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Monday, October 15, 2012

VEJBYSTRAND SWEDEN and RIDE AWAY CANCER



The old Tuborg Brewery in Hellerup, just north of Copenhagen Denmark.


Before I got to Sweden and up to Vejbystrand I had a small amount of time in Denmark.
Stopping only for a picture and not the full brewery tour at the Tuborg offices, my destination for that day was Helsingor.
 If you keep riding north from Denmarks capitol of Copenhagen you can take either the E47 Motorway or the scenic route, coastal road 152, both of which will take you to Helsingor where you can get the Scandlines ferry from Denmark over to Helsingborg in Sweden. 
 A one way ferry crossing for a motorcycle with either 1 or 2 passengers will cost you 200 DK (Danish Krone) which is about 25 Euros which is about $33. Not cheap for a 20 minute boat ride, but then again, nothing is cheap in Europe, and the further north I get, the more that holds true.







There weren't too many other motorcycles on the road, in fact, I was the only one.









By the time I added up the milage and ride time to Nordkapp at the very top of Norway, it didn't give me a whole lot of time to spend in Denmark. 
I had tentative arrangements to meet with some of the folks from the Motorcykle.dk forum, but after getting delayed by nearly a week leaving Germany and arriving late into Denmark, I really had to start making my way north to Stockholm to give myself enough time to get up to Nordkapp.
I had originally intended to ride up to Oslo in Norway then over to Bergen and from there ride up the coast of Norway to Nordkapp, but after researching the time needed for all the twists, turns and also factoring in the price of gas in Norway, I just didn't have the time or money to do it. Instead I have decided to ride up through Sweden to Narvik in Norway, and from there up to Nordkapp.


View Larger Map                                               Narvik, Norway.

My Russian visa starts on November 15th, so when you look at it it's not that much time to ride 4,000 kms and stop and photograph all that a trip and ride like this has to offer.
 I also have a bit of a weather window to get up to Nordkapp before it just get's too inhospitable and dark, although it's probably not going to be much better in Russia in December.




View Larger Map 

From Stockholm in Sweden up to Nordkapp in Norway and down to Tornio in Finland and over to St. Petersburg in Russia is a roughly 3,800km or 2,400 mile ride, which under normal conditions is not a big deal, but riding in Winter with freezing temperatures, ice and probably snow, I'm figuring that 
400 km days of riding is at the high end of the forward progress scale. Not having ridden up here before, much less in Winter and in a sidecar outfit, it's kind of hard for me to gauge just how much progress I'll actually make in a day. Plus, the further north I go, the darker it's going to get during the day, which means I'll have to stop riding earlier in the afternoon lest I want to play Reindeer bowling on the roads. Lot's of Reindeer up here I've been told.
I would like to be in St. Petersburg Russia as close to the start date of my visa for Russia of Nov 15th, and that will give me about 10 days to spend in St. Petersburg and photograph as much of the city as possible before I have to head over to Moscow and then up to Yaroslavl, 300kms north of Moscow, where I was invited by the Black bears MC in Russia to attend their Winter Rally on Dec 5th. 
So now all I have to do is make it there. Easy, right?.








Kjell and Karin during one of their slideshow presentations on their stories and experiences of their nearly 3 yr Round the World motorcycle ride. I didn't understand Swedish, but Kjell and Karin have a great bunch of stories from their trip, they've ridden a lot in Asia and spent nearly 9 months riding around Australia, their favorite country so far from what I can gather.


Kjell brought me around the Vejbystrand area, lots of history here, his Dads grave being one of them.


 Kjell was born in Vejbystrand in a house right across from the harbor where we went to watch the removal of the boats for winter storage.














All of these were full with boats before I left.


As Old Man Winter approaches, the little harbor in Vejbystrand starts to empty out, only the brave or crazy few still go out in their boats from November on in this part of the world. It's only October here and already the cold and gloom of the winter months that lie in wait ahead are recognizable.


While I was in Vejbystrand, Ride Away Cancer again got the opportunity to bring a little cheer and a smile to someones face, 
the someone in this case being Ing-Margreth, who was diagnosed with breast cancer recently. 
As Karin was speaking with her friend Ing-Margreth one day, she hung up the phone and told me a little of her friends diagnosos of breast cancer. So I asked Karin to ask Ing-Margreth if she would be up for a visit with her and maybe take her for a sidecar ride. 
So that's what we did.


Ing-Margreth, Vejbystrand Harbor, Sweden. Oct 8, 2012.

I stopped by the house and spoke with her inside for a bit, then we went for a sidecar ride down to Vejbystrand harbor where these shots were taken.

Ing-Margreth starts her chemo this week, so she will most likely lose her hair, so I was glad to be able to give some nice photos for her scrapbook before the chemo does it's job.





Thank you Ing-Margreth, for your time and sharing your story with me, and I'm sure that all who are reading this will echo my sentiment of wishing you well for a successful treatment.


