Day 19 Getting past the mid section

Treated by boy againthis

Morning with his antibiotics and painkiller so he will have a comfy ride today. As a reward I get a loving glance when he basks a few moments in the morning sun while the little man is eating his breakfast.

So today will be a day of making some easy distance south on an easy ride with some music i was able to download again with some wifi connectivity.

Another one of those stop I needed to shoot on the phone and the drone

I forgot we were to cross the mountains as well so Hermes had some work to be done but he was rewarded with a nice sticker of certification for being an Arctic traveler. On the stop I also enjoyed a reindeer meat baguette. It was very enjoyable and I can recommend it when in the region.

We crossed the polar circle the second time today. This time there was a clear marker

During the search for our overnight Google Maps directed me to a backroad which I gladly turned into. Ar first we were treated with a very nice rapid stream to watch and it was good had brought a large shepherd stick cause with my twisted knee the descent to it would not have been possible.

Awesome close to that flow

Driving that back road I had to enable the 4×4 drive because of loose gravel and rock and steep climbs and descends. It was fun feeling the might of the drive on all wheels, how easy Hermes climbed through them was amazing. It almost felt as if he was saying “no worries boss, I’ve done this all my life”.

Steady tranquil flow helped me to sleep tight

We ended up on a nice campsite near a larger slower flowing stream with a good campsite and no traffic close by. So cooking was spaghetti carbonara time and with a nice whiskey a deep snore arrived soon after.

Day 18 Last check and heading south

We had a perfect location for an overnight found on the park4night app. Even though it was sleeping on a large gravel parking lot it was still very still and relaxing with a large forrest near where lots of Norwegians have their physical workouts. It had walking routes up to 40 km out.

Lots of tracks to have fun with waling, running, All terrein Biking and there are even some ski slopes .

I have noticed how active the Norwegians can be. Yes, they also have an obese populations but apparently that is common in our commercial world. Kayaking, canoeing, trail walks, running, climbing and the list goes on. They can be an example I think of a healthy outdoor life. Of course they do have the perfect surrounding for it with plenty of woods mountains, rapid waters etc.

There is a reason why most olympian winter awards on skying for instance are Norwegian. The northmen consider three to four months of snow free soil a summer period little more south and the dry soil from rain is the new standard but of course they also do still get lots of snow.

Breakfast often is made of “hard bread” and the selection of it is diverse from small pack to family packs

The breakfast food is diverse with of course lots of knäckebröd and a wide selection of tubed cheese with extras added like ham, salami, shrimp and even hot chili. Also the selection of porridge for the mornings is wide and often eaten as a morning starter. No wonder they have so much energy in a day, plenty or carbons to burn.

Snack and fast food is a little more expensive were we to buy a bbq bacon at burgerking in Nl we would pays some €4 here it is double that prize. Yup, 8€ for a single burger. The meals vary from at least €11 up and higher so it is wise to get your cooking done yourselves.

Groceries in general are more expensive, on the basis you can add from 15% up to 80%. This is dependent on what is Norwegian produce and what is shipped in. Remember that this country is covered in snow for most of the year and only can provide fresh stuff in the south where there is limited soil. All other things need to be imported hence the higher prizes.

As a reference for services i have experienced the veterinarian costs as all, a normal consult would cost me up to €38 up here that’s quickly €80. No wonder they can pay these grocery prizes.

During a little coffee break

Tonights sleep over is at a road service station for trucks. It had a nice coop and god wifi which helped me secure the fotos and film again to the cloud making sure I have it all secured. It’s a little noisy during the day but doable at night.

Day 17

We woke up with sunshine breaking through early in the morning (yes that is at 01:55 already). Early walk with the boys then tanking up and off we go again.

