pictures of roadwork's!

As soon as I was over the border, the speed limit went upto 100kph which helped cover some ground. A lot more trees than Norway but fewer nice stopping places. Loads of Reindeer about today and although the Moose signs were about, I didn't see a single one. I spent most of the day cruising through Lapland and didn't see Santa either so he must have been in a factory making some toys.

I got somewhat confused as to the difference between google maps and what my GPS was saying about travelling time but this was easily sorted as once I was over the border, none of my clocks matched and I realised there was a 1 hr time difference. Once this was changed on my bike everything match up again.

I am no longer in the Arctic Circle as I am here in Tornio but it is still chilly and I am still wearing thermals. I am expecting this to change as I head down the west coast of Finland tomorrow.

The plan I decided on last night was to travel down to Turku and catch the overnight ferry to Stockholm (which gives me a bed and a rest from riding for a bit) and then continue down through Sweden, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands and home.