Heading north from Vejbystrand toward Stockholm, one of the places I wanted to visit was the Husqvarna Museum in Husqvarna, Sweden.
To be honest, I never knew that there was also a town called Husqvarna, I thought it was only the brand of motorcycle, and chainsaw. You always learn something new nearly everyday.
But anyway, I got there too late, the museum had closed for the day. I didn't even make it to the museum, I stopped for gas and asked directions from the lady behind the counter, so she told me where to go but said since it was already 4:30, by the time I got there it would already be closed. So at this point it was starting to get a little cold and wet and I had a place to stay already lined up in a town called Linkoping, but it was 120 km north east of Husqvarna, so if I kept on going I would have to backtrack the next morning.
 I figured whats the point in going up and coming back down again, so it was time to put up my "Stealth Mode Camping" antennas, which, as it turns out, here in Sweden you don't need to do, as they have whats called Allemansratten or "The Everymans Right", the freedom or right granted by the Constitution of Sweden which basically states that "everyone shall have access to nature in accordance with allemansratten". The right to roam here in Sweden comes with an equal emphasis on the responsibility to look after the countryside, a "Do not disturb, do not destroy" maxim, which would appear to be an obvious one to me being an avid outdoor camper and a practicing Leave No Trace 7 Principles camper, but unfortunately not everyone thinks like that. It would be a very clean world to live in if they did.


So, on the way out of town I found a nice little rest area with some picnic tables about 25 kms outside of Husqvarna, and out of habit I parked the bike out of sight behind a growth of small trees and hedges, even though it may be legal I rather draw less attention when I bed down for the night, less chance of some late night happy party people getting inquisitive. 
It was already dark when I got there, but I have LED lights that I hard wired to the second battery on the outfit, a Bosch car battery, especially for situations like this where you need lighting to set up camp but don't want or have to leave the engine running to keep the small motorcycle battery charged. I can leave the LED lights on for two days before it will bring down the battery to even half of it's 12.8 volt full charge.
 A hot cup of tea with honey and lemon and it was off to bed for the night.




The next morning when I woke up I took a look around and realized I did a pretty good job in picking an overnight spot to camp, I had a great view of the harbor while making breakfast.





First and most important was the espresso. Gotta get that going before anything else happens.

This little 2 cup Espresso maker I picked up at Kaldi Coffee Uden in the Netherlands from my friend and the owner Janko is a lifesaver for people like me who like to hit the espresso first thing even before they hit the bathroom.


Ahh, ok, all good. Now I can think straight.


I carry 2 MSR stoves with me so while I'm making coffee I can also make toast or cook oatmeal at the same time.
There are a number of items on my outfit that I carry 2 of, and especially on a big trip like this, mainly as a backup, but in this case for convenience also.
If you only have 1 stove with you and it decides to die while you're up in Nordkapp in -20°, it could be a problem. Fire and heat are important to have backups of, the same way I carry multiple campfire lighters, the butane refillable ones. I have at least 3 with me, they don't like the extreme cold so it's good to have a few. The way I have my outfit set up is to be as self sufficient as possible. Even though as a fellow traveller once said to me "They bake bread everywhere", it may not always be possible to get to the bakery.

I've got into this habit of having the same thing for breakfast a few years back when in Death Valley, I discovered this combination and just stuck with ever since, first because I love the taste and second, none of these food items require any special storage like refrigeration. The Choco gets a little firmer as the temperature gets colder, but I keep it in my sleeping bag at night when it goes below -5°, otherwise you cant spread it. Plus, these food items are, for the most part, good high energy calories in cold weather, and easy to eat provided you have a wicked sweet tooth like myself and think that everything tastes better with chocolate.
And it's pretty healthy if you spread them on a good grain bread. Well, that's my story anyway. I am having a hard time finding the Blueberry Jam, ever since I left germany this Bonne Maman brand I can't find, and no, all Blueberry Jam is not created equal, nor does it taste the same either.
Musn't grumble though. Could be worse.






All packed up and ready to go after making sure that I left minimal or no impact on the area. 


So I made it to Husqvarna. I probably took a few hundred images from inside the museum, so I'm going to have to leave that article for the next post......

.....but here's a teaser shot for you. Some gorgeous bikes in there.

Meanwhile, as I'm writing this entry from Stockholm, another 'little' issue has come up with the outfit and that is the clutch, which may require me to do a complete clutch replacement. Nobodys fault really, but it appears that the sintered clutch plate that I put in may be too hard for the stock BMW pressure plates, I will know more this week when I remove the starter and see if I can take a look at the clutch. If I have to replace it, it will require pretty much taking the whole outfit apart, but better it happen here in Stockholm then up in Nordkapp. I have some friends that are working on trying to get me a garage space to work on the outfit and Frank Hoffmann at Wunderlich Germany is organizing getting me a new stock BMW clutch plate setup. 
I would like to say that when I emailed Frank Hoffmann at Wunderlich Germany about this issue, within 10 minutes he had called me right back at the phone number I gave him. It gives me tremendous confidence to know that I have this type of support from Frank and Wunderlich Germany. Thank you very much Frank.

So, that's where I'm at right now. I have to make a decision regarding the clutch. I'm half thinking of just going for it and heading up to Nordkapp with the new clutch from Wunderlich in a bag and just take a chance that I can make it to Russia. If I wait and do the repairs here in Stockholm, it's going to delay me for another week or more, but if I go and the clutch lets loose in or around Nordkapp, then I'm really screwed, as there's nowhere out there to do a repair as big as that.

So... Make it or break it, wing it or bring it? Am I biting off more than I can chew?.

The comments section is now open, 
that way if I break down in Nordkapp I'll have something to read as I freeze my ass off on the side of the road.......


Murph.


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