I decided to go check for a vet to have a look at Boes’ toe. It’s not getting better it looks like. So googling the location quickly got me a vet close by and was only a short drive out. Arriving there i heard that their schedule was packed and that the assistent could have a quick look. She pointed me to Harstad which was my most top destination on the modified trip. Unfortunately the toe nail has to come off and Boes probably needed a short sleep for it. Will have to see how that goes and if I can take him with me, when he is still sleeping of his hangover. So hopefully Boes will start to feel better by the end of the day.

Another crossing in beautiful sunny weather this time heading to Harstad

The ride to Harstad was another charming ride in the sun watching at the hills, tranquil water and warm with hardly any wind. These are unusual days here in the Lofoten I am told so I best make the most of it. Waiting in the sun for the vet appointment is no punishment of course.

Ok first assessment in Boes’ paw looks like a fracture of sorts and an infected toe. The nail would have to be removed and the costs of holiday got another €600 hit with X-rays taken and the operation. Then he would have to be wearing a bandage and we would have to be back tomorrow for new assessment. Just hope the big boy doesn’t feel any more pain when its recovered which looks like it will be a few weeks.

More news on big boy Boes. They had to remove his nail thankfully he was fully sedated and is just waring a bandage right now. Coming weeks he will get the extra attention from daddy to his paw with a huge doze of anti biotics. Also i received some extra painkillers for him to give him some comfort. Yeah the bill flew up €820 from the holiday budget so it will be a quick return home from here with little deviations.

In the mean time some distraction on the bonnet to leave this day behind us and have a check tomorrow at 14:00 then off we go again for the ride back home. Had not expected the top point of the trip to be the veterinarian visit but then which holiday is the same?

Chilling with a series

Day 16 Sunshine beach and magic

It was predicted to come and it did about an hour after we started driving. Sun on the Lofoten we set out to the escape of tourism and made a good effort. Following the E10 is a little standard it seems, but then the further you get up the islands the relaxer it gets too, less and less campers along the way.

So many gorgeous images

The views are amazing around every turn. And the stops are more frequent now to make sure there is enough to brag about later. The pocket has been recording some road travel and the drone has been shooting some panoramic views. The Canon has also been working on some stills so there will plenty to choose from for a collage later.

Boes got some beach time in and he was enjoying that a lot.

The drive amongst the majestic sights just kept me stopping regularly to take out the drone and have a flight around. The impressions just kept coming and regular take offs were needed.

More wide views kept coming
Tonights meal is spaghetti Bolognese with wine from Tuscany

Day 15 Landing on the Lofoten

The departure was kinda interesting, apparently the shortage of people to work the jobs has hit the ferry services as well. The 22:30 departure was canceled due to lack of people to handle it. The reserved spots go first when loading the boat so that would be two ferry rides. So anyone not having reserved a spot would have to wait and queue with the others that havent reserved on the next ferry. We boarded in time after a nap in the queue and then slept some more n the boat. The boys did very well in the back and were just sleeping in the same spot i left them. I think they havent even moved.

Th first welcoming view of the majestic islands

So today i have decided to spend some time on the parking at Å and do some sight seeing, spending time with the boys and some reading and napping. It will be a rainy day according to the forecast so there would be no fun in roaming the island anyway. The sun has come out in he morning so we will see how the day goes.

Village called Ä (prenounced Ôkk) shortest named village in Norway

Did a nice little walk in Ä which was very charming as a small fishing village al though its being a touristic site and the only use of the old houses is exposition or renting of newer versions. So it does have some authenticity and is well occupied by seagulls.

Gull residence and I thought Zandvoort was bad.

Reine was not much of a surprise being a tourist attraction as well and I feel its a little overblown. I did get to tank up water and fuel but moved on as it didn’t look very charming in the rain anyway.

Fredvang Strand og Skjærgårdscamping is what my treat is called. it’s a camping on a northern facing little bay on the arrival island. Cleaning all household stuff again and housekeeping the car making sure the stench if three old men flies out the lair. Bought a play chicken for little Nestor the other day and he is utterly happy with it playing in the grass. Big boy Boes is on his long leash line. because of the large amount of space we have around the car. So he is enjoying the now dry weather and cool winds too.

