My first proper motorcycle trip
We were supposed to grab Colorline’s HighSpeed 1 ferry from Kristiansand in Norway to Hirtshals in Denmark at 08:00 in the morning, but rather than do the 3 hour drive from Stavanger to Kristiansand in the middle of the night, I opted to drive down a day earlier and spend the night there. The forecast was rainy, so I fired away a few requests on Couchsurfing in order to secure a dry place to sleep for the night. I lucked out and was hosted by Mokhtar, a political refugee from China. He was from the Xinjiang province and it turned out that I had visited his home town, when I went traveling in Xinjiang in 2005 (Read about that trip here). He made me a great Chinese meal, before we had a proper black- and technical- metal listening fest, the evening was ended by him displaying his fantastic guitar skills. I was properly impressed.
The next morning I was up before the rooster and out the door in time to meet Christer (who had made the ride from Stavanger in the middle of the night). We boarded HighSpeed 1 and relaxed while the ferry made its way to Hirtshals. Once we made landfall in Denmark we hit the throttle and sped south. I was under the mistaken belief that there were no speedlimits in Denmark (much like on the Autobahn in Germany) so I really hammered it, driving at 150+ km/h. Christer got a good laugh when he rectified my slight speed limit error (Max speed limit in Denamrk ranges between 100-130 km/h). The roads in Denmark and Germany are 100x better than in Norway, so it was easy to fly through Denmark at a high pace (much like Hitler did in 1940). We had a break every time we topped up our tanks, but other than that we were busy passing cars.
Our destination was Hamburg in Germany where I had organized that we would spend the night at Odd Gunnar’s place right in the in the center of things in Eppendorf. He greeted us with a couple of cold beers (just what any biker needs after a day in the saddle). After a quick shower we headed out to take part in the weekly meeting of the Norwegian’s living on Eppendorfer Landstrasse. On this Thursday it consisted of Odd Gunnar, Ingvar Ambjørnsen (a very successful Norwegian author) and us. We consumed a number of fine German beer before the meeting was adjourned. Odd Gunnar headed home to bed, but not until we had hit one of Hamburg’s most popular wine clubs on the way. Christer and I hit another bar on the way home. Christer (that bastard) kept ordering Black Russians every time I wanted to slow down with some water, so we were fairly “animated” by the time we hit the sack.
We were off to a slow start the next morning. In order to avoid hang-overs and DUIs we waited until after lunch before we set out. We hit a couple of motorcycle stores to buy some gear, before we headed south. The weather was crap all over, so we opted to drive south, where Christer had stayed at an excellent motorcycle hotel named Villa Loewenherz. We got there just in time for happy hour 🙂 I immediately fell in love with Villa Loewenherz. Only motorcycles are allowed on the grounds. When we got there, around a 100-150 motorcycles of all brands, shaped and sizes were parked outside. There were a large number of bikers there, all with smiles on their faces and beers in their hands. We fitted right in, though we were a bit on the young side. The weather was supposed to be horrible the next day, so we settled in for a night of heavy drinking. We closed down the bar and only barely managed to make the breakfast the following morning.
We hung out and relaxed, and when the weather cleared up a bit in the afternoon, we hit the road on an awesome 3-hour ride that circled the entire area. We were trashed by all sorts of weather, but didn’t get too horribly lost (despite Christer calling himself the “Lost Biker”, so the ride was deemed a 100% success. When we got back we dug into a fine BBQ and despite promising not to stay out as late, we closed down the bar once again.
Once again we had a slow morning (for alcohol related reasons). While enjoying our breakfast we decided to drive north, in order to cut down on the distance I would have to ride the following day (I had to return to Norway to go to work). We had told the proprietors of Villa Loewenherz that we would stay until the following day, but when we asked if we could leave on this day, they said no problem, as long as we were out of the room before the cleaners left. The cleaners were supposed to leave in 10 minutes, so we scrambled and packed all our gear and made it out of the room, just in time.
We hit the road and drove north in a variety of weather. Our destination was a motorcycle hotel, just south of the Danish border. We got a huge room where we spread our stuff and went out in search for dinner. Everything was closed, so we headed back to the hotel and hit the beers to stave of any hunger. Christer had some field rations with him and when his cooker failed, we used the hotel’s water boiler and, voila, dinner was served.
I hit the road on my own the following morning and drove up to Hirtshals to catch the HighSpeed ferry back to Norway. Christer was spending a nother week on the road and since the forecast was crap he hung at the hotel for the day.
The ferry was delayed a couple of hours, so I didn’t get to Kristiansand before 1:30 am. I had a slight mishap at the gas station in Søgne and managed to spill a healthy dose of gasoline inside my helmet (note to self: never hang your helmet on your handlebars when refueling). I tried my best to clean out the gasoline, but the smell lingered. This meant that I had to drive with the visor open in order not to get completely stoned by the fumes. The visor stayed open as long as I drove slower than 100 km/h. If I hit speeds higher than that, the windpressure closed it, so I needed to hold it open, which was strenuous, at best, on the narrow Norwegian roads.
Kjersti was a super star on this night, because when she got home from her evening shift at the hospital, she saddled up on her KTM 690 Duke and rode down to Egersund where she met me and we raced back home. After a long day of driving solo it was awesome to have company on the last stretch.
The trip had been excellent and I was already looking forward to the trip Kjersti and I would have in two weeks, when we were heading down to meet the sailboat Haze, returning to Copenhagen after a 3 year circumnavigation.