1st of June: Arrival at “Vølstadskogens Camping og Hytter”, 16 kilometers south of Stavanger
2nd of June: Day trip to Preikestolen, 100 kilometers - and five hours hike! Link to route
3rd of June: Day trip to Lysebotn, 270 kilometers. Link to route
4st of June: Day trip along the westcoast with Egersund, Flekkefjord and Sira, 300 kms Link to route
5th of June: Departure from "Vølstadskogens Camping og Hytter" Link to alternative route
The idea of the International Airhead Trip 2018 originated through my communication with Peter Ardron. Since 2010 I have been riding my motorcycle around Scandinavia almost every year. Peter had published the first of my articles about touring on my Airhead in Europe in the 80’s and 90’s, and asked if I would write an article about the latest motorcycle rides in Norway. I suggested that I could arrange a trip in Norway for the readers of the magazine, an idea that Peter immediately grabbed and publicised in the next issue of "The Airhead". I had much positive feedback which prompted me to start preparations and the program was published in the subsequent edition.
Some reported that they would participate, but as time went by, most people pulled out one by one, until we ended up with two participants from the UK and four Danish guides.
The day of the tour had arrived so I drove from Aarhus and headed North at eight o'clock in the morning. By Hadsten, Ole and Knud joined me, and in Aalborg Henrik was ready and waiting. Together we continued to Hirtshals, where we met Linda and Pete. Now we all rode to the ferry, and soon we sailed off to Kristiansand. The sailing trip took a couple of hours. There was almost no wind and the sun shone from a cloudless sky. The coming days should offer the best weather we have had on trips in Norway to date.
The route from Kristiansand to our cabins a little south of Stavanger followed the E39, a nice highway, which was busy the first hour. After the first break, traffic pressure eased, the scenery became even more beautiful and we rode along the always gentle swinging road. I took to singing loudly to myself in the helmet with excitement. Such a fantastic weather I have not had since my motorcycle rides south in the eighties and nineties.
We reached Sandnes Hytter and Camping in the afternoon. The day's distance was about 400 kilometers in total from Aarhus.
In the evening we made dinner in the community kitchen at the campsite. The kitchen we had for ourselves for all the stay. We sat out in the warm evening sun and fell into easy conversation, although mostly in English for the sake of our English guests.
The first day trip went to Lysebotn. We started at nine o'clock and were soon out of town and rode on a narrow and very busy road, first southeast and soon more directly eastward. We made several photo stops along the way through the long deep valley, where the mountains to the side cast a shadow completely over the valley bottom. During the trip we passed many lakes and rivers overlooking high waterfalls thrown down from the cliff sides. Later we could enjoy the many sharp turns as the road wound its way up, with snow at the roadside as the altitude increased. The snow was sometimes several meters deep. At the camp above Lysebotn we agreed that everyone could now ride freely and that we would gather at the bottom to have lunch at the quayside at the ferry port.
The last kilometer down is a large series of sharp hairpin turns interrupted by a tunnel with a 180 degree turn inside the tunnel. Then we went out into the sun, stopping at the head of the fjord to enjoy the food and drink we had brought with us. The stunning view out through the Lysefjord was hard to escape.
The return trip was the same route just the other way around, but everything looks different, so it was as enjoyable as the trip out.
The evening was rounded off on the terrace of the community kitchen, with cultural exchanges and entertainment every time new guests arrived at the campsite.
Second day of driving we drove to the ferry in Lauvvik and sailed over to Oanes to ride one last leg to the start of the footpath to the Preikestolen. This day was windy with an almost pressing heat, so all brought water bottles which were filled before the walk could begin. The trip to the top went mostly uphill, but also a little down again through varying terrain and landscapes, through loose gravel, over meadows with wooden bridges, up steep slopes with stairs roughly carved in large granite blocks. The walk to the top lasted well over two hours. On the Preikestolen itself we were together with many other hikers and ate lunch while we enjoyed the view towards Lysebotn many miles away. Here the climb was not over, because we also wanted to enjoy the view beyond the pulpit. The hardest part of the entire walking route was undertaken before we had a view of the high square of the pulpit and the at least one hundred hikers staying there from the very top cliff top. We found our own version of a return route that was no less difficult, and warm, tired and sore in the legs and knees we reached the motorcycles after hiking for about five hours.
That evening the evening meal was particularly delicious and the red wine tasted extra good. We had a couple of Italian bikers visiting, as today's chef Knud resolutely had invited them to the table. It became a pleasant and even more international evening with typical Italian accents, and soon the clock was getting late and we went to our bunks.
Third day of riding was converted to an individual day. Pete and Linda went for a tour down the west coast and returned into the countryside, Knud, Ole and Henrik went to a museum in Stavanger, while Bjørn rode into nature in the area southeast of Sandnes. It was a trip on the smallest and narrowest roads and paths, all the way where only the locals come. Shared dinner and another evening dinner late in the evening when our Italian friends came home and served real Italian game spaghetti.
The return trip began early in the morning, after the departure of Linda and Pete who were returning on a different ferry and had an extra day in Norway. We four Danes rode most of the route that was originally planned as the third day of riding, but now became our route home to Kristiansand. After a little hour on the E39, we rode on the smaller roads the unique beautiful route from Egersund to Flekkefjord. This road consists almost exclusively of a wide range of narrow twisted hairpin turns, up and down the landscape, beautiful vistas, beautiful mountain lakes and more rare sea views.
We had to travel on the last stretch on the E39, again in close traffic when we approached Kristiansand. Well on board the ferry the talk of the lovely days in Norway went on, and plans for the coming trips were aired.
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