View out the back of Hermes today

Today the sun will be setting at 01:05 and will be rising again 16 minutes later. Its astonishing to have this midsummer’s experience above the polar circle. I might just be waiting for that moment.

The sun stroking the Lofoten mountains

New recap (2nd one)

And now time for the second review of the status to see how far we have gone on fuel consumption and costs again.

  • 17th July 14 days in
  • From 2353 to 3305 kms driven from departure
  • From 307 to 449 liters of diesel burned
  • From €719 to €1050 spent on diesel
  • Fuel efficiency from 1l diesel at 7,94 kms to 7,54kms
  • From €0,30 to €0,32 on the km on costs
  • Estimated end total from €2145 to €2572
  • Milestone: passed the arctic circle!

Reasons for the elevations were the brakes keep getting stuck and more uphill at the fjords with that extra resistance. I hope it will now get better with some adjustments made on the car.

Day 14 More island hopping and ferry waits

The morning start was delicious. Sweet sounds of birds calling and chirping with an occasional fish stirring the inlet. Hardly any traffic passes by and its all quiet from human intervention. Im greeted with a cheerful Boes and I let him and his little mate Nestor have a nice little walk before breakfast. Even the morning sun pops his head over the clouds to greet the day and I look forward to today’s impressions.

The outlook from the hammock on this morning.

Once again I am surprised by the landscape. Small coastal villages covered by large mountains half buried in rain clouds. Tunnels bypassing the impassable ones surprising from rain into sun into rain again. Long roads sometimes with potholes sometimes renewed tarmac, even splendid bridges.

Hermes has to struggle at time to haul our weight up the 10% inclines and I figured out the blue M-sign on a down hill: Motor breaking. It works fine on the diesel engine and keeps a steady speed at 10% downhill.

I took the final decision to continue to the Lofoten on considering why I am doing this. Part of it is the legacy my mum and dad passed on to me with their inheritance. When I received my share, I had decided to make good use of it and invested part in my mortgage and part as a life investment. The last part I started by buying Hermes at the time. He was only planned to be a hobby object, but on further thoughts I had decided to make a use of it as well. So all I had to do as set a target.

Another ferry ride

So why Norway? Well during my observations at least a few arguments stuck out. One was that it needed to reacheable by driving even when not all the way, it was still within reach. Then there was the choice to bring the boys along, so it had to be dog friendly and easily handled when issues were to rise. Also it needed to be scaled as in I would want the freedom to do the full plan or parts of it. Then there is the unknown to explore not just country wise but also experience wise. I wanted to be able to take away an experience I would never forget and possibly use new insights on a daily basis. And not the least reason, it needed to be beautiful and diverse in climate in my view.

All these I found in Norway. Rugged, divers, easily divided destinations, developed and confrontational. It seemed a very good fit and I had never been to Scandinavia except for Denmark with my babygirl to Legoland. The little only thing not favoring it was the prices in Norway. There is a reason why its called expensive and it feels that even buying a simple cup of coffee in a cup at €3,50. So i had to budget and lan carefully especially when im looking at the distance and time I was planning on doing.

Views that keep amazing

In the meantime I continued to make many enhancements to Hermes and it payed off. It runs smooth has not had engine issues and the only thing that was an acute problem was a busted axle. Even the breaks are doing much better since I found a braking sequence on how to free them again so yay!

It is a nightly departure I will be doing from Bodø at 3:15 but then I will also be arriving early. All I need to do then is claim a nice overnight and daytime spot for our first day on the Lofoten without any travel. Just a chill day to feel that marking point of landing on the islands.

After a long drive today with a lot of scenery i will probably have to recall in my sleep, me and the boys arrived in Bodø. This larger city functions as a departure point for the ferry to Moskenes on the Lofoten. The duration of the trips differ from 3 and 1/4 hour to nearly 7 hours. Why the difference? I have no clue, all I know is that it gets to Moskenes (hopefully).

