Had some work to do on the west coast, and wasted a couple of sunny days on the bike to get there.
The trip started with a bang! Heading west on E134, two planes suddenly made a extreme low pass above a small airstrip parallell to the road. I stopped at the end of the runway, hoping they'd make another pass, but one disappeared and the other landed. Anyone able to see what plane this is?
I got a pretty late start, so the aim was just to make it as far west as possible before sundown, find a place to stay, and get an early start the next day. Onwards toward Rauland from Flatdal.
Things waiting for winter..
Not so much to see along FV503, except some farms and cabins. The roads were good though.
Some autumn colors making their arrival.
Without the sun overhead, it got really chilly, so I stopped around 1900 at Rauland.
Got a room in a cabin at Raulandsfjell. The place was running on off-season fumes, it seemed, but there was steak night in the cafeteria, with lots of locals and good beer. Also met Jim from Boston who talked non stop like a Sopranos character. Great guy, got some trip tips for Alaska/Canada too!
Leaving Raulandsfjell, where evidently neither breakfast or toilet paper is included in the price.
I was out of the parking lot at 0800 sharp, badly overestimating the warmth of an early morning September sun.
Went south for a bit first, changed my mind after 10-20k, headed back north and along Totak further westwards.
If you read my previous photo journals, you'll recognize this mountain pass..
Lots of goats and sheep sleeping dangerously close to the road. (It may not look like it, but this is a main road between Norway's biggest cities!)
If you did read my previous photo journals, you may know that I have a fascination with the old mountain roads. They criss cross this mountain pass, nearly completely vanished in some places, literally carved in stone in others.
In particular, one of the oldest road tunnels in Norway lies here. Every time I've driven across here, I've looked for it, but every time it has been covered in snow, or I looked in the wrong place.
But this time, I found it! And it was beautiful.
It had been hammered pretty badly by rock slides, but it was still a fantastic sight.
I don't really know why I find this so fascinating, but I do.. it's something about the enormity of the mountains and the thought of tiny humans in bygone eras toiling away to build a road straight through or across them.
The far end was still covered in snow, with a small gap illuminating the dome of ice. (I did not venture underneath, I figured that while luck and helmet might save me from falling pebbles, they wouldn't do much against 10 tons of snow and ice.)
Anyways, I had a long way to go, so I walked back down to the motorbike and continued.
A bit less snow in the distance than last time! And all my sheep buddies had been herded back to the valley the weekend before.
Approaching Røldal. In the very far distance here, you can see a road winding up the mountain side. That's where I drove earlier in the summer (3 day detour..).
This time, I took a different road south - Suldal instead of Sauda.
Riding along Djupedal ("Deep Valley").
Unfortunately, the road was "littered" with tunnels, and not the fascinating kind. It's amusing to see how old farms etc are now literally right on top of the tunnel heads.
The biggest hydroelectric reservoir is in this area. I didn't know much about it, but decided to drive up there and have lunch.
Suddenly, the big rock pile appears between the hills.
Motorcycle for scale..
The darkest tunnel ever leading to the top. It turns 180 degrees halfway through, and it's absolutely pitch black in there. It didn't help that my headlights are rubbish.
Unfortunately, I was running out of gas, so I didn't go see all the dams. This one is the tallest, but there is another one even larger in volume. The lake "Blåsjø" (Blue Lake) grew to become Norway's 13th largest because of the dam.
Looking down valley from the top.
New travelling buddies.
Back down towards Jøsenfjorden.
At this point, it was getting late, so I headed to Tau, took the ferry to Stavanger, and raced to the hotel near where I'd be working the next day. Finished all the work on Monday, then drove the quickest way along the coast back to Oslo today.
The route ended up like this: