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6th April 2011


By MZ to Nord Kapp, Part 5
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Gavin Shaw achieved his goal of riding to North Cape on an MZ which cost less than 150 to purchase and prep for the trip. But now he has to get home again...

The first day of the return trip is Norway's National Day and it seems the whole of Norway is either at a party or wearing national dress. I leave Honigsvegen by the same route I took on the way in - there's no other - and have to pay again for the pleasure of using their tunnel. The joke of having to pay to get out falls on stony ground and even the explanation (about having to pay to get into Wales but being allowed out for free) does not produce a glimmer of a smile!

Nimbus spotted en-route..

I see fish eagles by the dozen diving for their breakfast, seals, arctic tern and the ever-present reindeer. It is truly a wonderful day especially as the whole trip is devoid of traffic and I have the most delightful of rides. I even stop for a sleep on one of the roadside picnic tables at the very summit of the Skuogglesassa range - excellent.

The day ends at my campsite with confusion; when I booked the owner took cards but now he demands cash so I ride back into town for some money. The owner is gone when I return so I decide to hit the sleeping bag: I've just dozed off when there's a thump on the tent and it's his business associate demanding payment. He's the only person I encounter on the whole trip who doesn't display open friendliness or is a delight to meet.

Campsite Cofusion - Looks cold, too...

Next morning I'm packed and having coffee and a doughnut at the Statoil station by 7am. The larger petrol stations are a life-saver in these parts as they sell everything a traveller could want to sustain the body and maintain the machine. Buy a special cup and cap for approximately 15 when you first enter Norway or Sweden and enjoy free coffee for the rest of the year at Statoil stations.

I planned to take a very minor road to join the E75 to Finland but somehow I take the wrong road and by the time I realise my mistake it's not worth turning back. Besides, this road is well surfaced and passes through some pleasant enough scenery. Because this is high tundra country and it's blisteringly hot (yes, you read that correctly) it reminds me of the roads through the heartlands of Spain, but with steep hills and not miles and miles of straight road!

I pass out of the Arctic Circle and into Finland. The E8 runs parallel to the Swedish border and there are a lot of military and customs bases located alongside. At an indicated 65,009 miles my speedo stops working. The cable has cried enough and as I didn't pack a spare one; I guess it's sod's law that it's gone.

Lucky it went now and not in the more wild areas of Norway where the filling stations are a lot more spread out. So I shall have to rely on mental road maths (never a strong point for me), or go onto reserve and hope there's a station nearby.

250 MZ bits on Right Now......

385 miles and some seven hours later I arrive in Kalix, Sweden. I treat myself to a pizza: Swedish waitresses are stunning!

Puch that would have been the envy of any 16 year old thirty five years ago...

From here I make the second change to my planned itinerary. I was going to head into the centre of the country but, like Norway, it's expensive so I take the more direct and main E4 towards Stockholm. The weather starts to worsen and before I reach Stockholm it's throwing it down. I've ridden over 500 miles today and the fatigue of the trip is really hitting home hard. Combined with coming down from the high of reaching Nord Kapp, I'm finding this leg of the trip difficult.

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Next episode: will the MZ make it back to Blighty in one piece?...

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