Oh and this one I just realized. When google maps starts showing you the snowed pictures of maps, just can be aware that its the time we passed the arctic circle! Yes, we are above Nesna now and that means we have passed into the Northern region of the world!

Queing for their departure

So now we are parked to wait for the loading of the previous set. When they are gone we get to park in the reserved lane and I can get some shuteye for a few hours. Until we start to load at 02:45. Then its a quick boarding and more snoring on the boat till arrival. The boys will stay in the car and I’m sure they will do fine. They have been very good in the back for 3300 kilometers already so they will survive a little boat ride as well.

Day 13 Gorgeous views and another issue

Days seem to be balanced good and bad day by day. Yesterday night before doing a little walk with the boys I twisted my knee and I feel one of my ligaments is acting up. I’vee been rolling in the hamlock all night just to be comfortable with an aching knee. Using the coupling on the drive is a little painful still after a painkiller. I’ll have to be careful today to not overstep and cause more issue due to lack of sleep.

Spot for a drive break

Lucky on the weather today. It was supposed to rain and so far its been dry and even sunny at moments. (knocks on wood) Hoping it will remain, much more pleasant to watch the scenery.

Yes! A moose at the side of the road although they can be quite an issue when on the road this one was luckily separated by a moat and a fence. Still cool to see for the first time it was not a very big one must have been younger, but it was eating and observing all these tin cans flying by his view.

Regular view in this part of Norway

Still not decided on pushing through or not, it seems my view these days change by the day. I had a look at the forecast on the Lofoten next week and week after and it seems it will be very good. So very tempted to still do the crossing now and will have to cross in the middle of the night. All car slots are taken except for the very long one of 6 hours and 45 minutes. Or the short one at 3:15 in the morning which only takes 3 hours and 15 minutes.

I would have to talk to my little girl who I spoke to today. I have good arguments to do it still cause I’m nearly a week ahead of schedule and in that also saving a week of costs. Hermes runs more fuel efficient as well and I have hopes I have my share of holiday incidents. I’m also planning on cutting short some 700 kilometers because a certain tunnel up north has been closed and by that closing that gorgeous route is was aiming for. So in all I would likely be a week or even more home earlier and still can do 90% of the planned route.

On the other hand I am also missing my girl a lot and would live to have her close, I also had talked with her about coming back earlier and she lit up like fireworks. Disappointing her now by telling her I go on would be a harsh moment for her. So its heart versus mind. Passion versus compassion. Which will it be..

Limping through the day wasn’t so bad, only a few times did we leave the car. It did remind me of taking the vitamins and the old man miracle called Magnesium.

The overnight is at a quiet spot with lots of birds in a marsh like area. A cattle grate in the road is something to get used to with passing cars.

Day 12 Repairs and considerations

The morning started off well enough dry weather with some clouds and some wind so its time to hang out some of the drapes the dogs sleep on and vent the cabin. While stuff is catching a fresh scent I did some recalculations on the holiday budget.

A hard choice to be made today, it’s depending on the repair costs I’ll be looking at. For now I’m mentally preparing for a possible wide U-turn and leaving the target for what it is. Ambitious and probably far fetched from the start but it got me some 2800km up which is allready an achievement with old Hermes.

The boys are just chilling on the fresh little breeze and are growing closer day by day some more

I just met the man who will be providing me with a replacement axle, unfortunately he arrived with the wrong type. My axle is of an older version of landrovers namely a series 2 which was replaced with newer versions of the axles in the series 3. The conversation about it wasnt clear and he was surprised to see an older axle type on my Hermes.

The very friendly Rolf is part of a landrover fan group in Norway Trondheim and he has driven a total 320km to get me the part which he will hand me for free. There are such warm and friendly people in the world, it fills my heart.

In return I have offered to pay for his fuel of course and write a piece on their fan group to submit to the Dutch landrover group LRCH. He told me he rather share the love for the landrover family, we will see how it turns out, for now it looks like a bottle of wine for his lady as he doesn’t drink himself.

