.. in which the weather's wet, the bike's on its side, and there's a rock in the road. The plan was to go from Lysebotn to Sauda (C to H in the map), or something thereabout. Not very far as the crow flies, but the fjords and mountains mean you've got to take your time to get there.
Continuation of part 1 here.
Batteries charged, belly full of oatmeal and helmet visor cleaned, I headed out around 8:30 in the morning.
There's a scenic ferry route out Lysefjorden, but the wait was too long. The only other way out is to take the winding mountain pass from the day before, back to Sirdal.
With a bit more warmth in my fingers than the evening before, I stopped for a few photos on the mountain plateau.
Occasionally some snow left on the side roads.
At the highest point of the mountain pass, there's a rest stop where hundreds of tourists over the years have made small cairns and stone formations.
Back down in the valleys, I took the road through Hunnedalen westward.
At Byrkjedal ('D' in the map), despite a first few drops of rain, I decided to go further south west through Gloppedalsura.
I'm glad I did, the road cut a path straight through a massive pile of boulders at the bottom of the valley. It makes you consider what a colossal effort building the road must have been, back in the day.
Apparently, this valley was also the site of a ferocious engagement during WWII. The plaque reads: The battle of Gloppedalsura 22. April 1940. 250 Norwegian soldiers managed to halt two German battalions advancing towards Dirdal. 44 Germans and 1 Norwegian were killed in the skirmish. The Norwegian was Georg Pettersen from Oslo.
The weather was really starting to come down as I took a detour to Ørsdalen ('E' in the map).
Luckily my riding gear stayed warm and dry, so despite the rain, it wasn't hard to enjoy the ride.
The old roads here are at times unbelievable, precariously carved into the side of the mountainside. They are mostly closed off, but occasionally it's possible to exit the newer main road. At your own risk, I should add! As I exited this tunnel, the road ahead was littered with rocks.
A pretty big one too! Imagine that thing coming down.. fucking hell. Commence backtracking.
A plaque commemorating 6 people who died building the road.
Continuing to Ørsdal, this time through the tunnel.
Ørsdal is a dead end, but a worthwhile detour. There literally did not seem to be anyone else in the entire valley, just me and hundreds of goats and sheep.
At the road's end, there's an idyllic river bend with this interesting balancing rock.
I had some coffee and cleaned my boots of sheep's droppings.
Heading back down the valley.
Motherf.... I toppled the bike over while getting off. Some serious work getting it upright again too, as the tires didn't grip. I think my back still aches from that little roadside exercise
Could have sworn these guys stood there laughing.
Back out of Ørsdalen, I made a bee line for the ferry to Tau ('G' in the map).
Splurged a bit and got a hotel room... the tiniest one! Odd arrangement of furniture, but it turned out to be great - I could sit in the lounger and use the hairdryer on my riding gear. Perfect! The evening ended with Tau beer and Germany vs France at a pub. Despite a few new scratches on the bike, a great day.
Part 3 soon, wherein the weather improves, but big rocks still block my path.