He also invited me to a landrover gathering next wednesday near Trondheim. Which I considered and discussed some routes on the map. To me that’s and indication that I can’t go any higher North then Sandjoesan/Mo I Rana. He showed me a very nice route to drive and then go back down to that gathering. It will be fun to see the Norwegian versions of it landrovers, I hear they are harder to maintain then the other ones because most are maintained as ex military.

That makes the decision closer to final to me. Listening and looking at signals that drive our lives in directions that feel just, gives is less resistance and in this case the incident, all indications of resistance and assistance give me more and more the determination that this is probably close to the maximum I will be getting out of this Norwegian adventure.

So the U-turn will likely be happening at Sandnoesjen and then we will have done some 3200 kms getting back will be less kilometers and I’m budgetting on 6000 kms in total. I will decide when I’m at that point.

Did do some progress again after the 20 minute, repair job. And made it to the region of Namsos, no its not Greece. The way up to Namsos was dressed with gorgeous forrests with trees covering mountain sides only fractions smaller then the majestic fjords. The sweeping road crossed bridges, lakes, islands, valleys and towns.

One of the other benefits is that I likely will get to spend time with my sweet daughter when I’m back after I have washed and cleaned Hermes with the salt he is catching on these roads. I am missing her and her mum and am happy we have regular contacts and I get to see their faces frequently on video calls.

A constant stream of roadside warnings for crossing moose and reindeer tells the driver how close to nature this path of adventure is.

Searching for a nice suiteable spot off the main raod didn’t take little long. Next to a little stream just of the main road on an entry for two forrest walks.

Day 11 Island hopping and BANG!

A chilling and wet start today, i had put Hermes’ back in the wind later I realized it was not the best idea for two reasons. 1) the back door top seal doesn’t close properly and needs some addition anti draft strip. Tonight the wind was pushing in taking the temperature out of the cabin. 2) the view outside when in the hammock and waking up is better on the right side when it faces the scenery. Things learned again.

I am a little concerned about big boys Boes’ paw. He has damaged one if his toes when jumping in and its a little swollen. I’m allready putting some pain relief on it, hope that swelling shrinks soon.

Today will be a wet one says the forecast and on the coast anything goes so we will have to seen when passing the islands.

When things go Bang! Yup it happened. The rear differential has broken a tooth and rear drive won’t work. I can drive in 4wheel mode but the probability of damaging the differential further exists. So to limit further damages I called road service to see if Hermes can be transported over to Trondheim which is 44 km from my location where a Landrover dealership is present. I can only hope they do repairs too.

Going for a free ride…

Well it was not going to be Trondheim. Transport alone would have given me another €400 to pay for, so it turned out that a little further up the road was the little town of Åfjord (prenounced Oksfjord).

I was taken there by the local garage man who helped me get setup with a first analysis. The result was a broken left pin axle as the origin of the troubles. We had hopes that by taking out the axle and leaving it out, the main drive would still be in place. So after some three hours since the incident I went for a drive seemingly happy I could move on.

Pretty flower eh? If only it wasn’t a busted axle.

It isn’t meant to be cause after two kilometers away the rear differential started making hard sound as if it was trying to grip on the right wheel. So we stopped again and went back to the garage. Taking out the main drive axle was not gonna work so the only option was to go on a search for a replacement axle to the left.

After a few phone calls by the engineers I was told there could be an axle near Trondheim in a local landrover club and I was to expect a call from that person. He was gonna bring the axle over then to help the landrover family out. So while waiting for that call I am considering the options available budget wise.

Theres two plans now that are possible. The first is to go on after repairs and try for a shorter route with less budget available and really squeezing the budget or the second option is to head to Trondheim to have a few days there and slowly start making my way back down. I’ll be deciding tomorrow.

For tonight I’ve booked a camping close to the garage for €30 a night to have at least a good shower and a good meal.